Boreal Springs

February 1, 2010

Anderson – Round 28: ‘Human’

Filed under: Anderson — Tags: , , , , — Mao @ 11:14 pm

Nevio’s bad luck seems to have rubbed off on his daughter, Adora.  Can she get her memories back in time or is her marriage to Simon doomed?

Things in the house hadn’t improved.  Nevio was stuck playing referee to his daughter and son-in-law’s frequent ‘disagreements’.  To his own merit, Simon hadn’t instigated any of them.  He’d simply been there and giving her “a look” and she got annoyed enough to poke him.  He never fought back.  Nevio thought he looked a bit like a wounded puppy in those moments.  He felt bad for him.

Unfortunately, Nevio didn’t have enough time left to feel bad for long.  He went out in his favorite way, with one of his favorite girls.  When the ambulance arrived, he was well past dead and his former love, grief-stricken and mildly horrified, was forced into therapy to deal with her unusual loss.  Nevio’s family was left to mourn him quietly.  The way he had gone was rarely discussed, though Nevio’s ways weren’t exactly a mystery to the rest of the neighborhood.

He’d gone out with a smile on his face, that much was certain.

In the wake of her father’s death, Adora found herself feeling even more hollow.  She could almost feel the gaps in her memory, their open, empty expanses gnawing at her soul.  Would she ever get her memories back?  She looked down at her son, she barely knew him, barely felt the maternal connection, but even so, something told her that he was hers and he was Simon’s.  She was bereft, both with grief for her father and for her lost life and memories.

Things changed in the house, but perhaps not for the immediate better.  Adora’s weakness after Nevio’s death and her loss of memories left her in a delicate place.  She sought momentary comfort in Simon.  For Simon, it was a regretable action.  He wanted his wife back, not a meaningless ‘fling’ with the shadow of her former self.  At least she’d stopped mentioning Ocean.  Maybe that was a step in the right direction…

Eric was growing, despite the distance between his parents.  He didn’t seem to notice, usually happy and content, a goofy smile plastered on his mostly toothless face.

Isolde and Adora found comfort in one another during their time of loss.  Even before Nevio’s death, Isolde had been visiting frequently in ana ttempt to get her sister to remember.  She felt bad, causing all this mess.  She sometimes wondered if perhaps she should have left it all alone… but the thought of being without her sister was a hard one to bear.

“You just have to let it come to you naturally,” Isolde advised softly.  “You can’t force it.  It’ll come to you… just have faith that it’s not gone forever.”

Adora sighed, “that’s easier said than done.  I’ve got a son to think about.  I just feel so confused…”

“Sometimes, I think I can remember.  I have dreams that almost seem real… but when I wake up, I can barely recall them.  I’m just so tired of all this up and down.  I just want it to be over with.”

“It will be, soon,” Isolde said, taking her sister’s hand.  “You just… you need to be strong, Adora.  And you need to go at this with a clear head.  You can’t be distracted.”

“I want this to work,” Adora confided.  “At first, I wasn’t sure… but now, I know.  This is right, something deep down inside of me wants this… I just have to find it again.  I have to start all over.”

Adora met with Ocean for a casual dinner.  It wasn’t as it seemed, she’d snuck out, but not for a romantic affair.  Quite the opposite, actually.  She was going to stop it before it’d even had the change to begin.

“Look, Ocean… I have to be honest, I asked you here for selfish reasons,” Adora began.

Ocean moved to interrupt her, thinking he knew where this was going, “I knew you’d come around–”

“No, ocean, you don’t understand.  I… I want my marriage to work.  I’m going to fight for my memories, for my life.”

It was hard to miss the look that passed over his face.  He reached across the table and took her hand before she could snatch it away.

“It should have been me, Adora.  This was our second chance…”

Adora watched his hand on her arm, fingers clutching desperately to what they could, “…I made my choice a long time ago, Ocean.  I can’t tell you know why, but I know… deep down, it was the choice I wanted.  I wanted to be with Simon.”

The words were hard to say and as she said them, Adora felt her resolve faltering.  She looked at Ocean for a good, long minute before pulling her arm away.  The waitress came with their food, platter perched precariously on her nimble hand.

It was almost as if the universe itself had heard Adora’s doubts, because at that moment, the skilled waitress fumbled and the platter slipped.  It fellt towards Adora, showering her in salad greens.

The universe clearly did not favor her doubts.

Her resolved bolstered, Adora ended the meal before it could truly begin.  Smelling of salad and unknown flavorings, Adora said her final goodbye to Ocean.

“I really wish you’d reconsider, Adora.”

“I can’t, Ocean.  This is the way it is, the way… the way I want it.  I hope you find happiness.”

With that, she turned and left, proud of herself despite her sullied clothing.

Adora returned home to find Simon passing by the doorway.  She didn’t waste a single second.  She approached him, taking his hand into hers.  He was visibly startled.  His nose twitched and his eyes narrowed a bit–not out of anger, but curiosity.

“Why do you smell like salad?”

“Long story,” Adora said, her voice quick like fire.  “Nevermind that.  I just, I want this to work.  I want to remember, I want to remember everything… I want my life back… with you, with Eric.  It… it won’t be easy, but I hope that you’ll understand and you’ll support me.”

Simon smiled, squeezing her hand, “I’ve been waiting for you to say that since Isolde brought you back.  Anything you need, I’m here.  I’ve always been here, Adora.”

Life resumed a normal pace, though daily tasks were somewhat burdened by Adora’s missing memories.  She didn’t dwell on it, however.  They would come as they wished, as Isolde had told her time and time again.  For now, she would just make an effort to see what she had seen before, what she had loved about her life before this incident had changed everything.  She focused on Eric’s smile and his laughter, on the way Simon looked at her when she walked into the room.

It would be a slow progression forward, but at least she was on the right track, finally.

——————————–

Note from Mao: And so we have the Anderson update!  Sorry if the writing is a bit odd.  I usually keep things moderately light with this.  It’s still gameplay driven in every aspect.  I’m just a bit out of practice, unfortunately.

I’m still planning to do something for February, so keep your eyes peeled.  I’m still not sure what to do, though.  I’m horrible at honoring anniversaries!  God save me when my wedding one comes up, yikes.

Anyway, Adora had zero wants for Ocean and she autonomously kept flirting/etc with Simon.  She even intiated woohoo with him, so I took that as her wanting to move forward.  Nevio’s death caught me by surprise, so I had to improvise a death picture, lol.

December 30, 2009

Anderson 5 – Round 27: ‘Hysteria’

Filed under: Anderson,O`Hanlon — Tags: , , , , , , — Mao @ 9:23 pm

James Anderson and Maggie O`Hanlon have an easy relationship, it’s just a shame that it’s sort of put a bit of a clamp on James’ friendship with Maggie’s older brother, Timothy; especially now that she’s pregnant.  Katarina Anderson is still alive and kicking, but for how much longer?

“So,” Katarina began, looking Maggie dead in the eye.  “This is actually my son’s, right?  I mean, I’m not sure if we can do the baby switcheroo again.”

Maggie blinked, unsure of what to say, “I… what… what kind of question is that?  Of course it is!”

“Just checking.  You think it’s abnormal until it actually happens, then it’s an everyday concern.”

“…that’s just insane.  What’s wrong with you?”

Katarina smiled, all teeth, “too much to name.  When you’ve lived as long as I have, you’ve seen it all!”

Maggie had been concerned about telling James, but she shouldn’t have been.  They may not have been married,  but he couldn’t have been happier.  Not only could he be completely certain the baby was actually his this time, but he couldn’t think of a better person to have a family with.  Given that his parents had never married, James and Maggie were in no rush.  They didn’t want to run off and get married just because of the baby.

Things around the apartment mostly revolved around Maggie’s pregnancy.  She was off work on maternity leave and so far along she was waddling around more than actually walking.  Katarina had no desire to pander to a pregnant woman.  She’d done it and she’d been pregnant with a married guy’s baby!

“Hey, you know what pregnant women don’t make?  Good windows.  You’re blocking the TV!”

James sighed, “mom, seriously, be nice.”

“This is nice.  Refuse to move and you’ll see mean!  When you’re old like me, your shows are everything!”

