3.17

04-23-16_12-28-03 PM

“Mum, look! Quickly!”

I smiled, and turned towards Gary. About a month ago we had gone to the park, and he had tried his hand at fishing for the first time. The information hut handed out fishing rods for a fiver to use all day, but I had a feeling I’d be buying him his own rod soon enough. I hadn’t expected him to be so taken by it, but he was and seemed to enjoy himself.

If it meant that he had a hobby he could pursue outside, I wouldn’t complain. Fishing wasn’t the most expensive hobby as long as you invested in a good fishing rod, and I could use the fish he caught for dinner. We both won.

04-23-16_12-25-21 PM

“Has he caught anything big yet?” Grandma asked, and I shook my head.

“Only goldfish.”

As if to prove my point his rod yanked him forward, and Gary nearly fell over his own feet. He caught himself just in time, sighed, and pouted.

Grandpa Milan chuckled. “One day. I’m surprised he’s caught anything at all with the equipment they let you borrow here.”

04-23-16_12-24-24 PM

“You fish?” I’d never pictured him with a fishing rod, wellies and one of those hats all fishermen seemed to wear. He fit perfectly into a science lab, or into a library, but I couldn’t imagine him reeling in a tuna.

He shrugged. “I used to. I know enough to know that the rods here aren’t brilliant.”

Grandma snorted. “What did you expect for a fiver a day?”

I smiled, and leaned back a little. Since my birthday two months ago we had gone out together more often. Willow Creak had a beautiful park, and all four of us could enjoy ourselves here. Work was busier than ever since Chief Chau gave me the most demanding cases, and I didn’t get much time to myself. This was lovely, and Gary loved to spend time outside with us.

04-23-16_12-26-43 PM

“Say, Grandpa, I’ve been thinking.”

The universe being a living being of some kind was still a little too much for me to comprehend, but there was one thing I couldn’t stop thinking about. I had thought a lot about what Grandpa Milan had told me on my birthday – about Gary possibly being able to live happily ever after with the one he loved – and I always arrived at the same question.

“About what?”

“About what you said to me, that the universe is adjusting itself.”

He nodded. “Go ahead.”

“You said you saved Grandma so that we could change the world for the better. That without us, the world had a bleak future and that somehow my family can change all that.”

Again, he nodded. “That’s right.”

“I know we can’t be too involved with anyone outside our family because we weren’t supposed to be here. Because I’m not supposed to exist, my interfering would change the course of someone else’s life, even if only in a small way. Correct?”

His eyes narrowed when he nodded again, trying to figure out what I was getting at.

“If our family is meant to change the world in some huge way, wouldn’t we have to interfere in the lives of other people? How can we stay away from everyone else if we’re meant to affect the world in this big fashion?”

04-23-16_12-26-38 PM

“That’s an excellent question!” Grandma said. “I’ve wondered that very same thing many times.”

Grandpa Milan looked surprised. “You did? Why didn’t you say anything?”

She shrugged. “Because, for better or for worse, I’m here now. My books are already out there, and have been for years. I may have been using a pen name for a while now to avoid suspicion, but they are still my books.”

I nodded, relieved that I wasn’t the only one who had noticed the contradiction. “So, even if you never meet your readers yourself, you have still affected their lives. You being here has touched the lives of thousands of people.” Grandma blushed and waved it off, but she was being modest. She had a massive fan base, and I knew I was right. How could we change the course of the world’s future without interacting with people? It didn’t make sense that we were supposed to alter the future in this huge life-changing way but not talk to people if it wasn’t necessary. It just didn’t work.

“Huh.” Grandpa Milan looked genuinely taken aback. “I hadn’t considered that.”

Grandma gave me a proud smile, and winked. “I can see who Gary got his smarts from.”

I blushed. I had no idea what I was talking about. At best it was a theory, but I knew I was right. It didn’t make sense any other way, and if what Grandpa Milan had told me about the universe getting used to us, then the universe knew it, too. Apparently.

Grandpa Milan borrowed a fishing rod, and joined Gary. Grandma and I laid back on the grass, and enjoyed the sunshine.

04-23-16_12-31-14 PM

“See that one there?”

I nodded. I’d never taken Grandma for someone who saw shapes in clouds, but of course it made sense. She was a writer; naturally she had a creative side.

“It looks like a daffodil, don’t you think?”

I smiled. “That’s very specific.”

Grandma traced the outline of the flower for me, but I still couldn’t see it. “Well, that’s because it is. It couldn’t be a rose – there! It’s definitely a daffodil.”

I smiled happily and closed my eyes. “I’m glad you and Grandpa Milan moved here. Gary loves you both a lot.”

04-23-16_12-30-20 PM

“I’m glad too, sweetheart. Living as long as I have isn’t always easy, but seeing my great-grandchild grow up makes it worthwhile. How many grandmas can say that?”

I chuckled. “Not many.”

For a moment we relaxed next to each other in a comfortable silence. When Grandma spoke again I realised I had nearly fallen asleep.

“Milan loves that you call him Grandpa. I don’t think he ever expected to be a part of our family. It means a lot to him.”

“Doesn’t he have a family? Outside us, I mean?” I was ashamed that I’d never thought about it. I was so used to calling him Grandpa that it hadn’t occurred to me.

Grandma shook her head. “His parents lived in Bridgeport, but they died many years ago. He never married, and he has no children of his own. We’re all he has.”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t imagine us without him.”

Grandma rolled onto her side, and smiled at me. “Me neither, sweetheart.”

The strangeness of it all struck me. My grandma was over a hundred years old but looked younger than I did. Her own child – my mum – had died of a proud old age, and still she looked younger than me. Grandpa Milan was only a part of our family because he had made a deal with a spirit – who now kept him alive and young – and had resurrected Grandma. The only reason I was here was because of an odd, supernatural exception.

