Just posting this to let you all know that I’m still here and that this story isn’t discontinued or anything like that. But it likely won’t be updated until October, because I’m working on Tumblr stories and some personal life projects that should keep me somewhat busy till that time.
Congratulations! You’ve been nominated for a totally legit award. Get a gold star and stick it on your forehead like a boss.
2. Share FIVE of your favourite moments from your legacy/challenge/story so far.
3. Nominate 3-5 blogs to do the same
The moment Simon and Celeste became a couple!
And, likewise, when he proposed to her, starting their family.
When Irene met David for the first time at the bar, following her discovery of her boyfriend’s cheating.
When they finally became a couple, after everything that happened in Twinbrook!
When they all became a big happy family of four!
And this was kind of hard to pick, because I have many favorite moments from this story. None for Gen 3 yet, because we’re only 3 chapters in, but soon, soon.
My nominations are:
Twinsimskeletons for SOL
Legendofsim for A Graying World
Stormy for The Life and Times of the Willows
I needed to cool down. That was it. Rashida and I both just needed to cool down. Maybe some space would do us good?
The library was usually empty at this time of day, since most of the school was still in class and those who, like me, had an empty period chose to spend it outside rather than surrounding themselves with more books. So, this seemed like a good place to get some quiet alone time and to think how my day turned out.
On the one hand, everything that came up in our fight was a valid point. I did have an issue with Rashida requiring constant contact with me, to the point of wanting to permanently shut my phone off at times. I did have a problem with her clinginess. And I knew I had to bring these things up at some point.
Of course, I didn’t know she had jealousy issues too. That certainly put things in perspective. But who knew, maybe this fight would make her see things my way at least a little bit? I could only hope.
Because I didn’t really want to break up. Not like this, at least.
All of this was giving me a headache. I began to wonder if my parents would mind if I decided to just call it a day and go home to take a nap. It would be more productive that staying in school and sulking.
Before I could make up my mind, the library door opened to let in the last person I wanted to see today: Morgan. And of course, I was sitting just where she could see me and I had no time to hide. Perfect.
“Phoenix?” she seemed surprised to see me. “Hey, what’s up? No offense, but you look like someone just forced you to drink unsweetened lemon juice. Are you ok?”
“Peachy,” I mumbled. “Just peachy.”
“If you say so,” she shrugged. “Although, if you’re ill, the nurse’s office is just downstairs.”
“Thanks for the concern,” I sighed. “I’m not sick though. Just had a bad day, that’s all.”
“Oh,” she nodded understandingly and sat down next to me. “Well, that happens. Usually, I just eat something sweet to cheer myself up on days like these. I have some candy, would you like it?”
“No, thanks,” I refused. “I was just thinking of going home and taking a nap, actually.”
“That works too,” she laughed. “What happened though? If it’s not a secret, that is.”
I wasn’t sure if telling her about my relationship problems was such a good idea. After all, I was pretty sure Rashida wouldn’t appreciate me discussing our private issues with another girl. But then again, she also threw a jealousy fit over someone who was practically family… and honestly, I needed to vent.
“My girlfriend and I got into a fight. She and I haven’t been seeing eye-to-eye on some things, and we both kind of exploded at one another. I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to do now. Any advice?” I spilled the beans.
“Well, if you haven’t been agreeing on something for a long time, and all this crap kind of bottled up, it’s no wonder you two had a fight,” she explained as a matter of fact. “Sorry if I sound blunt, but anyone would tell you this.”
“No, you’re right. My sister told me something similar, actually. I just don’t know how to fix this situation without getting angry again and making everything worse,” I admitted.
“Well, I would suggest not doing anything just yet. If you’re angry, she probably is too. Give it a break, think everything over, and then talk to her. If a guy tried to make up with me immediately after a fight, I’d probably snap at him again,” she admitted.
“Thanks, for the advice,” I nodded. “I think I will go home after all, then. I don’t feel like staying at school at the moment.”
“Wait, don’t leave just yet,” she got a wicked grin on her face. “I know what can cheer you up right now. Come on!”
She jumped up, leading be down the hall, all the way to one of the teacher lounges. Students were usually not supposed to be here and it felt like we were breaking the law.
“Don’t worry,” she noticed my reticence. “No one’s going to be here until the end of this class, at least. And there is ice cream.”
“But it’s the teachers’ ice cream!” I whispered, looking around for any teacher that might show up.
“Nah, it was supposed to be for the students before Mr. Elms got a stick up his ass and decided to cancel the pre-exam party. There’s plenty of it – they won’t notice a couple of missing cans. And you need the sugar rush.”
There was no arguing with her on this. And the ice cream was delicious.
“So, do you do this often? Sneak around student lounges and go through their fridges?” I teased. She was right, the ice cream did do me a lot of good – my headache was already almost gone.
“Well, I’m usually assisting at the main office during this time, but everyone there is on some conference, so I basically have a free period too for today,” she laughed. “You wouldn’t believe how much gossip you end up hearing when you spend enough time around faculty.”
“Like what?” I was curious.
“Well, I know for a fact that there are at least two secret teacher couples,” she snorted. “Then, one teacher actually hired a PI to trail his girlfriend who he thinks is cheating on him, and another female teacher is trying to secretly get pregnant from her boyfriend. Also, it’s a good thing that none of these people are spies, since they are all really bad at hiding their secrets. I won’t name anyone though, but you’ll probably figure out all of them now by yourself.”
“This is better than a soap opera,” I leaned back in my chair. It was nice not thinking about my own problems for a change.
“Sure is,” she agreed, glancing at the clock. “Well, I think class is almost over and if you want to get out of school for today, you should be going now.”
“Thanks for the reminder,” I got up to leave before the halls were full of people. “And thanks for the ice cream.”
“No problem,” she waved away. “Oh, by the way – if you want to have some fun outside of school tonight – come to the Chill Out around 8 today.”
“The Chill Out? Isn’t that place 18+ only?” I asked stumped. The nightclub was where all the cool college kids went. Certainly they won’t let high-schoolers in.
“It’s supposed to be. But the bouncers are chill, as long as you don’t cause trouble on the dance floor. They’ve let me in plenty of times before,” she admitted.
“Oh,” I was about to say no. It wasn’t a good idea. Just me and her on the dance floor? A recipe for disaster.
“There are going to be others from school. Always are.” she informed me. “Like I said, the bouncer is totally chill.”
“You know what? I’ll be there,” I agreed. It was a while since I’ve had any fun and school was tiring enough without all of my relationship issues. I needed a break. And I wanted to check out the nightclub – after all, what was the point of all those age restrictions anyways?
“Alright then, 8 pm it is!” she reminded me, already heading out.
My parents were still at work when I came home, so they couldn’t complain about me ditching school. And it wasn’t like I skipped classes often. This was only the second time in my entire school career – they had no reason to worry.
After sending the babysitter on her way, I ended up spending hours with Felicity. She was always such a cheerful little girl – my baby sister never failed to put a smile on my face. These days, I really regretted being so negative about Mom’s late pregnancy. Who knew, maybe Felicity and I would be just as close as Millie and I always were?
When the time came, I got out my more stylish clothes. From what I’ve heard, the night club had some sort of a dress code and I had no intention of getting turned away at the door.
My parents didn’t question where I was going – they didn’t need to. Usually, whenever I left the house, I was going either to one of my friends’ house or on a date with Rashida. And no one in my circle ever expressed the wish to go clubbing. This was definitely a new thing for me.
The music in the club was already pumping when I got there. And there was the bouncer at the door. I felt hesitant. Maybe Morgan was wrong and the bouncer wasn’t as chill as she thought? After all, plenty of times, places like these would let in attractive girls to make the male customers have more of an incentive to go in. For all I knew, this lady was going to call the cops on me?
“There you are!” Morgan appeared behind me, clad in a tight revealing dress that showed off her legs. “Almost thought you’d change your mind!”
“Not a chance,” I shook my head.
