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Nothing is happening at the DeMarr house – they’ve become quite boring lately.

Sebastien invited Rene and his family over. Claire was delighted to see her grandchildren.

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Claire found Felicienne delightfully talkative.

The cousins, Laurent and Renaud, chatted and played.

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Sebastien’s sister, Chantal, was also visiting.

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Rene still seems to look up to Xavier.

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Marielle doesn’t seem to like her brother- and sister-in-law.

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She seems to think that Xavier is a negative influence. She likes her husband to be serious and successful, not mucking about having mindless fun.

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Her brother-in-law is unemployed and irresponsible she thinks.

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What a killjoy.

Felicienne (much to Marielle’s disgust if she knew) was having the time of her life.

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And Chantal was getting to know her great nephew Renaud better.

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It was a pretty successful family reunion.

Meanwhile Cezanne had arrived at uni.

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The only suitable thing she could find to wear was a black dress – not quite what she wanted.

She met what she thought was a cool townie who seemed to have similar interests.

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Ilse still had problems with her in-laws spending lots of time with her son.

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When she finally got some time alone with him, she wasn’t sure what to do.

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But some innate instinct kicked in.

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However, he had grown quickly and his birthday came around too soon.

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Xavier proclaimed his continual love for Ilse in the hope he could persuade her to now have another child.

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Ilse was not interested.

Sebastien and Claire are still very much in love, still going strong.

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Sebastien’s very distant cousin, the icon, Robert Champignon, had died at the age of 72. Sebastien visited the family with his condolences.

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Elene was still popular. In fact she was big on campus.

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One student was particularly interested, Shane Noir. But he would have to act quickly.

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So he took the plunge.

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She didn’t resist. In fact she enjoyed it. During the rest of their time at university, he got closer and closer to her and eventually popped the question.  She accepted.

They returned to Veronaville and moved into an apartment where they had the wedding.

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It was a small affair with no fuss at all (not even any chairs for the guests in the tiny backyard. (Check out that road!)

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But inside was bigger and everyone had a great time.

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Back home, Sebastien held a dancing competition.

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He announced Claire as the winner. I think he was biased.

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Xavier had now written four best-selling novels. Claire and Sebastien read them. The latest, The Road to Hell, was a bit grim for Claire’s liking.

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Sebastien is now 70 but shows no sign of giving up music.

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Not a great deal happening in the main household of the Champignon family, but more than the DeMarr family who miss an update for lack of anything significant to report.

Xavier sold another blockbuster.

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Sebastien and Claire were still spontaneously engaging in random acts of love.

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The second eldest daughter, Cherie, married Muhammed, the son of an Arab businessman, in a small ceremony at the back of their apartment in Bluewater. Claire and Sebastien attended only.  Muhammed didn’t much care for his father and his mother had died.

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Cherie was now Mrs Diwan.

Claire also attended the wedding of Mayor McCullough’s daughter, Penelope, to Sam Champagne.

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Sadly, the eldest daughter, René’s twin sister, Colette, (who had been sent off to the poorhouse years ago) died in the small downtown house she shared with her elderly husband.  She had married him for money when he suggested he had some, but found that he was just as poor as she.

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For Sebastien it was not unexpected. René had been saved so another child had to be sacrificed in the latest round of culls.  He hoped there would be no more.

As for Elene, she was now at university and had grown into a very attractive woman. She attracted a lot of attention from the male students, including Kiran DeMarr.

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She didn’t seem particularly interested in any of them. She was lusted after even by the groom of a wedding she attended (as well as by Richard Lillard at his recent wedding).

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She will break a lot of hearts.

Everyone enjoyed having a baby in the house.

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Cezanne had her birthday, growing to a teenager.

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I think her dress style is influenced by her sister-in-law.

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She helped out with her little nephew.

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Renaud grew quickly and it was soon his birthday.

Before his birthday, Cezanne decided to have a makeover.  She didn’t want to continue being invisible and also didn’t want to be just another blonde member of the famous Champignon family, so she dyed her hair and went for a more goth look to go with the clothing.

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A dark member of the blond branch of the Champignons!

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If Cezanne thought she would be more noticeable to her family, it didn’t really work.

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And really, did her old parents have to keep carrying on like that and in their underwear?

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Ilse often felt a bit left out. Ok, she wasn’t into babies, but Renaud was her son and he was often being looked after by his grandparents. She felt like she wasn’t getting a look in.

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It rankled.  She thought about it a lot.

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She finally got up the courage to confront her mother-in-law about it.

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but just as Ilse was about to say something, Renaud woke up and Claire was there first.