Timothy finally made his way over after promising Isolde, on his dead mother’s grave, that he wouldn’t pulverize the father of his sister’s baby.  Maggie was happy to see her brother after so long, but a little anxious about his reunion with James.  James seemed to share her feelings.

“Before you start throwing punches–”

Timothy interrupted him, “I’m not going to hit you, I promised Isolde I wouldn’t.  It’s the only way she’d let me leave!  That witchy stuff is serious business.”

Maggie took a deep breath, “then does that mean you’re not mad?”

“Oh, I’m still plenty mad, Mags.  Mostly because you didn’t tell me and I had to find out by accident!”

Maggie, unable to come up with a response and feeling a little guilty, made her exit, “um, I’ll be over here…”

“And you, dude, not cool.  You knocked up my baby sister.  Do you remember when we were teens?  Yeah, she was a kid.  Gross, huh?”  Timothy said, shaking his head.  “But what’s done is done, I guess.  Just know, you hurt my sister?  I’ll turn you into whale bait.  They’ll need your dental records to identify the mangled corpse.”

James cringed, “pleasant, Timothy.  I’m so glad you’re willing to let bygones be bygones.”

“Yeah, I’m real generous like that,” he said, making a motion with his two fingers, pointing to his own eyes and then at James.  “She’s my baby sister, dude.  Remember that.”

Of course, no sooner had the threat of Timothy’s fist left their minds, Katarina had to add extra weight.  While she’d never done the whole marriage thing herself, she was curious about their dedication to doing this ‘cohabitation thing’, especially since neither of them planned on keeping things open.

“I just don’t see the point.  Why not just run off and get hitched like all the other normal people?”

Maggie shrugged, “it’ll happen when it feels right.  There’s no standardization, no law that says people with kids have to get married.”

“Psh, should be.  Separate the weak from the strong.  You don’t know strength ’til you walk in on your boyfriend with three chicks, all covered in Jell-O.”

Maggie, rendered speechless, just gaped at her.

“I mean, of course I got in on that, I love a good Jell-O romp, but still…”

Baby Katherine O`Hanlon entered the world with little trouble.  Maggie’s due date came and they went to the hospital as they’d worked out.  When they returned, Maggie tried working from home, making sure to keep Katherine close by at all times.  Katarina, surprisingly, was a big help with the newborn.

Of course, no one spent more time with Baby Katherine than James.  He couldn’t have been happier.  In fact, all his thoughts revolved around her and other baby things.  Maggie just shook her head anytime he gave her ‘that look’.  One little accident was enough for her.  She loved Katherine, but the whole baby thing had really thrown her for a loop.

Of course, with birth often comes death.  Katarina was sitting in the living area with baby Katherine, watching her shows, when she dozed off.  She never woke up.  Maggie came downstairs after her shower to find Katarina stone cold on the couch, baby Katherine slumbering quietly in her chair.  She took the baby upstairs, called 911, and then James.  It was not a pretty situation, he came home immediately from work, completely torn up.  He’d always been insanely close with his mother.

Time went on and James channeled his sadness into playing with Katherine.  Maggie busied herself redoing the apartment, tired of the old, drab furnishings and wallpaper.  They’d gotten the apartment from one of Katarina’s rich flings and his stuff had been there.  Now it was in a moving truck, replaced with items more fitting of the family that now resided there.

————————-

Notes from Mao: Awww, poor Katarina!  You will be missed, you lived a long, crazy life.  I’m sure Shang is waiting in the afterlife hottub for you.

James was really torn up by Katarina’s passing, constantly stopping what he was doing and crying.  I haven’t had a sim grieve this bad in awhile!  Even poor Katherine was sad about her grandma’s passing.

The picture below is hilarious because both James and Katherine are crying over Katarina’s demise while Maggie looks frustrated that their cries are disrupting her game, LOL!

I’m waiting for Maggie or James to spin up a want to get married before I do anything.  I like having some non-married couples.  My parents never got married, LOL!  James immediately rolled a want for a baby when Katherine aged, but uh, yeah.  Population control!

How awesome is it that Katherine got Jun Yu’s eyes AND skintone, though??  Woo!

Normally this is where we’d move on to Uni, but we have a new lotsto play!  Emma and Jennifer’s before Uni!

December 18, 2009

Anderson 4 – Round 27: ‘White Wedding’

Filed under: Anderson — Tags: , , , , , , — Mao @ 2:20 pm

Roman and Cara Anderson are happy their son is finally getting married.  Gregory and Lydia have come a long, hard way.  Can they keep it together or will everything just continue to unravel?

“I’m going to be sick,” Lydia said, trying not shake.  “I think I’m going to throw up.”

“Attractive.  Just make sure you aim away from me.”

“Can’t we just elope?”

“I think they’d notice if we left now.”

Despite her inherent cold feet and sheepishness at going in front of all the people Gregory’s family seemed to know, Lydia made it to the altar.  Marriage was big, it was huge and you don’t really figure that out until your knee-deep in rose petals and covered in so much lace you look like one of your grandma’s old curtains.

Still, Lydia was pretty sure she was okay with her decision.  It wasn’t as if she liked anyone else.  It was just… big.

The ceremony proceeded without a hitch and the further along it got the more at ease Lydia felt.  It was just stage fright, there were people everywhere, all watching.  It was unnerving.

“Dad, are you crying?”

“N-no… there’s confetti in my eye.”

The vows and rings were exchanged, bird-friendly petals thrown in lieu of rice.

Rosa was quick to congratulation her flaky sister, happy to finally see her happy and out of the house.

“Make sure you don’t come running back, okay?”

“Rosa, stop,” Kenya scolded, shaking her head as she walked by.

“I’m just kidding,” Rosa said, pulling back from the hug.  “You know that, right?”

“Yeah, I know.  Thanks, Rosa.”

“This place is amazing, I don’t see why you’d ever want to come home.  Makes our house look like a closet!”

“To be honest, I’m a little afraid I’m going to get lost…”

Outside, Hugh caught Lydia after the party had ended.

“I’m so proud of you,” he said, squeezing her shoulder.  “Be good, okay?”

“I’ll try,” she hugged him tightly.  “Bye, daddy.”

“See you, baby.”

“You survived,” Gregory laughed once everyone was gone and they were again able to relax.  “See?  Like pulling off a band-aid, it’s all over and never to be repeated again.”

“I guess so, I mean… if anything, I know I won’t be getting married again.”

“Oh, wow, thanks.  That’s a comfort.”

She smacked him on the arm, “you know what I mean!

Adjusting to life in her new home was a bit difficult at first for Lydia.  First, the house was huge and second, they had a butler.  Lydia didn’t even know that people had butlers anymore.  He made their meals, answered the phone and the door, and would even take their dry cleaner.  Perhaps what seemed most odd about it all was Gregory’s complete acceptance of it.  He’d been around it all his life and so to him, it was completely normal to have some strange, older man cowing down to your every whim.

Then, of course, there was the transportation thing.  Lydia had gotten a job with an architecture firm as a designer thanks to Roman.  Since the firm was in Aperture, the commute was ridiculous.  What she didn’t realize was that Roman took a helicopter to work and since their schedules synced up, so did she.  Talk about surreal.

Gregory didn’t have a day job like the rest of him.  His father’s ambition was for him to take over the family businesses.  So while they went to Aperture in a helicopter, he was stuck trying to remember everything his father had tried to teach him over the years.  The businesses still belonged to Roman but eventually, they’d be his.  His father insisted he learn every part of how a business works, including being a cashier.  Gregory hated this position most of all… he just wasn’t very good at it.

Gregory and Lydia’s honeymoon was delayed due to the construction of the vacation home Roman had recently purchased in the islands.  When it was finally done, the newlyweds headed off for some much-needed ‘alone time’.  It’s sort of hard to really enjoy one another’s company with nosy in-laws following you around.

The house was definitely worth the wait, almost as grand as the one they lived in.  Truth be told, all of this opulence was a little overwhelming for Lydia.  Her family had never been hard-up, but she came from a humble house and humble people.  All this money flying around was a bit dizzying.

