After hearing that he was going to be heir, Apollo noticed that everything began to change. Caleb had been out of the house more often than usual. He had met a woman. Her name was Hope and she was one of the food vendors at the festivals held in the park. It was a weird meeting, Caleb casually strolling through the park, her bolting down the sidewalk to get to work on time. They had clashed, and as cliche as it sounded, according to both, it was love at first sight. Caleb spent a lot of time talking himself out of a relationship because of the loss of his first love but he couldn’t stop thinking about Hope. He was always wondering how she was feeling, what she would be doing at that time and things like that. Eventually, she got tired of waiting for him to make a move and asked him out. Caleb was a bit taken aback, but of course he couldn’t turn her down. She was so much more to him than just a food vendor.
Caleb knew that they weren’t getting any younger. Slowly, they had been creeping towards the elder stage and his parents were slipping closer to death. He’d like his mother to rest at ease knowing that he had someone to share his life with. So, Caleb gleefully fell down to one knee and proposed to Hope who excitedly said yes. Not wanting to draw so much attention, they had a private wedding at city hall. They didn’t need to parade their love, they both knew they couldn’t live without each other. She had become Hope Gray and he had become the happiest man alive.
That of course came with the declaration that Caleb would be moving out. Hope and he had found a nice place to live, and both of them pulled their money together to buy it. Things would be weird for Leia, not having his help, and it’d be upsetting for Noah, not seeing his brother everyday anymore, but both were very happy for him. They both knew how rewarding the married life was.
Caleb held his breath as he approached Ambrose. He wanted to tell him personally that he would be moving out. Ambrose knew that Caleb and Hope were already a pretty serious couple.
“What’s up?” Ambrose asked casually.
“I wanted you to hear this from me before anyone else said something to you.” Ambrose nodded. “I proposed to Hope. She said yes.”
“That’s great news!” Ambrose said happily.
“Yes, we’re both very happy,” Caleb agreed. “We’ve found a nice house to move into together.”
Ambrose’s face fell instantly, but he masked it well. He quickly replaced the question in his eyes with a bright smile. “That’s awesome, I’m happy for you.”
Caleb let out the breath he didn’t know he was holding. He was expecting a much more explosive reaction. Ambrose and him were extremely close, and ever since Noah returned, he found Ambrose latching on to him more and more. He was afraid of leaving Ambrose, but he knew that he had to move on eventually. He’d only be a car ride away.
Ambrose was great with masking his true feelings. He had become accustomed to it when Noah came back. He could only be scolded so much by his older brother and mother before realizing it wasn’t ok to show Noah his true feelings of hatred. Caleb was worried that Ambrose would take his leaving hard, just as he took his Uncle Elliot’s departure hard. He was glad to know that Ambrose was a much stronger kid than he was.
Ambrose tried to keep it together. He tried to ignore the sinking feeling in his gut, but he couldn’t. The happy talk about curtain shades and new lamp fixtures was enough to make him insane. He had locked himself in his room for the entirety of Caleb’s final few days in the house. Caleb was so busy packing his things that he hadn’t noticed Ambrose’s recent recluse activities, and Ambrose was relieved. He didn’t want Caleb to see him break down. With Caleb gone, who did he have to turn to? He was alone once again. He wasn’t good enough to be heir and he wasn’t good enough for Caleb to stay…
The week after Caleb left, everyone was feeling a bit lonelier. It only confirmed for Apollo what he already knew. Everything was changing. Despite having an empty room, Apollo decided not to move out of his room with Ambrose. Some would argue that they were getting too old to share a room, but Apollo wanted to keep hold of what he always knew. That night, Ambrose tossed and turned in his bed. The silence was beginning to be a bit much for him. He couldn’t take it anymore and hopped right out of bed. He threw on some clothes and grabbed his bike. Apollo turned over in his bed and watched Ambrose slip out of the room. He knew that he wasn’t just going downstairs to get a midnight snack. He quickly put on his clothes and began to follow his brother. He was careful to stay quiet and hidden.
Apollo followed Ambrose for twenty minutes before he arrived at The Hideaway. It was a casual hangout center, but at this time, 3 am, it was closed. The Hideaway itself wasn’t locked up but he was sure the owners hid the valuables. What was Ambrose doing here then? Apollo watched him make himself a drink and sit down.
“Ambrose, tell me thats not alcohol.” Apollo climbed into the Hideaway.
“What are you doing here?” He mumbled. “Did you follow me?”
“Yes, I did. I was worried about you. You can’t just leave so late. There’s a curfew.”
“I’m sorry for waking you up, I think I’ll have to move into Caleb’s old room.”
“Don’t apologize,” Apollo said. “Listen to me. None of this is the answer to your problems. I know you’re upset, but you’re fourteen. There’s other outlets.”
“It’s just coffee,” Ambrose mumbled after a moment of silence.
“I get the feeling you don’t really want to talk about this right now.” Ambrose shook his head. “Let’s go home. If you want to talk to me about it when we’re both fully awake, I’m here. If not, I’m not going to pressure you. Just, please don’t do this anymore, and if you want to sneak out, at least let me know, I’ll tag along, and I won’t rat you out to mom.”
Ambrose let out a long sigh. “Thank you.”
Apollo was grateful that it was a saturday night and he didn’t have school the next day. His academic life was hectic. He constantly found himself studying, trying to maintain his A. He really wanted to impress Sims University. Without a scholarship, he didn’t think he could attend. After he made sure Ambrose was in Caleb’s room asleep, he went to the living room and stared into space. His eyes landed on some portraits his family had hanging up on the walls. On the left was a picture of his uncle Caleb, uncle Cyrus, his aunt Daisy, his aunt Lorie, his mother and his grandmother with him in her arms. He was just a toddler. In the picture to the right, he remembered it clearly, was taken at Ambrose’ birthday party around the time Noah had come back. It was strange how much of an impact one event could have on your life, on the future. Noah had entrusted him with securing a future for the Gray family. He knew better than anyone, having lost his father initially to one decision, that the future was fragile. He would do his very best to make sure the family stayed together, Noah included.
You can check out the Gray family tree here. Or by clicking the tab at the top of the page. Also, for a special treat, click chapters and see Apollo’s new look as heir 🙂