We were a strange little family, but I wouldn’t have changed any of it.

——————————–

And with that, Sophia’s gen is officially over! I’ll take a few weeks to plot Gary’s story, and then he’ll take over very soon 😉

Advertisements

3.15

11-21-15_1-26-46 PM

Gary’s birthday came around much too fast. Between work and catching up with housework time had flown by, and before I knew it I was throwing him a birthday party.

Grandma and Grandpa Milan were thrilled to spend the day with us, and showered him with presents. I loved having them here, but nice as it was it drove home the truth that Emery should have celebrated with us. Mum and Momma should have been here, too, but I hurt the most for Emery. At least my parents had died of old age, after having lived a long, fulfilled life. Emery never got that chance.

Gary would have many questions, and I had no idea how to answer some of them. Would he be too young to understand what happened to his father? Would it scar him? How on earth was I supposed to explain why his great-grandparents looked younger than I did?

11-21-15_1-27-31 PM

I had never been as aware of time as I was on his birthday. My memory of Emery was fading, and it didn’t seem real that he had been gone for five years already. That Mum had been gone for five years.

That, while I was still young, my own grandparents looked younger than me. That my baby was no longer a baby, but a little boy who would start school soon.

Time seemed to be slipping through my fingers, and it scared me.

Grandma and Grandpa stood around the crip with me, and the three of us sang together.

“Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday dear Gary… Happy Birthday to you!”

11-21-15_1-39-12 PM

Gary looked so much like his father I couldn’t believe the resemblance at first. Emery’s sun-kissed skin, his bright eyes, even his brown hair – Gary could have been his twin. He had my nose, but it was impossible not to see his father in him.

I smiled. Even though my memory of Emery was fading, Gary would always be a perfect reminder.

Grandma and Grandpa stayed for cake and dinner. Gary was busy trying out his new toys and everything else around the house, which gave us a chance to talk.

11-21-15_1-38-42 PM

“Any news?” I asked Grandma while Grandpa Milan introduced my five-year old to chess in the garden.

She shook her head. “Not yet. He’s trying, Soph. He’ll be over as soon as he knows something, I promise. And didn’t I tell you not to worry?”

Suddenly I found it hard to swallow my chilli. It had gotten easier over the years, but the feeling that I had caused Emery’s death still haunted me at times. Especially at night, when I couldn’t sleep and my mind wandered without my permission. If I hadn’t fallen for Emery, he would still be alive. I knew that Grandma was right – he had known the risks when he had joined the force – but it was my fault that he had gotten mixed up in this mess. Maybe, if I hadn’t involved him and told him about the notes and that someone had been in my house, he wouldn’t have come to my rescue when Blaine tried to kill me.

My heart ached at all the things that could be different. Emery could be alive, but I wouldn’t have Gary. Would we still have slept together if I hadn’t involved him? Would we still have had that moment of weakness, or would it have been easier to ignore my feelings? Would it have been more difficult?

I felt guilty and ashamed that his death was my fault, but I didn’t want to live in a world without my son. He was everything to me, and with the only exception of Blaine’s death Gary was the one good thing that had come out of this.

I couldn’t imagine a life without him any more. I just wished it could have been a world with Emery in it. Gary deserved to know his father, every child did, but I had to accept that it wasn’t meant to be for my family.

The happily every after I had wanted since I was a child couldn’t be for us. I knew I had to come to terms with it, but it was hard.

11-21-15_1-45-27 PM

Gary was clever, and took to chess easily. Once a week Grandpa Milan came over to play with him, but on all other days he wanted to play with me. It didn’t take long for him to beat me, and I wondered who he had gotten his smarts from. Both I and Emery had been clever, but neither of us had been a protegee at five. Or maybe he was simply good at chess?

I was a good cop, and Emery had been even better. He had loved to cook and everything about food. I couldn’t help but wonder if Gary had inherited his love for cooking.

11-21-15_1-58-00 PM

He did well at school. I loved helping him with his homework, but most of the time he didn’t need my help.

To see if he did enjoy cooking I brought him into the kitchen more, and he loved to assist me.

11-21-15_2-00-10 PM

He did everything he could to help with our meals, and soon he came into the kitchen without me needing to ask him. It warmed my heart to see him take after his father so much, and hoped that it was more than just a son wanting to help his Mum.

I had been sad that Emery’s memory had faded, but now it never would. He lived on through our son, and I was immensely grateful for that. I was a little sad that my son didn’t take more after me, but if that meant that Emery wouldn’t be forgotten so soon I could live with that. He had been a great man, and I was beyond happy that Gary was so much like him.

I promised myself to nurture his talent in every way I could. If he wanted to grow his own fruit and vegetables, I’d make room for a garden. Our plot was large enough to house a good-sized vegetable garden, or whatever else he wanted to grow. It wouldn’t be an issue. If he wanted to go to culinary school, I’d pay his fees. I had the beginnings of a respectable financial safety net, and by the time Gary was old enough to chose what he wanted to do with his life I’d be able to support him.

Besides my grandparents, he was my only immediate family. I had accepted that I’d never have the large family I had dreamed of, but I’d invest all my love into Gary.

I just hoped he’d never ask me for a sibling. Maybe a puppy would do if he did.

——————————————

[rant on] I know I’ve said this before but I hate how quickly babies age up!! The gap between newborn and fully-grown child is much too big. It doesn’t bother me when I’m playing just for fun, but for these stories? Far too unrealistic!! -.- [rant off]

3.14

11-21-15_12-10-44 PM

Gary was a very smiley baby, and the first soft tufts of brown hair were starting to show on his head. His eyes were so much like Emery’s it was impossible not to see him in his son. I wondered if he would look like me at all when he was older, but loved him all the same. Emery had been a handsome man, and I didn’t care who Gary took after more. He was healthy and happy, that was all I wanted.