“Let’s go, then, don’t worry, there are plenty of others inside already. We won’t even come close to standing out,” she pulled me towards the club door, where, just as she predicted, the bouncer didn’t even bat an eyelash at us.
Inside, the music was deafeningly loud, with the boomboxes blasting high-energy songs with the beats that were just right and I felt myself wanting to dance, to release all the negativity of the last few months out of me.
And Morgan wasn’t kidding when she said we won’t be the only underage ones here – I was pretty sure I recognized some familiar faces from school. I understood them though — we were all just here to have a good time. So we kept on dancing.
Some were better at it than others. I like to think I have pretty good moves, but honestly, I had nothing on Morgan. I had no idea if she took dance lessons outside of school or if she just frequented clubs like these often, but she never missed a beat and her moves were always on point. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught several other guys at the club give her wistful glances. I didn’t blame them, I felt the same way.
Some part of me felt guilty. This was the exact opposite of resolving my relationship issues. Yeah, there were others here, but it was clear Morgan and I were here “together”. Even if it was just a friendly outing, I was still breaking my promise to myself to avoid her company.
“Hey, come on, dance!” she pulled me back to the dance floor, noticing my momentary spacing out. “Aren’t you having fun at all?”
“I am,” I shouted over the music. It was true. Despite the guilty feelings, this was the most fun I’ve had in a long while. “Thanks for inviting me here!”
“No problem!” she smiled, continuing to dance. I tried to keep up. I wasn’t planning to make going to nightclubs a regular activity, so I decided to take maximum advantage of this outing.
My thoughts drifted to Rashida again. I imagined taking her to a place like these. Instantly, I could picture her getting irked at the other girls looking at me, even if they did so by complete accident. I could see her either trying to compete with everyone else on the dance floor or trying to drag us out of here.
She wasn’t here tonight though, which made me feel a strange sense of… relief? Yes, that was it. Her absence was making me feel lighter than I’ve felt in months…
And right there on that dance floor, with the music still blaring loud, I knew it. My relationship was over. I just didn’t have it in me to fix it, because most of all, that required wanting to stay with the person I was in a relationship with. And the idea of staying with Rashida any longer, of dealing with her possessiveness made me want to scream. It would hurt, yes, but I would have to talk to her and end things for real.
And really, this was a long time coming.
As the music changed from the fast paced dance tune to a slower number, I also knew I didn’t just want to be friends with Morgan. I was having a good time with her, I was attracted to her, and I knew she didn’t just invite me out here tonight for me to relax – she’s was interested in me. Instinctively, we moved closer to one another until we were slow-dancing with one another.
“Phoenix?” she whispered. “Do you want to sit this one out? Your girlfriend-“
“No, I think I want to dance with you,” I looked her in the eyes.
“Alright,” she whispered back, grinning.
– Clara! What the hell are you doing here? Mom and Dad think you’re studying at your friend’s house!
– You should be glad I’m here tonight. Go in. Take a look at what’s going on in there.
– Just go see for yourself. And don’t shoot the messenger afterwards.
And so we danced together, with my hands on her hips and her arms pulling me closer and closer, to the point of our lips nearly touching, until this bliss was interrupted by the last person I wanted to be here.
“Phoenix?! Well, asshole, I see you’re making great use of our break,” Rashida screamed at me. It seemed like she came out of nowhere and she looked furious.
“Rashida? What are you doing here?” I pulled away from Morgan, who was looking on all of this with an uncomfortable expression.
“Me?! I’m not the one making out with someone else! Here I was, thinking you actually wanted to fix our relationship, but it looks like you’ve already moved on with her, you bastard!” she spit out bitterly. “Consider our break permanent.”
“Ok,” was the only thing I managed to get out before she stormed out of the club. This was not how I wanted to end things, but the chances of her being in this club by pure coincidence tonight were so minimal that she must’ve been trailing me. And that would’ve been the final nail in the coffin of whatever was between us, even if I didn’t decide to break up already.
She could think I was the worst person in the world, but if that meant our relationship was over, then so be it.
“Um, I’m really sorry about this,” Morgan mumbled, looking down at her feet. “I didn’t know your girlfriend would be here. Damn, I didn’t mean for you to get broken up with…”
“Don’t be,” I shrugged. “I was planning to break up with her tomorrow anyways. She just beat me to it.”
“Still,” she bit her lip, “This did not go well.”
“It happened,” I stated. “It’s probably for the best, though. Because there’s something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time.”
“What?” Morgan cocked her head to one side.
“This,” I admitted before pulling her into a passionate kiss. To my delight, she responded just as eagerly.
As we pulled away, she had a huge smile on her face. “I’m so glad I’m not the only one who felt that way,” she purred. “Is this why you’ve been avoiding me lately?”
“Pretty much, yeah. Are you angry?” I asked.
“I’ll forgive you after another kiss,” she smiled.
Before I could deliver, I felt someone’s strong hands grab me from behind and pull me away from Morgan.
“That’s it, young man, you are grounded for at least a month!” Dad growled as he dragged me out of the club.
All I could do was mouth “I’ll see you in school,” at Morgan before we left the building.
And despite being grounded, I couldn’t help but grin the entire ride home, to the increased discontent of my parents.
Moddish Kitten Also hair
WickedSims Also hair.
BuckleySims Also hair.
Narukiisims Also, decor.
Simplex Sims Lots of teen and elder clothing
Peacemaker-Ic Good male clothes
Also, I use a lot of my own poses, lots, and art, which is available for download at my Simblr.
So, in the past week I’ve been nominated for this by several lovely people: Rosemary Marie who writes Noble Doubt, Raymondsanti of Set Apart, Kate from The Loewe Legacy, and Fluffymao of The Mayfields.
–Say thank you to the person who has nominated you for the award.
– Answer the 11 questions the person has asked you.
– Nominate people (comment on their blog to let them know).
– Ask the people you have nominated 11 questions
Rosemary Marie’s questions:
- If you had to be named after a city, state, country, etc., which one would you want it to be?
Not sure if it counts, but Athena after Athens, which is already named after the goddess of wisdom.
- Do you have anyone you go to for advice? Online or in person?
- What is your perfect pizza?
I actually like the pineapple and ham pizza! Although, the all-veggie one would be nice too.
- What was your first thought when you woke up this morning?
“More freaking scam callers! Argh!!!” No, but really, those jerks have been calling me non-stop for weeks now, and every time, from a different number. I really don’t know how they even got my number in the first place.
- What is the last movie you saw and what did you think of it?
In theaters, La La Land and it was really good. On TV, I watched Blazing Saddles and Mel Brooks never disappoints.
- If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?
A lot. I’d be more social, I’d do my best to try harder in school, take advantage of more opportunities. All that stuff.
- What was your favorite toy as a kid?
A stuffed cat!
- What is the last thing you bought?
An iced coffee drink at the nearby coffee shop.
- Have you ever heard of Euchre, Dutch Blitz or Farkle and do you know how to play?
I know they’re card games, but I don’t think I’ve ever played them.
- How old were you when you last went trick or treating?
Literally never. I’ve never really lived in neighborhoods where a lot of trick or treating went on and there weren’t many kids in our buildings.
- If you could travel in time, would you go to the past or to the future and why?
Depends. Is the future better or worse than the past? But really, provided I could come back to my real time, I’d like to see what the future is like.
Questions from Raymondsanti:
- What is your favorite season?
Winter or early spring. I prefer colder weather.
- Do you have a favorite childhood memory? What is it?
Watching the fireworks on City Day. Everyone would get so excited!
- Do you prefer to write by hand or on a computer?
I’m ok with either, but it’s easier to just type things up from the start, mostly because my handwriting is awful.
- How prepared are you for the zombie apocalypse?
Not prepared at all. And I’m in the highly populated California, so I’m screwed if it ever happens.
- Which character was the hardest for you to kill off?
I haven’t really been in that spot yet. Although, originally, Celeste was supposed to die pretty early on in the legacy, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
- What is something you hope to achieve?
