Friday, July 18, 2014

Chapter 7-1: Goodbye to You

                “How can you be so eager to ruin your life?” Evangeline had barely given Hanley time to change before she launched into a tirade. She had been horrified when Ben proposed and even more so when her daughter accepted.
                “How can you say that? Don’t you want me to be happy?”
                “Of course I want you to be happy. I want what’s best for you. And that’s going to school, like you planned, and becoming a veterinarian, like you planned. Not dropping it all for some boy you barely even know and traveling across the country.”

                “Mom, plans can change and be adjusted.”
                “But they shouldn’t have to!” Miles winced as his wife’s voice reached a frequency he was sure would break the wineglasses. “If he truly loved you, he wouldn’t ask you to throw a scholarship, or your life, away!”

                Hanley took a deep breath, trying to control the rage bubbling inside her. “I’m just going to say this once mom, so listen. I love Ben. He loves me. We are getting married and we are moving to Wickery Glen. I can’t ask you to agree with it. As an adult though, I can ask you to respect my decision.”
                “Absolutely not. I will not respect your ‘decision’,” Evangeline sneered. “It’s the worst mistake you’ve ever made and you’ll regret it when you realize what you’ve wasted.”

                It was at that moment that Ben walked into the kitchen. Over the arguing, they must have missed the knock at the door. “Is everything okay here?”
                Evangeline refused to look her future son-in-law in the face. “If you insist on this Hanley, I can’t physically or legally stop you. Know this though; if you do follow through and marry that boy, you will no longer be my daughter. Don’t come crawling back for help when you find out I’m right.” She turned and stormed from the room before anyone could respond.

                Hanley gulped back tears, trying to keep her fiancé from seeing her cry. Miles stood and pulled his daughter into him. “I’ll see if I can get her to come around, okay? You know how she can be.”

                Preparations for the wedding took over and Hanley left herself little time to worry and cry over her mother’s reaction. She went to the local consignment store to find a dress for the ceremony. It wasn’t a typical wedding dress but it would do. The appointment was made at the court house and the marriage application filed with the clerk. That Friday, the Avendales met up at city hall, to bear witness to the marriage of Ben and Hanley. Though the courts were crowded, the line to be seen by the justice of the peace moved quickly. By the time her family found them in line, it was their turn and they moved into position.

                Fifteen minutes later, they were married and had drifted outside to the gardens to chat and wait for the certificate to be processed and filed. “She really didn’t come then,” Hanley observed, noticing her mother’s absence. Not that was she surprised.
                Her father gave her a sad smile. “I tried. She’s not budging yet. I won’t give up though, I promise.”

                “How about a kiss, for a picture,” Gemma broke the uncomfortable silence. “I’ll email you a copy and it can be the first thing to go up in your new house.”
                “That’s perfect, thank you,” Ben smiled at his new cousin and whirled his wife around, dipping her into a low kiss while Gemma snapped a few pictures.

                Everyone crowded in then to congratulate the newlyweds. Hal hugged his sister tight. “Hopefully I’ll see you in Wickery Glen. The sports program is doing some traveling games so maybe we’ll play near there.”
                “You make sure to take care of my daughter, okay?” Miles may have accepted Hanley’s decision but he still worried for her.
                “Of course, sir. I promise, she’s in good hands.”

                The two climbed into Ben’s pickup and made their way out of St. Claire. As they reached one of the highest points in the city, Hanley twisted around for one final look of the only home she had ever known.

                For the most part, the drive that day was long and boring. There wasn’t much to see on the roadside and the route took a straight shot on the highway. Luckily Ben’s truck had a stereo so the two sang along to the music when they knew the words and made up the lyrics when they didn’t.

                “What do you say, stop now or keep going for a little while,” Ben asked Hanley as they pulled into a town called Twinbrook. The sun was setting, casting a hazy pink glow over the town. Looking out her window as they passed over a bridge she noticed the mass expanse of swamp to the right. It’s probably not nearly as pretty in the daylight.

