It was obvious to Eliza that her mother was hiding something regarding Patrick Sawyer, but she couldn't imagine what it might be.
Being a naturally curious Sim she decided to do some snooping, Nancy Drew style, and she figured the best place to start was her Mom's bureau.
She rummaged through the drawers searching for clues when her hand came across a stack of old photographs stuffed right at the back.
The first few that she flicked through were of a little girl who looked just like Eliza only with blond hair, it must be my Mom, she thought.
She always wondered why her mother didn't have any photo's in the house from when she was little, but when she had asked her about it she had told her that there weren't any.
The next few were of her Mom and a lady Eliza did not recognise, on the back someone had scrawled the words; Me and Mom.
But the lady in the picture wasn't Leila?
Eliza had never met her Grandma Leila, she had died before she was even born, but there were pictures of her all over the house and the lady in these photo's looked nothing like her.
Suddenly she heard her Mom coming towards the bedroom door and hastily crammed the pictures back in their place.
"Eliza! What are you doing in here?" Audra asked, noting the guilty look on her daughters face.
"Nothing, I erm, can I borrow your lip gloss?" Eliza asked rather unconvincingly.
"Of course you can, but you should ask before going through my things." Audra lectured.
Eliza made her excuses and got out of house as soon as she could. She headed towards downtown Bridgeport.
She had heard so many stories of Leila growing up and had always thought of her as the Grandma she would never know, but what if Leila hadn't been her Grandma at all?
Eliza found herself standing on the steps of city hall, she figured if she had any other relatives in town then tracing them through the city records should be easy.
She made up a story to the clerk at the registry office about a school project into family trees and got access to the register of births.
Scrolling down the list she looked for the name Traytor, finding entries for Uncle Blake, Bobby, Caleb and Casper but not her Mom.
She searched again for registered births of girls named Audra but the only one was for an Audra Bijou, the entry stated the mothers name was Summer and the father was unknown.
A little more digging revealed a current address for this Summer Bijou on the outskirts of town.
Eliza's curiosity had really been piqued by the mysterious Summer, and almost on auto pilot she cycled all the way to her door.
She paused before knocking, how could she explain her visit to this stranger?
But before she could answer her own question the front door flew open and an elderly woman appeared.
"Hey you!" The woman called, "Whatcha doin' on my front lawn?"
"I erm, I was just...." Eliza searched for a lie to tell but none would come.
"You selling something? Huh, you one of those girl guides?" The woman accused, narrowing her eyes and squinting at Eliza, "Well you best come in then."
The woman shuffled indoors and called, "Well ya comin' in or not?"
Eliza figured it couldn't do any harm to check out the inside of her house and she followed the woman inside.
"So you live here alone?" Eliza asked, trying to dig for information.
"I knew it!" The woman exclaimed, "You're here to rob me, I know your type i dealt with ya before!"
She was making little sense and began to scare Eliza, what did she mean "your type"
"Listen, i think I've made a mistake." Eliza muttered edging towards the door.
But the woman lunged forward and grabbed Eliza's wrist.
"You ain't getting away that easy girly." The woman crowed.
"Get off me you crazy old freak!" Eliza yelled.
"Me a freak? Ha you're the freak, freak of nature. I know what ya are, you're a damn vampire." The woman accused.
As Eliza tried to free herself of the crones surprisingly firm grip she stumbled, falling backwards.
As she fell she hit her head and then, only darkness.
When Eliza came round she was in a bathroom, her attempts to try the door revealed that it was locked. Her head was throbbing from where she had hit it and she stumbled to the basin to examine the damage.
A large bruise was forming on the side of her head where she had hit it. She felt dizzy and sick, I have to get out of here, she thought.
Eliza hammered on the door as loud as she could, yelling and calling for help,but no one responded.
Great, she thought, now what am i supposed to do. If only she were Nancy Drew, she would have some kind of plan or trick to get out of this situation.
But her mind drew a blank, she needed to call someone to come get her.
