2.16

02-17-15_11-33 PM-2

Being pregnant wasn’t as bad as everyone had made it out to be. Even Mum had told me in the end that it wasn’t all joy and happiness, but that it actually wore you down and played on your patience a lot. My doctor told me that being as healthy and physically fit as I was helped, but that sooner or later the pain of it all would catch up with me. My body did hurt already, but it was nothing compared to the muscle aches I had put myself through, and it was definitely nothing I couldn’t handle.

I thought I should try and improve my cooking skills a little for his or her sake. I didn’t mind my badly cooked food every now and again but had never put any real effort into my meals and figured that my baby wouldn’t want to live off sandwiches, eggs on toast and salads forever. I was still a long way off the quality my Mum’s food had, but it was slowly becoming edible. If nothing else I got to eat freshly pepared food rather than leftovers more often, and was beginning to enjoy what I was making as I got better. Who knew you had to turn the temperature down again when pouring in the pancaker batter! The more I learned through trial and a lot of error the less surprised I was at how often my meals had burnt.

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A few weeks after the attack I bought a punching bag. I knew that it shouldn’t have been a priority buy, but I felt a little safer having it. I was fast, and I could kick a football into the goal from relatively far away, but as I had found out the hard way I knew nothing about self-defence. No one was going to let me start classes now half way through my pregnancy, but at the very least I could start practising my punches myself. Once my child was old enough I’d be able to teach him or her a few things and sign them up for self-defence classes. What had happened to me would not happen again, and it definitely was not going to happen to my baby!

As the months went by it got more difficult to run on my treadmill for long, too, but throwing a few punches here and there was still bearable and better than no exercise at all.

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Against my Doctor’s advice I continued to go to work. It didn’t take long until I couldn’t take part in matches any more, but my boss allowed me to join the training for as long as I could. When that became too tiring and painful, I watched from the sidelines and cheered my team on. I was effectively back at the bottom of my career for the rest of my pregnancy, but no one made me wear that costume again and my boss was grateful that I was happy to offer moral support.

When I was only three months away from my due date Gemma, Mum and I went to the baby store a couple of towns over. It was a forty minute drive, but Oasis Springs only had a small store at the moment and my baby was due before the new store was meant to open, so we thought we might as well go a little further. The place we went to had beautiful furniture, and Mum and Gemma were gushing over small paintings and stuffed toys before we had spent ten minutes inside. It was a little more expensive, but everything was of very good quality and I had the money spare to be able to afford it.

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I had decided against adding a whole new room to the house. I had spoken with a few different contractors, and each of them had assured me that the shape of my roof would make it difficult to add on to what I had already. All of them gave me higher estimated fees than the last one, so in the end I decided to turn my small dining room into the nursery. Since it would just be me, the baby and one day hopefully Gemma I didn’t need a room just for my table and chairs, and moved them into the living room once we had moved things around a little. Or rather, once Mum, Milan and Gemma had moved things around a little – I was forbidden from moving anything even an inch, no matter how much I assured them that I was fine.

Of course, I didn’t stay ‘fine’ for much longer after that.

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I was huge, and my back was in constant pain. Mum seemed a little smug whenever she thought I wasn’t looking, but neither of us said anything. The pain and aches had finally caught up with me, and I was too hot most of the time. I woke up one day panicking because none of my outfits really suited me being a mother, so Mum and I went into town the next day and I bought a few new things. She told me it was normal to have small, random panic attacks and cravings during pregnancy, but I could see her chuckle at my sudden need to buy new clothes. I felt much more comfortable in my new things, and even tied my hair back. Since I was feeling too hot so often I was also sweating a lot, and having my hair tied back in a pony tail helped a little.

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Neither Gemma nor Mum let me go through this pregnancy without discussing baby names with me. We eventually decided on Sophia for a girl, and Leo if I was having a boy. My doctor had offered to tell me the gender but I still wanted it to be a surprise, so we prepared for each case.

Once I entered my eighth month either Mum or Gemma were over every day, all day. They took turns staying over in case my water broke early, and jumped at every small ache I had. We had a bag packed ready to go, and for the last three weeks I wasn’t sure who was more on edge.

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Both of them loved listening and talking to my huge belly, and made all sorts of promises I hoped they’d keep once it was time. Mum kept promising that she’d babysit as often as I wanted, and that she was looking forward to all the girl’s nights in they were going to have. My reminders that we didn’t know that I was having a girl fell on deaf ears.

Gemma was just as excited, and promised my baby all the chocolate they could eat as well as some other things.

“You know, if you end up moving in with me I can’t let you feed him or her nothing but sweets. There’ll be house rules, you know.”

“Sure, but I’m not a biological parent! I can act more like their aunty, which makes it my job to spoil them!” My reminders that this was Mum’s job and not hers also fell on deaf ears.

As nice as it had been at first, the closer I got to my due date the more annoyed I got with them being over all the time. Mum told me it was just my hormones going wild, but Gemma looked a little hurt whenever I told her that I really needed a minute alone. I wasn’t used to living with someone all the time and it was all starting to get to me. The constant attention, the jumping at every sharp intake of breath, the pain everywhere, my Mum calling me every day she wasn’t with me and Gemma calling on all other days – I was desperately ready for this baby to be born.

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And then, one night, my water broke. I had been feeling peckish at all random times of the day, and was just on my way back into bed from the kitchen when the worst, most intense pain I had ever felt shot through me. Taken by surprise by it I screamed, waking up Gemma who rushed to my side immediately. She had been napping on top of the covers in her clothes rather than under the covers in her pj’s for about a week so she’d be ready to go whenever it happened. I hadn’t thought it was necessary but now that it was time I was very grateful that she had disagreed with me.

Gemma helped me downstairs, grabbed the bag along the way and led me into the car from where I called Mum while Gemma rushed me to the hospital. All I did was scream into the phone but Mum understood what was happening and arrived at the hospital ten minutes after we did. Milan arrived shortly after, and twelve agonising hours later so did my beautiful baby daughter.

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We were kept at the hospital for a couple of days so that all important tests could be run, and once both of us had received a clean bill of health we were allowed to go home.

Now I just had to hope that I’d be a good Mum for Sophia, and everything would be alright.

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2.15

02-17-15_9-16 PM

“Mum? Are you home?”

“I am, sweetheart. You know I’m always home at this time. Did something happen?”

I hesitated for a second, not wanting to say it out loud. “I need to talk to you. Can I come over? Please?”

“Of course you can, sweetheart! Milan is here as well, but I can ask him to leave if-”

“N-no, that’s fine, he can stay.”

“Can you at least tell me what’s wrong? I’m worrie-” I hang up before she could finish that sentence. Before I could tell her I had to admit it to myself first, and that wasn’t so easy.

It had been a busy month. Gemma had moved out again, and I had to give my statement of what had happened to the police who had assured me that Blaine was locked away for now, and would be locked away for a while once the official hearing was over. I really didn’t want to have to attend that in a few months time, and was hoping that my statement alone would be enough. After that I had gone back to work, and threw myself into getting a promotion to help me forget about what had happened. It worked pretty well, especially when my boss told me that I was being considered for the next promotion – until I realised that my period was two weeks late. I had never been late, and Doctor Nikolaidis had assured me that a shock such as what I had experienced could confuse things for a little while, but I had a nagging feeling that a shock to my system wasn’t what was causing this. So I went back for another appointment, and had the test done.

I was- I was- pregnant. I was having a baby. His baby.