Writing something good that makes me famous? Hopefully.
- Paperback or hardback?
Paperback. I prefer to be able to carry my reads around without my bag feeling like a brick. And the paperbacks are cheaper.
- What is something you really want to learn?
Driving? I still need to get my license. I know, I’m way behind on this.
- If you could change one thing about yourself right now, what would it be?
I wish I were more driven.
- Will you post a picture of your favorite animal here?
I really need to get me one of these.
Questions from Kate:
- What was your most memorable dream or nightmare?
Something dark grabbing me in my own home when I was a kid. I was terrified for months if not years afterwards.
- When you were a kid what silly thing were you deathly afraid of?
So many things… Horses, moths, ghosts…
- What is your biggest fear now?
Spiders and bad things happening in the world.
- If you could instantly know how to speak another language, what language would you choose to know?
Armenian. It should’ve been my native language, but I only know a few words and it’s pretty difficult to learn.
- When does time pass the fastest for you and when does it pass the slowest?
Fastest, when I do something I love, like reading, gaming. Slowest, when I’m at work.
- What was the strangest gift you’ve ever received?
A manicure kit when I was 13, but it was pretty useful and I literally used the nail buffer that came with it till I was 22.
- What weird smell do you really enjoy?
- If you could talk to animals, which animal would you talk to and what would you ask?
Birds probably. They fly around and see a lot, I’d ask them what cool things they’ve seen lately.
- Would you rather live in the wilderness far from civilization or live on the streets of a city as a homeless person?
I’d rather not be homeless! But in the city, it’d probably be easier to find shelter.
- If you could know the absolute and total truth to one question, what question would you ask?
That’s a tough one. What happens after we die? Probably that.
- Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?
Hopefully, employed with a good steady job and hopefully in a relationship with someone I’m compatible with. Maybe, I’ll have a kid by then? Who knows?
Questions from Fluffymao:
- What’s your favorite beverage?
Tea in all forms.
- Do you write characters that share your viewpoints or clash? In-between?
Both. Although, it is often difficult to get into the minds of those who differ a lot from me.
- One word: ALIENS! What do you think?
Most likely real. Too many weird sightings to explain them all away as something from Earth. That’s cool though. It would be sad if we were the only ones in the universe.
- To you, what is the best sounding word? What about the worst?
“Serenity” is a beautiful word. And the meaning is nice too. As for words I don’t like, it’s a pet peeve for me when people use “smol” or “tol” for “small” and “tall” I mean, that does not sound cute. It sounds like they can’t spell at kindergarten level.
- Put your rebel cap on. What’s the worst thing you’ve done that you’ve gotten a thrill out of?
I’m boring. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever done something “bad” or “illegal” for a thrill. But then again, I’m the person who used to read during recess. Well, except reading on the third floor of the school when students weren’t supposed to be there?
- You’ve had your fun, but now the psychic police are coming! What do you do?!
That did happen actually – we had one asshole teacher who would give me grief about reading on the third floor. I mean, how awful, someone is reading! Call the police! Seriously, he had a stick up his ass. I guess, usually I’d just move to a different part of the building.
- Do you know your personality type? If so, care to share?
Nope. I don’t know it and I’ve never bothered taking the test. I know my answers would change on a daily basis, so what’s the point?
- Blue. Red. Green. What’s the first thing you think of?
Probably some kids toy. Many of those are in those colors.
- What was/is your most hated school subject? Why?
Math. Especially trigonometry and everything related to it. I could not understand it properly.
- You’ve got to leave to someplace faraway for some reason or another. You’ve got 10 minutes to pack one bag. What do you take?
My documents, some clothes that I can carry with me, and as much money as possible!
- You’re about to die and need to pass on some grain of knowledge for future generations. What do you say?
Treat all the people you meet with respect, regardless of where they come from in life. Also, don’t let hatred dictate how you see the world and how you treat others.
My nominees are:
Matthews Random Legacy by Futurexcarrie
A Graying World by Legendofsim
The Danevbie Legacy by sErindeppitty
Bring Me Back to Life by Dandylion240
The Fey of Life by RipuAncestor
The Kingston Legacy by Lila Remonn
The Rose Legacy by Photosimthesis
Future of the Fae by Ryan795
Different Winters by Lilyshadowriter
My Questions for You! But if you’ve already done a Liebster post, feel free to ignore them!
- What’s the last song you’ve listened to?
- Are you an early bird or a night owl?
- Name three of your favorite books?
- How old were you when you had your first crush?
- Every single person you’ve ever had a crush on shows up at your place one day. What do you do?
- Craziest situation that ever happened to you?
- If you could change one thing about the world right now, what would it be?
- What is your favorite thing to do after a stressful day?
- What is your favorite saying?
- What was the best meal you’ve ever had?
- You’ve won an all-expenses-paid trip for a week for any place in the world. Where would you go?
Warning: PG-13 for some NSFW in the first part of the chapter. Also, don’t read if you aren’t comfortable with topics of infertility. Also, kind of long (5k+ words).
Following David’s proposal, we’ve decided not to put things off for too long and to have a small ceremony with only our family and friends present. Luckily, the lodge where Gerald and Katy got married was able to squeeze us in within the next two months, and we were able to marry in record time.
My parents were incredulous – in the course of one year, both of their babies were getting hitched! They and Gerald wished us both the best of luck in becoming a family. The girls at work just chuckled when David and I announced our engagement – apparently they were both expecting it for a while now.
So, one evening very soon, the two of us said our vows, exchanged rings, and became a family. I was officially Mrs. Meadows-Collier, and David was my lawful wedded husband.
As the wedding party went on, with all of our friends and family mingling, we both found ourselves needing some space from the group and found an opportunity to sneak away to a more private area of the venue.
“So, Mrs. Meadows-Collier, how does it feel to be a married woman?” David asked with an easy smile.
“Depends. How does it feel to be a married man, Mr. Collier?” I joked back.
“Right. It feels right. Did I ever tell you how amazing you look in that dress?” he asked, pulling me close.
“You can really work a tux too, love,” I responded, leaning into him.
“I love you, Irene,” he whispered before kissing me fervently. Pulling away, he asked, “Hey, do you think anyone will notice if we sneak away right this instant?”
Looking back at our guests, I shook my head. “I doubt it. There’s cake and an open bar – the best distractions known to humanity. Let’s go?”
The drive back to David’s, or rather our, house was as quick as could be. Before I could open the door, David stopped me.
“Wait, let’s do this the right way,” he explained, before picking me up and carrying me over the threshold.
“But we already live together!” I laughed. It was true, the week before our wedding, I have officially moved in with him, which was mostly a practicality, since I was already here most of the time.
“Doesn’t matter. I’m still carrying my wife over the threshold on her first arrival here in that status,” he chuckled. “So, what are you thinking off?”
“The same thing you are thinking off, I’m sure. I mean, I like the tux but…” I teased.
“Oh yes. Your dress needs to go as well,” he agreed.
Neither of us needed any more prompting.
It was strange, really. I kept hearing about all these couples who felt less attraction to one another after being together for a year, but in our case it was quite the opposite. I never got tired of seeing David in bed next to me and judging by his behavior, he felt the same way about me.
After we got all the yearning out of our system, he and I fell back exhausted but happy.
“So. We’re really married, huh,” he whispered.
“Yeah… You know it’s funny, but before I met you, I never imagined myself getting married,” I admitted.
“Really? Why not?” he asked softly, nuzzling my arm with his lips.
“I don’t know. It just seemed like such a serious strange thing to do.”
“What about now?” he laughed softly, caressing me.
“Do you really need to ask?” I responded, trying to ignore his eyelashes tickling me.
“I guess not,” he chuckled. “I’ve always wanted to marry, to have a family. It’s probably strange considering my own family background, but the more aloof things were at home, the more I’ve wanted a family of my own. A real family, where the husband and wife feel strong affection for one another and go out of their way to make each other and their kids feel loved. That kind of thing.”
