Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chapter 6-1: Trouble On The Way

                With graduation the conclusion of her high school career, Evangeline threw herself into planning her wedding to Neal before her university semester would start. She wanted to have plenty of time to spend with him before moving away for the semester so she wasn’t wasting any time in getting things ready. They met one rainy summer afternoon in front of the church where her parents had gotten married.

                “Look, Neal, I know we’re doing this really fast. I’m not pregnant so you don’t have to do this.” She wasn’t trying to talk him out of it but she didn’t want him to feel pressured or that he had to do the right thing.

                “I know that. I’m not marrying you because I have to. I’m marrying you because I want to. I love you Evey.” He was the only one she let get away with calling her that.

                Just a few short weeks later, her wedding day dawned bright and early. At the church, Camille was the one getting cold feet about the entire situation.

                “You don’t have to get married you know,” she said to her daughter, while Donovan looked on with a raised eyebrow.
                “Mom, I love him.”
                “You just graduated high school! How can you even know what love is?”
                “I’ve watched you and daddy my whole life. I want that. Neal is that for me.”
                “Evangeline, I married your father years into our relationship. Love grew out of respect and friendship, it wasn’t some fast and spontaneous thing.”
                “Maybe it takes some people longer. Please mom, please just be happy for us,” she begged.

                Donovan pulled his wife aside gently and held her for a moment, whispering reassurances in her ear. His composure calmed his wife and she found a seat without another word.

                “She’s happy, isn’t she daddy,” her voice wavering just the slightest as they started down the aisle.
                “Of course she is honey. She just wants you to be as happy as we are. It’s her job as your mom to worry. Just like it’s my job to make Neal regret if he ever hurts you.” He winked at her with a corner of his mouth upturned, to let her know he was only semi-joking. “Now let’s get you married!”

                With just Neal’s family and her own looking on, Evangeline repeated her vows, promising to love and cherish Neal, as he promised to love and cherish her. A kiss sealed the deal.

                The summer they had together was beautiful in its perfectness. Evangeline enjoyed playing housewife while Neal went off to work and every day she met him for a picnic lunch outside. Rainy days were spent cuddled under the covers, making love and memories. Though, as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end.

                A sad smile crossed her face, “Just two weeks left now.”
                “Two weeks?” Neal’s confusion was evident.
                “Until I leave for school, remember,” she reminded him gently.
                He crossed the room and sat down on the coffee table in front of her, reaching out to take her hand. “Evey, you don’t have to go. I bought this apartment for you, the view, just like the one in my old room.”

                “A view’s not going to make me stay Neal. You knew I was planning on going to the state university this fall. I’ve been talking about it for months. Before we ever got married.”
                “I figured it was something you’d give up once we got married. We’re married Evey. It’s silly to run across the country for school when I’m here, our life’s here.”

                “Silly?” Evangeline jumped up from the chair. “My dream is silly to you? You don’t want me to do better than what I can do here?”

                Sighing, Neal pinched the bridge of his nose. “That’s not what I said. Don’t put words in my mouth.”

                “Okay, lemme see if I got this right then, from your mouth.” The acid dripping in her tone caused him to wince but, to his credit, Neal stayed silent instead of interrupt his wife. “You thought I could give up school because we got married. You thought a nice view would be a good trade for a better education. You think that this ring on my finger should tether me to you and St. Claire forever.”

                “Stop!” His raised voice made her pause and as she gazed upon the anger and hurt in his face, she took a step back. “You want to be a journalist, like your dad! Look how great he’s done, with just high school. A degree isn’t necessary for your dream.” Everything seemed to click then. “This is about your dad isn’t it? Not the school itself? He wants you to go.” Another sigh and she could see the resignation take hold.  “You know what Evangeline. Go. If it’s that important, go to school. We’ll figure out a way to make this work.”

                Knowing she’d hurt his feelings, she felt like a complete jerk for the way she’d acted. “Please, let’s not fight. Let’s just make the best of these 2 weeks. Besides, is it so wrong to want my parents to be proud of me?” He pulled her into him, knowing that he couldn’t stay mad at her. It’d just be a semester at a time.

                “Ahem. Well, this is awkward.” Emerson spoke from the door, Renata in front of him. Evangeline had completely forgotten that she’d invited them over for dinner amidst the argument with Neal.