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At this rate the boy wouldn’t know who his mother was.  Maybe she’d just mention it to Xavier. He could talk to his mother…

I hadn’t mentioned that Ilse got pregnant. It seemed a good time to try for a baby as Ilse hadn’t yet found a job.

Ilse gave birth and everyone was delighted that it was a boy. That suited Ilse too, as she’s not really into babies and would be glad if she didn’t have to have another one.

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The boy, named Renaud, was passed around.  First grandma,

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then grandad,

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and finally Xavier got to hold his son.

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The boy has his mother’s dark features.

The couple were pleased.

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Sebastien decided to have a party – to celebrate the arrival of his new grandson and the successful resurrection of René.

Everyone was extremely glad to see René alive and well.

Mostly the family were invited over including Cherie and Elene (still at boarding school).

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Elene being cheeky to her aunt Chantal

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Her mother gives her a bit of a talking to

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Cherie enjoys a laugh. She will soon be married.

Chantal notices that the stairs have been moved to the corner.

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Sebastien and Claire still very much in love.

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Cezanne gets ignored as usual.

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Her brother’s old enough to be her dad, she thought.

Xavier and Ilse watched a movie after the guests left.

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René still hadn’t found an opening in the medical career.  It worried him, especially as Marielle had had a baby girl, called Merivienne. Marielle told him not to worry but now she was pregnant again.

René checked for jobs every morning but there was still nothing.  He tried to take joy from small things such as a warm fire on a cold autumn afternoon.  He made the fateful decision of lighting the fire in the lounge, then going to the bedroom for a nap.

Unfortunately, the lounge room caught fire, unbeknownst to the sleeping René and to Marielle, upstairs with baby Merivienne.

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It had really caught hold when René woke to the smell of smoke, but was unable to call the fire brigade. Some idiot had put the phone behind the stereo and he couldn’t reach it.  He tried, therefore, to put the fire out himself, but then he caught fire.

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Marielle heard the commotion and came down running.  She saw René in trouble and tried, desperately to extinguish the flames that engulfed him.

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But it was in vain.  He perished. Marielle had no time to mourn him as she fought the remaining flames.

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Then the shock set in and she was grief-stricken. Her grief brought labour on early, and she gave birth to twins, Laurent and Felicienne.

The family were devastated. Claire saw Sebastien break down in tears after a phone call and he broke the news that René was dead. Then Xavier heard the crying and came in upon his inconsolable parents. Xavier, too, was distressed. René had always been a nice person, liked by all.  It seemed unfair that of all the Champignon children, René should be the one to die young.

“Can we bring him back?” asked Claire. Sebastien dried his eyes and thought about it. Only the DeMarr family had the power to do so, as they knew all too well. Generations ago, one of the family had been brought back to life as a zombie, to serve as a servant to the DeMarrs.  “I don’t know” Sebastien wavered.

“I’ll go.” Xavier offered.  He knew Viran DeMarr and could ask the huge favour.  Viran’s grandmother had been a Champignon (although the marriage didn’t last).  Surely, they could help?

Xavier visited the DeMarr house during the day, knowing the vampires would be asleep.  Viran could see his friend was distressed and heard the sad tale.  “I’ll ask my father” he said, but could promise nothing.

The family endured days of waiting before Viran got back to Xavier. He told Xavier that his father didn’t know René and so could not bring him back.  Viran, himself, was not friendly enough with René to be able to request his resurrection from the grim reaper.  Vlad would not let anyone else make the request.  It was devastating news.  Sebastien said they had to help Marielle out with the children if nothing else could be done.

Then Viran called them back to say that his great uncle Radu had also had a phone – the resurrect-o-nomitron.  His widow (still alive) might still have it.  Unfortunately, she had no idea who Viran was, so Viran asked his uncle Radimir to visit her.

Radimir agreed.  He wanted that phone for himself anyway.  He called on Merisha and she agreed to give him the phone.  She had no need of it, happy to be a white witch with her two cats.

The original plan had been for Radimir to give the phone to Viran to pass to the Champignon family, but Radimir knew René and had the ability to resurrect him.  At first he’d wanted to bring René back as a zombie, but the rock god offered him a lot of money to give the grim reaper the maximum amount to bring René back.  Radimir did so.  He wasn’t rich and had a family to support.

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René seemed his old self.  He had memories of his family and had the same desire to be in the medical career.  Radimir let him stay for a few days to check he was ok. During that time, René finally found a job in the medical career.

The family were overjoyed.  Sebastien had been so fearful of never seeing his son again, and had felt anguish for the beautiful young widow and young children.  It had been tragic for her.