“I want that too. Mom and Dad were like that, always. Still are. I think they made me set really high standards for family love. Speaking of family, do you want kids?” I asked. Ever since David proposed, I’ve been thinking non-stop about what it would be like to have a child together. Or two. Or three.
“I do. Do you?” he raised his head.
“Yes! At least two!” I laughed.
“I’d like that,” he smiled. “When do you think we should start trying?”
“We are already married. Why not now?” I offered. Once again, David didn’t need to be asked twice.
As we fell asleep close to one another, he pulled me close and whispered “I still can’t believe we’re finally a family. Sweet dreams, love.”
I was as happy as anyone could be.
Waking up next to Irene each morning was the best part of being married. Every time, I would be reminded that this wasn’t some wishful dream, but reality. For the first time in my life, it felt as if life was absolutely perfect. We were still absolutely swamped with work at the company, but that was nothing when you had the love of your life by your side.
I never expected that the upset drunken girl I met at the bar almost three years ago would become the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my days with or that she’d be the guiding light that chased away most of my anxiety. But that she was.
I just hoped I could be the kind of person she needed, for all the time.
Getting up and circling the living room, a recurring thought popped up in my head – this place was small. Too small for a new family that was thinking of growing.
Of course it was small. This was the place I got cheaply when I first moved here with the sole idea of not having to live under my father’s room once more. I didn’t really care about space or fancy amenities back then, since the place was for me alone. As it was, it was lucky that it had a well-functioning bathroom and a full kitchen, but space was somewhat of an issue.
This was a bachelor pad, not a family home. We’ll just have to move, then.
And I knew just the place.
A couple of weeks later, once Irene and I have gotten off work, instead of heading home, I drove past it and instead towards the new house. I haven’t told Irene about the purchase yet, but I’ve notice that she smiled, whenever we passed by this place. As soon as I found out it was for sale, I’ve put in a bid and the house was mine. Or more accurately, ours.
“Where are we going?” Irene asked, seeing our current abode fade in the distance.
“Someplace I hope you’ll like,” I nodded towards the house we’ve just approached.
Helping her out of the car, I hugged her while she took in the building. “It’s ours,” I informed her.
“But it’s huge! There’s no way we can afford it right now, not while we’re still paying out fines for the company,” Irene protested.
“It cost less than you think. Apparently the person who ordered it built and chose the layout didn’t like the end result. So, the seller put in on the market, but apparently, too many people are unhappy with the lake-side location and he ended up lowering the price.”
“What?! That’s crazy. This place is gorgeous,” Irene frowned.
“That’s what I thought. Their loss, our gain, right? Anyways, let’s head inside! It’s starting to drizzle.”
Once inside, I showed her the house the same way the seller showed it to me.
“So, the kitchen is all finished, the walls upstairs still need some paint. The plumbing is all functional, of course, and much more modern than our current one. There are two bedrooms other than the master, and two balconies. Wait till you see the one in the back!”
I led her to the master bedroom that had its own entrance to the large backside balcony with an amazing view of the lake.
“So, what do you think?”
“I love it. It’s a little big for just the two of us, but the lake is right here and it’s conveniently close to my parents, and yeah, you’ve probably noticed me looking at this house so many times. You have, haven’t you?” she realized.
“It definitely was something that influenced my home buying decision,” I admitted.
“It’s perfect,” she smiled. “And I guess you can go swimming in the lake whenever you want now, isn’t that so?”
“You just know it!”
5 Years Have Passed.
We were having a house party, a thing that neither Irene nor I were fond of. However, when you have many friends, sometimes you have to make an effort to spend time with them outside of work.
In other words, our house was full of people. And people talk so much. Sometimes it’s overwhelming keeping track of all the conversations happening. At least how it is for me.
Irene was engrossed in a conversation with her sister-in-law. She has just offered everyone some cold beers from the fridge, but as it turned out, Katy couldn’t drink for health reasons.
“I’m not showing yet, but Ger and I are expecting,” she announced. “So, no drinks for me for the next while.”
“OMG, me too!” Lana chimed in. “I finally convinced Emmet that we can totally raise a child and I’m about three months in.”
“No way! We can be bump buddies,” Katy laughed. “What about you, Irene? When are you going to join the club?”
“Soon, hopefully,” Irene’s mouth curved in a smile that didn’t quite reach the eyes.
I saw Tia stiffen next to my wife. She was always much more intuitive to people’s emotions.
My mother-in-law also gave me a knowing look. She has also noticed Irene’s reaction, it seemed.
Talk about awkward.
Soon, it was over, as Gerald came back into the room and started asking Irene if we wanted to give an interview for his newspaper. After all our effort, we were now considered proof that a company in any condition could be pulled out of a rut.
At this point, Roman involved me in an interesting conversation about online media and I had to divert my attention away from Irene, although I could still see her mingling with Tia and Lana throughout the evening.
Eventually, the party ended and we were able to go to bed.
“Well, that was exhausting,” Irene sighed. “Why did we invite so many people, again?”
“Absolutely agreed. The next time people are hinting that we should have a party, we should make sure it’s hosted at their place!”
“Good thinking,” she laughed genuinely for the first time that evening.
“Hey, was everything ok back there, with Katy and Lana?” I ventured.
“Yeah, of course! Wow, Gerald is going to be a dad. My younger brother is becoming a father,” she smiled. “And I did wonder when Lana was going to get knocked up. After Tia and Roman had their Brannon, she wanted to start trying right away, but Emmet was freaked out about becoming a father…”
“Irene, that wasn’t what I meant,” I sighed. Why did she insist on pretending everything was fine?
“I know. But it didn’t bother me, really. I mean, we don’t have a kid yet, but it takes time, sometimes,” she shrugged.
“Alright, then. Just know you can talk to me about anything, ok?” I reassured her the same way she has always done with me.
“I know, I know. And that’s why I love you,” she smiled. “Well, goodnight, then?”
“Goodnight. Sweet dreams.”
The morning after the party, like I often did, I got up earlier than Irene. The weather was warm, meaning the lake would be perfect for a swim.
Swimming was something I did almost professionally in college and high school. It has always been something that calmed me down and improved my mood. Something about the water just had a healing effect on the soul.
Coming back from my swim, I could see Irene on the balcony, already awake and waving at me. She seemed to be in a better mood than the night before, which made me happy in turn.
“Had a nice swim?” she yelled from the balcony.
“Sure did. I’m hungry; will you have breakfast with me? I know you don’t have to go in until later.”
“Sure, I’ll be down in a bit,” she smiled, and headed back inside.
Waking up to an empty bed on summer mornings was never a surprise for me. I knew David loved to swim when the weather was warm, utilizing the free time before work to get the most out of the day. Knowing about his background in swim, I was happy he came back to this activity he has loved so much in the past. Not only did swimming help him control his anxiety, but it enabled him to once again quit smoking, a feat I knew he was proud of. As was I – it always worried me to see him with a cigarette before.
Besides, while I wasn’t a great swimmer myself, I could certainly enjoy the view.
“I’ll be down in a bit,” I told David when he called me to eat with him.
There was something I wanted to do first.
In the bathroom, I followed the directions on the box. I waited for 5 minutes, like I was supposed to.
Alright, Irene, here goes nothing. I didn’t want to look down at the little stick in my hand, though. The result was always the same, anyways.
Finally I forced myself to look.
After five years of marriage, five years of trying to conceive, still negative.
I threw the offensive object away, doing my best not to cry. I actually had some hope this time around, for whatever reason. We were making sure to have a lot of sex on the days I knew I was ovulating, I was watching my diet like a hawk, we were both in good health, we both wanted a baby… what else could we do? What could I do?
Finally gathering myself together, I headed downstairs to breakfast. The pro of having such a huge house was that both of us could have our space when we needed it. This was something I appreciated when I felt as terrible as I did right now. But at the same time, I couldn’t be alone right now.