I spent the rest of that day in a daze, going home and throwing up violently once I had made it inside. I couldn’t be a mother. I wasn’t fit to be a mother! I couldn’t cook, there was no spare room in my house, and what if the child would be like him? Look like him, speak like him, deranged like him? What would I do if somehow my baby was as insane as Blaine? What would I do if it looked exactly like him? A constant reminder of what he had done to me? Could I love something like that? I had thrown up again at this thought, sick of myself for thinking that I might not be able to love my own baby. I didn’t even want a baby, much less his!

After the day I had found out that I was preg- The day after I had found out I stayed inside alone. I called in sick, and did a lot of thinking. Not inviting men and women around all the time wouldn’t be a problem now that I had Gemma and was committed to her, but I had hardly lived a life that my child could be proud of! I had briefly considered getting rid of it, but the thought alone made me throw up again, and I immediately decided against it. I hated Blaine, more than anyone in this world, but this baby didn’t chose to be born and I wouldn’t punish it for something that wasn’t its fault. His fault. Or her fault. Maybe I could raise the child to make better decisions than I had done. Maybe I could teach him or her some self defence, make sure the same wouldn’t happen to my baby. I wanted to somehow make-up for the life I had led until now, but had no idea how. I just knew that I had a lot of making up to do if I wanted this baby to be proud of me.

I quickly made my way over to Mum’s house, getting nervous when I saw that she was waiting outside.

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“What’s the matter, sweetheart?” I threw myself into her arms right away, worried that I might not be able to keep the tears away. For a moment I had hated myself for not having listened to her. All these times she had told me to be careful, that I couldn’t know who might fall in love with me, what I might set in motion or prevent from happening… But I reminded myself that her warnings had come to late. Blaine’s obsession with me had started years ago, when we had been teenagers, and even if she had warned me then I wouldn’t have listened to her. It was my fault, but only to a small extent. I had allowed him to fall in love with me, but I wasn’t responsible for his delusion.

While I still could, I told her. Mum remained silent while I whispered the words, and simply held me for a few moments before inviting me inside.

“Sit down in the living room, sweetheart, I’ll get you some water.” Grateful that she wasn’t scolding me, I did as she said and sat down in the living room. I didn’t see Milan anywhere but no doubt he was still here.

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“The baby is his, then?” Mum asked, sitting down next to me. All I could do was nod. I really didn’t want to think of him or her as Blaine’s. I didn’t even want to think his name. “And you are keeping it?” I wasn’t sure whether she sounded happy or upset with that, but got my answer when I nodded. “Good, I’m glad you’re keeping it. I’m so proud of you, Lilli.” I wasn’t sure if she would still be proud of me once I told her that Gemma and I were together, but didn’t want to sour the mood right now.

“I feel like I need to atone for my life so far, Mum. I feel like all I’ve done is mess around but nothing worthwhile.” The words left a heavy sinking feeling somewhere between my stomach and my throat, and made my throat clench up a little.

“Oh I don’t know about that. You’re a professional football player, are you not?”

“Yeah, and we’re not exactly role models! I mean, yes, we are seen as role models, but all I’ve done is feed the stereotype! I’m only in the minor league, anyway. I’m hardly playing at the next world cup.”

“Maybe not, but that doesn’t prevent you from earning a good amount of money, does it?” Not knowing what she was getting at, I shrugged.

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“Have you thought about charity, sweetheart?” Charity? Did I have enough money to spare for that? She was right, I did earn quite a lot, but was it enough for me to give some away? The house needed small renovations, I needed to figure out how to fit a nursery, maybe even add a room-

“Once I know how much I’ll need to spend on the baby I could… But which one? Aren’t there millions of different ones?”

Mum smiled. “Not that many, but why don’t you have a look? I’m sure you’ll find something you could support. And you would be making a wonderful contribution to our future, sweetheart.” I wasn’t sure I wanted to think about it in those terms – I wasn’t going to support a charity because I owed some spirit something or anything like that – but she was right. If I could find the right charity, maybe something for abused women and something towards curing cancer or something similar, then that could potentially make a huge difference!

Just as I was getting excited, Milan stepped into the room. “What’s this I’m hearing about a baby?” Somehow, from him, it didn’t bother me. I even felt a smile spread on my face, and against my will it kept growing.

“I’m having a baby.”

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“I wish the circumstances were better, but congratulations. Let us know if you need anything.” I nodded, getting up to give him a hug.

“Thank you” I said, and I meant it. I knew next to nothing about raising a child or pregnancy. If they were offering me help then I was in no position to turn it down! Were there books I could read? Could I continue to go to work and for how long? Didn’t I have to attend classes or something like that?

“Of course. Just give us a call if you need anything or when it’s time, one of us can drive you to the hospital.” I nodded, grateful for all the help they were offering.

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“Maybe I should stay with you when you’re closer to your due date. I’m sure you’d feel better if someone was already with you and you could save yourself the phone call.” Like in a daze, I nodded again. I didn’t even know exactly when my due date was! I had left my last appointment in a small panic and hadn’t thought to ask.

I stayed for another hour after that, talking to Mum about how her pregnancy had gone so that I knew what to expect. I felt so under-prepared at the moment that I figured that any small information could only help, even if it was putting me off the whole thing a little. Women in movies always made it look so fun and so rewarding, like it was the best experience of their lives, but if Mum’s first-hand experience was anything to go on it was anything but.

Once I got home I gave Gemma a quick call, who promised to be over as soon as she was done in the office.

Three hours later she knocked on my door, and I steeled myself for her reaction.

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Instead of answering right away, she studied my face carefully as if she was trying to see whether I was lying or not. “And that is a good thing?” She spoke very slowly, and I couldn’t tell whether she was uncomfortable or just trying to gauge my own feelings towards the situation similar to how Mum had done. I nodded, watching her just as carefully as her face lit up. “Oh Lilli, that is wonderful news! A baby? I’m so happy for you!” She hesitated and blushed, looking every bit like I had caught her with her hands in my cookie jar ten minutes before dinner. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I hate him for what he did to you. No prison sentence could ever be long enough if you ask me, but I’m so glad that you’ve decided to keep it. Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl yet?”

“No, it’s too early for that. I don’t think I want to find out.”

“A surprise? Have you thought about names? I could help you decorate the room if you- Oh, that’s right! Where are you going to have the nursery? Will you have to add on to your house?” Her enthusiasm was infectious, and before I knew it I was excited myself. If Gemma was willing to help as well and stay with me and maybe raise the baby with me, then maybe I would do all right!

2.14

Everything hurt. From somewhere near me I heard a strange beeping sound, a fan closeby cooled the air to a temperature which felt almost too cold but still comfortable for the moment. Slowly I opened my eyes, staring at the unfamiliar white wall in front of me.

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I had no idea where I was. The room was plain, neutral but not completely unfriendly, and the air around me smelled sterile. Like a hospital. Did that mean that Blaine hadn’t kidnapped me? Or had he taken me to his home, but had taken me into a hospital after whatever it was that he had done to me? Or maybe this was simply his style? I had pictured his tastes to be darker, but he had proven that I didn’t know him any more. I certainly didn’t know him well enough any more to know how he might decorate his home.

Carefully, I moved an arm. Pain shot through me, and I quickly stopped. I turned my eyes down towards the rest of my body, and saw that I was in a white gown. I was also bruised in several spots. Maybe I was in a hospital after all, then?

