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Abby Creelman (73 years), Eva Barthelet (43 years), Paloma Creelman (19 years), Linny Barthelet (8 years)
(Gideon Prince – 35, Oliver McCarthy – 20 years)
previous update: spring 2016
narrated by: Eva
Originally, Paloma had blamed me for her being declined from Eastborough, just on the principle that I had encouraged her to rethink applying for college. She had accused me of being happy that she didn’t get in, but it wasn’t true. I’d just like one of us girls to have the opportunity to follow our dreams, and to not have an insurmountable amount of debt.
She seems to be past blaming me, but she rarely seems happy. She’s working as a waitress at Orchard Cafe on the other side of town. She usually has to walk there in her uniform, and in the evenings she cares for Linny while I work 9-9 most days, and my Mom works evenings. It’s not ideal, and I know that soon I will lose Paloma to her own apartment and I panic trying to think how I will juggle Linny and my schedule.
Me, Paloma, and Mom talked about going on a trip up the mountain. We live near enough to it, but none of us have ever ventured that high. In secret we started putting away a few dollars here and there in hopes that by the time summer arrived we could do a low key family vacation. We have never gone on vacation, so this was big.
We didn’t want Linny to find out, so we discussed outside most of the time where she wouldn’t overhear us. We didn’t need it to be a surprise persay, as much as we didn’t want them to be heartbroken if it didn’t pan out.
Mom found a good deal on renting a cabin though, and we were able to pull it off. She had really wanted to bring Pirate with, but the resort didn’t allow animals due to the wild animals in the area.
June couldn’t come fast enough for any of us, and the cabins were amazing. There weren’t too many staying in our section of the campground, so we had most of the park and picnic benches to ourselves.
We were really tight on the finances, so we mostly stuck around the campground. Paloma and Oliver had a friendly competition going on the axe throwing.
In the past I might have felt a little jealousy seeing them together, in their youth, and in love. But with Gideon, I’ve been able to feel all those sorts of emotions again. It’s been so long since Nicholas died, that I’d almost forgotten how it felt to be in a relationship with someone.
Gideon is good to me, and though I wish I could make him a few years older, or myself younger if it were. I am enjoying his companionship. He does the manly things, like grilling. I’ve missed having a guy who does these sorts of things.
Mom got a separate cabin for the girls and Oliver, it was the three of them on bunkbeds. I thought this arrangement was fine, but when Mom walked over to say good morning, she was shocked to find Oliver without a shirt on.
I wasn’t concerned about it, I’ve known Paloma and Oliver were intimate for years now, and she uses birth control. Besides that, I knew they wouldn’t try anything with Linny in the same room as them. But Mom was not to be put at ease, I think just seeing a young, half naked man really put her into alarm. I guess she never put much thought into it before now.
So she keeps popping over to their cabin at unexpected moments. She always has some silly story, about how she needs to borrow a pillow, or a story she heard from the Ranger. I’m glad that Paloma is being good-natured about it, and just laughs it off. I couldn’t stop my mother if I wanted to, she’s always had a mind of her own.
The biggest downfall about a mountain vacation is the chilly nights. Maybe in July it would be warmer, but it is downright cold in the night, and not really warm in the day ether. We picnic outside, but we need layers to not freeze. I think changing weather from the warm front at home, to the mountain air is what gave me a cold as well.
I don’t really mind though, a few coughs here and there and some cold medicine to keep the other symptoms at bay. I wouldn’t let the sniffles bum me out, not with Gideon here with me.
He’s good with Linny too, and Paloma is finally coming around to him. I’m not sure if it’s her waitress job or just happening with age, but she’s getting more mature and I’m enjoying this changed girl. She was a handful in her teens causing all sorts of mischief for me and my Mom. It wasn’t easy with her and Gideon at first ether. I was afraid it’d rub off on Linny, but it hasn’t.
It’s nice that Linny is a bit older now, I can trust her to play on the playground, or stay in bed at night time. It allows me to enjoy being an adult without as many concerns, not like when she was a toddler and eating everything.
In the beginning, it had always been Gideon doing the pursuing, and me dragging my feet. I wish I hadn’t. The age isn’t that big of a deal after all, not like I had made it out to be. So when he asked me to marry him, I didn’t hesitate one moment. These past two years have been the highlight of the last decade for me.
The only issue now, is that I know he would like to have a baby and do the Dad gig from birth on, and age does come into play there. I’ve been honest with him too, that I’m not sure I want to start it all over again, and he’s okay with that too.