“Hey, what took you so long?” David asked, sliding a fresh peanut-butter sandwich towards me. “I thought we were going to have breakfast together. Your coffee got cold.”
“Sorry, I lost track of time,” I lied. “But I’ve been trying to cut down on coffee anyways.”
“Alright, then. I guess I should get ready for work. I have about half an hour to shower and get dressed,” he calculated.
“Ok,” I nodded still focused on my sandwich.
He raised an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything on his way to the bathroom.
“What the hell?” I realized what he was hinting at in a minute. “I need to get my head in the game.”
“I see you’ve changed your mind?” he joked as I joined him in the shower.
“I’m so out of it today. So out of it,” I shook my head. “Thanks for jogging my memory, hon.”
Months passed. My sister-in-law and Lana were both showing in their pregnancies. I tried to ignore the ugly nagging feelings of jealousy this stirred in me. They were my friends, I was really, truly happy for them, I was. But at the same time, it hurt knowing that, for some reason, what happened so easily to them just refused to happen to me. All I wanted was a child, real healthy child to complete my family.
It didn’t help that the girls, despite their wonderful personalities, simply didn’t notice how I felt. Of course, I’d be the last person to tell them, but when they asked me for things like these…
“Emmet and I would love for you to be the baby’s godmother, Irene. Please say yes!” Lana asked with anticipation.
“Me, really? Are you sure?” I was taken aback.
“Of course, you! Why not, we’re friends,” Lana shrugged as if it was such an everyday thing.
“Sorry, I just wasn’t expecting this! Of course, I’ll do it,” I agreed, still feeling strange about the whole thing.
“Thank you so much, Irene! You are such a great friend,” Lana exclaimed pulling me into a hug.
I hugged her back, with my heart warming up to the idea. Hey, I was going to be a sweet little boy’s godmother. That was pretty awesome. And Lana was always so sweet to me; of course, I’ll do this for her.
“You’re welcome, dear. But I guarantee you I’ll end up spoiling the little one.”
“Oh, I’m sure you will. That’s what godparents are for, right?” she laughed.
On my way from her house to the company, I was still smiling at her reaction. Until I ran into the last people I wanted to meet on any day of the week.
Micah and Mona. They were passing right outside of Collier Enterprises, on their way to wherever they were going.
They didn’t notice me, of course. They were busy fussing with their baby.
But I certainly noticed them, with my jealousy resurfacing again and bubbling up the surface in huge waves, only to turn into deep, deep bitterness over the fact that practically everyone was having kids but me.
I barely made it into the building, running for the empty conference room where I knew I could finally break down and let it all out. Except, the conference room wasn’t empty.
“Hello, Mrs. Meadows-Collier, I almost thought you won’t make it in today!” Liam Upton waved at me from across the table.
Still feeling awkward from being caught in such a terrible mood, I remembered: of course, today we were supposed to go over our quarterly income reviews with the lawyer. And of course, in my distracted state, I forgot all about it.
“My apologies for being late,” I found my voice. “I have to admit I forgot all about this review and I was here to pick up the unfinished paperwork from this week. Good thing I was here, then. Let’s look at these papers.”
“Yes, of course. Is everything alright, though? You look rather upset, if I may say so,” the lawyer ventured.
“Thank you for the concern, Mr. Upton, but I’m alright, really,” I lied.
“Ok, then. Well, as you can tell by looking at these logs, your company is doing very well. And I can attest that all the income you are making is coming in as legally as possible. Congratulations. I, unfortunately, didn’t get to talk to Mr. Collier about it yet, but I think, sooner rather than later, we’ll need less and less of these reviews. I must admit, I’m impressed by your and your husband’s approach to business. If all the other corporations were as meticulous about their reputation, I would have been out of a job!” he laughed. “But really, this is the kind of thing a business should aspire to.”
“Thank you, Mr. Upton. It means a lot to me to hear that from someone like you. You’ve helped our company as much as anyone could, despite our former reputation and you’ve given us so much advice on getting Collier Enterprises out of the rut that you are definitely deserving of praise for our success as well,” I admitted to the older lawyer.
He smiled warmly. “I’m always happy to help when people are willing to accept the help. Be it for business reasons or personal ones. And I’ve dealt with people for a little too long not to notice that you were on the verge of tears when you walked in here and that you are still trying not to cry. Whatever it is, you’re bottling it and it’s going to keep bothering you until you deal with it. I may not be a psychologist, but life has taught me that much.”
I sighed deeply. He was right. The conversation about Collier Enterprises has distracted me from my previous thoughts, but only a little bit.
“You’re right. Something is bothering me. It’s just that David and I have been married for five years now and no matter what I do, I can’t get pregnant,” I admitted. “It didn’t bother me at first, I know it can take time, but it feels like whatever effort I make, whether it be watching my health, using those stupid calendars for planning my fertility, taking vitamins, it all doesn’t help. And it seems like all around me, I keep seeing happily pregnant people, people with little children… I’m not a jealous person by nature, but I’m so jealous. Why is it that the one thing I want from life right now, I can’t have?” I finished, taking deep gulping breaths.
“Oh, Irene,” he sighed. “I know how you must be feeling right now.”
“You do?” I looked up.
“Believe it or not, Kyla and I were in the same situation when we got married,” he explained. “We’ve been trying to conceive for almost seven years, with no luck. The doctors didn’t know what was wrong with us. All the checkups were coming up fine, no chemical imbalances or physical problems. Speaking of medical issues, have you gone to a fertility specialist yet?” he asked.
“Not yet,” I admitted. “I’ve gone to my regular doctor though.”
“You should see a fertility professional about this, though. They might know things that a regular OBGYN doesn’t,” he advised.
“I suppose. So, what did you do? How did you conceive?” I asked.
“We adopted,” he explained. “Kyla and I both wanted children and we decided that since nature didn’t want to cooperate, we’ll just have to accept that we couldn’t have them the usual way. So we adopted.”
“But your daughters look so much like you and your wife!” I exclaimed. David and I have met his family and we even noted to one another how strong the family resemblance was.
“They do, don’t they? Nora is biologically ours, yes. Kyla did, eventually get pregnant, without even trying, about six years after we adopted Betty. The biggest surprise of our lives. I guess, what I’m saying is, don’t give up. And even if things don’t work out the way you want them to, you and your husband still have options.”
“You’re right,” I realized. In more ways than one. It really did help me to talk to someone about it, since for some reason I couldn’t talk about it with David. “Thanks again. For forcing me to confront this right now.”
“You’re welcome. Now, enjoy your weekend and don’t let things bring you down.”
As I drove home, I felt lighter than I had in days, but eventually, the feeling passed, only to be replaced with more worry.
Liam and his wife were told there was nothing wrong with either of them, but they were still unable to conceive for 13 years. What if the same thing would happen to us? Or what if there was something wrong with one of us? With me in particular? What if our own biological children were never an option for our family?
We could adopt, yes. But would that be enough for me? Could I love a child that wasn’t biologically mine and raise him or her to the best of my ability? Would David?
What if, eventually, he’ll decide that he wanted someone who could give him a child of his own and leave me? I didn’t think I could deal with this.
This was how David came home from his meeting with an investor to find me on the floor, bawling my eyes out.
“Irene?” he ventured, sounding afraid to make it worse. “What happened? Are you hurt?”
I barely had the energy to shake my head “no”.
“Hey, talk to me, what is it? You know, I’m always willing to listen. But you keep it all bottled up inside,” he joined me on the ground.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered. “I just can’t take this anymore. I really want a child of my own. Of our own. Why isn’t it happening?”
“That’s why you’ve been feeling so down for the past several months, isn’t it?” he asked quietly.
“Yes. I feel like I’m failing. We’re here, all alone in this big house, and it just feels empty. I know you want a big family. I want a big family too, have wanted one since before we married. But it’s just not happening.”
He scratched his head, deep in thought.