                “Come in! Let me just pop that lasagna in the oven. Renata, would you mind giving me a hand?”

                “Dude, you look like someone just stole your teddy bear.”
                Glancing back at the kitchen, Neal checked to make sure the girls weren’t paying them any attention. “I just thought she’d change her mind, you know? Decide she’d rather stay here with me than go off to school.”
                “We won’t be that far. And we’ll come home during term breaks. Don’t worry so much.”

                Moving day arrived in what seemed like no time. She had promised her parents that she would head over to say goodbye before she left. Neal had to work so they were saying their goodbyes at the apartment.

                “I’m going to miss you.”
                “I’ll miss you too. Now that I’ve got you upgraded on phones, we can even sim time and see each other so it’ll be like I never left.” Neal wrapped her in his arms and kissed her goodbye before they took the elevator downstairs and parted ways.

                More tearful hugs and goodbyes later, the moving van that Donovan had rented pulled away from the curb, leaving her parents waving on the side of the street.

                Three long days and lots of restroom breaks later, Evangeline, Emerson, and Renata arrived at Henry Hall, their new “home” for the next semester.

                “Think we can room together,” Renata asked hopefully. Upon greeting the resident advisor though, they were informed that they’d each been paired up and room assignments were set in stone. At least they were in the same building.

                Evangeline headed off towards her room assignment, ambivalent about being paired with the angry looking girl with pink tips in her hair. On top of that, the room had been decorated in ghastly shades of neon magenta. Discovering how to deal with all this would certainly be her first learning curve. She unpacked, pulling out her carefully wrapped wedding picture and placed it on the bedside table before crawling into her bed.

                The first day was probably the easiest of them all. No classes had been scheduled. Instead, students were encouraged to get to know each other, learn their way around campus, and start making contacts with professors and coeds within their major. The campus even held a get together at the student union, complete with fliers, brochures, and surcees to make the students feel more relaxed and at home.

                After that first day though, all hell broke loose. Classes were scheduled close together, morning classes were always too early, and afternoon classes seemed to drag on with no end in sight. Evangeline was rarely on time for class which certainly endeared her to her professors. It didn’t help that some professors still felt as though their students were wee children and had seating charts. Having a last name starting with a “C” (thank the Watcher it wasn’t Avendale anymore) ensured that Evangeline sat up front and coming in late never went unnoticed.

                On the other hand, Emerson, even with his “A” last name, seemed to be having a breeze with his studies. He appeared to spend most of his time in the quad, goofing off with other students and throwing the Frisbee around without a care in the world.

                “So, midterms are almost here,” Renata exclaimed excitedly when they all met for coffee in the student union.
                “Watcher yes. And then we’re halfway through with this semester. It’s been insane.”
                “Urele-Oresha-Cham house is having a party this weekend. Wanna go?” Emerson seemed to know everyone on campus and spent more time partying than studying.

                That weekend they all met up and headed towards the fraternity house. The party was in full swing when they arrived. Unable to resist, Evangeline was talked into doing a keg stand by one of the brothers.

                “What is she doing?”
                “Being stupid. It’s what my sister does best,” Emerson joked. They stood and watched as she successfully managed to do her keg stand without face planting and then went to check on her.

                “I’m already feeling…how? It wasn’t that much!”

                As the night wore on, everyone gathered around the fire pit as the branches were lit.
                “Bet you don’t have the cajones to streak in front of these babes.” Emerson knew when a challenge was being issued and he wasn’t about to be the one on the losing end.
                “I dunno. That is my sister over there.”
                “Ha, knew you wouldn’t do. Would 20 simoleans sweeten the deal?”
                Gotcha! Emerson smiled to himself and threw off his clothes.

                Moon high in the sky, party dying down, and fire still going strong, Renata comes and stands by Evangeline. “You know, your brother is actually kinda cute.”
                “Ew, please tell me that’s the beer talking. I’m still trying to forget I saw his junk.”
                Renata giggled. “But what nice junk it is.”
                “Fine. Just go make out with him already.” As Renata marched Emerson’s direction, Evangeline called out “I was joking!”