Unfortunately, their honeymoon was cut short by a freak hail storm that refused to quit.  It rained golfballs and soon, soccerballs and they were forced to evacuate.  It was an unfortunate setback, but at least they managed to get some time to themselves…

———————

Note from Mao: Sorry this entry is all over the place.  I accidentally played this lot awhile back and did the whole wedding thing before I realized I’d messed up the order.  Oops.  Anyway, when I went to the lot I had forgotten that they had a honeymoon scheduled.  It hailed almost the ENTIRE time.  It actually accumulated on the ground!  I’ve had Seasons since release and I’ve never seen this before.  Insanity!   I sent them home.

They both have the baby want, so we’ll see what happens… they certainly got busy enough!

Hope you enjoyed the wedding shots, I don’t usually do very elaborate weddings, but I figured after everything these two kind of deserved it.

December 5, 2009

Anderson 3 – Round 27: ‘Miss Independent’

Filed under: Anderson — Tags: , , , , — Mao @ 11:10 pm

Cole Anderson feels overwhelmed and unappreciated by his career-oriented wife and his two very active daughters.  Will Shelly’s recent campaign win give her an attitude adjustment?

“This is a very important day for me,” Shelly began, checking her appearance for the fiftieth time in the mirror.  “Try not to ruin it.”

Cole wasn’t really sure how to respond to that.  As far as he knew, he hadn’t ruined anything yet.  Shelly was on such a tear lately, even winning the election hadn’t calmed her down any.  In fact, it made her worse, the pressure and spotlight pointed solely on her now.

“I’m not a child.”

She rolled her eyes, still watching her reflection, “really?  Sometimes it’s hard to tell.”

Shelly’s campaign manager, Jared, was the first one to arrive.  Shelly was surprised when he hadn’t come alone.  As the guests filtered in, she cornered Jared and decided to get to the bottom of this ‘mystery girl’.  She looked terribly familiar.

“Oh, that’s Sage,” he said, turning to watch as she walked towards them.  “We met awhile back.”

“You’re dating her?  Really, Jared, don’t you have any love for my campaign at all?”

He laughed, “plenty of love, Shelly… but Sage is nice.  Don’t be mean.”

Shelly and nice weren’t exactly something that went hand-in-hand, but she plastered on her fake smile and approached Sage Saunders with a cool, in control attitude.

“Sage Saunders?  My campaign manager speaks highly of you.”

“Really?  There’s a surprise,” she replied easily, laughing.  “Congratulations on your win.”

“Thank you,” she said, sizing her up.  “Enjoy the party.”

“Sure,” Sage said, watching her walk away and move into the crowd.

Jared watched the exchange with keen interest, thankful when Sage made it out alive.  She rejoined him and they moved to mingle.

“You know, Kit, if Shelly were me and she had my Awesome Tan, there’d be no reason to campaign at all,” Sade began, her perfectly bronzed skin out for all to see in her tight, but somewhat modest dress.  “She’d win by default.”

Kit sighed,” good thing you didn’t go into politics then, Sade.”

“I know!  Just think of it!  There’d be no competition, just me as mayor… year after year…” She looked past Kit and towards the door.  “Oh, hey, that’s James… and Maggie… and she’s pregnant.  Wow.”

“W-what?”

“Keep ‘em coming,” Cole said, fetching a glass from the serving man’s tray.  “It’s going to be a long day…”

The man watched him walk away, “dude…”

Of course, his second drink didn’t go unnoticed by Shelly.  She quickly cornered him.

“Getting drunk, Cole?  That’s your answer to making me look good?”

Cole gave an exasperated sigh, “me?  I’m the one making you look bad?  Give me a break, Shelly.  Your campaign manager has had so many already that he’s behind you acting like FAME is casting.  Get off my back.”

“W-what?” she spun around, horrified to see Jared dancing drunkenly amongst a crowd.  “Damn him!”

Cole watched as she stormed off, grabbing another glass from the tray.

“How are you doing?” Isolde asked, on her second drink.  She only came because she wanted to check in on them and Timothy liked parties.  “You don’t look so good.”

“I’m fine, really,” he replied, emptying his glass and setting it down on the counter nearby.  “Everything is just great.”

Isolde frowned, “it’ll get better, Cole.  It’s just all the stress.”

“Yeah, sure.  I’m gonna go get another drink.”

“So… nice party,” Kit said, also on her fourth drink and starting to feel a little tipsy.  James and Maggie were here and James had made it a point to glare at her everytime they were in the same room.

“Not really,” Cole said flatly.  “At least there’s an open bar.”

Kit nodded, taking a sip, “yeah, open bars are good.”

“What’s taking so long?” Viola demanded, literally breathing down Valerie’s neck.  “There are people in need of a drink!”

“Yeah, really, come on,” Emma said, sidling up to the bar.  “I’m not buzzed enough to deal with all of this yet…”

“Hold on, ladies, hold on!  I’m preparing my specialty… guaranteed to knock you out of your heels and make you forget all about your philandering husband, your morally ambiguous lover, and my smokin hot, way older vampire boss!”

“What?” Viola and Emma said simultaneously.

“Huh?  I didn’t say anything…”

The party went on well into the evening, Catelyn and Renee tucked in bed and Cole drunkenly stuck cleaning up the mess.  Shelly glanced into her hand mirror, pleased with how the evening went.  Everyone was pretty hammered, but it was a good time.

“That went well, but maybe we shouldn’t have an open bar next time.”

Cole tried to focus on balancing all the dishes despite his lack of equilibrium, “yeah, wonderful…”

Cole awoke in the morning with a hangover that could kill.  Of course, to make matters worse, Shelly was hovering over him before he was even able to brush the sleep out of his eyes.

“Look, you lush, the headmaster for the Academy is coming and I need you to clean up and look respectable.  I’ll be late, but I should be here in time to schmooze him a bit.  I need you to do the rest.”

He groaned, “…that’s today?”

“Yes, it’s today.  Don’t mess it up.”

Cole didn’t mess it up, he never messed anything up.  He was the perfect husband, father, and host.  That went unnoticed, of course, and Shelly jumped in just in time to grab all the glory.  The girls were accepted and the headmaster even mentioned that he was ‘honored’ to have the newly elected mayor’s children in his institution.

Cole felt like putting his head in the microwave and pushing ‘start’.  Shame it wouldn’t close with his neck in the way.

Despite his lingering depression and temptation to just give up entirely, Cole decided to give it one more try.  He thought that maybe a night out on their own would loosen Shelly up and she’d return to being her normal, pushy self instead of the super wench she’d been lately.

“We need to figure something out, Shelly,” Cole began earnestly.  “The girls are getting older, they’re going to start noticing something is up.  We’re getting older, too…”

“What’s that supposed to mean?  Now you want a divorce?”

“That’s not what I said at all.  I’m trying to build a bridge, here.”

“Go build it off a cliff, Cole.  I’m really sick of dealing with your sniveling.  Why can’t you just accept that I’m an empowered woman?  Why do you have to be so jealous of my achievements?” Shelly said, staring at her menu, unwilling to face him.  “It isn’t my fault you lost your job.”

He sighed, this was going nowhere.  “It’s not about that at all!  It’s about you being a huge, mega bitch.  At first, I thought maybe you and your campaign manager were hooking up on the side, but now I know that’s ridiculous.  There’s no way someone having illicit sex could possibly have a bigger stick up their–”

“Cole!” Shelly snapped, cutting him off.  “What’s wrong with you?  Keep your voice down, we’re in a public place.”

“You can just funnel more of my money into making your image better,” he shot back.  “You know, like you did your campaign.”

Your money?”

“Yes, my money.  Did you forget about that?  It didn’t magically appear because of your job… in fact, your job has cost us way more than it’s earned.  But, you knew that, didn’t you?  It’s the only reason you wanted this.”

Shelly fell silent, looking at him, “I…”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought.  You should have just told me.  I would’ve just given you the money instead of wasting my time all these years.”

The night ended on that note, tense silence falling between them.  They both went home, unsure of where things were headed.  Whatever lied ahead certainly wasn’t going to be pretty.

——————————–

Note from Mao: The next time I decide that it would be “cool” to throw a party and invite almost all of BS, slap me.  Please.  As soon as I hit ‘play’… all hell broke loose!  Seriously.  I have a ton of pictures, but I’m only going to show the ones I particularly liked.

Also, Shelly and Cole refuse to get along.  All they want to do is argue and woohoo, which is pretty hilarious.  Cole drinks quite a bit, too… probably shouldn’t have installed that bar.