If she called home her Mom would find out for sure and she would have to come clean about her snooping, she would certainly be grounded probably for life!
Scrolling though her phone book she realised she had Delta's number stored, Ha! Nancy Drew never had modern technology on her side did she?
She knew she could rely on her cousin to help her out and not tell her Mom what had happened.
Dialling the number it rang and rang with no reply finally going to voice mail.
In frustration she hit redial, muttering "pick up" under her breath, after a few rings it was answered, by a man!
"Who is this?" She asked.
"Hey you called me!" The man said, "Who's this?"
"I'm calling for Delta, it's Eliza."
"Delta's not here right now. Eliza huh? You're her cousin right?" The man asked.
"Look I don't have time for idle chit chat right now!" Eliza sighed in frustration "I'm being held captive and i need help."
The man chuckled, "Well i think i could spare some time to rescue a damsel in distress."
Eliza recited the address to him saying "Please hurry!"
When Orlando pulled up at the house, he checked the address he had written down earlier, this place sure didn't look like a crime den filled with kidnappers!
As he approached the door, he could hear the raised voices of two woman having a heated discussion. The front door of the house was slightly ajar so he pushed his way in.
Instead of being confronted by knife wielding psycho's it was just some old biddy arguing with a woman.
"I told ya they would come for me, didn't i tell ya?" The old woman was saying.
"Ms Bijou, we've talked about this before." The other woman explained calmly, "Not all vampires are trying to kill you, most of them are just as peace loving as you or I."
"Pah! You didn't see the look in it's eye." The old woman said dismissing her theory, "She tried to take my purse too!"
Orlando cleared his throat loudly to attract the women's attention.
"So apparently you're holding a prisoner somewhere?" He asked sarcastically, "Any chance i could bail her out?"
"Oh my goodness i am so sorry." The younger woman explained, "Ms Bijou is not well you see, I normally wouldn't leave her alone but we had ran out of milk and i swear i was only at the store a second."
"Right, well maybe you could let her out now?" Orlando asked smirking at the situation, he felt like he'd stepped into an episode of Jerry Springer!
"Of course, I am so sorry once again." The woman continued, "I'm going to put Ms Bijou to bed. You're friend is probably locked in the bathroom."
Orlando raised his eyebrows in amusement as the odd couple traipsed upstairs, the old woman was protesting the entire way.
Seeing a door with a key in the lock to his side he knocked on it and called "Are you nearly done in there?"
"Get me out of here!" An angry voice replied.
Orlando turned the key allowing an irate Eliza to burst out.
Eliza came face to face with Orlando Belle, her face turned bright red with a mixture of embarrassment and anger, then she noticed his mouth curled into a smirk, "This isn't funny, that woman is crazy!"
She stormed out of the house with Orlando in tow, "Hey wait up!" He called after her, "You're OK right? No injuries? No broken bones? No scars?"
"Just mental ones." She replied, her cheeks still burning.
"Let me take you home." he said.
"What about my bike?" She asked.
"I'll come back for it later." He offered, smiling broadly.
Eliza slid into the leather seat and Orlando revved the engine before speeding off. He said nothing, but as Eliza glanced at him from the corner of her eye she noted that the smirk was still firmly in place.
He drew up outside her house and she realised she had never been so happy to see the place before.
"You won't tell anyone about this will you?" She asked shyly.
"Tell them what?" He replied furrowing his brow in jest.
"Thanks." She sniffed.
"No probs! I'll drop your bike off at school for you tomorrow then your folks need never know." He winked. God he was so cool, Eliza thought.
"Do me a favour though?" He asked.
"Sure" she shrugged.
"If you're planning on getting yourself kidnapped or held at gunpoint any time soon, give me a heads up so i can get my superman costume dry cleaned." His smirk turned into a full on ear to ear grin at his own wit.
She realised he was teasing her and turned an even brighter shade of red.
As she stood there feeling like the biggest goof in history he pulled her into a hug.
Feeling the warmth of his body and his gym buffed arms around her, Eliza froze. THE Orlando Belle was hugging her!
