broken pieces

december 2022
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(Gonzales)
Cesar Gonzales (31 years), Ella Carver (10 years), Marisol Carver (4 years), Manuel Carver (4 years)

narrated by: Cesar

I had considered marrying Annie at one point, but she always pushed me away. Mom always said that I couldn’t help someone who didn’t want to help themselves, and that’s why I’d backed away. I wished that I hadn’t, maybe I could have saved her if I’d tried more. Instead it’s me raising three kids alone with no other adult to share the responsibility with.

The twins are opposite as they could come, Marisol jumps out of bed, ready to tackle the day.

I think she takes after me, which leaves me with two mini-Annie’s in the house. Manuel sloths around, taking his sweet time to get ready for before school.

Now and then, Ella will play with Manuel, and distract him with some games. It doesn’t help when we need to meet the bus at a certain time, but I’m always grateful when she opens herself up to the twins.

Ella is angry about her Mom, and the twins don’t remember her, so she bares it alone. She doesn’t think the twins have any right to the loss, because their lack of memory, but in someways their grief is stronger, filled with an unknowable void. I wish she’d share good memories with them, and hope one day she will.

Once the kids are off to school, I head to my own car dealership. Dad recently gave me the used portion of his business so I could better provide for the kids. And he sent my Mom to be my receptionist, who doesn’t take much pay to keep pleased. One day I’ll need to hire someone else, but for the time being she’s mine.

The sales have been decent, and I’ve been able to begin a savings account. Nadia came in to look at vehicles for her growing family, they are some of my favorite to sell too, especially when they absolutely need a new car.

Mom recommended Marta Steele to come by to find her next car, little did I know she intended for us to go on a date. I came on a bit strong with my sale antics, which usually work, but she had ulterior motives.

She did purchase a car, and she really made me work for it. She complained about the smell of the office, and the wood paneling. I guess she works for the Mayor as a public relations agent, and had an abundance of opinions about the PR of my place.

She confessed that my Mom had arranged it all, and wanted to know if I’d go out to dinner with her later. I accepted, but felt conflicted. Even though me and Annie had stopped seeing each other before her death, I haven’t dated anyone since her. It felt too soon, despite it being years since we dated.

Mom arranged it for the bus to drop the kids off here after school. At first they are excited, because they are allowed a snack from the fridge.

But it completely flatlines after that, they usually get holed up in my office, and whine whenever I have to go in there.

None of my kids are affectionate, they all get that from Annie. Marisol won’t hug Ella, which hurts her feelings.

But she won’t even hug me, and she’s only four. I thought this behavior came in the fifth grade, which is where Ella’s grade.

When we get out especially late, I usually take the kids out for dinner. They love Shortstack Pancake House, and it usually makes eating out less stressful. But Ella has been particularly foul lately, and while we waited for a table, she got into it with poor Manuel. He is my sweetest, shy kid, still not overtly affectionate, but never a rejector of hugs.

I tried getting her to apologize, and the waiter through a fit about how ill-mannered my kids were, and how they shouldn’t eat out if they couldn’t behave like adults.

Another family in the restaurant was staring us down as well, and Ella said she knew the girls from school. I’d never felt more mortified.

Ella finally apologized, but I know she didn’t mean it. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to about that. I’ve known Ella since she was a toddler, but I’ve never been allowed to be her Dad, and even now I share custody of her. She’s not shy to throw “you’re not my father” line in my face.

The rest of the time, if Manuel talked to her, she made gaggy faces, and looked away as if she might throw up.

She starts middle school next year, and I really hope that we can get this curbed before her birthday this March, but I just don’t see it happening. A childhood with Annie has done her in, and I just hope that in time I can bring her back around to having feelings, and being open, at least with someone.

When we get back home, it’s late, and past their bedtimes, but still we try to muster through their homework. Ella has improved with the help of a tutor, but barely, she’s maintaining a C now, which is at least passing. I’d hate for her to flunk fifth grade.

There isn’t much to my evening after they are in bed, I tuck them in, wash breakfast dishes, and go to bed myself. It’s exhausting, and lonely. For these reasons, I look forward to a date with Marta.

When we finally go out for our dinner date, we hit Pacelli Macaroni where I happened to make a dinner reservation. It’s not particularly new, but I’ve never gone. Annie was the type of girl to go on dates, she was the type that you talked off the ledge, and just breathed together.

Marta has a college degree, which is more than me, since I went straight into the family business. And has worked with the past two Mayors of Boone County.

She’s fascinating, confident, and an entirely different breed of women than I’ve ever met. Because of my Mom, she knows all about the three kids at home that are being babysat, and while she’s not wanting a huge family of her own, she’s not scared off by them.

We danced upstairs, though no one else was, and she demanded the limelight.