Half a year after he was born, Mum was hospitalized. Grandma called and told me what the doctors had told her – that we should say goodbye now if we wanted to have the chance. I wasn’t sure whether I should arrange for someone to look after Gary or whether he should come with me, but decided to take him with me in the end. Mum wouldn’t get to see him grow up. I wanted her to be able to see him again.

11-21-15_12-18-22 PM - Copy

I stayed for the funeral. Once I was back home I put all my energy into losing the baby fat. I was still on maternity leave for another month, so I hadn’t had the same kind of busy routine I’d had before Gary was born. My body wasn’t used to being lazy, and the first two weeks of working out did a number on my body. I felt like I was sore everywhere, even though my boxing bag was my only training partner.

It felt good to be more active again. I loved being home with Gary but I looked forward to being back at work, too.

11-21-15_1-14-35 PM - Copy

Chief Chau put me on a number of different jobs, to help me get settled back in. I wanted something bigger, but she insisted I take it slow after having been gone for months. I knew she was right, but I missed being on the street, fighting crime directly. All I could do here was take fingerprints and take mugshots. The things some of the criminals thought they could smuggle into prison amazed me every day.

And then, finally, we received a bit of good news.

Blaine Raegan had died in prison.

I thought I’d be ecstatic, but instead I only felt relief. It really was over now. The man I had sworn I’d hunt down was gone. Mum and Emery could rest in peace, and I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

Grandma and Grandpa Milan moved closer to me. Now that Mum was gone they wanted to be closer to their family and bought a house together, only two roads away from me. Having them so close to me felt great, and I loved that they’d be a part of Gary’s life.

11-21-15_1-02-09 PM - Copy

“I love your house, Grandpa.” Grandpa Milan had insisted that I don’t call him ‘Grandpa’ since we weren’t related, but I insisted. He felt like a grandfather to me, and using the title felt natural. He had earned it, and I wasn’t about to let him forget how important he was to us.

“Your grandmother chose it. She has good taste.” They had turned the small spare bedroom into an office for her, so she could continue writing her books.

“I need to talk to her. Does she have a moment?” I didn’t want to interrupt her while she was writing, but there was something important I needed to ask her.

“Of course!” I got up, ready to knock on her door when he stopped me. “Wait. Sophia, I’ve been meaning to talk to you. I don’t want you to think that I’ve forgotten about what you’ve asked me. I’ve been trying to get in touch with the spirits, but they haven’t been very… forthcoming.”

My heart sank. “What do you mean?”

“It’s their realm, their home. I can’t force my way in, and neither can the spirit that lives inside me since he’s bound to me.”

“I don’t understand.” What did this mean? Did the spirits avoid him because they knew I was right? Did spirits have appointments? Would they care whether their answer hurt me or not?

“I’ll keep trying, Sophia. I promise.”

I nodded, needing to change the subject.

“Sit down over there,” he said, and nodded to the table. “I’ll get Morrigan.”

11-21-15_1-03-36 PM - Copy

I quickly went to check up on Gary who slept in his pram in the kitchen, and sat down.

“I need to ask you a favour,” I said once we were all sitting together. “A big one.” Grandma was as dedicated to our strange cause as anyone could be. If anyone agreed, it’d be her.

“What’s the matter, sweetheart?”

“I was wondering if you could write about what happened here, at the police department. We’ve got the names of officers, politicians and other high-ranking people who were all conspiring with Blaine. If you write about it – an accurate record, not the stuff they publish in the paper – you could stop the same thing from happening again.” I didn’t know if it would really work. It could backfire, too, and people could end up blaming us for allowing the corruption to get so out of hand in the first place.

Grandma nodded. “That would help us work towards a better future, if the people were to be made aware. I see what you’re getting at.”

“Blaine was a bad man,” I said, my hands balled into fists. “I want people to understand how influential criminals can get, how ruthless they can be, and that it’s possible to stop people like him.”

There was a gleam in Grandma’s eyes that gave me hope. “A story like this could really inspire someone, Soph.”

“Your name is famous. If you write it they will read it.”

If I didn’t know my Grandma any better I’d have thought she blushed. “I’d love to help you. Of course I’ll do it.”

“I’ll speak to the Chief on Monday. We might be able to give you access to our files.”

For the first time since Emery’s death I felt truly hopeful. I had lost Emery and I had lost Mum, but I had Gary, Blaine Raegan was dead and with Grandma’s help we could really do some good. It was exciting to think about it all.

11-21-15_12-26-02 PM - Copy

I had achieved my dream. My father was gone. My future belonged to my son now. When Chief Chau asked me to be her replacement, I would accept. Willow Creak wasn’t a large city by any means, but I’d make it a save place for Gary and all other residents. Something like what had happened with Blaine wouldn’t happen again. Not on my watch.

11-21-15_12-20-48 PM - Copy

I could focus on work while I was at the station, but while I was home I belonged to Gary. Being a single Mum wouldn’t be easy, but my grandparents weren’t far away any more and I’d manage on my own. Gary would have everything he needed to be happy.

I swore my life on it.

———————————

Extra Pic

11-21-15_12-46-01 PM - Copy

I gave Morrigan and Milan a small make-over to go with their new home ^^

Apologies if Lilliana’s death seemed sudden. I’m sure you wanted pictures. I did, too. The game didn’t even tell me that she was close to dying, so I was just as surprised as you were when her portrait was greyed out -.-

3.12

10-02-15_7-12-20 PM

I couldn’t stay in this house any more. When I had bought it I had dreamed of a family, kids, a white picket fence – none of those things had happened since then. Instead, only bad things had happened inside this house and I couldn’t wait to see the back of it. First Blaine had threatened me, then Mum told me that Momma had passed away, Blaine attacked me and fatally injured Emery – I needed to get out and start over. Maybe a family and children were still somewhere in my future, but they weren’t here.