Anyway, onto the pictures!

Kit and James got into it several times throughout the party.

Roman spontaneously decided to torment Patrick about his alien heritage! SO MEAN!

Michael does not approve of Francis dancing so closely to Sade...

Emma and Francis being cute in the foreground with Patrick getting slapped by Viola because Katarina flirted with him.

November 30, 2009

Anderson 2 – Round 27: ‘Say Something’

Filed under: Anderson — Tags: , , , , , , — Mao @ 1:04 pm

Hugh and Kenya Anderson are happily in their retirement years.  Their eldest, Lydia, is married off and Rosa is now ‘head of the house’.  Can Rosa keep things together or will the issue with Francis and Emma send her off the deep end?

It had been awhile since the awkward visit to Francis and Emma at University.  Emma was now safely in Aperture, a long way off from Boreal Summit University, but Rosa couldn’t shake the feeling she had.  Francis had been a bit standoffish and Emma… she just seemed so frightened.  Rosa yawned, sleep not coming easily as her mind wandered into territories she’d prefer it didn’t.  She climbed out of bed and prepared herself for the day.

Emma had called late last night saying she wanted to meet Rosa at lunch in Aperture.  If she was going to make it, she needed to get going.

She found Emma at the darkest corner of the bar, a drink set out before her.  It wasn’t even noon yet and Rosa had never really known Emma to be the sort to drink.  She scooted into the bar stool next to her.

“A little early for that, isn’t it?”

Emma sighed, tossing a stray hair from her eyes, “unfortunately, no.  We need to talk, Rosa.”

“What, no ‘how have you been’ or ‘sorry for avoiding you’?  All right, what is it?”

The tension was so thick that the space between them acted as a barrier.  Emma said nothing, gathering her thoughts, trying to figure out how best to go about it.  Rosa watched her, but said nothing.  She simply waited, her anxiety growing with every passing second.

“It’s about Francis,” Emma began.

“Of course,” Rosa said, trying to sound cool, but failing miserably.

“We slept together,” she said suddenly, in a rush of words.

Rosa blinked, not completely surprised but unable to hide in denial any longer.  Her fingers twisted into small fists as her anger grew.  She hopped out of her bar stool, Emma following her.  She was speaking, but Rosa wasn’t listening.

“What is wrong with you?!  First, you try to destroy my sister’s engagement… now you sleep with the only guy I’ve ever even remotely liked?” Rosa raged, drawing the attention of the other patrons but not caring.  She made a frustrated sound, hands cutting through the air.  “Do you have some sort of sick vendetta against my family or something?!”

“This has nothing to do with that!” Emma shot back, trying to remain calm.  “It was only once and I haven’t seen him since.  I felt bad, really bad… so bad that I had to tell you!  Doesn’t that mean anything to you?”

“No, it doesn’t, because it’s you.  This is what you do.  You destroy things.”

“That is way out of line, Rosa,” Emma stiffened, becoming angry.  That one hit a bit too close to home.  “I didn’t pursue him!  I like him, sure, but I kept my distance… it happened because it was mutual, not one-sided.  Why are you just blaming me?  Why don’t you talk to him!”

Rosa crossed her arms over her chest, glaring at Emma, “I’m supposed to believe that you did nothing? I’ve seen you work, Emma.  I’m not stupid!”

“Whatever, Rosa.  Believe what you want,” she hissed, throwing her arms up in frustration.  “The fact of the matter is I had enough consideration to actually tell you.  Francis hasn’t said a word, has he?  Go figure.”  She walked away, washing her hands of the situation.  She’d done her part.

“Augh!  You’re such a tramp!”

As if on cue, Francis called her the next day.  He must have heard through the ‘grapevine’ about Emma and Rosa’s little confrontation.  Of course, it was quite the talk of the town, having taken place in a completely public area with many people watching.  She sighed, picking up the phone, not really wanting to talk.  She still felt hungover from her previous night spent hiding in a bottle of very dark, murky liquid.

“You should have told me,” she said into the receiver, not bothering to listen for a response.  She hung up the phone and walked away.

Hugh’s concern for his youngest was growing.  She’d spent the better part of the weekend drinking and staying out late.  It had never been like Rosa to be so careless.  She was brash, yes, and rebellious, too, but she rarely did something so stupid it made him want to treat her like a five-year-old.  She wandered down to breakfast in a complete daze.

“Spending your days partying and drinking is not going to help your problems go away,” Hugh lectured, ignoring her throaty groan.  “What is it with you two girls?  Always running away.  You need to confront them.”

“Ugh, dad, stop talking,” Rosa mumbled, staring down at her pancakes.  “My head hurts too much.”

Kenya sighed, “we’re worried about you, Rosa.  This isn’t like you at all.”

“Whatever, I need to go… do stuff,” she grumbled, getting up from the table and heading towards the bathroom.  Her stomach hadn’t quite been ready for pancakes.

Rosa followed her parents advice, begrudgingly, and stayed in instead of going out.  Unfortunately, her sobriety only brought back angry thoughts.  She needed to vent her rage.  She walked outside and kicked the soccer ball around until she heard someone approach.  She was surprised to hear Francis’ voice.

“Avoiding me, Rosa?  I do know where you live,” he said, stopping short of her as she kicked another ball forcefully into the net.

“Maybe I have a good reason, maybe I was worried that if I saw you, I’d want to punch your big nose in.”

“Ouch,” he replied, feigning offense.  “That’s not very nice–you know my nose is a family heirloom.”

“Can’t you be serious for once?” Rosa growled, turning to face him.  “I’m not really in the mood for your little ‘charm’, okay?  I seriously want to punch you.  Your face is in jeopardy.”

“I think I can handle myself, but if you’d like, I’ll try and keep a bit of distance.  There, how about that?  You’d need arms made of rubber to reach me now,” he said, taking a step back and gesturing with his hands.  “Now we can talk, right?”

She sighed, shaking her head, “I don’t want to talk.  I already know everything I need to–you suck.”

“That’s great, Rosa.  I’m glad you’ve figured everything out.  I, however, doubt your ability to see the four corners of every square, so I’m just going to go ahead and talk anyway.  I understand why you’re upset, but in all reality, we were never an item.  We never made any promises when I left for University.  I was under the impression that we were friends and everything was okay between us like that.”

“This hasn’t changed my mind any, you still suck,” she frowned.  She didn’t fight when he took her hand, her sadness overwhelming her anger.  “Why Emma?”

“Why anyone?  And who is to say it means anything big, anyway?  You know me, Rosa.  I don’t make big decisions on a whim, it takes me a lifetime.  There’s no need to burn bridges, not when everything is still so… up in the air.”

She closed her eyes, “you’re going to follow your father’s example, then?”

He shrugged, letting her hand fall to her side, “we can’t change who we are, Rosa.  Even if I wanted to be that guy that could say I was totally going to get married and have a billion kids… I couldn’t.  Then I would be my dad.”

“Are you going to see Emma?” She asked, watching his eyes.

“I’m sorry, Rosa,” he said, ignoring her question.  He turned and left without another word, Rosa not moving to stop him.

Her talk with Francis had helped her more than Rosa had initially thought.  She had been sad at first, moping and loafing around the house.  It had been a foolish notion, to expect someone like Francis to share her dreams and hopes.  She had been stupid to put him there, in that place in her mind where he obviously didn’t belong.  She didn’t want that relationship, one with lies and cheating.

Hugh still worried for her, but she continually assured him that she was better now and doing okay.  Lydia called a lot.  Sometimes, she would even visit, but she was pretty busy over there and so was Gregory.

Rosa gathered her plate from the table and took it into the kitchen, not happy, but content.  It was enough, it was better than the alternative.  Her mother called after her:

“Lydia says hi!”

“Hi, Lydia,” she replied, a small smile creeping onto her lips.

Kenya had sent Rosa out on an errand, but Rosa had wandered off and ended up at the cafe.  It was a breezy winter day, the sky clear enough so that it was actually warm enough to enjoy the outdoors.  She walked to the patio, intent on some coffee.  She as surprised to run into Fujin.  She hadn’t seen him during all of this mess, wanting to keep her issues private and to herself.  Besides, she realized how stupid it was to fall for a guy like Francis.  She didn’t need him rubbing it in.