“You’re right, I do want a big family. But I want it with you. And if that’s not an option, it’s fine with me, honestly. Because, most of all, I want you to be happy, and you aren’t happy if you’re beating yourself up over something that isn’t your fault at all. And I want you to be able to talk to me about the things that bother you.”
“I’m sorry,” I whispered again. “I’ll try. But communicating these things is kind of a work in progress for me.”
“I know, but for once you need to let me be there for you,” he pulled me up off the floor and into a tender hug.
“I want to go see a fertility specialist, David,” I admitted.
“Yeah, we can do that,” he agreed rubbing my spine comfortingly. “I think I’ve heard of a good one from Kyla Upton at one point.”
“I want to know if something is wrong with me,” I admitted. “The uncertainty is bugging me too much.”
“Nothing is wrong with you,” David hugged me tighter. “Hey, you know what, it’s Friday night and we shouldn’t spend it cooped up in here. Let’s dress up and go somewhere.”
“What do you have in mind?” I asked, brushing away the tears.
“Hmm, I think your cherry dress will be very welcome, that’s all I’m going to say,” he winked before going up to change.
“Is that the place I think it is?” I asked incredulously as we approached the building.
“Sure is!” David smiled smugly. “I thought it was high time we gave this bar another visit.”
Rusty Old Bottle didn’t seem to have changed at all since that night I got black-out drunk and passed out in David’s bed. The same dim lights, the same aura of alcohol, the people who were here to get as drunk as possible.
Only the bartender was different, but provided it’s been over seven years since then, she must have been working elsewhere by now.
“I thought we should come here and remember our first meeting, Irene. And really, we need to get our mind off of the things bothering us. For one evening, let’s just relax and enjoy ourselves,” he explained.
“I like that idea,” I nodded, sitting down at the bar, like the last time. “So, what will you do if some crazy drunken woman starts throwing herself at you this time around?”
“I’ll take my wife home and kiss her until she’s feeling better,” he smiled.
“You sure know how to make a girl happy,” I relaxed in my chair. Scanning the room, I noticed something that has changed from the previous time. “Hey, they got a jukebox. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t here the last time, right?”
“I don’t think so, no. Hey, come dance with me,” he invited, pulling me out of my chair. “I want to dance.”
“Oh, how the roles have reversed!” I laughed, joining him on the dance floor.
The slow soulful ballad was perfect for a sensual romantic dance, of course. While I didn’t have much experience on the dance floor, David had no problem with the moves, since he took the lead smoothly and without a hitch.
“You know, we should really thank this bar for bringing us together,” he joked.
“Yes, who knew that a small seedy bar could be so romantic? Better than the French countryside,” I joked back.
“Say what you will. I came in here back then to try and relax after a meeting with my father. Instead, I ended up meeting my future wife. I think that’s pretty romantic,” he pulled me close for a kiss.
At that moment, the jukebox music changed to something much more fiery and rhythmic.
“How well-timed!” he got a strange look in his eyes, “So, have you ever danced the tango?”
In response to my negative response he laughed and announced, “Well, this will be your first time, then! Follow my lead.”
To my immense surprise, it turned out that David was a pretty good tango dancer. Every step he made was smooth, every twirl and turn completely in step with the rhythm of the melody. I was trying my hardest to follow and despite not knowing even the basics of the dance, with his lead, I managed to follow all the moves and not miss the rhythm even once.
After a while, I stared to enjoy the dance. There is something captivating and entrancing about getting to dance the tango with someone you love. Every time our bodies touched sent a new wave of emotions through me and while I was aware of the other patrons’ eyes on us, I kept wanting this moment to continue forever.
With every step, David and I were one. He guided my moves and I followed, even adding my own twist on them when possible.
Eventually, the music came to an end and David finished our performance by pulling me close and kissing me.
The bar crowd erupted into a round of applause, the loudest belonging to the bartender herself.
“Wow, I never knew you could dance like this!” I looked at my husband with admiration.
“I do. And you make a great dance student. I look forward to continuing our lessons at home,” he smiled warmly.
As we got back to our seats, the bartender was ecstatic. “That. Was. Amazing!!! Are you two professional ballroom dancers?”
“No, we’re just having fun on a date,” David admitted.
“First date?” she asked.
“Married for five years, actually,” I informed her.
“Wow, you two just gave me major relationship goals, then! Drinks are on the house for the both of you,” she promised and rushed off to make them.
“Where did you learn to dance like this?” I asked incredulously.
“At boarding school,” he smiled. “My roommate and best friend there was the son of professional ballroom dancers. He always joked that they’ll disown him if he didn’t know how to dance these things. He taught the moves of these dances to anyone who was willing to learn them. Of course I took advantage of that opportunity!”
“What else is there that I don’t know about you? You aren’t a secret master of the arts too, are you?” I was impressed.
“Never tried any of it, so I can’t say. Who knows?” David laughed.
“Your drinks are here!” the bartender announced.
“I don’t know if I should,” I admitted, remembering my last interaction with strong beverages.
“I’m sure one will be fine,” David shrugged. “Besides, I’m here and I’ll take you home.”
Three hours later, I was once again plastered from what was probably the strongest drink in all of Hidden Springs, and David was helping me out of the cab, half-carrying me home.
“Wow,” he noted, “you really do have the weakest alcohol tolerance I’ve ever encountered.”
“Yeah, well, I think I deserved a drink. And you said yourself I was a good student, and good students deserve a reward,” I mumbled. “Hey, who are they?”
David followed my gaze to our front porch. On it were a woman and a young girl of about eight years of age.
“I don’t know them, but let’s see what they want. Besides it’s starting to rain pretty hard.”
As soon as we approached the woman looked up from the ground with relief in her eyes. She approached us before we even got to them.
“Thank goodness, you’re home. I’m Norma, I’m with social services. I’m sorry to just show up like this but… I’m extremely sorry to inform you, but Sharon Preston was involved in a terrible accident and… well, she hasn’t made it unfortunately. And Millicent’s birth certificate lists you as her father, Mr. Collier.”
My intoxication evaporated at her words. Father? David? To this girl?
Though all of this, she hasn’t looked up from her lap even once, but she had the same hair color and while her skin was lighter, there was definitely a resemblance.
Upon hearing these words, David’s face went almost white.
“I have a daughter?” he managed to get out.
“Yes,” Norma answered. “Once again, I’m really sorry to be dropping in like this, but we’ve tried to reach you for hours, ever since we’ve arrived here, but it seems like our number for you was wrong.”
“Sorry,” he mumbled.
“She doesn’t have any other relatives,” Norma quietly informed us. “Sharon’s parents have already passed away and she was an only child. It’s either with you or into the system for her.”
“Of course she’s going to stay with us,” I intercepted. “There is no way she’s going anywhere else if her father is here.”
“Thank you for understanding,” Norma seemed to relax. “I’ll be going then. Here’s my number if you need anything.”
And with that she was gone, leaving us with a young scared girl who seemed as shocked to be here as we were to see her here.
“Let’s get inside before we all catch a cold, come on,” I urged both the child and the adult.
The girl meekly got up from the porch and followed us inside. I didn’t know if she was in such shock over the loss of her mother, over being here, over meeting her father, or over all of the above. But she needed support at this time and I was going to give it to her to the best of my ability.
Well, that’s the end of this chapter.
The song they danced to is the Libertang0!
Our return home couldn’t have come sooner. The motel was nice enough, but sleeping in your own bed? Priceless.
Ever since that night at Blue Moon Lodge, things between David and I have changed. We were friends before, but even if neither one of us has said it outright, we were definitely an item now.
This time around, I didn’t beat around the bush and told my parents about us. Mom’s response?
“Oh, you just became a couple? I kind of assumed you already were when I found him sleeping on our couch that one night. Congratulations, though. I like this one much more.”
Dad and Gerald just chuckled. Apparently, Dad also thought David and I had something going on, while Gerald was just wondering how long it would take the two of us to get together.
It was good to be home.
Of course, not everything was that simple.