Together with Mum I looked over some listings and after four viewings I chose the perfect house for my new future.

10-02-15_8-04-31 PM

I still had no family or children, but I had the white fence. It wasn’t much but it was a start, and I knew this was the right one when we visited it. It was too big for me, but I saw the fence as a good luck charm and couldn’t resist. It was a sign, or a good omen or whatever people called it, and that was just what I needed after everything that had happened.

The previous owners were still in the process of moving, so I had a month to pack everything up and prepare for the move myself. I wasn’t looking forward to living in this reminder for another day, but would do what I always did to cope with a bad situation. I would throw myself into work. Chief  Chau insisted I take some time off to adjust and to allow myself time to mourn, but I didn’t want to be alone and there was a lot of work to get done. Blaine had left a minefield in his wake, and while I wasn’t allowed to interrogate him myself I could still research everything else he had had a hand in for the past several years. His accomplices within the station soon sang and gave us all the information we needed, worrying as it all was. They had not been the only corrupt agents working for him. He had people everywhere, from the smallest shops working as spies to important politicians. It seemed there was no end to his corruptions, and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Without realising it he had done me a favour. He had robbed me of my partner and man I loved, but he had also given me something to focus on. Something important.

10-01-15_7-02-53 PM

Mum, Grandma and Grandpa Milan came over a week later for Emery’s funeral. I had had too much time to think in this empty house, and had begun to question some things I should just be leaving alone. There was nothing I could do to answer them now but I wanted to ask Grandma and Grandpa Milan when I had a quiet moment alone with them.

For now I was just grateful that I wasn’t alone. Mum stayed with me for two weeks after the funeral, and only went back briefly for Momma’s funeral and wake. I was dreading another ceremony but was glad to be out of the house, too.

10-02-15_6-07-23 PM

Being amongst all those people was overwhelming. There were so many I had never even met before, people who had worked with Momma, her business partners, and old employees who still held her in high regard. It was great seeing all these people coming together and tell stories about my Momma, but at the same time it was too much. The house soon felt crowded, and I felt faint. I needed some fresh air, and headed upstairs to the balcony.

10-02-15_6-09-14 PM

The warm breeze was just what I had needed. It was familiar and comforting, and made me feel about as good as I could feel.

It was strange to be back. So much had changed that I could see from my little spot, but it was still exactly the same place as I had grown up in, too. The rocks and palm trees were the same, the sand and the air were the same, and even the small convenience store off in the distance was the same. So much had changed since I had moved, but my home town was still my home town. It was comforting to see it like this.

10-02-15_6-09-40 PM

My childhood seemed like a lifetime ago. My eighteenth birthday felt like it had happened centuries ago, when in reality only a few years had passed. I could still smell Momma’s cooking, feeling the sweat on my skin from working out all morning with Mum, and I could still here Marvin’s laughter in the garden. I wondered where he was now. If he was still in Riverview, or if he had moved up in the world. Whether he had gotten married by now, and what she’d be like.

I sighed. Marvin was still alive and kicking but he seemed as far away as Emery in that moment.

Behind me the door opened, and two sets of footsteps entered the balcony behind me. I didn’t need to turn around to know who it was. I still recognised the sound.

10-02-15_6-11-58 PM

“Hey, sweety” Grandpa Milan said.

“We thought you looked like you needed to talk.”

I nodded, finally turning around as the chance I’d been waiting for presented itself.

“I do. Are you sure now is a good moment?” As much as I needed to get this question of my chest I didn’t want Mum to be alone today.

“Of course. Don’t worry about Lilli, Gemma’s friends are keeping her company.”

I awkwardly fiddled with my hands as they sat down on the bench, not really knowing what to do with myself. Now that I finally had the chance to ask my question I wasn’t sure that I still wanted to know the answer.

10-02-15_6-14-23 PM

“How are you holding up?” Grandma asked, motioning for me to sit between them like we did when I was young, but I shook my head. I needed to feel the touch of air on my arms for this.

“Badly” I said truthfully. “I miss him, Grandma.” I didn’t care if she made a remark about how she had warned me not to fall in love. Right now I just needed to talk to someone.

“I’m sorry, sweety. Is there anything we can do?” I shook my head no. Unless they had a way of bringing Emery back I wasn’t interested, and that was out of the question. Nothing else would do.

Without wanting to waste more time, I asked my question.

10-02-15_6-16-39 PM

“Is it my fault he’s gone, Grandpa?” Their eyes went wide, and Grandma reached out for my hands.

“Of course it isn’t. You couldn’t know that lunatic would be there or what he would do. Why would you think this was your fault?”

“Because you told me not to fall in love, and I did it anyway. You told me our family can’t live happily ever after like I wanted to, but I tried to do it anyway. Am I being punished?” My nose stung and my eyes burnt, but I didn’t care. I was far beyond the age where I couldn’t let anyone see me cry.

Their faces had turned ashen, and I knew I was right. This was my fault. Emery was gone because of me.

10-02-15_6-14-37 PM

“Sweety, that’s not true. The spirits would never punish us like this.” I wanted to believe him but I couldn’t.

“How do you know? Have you asked them?”

He looked uncomfortable in his seat when he replied. “No, but if you really want me to I can.”

I nodded. “Please?”

“I don’t know when I’ll be able to, but I’ll give you a call once I know if you like.”

Next to him Grandma shook her head.

10-02-15_6-14-30 PM

“Now, listen here, sweetheart. You’re not being punished, his death had nothing to do with you. I know this is hard to hear, but people die and you are in a dangerous job. You both knew the risks when you signed up, or am I wrong?”

I sniffled, feeling like a little girl. “No. You’re right. But I can’t help but feel that he’d still be alive if I hadn’t interfered. I wanted to keep our relationship professional, Grandma, I really did.”