Very carefully, I turned my head a little to have a closer look at my new surroundings.

02-08-15_3-20 PM

A clock told me that it was just gone 5pm, but I had no idea which day it was. How long had I slept? Was it the next day or had I lost more than that? The blinds on the window were shut so I couldn’t tell whether it was early morning or afternoon, but a little bit of light managed to find its way in so I guessed that it was early evening.

A few flowers were arranged on a table close to a door. They all had cards on them but I couldn’t see any of them clearly enough from where I was to figure out who had left them here. But that meant… A massive wave of relief washed over me, and I felt my eyes sting with hot tears. Would Blaine have allowed my family to leave flowers for me? Unlikely. He had been too set on snatching me up and taking me away. Plus, neither Mum nor Milan would have allowed him to just carry me off if they knew where I was. If he had taken me. The fact that someone had left flowers told me that he hadn’t. Unless he had left some himself and had instructed his employees to show their respect? He had seemed power hungry and completely deranged, so wasn’t that possible?

The strain of turning my head was beginning to hurt too much, so I turned myself back around. Outside my door I could hear movements and voices, but none that I recognised. Wherever I was, whoever had gotten me here, no one was with me now.

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Sudden regret coursed through me. Would Dev be here if he knew that I was injured? Would Todd have come if someone had told him where I was? Were any of the flowers from him? If Mum was in hospital, Milan wouldn’t leave her side easily, and according to her they weren’t even a couple! Evidently, I didn’t have anyone who was willing to stay with me until I woke up. Unless Blaine kept me isolated from everyone I knew.

More tears were beginning to form when I heard my door open. I squeezed my eyes shut while trying to strain my ears. If this was his voice, then… I didn’t know. I could hardly move my arm, never mind run away. If it was him then I was trapped. If it was someone else, I had some lifestyle choices to reconsider.

“You can go home if you want. Doctor Nikolaidis said that you’ve been here since you arrived last night, I’m sure you’re tired.” Mum! I took a sharp, raspy breath in at the familiar voice. Nothing had ever sounded so good until-

“No, it’s fine. I want to be here. I’ll sleep when she’s up and I know that she’s alright.” The tears that had filld my eyes before were now feeling dangerously close to spilling out. Gemma was here. And what was that? She had been here this whole time? I had been wrong. Someone had wanted to stay with me to make sure that I was alright. I choked at the lump in my throat, making my two visitors spin around.

“Sweetheart?” Mum’s voice sounded urgent, rushed, like any sound at all from me had been the only thing she had wanted to hear. I heard feet shuffle, and moments later I felt a soft, warm hand on my cheeks.

“She’s awake! Oh God, Lilli, we were so scared!”

“I want to sit up…” Now that I knew that I wasn’t alone after all, my heart was racing and I didn’t think that I could bear lying down any longer.

“You should rest, sweetheart, Doctor Nikolaidis said-”

“Here, come on, let me help you up.” Ignoring my Mum entirely, Gemma moved her hand to my back and her other to my shoulder, helping me as I slowly sat up. The cold air on my feet and bruises felt so good that it brought more tears to my eyes.

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“How are you feeling, sweetheart?”

“Shaky. Everything hurts, Mum.” The lump in my throat choked off whatever else I could have said, but Mum just squeezed my hand and I felt better. For the first time in a while I didn’t mind that she was making me feel like a little kid again. I really hoped that whatever Blaine had done to me could be fixed as easily as a scraped knee needing nothing but a kiss.

“I’m not surprised. That bastard didn’t go easy on you.” My expression must have changed, because Mum added “Don’t worry, he’s locked up for a long time. He won’t be coming anywhere near you again, sweetheart.” Locked up? So someone had found him while he was still with me?

“What happened?”

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“Gemma here can answer that” Mum said, smiling towards her. “She was the one who found you, alerted the police and called an ambulance.”

Within seconds Gemma was next to me, hugging me tight. It hurt, but I didn’t mind. It felt good more than anything. “Oh Lilli, I’m so glad to see you’re alright! When I arrived at your place last night I heard screaming. I had been held up a little because I went to buy- I was held up, so it took me longer to get to yours. When I did I heard screaming. I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but they didn’t sound like your usual screams so-” She stopped dead mid-sentence when she realised what she had just said. Blushing, she threw an apologetic glance at Mum, who acted like she hadn’t heard. “I thought something was wrong. I peeked around the corner through the window, and saw some guy leaning over you. You looked pretty out of it. He hit you, Lilli. You were naked, and he was obviously hurting you. That’s when I called the police and the ambulance.” I sent a silent thank you to whichever God wanted to take credit for me deciding that day that I needed to ask Gemma to be my girlfriend.

“Thank you.” I didn’t know what else to say. What else could I say?

“Gemma didn’t leave your side once since you got here.”

“Well, not unless I needed the bathroom. Your Doctor and the nurses kept insisting that I should eat something if I was going to stay, so I had to buy snacks every now and again, too. I did that just now, actually. I ran into your Mum on the way back from the vending machine. If I had known that you were about to wake up I would have bought you some chocolate! The Doctor said that you’d need something sweet in case you felt sick or dizzy.”

“I’m okay, Gemma. Thank you.” Eating was the last thing I wanted to do right now.

“The flowers are from your Mum and Milan, someone called Devante, and someone called Todd. I would have bought you some but I was in here, with you.” I’d never be able to tell her just how grateful I really was.

“I’ll go tell the nurse that you’re awake. Maybe we can get you back home by tonight, or the morning.” I nodded, and Mum left.

*

I was discharged the next morning. Doctor Nikolaidis ran some more tests to make sure I was definitely fine and hadn’t sustained any more injuries, but had advised that I’d stay the night in case I felt worse for any reason. Since I was fine by 11am the following morning, I was allowed to leave and Mum and Milan came by to drive me back home.

For a whole week after that, Gemma moved in with me. It wasn’t easy for her, working from here rather than from her home, but she insisted and I was relieved that I didn’t have to be alone. I knew that Blaine was locked up tight, but for the first few days at least I jumped at every unexpected sound. Todd and Dev kept calling me, saying they wanted to come over, but I kept refusing. If this incident had done one thing for me it was that I was sure that I loved Gemma. Just, I had no idea how to tell her what I had wanted to tell her that night now. I had been prepared then, now I was anything but. We were sharing my bed, and while I loved having her this close to me it didn’t help matters.

Until almost one week after I had been discharged from hospital, she took matters into her own hands.

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“Say, Lilli…”

“Hm?”

“What was it you wanted to talk to me about? I’m glad that you asked me to come over when you did, but you had asked me here for a reason and well, we didn’t exactly get a chance to talk about it since then.” I could see that she was uncomfortable, but I wondered if it was anywhere near what I felt. She wanted to do this now? Damn it, I should have practiced a speech in my head!

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“You remembered that, huh.” Dodging didn’t help things, but I wasn’t sure any more how to say it.

“Yeah, I’ve been thinking about it a lot, actually. I hope I’m not intruding by being here, I just didn’t want you to be alone after getting back home. I can’t stay a lot longer, the business needs me, but if you’re uncomfortable with me being here…”

“Why do you think I’m uncomfortable?” Maker, I hadn’t done anything to make her feel like I didn’t want her here, had I?

“It’s just…” Gemma sighed, looking at her feet. “Sometimes, when you look at me, I can’t quite read you. It’s like you want to say something but don’t know how. I was wondering if, maybe, well, if you wanted me to stop coming over.” Even without her looking right at me I could see the pain on her face, and I felt it mirrored in me. Why hadn’t I noticed how I made her feel?