The situation at the company, for example: things were even more chaotic than before we left. As soon as it became clear that Selma ditched from the country, the majority of upper management have turned in their letters of resignation, most likely out of fear of becoming embroiled in the legal scandal with the company. The rest of the workers had no idea what to do in these circumstances. They were worriedly awaiting news of what would become with their jobs. After all, they were regular people who needed a steady income…
While David and I were playing detective things just got more out of hand at home, and the further it went on, the more effort it was going to require to fix the situation.
As the situation stood, the company was still in a whole lot of legal hot water. While the server leak did come from a questionable source, investigation into said information has proven most of it true, which, under different circumstances, would have meant a hefty sentence for Lionel and a smaller one for Selma. As things stood, the main criminal was dead, and the accomplice was in a country out of our legal system’s reach.
David was lucky to have been officially uninvolved with any of his parent’s illegal activities, which was the one bright thing about this whole mess. He was in the clear with the law, especially after he himself nearly became a victim of the same criminals who killed his father and tried to pin it on his mother. The law enforcement somewhat sympathized with his situation. But that meant that he, as the remaining heir of Collier Enterprises was now responsible for dealing with all the fallout from the recent events, in regards to the company.
Yes, that’s right. By some strange miracle, law enforcement didn’t force us to close down the entire company.
Of course, there was one huge explanation for this: Collier Enterprises was one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the country and it was one of the biggest employers in the area. Forcing us to close down would have created more chaos than the law enforcement and the local government were willing to deal with.
However, that didn’t mean Collier Enterprises was getting completely off the hook.
About a week after we got back from Twinbrook, we were visited by a government attorney named Liam Upton, who, in convergence with local law enforcement, was going to keep track of all financial deals made between the company and whoever it did business with. He had a respectable level of experience with corporate legal matters and it wasn’t his first time dealing with a company that landed on the wrong side of the law. Of course, most of his experience didn’t involve legal troubles quite as extensive as ours, but that just meant that we were going to be under much stricter overlook than any of the other companies.
All things considered, it was completely understandable and very reasonable. However, as things stood, we were now guilty until proven innocent for the foreseeable time period.
But at least, we could continue working, and so could the people whose livelihoods depended on having a job at Collier Enterprises.
Which left us with another problem — the company’s management team, which was basically nonexistent at the moment. The logical solution was to promote the remaining employees to the now empty positions and to start recruiting for new employees for their former jobs. However, as things stood, the local job-searching population seemed to be avoiding us like the plague and we only managed to hire a handful of new people. And the employees who were offered management positions suddenly found excuses for why they couldn’t take the jobs! Some bizarre, some understandable.
Tia, for example, happily announced that she and Roman were expecting baby number two and that sooner rather than later, she would have to go on a maternity leave. We were happy for her, of course, congratulating her on the soon-to-be new addition to her family.
Lana was one of the very few who actually agreed to take the job, but she warned us that she soon might end up having to move from Hidden Springs permanently, since her husband was awaiting a possible promotion to Sunset Valley.
Of course, there was another problem with these promotions: due to the large fines the company had to pay out, we could only give a very small raise to the new managers, not nearly as much as they should have been getting. We hoped this will change soon. But that remained to be seen.
And me? I was now very much a part of it all – I agreed to take the head manager’s position without any need to convince me, refusing the raise that came with it. Ever since the Marilyn fiasco, I couldn’t help but feel that my quest for justice would have had almost the same results for the company as hers, minus the deaths. So, of course, I was going to do my very best to fix things.
Besides, there was no way I was leaving David to the sole responsibility for everything. We were a team now.
Even if being a team meant falling asleep exhausted together, not even making it to a bed.
After about a year, things were beginning to look up, somewhat. The company, while still dealing with a lot of financial duress, has figured out a new pattern for work, new medicines were still being developed, and slowly, people began to regain trust in us. Mostly, it was because David and I made a huge effort to change how things were done in the company. Collier Enterprises was no longer an intimidating pharmaceutical giant. We were a business founded on shady dealings, but we were doing our best to replace that foundation with one based on trust, honesty, and community presence.
Some things changed, others haven’t.
Lana, to Tia’s and my delight, didn’t move away. She and Emmet have decided to stay here, after all.
Tia had her baby, and little Clyde dotted on his new sibling. Roman, after being contacted by both the Twinbrook and the Hidden Springs police departments, was now working with the local unit, strengthening the cybersecurity of their servers and also giving seminars on computer safety and privacy. He was happy to once again be able to provide for his family, from which he has been away for so long.
We’ve kept contact with Deputy Rosswell from Twinbrook. After he saved our lives, we have decided to stay in touch with the man. He has informed us that Marilyn and Sam were both tried in court for their crimes. Even with their admissions of wrongdoing, both Sam and Marilyn were going to jail for a long time. However, Marilyn was to serve a part of her sentence in an institution much more appropriate to her mental wellbeing, which turned out to be completely nonexistent, as ascertained by the court psychologists.
On a happier note, Gerald has proposed to Katy and they were busy planning their wedding. Most of the time, she was over at our place now, spending time with my brother. They have never looked happier.
And I was happy too. When David and I did manage to have some free time to ourselves, he never failed to put a smile on my face. He would constantly bring me sweet treats at work, give me compliments and kisses when we were together, and he could brighten up my day just by smiling a certain way.
I think, for the first time in a long while, everything in my life was looking just perfect. I was busier than ever, true, but I had someone that I knew was there for me no matter what, and who cared about me deeply. That constant worry I felt when I dated Micah, was never present with David. I think it just meant that Micah was never the right person for me, while David was. And I probably had to Micah to thank for that – if not for our terrible break-up and my behavior afterwards, I probably wouldn’t have met David the way I did and most likely never would have looked past his family name to see the wonderful person he was. Life works out in strange ways.
In record time, it was time for my brother’s wedding. After complaining about how boring most wedding invitations that they’ve seen were, Gerald and Kate have taken a very humorous approach to wedding announcements. At least they had a lot of fun during the photoshoot, and most of our friends seemed to like the invites!
Also, in a decision that calmed my worried heart, Gerald and Kate have both decided that it would be a better idea for Kate to just move in with us after the wedding than for her and Gerald to move to a new place. The idea of my brother moving out worried me because I knew that, despite my biggest attempts to do so, with how busy I was at work, there was no way I could give as much care as needed to Mom and Dad once they got older. And I would have hated for them to be uncared for. Whereas, I knew Gerald’s much saner work schedule would allow him to spend time with the family.
On their wedding day, both Gerald and Kate have looked the happiest I’ve ever seen them. Despite their wedding photoshoot, neither had cold feet – if anything, they both wanted to get married as much as anyone possibly could.
Mom and Dad were also happy, even though both broke down in tears during the vows. After all, their youngest baby was all grown up and getting married! (I think they were also feeling happy about the fact that Gerald was remaining home after the wedding.)
It wasn’t long after the wedding that David and I have gotten our first break at work. A new medication for arthritis, while not too expensive, has managed to get the company much closer to leaving our current financial rut. This meant that we could finally give out some much needed bonuses to our hard-working employees, and also relax a bit.
Also, that meant more time for the two of us to spend together, outside of work. Since neither David or I liked large gatherings and loud places, that usually meant staying in and spending our time watching our favorite shows together, eating all sorts of unhealthy snacks, and just enjoying ourselves.
I know, I know, we were acting like boring old people, you might say, but it was during moments like these that both of us felt the happiest and most content. I knew I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
We were re-watching old episodes of Colombo (what could I say, we have both developed a taste for detective fiction after our trip), having extra-cheesy pizza and cheese sticks, and laughing our butts off at all the ways “the bad guys” tend to get caught in shows. It was a lazy Saturday and David and I were at his house, with no plans to go anywhere. After polishing off the last pizza slice and finishing the episode, I leaned back into David contentedly. Suddenly, he asked me:
“Are you happy with me?”
Surprised, I turned to look at him. “I am. Why do you ask?”