We had met at the restaurant, and did our goodbyes on the patio. She told me she was interested in seeing me again, and didn’t tippy-toe around how she had a good time.

I went home feeling refreshed, and it wasn’t until I climbed into bed that I felt angry that Annie couldn’t have been something more than she’d settled herself to be.

Mom invited us over for Christmas dinner, we didn’t do presents at her house, but she did buy each of the kids some clothes to open when they got home. I helped her prepare the feast, and she burnt the turkey, which seems to be her tradition.

She set up the basement for the kids to play in when we come over, all my old toys are out for them to play with.

The twins kept sneaking upstairs to check out what new food was on the table, and went crazy for the pumpkin cakes. We had to keep sending them back to the basement, while they complained of their stomachs growling.

The dinner went pretty well to start, Dad is always engaging with kids, and even Ella likes him. He’s always telling tall-tales about customers that are ninety percent fiction.

Manuel is very shy, except around Grandpa, then he’s full of inquisitiveness.

It all went perfectly, it could have been a Hallmark movie, where Ella’s heart unfrosted, and we all bonded. Until my Mom asked about my date with Marta, not thinking how the kids might take it, not considering that I might not have told them about it at all.

Ella had been clearing her plate very politely when the conversation was broached. I hoped she didn’t hear.

But she did, and she lost it. Started screaming, stomping and telling us all how much she hated us, and hoped we die. Mom and Dad ignored her, saying that was what she needed when she threw tantrums.

I took her upstairs instead to their room. I thought I could talk her down from her anger, knowing she was reacting from a place of hurt, but she was beyond listening.

When she finally calmed down, I went up to speak with her and found she’d fallen asleep on the bed. She looked peaceful and calm, and I hoped that with time I could break through her barrier.

The twins performed a skit for my parents of a children’s book they did at school. While they watched, they also shared their opinions on Ella and how to nip her behavior in the bud.

When it came time to leave, Ella stood on the outside of the crowd, if my parents had offered her a hug, I think she might have accepted, but no one did.

At home, the kids opened their clothes, and put them away. When the twins were all tucked in, I called Ella over. I had a surprise for her, part of her Christmas present from me was her own microphone, and singing lessons.

For that surprise, I do get a hug. I’m hoping that her love for singing will help her through her grief, and give her a focus.

My parents won’t approve, thinking I’m spoiling her, but they aren’t here when she has to leave to her Dad’s place.

He stand surly against the wall, as if Ella is an utter waste of time, and she always wears her attitude.

I try to encourage her to have fun with her brothers, which she usually does, and Matt isn’t around much anyway. She softens very subtly, but it’s still there.

But when she turns to follow Matt out into the hall, that’s when I see her pure heartbreak over the situation.

She wanted to keep in touch with her twin brothers, and I think the courts did the best they could in a rotten situation, but she’s still being hurt, and I don’t know the solution. Annie may have died, but she always cared more for Ella than Matt ever did. I hope in time that Ella can forgive her Mom, and move forward with the fond memories that they shared.


Notes: Ella rejected hugs from Marisol (and vice versa), and she started a fight with Manuel on her own at the restaurant, though they are close to being friends. She also did put her plate in the dishwasher on her own, then proceeded to throw a fit. I found that Marisol was also slightly angry, and all three kids wanted to resurrect Annie. Ella will have her teen birthday in March, just around the corner. Oh and the faces she’s making when Matt is there, they were her own, she was thinking of Matt too. She really doesn’t care for her deadbeat Dad, but she does adore her twin brothers.

Cesar and Marta went on a date, and have good chemistry, I think they might go on another date in the future, but he’s a busy single Dad with a business to run. His Mom Maria, seems like a meddler out of the “goodness of her heart” so I imagine her causing problems for Cesar without intending it. Oh and I added some new photos to Cesar profile here, the twins look SO much like him other than coloring which is from Annie.

Thanks for reading!


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16 thoughts on “broken pieces

  1. You have written Cesar as a strong but vulnerable character who is really admirable but also make me hurt for him. I really feel for him and Ella, especially how the younger kids have their grandparents’ love and support, but Ella is sort of out of that circle. It seems like being a teen is going to be really hard for Ella as she has so much to reconcile while she’s figuring out who she is. Its nice that Cesar’s parents were able to gift him the dealership and his mom is helping him out for small pay. And Marta sounds like another strong character– definitely sounds so much more proactive and in charge of her life than Annie. I did feel sorry for Manuel, with Ella picking on him at the restaurant.

    1. Aww thanks Shannon, I’m glad that I’ve done some justice to Cesar, he’s one of my favorites. I’ve always liked him before he got involved with Annie and was just a pnpc, and I was thrilled when they got together in the beginning. He’s a nice guy, with strong morals, and family ties, and he treats ladies right, I thought that he was just what Annie needed.

