The Heir Poll is officially closed! Keep reading to find out who won!
The years had flown by, Apollo had found himself halfway through his senior year. Ambrose would be starting high school after the summer. The boys were both ecstatic to be moving on to bigger and better things in their lives. Ambrose had been slowly warming up to Noah. What I mean by that is Ambrose didn’t shout or yell at his father as he used to, but instead kept his hatred below the surface. He had gotten used to his presence and tolerated him for Apollo and his mother.
“Have you thought about what college you want to go to?” Noah asked Apollo one day as they played video games.
“Sunlit Tides Community College looks pretty promising,” Apollo forced a smile.
“Is that what you really want? I’m not saying it’s a bad school, but I thought you’d want to leave Sunlit Tides and do something bigger.”
“It’s fine,” Apollo shrugged. “I’d like to stay here with you guys and watch over Ambrose.” Truth was, Apollo had wanted to go to Sims University. Leia was no longer making any money from the government because Noah was out of jail. Caleb had been saving up money for his own place, and Noah couldn’t get his job back at the hospital. He was working at a grocery store as the bag boy. Apollo had been saving up money from his part time job at the bookstore but it was pocket change compared to what he needed to pay for college. He didn’t want to put his parents in that kind of predicament and he knew his parents would rather take a loan under their names than ruin his credit. he couldn’t allow it.
“Is that really what you want? Ambrose is getting older, he doesn’t need as much help as you’d think. Sunlit Tides Community College will give you a great education but I think that if you were to try for something like, say, Sims University, you’d get a better experience.”
“Dad…how did you know that’s where I wanted to go?” Apollo sighed, pausing the game. “Is it that obvious?”
“No, it’s not. You’re pretty good at hiding your feelings, but I was your age at one point. I was a child genius, my parents sent me to a boarding school for high school, I was away from them for four years, and then I got a full scholarship to Sims University and I had to go.”
“A full scholarship?” Apollo was shocked. “Really? That’s incredible!”
Noah nodded, “I barely remember it, it was a time when my memories weren’t so clear to me. I was losing who I really was for this girl that I thought I loved. But, the point is, I got this fantastic job here, I didn’t have to worry about where I would work once I moved here. I was able to apply my degree to any place that I would move to. Sims University has more likeliness than Sunlit Tides Community College. Employers will be more impressed with a degree from Sims University. But, if you really want to stay here then you have our full support.”
Apollo groaned and held his hands on his head. “It’s just too much! I’m expected to know what I want so early in the year! I didn’t think it was ever possible for me to go to Sims University because of our finances, so I didn’t bother applying and now it’s passed the deadline!”
“Here,” Noah pulled out an envelope from his pocket. “It’s an aptitude test. I called Sims University and let them know that your application was lost in the mail. They’re willing to make an exception for you as long as you get it to them in the next few days. Your grades are fantastic so I know you’ll get in. Don’t worry about the money, you might get a scholarship and I’ve been saving money in a separate account for this very reason.”
“You’re not joking?”Apollo asked in disbelief.
“I’m not joking,” Noah smiled.
“Dad, you’re honestly the best. Thank you so much!” Apollo ran to work on the aptitude test. He was still worried about the money, but it wouldn’t hurt to try, especially since Noah went out of his way for him.
Apollo had recently discovered writing as a hobby rather than only academically. He was surprised by how much he was enjoying it. He was able to create such dynamic characters different from anyone he knew. It was exciting to him to watch his characters grow on the paper in front of him. Ambrose on the other hand took to painting. While Noah was in jail, Leia had purchased an art easel to help her cope. She hadn’t really enjoyed it much, so it was left unused. Ambrose begged his uncle Caleb to get him some paint and brushes and before long, Ambrose had become really good at it. He loved it.
“Hey…twerp, what do you want for your birthday?” Apollo asked from his seat at the computer.
Ambrose smirked before answering. “A Car.”
Apollo chuckled. “Not happening, you’re turning fourteen. You can’t even legally drive.”
“Pfft…whatever.” Ambrose rolled his eyes. “All I really want is some cake.”
“That, I can make happen.”
That very day Noah was startled by the sudden appearance of a time portal.
“Emit…? What the heck! I thought you were trying to keep this time traveling thing a secret?” Noah said in disbelief.
Emit shrugged, “Is that how you greet your father in law? Besides, I was being discreet. This is your backyard, no one can see this portal.”