“Wow, you’re outside,” Fujin said, looking her over.  “Looks like it’s been awhile.”

“That’s mean, Fujin.  You don’t know what I’ve been through.  You can make it up to me with coffee.”

“So, you look less brooding than usual.  Did I miss something?” Fujin asked after they took a seat with their coffees in hand.

“It isn’t important, just some silly soap opera stuff.  You’d probably slap me for telling you about it,” she said, taking a long sip.  The coffee felt good going down her throat, the warmth spreading throughout her body.  “I can’t say I’ve come out of it any smarter.  I’m still thinking about it.”

Fujin shrugged, “you never really were that quick to pick up on things, anyway.  It’ll take some time.”

She gave him a look and he laughed.  “You should be careful what you say, I could totally beat you up.”

“You talk about your relationship troubles?  All the women I know want to beat me up.  I never did anything to Grace Saunders except exist and yet, she tortured me throughout school…  I’m still watching over my shoulder!”

“Ha!  I had forgotten about that,” Rosa said, leaning in.  “I saw her the other day, you better watch out, her arms are pretty beefy.”

He shook his head, closing his eyes, “don’t I know it.  I’m the one she toned them on!”

“I would’ve helped you out, but I’m not stupid enough to go after a Saunders.  That’s just pure suicide.”

“Yeah, geeze.  I saw Gordon once and I’ll be thankful if I never see him again.  Scary.”

Rosa smiled, leaning back in her chair, “thanks, Fujin.”

“Hey, what’s the use of misfortune if it can’t cheer someone up?”

———————————

Note from Mao: In regards to the top image, SimPE is still messed up and I’m too lazy to re-install it right now, so I just did a placeholder image of Rosa, LOL!  It’ll work for now.

This is a big old crazy mind-screw of a situation here.  Rosa and Fujin flirt, but it never amounts to anything.  Rosa rolls wants for Francis, Francis rolls wants for her, but then when he’s done, goes right back to Emma.  Emma rolls friendship wants for Rosa that conflict with her wants for Francis.  It’s crazy, it is.  These sims are driving me up the wall.

Also, Grace Saunders is now stalking poor Fujin.  I keep seeing her at lots where he pops up.  LOL!

October 28, 2009

Anderson – Round 27: ‘Fortress Around You’

Filed under: Anderson — Tags: , , , , , , — Mao @ 9:32 pm

Nevio Anderson is convinced his family is cursed, so he’s given up on finding just one lady.  Adora and Simon are newlyweds hoping to start a family.  The curse only affects Nevio, right?

Nevio continues his womanizing ways.  He’s tried to change, but the world has proved to him that it just isn’t an option.  This is what he’s meant to be, a man of many women, even at his age.  It’s been a long time, but sometimes, he wonders where Lacie went.  This whole mess started with her.  Maybe she’s a witch?

Adora wasn’t having much luck.  She’d been taking cooking courses, but they did very little to help her culinary skills.  She seemed almost determined to burn everything she tried cooking.  One day, she accidentally set the oven on fire.  The fire department was quick to respond.  Good thing, too, as she was home alone that day…

Adora’s inability to focus was revealed to be a side-effect of her pregnancy.  She had no idea she was expecting, she and Simon had been trying, but nothing had happened.  It was definitely a surprise.  By the time she found out, she was already showing.  Simon was estatic and Adora was pretty excited, too.

Unfortunately, Nevio did not share their enthusiasm.  He was worried.  His past experiences had made him a bit superstitious.

“You need to be careful and take good care of yourself,” he warned Adora at breakfast.

“Dad, I’ll be fine.  Those were just freak coincidences.”

“There’s no need to scare her, Nevio,” Simon cautioned, not understanding his father-in-law’s hang-up on pregnant women ending up dead.

“I’m just worried.  Promise me you’ll take it easy.”

“Okay, daddy,” Adora said, squeezing her father’s hand.  “I’ll be careful.”

Of course, careful didn’t exclude enjoying one another’s company, did it?  Adora’s pregnancy did nothing to put a damper on their amorous relations.  Simon and Adora got along perfectly, like two puzzle pieces.  They weren’t your typical married couple, neither had doubts or reservations.  Adora was certain she made the right choice and Simon was deeply in love.  He’d always been, since they had met.

It would seem Nevio’s warning wasn’t without merit.  Adora was trying to make herself a snack and somehow, caught her dress on fire.  It was late at night, both Nevio and Simon were sound asleep in their beds.  Thankfully, the fire alarm woke them and alerted the fire department, which came running.

Again, Adora was saved from a close call.  Unfortunately, she suffered some burns.  She was hospitalized and when released, put on bed rest and told to let her wounds heal.

Adora did her best to rest, but laying in bed all day was terribly boring.  Simon and Nevio kept a careful eye on her and wouldn’t allow her to do anything without their help.  It was frustrating.  She scrambled out of bed one evening, despite Simon’s protests.

“I just need to use the bathroom,” she replied wearily.  “I can make it on my own.”

Simon and Nevio couldn’t lord over her all day, though, they had jobs to go to.  During the day, Isolde walked over and checked on her sister.  Unfortunately, one day she came in to a very disturbing scene.  Adora was on the ground and she wasn’t responding.  The maid walked in shortly after Isolde and it was all she could do not to flee in terror.  Isolde phoned 911, but it was too late.

Adora had suffered complications from her wounds.  The pregnancy had exhausted her already wearied body and it wasn’t able to heal as it should have.  Isolde was beside herself with grief.

Nevio and Simon hurried home as soon as they heard the news.  Simon collapsed on the walkway, unable to face reality while Nevio was overcome with his own grief.  He had been right, the family was cursed.  Now the curse had taken his daughter.

Isolde was waiting for them inside.  She had something that would help bring Adora back.  Given her workings in the occult, she had managed to secure a rare artifact that supposedly gave whoever rubbed it the chance to bring a loved one back.  It was a risky process, this much Isolde knew from her mentor Lilith Yu’s notes.

Still, they were all willing to risk it.  They wanted Adora back.

October 22, 2009

Anderson 5 – Round 26: ‘Borderline’

Filed under: Anderson,O`Hanlon — Tags: , , , , , , — Mao @ 11:49 am

James Anderson seems to have recovered from Kit Knight’s betrayal with the help of Maggie O`Hanlon.  Unfortunately, dating your best friend’s younger sister is tricky business.  Katarina just hopes this one isn’t as messed up in the head as Kit.

James and Maggie’s relationship began rather abruptly, but despite that, they seemed to make it work.  There was one small hitch though, Maggie’s older brother, Timothy, didn’t know.  He wouldn’t look too kindly on James “taking advantage” of his younger sister, not at all.  So they had to keep their relationship quiet, which was rather easy, because Timothy rarely came into Aperture.

Katarina didn’t seem to mind the change in the house.  She knew Maggie had a thing for James, anyway, and that it was bound to happen.  She took her chance to pass on sage advice learned over her many years.

“They say you lose it once you get older,” Katarina began, her lips quirking into a smirk as she looked at Maggie.  “Not true, that’s when you really know what you’re doing!”

James sighed, “mom, come on.  We’re trying to eat.”

“Wow, that’s… how is that even possible?”  Maggie pondered aloud, unable to quell her curiosity.  “Don’t your bones and stuff hurt?”

“Sure, but like they say… what’s worth doing is gonna hurt afterwards!”

Maggie had avoided Boreal Springs since she and James had begun dating.  She hated lying to her family and it was hard to look Timothy in the eye now.  She felt so deceptive!  She wanted to tell him, but she knew he’d throw a fit and be dramatic.  She drove to Boreal Springs one afternoon on a whim, with the intent to tell him, but chickened out and had lunch with Adora and Isolde instead.

“Maybe he won’t freak out, you might be surprised,” Adora said.

“No, he’ll freak out,” Isolde corrected.  “But you have to tell him.  He’s your brother, Maggie.”

“He’ll just throw a fit and treat me like I’m twelve all over again.  No way.”

Isolde sighed, “he’s just concerned about you.  That thing with Kit was a big mess, you know that.  You can’t just get over something like that.”

Desperate for a change of subject, Maggie pulled Adora back into the conversation, asking after her political ambitions.