      Ella as a teen is gorgeous! I really love her to pieces, and I can’t wait to play her story, and how she handles the heartbreak and the lacking hand she’s been given. Cesar is so good to her, that I hope she really allows him into her life and heart.

      Marta is the past mayor’s daughter, she’s got money, and is a socialite, she is indeed a strong character, but I do not think that her parents would approve of this match up, so if it continues, it wouldn’t be the easiest. Cesar would get a feel for what it was like for Annie to be judged like she’d been by his parents.

      Ella was in aspiration failure, and I was really surprised she fought with Manuel, she’s the closest to him. Marisol is a bit of a rejecter, to just about everyone…

      Thanks for commenting Shannon!

  2. Ugh, poor everyone. This situation just sucks! I hope they can eventually find some comfort in one another and it’s definitely a good thing that Cesar is “getting out there”, even if it’s not going to be immediately serious. He needs to experience a normal relationship and see that not everyone is nutty.

    These poor kids. I don’t think they’ll immediately have any sibling bonds, especially with Ella feeling so “apart” from everyone else. Poor girl. She’s got a long, tough road ahead of her… I just hope she can make it out without becoming her mother. 😦

    1. I really hope that Ella can bond, she sets herself apart, but her immediate family doesn’t want that for her, you know? It’s kind of his imagined hurt when it comes to Cesar, he’s always been there for her, and I hope she realizes that. I really, really hope that she does not become her mother, I named her for the “bright light” because I really wanted her to be that for Annie, and I’m so hopeful that it will be a prophecy for her own life. She doesn’t have to be Mrs. Cleaver, but she can be an Emma, though she’s much more sensitive, and a poetic spirit, where Emma does not.

      Cesar and Marta are cute, I don’t know how much hope I have for them as a serious relationship, but it’s nice for Cesar to get time out. I mentioned above that her Dad is the last mayor, and a very socialite family, I just don’t think they’d welcome Cesar in with their family. So I’m hoping he finds someone much better to settle down with, because I want Ella to be accepted immediately, and not deal with more issues.

      Thanks for commenting Mao!

  3. I’m with Mao – poor everyone! It’s such a fraught and delicate situation and no one really knows the best way to handle it. Ella is still so young and she’s had no positive and constant influence in her life until now. Even now the twins don’t remember Annie, they’d be grieving somewhat, in their own way.

    I would really love to see Cesar’s parents reach out to Ella a little bit. She’s not “theirs” but I felt awful for her when she didn’t get a hug after Christmas dinner. It’d be good for her to see she has other grown-ups on her side besides Cesar. I think the singing lessons could be awesome that way as well, if she can create that sort of bond with her teacher.

    I’m glad Cesar went on that date with Marta and I hope there’s a repeat performance! She seems like Annie’s polar opposite but honestly, that’s probably exactly what he needs.

    1. I think the twins would grieve for what they don’t remember, they can fill it in though with better pretend memories then Ella, but she at least has knowledge. As soon as they aged up their want was to bring back Annie, and they both look at one another with sad faces, like they were thinking the same. The want hasn’t rolled away ether, and all the kids have low aspirations. Ella puts up walls, where she could open up to the twins, and find a bond, she puts herself apart because she went through it, and wears it like a lonely badge.

      Cesar’s Dad is doing much better with Ella, but Maria is just not. I think growing up with Cesar is going to do her good, it just might take some time to get there… but I’m not planning it. I have a few ideas of how her story could go, and I’m leaving it up to her. I did set her up for some more success though with her aspiration, which I talk about in her birthday post briefly that is coming up soon.

      Marta couldn’t be more opposite, she comes from well-to-do political parents, I don’t think they’d love Cesar, but Marta is a very dominant women, and I don’t know that she’d care. I do want whoever Cesar lands with to have his inlaws be really good to Ella, not that Marta’s parents wouldn’t necessarily. I just don’t know yet! I just have hopes of what I want for Ella.

      Thanks for commenting Carla!

  4. I’m probably the only one but when I read about his mom setting him up on a date, I felt a bit put out. It’s like, when someone pet dies and someone else tries to help by suggesting or giving a new pet for replacement. To me it shows that she doesn’t respect his feelings towards Annie. Obviously so, since they make it obvious that they aren’t accepting Ella into the family. It’s a child! You don’t get to ignore or patronize a child because you don’t like the mother. It’s so offensive to me lol.

    Also, who told Ella she could grow up and be a teen? Yikes!