They both got up, hugging me from both sides at once. Holding on to my grandparents I cried into their clothes, the familiar smells not doing anything to comfort me.

“It’ll be all right, sweetheart. You’ll see.” I wanted to believe her more than anything, but the reality of our fate began to really sink in. I had told myself I could have a family and love, but maybe there was nothing I could do to get either. I had the very beginnings of love with Emery, and he had been taken away from me. Mum had managed to cheat it, but only because she made Gemma work her butt off. They hadn’t spent as much time together as they should have done, just to be allowed to be together at all.

“How do you cope?”

Milan stepped away as Grandma held me close. “Your mother was very lucky with Gemma, but you saw how little time they got to spend together. When they did they were tired from their careers. And I barely left my office, Soph.” The reminder of Emery stung like nothing had ever stung before. I could almost hear my nickname in his voice, pretend my Grandma’s arms were his. “I used Lilli’s father, and never saw him again. He never even knew I was pregnant, and Lilli never knew him.”

I didn’t know if her words helped or not. “So you focused on your career?”

Grandma pulled away just enough to be able to look into my eyes and cup my face with her hands. “I did. It helped.” There was the hint of something else behind her eyes. Did Grandma regret not being able to fall in love? Mum and I had given her a hard time for always reminding us that we couldn’t fall in love, but it had never occurred to me that Grandma wanted her happily ever after just as much as I did.

“What do you say we go back inside? I’ll get you a drink.”

“In a minute, you go ahead.” I needed to be alone, and think. Or not think.

10-02-15_6-14-45 PM

This wasn’t fair. I wasn’t sure I could do what Grandma had done, and have someone’s baby without any love involved. I couldn’t use someone like that. How could anyone? How had Grandma? Knowing that I’d force my child into the same fate I now suffered through made it even worse. How could I be so cruel?

I wondered what the universe would do if I just never had children. Milan had said that my family was important, vital to the world’s future. Did I really have to chose between passing on our fate and saving the world? Between my child and everybody else? How could anyone make such a decision?

I didn’t have to wait long to realise that the decision was no longer mine to make.

10-02-15_6-47-52 PM

I found out a week before moving into my new house. Our new house.

I was pregnant.

 

————————————-

Tour of the house:

10-02-15_8-04-40 PM

1st Floor:

10-02-15_8-04-56 PM

10-02-15_8-18-38 PM

10-02-15_8-19-01 PM

10-02-15_8-19-18 PM

10-02-15_8-19-23 PM

10-02-15_8-19-33 PM

10-02-15_8-19-55 PM

10-02-15_8-20-05 PM

2nd Floor

10-02-15_8-04-51 PM

10-02-15_8-20-32 PM

10-02-15_8-20-40 PM

10-02-15_8-21-05 PM

10-02-15_8-21-12 PM

10-02-15_8-20-57 PM

I tried to make it small but cosy, and am really pleased with how it turned out :3 Although the garden needs work 😛
You’ll see the nursery in the next update, along with gen 4 😉

3.1

04-06-15_5-02 PM

One… Two, Three… One… Two, Three… 

Breathing heavily I punched our punching bag into the same spot again and again, imagining a face I didn’t know where my fists landed.

One… Two, Three… One… Two, Three… 

Mum had made me take self-defence lessons since I was eight. Twice a week I attended karate and taekwondo classes, always training towards the same purpose. That purpose was what I imagined our punching bag to look like now.

I had never met my father, but I knew what kind of person he was from Mum. When I had been a child she had told me the bare minimum – that he was a bad person and that he was in prison – but it wasn’t until I was sixteen that she had told me the rest. He had raped her. He had drugged her, knocked her out, and raped her, hoping to possess her like some item you paid for. Mum seemed to have gotten over it, and even said that she was grateful, because if he hadn’t done those things she wouldn’t have me, but I was livid. What made people do things like that? I didn’t understand how someone could do things as horrible as he had done, but I did understand perfectly well that there were a lot of people like him out there. A lot of criminals who ran free every day, without anyone bringing them to justice only because their cases were too tricky.

That was my purpose, and that was what I imagined the punching bag to look like. All those criminals, with his face, and I would be the one to bring an end to them.

I wasn’t violent, usually. I was actually the exact opposite. My Mums always said that I had a strong sense of justice, and I guessed they were right. For as long as I could remember Mum had taught me right from wrong, and it had stuck. I loved peace, which was exactly why the idea of all these criminals made me angry. They threatened our safety. Being someone who could stop them was like a dream come true.

04-22-15_10-56 AM

Even though I didn’t have a dad, I had two mothers. I had never felt left out or like I was missing something. Our family was perfectly intact, if a little different. My Mums had been together for a long time, but they still adored each other every day like it was their first date. I was a little jealous, seeing how long their love for each other had lasted, and hoped that I’d be able to have the same kind of caring relationship one day. I did have a boyfriend now but once school was finished we’d go our separate ways, so I knew that I had no future with him. I did want children one day, and I wanted to get married and have my own happily-ever-after, but every time I brought it up Mum had this dark shadow cover her eyes, like I had brought up a sensitive topic. She always changed the subject when I asked, saying she’d tell me when I was older.

04-06-15_5-26 PM-3

I got on well with Mum. I knew that for the first years of my life she had raised me by herself, and I respected her for it. Momma Gemma hadn’t moved in until I had been older, but I could imagine how difficult it must have been for her, raising me herself while working full time as well. She was a very well known football player and had recently been entered into the Hall Of Fame, which came with a massive cash reward. Two thirds of which she gave to charity supporting abused women and single parents. Mum had done a lot for each charity from hosting events of any size to the monthly infusions of much needed cash. It wasn’t rare for her to get a thank you letter from someone telling her how much she had changed their lives. From what she had told me I could guess that her life hadn’t been easy, and I was endlessly proud of her.