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I didn’t want her to feel like this for another second. “I love you.”

“What?” Gemma blushed, slightly lifting her head so she could look at me to see if I was kidding.

“I- I love you. It took me a while to figure it out, but I love you. That night I asked you to come over because I wanted to ask you to be my girlfriend.” Maker, was I relieved this had come out right! I wasn’t sure who was blushing more, me or her. It definitely looked better on her.

“Y-you mean it?” All I could do was nod. She looked so hopeful, so happy. I had done that. I had made her happy. For the first time in my life I felt like maybe, making her happy was all I wanted to do. “I love you, too. But you already knew that. And… yes.”

“Yes?”

“I want to be your girlfriend.”

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Lost for words, I pulled her close and kissed her, completely preoccupied with her scent and with how she felt against me.

2.13

Anxious and more than a little nervous, I paced around the house. I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt this nervous! The more I waited, mentally preparing the words I was going to say to her, the more I was beginning to believe that I actually had feelings for Gemma. I couldn’t say for sure if I loved her unconditionally, like the kind of love you saw in the movies, but I did know that me feeling this nervous about someone visiting me wasn’t normal. And to think I had liked her since school…  Had I been in love with her this long, too? Was I definitely in love with her now? I had never meant it when I had entered a relationship before. This time, I thought I could try to be a girlfriend, as long as it was with her.

When I heard the familiar knock on my door my heart took a giant leap into my throat. My legs shaking (maybe I was simply still drunk?), I went to open the door – but it wasn’t Gemma.

“Blaine?” I hadn’t seen him since the night I had broken up with him. He had left town and last I heard he had studied business somewhere at some rich-kid university, but after that all news had gone quiet. Seeing him in his suit now told me that he had been successful with whatever he had set out to do.

“Lilliana! May I come in?” He walked straight past me, not even waiting for an answer.

“Erm… Yeah, sure. Please, make yourself at home.” I followed him into my living room, and felt myself become irritated when he picked up picture frames and small items. Like this was his home, not mine, and he had a claim to everything in it.

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“So what brings you back to Oasis Springs?” I asked, trying my hardest not to let my irritation show.

Mock confusion written plainly on his face, he studied me. A little too carefully, but I didn’t object. I had invited Gemma over, and didn’t have time to entertain him. Was this what he had come for? Woohoo? Well, I didn’t have time. With surprise I realised that I didn’t even want him.

“Whatever do you mean, my dear? I came back for you, of course!”

“I don’t mean to be rude, Blaine, but you’ve picked a bad evening to come back. I don’t have time tonight, we’ll have to catch up another day. Is Saturday good for you?” There was something different about him other than the suit and the hair. Something about him made me feel uncomfortable, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

“Ah, yes. I heard about the people you have invited into your house. Our house, I should say. Don’t worry about it, my dear, I am prepared to forgive you. Now that I am back you won’t need their companionship any more.”

“What the hell are you on about?” Had he somehow not understood what I had meant when I had broken up with him? Faintly, in the back of my mind, his words echoed, threatening me. Didn’t he say I’d regret breaking up with him? That couldn’t possibly be why he was here! Just what was he going to do? Leave fingerprints on all my pictures?

Before I could ask him to leave, he had pulled me into his arms and forced his lips hard against mine.

02-17-15_9-07 PM

For the first time ever, I found myself in a position where I didn’t want this to go on. I didn’t enjoy the kiss, and I definitely didn’t enjoy what he was trying to do with his tongue. The way his hands began to wander down my back made me feel increasingly uncomfortable, and for the first time in my life I pushed him away.

Just, I couldn’t. He was stronger than me, and his arms wouldn’t budge until he was done.

“Get off of me!”

02-17-15_9-06 PM

“I will forgive that. I did leave very abruptly, after all. I should have called, let you know I was on my way. Of course you’re confused, why wouldn’t you be?” Slowly, he cupped my face in his hands. He was so close I could feel his breath on my skin.

“Let’s see, because I broke up with you? You seem to have misunderstood something, Blaine! I wasn’t kidding when I said that we were through, I left you! We’re not together any more!” He kissed me again, less forceful than last time, and sat down on my sofa. Like he had a right to it.

02-17-15_9-04 PM-2

“Ah, yes. That incident. But I told you I’d come back for you, didn’t I? I’m back, Lilliana. I must say, you have built a rather beautiful home for us. Of course, we can’t stay here. My business requires me to be on site a lot of the time, but don’t worry. I’ll make time for you, my dear. I’ll see to it that all your needs are taken care off.”

The smile he gave me was the final straw. How dare he come into my home like this, acting like all he had to do was say the word and I’d come with him? Who the hell did he think he was?

02-17-15_9-04 PM

“I’ll only ask you this once, Blaine. Leave my house, now.”

“I understand you need some time to adjust, my dear. Do watch your tongue. Is this any way to speak to your betrothed?”

“Betrothe- You’re insane. Get out, now.”

“That’s not going to happen, my dear Lilliana. You’re mine, you always have been mine, and I expect you to behave accordingly. Why don’t we move upstairs so we can catch up? It has been many years, it’s about time you remembered who you share your bed with.” I never thought I would ever think this, but woohoo with him was the last thing I wanted in that moment.

“I’ve warned you, Blaine. How dare you come into my home and speak to me this way? I’m calling the police. You can either leave on your own or you can wait for them to escort you, either way is fine with me.” I turned around, and regretted it almost instantly.

02-17-15_9-03 PM

“You will pay for this disrespect. Don’t worry, my dear. You have all night and the rest of our lives to make it up to me.” In an instant his arms were around me, a sharp needle piercing my neck.

His hand wandering down my back and onto my legs was the last thing I remembered before everything went black.

2.12

02-01-15_7-02 PM

“So, how was your holiday?” Mum sounded very suspicious, which told me that really she had no reason to ask. She already knew, at least some of it. I hadn’t expected her to believe that I had gone solely so I could unwind in the remote forests, but I hadn’t counted on her interrupting her morning jog just so that she could question me, either.

02-01-15_7-03 PM-2

I decided that I wasn’t going to play, and simply nodded. If she wanted to know details, she would have to ask for them. Although I strongly doubted that she wanted every detail.

“It was nice, thank you.”

“What was the scenery like?” The way she pronounced the word ‘scenery’ told me that she didn’t care about the mountains.

“Much cleaner than here. You would have loved it, the air was very fresh compared to Oasis Springs.”

Mum gave me that look, and I knew she wasn’t having it. “Lilliana…”

02-01-15_7-05 PM-3

I sighed. “Fine. So what if I had a little fun? I’ve been working hard, I deserved this break!”

“Of course you deserved it, sweetheart. I didn’t mean to suggest anything else, but I hope you remember what we told you!”

I could feel myself getting irritated. Did she really think I had forgotten? After we had just been over this so recently? “Don’t worry, Mum, I know not to get pregnant.”

“I know you do, Lilli, but it’s not just a matter of you taking precautions. You have to consider what might happen if just one of those people was to fall in love with you. What if that person was to fall hard enough that he left his family for you? His job? Maybe he was mayor, a lead scientist, someone in another important position.”

“I-” I was beginning to see her point, but I didn’t want to admit it.

