Disclaimer: Oh Jesus Christ, if I owned SQUARE-ENIX, would I REALLY be writing shitty fanfiction like this? NO! I'd be making them into MOVIES, DAMN IT, MOVIES!
He cautiously pulled out the photo album from the third shelf of the library. It had been placed between his mother's old textbooks and the high school yearbooks. With the quick, silent strides he had inherited from his father, he made his way to his favored armchair in the family study.
With a smile tugging at his lips, his fingertips grazed the leather cover and like an adventurer who found the underwater city, he opened the treasure chest of memories.
"Christmas never fails to leave me with a horrible aftertaste of the holiday season." His mother had declared in the car as they were driving towards her parents' house, "I mean, grand-ma's going to be there, yay! And she'll have, no doubt, plenty of things to nit-pick at. Remind me what I've done this year that I need to go to confession for?"
"You used God's name in vain forty-eight times around her." His sister reminded her.
"Not to mention all the times you've told her to shut up." He, himself, couldn't fail to remark.
"At least she can't rant on about adultery anymore." His father stopped at a red light and smirked.
Riana, Rinoa's born-twenty-years-later twin, could be heard sighing loudly in the back of the car, "Oh my God, I didn't just hear that."
His mother smiled, "Now, now … I must remind you not to use that kind of language in front of the praetor … she might think I've made identical spawns of myself. And what a crisis that would be. Do yourself a favor, sweetie, don't be like your mother or else she might bring out the holy water."
"Does that stuff sting you, mom?" Riana had asked wickedly.
"Ha-ha … funny, no."
The photographs, with their glossy finish and white borders told the tale of a wonderful Christmas, though it wasn't exactly the case. There were cold arguments and vicious comments that were passed but like always, Rinoa had weathered them with her family by her side. Not to mention that Mikey had grown older and wittier with his sarcastic comebacks.
The four generations of the Caraway family could never really get along. But it had never really bothered Lesanges. What mattered was his immediate family. Second cousins were nothing short of unimportant.
He turned another page and it went from Christmas to him and his sister's spring break.
"Well … it's … rustic." Squall had remarked aloud of the cottage Zell had sent them to for a nice, relaxing vacation. The tin roof of the shack was dented with the weight of a hundred years and mould was growing on the humid wood.
Rinoa clicked her tongue in annoyance and had looked at her husband disapprovingly, "Screw rustic, it's a pile of shit. Admit it." She had spent a good five hours in a car for this? Not likely. It wouldn't suit, that was for sure.
"Mom." Riana gawked, "How do you expect me 'not to use that language' if you openly do it?"
Her mother had turned around to glare, "It's a pile of shit!" She repeated to emphasize her point, "Is there any other way to describe it, Riana?"
"No, but if you're head-editor of a newspaper you could come up with better synonyms!"
"This isn't the place to argue about language." Lesanges had reminded them casually.
"Ok, so the cottage is in not such great shape … let's go take a look at the lake and restore our spirits!" Squall had led his family down towards the shore before a war broke out. "See … it's a really nice view." The girls were not swayed.
He walked out to the dock and plunged his hand into the greenish water, "The temperature's great for swimming!" Squall let his hand linger in, "I mean, come on … it won't be that bad. I bet you the chalet isn't even that bad inside. It may look pretty bad but it looks like it's weathered quite a bit … so we shouldn't worry."
He took out his hand and turned around to smirk at his family, "It's going to be great."
"Dad … your …" Lesanges began but didn't have time to finish.
"OH MY GOD, DADDY, WHAT'S THAT?!"
"SQUALL, YOUR HAND!!!"
A bloodsucker and a few of his friends had latched onto Squall's hand during its dip in the water and his eyes grew wide as he noticed, "SHIT! SHIT! SHIT!" He shook his hand desperately trying to get them off, "ARGH! RINOA HELP!"
"No way!!!" She screamed and took a few steps back.
"Thank you! I love you too, honey!" Squall yelled back angrily and tried to brush off the fiends off his hand. Eventually, he had picked them all off and had tossed them back into the water. The leeches had left suction marks, and some had actually drawn blood.
"Oh, yes! Let's go swimming, Squall! I'll let you do that but I'm afraid I'll sit out on THAT activity!" Rinoa complained while heading back to the cottage, completely without pity for her husband as she was too busy swatting mosquitoes.
"Because yes, I knew there were going to be leeches!" Squall replied defensively, examining his bleeding hand.
"This vacation sounds absolutely wonderful, I must admit it's had a stellar start!"
As they reached the cottage, Squall swung the door open. The poor creaking piece of wood had done it's time and it fell off it's hinges, "Well, now we don't have a door. So we won't have any key problems …"
Rinoa had rolled her eyes and entered the cottage. Riana followed closely behind her mother and Lesanges and Squall brought up the rear. "I hate to point this out now …" Lesanges remarked, "But mom's about to step on a baby raccoon."
Rinoa jumped back eight giant steps and slammed into her daughter. The two tumbled back into Squall who caught them both before they collided in the already sensitive looking walls. "Ok … be calm …" The raccoon bared its teeth and hissed.
"He looks a bit frustrated." Riana squeaked.
"Just … leave it alone for now …" Squall whispered and directed them into another room.
Safely in another place, Lesanges rummaged through cupboards and pantries. The two girls seemed to have enough of 'exploring' for one day so they sat on the stuffed couch in the middle of the room. Suddenly, Lesanges slammed a cupboard door shut and howled in pain, "WASPS!"
It took 5.8 seconds for everyone to have cleared the room. 18.2 seconds later, however, Squall and Rinoa fell through the floor during a heated argument and Riana burst into hysterical tears.
Everyone hoarded back into the car and they spent the remainder of the vacation into a nicer, state-of-the-art, contemporary cottage that Rinoa forced Squall to rent.