Momma Gemma ran her own business, which she had inherited from her father. They had both worked very hard to be where they were now, and I intended on doing the same. Whether I became the most well known Detective of all time didn’t matter. The only thing that did was that I locked up Blaine Regan for good.

05-03-15_3-08 PM

That wasn’t to say that I was one of those girl who did nothing but study, though! Thanks to my high martial art skills and good grades I already had a good shot at being accepted into the Police Academy, so I didn’t have to spend every free second hunched over books. I did study a lot, but it wasn’t all I spent my time doing. I always made time for Marvin, and a few friends.

Marvin and I had known each other since Primary School, and somehow during our second year of High School we started dating. I had never considered dating my best friend, but it had worked for Mum so why not me? At some point during our final year I had realised that I liked him a lot, but I ignored it most of the time. Or I tried to ignore it, anyway.

05-03-15_3-09 PM

Like me, Marvin wanted to be a member of the police force, but his aspirations were a little different to mine. He was originally from Twinbrook and remembered the fear associated with staying out late due to their relatively high crime rate. He wanted to go back to turn Twinbrook into a saver town. I thought it as a fantastic idea, but it meant him moving far away from me so there was no point imagining our lives together. I knew where Blaine had been imprisoned, and I knew where he was rumoured to work after his breakout. I would be moving to Willow Creek, closer to the enemy. Even further away from Marvin.

Mum and Grandma saw us dating as the perfect time to call me into my room for a ‘talk’ one day. I had expected a repeat of the woohoo talk – which Mum had already given me – but instead Grandma had something completely different to say.

05-03-15_12-49 PM

“You’re old enough to hear this, Sophia. Your Mum and I already discussed it, and we believe now is a good time.”

“Is something wrong?” When I was a child Mum and Grandma had a strained relationship for a while, but they had never told me why, despite my asking. Next to me Mum sat perfectly still – something she always did when she was uncomfortable. I had a feeling the two were connected somehow, but didn’t want to press either of them for answers. We were all here now, and Grandma seemed determined to tell me whatever it was. There was no point begging for details they were going to give me anyway.

“No, sweetheart, nothing is wrong” Mum answered, offering me an uneasy smile. “But it is important, and you need to hear it before you and Marvin take your relationship much further.” I hadn’t told them about our different plans for the future, but maybe I should have done.

“It’s a long story, Sophia, so I will get right to the point. None of us are supposed to be here. I died when I was roughly your age, but Uncle Milan struck a deal with a spirit to return me to this world.”

05-03-15_12-49 PM-2

“Could you repeat that?” I had always wondered how Grandma Morrigan managed to still look so much younger than Mum, but this seemed a little too far fetched.

“I know it’s a lot to take in, sweetheart, but it’s the truth. The same spirit offered Mum – Grandma – a second deal.”

“So she’s immortal?” Was that even possible? Immortality – actual immortality – didn’t exist, did it? Could it?

“Don’t talk about me like I’m not here, Sophia. And yes, I am immortal. It’s why I still look younger than your Mum does. Milan is immortal, too, since he hosts the spirit who has made this possible. But that isn’t why I needed to talk to you. There is more to it than that. Lilliana, sweetheart, if you would?”

Next to me Mum was clenching her fists, and I realised immediately that I was about to hear the reasons for that dark cloud across her eyes every time I mentioned marriage.

05-03-15_12-50 PM

“I know this will be difficult to accept, but please remember that your Grandma and I have had to make the same sacrifice.”

I nodded, feeling too worried to speak. There was something in Mum’s voice that let me believe that she wasn’t kidding, and that I wasn’t going to like it.

“Because none of us are supposed to be here and are only alive by the grace of a spirit, we mustn’t influence this world more than necessary. The spirit allowed your Grandma to return because it and Milan believe our family to be vital in the future of our world. We may attempt to change the world for the better, but we mustn’t change more than what is necessary to achieve that.”

“I don’t follow.” Even if everything she was telling me was the truth, it didn’t make sense. What wasn’t Mum telling me?

Mum took a deep breath in before she spoke. “You can’t get married, sweetheart. I’m sorry. Every person who enters our lives must be allowed to continue as if they had never met us. If someone was to marry you, they might not marry the woman who would otherwise have given birth to a hero. Your husband’s unborn child.” I felt like she had punched me, but it still didn’t make sense.

“What about Momma Gemma? She lives with us, and she has helped raise me! If you can be happy with her, why can’t I be happy with someone?” Mum looked genuinely heart-broken, and I was grateful when Grandma continued.

05-03-15_12-50 PM-3

“Your mother found… a loophole. By the time she started dating Gemma officially Gemma was already committed to her career. For their relationship to work, it was vital that Gemma continued with her career until she had reached the same level she would have reached without your mother interfering. Since she was already committed, convincing her was easy.”

Mum took my hands into hers and squeezed them lightly. “Trust me, not a day went by where I didn’t want to ask Gemma to quit her job and move in with us already. Every day I watched her work herself into the ground trying to juggle raising you while I was at work and advancing her business. Before she retired she was exhausted a lot, often too tired to go through all her paperwork before going to bed but she did it anyway. Because I insisted. I often asked myself whether I was fair on her, or whether our relationship was fair on her, but I was too selfish to just let her go. I love her a great deal, Sophia. I didn’t want to live without her completely, but seeing her drive herself so hard hurt, too.”

“But you made it work.”

05-03-15_12-50 PM-4

“Yes, but it wasn’t easy. It was only possible because Gemma felt an obligation towards the business her father had left her. Without that, she would have quit her job and her business would have failed. I know she wanted to leave the company many times, but I had to push her back into her office regardless.”