He shrugged. “It’s just, you’ve been there for me in every way possible for the last two years and I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through all this without you. But it made me wonder if I was doing nearly enough for you to qualify as a decent boyfriend.”
“Are you kidding me? You’re an amazing boyfriend! Who else would bring me chocolates at work? Or give me a backrub when I’m feeling down?” I laughed.
“I just love to see you smile,” he whispered, hugging me.
“And I love to be with you. Just, in general,” I admitted quietly.
In response, he kissed me, making my stomach do flips, the way it always did when we touched.
“Hey, there is still some light outside. We should go somewhere,” he announced.
“What do you have in mind?” I was curious.
“We officially spend too much time cooped up indoors. We should enjoy beautiful nature for a bit. Bring your jacket, just in case,” he smiled, heading for his car.
To my surprise, instead of going to the park or the beach, like I thought he might, since David turned out to be an avid swimmer, he swerved into the hills and headed up the mountain road.
“Where are we going?” I wondered.
“You know, for someone who is a native of Hidden Springs, you know too little about all its nooks and crannies,” he smiled. “Have you ever been to Redwood Peak?”
“No,” I tried to remember the place. It was popular with some members of the astrology club back in high school, I remembered, as they used to camp out there to watch the stars. But I was more focused on other things back then. It was true, I’ve never been there.
“Well, you’ll see it now!” he drove higher up the mountain, coming to park by the entrance area of the park.
I could see why the place was perfect for stargazing – it was probably the highest point in town, and there was a lot of empty space to set up a telescope. If anything, there already was one present.
David led me towards it, explaining, “The view from this place is truly amazing. Take a look for yourself.”
I did just that. The entire Hidden Springs was laid out before us, with everyone looking so very tiny from our viewpoint up here. The height was terrifying, but there was something exhilarating about it. It was beautiful.
“What do you think?” he asked, hugging me from behind. “Was it worth leaving the house for?”
“It is. Thank you for bringing me here,” I whispered, still awed by the view.
“I thought you’d like it,” he smiled contentedly. “I used to come here with Emily, whenever possible. I used to think this place was more romantic than the Eiffel Tower on Valentine’s Day.”
“I think you were right about that,” I laughed softly. The air here was pine fresh, and the chirping of crickets had a peaceful quality to it, making me feel happy and elated.
“So, I’ve always thought that if I ever wanted to propose to someone I cared about, this would be the perfect place to do it,” David continued.
I turned around slowly, trying to figure out if this was really happening.
“Irene, I met you at the moment when my life was at its lowest, or so I thought back then. But when I met you, despite everything, you’ve managed to be a guiding light for me. At those moments when I felt close to giving up on everything, on admitting failure in life, you were there, pushing me along and reminding me that I wasn’t alone. I can’t and don’t want to imagine my life without you in it, because it would be absolutely empty. So tell me, will you be my wife, Irene?”
My breath caught in my throat and I could feel the tears well up in my eyes, tears of happiness. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to marry David, but I didn’t know if this would be something that would ever happen to us. Now that he was proposing, I couldn’t handle the surge of emotions in my chest.
“Yes! Of course, I will marry you, David. Because I don’t want to imagine my life without you either. I love you. I think I’ve been in love with since that time I’ve seen you outside the restaurant in town. I don’t know if soulmates exist, but if they do, you are mine.”
“But we’ve met at the bar?” David was happy but confused.
“Yeah, but I first saw you in town square, outside the restaurant, it was afternoon on a Saturday,” I admitted. “I remember wanting to go and meet you back then, but feeling guilty because I was still in a relationship. You looked really sad.”
“That was the day I first arrived here from Bridgeport. I’ve just arrived back from the airport at that time and I was dreading coming home,” he admitted. “And you saw me on that very day! Wow, this truly is fate.”
“I guess it is. So, this was your plan? Bringing me here for a proposal?”
“Partially,” he smiled, pulling me in for a kiss. “Have you ever gone camping?”
“No,” I admitted.
“There’s always a first time for everything! There are marshmallows and tent in the car. We’re going to have so much fun!”
I spent the rest of that night blissfully enjoying nature and s’mores, and falling asleep in a tent under the stars, next to the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. If human life could reach perfection, it was probably something like this.
I got nominated once again, a while ago, for the Versatile Blogger Award by Dandylion240 and by Fluffymao, and for the Sunshine Blogger Award by THESIMSLOEWELEGACY. Thank you very much, both of you! If you haven’t yet, seriously check out their stories 🙂
The Versatile Blogger Rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you
2. Share the award on your blog
3. Share seven random facts about yourself
4. Tag 10 bloggers with less than 1000 followers and let them know they have been nominated
Seven Facts about me:
- I can’t roar my Rs. Never learned to, as a kid.
- I love comedies, whether in movie, book, or play format.
- I have a really strange memory: I might not remember what I did minutes ago, but I will remember clearly things that have happened months or even years ago.
- I don’t get subtle hints.
- Same goes for when someone is trying to lie about something and I know the situation wasn’t so. I don’t realize the person is trying to lie until a bit too late and try to “correct” their story!!! So, if we’re RL friends and you need me to cover for you or make something up, warn me before hand!
- Rainy weather is my favorite.
- I never understood why there is so much hate for Twilight. I’ve read the books. They aren’t excellent, but they’re not that bad either.
The Sunshine Blogger award
- Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
- Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
- Nominate 11 bloggers and add their links.
- Notify the bloggers you include.
- Keep the rules in your post.What is your favorite season in The Sims 3 and in the real life?
- What is your favorite season in The Sims 3 and in the real life?
Either Spring or Fall, both in game and in life. Neither too hot nor too cold.
- What are the summers like in the part of the world you live?
I’m in California. It’s extremely hot here, and also dry to the point of us having drought all the time. But what can you expect? This place is literally a desert, which is only populated because of the Gold Rush of the 19th century. In other words, if you come here, make sure to wear breezy clothing and to stay hydrated.
- If you could live in a different place, where would it be?
I’m not sure. But someplace cooler would be nice.
- What is your favorite town in The Sims 3?
Monte Vista or Riverview, probably.
- Have you ever built/tried to build a town with the Create-A-World tool?
I tried to, but I couldn’t figure out how it works too well. And then, the program kept crashing.
- What is your favorite feature in The Sims 3?
The supernaturals? The ability to make a sim of any kind of looks.
- Do you play also other video games?
Only on Mobile. I used to play some multiplayer stuff online before, but usually, these days I don’t.
- How do you like your pizza?
Hawaian please! (Ham and Pineapple)
- Do you have a pet?
Not yet, but I really want a cat.
- Are you happy with your given name?
I am – it’s Diana. Considering the mythological connotations, not bad.
- Handbag or backpack?
Handbag. I don’t like having to take off my backpack just to get one object out.
I’m not going to tag people this time around, since I’ve done it previously and I’m not sure who else to nominate.
1. Thank the person who nominated you
2. Share the award on your blog
3. Share seven random facts about yourself
4. Tag 10 bloggers with less than 1000 followers and let them know they have been nominated
Facts about me:
- I’m a huge fan of different Asian cuisines. By the way, if you ever get the chance to try the Vietnamese desert called Che Ba Mau (The Tricolor Desert), take it!
- I love mythology and folklore. Especially stories with faeries and that kind of thing.
- I really want to get a cat. I definitely plan to do it soon.
- I am still, kind of, searching for a job that is more than an internship.
- I might end up spending this Thanksgiving in Vegas, since my mother has friends living there and we’ve been invited.
- I’ve been wanting to write a book for the longest time, but somehow, something always ends up stopping me.
- As a person with a Political Science degree, I am rather horrified at what is going on with the US Presidential Election.
I added in the questions from Dandylion240 and Stormysims!
What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?
Well, it is of course an award for bloggers from other bloggers. It is a beautiful way to share all the amazing things other bloggers do and write about. To recognize their efforts in inspiring others to do what they love.
- Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
- Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
- Nominate 11 bloggers and add their links.
- Notify the bloggers you…
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