“How many of these young men have you asked about their life away from you?” My silence told her everything she needed to know. “I know you’re careful not to get pregnant, Lilli. I don’t doubt that for one second. But if just one of those people were to fall madly in love with you, well, who knows what they might abandon just to be with you? Would you be willing to sacrifice everything for them, let them move in and spend your life with this one person, knowing that they might have had a large role to play in this universe? A role you have stopped?” I didn’t know what to say. The only person I knew more about than their size or their preferences was Gemma, and I was trying to forget what I knew about her.

02-01-15_7-03 PM-3

“Like you can talk!” I said, hoping to change the subject. “Just how are you and Milan any better? How is he moving in with you so much better than what I’m doing?”

“Milan is already committed to this family. In case you’ve forgotten, he is the one who made the deal with the spirit and brought me back to life. And just what are you talking about? What do you mean, me and Milan?”

I felt myself blush a little and got more irritated. Maybe Mum was happy poking around in my love life but I wasn’t comfortable doing the same with hers. Those were details I did not want to hear! “Well, you know… You and Milan!”

“Oh, sweetheart” Mum chuckled, her warm smile back “There’s nothing like that between me and Milan. We’re friends, nothing more.” Yeah, right, I thought, but really didn’t want to dig further. I’d pay attention again when they got married and Milan officially adopted me. Until then, I didn’t care. “I should get going. I’ve taken up enough of your time and I was hoping to finish my book today.”

“Sure, let me come with you to the door.”

Mum nodded, but didn’t move.

02-01-15_7-00 PM

“Before I leave-” Here we go “Think about what I told you. Maybe you don’t realise it, but small actions can have terrible consequences. Be more careful, Lilliana. At least get to know these people a little before you-”

“So how many words have you got left to write?”

“I just want you to understand the risks you’re taking.” With that I showed her to the door, disappointed that my Mom had only shown up to tell me off.

02-01-15_7-08 PM

To take my mind off it, I invited Todd for a little catch up. He asked me how my break was and I told him it was nice, that I should do it more often, but I didn’t give him any details. I knew he was fine with me not being loyal, but I wasn’t sure if my holiday might have been pushing a few too any buttons nonetheless.

Or at least I had thought he was fine with me not being loyal.

“Listen, Lilli… I know you like to have fun, and I know I said I was fine with us not being more than that, but these last few months with you have been, well, fun! Do you think you could think of me as more than a friend with several amazing benefits?” Why was he doing this to me? Remembering that I had already agreed to a relationship back on my holiday with Sloane, I figured it couldn’t really hurt. They lived miles away from each other, after all, and I hadn’t heard from Sloane since. Or rather, she had called me and I hadn’t answered.

“I don’t know, Todd. You’re great, and I love it when you come over but I don’t know if I can be what you want me to be.” My mind briefly flashed me an image of Gemma, and I wondered why on earth she was popping into my head now. Had the holiday not helped, after all?

“I know, I’m not expecting it’ll be easy, Lilli, but I’m willing to try it if you are. Are you?” Hopeful, and with that look in his eyes, he took my hands into his. Mum’s warning resounded in my head but I chose to ignore it. It wasn’t like I was going to marry him!

I sighed. We didn’t have to stay together, right? “All right, Todd. I’ll try it if it’s with you.” He stayed the night, and left early the next morning promising to be over again in the evening and maybe go out for dinner.

02-01-15_9-13 PM

Just, during the day he left me a message while I was at work, saying that he had been roped into a meeting. I had been looking forward to having male company all day, so I called Dev who came over immediately.

Things kind of got worse from there.

“You’ve been an amazing friend, Lil. It’s been hard, getting fired and not finding a new job, but you’ve really helped me through this! I don’t know what I would have done without you, you’ve been such a big help to me. I guess what I’m trying to say is… Would you be my girlfriend?” I could hardly say no after that speech, could I!

02-01-15_9-26 PM-3

And so a couple of weeks passed. Every other day I went out with Todd, who invited me to fancy and beautiful restaurants where the food was miles better than anything I would have been able to cook. Other evenings I invited Dev over – only evenings when I knew that Todd was working – and we’d enjoy a cosy night in.

It was fun at first, seeing both of them simultaneously like this and playing at being someone’s girlfriend, but all it did was remind me more and more of Gemma. I missed her when neither Todd nor Dev was around, and during evenings when I wasn’t alone I found myself wishing that it was Gemma there with me instead.

I was getting annoyed, and irritated. How was she still in my head? How was it possible that she had such a big effect on me?

On top of that, balancing both men like I had been doing soon lost its appeal. On two occasions one had nearly run into the other while we had been out together, and things were getting a little too close for comfort. While I had no intentions of actually being loyal to either I didn’t want to hurt them, either. They cared a great deal about me, I knew that much of it, and even though I couldn’t take this as seriously as they wanted me to I didn’t want to break their hearts in the process, either.

Just like I hadn’t wanted to hurt Gemma. Or, well, maybe a little pain was accept-

Irritated that once again my mind had wandered to her so easily, I decided that what I really needed was a night out. I was just stressed, that was all. Once I had had a night of dancing, juice and making out I’d feel better.

02-01-15_9-28 PM-2

I spent more time than I usually did on getting ready. For some reason I felt like I had to prove something, like I needed to find evidence that Gemma was just a fluke. If I could do that tonight than everything was fine. If I couldn’t, then, well… I didn’t really know.

02-01-15_9-35 PM

I went to my second favourite place in Oasis Springs, reasoning that there was less chance of running into someone I already knew here. After all, once you had your favourite you stuck with it, and I was ready for someone new.

Unfortunately, that plan didn’t quite work. The first person I ran into was Jack.

02-01-15_9-40 PM

No matter his age, he never looked old enough to me to be in one of these places. Old enough for woohoo, easily, but nowhere near old enough to get drunk and spend the night in a bar like this one!

To make matters worse, he had missed me since our run-in in the forests. Really missed me. He asked me to be his girlfriend. I really wanted to say no to him since woohoo with him wasn’t even that great, but the juice had other plans, and I accepted. Lucky for me, he excused himself soon after that.

02-01-15_9-41 PM

Just as he was getting ready to leave, I ran into this gorgeous creature. I was pretty drunk by then and have to admit that I don’t even remember her name. Did I ask her what her name was? Maybe I didn’t even-

Either way, she was beautiful, and the juice made her voice sound like an angel to me, so I had to have her.

“Hey, pretty, wanna dance?”

02-01-15_9-42 PM

“I don’t think your boyfriend here would approve of that!” Playing hard to get, huh? I did love a good chase!

“Oh, he’s just leaving!” Jack threw me what I thought was a rather disappointed look, but it was hard to see clearly since everything was moving and blurring together.

“So was I” the woman with no name said, hinting strongly for me to come after her. So I did!

02-01-15_9-46 PM

I gave her a couple of minutes head start before following her into the empty car park.

I couldn’t remember anything after that. When I woke up the next morning with one of my legs hanging out of bed and touching the floor and everything around me swimming and being unnaturally noisy, my first wish was for Gemma to come over and help me shower. I wasn’t convinced that I was in any state for woohoo, but I really, really wanted Gemma to come over and stay for a while.

Somehow, I made it into my bathroom by myself. I was already undressed and had faint hints of pale lipstick everywhere from my shoulder blades to the inside of my thighs, so getting showered and cleaned up was a priority. I managed to fry myself some eggs after that, and eventually began to feel better.