“Yeah, sis, what about those political ambitions?  Grandma Alyssa is probably rolling around in her grave!”

Adora frowned, “I just don’t have any interest.  It’s not in me.  I want a family and besides, Shelly is our political genius.  The family name has had enough political scandal, don’t you think?”

“Rolling, sis.  She’s rolling and screaming,” Isolde replied, smirking.  “I know this because of my witchy learnings.”

“Then let her scream.  She’s the one who messed it all up, anyway.  Dad is a wreck.”

“Speaking of which, Maggie, what’s up with your outfit?”

“W-what?  What’s wrong with it?” She replied self-consciously, looking down at her floral pattern shirt.  It was hip, the outfit was trendy right down to her ridiculous sling-back heels.  “I love this outfit!”

Adora shook her head, “no, I mean.  You’re… all big.  Look at your boobs!  Where did those come from?”

“She’s just jealous, Maggie, ignore her,” Isolde said, giving her younger sister a reproachful look.

Their lunch continued on with idle conversation passing back and forth.  It had been too long since Maggie had a chance to sit down with girls and talk, it felt good.  Of course, the longer they sat, the more scandalous their chatter became.  Isolde decided to draw the line when Maggie asked her a rather personal question.

“Was it really with Timothy?  I mean, come on, you can tell us!”

Isolde sipped her drink meaningfully, “I’m not having this discussion with my husband’s younger sister!”

“It was,” Adora supplied.  “It totally was.  I’ve slept with more men than my sister!”

Maggie turned towards Adora, “wow, really?  Who?”

After their meal was finished, Adora had to hurry back home to run some errands.  Isolde stayed behind, unable to hide her worry.  There was something off about Maggie, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it.  She cornered her before she could leave.

“Is there something wrong, Maggie?  Something you need to tell me?”

“What?  No, I’m fine, everything’s fine.  I’ll have to grow some more courage, for Timothy, I mean.  It isn’t happening today.”

“You know you can tell me, I won’t tell Timothy.”

“It’s all right, really, Isolde.  I’m fine.  I’ll give you a call later.”

“All right,” Isolde said, watching her walk to her car, “be careful.”

A few weeks later, Maggie found herself holed up in the bathroom at 5am.  She hadn’t been feeling well at all lately and it only seemed to get worse.  She sprinted to the bathroom so fast she nearly ripped the covers off the bed.  She barely managed to make it in time.  She flushed the toilet, trying not to stare at what swirled downwards.

“That’s just gross,” Maggie lamented, closing her eyes.  “Gross.”

She could hear James outside, gathering things for work.  He always left really early, it was probably 5:30 by now.  He probably needed in the bathroom.  Maggie just couldn’t get her head straight.  She splashed hot water over her face in an attempt to bring herself back.  It helped, if only a little.

She heard a small knock on the door followed by James’ voice, “are you all right?”

“I’m fine,” she replied, muffled behind another cascade of water enveloping her face.  “I’ll be out in a sec.”

She let the water drip off her face, onto her tanktop, not bothering with the towel that hung from the sink rack.  It was all she could do to stand upright.  She put her arm over her eyes, the room was too bright, too white.  She felt like she was spinning.

“Maggie?”

She braced herself on the sink and stared at her reflection in the mirror.  It was hard to ignore the small bit of weight she had gained in her midsection.  It was becoming ever more obvious with each passing day.  She closed her eyes and pushed off the sink.

“I’m coming.”

———————————

Note from Mao: Sorry it took me a little longer to update BS.  I seem to have come down with something that, hopefully, is NOT Swine Flu.  So I’ve been off my feet for a bit, watching series on Netflix.  Husband’s computer is hooked up to our 50″ Samsung plasma because we have yet to get satellite, LOL.  I’m all moved into the new apartment and everything, so that’s good.  Updates will continue at whatever speed I can manage.

As for Maggie’s unexpected little pregnancy… it was only a matter of time.  When I loaded the lot, James had rolled the “Have a Baby” want, so I locked it and allowed unmarried Try for Baby.  Maggie has yet to roll up any such want.  Poor girl, LOL!  Timothy is going to have a fit.

August 4, 2009

Anderson 4 – Round 26: ‘Once in a Lifetime’

Filed under: Anderson — Tags: , , , , , — Mao @ 10:25 am

Roman Anderson has fulfilled his goal of making a name for himself besides simply being an ‘Anderson’; now he simply needs to ensure that Gregory can fill his shoes and carry on what he started.  Cara is a bit more of a ‘feeler’ than her husband and knows there’s more on Gregory’s mind than businesses and family expectations.

Gregory is barely home a day before the grilling begins.  Roman doesn’t waste any time asking his son what’s going on with this Lydia business.

“If you’re not getting married, why does she still have the ring?”

Cara knows better than to jump to Gregory’s defense, so she sits quietly, waiting.  Gregory is silent for a moment.

“Well,” Roman insists.  “What’s going on, then?”

“It’s complicated, but I’m working on it.”

“Sweetie, you can’t force someone to marry you.  That’s not how it works,” Cara says, not quite understanding the issue.

Gregory shook his head, “I just need to talk to Lydia.  That’s all.  I’ll take care of it, just… give me some time.”

“Ha, time!  If only we all had such a luxury.” Roman sighed.  “Just make sure this mess is taken care of.  I don’t need our good family name drug through the mud because of Emma Davis.”

Despite Roman’s claims that he would be patient, Gregory knew better.  He was forced to go to all his father’s businesses and help him ‘clear his mind’.  While there, several high-society women around his own age just happened to be there, too.  Gregory was uninterested.  He would politely excuse himself and then get back to his duties.

One day, Roman left him alone at one of his newer businesses.  The employees were good and knew what to do, so Gregory was bored.  He wandered upstairs and started shooting some pool when he was joined by another.

Gordon Saunders hadn’t expected to find Gregory here.  He’d been looking for Roman.  The two had never actually met before, so Gordon was pretty sure that Gregory had no idea who he was.  He decided to play this to his advantage.

“Do you mind if I join you?”

“No,” Gregory said, not bothering to look back.  He was racking up the balls.  “But I warn you, I’m a bit good at this.”

Gordon chuckled, “so am I.  Years of practice.”

“You first, then.  Let’s see what you’ve got.”

When it was finally Gregory’s turn again, he was beginning to regret letting the mysterious stranger go first.  He’d sunk nearly half of his stripes in mere moments’ time.  A tiny slip-up allowed Gregory an opening, thankfully.  He leaned against the table, sucking in a breath, checking his possible moves.

“You seem troubled.”

“A bit,” Gregory replied, distracted.  He had one good shot, but it was going to take all of his skill to execute it.  “The usual ‘young love goes bust due to a misunderstanding and an overly amorous friend’ scenario that literature and movies seem to favor so much now.”

“It isn’t always a misunderstanding.  Sometimes, the man is just trying to have his cake and eat it, too.”

Gregory laughed, “Emma will always just be a friend, that’s it.  Just a friend.  But… Lydia…”

“Not so good at talking while you shoot, are you?  Perhaps you should concentrate more,” Gordon offered, grinning behind him.  This was turning out more informative than he’d planned.

“I’m just getting frustrated thinking about it.  She knew about Lydia, I confided in her, and she used it against me.  I don’t even think I can consider her a friend anymore, especially if she’s turned Lydia against me for good.”

“Maybe you should try talking to her… Lydia, that is.  Perhaps she’ll listen.  It’s been enough time now, hasn’t it?”

“I suppose… and I’ve tried.  I mean, I’ve gone over, but never been able to actually knock.  I always leave.  I’m a coward, I know, but it’s complicated.”

“Of course it is,” Gordon said, propping himself up with his pool stick.  “It’s always complicated.  That’s the simple way of ending it, isn’t it?  It’s complicated, so I can’t be bothered.”

“Th-that’s not what I meant at all!”

“Then why haven’t you done anything about it?”

Gregory lost his shot, the cue ball smacking violently against the edge of the table and rolling useless by the ball he had intended to sink.  He sighed, closing his eyes.

“Look, kid, if you want to get through life with even a scrap of your soul left, you’ve got to be a fighter.”