                “Hanley,” Ben nudged her arm gently.
                “Oh, sorry. Um, it’s been a long day. Would you mind if we just stopped for the night or do you want to keep going?”
                “Stopping is fine.” He pulled into the next motel and went in to check them in while she checked her phone for the hundredth time that day. Still no messages or missed calls from her mother. She’d hoped that the bad reception along the road had interfered but it seemed that Evangeline wasn’t interested in reconciling.

                As they entered their room, Ben gave Hanley a quick kiss and excused himself to the little bathroom. Through the thin walls, he could hear her rummaging around in her knapsack for her pajamas. Though she’d tried to be discreet about it, he’d noticed each time she had pulled out her phone as they drove down the highway. If he hadn’t needed to check in to his unit by Monday morning, he would have turned around and taken Hanley back to St. Claire. He hated causing the rift between his wife and her mother and would have stayed as long as it took for them to mend their relationship, even if it meant subjecting himself to Evangeline’s glares and cold shoulder. Unfortunately, the military dictated his schedule and if he wasn’t in Wickery Glen when he was told to be, he could get thrown in the brig.

                He emerged from the bathroom to find Hanley asleep in one of the dual queen beds. Stripping to his boxers, he crawled in beside her, watching her sleep. Hand resting on her hip, he considered waking her. It was their wedding night after all. After a moment, he leaned down, kissing her cheek and turned to switch the light off. Like this, her face smoothed by the peacefulness of rest, it was easy to pretend the tensions from the past week didn’t exist; that her entire family had welcomed him with open arms. He wasn’t going to disturb the brief respite she got from that tension. His nether regions and their urges could wait.

                The next morning, they were up and on the road again, traveling west away from the rising sun. As mid-morning neared, the skies turned steely grey and then, all at once, opened as rain pelted the truck not unlike buckets of water being thrown from ahead.
                “Hanley, can you take over the navigation?” Ben handed her the map, with their destination clearly circled in the upper left hand corner.
                “There’re no lines.” She stared hard at the paper, trying to figure out where they were and where they were supposed to be going. “You know, there’s this thing called GPS,” she muttered under her breath.
                “Han, reading maps is part of my job. I’ve never felt the need to invest in a GPS system for something I can do myself.” Twinbrook, there it is. So, we must be…here. She pinpointed their location and made note of where they should turn to get on the next road.

                “Are you sure we were supposed to turn on 90? I could have sworn it was 96,” Ben questioned for the third time in the past hour.  
                “Pretty sure.”
                “I don’t remember the route taking us through Appaloosa Plains.” Ben’s uncertainty had morphed to full blown doubt as they passed the city welcome sign.
                “Well stop and check the map yourself then.” Hanley tossed the folded papers back towards him, crossing her arms and flopping back against her seat to stare out of her window.

                Though it was pouring, Ben needed to feel the sting of the rain on his face to cool himself down. It was difficult resisting the urge to snap at her. A breather, even in the rain, was sure to help clear his head.
                “What are you doing,” she criticized as he gathered the map and opened his door. “Ben, seriously, it’s raining out there.” He was clearly ignoring her. Groaning, she opened her door, following him into the storm. Coming around the front of the truck, she reached across him, pointing at the map. “Look, see. That’s where we were. That’s where we’re going. That means we should take this road. I know how to read a map too.”
                One, two, three… “Hanley, please just let me look, okay?”
                “Fine,” she stomped a few feet away, leaning against the truck, her aggravation written all over her. His training had included instruction on interpreting body language but no one would have needed a class to understand what his wife’s body was saying.