And I still wanted Gemma to come over, badly. I sighed. Given how easily and how regularly my thoughts went to her… I hadn’t been able to sleep with one person since her without thinking about her. Unless I had managed it last night, but who knew just what I had managed last night?

My head still pounding with the remainder of a head-splitting headache, I called Gemma. It was time we talked, and more important than that, it was time I was honest with myself. I liked Gemma, but maybe it was more than that.

I already knew she loved me. I was beginning to wonder if the impossible had happened, and I loved her, too.

——————————————————————-

Note:

Here’s a quick update on her aspiration progress – she still needs to go on 3 dates and earn gold, but she’s made a huge jump forward in having had 8 boyfriends or girlfriends. Her current count is 7, Gemma will be #8 🙂

2.11

01-17-15_2-08 PM

The morning after I felt… Well, it was hard to describe. I wasn’t sad to see that Gemma had left but a part of me had hoped to catch her before she left. I had no idea what the night had meant to her, but I really hoped that she wasn’t going to read too much into it. It had been amazing – the best woohoo I had ever had – but love? No, I wasn’t ready for that. But she was. I knew I had explained that to her, but what if she hadn’t known what she had been saying when she had said that she’d be fine just having fun as long as it was with me? I knew I hadn’t been able to think straight, and she loved me! Had she been able to think clearly? I doubted it. And I really hoped that she didn’t regret it, because I needed to see her again. All other guys I had had over so far meant nothing compared to that night with Gemma.

I felt so disoriented that morning. I had never hoped that someone might have stuck around before – and it wasn’t like I had hoped to see her still here because I wanted to spend the morning together over breakfast – but I had to make sure that she understood my intentions. Or lack of, rather.

Just, as the weeks went on the feeling of being disoriented became worse, and I tried to distract myself by working out.

01-17-15_2-11 PM

Everytime I called her to come over and she didn’t answer the phone I was disappointed. Every time I called her and she did answer but was too busy with her father’s business I was downright upset. I had Todd and Dev come over several times during those weeks, and they were as good as I remembered, but it wasn’t the same. I needed it to be Gemma in my bed, and that was so irritating that I threw myself more into my work than I had done before.

Slowly, as the weeks passed it became easier. Then Gemma actually did come over, and my irritation started all over again. I wanted to stay away from her because she was definitely doing something to me, but I couldn’t stand the idea of her not coming over, either. It was driving me insane, and I made a promise to myself to go away for a little while once I had earned my next promotion. With all the extra effort I was putting in I didn’t have to wait long.

01-17-15_2-17 PM

It seemed like it had taken me a really long time to get here somehow, but I knew that it was only because I had tried to distract myself from Gemma’s influence over me that time seemed to have crawled on at such a slow pace. Eventually I did get that promotion, and I was relieved to be out of my terrible mascot uniform. My new cheer-leading dress was far more comfortable, and much better suited to the hot environment of the stadium.

I didn’t get as much of a raise as I had hoped to get, but it was just about enough for me to book the holiday. I was thrilled to get out and away from Gemma, and booked the next flight into the mountains.

01-17-15_2-22 PM

When I arrived at the resort I was a little overwhelmed by the size of these woods, and more than a little annoyed at myself for not having done proper research before leaving the house. I felt like I was incredibly unprepared for staying in the forest like this. Proper holiday houses had been available, but this time-out had exhausted my savings without me having to pay for accommodation, so I had thought I’d give camping a try. I hadn’t even thought to pack a tent, or provisions, or anything that you might think of when you’re about to go camping.

I was relieved to see that the nearby ranger’s hut sold most things at a fairly decent price. While I was picking out which tent I wanted and what else I thought I’d need he told me that it wasn’t uncommon for people to leave everything behind on a whim and come out here to ‘find themselves’, as he put it. In a way that was exactly what I was doing. I had left to get away from Gemma and figure out why on Earth she was making me feel this way, hoping that maybe meeting and being with some new people would clear my head a little. If nothing else the air up here was so clean that it alone would help me think. Or so I hoped.

01-17-15_2-25 PM

I did regret my decision to come here slightly after the first night in my new tent. This was definitely not the comfortable bed I was used to, and I had spent almost the entire night thinking about what was going on, which meant indirectly thinking about Gemma. Desperate to get out and meet someone new, someone distracting, I made my way over to the bathrooms.

01-17-15_2-25 PM-2

Which also weren’t what I had expected. The toilets were tiny, with just about enough room to turn around, and the showers weren’t much better. If you wanted to pay for one, that is. They weren’t charging much, but having to pay to shower? I had never felt this dirty in my life – and I had done enough for my Mum to disagree with me there.

So, yes, I admit it. After my first night on the hard forest floor, with nothing but some fabric and a zip between me and the insects, and after the cold shower in the morning I considered going home again.

01-17-15_2-26 PM-2

I eventually changed my mind while I prepared breakfast. I had never been a talented cook, but slapping some fruits on the bbq for breakfast was simple enough that even I couldn’t mess it up! And it smelled wonderful, especially after the first 12 hours here had been anything but. I considered getting an indoor bbq, or at least a grill for the kitchen, once I was back home. If nothing else I thought I could make more use of the bbq I had in my garden, since I had never tried that. Considering my pool, and how private the hedge around my house made my garden I should be able to throw some decent pool parties, especially if I invested in some lights. I daydreamed over the possibilities over breakfast, before making my way to the first person I saw.

01-17-15_2-30 PM

I had already spotted her briefly the night before and she had seemed nice enough, so why not start with her?

Hoping she wasn’t married, I walked over to her. “Hey, erm… I only just arrived here, and you seem to know your way around” – if you know what I mean – ” would you mind showing me around?”

“No problem, sweety! I thought you looked like a lost lamb yesterday. Come on with me, I’ll show you around camp.” Obediently, I followed her as she showed me where the most important things were and where the different trails led. Hearing all the different spots you could get to if you didn’t mind hiking for a little peaked my curiosity. Maybe this break wouldn’t be so bad after all? Exploring the forest definitely sounded more appealing by the minute! Maybe I could find those waterfalls she was on about?

Before I could decide where to go first, her voice interrupted my thoughts. “I’m Tiffanie, by the way. What’s your name?”

“Lilliana. Thanks for giving me the tour.”

“You’re very welcome, Lilliana. Mind telling me what brought you out to this place?” When I hesitated, she spoke first. “I’m here because my cheating sonofabitch husband cheated on me. I needed to be away from him. I don’t know for how long I’ll be here, but for now this is a pretty good place to be.” I smiled, understanding slowly what she meant. Sleeping and showering wasn’t ideal (although, maybe, if I ever came back, I’d rent one of the holiday homes) but the place itself was nice. It was quiet. If there had ever been a perfect place for silent contemplation, this was it.

“I guess I’m here for similar reasons.”

“No one cheated on you, did they?” There was a sudden interest in Tiffanie’s eyes that momentarily stunned me. It hadn’t been there before, had it? Usually when talking to people they either looked interested right away or not at all. I had never seen curiosity shoot into their eyes as quickly as it had happened here, with her.

“Not exactly. It’s complicated.” I silently laughed to myself. Complicated didn’t even begin to cut it, but I had hardly come here to make friends. Before I knew what was happening, Tiffanie’s lips were on mine. When I opened my eyes again some moments later, she smiled at me.

“When isn’t it?” I returned her smile, glad that she wasn’t asking too many questions, and kissed her back.