Zell was beaten to an inch of his life … by Rinoa.
Lesanges smiled at the picture of the dismantled cottage that he couldn't help taking before they left. It really seemed quite amusing now that he looked back on it. Of course, these events could never be mentioned to his mother or his sister because they still didn't find humor in it.
He had compiled the entire album himself and had taken all the pictures with the exception of one. He had always felt a pang of envy for the one picture Riana had taken.
He had been fiddling around with the focus and zoom and his sister had burst into the room and wrenched the camera out of his hands only to scamper off again. He had followed her to the backyard where she had snapped a picture of Rinoa and Squall cuddled in the hammock, having an afternoon snooze.
"Did you just waste my film on that sickeningly cute sight?" He had scowled.
His sister had smiled, "You know, they make an amazingly adorable couple when they're not at each other's throats."
She had been right. When he developed the picture, he found himself admiring his parents. Maybe that's when he had begun to realize. It had taken him seventeen years to notice that his parents had had a story too. He hoped that his story would be similar to theirs, with all its romance, with all its beauty.
Lesanges heard screaming in the other room and felt obliged to investigate. Squall, Rinoa and Riana were in the kitchen, doing what else? Arguing.
"He is not a worthless bum! You're just being yourself again!" Riana yelled at her father, "He's a really sweet guy when it comes down to the facts, not that you would bother to notice, and he's a hard worker!"
"Do you want me to become a nun!?" His daughter screeched back incredulously.
"I didn't say that but it it's what you want, I won't stop you!"
"IS ANYONE LISTENING TO ME?! I NEED SOMEONE TO GO OUT AND GET ME MILK!" Rinoa hollered a few decibels higher than the feuding father and daughter.
"No! We don't care!" Squall retorted snappishly. His response was a quick slap behind the head from his wife. The look on his face was priceless. But he soon overlooked this transgression and returned to his daughter, "You know what your little boyfriend wants? It's to get in your pants!! That's all!! You'll be taken advantage of!"
Riana remained silent but had this weird triumphant look in her eyes, "So are you trying to tell me you only slept with mom after you guys were married?"
"YES!" Squall snapped, "Because we respected the ten commandments, ok?!"
"I don't buy it." Riana stuck out her tongue defiantly, "I can count, dearest father, and I can tell you that mom got pregnant BEFORE marrying you. So UNLESS there were some not-so-Christian things going around in your relationship, that's not really possible!"
"That doesn't matter, stop straying from the point!" Squall yelled, "Can I have some support from a second party here?"
"No! We don't care!" Rinoa mimicked her husband mockingly, "I think he's a nice boy. Go for it, have fun, enjoy yourself, but be responsible - use a condom."
Riana smirked but Squall's incredulous look traveled between his wife and his youngest child, "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?! RINOA!!"
"Can you please … like … I don't know … SHUT UP!?"
"Uhm … no, I don't think so, jackass."
Lesanges smiled. He wouldn't trade them for all the gold in the world. Nothing was worth so much entertainment.
"Because no one else can stand you."
"I'm NOT hearing this!" Riana clasped her hands to her ears in disbelief but Rinoa didn't seem the least bit fazed.
"If you've forgotten, your secretary is Zell."
"I'll get a new, hot one!"
"Good luck, you'll need it."
"No, see baby, the one who'll need luck is you because I am a saintly man to have withstood this bullshit for so long."
"Mhmm … cry me a river."
This tennis match of doom went back and forth, back and forth until Lesanges interjected, still grinning from ear to ear, "Beautiful life, isn't it?"
Rinoa and Squall answered in chorus, annoyed, "Oh yeah, we're really fortunate to have each other!"
They shot each other a look of pure irritation and Squall drawled sarcastically, "I don't know what I'd do without her."
"I'd be totally helpless without him."
"It's funny how honesty shows through your sarcasm." Riana smirked as the doorbell rang, "That'd be my boyfriend." She shot her father a look of delinquency and strode from the kitchen.
"This is all your fault!" Squall pointed to Rinoa venomously, "You're the culprit!"
"Yes, yes I am."
Lesanges rolled his eyes and followed his sister out of the kitchen, totally exasperated as Squall ranted on, "I hate you!"
"I love you too."
Back in the study, Lesanges closed the album taking one last glance at his parents cuddled in the hammock. He smiled and replaced the album where he had taken it.
It had been their story with all its romance … with all its beauty.
"Do you know of the PAIN your causing me?"
"Lesanges are you going out?" Rinoa hollered from the kitchen.
"Bye!!" Along with the slamming of a door was her answer.
She turned back to her husband and smiled mischievously, "I'll make it worth your while."
A story blessed a thousand times, a story cursed a thousand more … a story written in the sky.
Author's Pointless Rambles: Well, I suppose it was about time I finished this one up, huh? I hope you sort of got a grip on the philosophy I was trying to get across this entire time, even though it is supposed to be humor.
Anyway, I'm really sorry about this crappy finish. I liked the concept of this chapter (the whole 'Snapshots' idea that I borrowed from Alice Seabold in The Lovely Bones) but it seemed I did a nice job of screwing it up. First of all, the jokes weren't funny ... like ... at all to anyone who is above the age of eight so I MUST apologize for my atrocious sense of humor.
Next, it just plain out SUCKED literary-wise. Holy shit, I'm really sorry about this guys. I know I didn't do it justice but I'm asking you to forgive me because ... well, at least I finished it, right? Frankly, I wasn't planning to ... at all.
So ... please review (I know I don't deserve it but cut me some slack). And if you still think I have some sort of hope, check out my latest piece of 'art'. It's called Devil's Playground, most of you have read it but anyway ... thanks alot for your support.