My heart broke at the news, but I felt that maybe there was a chance after all. I didn’t want to do this to someone I loved – I wasn’t sure that I could – but I had dreamed of getting married since I had been a little girl. I wanted a beautiful wedding, three children, and a white picket fence. So it was going to be difficult. Maybe it wasn’t impossible.

Grandma didn’t look too happy at my persistence, but I wasn’t going to give up just yet.

I still had some time to figure out the details. I was never going to marry Marvin, and I doubted that I’d have time to date until later in my career, anyway. Seeing Blaine locked up with a life sentence hanging over his head was my top priority, and I doubted I would get there quickly. I had years to figure something out. Years to even meet the right man.

04-06-15_4-57 PM

If there was one thing Mum had taught me, it was to never let myself be defeated easily. I was going to find out what he had been up to, see him imprisoned, and then I was going to have the life I had wanted to have since I had been five. Who cared if it was going to be difficult? Nothing worth having was ever easy.

Being married with children was definitely worth having.

2.18

03-14-15_8-59 PM-3

“Your mother is a stubborn woman, Lilli. Convincing her wasn’t easy.” Milan had come over three days after I had called him with a tired smile on his face. He looked exhausted, but talking to my Mum seemed to do that to people. Me and Milan, specifically.

“But you did convince her?” I asked, finding it hard to believe. I knew he would try his best, but he had said it himself – Mum was stubborn. We both knew that better than anyone!

“Eventually. I spoke to the spirit inhabiting me, and a few others.” When Milan had first told me that a spirit shared his body I had found it almost as hard to believe as when he had told me just now that he had convinced Mum. Now I was glad that he had this arrangement, weird as I thought it was. “At this moment they don’t see a disturbance in the universe, but they are… worried, that Gemma will quit her job to be with you.”

03-14-15_8-59 PM

“She’d never do that, she loves what she does.”

“As much as she loves you?”

I paused, not sure how to answer that. I wanted to believe that I meant more to her than her career, but at the same time knew that saying it wasn’t the best answer I could give in that moment. “I don’t know. She is very dedicated to it.”

“The spirits told me that she has plans of leaving her business and being with you all the time. When she suggests that…”

“But I can stay with her? If she doesn’t leave her job?” My heart was racing at the news! If this was the only thing standing between us then it didn’t sound too difficult! We could be together as long as she continued working!

“In theory, yes. She would have pursued the same path if you hadn’t been born, so it is imperative that she continues to follow it until retirement. She cannot quit her job early, neither can you become her new priority. As long as you follow these rules everything should stay in order.”

03-14-15_9-00 PM

I felt my heart beat heavily. This was exactly what Gemma and I had decided on doing anyway. Her leaving the business to move in early was news to me, but if and when she brought it up I’d be able to change her mind. I did want to raise Sophia by myself after all, and knew that she would see reason in the end.

“Thank you. You have no idea how much I appreciate your help.”

He smiled warmly, and nodded. “That’s what uncle’s are there for.”

03-14-15_9-09 PM

Two weeks later Gemma asked to move in. Work was leaving her exhausted most days and she loved coming here afterwards to take care of me and Sophia. Telling her no was harder than I had expected, but she agreed eventually. She understood me wanting to raise her by myself which helped a lot.

Tired as she was, she still made time for us both. Sophia was quickly becoming her daughter as much as she was mine, and a small part of me wanted to tell her that I had changed my mind, that she could move in anytime, but I reminded myself that we couldn’t. I had tempted fate enough as it was and didn’t want to push things any further. I was grateful that I could be with her and knew when to stop asking.

Time flew by quickly after that. Before I knew it my big birthday was just around the corner, and I was beginning to feel old.

03-14-15_9-16 PM

I decided on throwing a small party. There were loads of people I could have invited but didn’t think that any of them would be too thrilled to hear about me and Gemma. I hadn’t been in touch with any of them for a while and hoped that they would have figured that we weren’t together any more by now, but my experience with Blaine had taught me that people weren’t often as simple as that. None of the guys or women I had used to sleep with had contacted me in ages, but I hadn’t heard from Blaine for years before he had suddenly turned up, either.

Still, this was my big birthday and it wasn’t going to be ruined by anything! If there was one thing I knew how to do it was how to throw a great party – even if I had to tune things down a little for Sophia’s sake.

After my birthday we fell into a really nice routine. Gemma was working mornings and early afternoons, and I’d work late afternoons and evenings. There was usually always someone home to look after Sophia, and I was grateful that she didn’t have to go into daycare while I was out. Our work schedules complimented each other perfectly – even if it meant less time for us together.

03-14-15_9-18 PM

Absorbed in my career and raising Sophia I didn’t realise that suddenly her own birthday was only a week away. Mum and I were getting along better after Milan’s approval, and even took a picture together during Sophia’s birthday party. To commemorate the big day. Things were still a little strained between us and I could tell that she was worried, but she was trying and I appreciated it.

Again only the family had been invited. Mum, Milan and Gemma all spoiled her with gifts, and even the cake I had made for her had turned out all right.

03-14-15_9-30 PM-2

She was beautiful. Her wispy blonde strands had grown into lovely thick hair, and I could tell immediately that I had a clever girl on my hands. Soon she’d be a grown teenager and I’d be able to start training her in self defence, but today was all about her.

03-14-15_9-33 PM

“Happy birthday, sweetheart.” I bent down to hug her, tying to hide the few tears that had welled up. It bugged me that there was so much of him in her, but there was a lot of me there, too, and I didn’t want to influence the kind of person she was becoming too much. I doubted she’d be anything like him, but I’d teach her how to defend herself against people like him.

I cut the cake as Mum, Milan and Gemma hugged her in turn, and for the rest of the day I simply enjoyed Sophia’s birthday, marvelling at the beautiful girl she had become.

