Grace stands in the nursery room doorway, the shower is running behind her and the occupant is humming softly to themselves. She knows her mother is out in the garden, and Oliver is fishing. This is her opportunity to speak with her father, but she hasn’t decided yet if it’s her place. She’s standing there watching him play with Elias. He’s a good father, she muses. She remembers him reading her bedtime stories, and playing football with her. He was supportive as Emma took up violin practice and squeaked her way through “Mary had a Little Lamb.”
She was on the verge of turning back down the hall, to pretend these questions never came to her. But she couldn’t. If anything were to happen… If this was her opportunity to keep her family whole, then she had to speak. She slowly stepped into the room, the wood floor squeaking under her weight. Finn looked up startled, then smiled as his oldest daughter came into the room.
“Hey honey.” He directed towards Grace, then looked back to Elias, “Is that your big sister? Yes, it is. You love having big sis here to play with you, don’t you?” Elias grinned a big sloppy smile towards her, then pointed with his fat chubby fingers in her direction. “that’s right.” He cheered.
“I wanted to talk to you about something, Dad.” Grace was nervous. Her hands were clammy, this didn’t feel like the right choice anymore. She didn’t know if she could trust her earlier gut feeling which said to say something, or the new feeling, which said run from this room as fast as possible.
“Shoot.” He was listening, but still playing with Elias, tossing him in the air, then the room was filled with his gleeful laughter. At the activity table, Julius was mouthing the blocks, a puddle of drool collected, and Zilla was happily coloring squiggle lines. They seemed happy. Things didn’t seem as dire or urgent now as they had in the cafeteria with Emma, when Emma had gone on about their Dad’s absence, mom’s constant tears.
“I notice you spend a lot of time on my campus,” she began. This was it, her heart was thudding too fast, she swore he could hear it. To prove the point, Murphy came into the room and sat by her feet. He watched her with worry in his eyes, and she petted his head with appreciation. Finn had nodded in agreement, it wasn’t a little known fact that he spent time on campus with Grace. “Dad, you spend most of that time playing poker with..” she gulped. “Janelle.” She forced herself to spit it out.
Finn didn’t even flinch when she said all this. “She’s a nice young lady. And I’m a softy for a good game of poker.”
“I just want to make sure. I heard things were bad this past year, and Mom was crying a lot. I think you should spend more time at home this fall. It’s going to be hard on Mom wit me and Emma gone.”
Murphy wandered over to slop on Julius. He giggled and both adults turned to smile at the pair.
“I agree. I’m hiring a nanny to help her out in fact. But don’t tell her; it’s a surprise.” He hadn’t stopped playing with Elias during the conversation, he didn’t seem guilty of what she had assumed.
“Oh, that will be nice. Well I guess that’s all I wanted.” She started towards the door, then turned back, “Janelle is seeing someone now, Professor Bucklin actually. You should stay clear of her, she’s a man-eater.” Then she left the room. She was embarrassed she just said man-eater to her Dad.
Halfway through the summer, Grace took Emma to the beach as promised. Lorelei couldn’t make it, busy with her new job at The Red Mill. They spent the day watching the waves, swimming in the ocean, and flirting with cute and not so cute boys. Grace loved being home, but couldn’t wait to get back to campus in the fall, the beach was only a block away from there. The rhythm of the waves hitting the sand, she loved standing on the shore, sinking into the earth with each lapping wave.
They spent the day there until dark. There was a bonfire and they agreed they should attend it. A cute but particularly young boy flirted with Grace.
“You’re cute.” Grace grinned. It felt great to have someone find her attractive, but he was so young. She’d feel like a craddle robber or something, like making out with her brother’s friends. “I’m a little too old for you though, don’t you think?”
“No way pretty lady, you’re just the right age for me.” His finger sizzled as he pointed toward her, and she had to excuse herself. Yep, definitely felt icky.