01-17-15_2-33 PM

 

After that the morning only got better. Tiffanie told me where she lived for the duration of her holiday, and I ‘promised’ that I’d visit her again soon if we didn’t run into each other anyway. She didn’t ask me for how much longer I’d be there, and secretly hoped that the next time we’d run into each other wouldn’t be when I was kissing someone else. I doubted she was here to find a new girlfriend just to spite her husband, but I didn’t know her well enough to make assumptions. Maybe her husband had cheated on her because she was the overly jealous type, and her constant hate for women around him had eventually driven him away from her into someone else’s arms. Who was to say that she wouldn’t react the same way with me? For all I knew she had declared me as hers and hers alone in her mind already.

Once we had made our promises of seeing each other again soon I decided to do the one thing most people came here for – I went for a walk.

01-17-15_2-39 PM

 

I had never realised it at home, but the forest was beautiful. It was quiet save for my footsteps, the singing of birds, the rustling of small insects and critters, and my own breathing. Every now and again a breeze went through the leaves around me, including the flowers and grasses which filled the air with an unfamiliar but sweet scent.

Rarely I passed another visitor, and all of them raised their hand in greeting and offered smiles. Even more rarely I passed families. The atmosphere here was so different than it was at home that I considered for the shortest moment to just stay here, like Tiffanie was tempted to do. I’d get used to the hard bed eventually, but I would run out of money for the showers…. Maybe there was a lake nearby?

01-17-15_2-39 PM-2

 

When I came across a gap in something that was too overgrown for me to tell what it had been I couldn’t resist. Carefully, I parted the leaves and hanging branches and went inside.

Just as I was thinking that the small cave was the perfect spot for a hidden woohoo bugs came dashing out of every dark corner, and I admit, I fled. I was still shaking myself off the tiny insects by the time I was back at camp, at which point I ran into an old friend of mine. Well, friend was the wrong word, but we had gone to school together so I recognised him immediately.

01-17-15_2-44 PM

Jack was out here with his family – his parents and sister, not his wife and kids.

01-17-15_2-47 PM

 

Since we had already known each other from school it didn’t take long to seduce him all the way into my tent.

Over the next few days, I decided to make the most of my stay here and slowly, I thought about Gemma less as I focused on who to kiss next. There were a lot of families here on their annual camping trip, but a lot of people were here on their own or with friends, too.

01-17-15_2-56 PM-2

There was Sloane…

01-17-15_3-03 PM

…Manu…

01-17-15_3-16 PM

…Casey…

01-17-15_3-26 PM

… and Ivy. Things with Ivy got so heated that we promised each other to stay in touch, which I knew was one promise I was never going to keep but it was my last night here and things were said which, well, I wouldn’t normally have said. Like, agreeing to be her girlfriend. Since I wasn’t going to see her again it didn’t matter, and I went to sleep that night feeling more refreshed than I had felt in ages, Gemma but a faint memory in the back of my mind.

—————————————————————————————–

Note:

*ahem* So after all these exploits she finished the 2nd stage of her aspiration. To summarise: She reached lvl 6 of the charisma skill I think before she left on her holiday, has kissed 10 sims (there was an old guy at the end as well but I apparently forgot to get a picture of them :/) and because she entered a relationship with Ivy as well she’s in a relationship with 3 sims at once at this point (Todd, Gemma, and Ivy (I think)). For stage 3 she needs to have had 8 boyfriends or girlfriends – this is already at 3 because of her two teenage boyfriends and now Ivy – and she needs to earn gold on 3 dates. She’s never earned anything less so I’m sure this’ll be simple enough 😛

(How her is that work uniform??)

2.10

12-31-14_8-49 PM

I had always thought that my first promotion would be an amazing event, but now that I was stuck in this silly-looking mascot outfit I wasn’t so sure any more. Bottom of the ladder, my butt!

12-31-14_8-56 PM

I called my Mum to tell her the ‘good’ news and that I was hoping for another promotion fairly soon. The manager did like me and I knew that I was doing better than most of the others, so I definitely had a good chance of being promoted again soon. I really hoped so ’cause this costume was not comfortable to wear, especially on a hot day in a hot stadium when you were expected to dance around and to do back-flips to appease the crowd! Well, all right, I wasn’t doing back-flips, but I did have to dance around, and this costume was not made for that.

“That’s great, sweetheart, I’m so happy for you. I hope you don’t mind my asking, but are you with anyone right now?” Once my Mum wanted to change the topic she didn’t mess around.

Not sure where this had come from, I answered as honestly as I dared. “No, I’m not. Why?”

“It’s just that I’ve seen you around town with different guys a lot, and Milan and I wanted to make sure that you remembered what we told you.” She sounded genuinely concerned but something about her asking struck a wrong chord with me.

12-31-14_8-57 PM

“Really? I’m old enough for it to not be any of your business, aren’t I?” I hadn’t meant to snap at her, but I had called her to announce my promotion, and here she was lecturing me like I was a little child. I had not moved out for this! Was it really this hard for her to keep her nose out of whoever I slept with and when? Or how many?

“Of course you are, sweetheart. I didn’t mean it like that. We just wanted to make sure that you know what you’re doing. Making a mistake like that isn’t something our family can afford, and you don’t seem to-”

“Good bye, Mum. I’ve got to get ready for work.” Just like that, I hang up. What did she care? Of course I remembered what she had told me – that Milan had made a deal with some spirit to bring her back from the dead and since she wasn’t supposed to be alive I wasn’t supposed to be here either, therefore no love and all that. Did she really have to lecture me now? Sure, I wasn’t fond of my new work uniform, but I was still pretty thrilled about being promoted! Couldn’t she just be happy for me, for just one moment, before treating me like I was five in need of detention?

Still feeling frustrated from the day before and my failed efforts of getting Dev to stay the night, I called him again, hoping to at least relieve my anger about Mum.

12-31-14_9-02 PM

“How are you today, Dev?”

He shrugged. “The news are still sinking in, you know? I lost my job. I don’t know how easy it’ll be to get a new one.”

“You’re a smart guy, someone will want to hire you. They’d be stupid not to.” At least I thought he was smart. We hadn’t done that much talking before and I didn’t know him all that well as a person, but he didn’t strike me as an idiot.

“You really think so?” Dev leaned in, looking hopeful.

12-31-14_9-03 PM-2

“I know so.”

“Wow, thanks! I needed to- I guess after yesterday I just needed to hear a friendly voice say something nice. Thanks, Lil.” He scooted closer slowly, taking my hand into his and squeezing it lightly.

“Feeling better now?”

He nodded, his smile back on his face. “I am. But I feel bad about last night! I doubt you called me so that I could tell you how badly my day had gone.”

Now it was my turn to look hopeful. Definitely not an idiot!

“I could hardly expect you to be in the mood for that given what happened.”

“Maybe not, but as I said- I’m better now.” He leaned in and, to my surprise, kissed me. I hadn’t expected him to be so willing so quickly after last night, but as it turned out he needed next to no convincing.

12-31-14_9-03 PM-3

It was nice. He wasn’t forceful or desperate, much more gentle and considerate than what usually happened. I liked it, it made a nice change. Unexpected as it was!

12-31-14_9-04 PM

“Care for a massage?”

“Always, if you’re the one massaging!”

12-31-14_9-05 PM

Things escalated pretty quickly from there. Comfort woohoo seemed to have done the trick, and he relaxed pretty quickly after that.