                “A young, beautiful girl like you can’t be married, can she?” A voice came from behind her and Evangeline turned to face it.
                “Why do you say that?”
                “Well, I see that pretty ring there. Looks like a wedding ring.”
                “I mean why can’t I be married?”
                “You’re too gorgeous to be tied down to one person already.” Evangeline blushed.

                “Hey, hey!!! Emerson just challenged us to beer pong. We gotta win!” Renata ran over, without realizing she was interrupting a moment.
                “Hey man, need a partner?” Emerson accepted Jeffrey’s offer and headed down to the basement. “Winner gets to ask something of the loser,” Jeffrey winked at Evangeline as they followed her brother downstairs.

                “Yes!” Evangeline shouted as her ball made a splash in one of Jeffrey’s cups. “We’re winning, we’re winning,” Renata chanted, dancing in victory.
                “I think that beer has gone to your head,” Emerson smirked.

                When they lost, the girls begged for two out of three. When they lost the next two, it was clear they were no match for the guys and called it quits.

                “So, um, that kiss earlier?” The alcohol was beginning to wear off and Renata realized that she’d made out with her best friend’s brother.
                “What kiss?”
                “Right.” Obviously Emerson was on board with the ‘pretend-it-never-happened-and-never-speak-of-it-again’ train. “Where’d your sister go?” Just then they heard a thump from the next room.

                Pushing open the door, Renata is greeted with the last thing she expects: her best friend, sitting on the washer, wrapped around a practical stranger, lips locked tightly.
                “And I thought walking in on her and Neal was awkward.” Emerson was not helping.

                Evangeline jumped down, shock and shame written all over her face. She stared down at her ring. “Fuck, what have I done?”

Chapter 5.13                                                                                                                                        Chapter 6.2, Part 1

I thought University would be fun. Man, was I ever so wrong. I'm bored out of my mind and, in actual game, only 1 day has gone by. Must. Not. Drop. Out.

I realized while writing this that not everyone will know what a surcee is. Apparently, it's a Southern term. And having gone to university in South Carolina, I know all about surcees. Basically, they're just small gifts to show you care. Our school gave out shirts and key rings, and coozies, and sunglass band things to help the glasses stay on your head among other things. So yeah, surcees. Like it. Use it.

Evangeline is married to Neal however she does not live with him, even though the pictures make it look so. She was just visiting. She still technically lives at home. I did this to negate any money/funds he would bring to the family by moving him in. As you might have guessed, Evangeline's marital structure roll is NOT couple. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Chapter 5-13: Youth Knows No Pain

                Either age had taken a toll on Camille’s mental well-being or she was just too old to care anymore. One thing is for sure, the cold air of the fridge felt good!

                Even though she had certainly worked long enough to earn a pension, Camille was unwilling to retire just yet. She couldn't imagine sitting around the house with nothing to do. So when the department received a call that there was some shady dealings going on in an abandoned warehouse, she jumped in her cruiser and headed on over.

                “Donovan, there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you,” she sat with him the next morning, finally ready to fess up. “I don’t know where to start. I’ve been keeping something from you, for years now.”
                “You mean, the secret that you’re an undercover super spy?”
                She gasped. “How did you know that?”
                “Honey, I’m a reporter, it’s what I do.”

                He held her close as they lay down to nap together. He’d known for years. For being such a computer whiz, she’d never thought to cover her tracks at home and that endeared her to him that much more because he knew that she trusted him completely.

                “I love you, you know that,” Neal whispered, resting his head against hers.
                “I love you too,” she replied breathlessly.

                “Wow, you really do have an awesome view,” she said as he came up behind her, wrapping his arms around her. Neal had often voiced his love for living in the city because of the amazing view he had of the rest of St. Claire.

                She turned in him, kissing him a little more passionately. “We have the house to ourselves for the first time.”

                Pushing him towards the bed, she tugged at his shirt then removed her own. “Wait, are you sure that this is what you want?”

                She reached behind her and unclasped her bra. “I’m sure.” She wasn’t, not really but she knew she loved him and she knew she didn’t want to stop what they were already doing. This was just the next logical step. She silenced any lingering doubt by pressing herself into him and feeling his lips meet hers in barely restrained desire.

                And then it was too late to wonder if she was sure anymore.