Emma had taken off to call for a cab, and was hit on by a young military man. He seemed quite taken with her, and as much as Emma didn’t want a relationship, she liked this man. He was a little bit older, he was in the military, strong, and muscled. She’d make an exception for him. They spent a few hours near the road talking, flirting, and even a little kissing. Emma was not this kind of girl, she’d never even kissed Jim. They exchanged numbers before heading home.
Finn quietly snuck up on Nicole as she folded laundry on their bed, as much is possible when living in an old, forlorn farm house. He gently gripped her waist and pulled her back against him. He breathed gently in her ear then whispered, “I think you could use some relaxation.” He kissed her ear, and squeezed her closer to himself, “why don’t you go take a hot bath, and I’ll get the clothes put away for you.” She started turn her head to protest, “Shh. Not asking you, I’m telling you. Me and the kids got this under control, you have the afternoon off.”
Nicole didn’t have to be told twice. This was one of the sweetest gestures Finn had given her in years. Since the birth of the three, they weren’t nearly as frisky or cuddly as they’d once been. She wasn’t sure what to do with herself in a hot, sudsy bath, compared to her normal cold shower. Someone always had to use the restroom when she showered, causing cold water to come full force. She popped open one of Oliver’s books he had on the back of the toilet and laid back to enjoy a few chapters.
To show her appreciation, and hopefully cause Finn to make this offer again, she baked his favorite berry pie. She hadn’t gone to the effort to do anything for him since the birth of Zilla. In the beginning she felt that her work towards Zilla showed her love for him. Not any woman would raise this child, and would so with love in her heart. Recently though, it didn’t seem Finn looked at in that light, it almost seemed he just expected her to be fine with everything without any feelings that would be contrary. She vowed to make more efforts to show that she did care for Finn, and she was hopeful that the pie was the right direction to accomplish that.
After everyone had eaten breakfast, and Nicole got around to feeding herself, Emma had come back in to discuss some news with her. Lately this was not a good conversation. Her and Finn were very upset that their daughter had gone from a strong B student to nearly failing. The idea of their child not going to college was very disappointing. Her and Finn managed a four year college while Grace and Emma were little; if they didn’t make an excuse to quit, how could their children?
“It’s good news mom! Promise. You’ll be glad. Well… mostly.” Emma was flushed with excitement, and Nicole felt herself to relax a little. “I’m going to college!” Emma exclaimed, waving paper in the air.
“This your summer school report?” Nicole asked, taking the papers to investigate. The paper was thin with blurry gray ink, proclaiming that a Ms. Emma McCarthy graduated summer school with a C, and was clear to attend ether of her college choices this fall. Nicole gasped, smiled, and threw her arms around Emma. “I’m so proud of you!”
Emma grinned a toothy smile. “I knew you would be!” She beamed. “Of course if my grades hadn’t gotten that bad in the beginning, ya know. BUT! I’m going to college.” Nicole let go of her, and leaned close to listen to Emma’s college choice. Nicole would prefer both her daughters went to Millwood Community, she had a fear of the big city these days, and hated that Grace was so far off.
“Ok I’m ready.” Nicole said. She managed to gain composure of her expression. No matter what her daughter decided, she was glad she was attending college. And even more glad that it wasn’t one of the larger four year colleges. Her and Finn had attended Pacific Northwest University, which was seven hours away, a four year requirement, and more money then they could afford.
“I’m going to…” She paused for exaggeration. “South Port with Grace! I just knew I had to go with Grace, there’s no way around it. Once in a lifetime opportunity, you know?”
“I do. I think you two girls will have a wonderful time together.” Emma gave her a look. “I promise. I do think it’s a good choice for you.”
“Thanks, mom, it means a lot to me. Now I need to finish out my paperwork for the student loans, gah. It’s such a mess. Grace and Violet-Adele are going to help me make heads of it.” She stood up, and squealed. “I can’t believe I’m going to college!” She threw her arms around her mom again.