*

As before Dev was gone by the time I woke up in the morning. I appreciated that he didn’t stick around since I wasn’t sure what I would have said to him. We got along, sure, but mostly what we had was physical. That, and my breakfast would have poisoned him since my cooking still wasn’t any better. I did want to be friends, but I didn’t want to wake up next to him in the morning. Maybe he was ready for that sort of commitment, but I wasn’t.

01-17-15_1-49 PM

After our night I found myself looking forward to Gemma coming back to visit me. I really hoped she’d be able to stay longer this time, and maybe even stay long enough for me to have time to talk her into my bed. I felt like I had already waited so long that I had trouble thinking straight! If only I had said something to her while we had still been in school… Maybe things could have gone from there? I quietly laughed to myself. I wondered how Mum would have reacted to me bringing a girl home? At least she wouldn’t have had to worry about me getting pregnant that way!

I sighed to myself. Chances were Gemma didn’t actually like women. Twice I’d had a chance to talk to her now, and I didn’t even know if she was already in a relationship. I really wanted her, just once, but I wasn’t going to interfere if she was already happily taken. As much as my body had responded to her, I wasn’t going to break someone up. Never had done, never would do.

01-17-15_1-50 PM

I was so lost in thoughts that I almost missed her walking past my house. There was another week to go yet before the day we had agreed on, but there she was, standing just outside my garden, looking at the house. She looked so spaced out that she didn’t even see me get up and walk over to her.

“Gemma?” She gave the cutest little squeek, like I had caught her doing something forbidden.

“Lilliana? You’re- Oh blimey, have I walked this far already?”

I giggled, wondering why she looked so caught out. “Daydreaming?”

01-17-15_1-50 PM-2

Gemma nodded, blushing a little more. “Yeah, I was. I didn’t even realise how far I’d come already. I could have sworn- It’s crazy how time flies by when you’re thinking about something, isn’t it?”

Part of me really wanted to know what she had been thinking about, but the other part knew that it wasn’t really any of my business.  “Wanna come in?” I offered, happy to see her nodding.

We walked around and into the garden, where we sat down on the chairs. “Would you like a drink? I’ve got some chilled ice tea if you’d like.”

“I’m fine, thanks.”

“How’s the business?”

“It’s fine, I- There’s a lot of paperwork.” She seemed so uncomfortable, and I felt my heart drop. The other day in the park she had seemed so happy to see me. Maybe she had just been trying to be nice? After all, we had never talked much in school and I had had a bit of a reputation. Still did. But no, that couldn’t be it. She had seemed happy enough the day after when she had come over, too. She had to leave again soon, but that wasn’t because of me. Or was it? What if I made her uncomfortable?

From across the table, Gemma sighed.

01-17-15_1-56 PM

“Listen, Lilli… Can I call you Lilli?” I had no idea why she was rambling, but it was really cute.

“Sure, all of my friends call me Lilli.”

Again, she blushed. “Friends…” For a brief moment she stared off into nothingness with an odd smile on her face, but she recovered quickly. “Say, I… I need to tell you something. It was great running into you again, I would love to be friends with you, but I feel that I need to tell you something first. If you’re too uncomfortable being around me afterwards that’s fine, I understand, I just don’t want to be friends with you without telling you.”

“Is everything all right?” She seemed really nervous! As far as I could remember she had always been a healthy kid in school, but that didn’t mean that she couldn’t be sick now. What if she was badly ill? What if she was dying? Something inside me hurt immensely at that thought.

01-17-15_1-57 PM

“Yeah, I’m fine. Everything’s fine, really. I hope. Maker… This is so much harder than I had expected it to be!” I remembered that Gemma had always been a relatively shy girl. Energetic and happy amongst her friends, but a little more reserved around others although she was hardly the shyest girl at school. Usually quite bad around guys, though! And she had never been good at confessing things. I smiled to myself, remembering that one time she had told a guy that she had liked him, and she had gone as red as the brightest tomato!

“Go on. I won’t laugh, I promise.” I took her hand, trying to calm her a little but it seemed to make things worse. She flinched for a moment, but stayed where she was.

“Maker, Lilliana, you’re not helping. I, erm- I liked you. Back when we were in High School? I had the biggest crush on you!” Huh. Geez, if only I’d known!

“I don’t see why-”

“I still like you now. A lot. I had honestly expected you to move away but you stayed and then we ran into each other and I just-” Seemingly frustrated, she let out a sigh before slumping her shoulders in defeat. “I think I’ve been in love with you since our final year at school. I- I still am.” She went redder than she had done that day she had confessed her love to that guy.

01-17-15_1-57 PM-2

Well, what do you know!

Not letting her pull away from me, I tightened my grip on her hand and pulled her up with me. Not being able to let go so easily, she had no choice but to follow me. She avoided looking at me directly, but that was fine since I wrapped my arms around her and held her close. She felt good, tight up against me like that. Really good. And she smelled amazing. None of the guys I had been with had smelled this nice!

As much as I wanted to drag her inside – or actually, why bother going inside? it was dark out, no one would see a thing – I hated the idea of hurting her. I was heavily attracted to her, but she said that she loved me. Love! Sure, I wanted her a lot, but I also wanted other guys. I was too young to settle for one person, especially with all this choice running around.

01-17-15_1-58 PM

In my arms like this she was trembling, but I couldn’t tell if that was because she was embarrassed or because I was holding her. Or both. I squeezed a little tighter, worried that she’d slip out of my arms otherwise.

“Thank you for telling me.” I began, not sure how to continue. I was trembling myself a little, and I definitely knew why! Was I really doing this? Was I really turning her down? “I want- You know I like to have fun, right?” Against my hair I could feel her nod, holding on to me like her life depended on it.

“I know. I wouldn’t expect you to settle with me, or even feel the same, I just needed to tell you how I felt! Seeing you again after I had been convinced that you would move away has done bad things to me, Lilli.” She nervously giggled into my neck. It felt fantastic, and hearing her laugh after she had been so self-conscious was even better.

I knew I would hate myself, but I had to say it. It was too difficult to think knowing what I knew now, and with her this close against me- Thinking was becoming an impossible thing to do.

01-17-15_1-59 PM

“I do feel the same. But I don’t want a serious relationship, and I think you do.” Her face looked flushed, her eyes wide. Surprisingly, she squeezed my hands without any strength to her touch whatsoever.

“I can-” She stumbled over her own words before continuing. “I can have a bit of fun for a while if it’s with you.” I knew she’d regret it in the morning – more likely way before then – but I really couldn’t think any more.

01-17-15_2-01 PM

I kissed her. Feeling her first tense up then letting go and kissing me back destroyed whatever common sense I might still have had. Something about kissing her was so much better than kissing all those guys had been. She felt amazing wrapped around me like this.

Somehow, we made it to my bedroom, not breaking contact once. I felt like my hands were all over her but I wouldn’t have been able to open doors if that had been the case. I didn’t know at which point she left, but I had never experienced anything quite as memorable as the night I had spent with Gemma.

————————————————————————————-

Note:

I have no idea how it got dark so quickly between Gemma not being on Lilliana’s property and them sitting down in her garden, but it did oO They must have chatted for a while longer than I remembered.

Lilliana is lvl3 of her career now, which is Team Mascot and again she just needs to lvl up her Charisma and Fitness skill. She’s made a bit of progress towards her aspiration as well. She’s lvl5 /6 of her charisma skill, has a strong romantic relationship with 3 out of 3, and has kissed 3 sims out of 10 🙂 Progress!