She remained stock still unsure what to do until he released her.
"Glad you're OK kid." He said before hopping back in his convertible and speeding off.
As Eliza watched him drive away she realised she could still smell his aftershave, it was quite intoxicating.
Urgh! She had made such a fool of herself in front of Orlando he must think she was such an idiot.
Wait, what did she care what he thought of her?
OK so he was gorgeous, funny and had totally just saved her life, but it's not like she was into him or anything!
Thankfully for Audra her son was not as inquisitive as Eliza! He also had no problem making friends his own age.
Finlay fit in immediately at Bridgeport High, the girls all thought he was cute and the guys all wanted to hang with him. He was doing great in his classes too achieving near perfect grades.
Although not everyone was his biggest fan.
Marcus Henley came from a wealthy family, his Dad was a property tycoon and was worth nearly as much as the music and movie stars he managed portfolios for.
Marcus had always been top of the class and was unused to the competition, but Finlay Traytor and his perfect grades had irked him.
He was worried that Finlay would overtake him at the top of the class and steal the coveted valedictorian spot by the time they graduated.
If that happened his Dad would be furious. He had always drummed into Marcus the importance of being the best.
That day in class they were discussing global warming, Marcus had taken centre stage as usual, sometimes he lectured the class more than the teacher Mr Abrams did!
"There's no conclusive scientific proof that global warming is caused by man." Marcus purported, "I say carbon emissions are harmless."
"You would think that driving around in that gas guzzler of yours!" Finlay joked, the whole class erupting into laughter at Marcus whose cheeks flamed pink in anger.
"Of course global warming is man made, what about the destruction of rain forests and the ozone layer? These things weren't caused by mother nature." Finlay argued.
"Sounds to me like you're just jealous i have a nice car and you have, oh wait you don't have a car do YOU Finlay." Marcus taunted.
"Just doing my bit for the planet. Go green everyone!" Finlay retorted.
The class again rippled with giggles, as the two boys squared up to each other.
"The ozone layer better watch out with all that hot air you're spouting." Finlay continued buoyed by his class mates support.
"OK you two that's enough debate for today." Mr Abrams called.
Marcus narrowed his eyes at Finlay and reluctantly returned to his seat, muttering "You'll be sorry." Under his breath.
"Man you killed Marcus today!" Brody exclaimed, while the boys were getting their books from the lockers.
"Aw he's just mad that someone disagreed with him." Finlay answered, "Probably used to getting his own way all the time."
"It's about time someone took him down a peg or two." Brody continued, "He thinks he owns this place, i mean he's on like every single committee and he's been class president since junior year."
"Hi Finn." Monica Preston interrupted , "You were really funny in class today, Marcus looked sooo mad!"
Monica was giving Finlay the eye as usual and Brody, as usual hadn't read the signals. He kept right on talking instead of subtly leaving them to it.
"Yeah, i was just saying he totally deserves it." Brody interjected, "You know he's been class president forever! I mean like Dude, give someone else a chance."
Finlay smiled at his clueless friends actions although he did have a point, no wonder Marcus thought he was the greatest.
"I bet if you ran against him you'd win Finn." Cherry Adams piped in.
Finlay knew she had interrupted Monica's flirting on purpose, Cherry was always eyeing him too!
"Nah, you think so?" He asked, the whole group nodded in unison.
As he left for home he thought about what his friends had suggested, maybe it would be fun to run for class president and even if he didn't win it would make Marcus really mad!
When he got home he decided to practice his public speaking in the mirror. He knew he had the popularity to win an election hands down but he wasn't always confident in front of big groups of people. What if he made a fool of himself?
He pulled a face at his reflection, it was just a dumb idea anyway. Retreating back to his room he stumbled over his Grandpa's electric guitar.
Jonny had been presented it at some kind of ceremony honouring local legends and when he died he had left it to his only grandson.