                After a few minutes, he gathered the map back together and climbed back into the truck, waiting on Hanley to join him. “So, was I right?”
                “Yes and no. Technically, we can get to Wickery Glen on 90. It goes straight through Lucky Palms which is a huge tourist trap. I was thinking we’d go around it to avoid traffic.”
                “Maybe if you’d had a specific route in mind, you should’ve mentioned that. Or, better yet, marked the map.”
                “It’s fine. We’ve got time to sit in traffic.” She sighed and crossed her arms, turning to watch as the lush green farmland gave way to the rocky red sand.

                As the sun started its nightly descent into the horizon, the pickup rolled into the outskirts of Lucky Palms. As far as they could see, there were no other vehicles on the road other than theirs and one lonely truck ahead, crossing the highway.

                “You were saying,” Hanley couldn’t resist.
                “Huh, that’s strange.” Ben tuned to the local radio station.
                     “Welcome back sports fans. This is Ricky Garroway from WKSNR with live coverage of the Oasis Bowl. The Lucky Palms Sandpipers are struggling to hang on to their early lead. They watched their 10 point lead dwindle to a 7 point lead as their defense failed to keep the Tigers out of the end zone. Though it was an explosive start to the semi-finals, it’s shaping up to be a sloppy game on both ends. If we’ve got any scouts in the audience, and I have it on good authority we do, I doubt they’re impressed with what they’re seeing. Looks like the Sandpipers are calling for a time out. While they do that, let’s give a shout out to the fans!”
                Ben reached over, turning the radio back down to a faint buzz. “I guess that explains it. Everyone must be over at the stadium for the game. Football and gambling is about all this town lives for.”

                “Are you really mad,” Ben glanced over at Hanley a few hours later, still staring out the passenger window. They hadn’t said much to each other since Lucky Palms and Ben wondered if she was still upset about the whole map fiasco.
                “Are you sure? You’ve been pretty quiet this whole drive.”
                “I’m not mad.” Despite her assurances, Ben wasn’t sure if she was being entirely truthful with him. He flipped his blinker on and eased his truck on to the shoulder.

                “Why are we stopping? I thought we still had another hour or two to go?”
                “We do.” After putting the truck in park, he shifted, taking her hand across the seat. “Hanley, please talk to me. Something’s wrong, I can tell that much. I just want you to tell me what I can do to fix it.”

                “It’s not you. Or anything you did.” When she sighed, he heard the small shudder that ran through it, as though she was trying to hold back tears. Quickly, she pulled her hand away, brushing the back of it against her eye before cradling her head in her palm. “I should have tried harder to work things out with my mom before we left. I thought she’d come around. I’m just so angry at her.
                “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to take it out on you.” She turned, looking at him with the slightest of smiles. “Now let’s get back on the road so we can get to our new home.”

                It was almost midnight by the time they pulled past the city limit sign for Wickery Glen so Ben pulled into the nearest motel. They’d get some rest tonight and spend Sunday looking for an apartment and getting settled in before Ben had to report to his command Monday morning.

                “It’s perfect!” Ben wrapped his arms around his wife as he watched her eyes light up looking over the apartment they’d just signed for. It was the first full blown smile he’d seen from her since they’d been married and it was dazzling. Though he didn’t know her –she hadn’t let him get to know her- Ben disliked his mother-in-law. He couldn’t understand why anyone would do anything less than try to make Hanley smile like she was now.

                Before the anger built up in him, he quickly focused on his next ‘project’. “Why don’t we drive around town so we can figure out where things are? We need to get some groceries and a few things for the house anyway.”

                The town itself didn’t seem very big. Hanley loved it. It was charming and the small clusters of buildings with the brightly colored awnings seemed to welcome everyone to stop in. The snowcapped mountains in the background made every direction she turned seem like a living postcard.

                With Ben at work the next morning, Hanley didn’t know what to do with herself. She’d never really been alone before. With a big family, even in the city, someone had always been around. Unable to sit still, Hanley decided to take a walk and attempt to familiarize herself with the town. It was small enough that she should be able to walk anywhere she wanted to go. She figured that was probably a good thing since she hadn’t seen any cabs since they’d arrived.