“We will have a party to celebrate our two college girls.” Nicole decided. “We’ll get the family together; it’ll be great.”
Grace had promised the college girls she’d visit South Port and do the Sixth Street Crawl with them. They hopped from pub to pub, finding the hot spot of the night, looking for guys, and making fools of themselves dancing. It was all in good fun, and the benefit of attending college in the city. Only it wasn’t the same this summer. Violet-Adele and Reed were a couple, so they sucked face most of the evening and snuck off to the photo booth. Then Rebecca and Quinten were getting married. It was just Grace and Janelle, and when Grace thought about it, she never found a guy to flirt with, and Janelle slept with anyone it would seem.
She went though, cause she said she would. And it was much like every other time. Everyone hooking up, she by herself. A guy at the corner of the bar caught her eye, and she smiled tentatively. He pushed his shot glass back towards the bar tender, and came over to ask her to dance.
“Benjamin.” He said.
“You pick up a lot of guys with that smile of yours?” He grinned.
“You wouldn’t believe.” She teased back.
They discussed nuclear warheads without disagreement, world peace, and other trivial things she couldn’t later recall. There wasn’t one bad conversation between them. He smelled nice, she thought breathing deeply. He bought her a drink, then they danced some more. She even busted some moves, and he didn’t laugh at her.
Grace swung back to her friends, and told them she was heading for some grub at The Grease Pit. Her aunt Hazel owns it, and it serves the perfect food to ward off a hangover. While waiting for their gyros they got their photos taken together, with no funny business. He attempted to pull her stool out for her, until he realized they were bolted to the floor. He wasn’t married, engaged, or seeing anyone, and he was in the legal field. Grace thanked her lucky stars for giving her this opportunity.
“What’s this?” Grace asked the next afternoon after she recovered from her all nighter with Benjamin.
“This is what I’ve been working on for you. Now before you open it, I want you to know I’ve been making this since you left for college, and just now finished it. The timing may seem planned, but it wasn’t.” Nicole held the box close explaining.
“Yah, yah Mom, get a grip.” Grace grabbed the box. The inside was filled with white double-sided silk satin, with rosebud lace and scallop edges. Carefully, Grace unfolded the full length wedding dress, and gasped. “It’s beautiful.”
“I don’t want you to think this means I want you to rush off and get married. But someday, you’ll want to, and I wanted to be apart of that special occasion.” Grace hugged her mom.
“Now don’t go rush off and marry that Ben boy you met last night. Me and your father are proud of you for finding yourself before rushing into relationships, you have a good head on your shoulders.”
“We’re going to have one less in the house soon.” Nicole sighed, fluffing the sheet. “Just think, if we didn’t have the little three, we would only have Oliver left.”
“Good thing we have the little three then huh?”
“You know I wouldn’t trade them for anything. They do exhaust me though. I’ve been thinking more about opening a seamstress shop, maybe a small town wedding boutique with my wedding dresses. I gave Grace hers, and she insists it’s top notch sewing.”
Finn looked up from petting Murphy. “We discussed this before, we don’t have the money to buy a shop for you. As talented as you are, and you know I believe that, we just don’t have the money. It has to wait for now. Maybe when the three are in school, you can get a full time job out of the home and save for it. As it is, we have 100,000 loan on this house. And we are penny pinching just to get by, we can’t even begin to update the plumbing, or take down this awful wallpaper.” he gestured to the wall. “You have to be patient hon, someday, ok?”
She sighed, she knew he was right. They weren’t even able to fully help the girls with college, they gave them a few hundred and the rest they had to put on their own loans. If she could have a do-over it would be to save money, and teach her children to save money. She was pretty certain she was forcing Oliver to get a job so he could save for his education.
Before Nicole knew it, summer was coming to an end. “Just a few weeks left, you girls ready?” She’d asked for the hundredth time. Grace and Emma knew she was sad about them moving away, but there wasn’t anything more they could do for her, she wanted them to go more then she wanted them to stay. “Your grandparents will be here for the party soon, put these dishes away.”