René moved back home to Marielle and his children.  Merivienne was now a toddler and René had never met the twins before.  However, he didn’t seem to know his wife at all.  He was attracted to her but didn’t acknowledge her as the mother of his children.

Marielle was saddened but patient.  She encouraged his flirting and returned as much as he was able to accept.  It was a difficult period of wooing, due to the constant demands of the children, who needed feeding and clean nappies.

Finally, with much relief, and a hint of amusement, Marielle accepted René‘s second proposal of marriage.

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They exchanged rings in the snow just before René had to dash off to work.

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Marielle was happy.  Her husband was back, he had the job he wanted, and she had the three children she had wanted.  She made sure the phone was accessible and that fire alarms were installed.  She wanted to grow old with him and not risk losing her love again.

Cezanne was feeling a little lonely.  It was winter and there was no-one to play with inside.

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She overheard her mother say that Cherie had just got engaged. How boring. Cherie wouldn’t play with her anymore.

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Cherie accepts a proposal

But the house didn’t feel so big and empty for long.  Xavier and Ilse finally moved in.  Ilse had an idea about a conservatory being built on the side of the house that wasn’t being used much.  Sebastien thought it a good idea and had it done.  It wasn’t quite as Ilse had imagined it, being a little small, but it was a start.

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Sebastien suggested some careers for the seemingly lazy Xavier, who still hadn’t bothered to get a job.

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Xavier wasn’t interested. He argued that he did enough to earn money.  He had sold two bestsellers and was an accomplished artist.  He didn’t have to “get a job”.

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Ilse was now a good enough musician to join in the family jam sessions.  She felt a little overawed playing with a rock god, but Sebastien made her feel relaxed.  (There’s still a tendency to wear undies a lot.)

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Marielle visited.  Her new sister-in-law, thought Ilse. She felt a little self-conscious. Marielle was of the right ‘breeding’ and was just so beautiful.

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Ilse was relieved when Xavier walked in and smiled at her, but she still worried that she wasn’t good enough for him.

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Sebastien spent less time worrying about things.  Claire was happy, Cezanne was growing fast and Xavier and Ilse had fitted in fine.  Life seemed good.

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René had returned to Veronaville from university, along with Marielle, and had enough money to buy a fairly sizeable three-bedroomed house down the road from his parents.  The wedding took place at the new house.

It ended up being an evening wedding.

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There was some confusion as there wasn’t enough seating.

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Xavier was finally formally introduced to René‘s new wife.

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He approved.  His little bro had done well.

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Everyone had a good time, congregating in the bathroom as usual.

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Meanwhile, over at the house of icon, Robert, his son, Patric, did not like the way his mother treated his new wife, Velaria, and told her so.

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Kalya was feeling depressed in any case.  She did not think she had aged beautifully and had overheard someone at a party refer to her as gruesome.  She decided to go in for some plastic surgery.

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It did not go well.

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She had it done again and some improvements were made but she still wasn’t happy.  She looked a lot uglier than originally (no pic of the “improved” version, sorry).

Finally, she found a surgeon whose skills were superior but she still looked a little “plasticky”.  Robert had had enough of the constant operations on her face.

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Even though she now looked better, his reputation as an icon was affected.  He told her to leave.

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Chantal consoled Robert,

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but it got her thinking about her own looks. She couldn’t pretend she was young any longer.  She had a makeover which softened her face and was more age-appropriate.

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She practised her lying skills and found she wasn’t as an accomplished liar as she’d thought.

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Andy put up with her flirting.  He still loved her and loved her new look.

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University passed quickly for René.  It was time for him to graduate and he had a party, inviting family: parents, Xavier, and Cherie.

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René introduced his fiancée to his parents.  First Sebastien…

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then Claire.

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He was very proud of Marielle.

Cherie was pretty used to seeing public displays of affection (from her parents).

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Sebastien was happy to see that his kids still got on.

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René‘s friend, Vince, talked to Xavier about moving out – whether his own or Xavier’s back home, I don’t remember.

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The party was a success and René left for Veronaville.

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His friends, Vince and Patric, had graduated, and left also, although they hadn’t had a party.

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Patric, waved goodbye by his fiancee, Hannah

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Vince, perhaps angry that his fiancee, Pippa, hadn’t come to see him off

Marielle joined René a year later after she graduated and they met at the bank, cashing in combined assets in order to buy a house.

Patric’s father, Robert Champignon, was beginning to play around.

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Robert and Chantal, Sebastien’s twin sister

Claire was having none of it when he came on to her.

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Sebastien and Claire had some time in the spa pool and got stuck.  The god had to move them out.

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Finally, it was time for Cherie to head off to university.  Her kid sister (in the background) is the only one left of six kids.

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