Finlay had been young when his Grandpa passed away and he didn't really know him as well as his sister and cousin, but as he held the guitar in his hands he imagined how Jonny must have felt getting up on a stage in front of hundreds of people.
He must of had a ton of confidence, Finlay thought.
"Hey kiddo, whatcha up to?" Audra asked as she entered the room.
"Just thinking about Grandpa." Finlay replied.
"Why do you suppose he left me his guitar?" Finlay asked.
"Well he wanted you to have something to remember him by." Audra answered, "You know he once told me that when he was up on stage he felt as though he could do anything."
"I guess he must of been really brave."
"Nah! He was a pussycat." She laughed, "He used to get such stage fright, but Grandma Leila would always talk him round. She knew once he got out there he would be amazing."
Finlay looked at the guitar, maybe he could do this, after all nothing ventured, nothing gained!
That weekend Eliza celebrated her transition to young adult with a big party, as she blew out her candles she developed the perceptive trait and decided to pursue a career as a private eye. (Nancy Drew eat your heart out!)
As she looked up from her cake she noticed Orlando in the crowd of well wishers, he was of course too cool to blow a party horn, but he had come to her party and she couldn't believe it.
Now that she was an adult she hoped that Orlando would stop thinking of her as a kid and maybe even ask her out on a date.
When she finally freed herself of relatives giving her congratulatory hugs she made her was towards Orlando, "Hey." She said, still unsure of herself around him.
"Hey yourself birthday girl." He replied, flashing her his trademark grin, "Did you get everything you wished for?"
She shrugged coyly, thinking that since she saw him in the crowd her wish had come true.
"Thanks for coming." She said simply.
"As if he had a choice!" Delta called, as she came over to the two of them, she slid her arms around Orlando and squeezed him tightly, "I told him we couldn't miss my little cousins party."
Eliza regarded the way Delta was looking at Orlando, it was obvious that they were much more than friends, she felt her heart sink.
She should have guessed that they were together the night he rescued her from Summer's house he had answered Delta's phone she just hadn't put two and two together.
"So how's it feel to be all grown up?" Delta asked.
"I dunno, not too different yet." Eliza shrugged.
"Look we gotta go pretty soon, there's a wild party at Connor's tonight so...." Delta trailed off.
"Happy birthday kid." Orlando said reaching out to give her a hug.
Eliza jumped at his touch, she was so embarrassed by her feelings for him. She ended up grabbing his arm awkwardly as he half hugged half shook her hand.
Good one Eliza you've embarrassed yourself again she thought, hoping that Delta had not noticed her blushing.
After the guests had all left, Audra approached Eliza. "Sweetheart, now that you are a full vampire you have the choice to take the anti virus. You know your cousin has already taken it don't you?"
"Yes i know." Eliza replied, in truth she hadn't given too much thought to her vampire status it seemed like a non issue to her.
"You know Mom, i don't think it's such a big deal anymore." Eliza started, "I know when you were young there weren't so many half vamps around but there's loads of them at school now, people are more accepting of it."
"You'd be surprised Eliza." Her mother advised, "Not everyone is so open minded."
Eliza thought back to her encounter with Summer Bijou and what she had said about her being a freak of nature, it was on the tip of her tongue to tell her Mom all about it, but instead she said.
"I guess i won't be much of a private eye if i can't be outdoors all day, I'll take it."
Audra visibly relaxed at the thought of her daughters decision.
The discussion she had with Eliza had a profound impact on Audra, if people now saw half vampires as the norm then perhaps there were others like Eliza who needed help to make a decision.
The anti virus had received some good press to start with, but popular culture was flooded with tales of vampires making it all seem so glamorous and demand for the cure was waning.
She knew what she had to do, her career in medicine had served her well and it had helped her find the one thing she had wanted so badly, the cure. Now she decided she should devote her time to helping others realise the benefits of taking it.
She called her boss at the hospital and told him she was quitting.
Yes it was time for big changes in Audra's life, she realised it was time to pass on the reigns of the family to the next generation, but would the honour be Eliza's or Finlay's?