                “You…you’re Josephine! From The Bachelor!”
                “Do I know you?” The pretty blonde woman seemed slightly taken back.
                “No but I was rooting for you the whole show. I was worried there, at the end a little but I think Jesse made the right choice.” Hanley excitedly looked around. “Is he here with you?”
                “Um,” Josephine stuttered.
                “Oh, I’m so sorry. That was rude. I’m Hanley. My husband and I just moved to town. It felt like I got to know you, watching the show so I was excited to see someone I recognized in town.” She laughed. “That sounds incredibly creepy I realize now.”
                Josephine smiled at her. “No, it’s not creepy. We’ve been living here for a couple of months and I thought everyone in town had gotten used to us by now. It’s nice to meet you Hanley. Would you like to grab a cup of coffee? I can point you in the right direction for fresh produce and good furniture and things like that. If you have the time?”

                After their coffee, Josephine had to head back home and Hanley continued her walk around town. She felt something hit the top of her head and reached up tentatively, hoping that she didn’t have bird droppings in her hair. As she did, she felt a drop of water hit her cheek and then another, and another. Looking up, she realized the sky was growing dark quickly and that the sun shower that had just started would soon be a thunderstorm.

                She took off jogging for home, hoping to make it before the worst of the storm arrived. Seeing movement to her left, she slowed her jog and veered off the sidewalk. A large bird was just sitting in the grass. That’s strange. He should be seeking shelter from the storm, not out here in the open like this.

                Cautiously, she approached him. He hopped at her, cocking his head and watching curiously. Crouching down, she murmured at him in soft, soothing tones. He must have been domesticated because he came right up to her. When she lowered her arm, he hopped up and nipped lightly at her fingers, as if looking for a treat.

                “Who’s a pretty bird,” she cooed at him. The bird nodded his head up and down at her and, when she smiled, whistled at her. “How about we get you out of the rain?”

                When Ben got home, Hanley was fast asleep on the couch. He leaned over, shaking her awake. “Hey, how was your day,” she asked groggily.

                “Not bad for a first day. Mostly admin stuff; checking in here and there and signing out my gear. Lots of driving around from place to place. What’d you do today?” Surveying the room, he noticed books sitting on the floor, moving boxes still unopened, and the dirty breakfast dishes still sitting on the counter.
                “Oh, I have something to show you,” Hanley offered excitedly. Ben went into the kitchen to wash the dishes himself. “Look! I found him out in the rain today. He’s completely friendly. He hopped right up on my arm while I was talking to him.”
                “Han, we don’t even have a kitchen table yet. We don’t really need a bird. If he’s friendly, he probably belongs to someone. You should put up some ‘found’ notices around the neighborhood.”
                “But Ben, they just left him out. In the rain! He could have been hit by a car or struck by lightning. You can’t just expect me to give him back. Ouch!” Ben turned around with one eyebrow raised. While expressing her dismay, Hanley’s voice had raised a little with every other word, until she’d practically been squawking herself. Apparently, the ‘friendly’ bird hadn’t liked the noise and had nipped her.
                “He’s someone’s pet,” Ben repeated. “They probably left the window open by accident or something and he got away.”

                Their doorbell rang and Hanley looked at Ben questioningly. “I invited a coworker and his wife over for dinner. They live just next door. Would you mind putting the bird somewhere where he won’t bother our guests?”

                Though she wished Ben had given her a little advanced warning that they would have company over, she was excited to meet Todd and his wife, Emme.

                Despite having a mother who was a chef, Hanley knew little to nothing about cooking. Between her mom and Aunt Renata, and her dad once he’d moved in, none of the kids had ever had to cook for themselves. She surveyed the back of the box of macaroni and cheese and hoped to the Watcher that she didn’t burn it.