“Except for my family. It’s leisure day, the kids are off from school.”
“Oh…well. Then I guess I’ll make this quick. You know your children are getting old enough for you to have the talk with them.”
“The talk? I just got back into my children’s life. I don’t think they want to hear about THAT. Especially from me.”
“They’re both old enough. They need to know Noah.”
Noah became flustered, “I’m sure they’ll act responsibly when they meet the one.”
“What are you talking about? Oh…that’s definitely not what I was talking about Noah! I was talking about you choosing an heir. You need to talk to them about who will lead the next generation! It’s imperative for the well being of the future.”
“Oops,” Noah chuckled nervously. “I guess you’re right. I do have to pick an heir.”
“Yes, you must decide by tonight.”
“Tonight!? It’s Ambrose’s birthday. I can’t do that!”
“I know, but I just got orders to tell you that you need to choose right away. It’s not me, it’s the guardians. They’re the backing of this whole plan. I’m not going to be involved in Apollo’s or Ambrose’s life. They think I’m getting too emotionally invested in your life and ignoring the future,” Emit admitted.
“That’s ridiculous. They’re your grandsons. You’re a human being, of course you feel some sort of attachment to us. We’re your family,” Noah exclaimed.
“Unfortunately, the lives of many are in danger with the fall of Lunar Lakes and the instability of Oasis Landing. I can sacrifice my wants for their lives. Frost Bite will be working alongside whoever you choose. I can’t go much into detail about that but just know, I care about my family. I’m just unable to lose control of the timeline. It could be disastrous. I’m sorry. I must go now, I’ll stop by later for your answer. Make sure you tell your sons who you choose.”
“Emit, wait! Don’t leave yet,” Noah pleaded. Emit turned around. “Can you at least talk to Leia and Lorie once, if you’re going to cut off all contact?”
He let out a long sigh. “I’ll see what I can do.”
Everyone was at the Gray house for Ambrose’s party that night. Noah was trying to mingle with the guests but his mind was elsewhere, Who was he going to choose as heir? Both Apollo and Ambrose were wonderful boys. He remembered the moment his parents had with him. They chose him, and his siblings were supportive of their choice. It didn’t make the others any less important, it just put the burden of keeping everything together on his shoulders. He had to let the boys know that when he made his decision.
“Leia darling, you have done an amazing job with all of my boys. Noah, Caleb, Apollo and Ambrose. They’re all amazing people.”
“Thank you Mrs. Gray, but Noah and Caleb were all you. I can’t take credit for that.”
“You changed Noah’s life for the better. It was you who made him fight so hard for his family. Caleb had suffered for awhile when he was younger. Living with you and the boys has showed him what he was missing in life. He’s finally woken up. He knows that he can’t keep suffering, thanks to you. So thank you,” Athena told her.
Leia was shocked and honored to be hearing this from the head of the Gray family. “Thank you Mrs. Gray, it means so much coming from you!”
It wouldn’t be a Gray family get together without some drama. A particular guest had arrived uninvited, or so Apollo thought.
“Hi, Apollo,” Katherine said shyly. She was biting her lip nervously.
“What are you doing here?” He lowered his eyes.
“I came to wish your brother a happy birthday. Your mother invited me.”
He would have to yell at his mother later. He knew they hadn’t spoken to each other in three years. Seeing each other in the hallways was painful. In the beginning he would look up at her hopefully, wishing she had changed her mind. She never looked back at him. By the middle of his sophomore year, he had given up all hope on ever befriending her again. It kept him up at night, wondering what he did wrong. He had reconnected with John, but other than that, he barely spoke to anyone, which he was fine with. He didn’t want to lose someone else, so he kept his distance. “Great, well go make yourself at home. I’m going to go give Ambrose his gift.”
“No, Apollo, wait!” She begged. “Please just talk to me. Brad, go inside and play with Tasha, I’ll be done in a minute,” She told her little brother. Apollo was aware she had a little brother but her family life was of no concern to him anymore. “He’s just so excited to be here. He loves Tasha. Even though she’s a bit older than him, they get along.”
“Is he alright…?” Apollo asked hesitantly. He wasn’t heartless enough to take out his anger on her little brother. There wasn’t something quite right about this entire situation. He felt his stomach drop before she could even confirm what he thought.