—————————————————————————–

Notes:

Sophia’s birthday really drove home to me how much TS4 needs a toddler stage :/ I like the babies in this, I think they’ve done well, but her birthday came around far too quickly. Growing from a newborn looking baby into a grown child just seems too quick to me. So apologies if this seemed fast to anyone else – such is the way of TS4 :/

2.17

02-26-15_4-57 PM

“You have to stop seeing Gemma. You do know that, don’t you?” I had been prepared for this, but actually hearing it stung more than I had expected nonetheless. Mum had made no secret out of her dislike for our relationship, and while I understood why she had to be harsh I couldn’t just leave Gemma because she said so! Mum seemed convinced that if I stayed with Gemma, the universe would collapse around us, like our relationship alone would be enough to destroy humanity. How could I believe something like that? We knew nothing about the universe or how any of it really worked. She was here, wasn’t she? As were I and Sophia! According to her and Milan, none of us were supposed to be alive.

I got that I had to be careful but leaving Gemma wasn’t something I was happy to do just on her word alone! For all we knew that spirit they had told me about had been lying to Milan. After all, we didn’t really know anything about them either. What if they were all liars?

Being careful and not risking the end of life as we knew it was fine with me, but I didn’t see how loving Gemma would endanger anything.

02-26-15_4-56 PM

“No. I don’t.” If Mum was going to jump right in, then so was I. No things hidden, all cards on the table.

Her expression confirmed what I had expected. “Yes, you do! Lilli, haven’t you listened to a word I’ve told you? A word we’ve told you?”

“Of course I have! But dating Gemma isn’t going to ruin the course of this universe, Mum, I just don’t see how-”

02-26-15_4-57 PM-2

“I know you love her, Lilli, and trust me, I know what I’m asking you to do isn’t fair, but this is how it has to be! If I could see you both happy, getting married and adopting a few more children then I would love every moment of it, but is it really worth the risk to you?”

Mum sounded genuinely sorry. I knew she didn’t really want to split us up, but for someone who apparently wanted to see us happy she was too persistent.

I thought about Gemma, everything that she was to me. I had never considered settling down until I had met her, and even then it had taken me a while to accept that I loved her. Really loved her. I had played with men and women since my first boyfriend, but Gemma had changed all that. I actually wanted to settle down with her and get married, like Mum had said. Maybe adopt a baby. She did so beautifully with Sophia that I knew she was capable! Sophia adored her, she made a good mother even though she wasn’t here all of the time.

“Yes, it is.”

“Now listen here, Lilli-” Mum sounded fed up with me and my persistence, but I felt the same way about her. We weren’t getting anywhere, but if she kept insisting on having these talks then I would continue to defend what Gemma and I had.

02-26-15_4-58 PM

“No, Mum, you listen to me! This is my house, and this is my life! I love Gemma, whether you like it or not, and I’m not going to break up with her just because of some theories you and Milan have about the world ending! Gemma and Sophia are the two good things that have happened to me, and I won’t throw it away because you’re asking me to!”

“Lilli…”

“When the universe starts crumbling I’ll rethink my options, but right now nothing is going to change. Gemma is going to move in with me once Sophia is old enough, and we’ll be a proper family. With or without you.”

I immediately regretted my harsh words when I saw the look on her face. At least I had made myself clear. Gemma was staying, and Mum had better get used to it. I didn’t want to upset her but I wasn’t going to be intimidated by her, either.

“Lilli, please just consider-” Sophia interrupted us when she started crying in her room.

“My daughter needs me. You should go, Mum, I’m sure you’re busy.” I hated kicking her out. I hated the look on her face. But I was old enough to chose who I was with and I needed her to accept it. After all the people I had been with and her open dislike for that I had thought that she’d approve of me settling for one woman, but it looked like I had been wrong.

She looked like a kicked dog when she left, and I had a feeling that our conversation wasn’t over yet. For now, at least, it was.

02-26-15_5-00 PM

Once Sophia had been fed and I had calmed down a little I decided to call Milan. He was the one who could talk to spirits, after all. If anyone had a realistic idea of what kind of consequences my dating Gemma could possibly have it was him.

He didn’t sound happy to hear about my argument with Mum, but he agreed to talk to her and consult the spirits. I wasn’t sure what exactly could come out of it but if anyone could make Mum see reason it was him.

02-26-15_5-05 PM

Between me trying to get Milan to play peace keeper and me working hard for my next promotion, I still found all the time I could to look after my baby. Sophia was my world, even though I had never expected anything like it. If anyone had told me that I’d be a mother and loving every moment of it two years ago I wouldn’t have bought it. Hell, if anyone had told me that I’d be raped- I had never imagined that one day I might hate the idea of woohooing someone, but a lot of things had changed since Blaine had come here for a ‘visit’. As much as I had hated him at the time, I couldn’t hate my baby. Sophia was beautiful, and she was perfect. She had inherited his eye colour and the first faint strands of wispy blonde hair were showing on her cute little head, but she was mine and he’d never even see her from a distance if I could help it.

02-26-15_5-11 PM-2

And of course Gemma was perfect throughout it all. She was working hard herself, pushing her father’s business to improve every day. I didn’t get to see her as often as I would have liked, but when she was here it was bliss.

What I had told Mum about her moving in with us was true. We had made plans for her to move in once Sophia was a little older, and had started school. Maybe later than that, it partly depended on how her business was going as well as how well my baby grew up. If she wasn’t ready for Gemma to live with us than that was fine. If I didn’t think that she’d be fine with it than that would be fine as well. For now I wanted to raise her by myself. The only reason she had been born was because I had messed up royally as a teenager. Raising her by myself was the least I could do. A poor attempt at fixing past mistakes, but it was something, and I felt like I owed her as much. Gemma was around a lot and Sophia worshipped her, but I wanted the main duties that came with being a mother to be mine.

We’d be a proper family soon enough. Whether Mum gave us her blessing or not.