The next day we headed to the beach and while me and Mom were looking for shells, I told her the news. Apparently, Gideon had talked with her over this, so she wasn’t surprised at all. But she was very happy that I said yes.
When we get back home we have to start saving again to throw a wedding. I said that a small one would be fine by me, but Mom wants me to have a big one since I didn’t get that with Nicholas. But she warned me to not take too long, like I did the first time.
With Nicholas, we had to save to pay his immigration fees, which took eleven years for us to do on our meager salary. And then he died on our wedding night. I promised her that I wouldn’t wait that long to marry Gideon.
I smiled in the direction of Gideon, bent on the ground in a sandcastle contest with the girls and Oliver.
There was no way I was waiting eleven years before making him my husband. Mom didn’t have to worry about that, if anything there was always the courthouse this time around.
Paloma and Oliver were the winners of the little contest, and were a little gloaty over it.
Gideon offered to take Linny swimming in the lake, but she refused. She’s like her mother and prefers laying out over getting wet and cold.
I dozed off in the sunlight, Oliver and Paloma had snuck off to hike a little in the woods, and Linny was asleep on the towel beside me.
And I awoke in a dazed confusion from muffled shouting and panic. I couldn’t make sense of where I was, or what I was seeing for a moment.
It still felt like a nightmare, flying from the lounge chair to my Mother and fiance hovering over her.
But it wasn’t. No one had seen what happened, Gideon had come back from using the restroom to find her face down in the lake. I’d slept through my mother’s drowning, I can only imagine she called for me as I laid there sleeping, so close and yet so far.
We arranged to leave the cabin immediately, and have my Mom sent back to Millwood for a proper funeral.
It was like a nightmare that I never woke from. Returning home and finding Pirate excited to see us, and him searching for Mom about killed me. He seems to have figured it out, he’s stopped howling now, but he doesn’t move from the floor much.
The funeral was the worst, an admittance that my Mom wasn’t coming back home with us, and seeing everyone gather to remember her. I was a horrible hostess and spent most of my time in a daze at my chair.
Gideon checked in on me when he was near, but also helped by mingling and listening to everyone retell their stories of my mother. I know we all have to grieve, but I wasn’t ready to listen to how my Mother had been an inspiration to someone, or done something funny.
Myra orchestrated the entire meal, and Linny’s teacher, Mrs. Dwyer came and lent a hand as well. They packaged the leftovers and washed all the dishes so there was nothing for us to worry about.
Paloma is heartbroken, neither of us know what to do next. For her though she still has me, I don’t have my Mother to talk to when things are tight, or now, to be here when I marry Gideon. She had seemed more excited to plan the wedding than I was, and now she wouldn’t get to. Or see Paloma get married one day.
I’m not sure what we are supposed to do now.
Abby Creelman lost her mother from electrocution as an infant, and was raised by her father. When she went to attend college her father died in a leaf burning accident. Abby discontinued her education and moved back to settle her father’s estate. She later met and married her husband, Sean and started a family with him.
Together they had three daughters, Eliza, Ella, and Eva. Ella and Sean passed away from complications from pneumonia, and Eliza went missing shortly after. She’s lived with her widowed daughter, Eva and her two grandchildren, Paloma and Linnea until passing away while on a mountain vacation.
Notes: This was my drowning ROS. This poor family! It has absolutely the worst luck of any family, by a landslide. I actually gasped when this rolled. Poor Abby, she actually wasn’t supposed to die until 2022. She wanted an engagement, and a vacation, so I fulfilled those wants before letting her drown. This was her first and only vacation she ever got to take.
She’s had a lot of tragedy in her life. Her father died when I installed Seasons, had them burn the leaves and he caught on fire. Her mother died from trying to fix the computer. Her husband and daughter died after installing that sickness hack. And I couldn’t extract Eliza’s file from my game, and had no simpe. It just kept showing up blank so she went missing.
Both Gideon and Eva have the marriage & party want, so they will have a real wedding. It won’t be big, this family is teeny tiny. Abby was the true matriarch of this family, and I think it’s going to be a little lost with her gone. Gideon’s last name is actually Prince. But I’m going to have him change to Creelman, and Eva will change to that too (from her married name), in honor of Abby. He wants 3 kids, so I’m not sure if they will try/succeed, but they might have a baby of their own.
Thanks for reading!