Grace had invited Benjamin to the celebration; Grace was pleased to have someone to attend Rebecca and Quinten’s wedding with at the end of August. Emma had invited Matthew, the military man. The latter didn’t show even though he said he would. Emma hadn’t told anyone, even Grace that she had kissed the man, she knew Grace would think she was off her rocker. Besides, Emma wasn’t down anymore, summer school was over, she was moving off to campus, would be with her sister, and far away from babies. Life was good for the first time in a year.
Nicole heads out to the orchard to meet Benjamin. “It’s very nice to meet you ma’am,” he stands up and shakes her hand. “You have a bright young lady here, I think she would make a great lawyer.”
“I don’t doubt you there,” Nicole smiled easily. She liked him instantly. She leaned over to whisper to Grace, “Make sure you have him meet your father.”
“Of course.” Then Nicole headed back towards the noise.
Finn’s sister, Hazel had arrived, smelling like the diner. “I brought fries for everyone.” She announced. “Cause whose the most awesome sister?” She asked Finn… “Me!”
“Oh my.” Their mother Mandy sighed. “Girl, you’ll never find a man, with that big head, and I don’t think you care.” Mandy didn’t mind Hazel’s ego, after all she was a smart, young, twenty something woman with a business. She took after mother, Mandy mused. She was quite older before she settled down. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I see some cuties that need some love from Grandma.”
“Hello my little, itty bitty cutie patooties!” Mandy crooned as she bent down to the toddlers. “By the way, Finn tell your wife that your father is by the pond, she’s looking for him.”
“Should have known.” Finn started to the back of the house to the small fishing pond and weeping willow. He loved this land. If he would have been told years ago that he’d enjoy living on a farm out of South Port, he would have laughed. But in the end, he was happier out here in Millwood, then he’d ever been in town. Their own fishing pond, an apple orchard, a garden, no one around for half an acre. It was a good life. And there under the weeping willow was his father and his son fishing, just like he did with his Dad.
“Have room for one more?” Finn asked as he walked towards them.
“Shush son, you’ll scare the fish.” George pretended to be stern. “Yah we have room for you, we all know you won’t catch any.” He laughed, and Oliver followed suit.
“It’s true, Dad’s an awful fisherman.” Oliver told Paloma, and she giggled a little too.
“I’ll prove you all wrong, I’m going to catch the most fish, in fact, I’ll catch every fish that’s in this pond.” Finn declared. George and Oliver looked at each other and rolled their eyes.
“Sure, Dad whatever you say.”
Notes: There’s the rest of their update. I really had fun playing this house, I love how close the grandparents are with all these crazy kids. Nicole really rolls the want to open a business, but they are super in the hole. I’d like her to as well, and considered a business at their home for the time being, but there isn’t really room for it. Maybe once Oliver is gone they could use that room, but really the little three will be in school by then. So maybe next update?
I’m SO glad that Grace found someone! All of her three stars have been married, and finally she finds a three star while pub crawling. Benjamin Andersen. Three Bolts. They blabber on and on to each other. He actually likes it when she busts a move. I don’t know about others, but most of my sims find this an offensive act. Grace likes hardworkers though so that explains her issue with teens and college kids. She’s a money sim, and a hard working one at it, so I think her and Benjamin (popularity/lawyer) has the possibility of being a good pairing.
I wondered how things would be with Finn and his attraction towards Janelle, but he didn’t roll any wants for her the entire time, even when they were on the same lot. So maybe it really was his addiction to poker and not the pretty, charismatic young lady… we’ll see when the girls go off to college this fall.
As for Emma and the military man, he came with the game, and is married. ACR had him hitting on her (no bolts here ether) like crazy. She ate it up, and they ACR woohoo’d on the bench! I was like WHAT!! She rolled a want to flirt with him or something small one time thereafter, but otherwise no one, not even Jim made it into her want slot.