“He had cancer, but it’s in remission now. We’re gradually taking him outside of the house, but it’s hard for him because he’s been bedridden for a few months. The doctors caught it early luckily, so everything will be alright.”
“I’m so sorry,” Apollo said. He had suddenly felt terrible for being so rude to her in the first place.
“It’s really ok, but please don’t let this change anything between us. I mean, please don’t let it make it any more awkward. I don’t need you feeling sorry for me.”
“Wait, I don’t get any of this.” Apollo shook his head. “You come to celebrate Ambrose’s birthday, but barely show any interest in him, tell me about your sick little brother and then tell me that I’m still not cool enough to hang out with you. Why are you even here?”
“I…I want to make things right!” She stuttered.
“You can’t, not until you give up all the popularity. I know it’s something you won’t do, and I can’t be friends with someone who is fake.” Apollo told her before walking away.
After much insistence from Ambrose, it was finally time to blow out the candles. He had the full support of his entire family there. Daisy, Cyrus, Tasha, Kayden, Athena, Levi, Caleb, Lorie and Katherine were cheering him on whole heartedly. He blew out the candles with one wish in mind. Hopefully it’d come true.
Ambrose grew into his rebellious nature. He picked out a red flamed sweater and some black earrings as his first teenage outfit. This was his last year in middle school, soon he’d be tearing up Sunlit Tides high school. Hopefully they wouldn’t expect too much from him being Apollo’s younger brother.
“Aww Ambrose, my little boy is all grown up. You’ve grown into such a handsome man.I’m so proud of everything you’ve done up to this point. Your teenage years will fly by, so make the most of it. Here is your gift. Since you’ve taken such a liking to art, I thought you’d like this sketch pad.” Leia leaned in and kissed her son’s cheek.
“I think I’m gonna barf from all of this mushy talk.” Apollo held his hand over his mouth.
“H-Hey! Shut it!” Ambrose groaned.
Later that night, Noah was stopped by Emit.
“How did you get into my house?”
“Don’t worry about it,” Emit smirked.
“Oh geez,” Noah sighed. “What are you even doing here?”
“I’m here to see if you made your decision yet. Who did you choose?”
“Wellll….” Noah said nervously.
“You didn’t talk to them yet did you?” Emit let out an all-knowing sigh.
“It’s been hectic.” Emit began to walk away. “Hey! Where are you going! The kids are still in there!” Noah called after him.
“I’m here to see my daughters, who conveniently happen to be talking in the kitchen, your boys are on the other side of your house, I’m going to talk to them, and you tell the boys. I expect you to give me
an answer before I leave.”
“Geez, you can be so demanding sometimes.”
In the kitchen, Leia and Lorie were in a heated discussion about orie’s love life.
“He wasn’t the one for me,” Lorie said.
“Don’t be discouraged. There’s someone out there for everyone.” Leia tried to cheer her sister up. She had recently broken up with her boyfriend, the third one this year.
“Yeah, I wish I had what mom and dad had.” Lorie blurted out.
“Mom and dad? If they cared so much about us then where are they?” Leia was still a little touchy on the subject of their parents.
“You heard about my dream, they had to give us up. They didn’t want to!”
Leia was about to shoot back at her sister with a snarky remark but she was cut off by a voice she never heard before. “She’s right, we didn’t want to separate and give up the family we created.”
Lorie gasped. “You’re him!”
Leia took a step back, not trusting this man at all. “I don’t expect you girls to be so welcoming to me. Isn’t Noah going through the same thing with Ambrose and Apollo?” Emit said thoughtfully.
He was right, Leia realized. Lorie was the happy child who was ecstatic to see her father and Leia was the skeptical one, distrusting his actual merits. She had understood Ambrose’s actions and pains, but she also understood Noah’s which is why what she did next surprised even her.
She hugged him and began to cry in his embrace. “Why…why would you just leave like that? Why didn’t you fight to keep her. Why are you so much like Noah, trying to be the hero!” She sobbed into his arms. “Why wouldn’t you make the extra effort.” She knew the answer to all of those questions. Emit didn’t have a choice but to leave Lorie, Leia and their mother, Cora. Oh, how he missed Cora so much. He saw her spunky persona in Lorie, and her beautiful facial features in Leia. His daughters had grown up into incredible women.
“I’m sorry…I wanted to be here more. I should have been so much more to this family. I could have used my power to stay here with you guys a little longer. But now it’s too late. I missed all of my opportunities and I have to return to the future and never leave my spot as timekeeper of Oasis Landing.”