                “Camille, did you leave something in the oven?”
                “Hahah, yay!”
                “Camille, get out of the way before you burn!” Donovan was definitely starting to question his wife’s sanity.

                “Renata’s what wrong?” Her friend had arrived on the doorstep in her workout clothes. Renata never left the house looking less than put together and her red eyes were dead giveaways that something wasn’t right.

                “Grandma,” her voice broke. “She died! I called, an ambulance and, they, got her, to the hospital, but it was too late.” She managed to get the sentence out between tears and hiccups. Evangeline pulled her into a hug. “The social worker showed up at the hospital to let me know they’d get me “settled” until I came of age to live on my own. I ran away.”

                “Come with me.” Evangeline lead her tear stained friend through the house to her mother and explained the situation. “Please, can she stay here? We graduate soon anyway.”

                Camille pulled the young girl into a hug and nodded a silent yes to her daughter. She wasn’t about to let a young girl go to a group home after losing her grandmother and the house she grew up in when they had plenty of room here.

                “So, you and Neal, huh?” Evangeline had told Renata her secret, hoping to get her mind off things. “How was it?”
                “Um, I dunno. It felt good! But it was kinda awkward too. I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to be doing exactly and I was nervous that my face would look funny!”
                “Aren’t you worried?”
                “About what?”
                “Getting pregnant, of course. Did you guys use protection?”
                “No. I mean yes. I mean we did, I’m not worried.” The more she thought about it though, the more nervous she got. What if he didn’t use it right? What if it broke and he didn’t tell me? What if there was a hole? Maybe I’ll be one of the 3%. What would I do with a baby? She tried to push it out of her mind but with each push she gave it, the fear latched on a little tighter.

                Camille awoke late one night, thinking she heard a noise. She crept quietly down the stairs where she saw a burglar attempting to break into the house. Creeping through the side door, she went around and surprised them from behind.

                “Take that you filthy thief. Teach you to break into a cop’s house. Tell your buddies this house is off limit.” She leaned over and gave the stray cat a treat for being a good sidekick and went back up to bed, her work done.

                Brushing her teeth, Evangeline started to feel a little odd. Suddenly, she felt the bile hit the back of her throat and she tossed her toothbrush down and lunged for the toilet.

                She made it just in time. Please don’t let this be what I think it is.

                After a week of nausea, she finally realized that she needed to talk to Neal. She called him up and asked him to meet her over by the school.
                “Oh Watcher Neal, I’m sorry but I think I’m pregnant. I’ve been throwing up and, I mean, I know you said we were being safe but what now?”
                “Your dad is going to kill me.”
                “That’s your first reaction,” she shrieked, maddened that he was more worried for himself.
                “Well, yeah. You’re dad’s a big guy! I’m not worried about us, we’ll figure something out,” her heart melted a little as he took her hands.

                She finally decided that she needed to fess up to her parents. She was terrified to see the look on her daddy’s face when she told him so she caught her mom alone to ask for her help and advice. Camille was not happy with her daughter, at all.

                “I thought we taught you better than that. You should have come to me first Evangeline.”
                “I know mom. I just, I thought…”
                “You thought you were capable of handling the consequences.”
                Well, no. I didn’t think that far ahead.”
                “I’ll make an appointment to see Dr. Brenner when he can squeeze you in.”
                “Mom, can we,” Evangeline started, unsure of how to ask her mother to keep this from her husband.
                “Keep this a secret from your father until we know for sure? Absolutely. I don’t want to deal with that if we don’t have to either.” She gave her daughter a small smile of reassurance. Whatever she needed to do for her children, she’d do.

                After school the next day, Neal dropped by the house while Evangeline was away in her journalism club. He wanted to talk to Donovan alone. Hopefully, Mr. Matter would be home. He was, in fact, home, working on another article. He invited Neal into his study.

                “Sir, um” Neal cleared his throat. “I, uh, I’d like to.”
                “C’mon kid, spit it out already.”
                “I wanna ask for your permission to marry Evangeline,” he finally blurted.
                “You what? Wanna marry my daughter? Aren't you a little young to be thinking about this?”
                “Maybe, but we love each other. I just wanted to get your blessing before asking her.”