                “Thank you for dinner.”
                “You’re welcome. I hope it wasn’t too bad.”
                Emme laughed. “Not at all! The first time we had people over for dinner, I forgot to turn the sauce down once it was boiling and by the time we went in to eat, it was tomato paste brick. We had butter noodles. We’ll have to have you two over some night soon. Don’t worry though! I’ve gotten much better. And I make sure to always keep enough vegetables on hand for a salad, just in case.”

                “We did pretty good for our first dinner party,” Hanley declared as she and Ben snuggled into bed later that night.

                     Whoot whoo. Who’s a pretty bird. Whoot whoo.
                The two of them looked and each other and burst into laughter. “I’ll look for his family tomorrow.”               

Chapter 6.13                                                                                                                                                      Chapter 7.2

Author's Notes:

* During my prepping stage, I realized that I have now passed the 3 year mark for my legacy. 3 years and I'm still on generation 7. As I mentioned to giga, I'm not sure if knowing that makes me happy that I've stuck with it so long or want to weep at my inability to finish things I start.

* Though it unofficially started with 6-13, Generation 7 is now officially officially started! I know that it's taken 3 long months to get from that point to this one but I spent a lot of time editing the town buildings to suit my play style. Then I had to make all my own families for the town instead of using *shudders* premades. Now I've got everyone moved in, relationships and careers set and have been enjoying playing. It took awhile, but it's been worth it. 

* Moonlight Falls = Wickery Glen. I spent a lot of time editing it and finally decided it would be more prudent to make it a stand alone world than have to keep switching out default replacements. Especially since I wanted to wipe the townies anyway. If I remember, I'll go back and edit that in the previous chapter.

* I cheated a little. I think. Probably. But I made it harder on myself so meh. When I portered everyone in to the town, I did what twallan suggests, about multiple families with clones to keep relationships intact. Because of that (and just in general, they were pretty loaded) the Avendales ended up with a ridiculous amount of money. I family funded all but §20,000 from Ben and Hanley which was enough to "rent" their apartment and buy a bed and few small items of furniture. They're just starting out, she's been disowned, and he's in the military. Not exactly a "rolling in dough" situation.

* I'll be updating the rolls on the sidebar as soon as I post this (if I don't, someone remind me). Secondary Income is obviously military and, perhaps not so obviously, the Primary Income is Animal Wrangler. I mentioned in the RLC thread on MTS that I'm going to be limiting Hanley's collections to common and uncommon animals only on a regular basis. I may allow her to collect one rarer animal a week but that's entirely dependent on what I may want/need to purchase for them and how it makes sense in the story. As I noted above, his job isn't exactly a money maker and the way I'm playing hers right now is that it doesn't really make money at all. 

* In case y'all haven't noticed, both the Downloads page and the Resources/WCIF Gen 7 tab have been updated. Yes, you can download all the Avendale children now. Ben is still not available. Not sure if/when he will be. I may love him more than I love my own heiress. Shh, don't tell.

* I don't typically post links the music/song that inspires the title. Sometimes the lyrics work, sometimes they don't. However, I feel like the song this time is really perfect for how Hanley is feeling about leaving St. Claire and her family, and most importantly, how she left things with her mother.


  1. Wow. Such a dramatic reaction. I'm going to say Evangeline will eventually regret the decision. Hopefully Hanley can move on and live her life until that happens.

    I really hope that her and Ben's whirlwind romance doesn't fizzle out.

    Looking forward to reading this generation, as usual.

    1. Dramatic, haha yes! She actually even has that trait. Her age hasn't tempered it one bit!

      I don't think you have to worry about their romance fizzling out. They're just in relationship growing pains.


  2. Ugh, I think Blogger ate my comment! I'm going to try again.

    I feel really bad for Hanley. I hope that's not the last she ever sees of Evangeline because that would be just horrible. I'm also afraid the honeymoon phase is already over for Ben and Hanley.

    Wickery Glen is absolutely gorgeous!