“You’re not, and that’s why you’re going to lose this game,” he continued, calling his shot confidently.  He aimed it up and nailed it.  “Consider this a new beginning.  From now on, you fight to win.  You want something?  You get it.  You want this girl–this Lydia?  Then you go after her.  If she didn’t love you, she wouldn’t still be waiting, would she?  Forget about Emma.  She’s my problem.”

Gregory blinked, “what?  I didn’t mean–”

“She’s my granddaughter, Gregory.  I’ll take care of her.  She’s been running a bit too wild for my tastes, anyway,” Gordon said, putting his stick back on the rack.

“B-buh…” Gregory felt like a sudden weight had fallen on his head, “G-Gordon Saunders?”

“Have a good night,” he said, turning to leave.  “And good luck.”

Despite the fact that the pep talk came from his father’s worst enemy, Gregory found himself suddenly filled with new-found determination.  He called Lydia and lucky for him, Rosa answered.  She wasted no time putting her sister on the phone.

“Lydia, wait, before you hang up… just listen to me,” Gregory pleaded, hoping she hadn’t already thrown the phone at its cradle.

There was silence on the other end, but no dial tone.

“I just want to talk to you.  If you don’t agree and hang up on me, I’ll just come over to your house and everything will be awkward.”

She hesitated before saying, “we can meet in Aperture.”

They met at a small, scenic park in downtown Aperture.  The city was growing and had recently begun a revitalization project that involved beautifying and improving on parks and scenery.  Apartment buildings were going up all over the place as people scrambled to move into the newly renovated city center.

Lydia’s apprehension was written all over her face, but beneath it there was something else, too.  They hadn’t seen one another since University.  It was ridiculous the amount of time that had passed since then.

“I was surprised when you suggest Aperture.”

Lydia gave a small shrug, “I can’t live with my parents forever.”

Gregory tried not to let that remark sting too deeply, “are you hungry?  We can get lunch, there’s a cafe nearby…”

Lydia was hungry, so she followed Gregory to the small cafe just beside the park.  It was just as scenic, with a little deck and pond behind it.  Odd to see in the middle of downtown, but pretty all the same.

“Lydia, I’m sorry about University–”

“I’m over that,” Lydia confessed, facing him for the first time since they sat down.  “I mean, it was stupid.  I know it was Emma.  I feel bad for thinking otherwise, but, well… it’s Emma.”

Gregory felt like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders.  He tried not to smile too much, “so, then, what’s the problem?”

“I’ve had a lot of time to think.  I care about you, a lot, but… is it enough?  I mean, if the Emma thing threw us into such a tailspin, then what next?  We’re from two different worlds.”

“Like you said, it was Emma.  Everyone knows your history with her isn’t that great.  That’s over and done with, though.  I’ll never go around her again.  I just… I don’t want to do this anymore, Lydia.  We were doing great and then, suddenly, I don’t know.  I just know that I don’t want to go through having you gone again.”

She sighed, “your father hates me, Roman.  You know he’s against us being together.  He probably thinks I want your money or something.”

“He thinks everyone wants his money.  He’s difficult, but he’s not a bad person.  Everything is just kind of crazy right now.  Once my parents are sure everything is fine, they’ll accept you.”

“I just don’t know, I don’t think I’m cut out to deal with all that… that stuff.  I wasn’t raised into it like you were.”

Gregory, taking a chance, pulled her closer and took her hand.  She was still wearing the ring.  He wasn’t necessarily surprised, but made a show of it anyway, “you’re still wearing the ring.”

“I… I didn’t want to lose it,” Lydia replied quickly, feeling a little embarassed suddenly.

“Stop making excuses, Lydia.  If you’re afraid, that’s fine… I am, too.  We’re been friends forever.  I don’t want anything to ruin that, but I love you.  I want you to be more than my friend.  At least give it… give me a chance to prove to you that it isn’t such a bad thing.”

Lydia paused, closing her eyes.  She gave his hand a squeeze and nodded firmly, “all right.  One chance, though, that’s all you get.  I’ll tell you right now, though, that I have no idea what all those forks are for.”

“Me, either,” he laughed, unable to help himself.  “I just go from the outside in.  Don’t tell my parents, though.  They’d be horrified at my lack of culture and refined learning.”

—————————–

Note from Mao: Yay, finally, these two have come together… AGAIN.  Let’s hope Gordon makes good on his promise to keep Emma otherwise engaged.  Speaking of that, Roman WAS watching one of Roman’s businesses.  He got bored, went upstairs.  Lo and behold, who should come onto the lot in the night but Gordon Saunders… who immediately joined him at pool.  Gordon has been practicing, apparently.  He kicked Gregory’s poor butt.

Given Gordon’s experience, general mindset, and overall nature, I figured it was only proper that he was telling Gregory to get off his butt and DO something.

July 24, 2009

Anderson 3 – Round 26: ‘Heart and Soul’

Filed under: Anderson — Tags: , , , , — Mao @ 5:45 pm

Cole and Shelly Anderson are an unlikely match-up, but so far, it works.  They’ve got twins to contend with now, though.  Can they manage their respective careers while also juggling the duties of parenthood?

Renee and Catelyn were walking and trying to talk before Cole or Shelly could fathom it.  Of course, having two is a lot more hectic than just one and being new parents without the help of their own parents, well, that didn’t help.  Shelly’s political career took up a lot of her time, so Cole shouldered most of the burden.  It wasn’t that his career wasn’t important, it was just that Shelly’s was a bit bigger and had time restraints.  So Cole tried to juggle his own job with caring for the girls almost exclusively on his own.

Of course, a situation like that is guaranteed not to work out.  Cole’s boss wasn’t very happy about his sudden slacking and canned him.  When Cole tried to get his job back, his boss laughed and told him that maybe, when he grew a spine, he could come back.  Until then, he was blacklisted.  Cole, of course, was upset.

Shelly’s career, meanwhile, was taking off.  She had her campaign manager attached to her hip at almost every second of the day, whether he was physically there or on the cellphone, Shelly didn’t go an hour without speaking to him.  She was getting close, so close, to becoming Mayor she could almost taste it.  It fueled her narrow-minded ambition and she found it hard to really focus on anything else.  So when Cole expressed his sorrow over losing his job, she was a little shocked.  What was she supposed to do about it?  It wasn’t her fault he was inept at his career.

Instead of being supportive, Shelly found herself being rather cruel.  It was the stress talking, she was sitting on pins and needles, watching the polls with trepidation.  Every morning, she woke up, convinced it was hers only to find out that the competitor had somehow managed to one-up her.

“It isn’t my fault you lost your job, what do you want me to do about?”

Cole was a little shocked by her callous reply, “I was just letting you know.”

“Well, thanks, but you better figure something else.  The fact that you look alien is hurting my campaign.  Thank goodness the girls look normal.”

“You’re kidding, right?  That had better have been a very cruel joke, Shelly.”

She rolled her eyes, turning on her heels.  She left the room, but not before offering one last jab, “unlike you, I’m dead serious about my work.  Figure it out.”

Cole decided that it was kind of moot to go searching through jobs he didn’t really want.  The only other option was to become a stay-at-home dad.  It wasn’t like they needed the income, Cole’s parents had left him a hefty inheritance.  How else was Shelly able to funnel so much money into her overblown campaign?  He fired the hired help and took on the care of the girls full-time.  He knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but he didn’t expect it to be as hard as it turned out to be…

For the most part, the girls were good.  Catelyn enjoy being tickled and Renee loved being tossed in the air.  Unfortunately, the girls were fussy toddlers and demanded attention at all times.  Whenever they were awake, they were glued to Cole and he was unable to do anything but give in to their every whim.  He wasn’t quite sure when this cycle of women stomping all over him had started, but it was getting a bit ridiculous now.

Shelly spent the majority of her days on the campaign trail and at her office.  She had no idea what went on while she was away.  She saw the girls, but only for short periods of time, and never long enough for them to throw a tantrum or start screaming and wailing for no reason.  Needless to say, but the end of the day, Cole was exhausted.  Shelly complained that he had no reason to be grumpy and tired, he was home all day while she was out working.  It wasn’t like the girls were up all hours of the day.

Cole usually ignored her, waiting until she left him alone to finally go to sleep.  Sometimes, he was tempted to just go in his parents’ old room and have his peace and quiet.