                “Oh thank the Watcher,” Camille exclaimed as she and Evangeline left the doctor’s office. Evangeline wept tears of joy into her hands. The doctor had told her that she was not pregnant. The nausea was just a case of upset nerves and stress. She had spent so much time obsessing over whether she could be pregnant that she had stressed her body out enough to psychosomatically produce pregnancy symptoms. She couldn’t wait to tell Neal!

                As a family, they all went to the spring festival that following weekend. Graduation was soon approaching and everyone wanted to spend time together while they still could, before grown up jobs and obligations prevented such outings.

                As they all danced, competing for Spring Queen and King titles, Neal dropped to one knee in front of everyone and proposed to her. Emerson was not quite pleased that his sister was getting engaged before she’d even graduated high school. How ridiculous? She’s never even kissed another boy. How does she know that’s the one she should marry?

                “We want you all to know how very proud we are of you.”
                “That being said, we know you’re graduating soon and we’re hoping that you’re looking into colleges. We had some schools mail us some information and we both hope you’ll look through and, maybe, decide to attend a university.”
                “Please, just apply,” Donovan added. “Just to know what your options are.” He tried not to look directly at Evangeline but she knew he was referring most especially to her.

                The three of them took the brochures out on the porch to go over them and fill out some questionnaires.
                “What’d you put for number 13?”
                “It’s not multiple choice,” Emerson rolled his eyes at his sister. “Help a brother out.”
                “Help yourself. Your grades are just as good as mine.”
                “Sheer luck. I think the teachers think I’m cute.”

                A few weeks later, they each received a large envelope. Unsurprisingly, they’d all been accepted with partial scholarships, all to the same school. Rahter surprising however was how well Emerson had done; better than both of the girls.
                “How’d you do it,” Renata asked, a little embarrassed that her scores were the lowest.
                “Sent them a picture,” he winked.

                In what seemed like no time at all, high school graduation arrived as well as their birthdays. Camille and Donovan had planned a spectacular birthday party for them and had promised to stay fairly out of sight for the night. Emerson took over the rented DJ booth while the girls grabbed the guys and danced until their feet hurt.

                Emerson was the first to blow out his candles. He was definitely going to be ladies’ man. He may have gotten the best scores from the university but that just meant he’d have more time for parties.

                Evangeline was next. Graduation, getting married, university; the world was at her fingertips.

                Donovan had even picked up a cake at the store for Renata. She stood there, surrounded by her surrogate family, blessed that they had taken her in and treated her like one of their own.

                Camille and Donovan presented their kids with laptops as graduation/university presents.

                “Don’t think we forgot you,” Camille said, handing Renata her own laptop.

                The next day, the group headed down to City Hall for the commencement speech and to receive their diplomas. All three were ecstatic to be done and well on their way to starting their next adventure in life.

                Camille snapped a picture to hang on her wall, to keep while they were away from her.

Chapter 5.12                                                                                                                                                                                 Chapter 6.1

I guess the chapter wasn't long at all. Not really much longer than normal. Just more pictures than normal.

When Renata moved in, all the teens only had 3 days left in their age bracket. I didn't know the game "found homes" for children if their family members die. Story Progression originally put her with Pearl and Joshua for some reason though, as far as I know, she's not particularly close with any of them. I moved her to the family with cheats to avoid the money she'd bring and, when Genevria actually kicked the bucket, I MCed out the inheritance funds she gained. So she's earned no money for the family and is just another mouth to feed and care for. Laptop and all.

As for Camille's dementia, I have no clue what the hell is going on with that. After she aged up, I caught her walking around the house completely naked. What you don't see in that shot is that Emerson is just on the other side of the counters. She also laughs at fires (which apparently this house is fire prone) and, the next fire that occurred she ran downstairs, laughed at it until the others put it out, THEN pulled out the extinguisher and...sprayed herself in the face. I have no clue what's going on. Is this normal for elders? The only other elders I had in my game were Shane and Carrie and they seemed normal.

For those of you concerned about Emerson and Sasha:

Though I suppose if you don't think marriage will stop him, a baby might. I assure you, he has no interest in raising anyone's baby at the moment, especially one that's not his own.

Also, Neal aged up with everyone too. Here's his lovely, I-just-became-an-adult face.