She didn’t know how good it would feel to be in her dad’s arms. She had wanted this so much. She thought back to her dance recitals where she looked into the audience to see if anyone was there to see her, she saw the lonely orphanage where her and Lorie had to argue with parents that they were a package deal, she saw Noah waiting for her at the altar and wanting so bad to walk down to him with her father on her arm. She thought she didn’t need him, and here he was in front of her, only to be violently ripped back from her grasp. She hated the future. She hated that he had given up his family twice for the same reason. “This sucks.” She wiped her eyes with the back of her hands. “Totally not how I pictured it.”
“This was why I didn’t want to come. I didn’t think I’d be able to let you go.” He opened up his arm and pulled Lorie in as well. “I’m so sorry that you girls had to go through all of this. I wish things could be different.” They both held onto him and cherished the fleeting moment they had together.
Meanwhile, the boys had been cornered by Noah.
“What is it?” Ambrose mumbled. He was tiredly rubbing his eyes. The days festivities had gotten to him.
“That’s it?” Ambrose said.
“For once I have to agree with him.” Apollo nodded.
“No, there’s more. Ambrose, Apollo both of you have grown into fine men, and it’s finally time to let you in on our family secret. My mom worked so hard to get her family the way it is today. She was plagued by the loss of her mother in a monstrous way. She met our dad, your grandfather, and he was able to illuminate her life. Together, they raised us and made a promise to a certain blue-haired time traveler that they’d pass down their legacy and make sure the future was one of radiance and not darkness. Their objective was passed down unto me when they chose me as the heir, the one who would take watch over the family. She told me that I had to keep the family together, continue the legacy and then pass it on when the time was right. That time is now. I need to put one of you in charge. One of you boys will act as the protector of the Gray family name and bring greatness to us. I know both of you are completely capable of doing it, but I have to choose one of you. Whoever I choose, I entrust you with what I have just mentioned but also continuing the legacy by passing it onto your children and telling them to do the same. Do not let your grandmother’s efforts be in vain. The world isn’t such a great place when you look around. Thats why the Gray family has to make an impact, one generation at a time.” Noah had left out all of the technical aspects of why this was so important because he didn’t think they’d actually believe all of the time travelling business, just as he had been skeptical of it at first. The boys stared at Noah in silence. Neither knew what to say, so Noah just continued. “Apollo, after much thought, I think you’re the right person to entrust this honor on.”
A look of hurt flashed through Ambrose’s eyes. Ambrose had known that was coming. Of course he’d pick his favorite child, Apollo. Everyone always chose Apollo. Whatever, did he really need to listen to this guy anyway? Noah tried to word it as objectively as he could. He hadn’t intended to hurt any of the boys, but he knew Ambrose had demons that he needed to get rid of before he could take control of the family. Apollo needed to find out who he truly was, and Noah knew this was the perfect opportunity to make him a better person. Unable to bear the hurt in Ambrose’s eyes, he walked towards the living room to confirm his choice with Emit.
Apollo turned to his little brother. This would be no different from what he normally did. He would continue to watch over and protect his little brother.
“Ambrose…” Apollo began.
Ambrose brushed him off. “Save it. I know it’s not your fault that you’re the favorite. I was stupid to allow myself to think for a minute that maybe he might have really been part of this family, even if the idea of him was intolerable. Now I know, he doesn’t see me as the perfect little boy he wished I was. Sure, I pushed him away, but he wasn’t supposed to retaliate. Guess that’s why you’re the favorite huh?”
“I’m not the favorite! Don’t say that. Its probably because I’m the older brother and I’m already keeping an eye on the family.”
“We both know that’s not true,” Ambrose said before walking off. “I’m heading to bed.”
Apollo sighed in frustration. Why was everything so complicated to Ambrose? He understood his jealousy and it killed him. He hadn’t meant to set such high bars. He was honestly shocked. He saw it from the other side of the coin. he thought Ambrose was the favorite because Noah tried so hard on a daily basis to get his approval. He was sure that he’d have chosen Ambrose for sure. He was eighteen, he’s be going to college soon and he had no idea what he wanted to study, and his social life was in shambles. What did Noah see in him? Would he make a good heir?
It was tied for awhile but in the end Apollo took a big lead on Ambrose. Stay tuned for gen 3 to see how Apollo handles everything life throws at him.