When Shelly was home, she was glued to her cellphone, usually talking to her flashy campaign manager or someone equally as winded.  She never seemed to get off the phone, she would even eat and talk at the same time.  It was a little bit ridiculous.  Cole eventually gave up on trying to talk to her.  What was the point?  She was usually mean and scathing anyway.

Renee and Catelyn were soon old enough for school and quite excited about it, too.  Cole was thankful for the break, being alone from seven am to three pm would be a blessing.  Maybe then he could actually get something done or unwind from all the stress.  Things between him and Shelly were becoming increasingly tense and he was hoping to alleviate some of it by not arguing with her.  If he could just get some time to himself, he’d be more pliable in conversation, instead of just leaving the room or ignoring her.

The girls weren’t about to make it easy on him, though.  They were just as rambunctious and demanding as ever, maybe even more so now.  They were constantly teasing and tormenting each other.  One particular fight had them running around the house.  Catelyn gave Renee a shove, knocking her into an expensive vase that was on display.  Cole entered the room only to find the vase in pieces on the floor, Renee in the middle of it, Catelyn looking dumbfounded.

They were suitably punished, of course, but it didn’t seem to do a thing.  They would just fight again.

When they weren’t fighting, they were joining forces to terrorize something–or someone–else.  They’d been tasked to rake leaves only to start throwing the piles all over the yard, kicking and screaming.  Sure, it looked like good natured fun to passerbys, but to them, they knew exactly what they were doing.  It was almost as if their goal in life was to cause chaos.  Cole sighed, he was close to just throwing in the towel and letting them begin their descent into the realm of spoiled brats.

Shelly didn’t help matters at all.  She fueled their demanding nature by buying them expensive things while she was gone.  The election was coming to a close and she was winning by a longshot.  She was just waiting for the day her victory was announced.  Until then, she showered her girls with gifts and bought a few nice things for herself.  Cole was unphased.  He had given up on trying to mediate the income a long time ago.  It was techncially his inheritance, but when you’re married, well, what’s yours becomes theirs.

——————————

Note from Mao: I feel so bad for poor Cole!  He is surrounded by evil women, I swear.  The girls have three nice points between them (and maxed active) and Shelly, well, she was never very nice to begin with.  Cole lost his job the first day due to a stupid chance card and when he tried to plead for it back, his boss laughed in his face!  Since the girls were such a handful, I had him stay home.  His aspiration bar has dipped low red since and his motives are always yellow.  I just can’t seem to make him happy.  Poor Cole!

July 22, 2009

Anderson 2 – Round 26: ‘Colorblind’

Filed under: Anderson — Tags: , , , , , — Mao @ 2:01 pm

Hugh and Kenya Anderson welcome their eldest daughter, Lydia, back home while she tries to figure out what she’s going to do next.  Rosa isn’t too happy about her sister’s intrusion, fearing she plans to take her spot as heir.

Lydia wasn’t quite sure how she felt about coming back home.  She was staying in her grandmother Kate’s old room.  It was the same as it had always been, completely unchanged, right down to the crazy yellow wallpaper.  It felt weird to sit down on the bed.  She couldn’t stay in her old room, that was Rosa’s now.  She was a guest in her own home.

Absently, she glanced at the ring on her finger.  She hadn’t taken it off.  She had every intention of returning it… but until then, it was safest there.  It wouldn’t get lost if it was on her finger.

She felt bad about putting her family in the middle of her mess.  She happened upon her father dutifully screening a call from Gregory, kindly telling him that Lydia wasn’t home.  Of course she was home, she didn’t leave for fear of running into him.  She was a big old coward, to be honest.  Everyone told her she was an idiot, that nothing happened, but they hadn’t seen what she had.  She opened herself up and got smacked in the face, now she had lost her best friend.

Maybe it would have been better if she’d just let Emma win in the first place.  At least then they could still be friends and she wouldn’t feel so empty.

Rosa wasn’t very welcoming, Lydia hadn’t anticipated she would.  Word spread fast about Kit moving back home and taking Jennifer’s spot as heir.  Lydia didn’t want to stay home, she wanted to leave, to run away to some far away place, but her family refused.  She had no intention of facing it, of facing him.

“Isn’t it bad enough you’ve taken over the house?” Rosa grumbled.  “Do you have to take over the pool, too?”

Rosa wasn’t trying to be insensitive, but she wasn’t going to pussyfoot around the issue like everyone else.  Lydia was being an idiot.  Everyone knew that the situation was a huge misunderstanding, no thanks to one Emma Davis.  Gregory had been after Lydia since they were teens.  It wasn’t at all likely he’d just turn around and go with Emma the day after they get engaged.

She spoke her mind freely to everyone on the subject, much to Kenya’s chagrin.  She just wished it could remain a private matter.

“Just because you’re a college graduate doesn’t mean you can come home and boot me out,” Rosa said, glancing at her mother.  “That’s what’s going to happen, isn’t it?”

Kenya sighed, “no, it isn’t.  Stop being rude, Rosa.  You know better than that… Lydia needs her family right now and you’re not helping.  If you can’t contribute, then be silent.”

Kenya rarely, if ever, got firm with her children, but she’d had about enough of Rosa’s poor attitude.

“I’m just saying,” Rosa replied, humbled.  She ate quietly for the rest of the dinner.

Lydia just kind of stared forward and said nothing.

Instead of going to bed, Lydia often went out to the pool and watched the stars.  There was a great view of the sky from this spot and the sound of the distant ocean was relaxing.  It was a shame the old lighthouse was retired, but it definitely added to the view.

It had been long enough now for Lydia to see the situation rationally.  She knew there was a chance that it was a misunderstanding, but it still hurt.  She couldn’t wipe the image from her mind.  Emma Davis was determined, opportunistic, and spoiled.  She had her family under her thumb and she always, always got what she wanted.  Even if she hadn’t gotten Gregory this time, how long until she did?

It wasn’t as if she’d just give up.  She’d keep trying and it’d make their relationship strained and filled with suspicion.  Lydia wasn’t sure if she could handle that.

“I know this is your problem and you have to work it out on your own,” Hugh began one morning, speaking out about the issue for the first time since Lydia had arrived.  “But I don’t get it, sweetie.  You two had fun, right?  You’ve been friends a long, long time… and for awhile, you were happy together.  He’s a good kid, and Emma, well, I don’t know what to say about her.  But I know, in my gut, this isn’t what it seems.”

Lydia sighed, “I know, but that’s not the problem anymore.”

“He still hasn’t come for the ring,” Hugh said hopefully, glancing at her finger.

She quickly hid her hand under the table, “I’m sure Roman wishes he would, though.  I’m half expecting him to walk up and yank it off my hand.”  She stared down at her plate, eyes listless.  “I don’t know if I can do it.  I’m scared.”

“You should talk to him, find out the truth, and decide from there.  You can’t hide forever.”

Rosa and Emma Davis were friends, but not in the extreme sense.  Rosa wasn’t exactly surprised when her friend called and began asking her questions.  Rosa rolled her eyes.

“Look, Emma, whatever you did was really stupid, okay?  You’re messing up things for a lot of people and that’s not cool.  Worse yet, you’re messing with my sister.  So you just need to butt out.”

She hung the phone up on its cradle without waiting for a response, walking away as if nothing had happened.  Rosa was sure Emma hadn’t meant any harm, but she was sick of all this crap.

Gregory had been by, but no one knew that.  He came just before it was unseemly to visit.  He’d go towards the door, but lose his nerve at the last minute, turn around, and walk down the street back to his house.

Sometimes, Lydia would get the urge to go out onto the balcony.  She’d tiptoe quietly through her parents’ room and out onto the small little balcony that held the telescope.  She’d wander to the edge and look down.  There was no one there, the entire street hushed and quiet.  It was eerie, almost.

If she looked far enough down the street, sometimes, she’d swear she saw a figure walking the opposite direction.

————————————

Note from Mao: Emma really did call Rosa, which I thought was hilarious.  How inappropriate!  Poor Lydia.  She’s no longer angry, but I can’t see her just jumping back into the saddle, not when she was so apprehensive to begin with.  It’s like breaking a horse who is extra spooked.  One wrong move and all that work is undone.  Gregory actually did walk by several times, but he never visited.  :(

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