    1. Bad blogger! *bops with a newspaper*

      It's definitely a pretty bad situation. Given Evangeline's history, you'd think she'd maybe be more understanding but that's definitely not the case. As for Ben and Hanley, the honeymoon stage may well be over. They didn't see each other between spring break and graduation and now they're living together so it's a really quick adjustment that they need to make.

      Thank you! I'm still updating it here and there but I'm really happy with it!

  3. I like Evangeline more than I should probably, so I feel bad for her and what she's missing out on. Also obviously feel bad for Hanley.
    Seriously, I think I have done that drive. I definitely have heard that radio broadcast, lol, although in my case it was en Espanol. I really had flashbacks during that part of the blog, thanks - I think :)

    1. Awww, I'm glad someone still likes her. She did make a mistake and she will come to realize that, eventually.

      Ugh, yes. That drive...*shudders*. My husband and I moved from Virginia to California, with a "pit stop" in Florida to see family a few years ago. We swore we would never make the drive again, until we're moving back.

  4. I just caught up! Whoop!

    I understand where Evangeline is coming from. She made the same mistake with Neal, and she probably doesn't want to see her daughter make the same mistake, but I feel bad for Hanley. Does she know about Evangeline's first marriage?

    I hope Ben and Hanley stay together though. It seems like the map fiasco was their first argument, and hopefully their last for a while (minus the bird disagreement, but that was very minor)
    its good they're settling into their home though, hopefully they'll be happy, and possibly babies in the future?

    1. Yay on catching up. It's a good time for that, since I actually am somewhat on top of things now. You don't have to wait 3 months for the next chapter!

      No, Evangeline has never really seen any reason to bring it up. After awhile, she and Neal drifted apart and didn't see each other any more. They had no reason to stay in contact and no reason to mention it to the kids. Maybe if she'd open up and explain her reservations, Hanley might understand but that's just not Evangeline.

      As I mentioned to owly above, they've gone from seeing each other for a few hours during the day on a vacation, to not seeing each other except for Skype, and now are living together. It's a huge adjustment and they're learning things about each other that they didn't know before.

  5. Awesome chapter. I've been mouse lurking about and finally decided to comment again.

    I can identify with both Evangeline and Hanley. I married my military ex soon after graduating high school and joining the army myself. My relationship with my parents took a hit. I hope they can mend their relationship eventually. The trip Hanley and Ben took brought back many bittersweet memories. :)

    Can't wait to see what generation 7 gets into. I'm not familiar with that artist but that song you linked was beautiful.

    1. I leave some bread crumbs for you as we go then. Convince the mouse to keep venturing out. ;)

      I think anyone familiar with the military can understand that drive, lol! It's a pain in the ass and SO boring.

  6. Aw, how sad that Evangeline had to be that way, disagreeing with your child's choices is one thing, disowning them over it is another! I just wonder how long it will be before she comes around---she did wait a long time to fix things with Miles!

    Loved their move to Wickery Glen, haha (I get lost in a paperbag, but my hubby is a truck driver, he has maps of practically every city in his head, it's amazing!) Every couple has their disagreements, it's how they handle it afterwards that counts!

    Hanley and Ben are such a cute couple. =)

    1. You're right! She's a stubborn pain in the ass, that's for sure! I'm sure she was hoping that an ultimatum like that would make her daughter see things her way but I think Hanley might have inherited a bit of the stubborn streak herself.

      They are adorable together, aren't they? <3 And you're right (again): they're bound to have disagreements, especially with the adjustment of suddenly being together all the time. They're handling things alright though, as you'll soon see.

  7. I think Evangeline's reaction was rather over the top there, just because she made mistakes when she was young doesn't mean that Hanley is making the same ones and reacting like that is almost guaranteed to send your child off to do exactly what you're trying to stop them doing.

    I hope Hanley and Ben make it ok despite Evangeline's belief, it's going to be a lot of big changes for them to deal with.

  8. Ha! That's my husband and I every time we go on a trip! You would think the GPS would solve the problem... :)