    1. Ooh new pets for replacement are the worst, and totally don’t work. They never liked Annie, and I think Maria just wants to fix things. She’s not a mean one, she just does things old fashioned and not really helpful. She was the one to get all the picture for Ella of her with Annie, and decorated the apartment to give the kids a nice home. She’s not the most affectionate, and I think she feels awkward around Ella, and Annie was not who she imagined her son being with, and I don’t really blame her. She didn’t break up their relationship ether, Annie did that on her own. It is offensive though, Maria isn’t my favorite, but I really hope in time that she learns how to handle Ella. I’m a step-person to a TON of people, and they are not all the most welcoming of me, I have step aunts and uncles that I’m not even FB friends with! So Maria seems realistic to me, though I do hope better for her.

      And Ella as a teen is crazy, I’m really hoping that she delves herself into the singing that she’s passionate about. When she was a toddler, she had no toys, and used to just dance to the radio in the living room. I think it’s meant to be for her, to be so passionate for music, and I hope that it gives her a good creative outlet.

      Thanks for commenting LC!

  5. Wow, there is so much going on with these characters. I feel so bad for Ella. She is obviously still struggling with the loss of her mother. All of the fits and fighting might actually be calls for help – she might not know how to ask for help on her own but I think her actions show that she needs it, Maybe Ella needs to visit a psychologist and get her feelings out and be able to talk to someone. I’m really worried for her. What kind of teen will she be? My only thoughts are that she will rebel or withdraw completely from all the people who are trying to help her. This could lead to a very difficult life for her – perhaps even following in the footsteps of her mother. I really hope she gets help!!

    1. Psychologist is a great idea, I’m going to have her visit a counselor as soon as I have one for her. Alice is a junior at EU right now, so soon I will have a counselor for her to visit. I didn’t want to bring in a townie for her, though I have one already in the career, because I want her to build a relationship with Alice (good or bad).

      I really hope she doesn’t follow her Mom’s footsteps. What excites me most is that she has so many options and choices ahead of her, and I have no clue how it will turn out. I hope she starts to open up to those around her, and stops pushing people away. She’s gorgeous as a teen, and I’m really happy with her appearance, and excited to start playing this next stage of her life.

      Thanks for commenting Ashland!

  6. A very nice update, I hope all of them can heal from Annie’s loss and that his family reaches out a bit more to Ella, but they’ve been rejected multiple times as well so there’s plenty of scars on both sides.

    1. Thanks Starr, glad you liked the update, it was a fun one to play and write. I hope that Ella forms a bond with Juan, he’s much more open to all the kids, and more playful then Maria ever has been. He’s her best shot for a grandparent relationship. And you are true that there are scars on both sides, Ella isn’t the warmest, and can make even adults feel awkward too.

      Thanks for commenting Starr!

  7. I wanna hug Ella. She has so many emotional scars and she, like Annie, has a tendency to push away rather than let anyone in. Maria is too meddlesome for her own good; I feel like Ella would hold a grudge against her forever. But I think the singing lessons are a step in the right direction. I hope the girl can heal; between Annie and Matt, she could easily be messed up for life, but I want Cesar to save her, the same way he tried to save Annie.

    1. She is much like her Mother isn’t she? I think that’s what I adore about her so much, and also feel sad about too. But I’d rather she be Annie then sleazy Matt. You may be right for Ella holding a grudge against Maria forever, right now I cannot see Ella keeping in touch with Maria or Juan when she grows up. I really hope Cesar can save Ella, give her some normalcy and a safe place to be open and vulnerable. Very excited for her teen years to see what unfolds.

      Thanks Fini!

  8. Something tells me that Ella is going to always feel like an outsider and a loner. Her older brothers are twins and have each other. Her younger siblings are twins and have each other. Manuel’s parents, especially Maria, seem to have no problem hurting her feelings or trying to understand where she’s coming from or they have already emptied out their empathy in regards to Ella. I think Ella has the chance to be more than what people perceive her to be but that’s gonna be hard with all of this against her. Something tells me that when she gets older, since her teen years are coming up, that if she makes the slightest mistake, no matter how normal, it’s going to be magnified due to her background and how people already look at her. I especially see this coming from Maria who may try to convince Cesar to just relieve himself of the stress and hand Ella over to Matt full time. Such a tough predicament all around.

    1. Isn’t it crazy that she is surrounded by twins?! Jessica Picasso has a family bonus for twins, and got them, but Annie’s were all natural, she was absolutely not a family sim. I do think you are right with her feeling like an outsider/loner, everyone has someone, and she’s the only one, no full-blood siblings, and no twin. You are probably right about any mishap, even normal ones are going to get a critical eye from Maria. Juan seemed to warm up to her more, but I don’t know if he will be as close when she’s a teen. Some men get awkward around girl teens, not sure how to relate. I don’t think Cesar would ever relieve himself of Ella though, he’s very committed and invested with her, he’s known her since she was a toddler, and thinks of her as his own. He’d love to have her full-time, but I can’t see the courts relinquishing Matt’s, and considering Matt just fought for custody, he can’t really go back on that, not right now anyway.

      Thanks for commenting Choco!

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