on the sidelines

july 2026
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(Millett Household Profile)
Norma Millett (73 years), Merrill (72 years), Grant (49 years), Leah (47 years), Simon (16 years), Nolan (8 years)

narrated by: Simon

It still seems weird to have my sisters not living at home anymore, I had always expected Julia to move back home after graduation. I guess she was serious about Mom and Dad raising Nolan, and no one intends to tell him differently about his parentage. Mom said maybe when he’s in high school, but he could be told by a classmate any day. Seems like a horrible decision to me.

Everyone overall seems fine to ignore it. My sisters come home to watch sports with Grandpa, and no one really presses her about her life plans. She’s sharing a one bedroom house with Hadley in campus housing, though she’s not a student. It’s all very frowned upon by the university, if they knew about it anyway, but Mom and Dad are cool as cukes over it.

Everyone is proud of Hadley, she starts her fourth and final year of Med school this fall, then onto her residency. Mom can’t stop gushing how her daughters make her proud, and are really out their living their lives.

She even met Julia for coffee out on campus, and went further, saying that she felt envy for the life her daughters were leading. Mom has never seemed happy in her life, she’s always been happy with me, we have a connection, but my sisters didn’t seem to really even like her until they were grown up.

I’ve always known that she’s wanted a house of her own, not just living in our Grandparent’s house. I have to admit that I am curious what it might have been like to grow up in a typical american house, where kids visit their grandparents, not walk down the stairs. But I don’t think I’d have such a good relationship with my Grandpa if that were the case.

She hates working at the Northern Moose, and regrets getting married out of high school and not chasing some of her own dreams. She’s nearing fifty, and I think it is safe to say that she is having a mid-life crisis. She even cries in the bathroom at work.

Dad has to go about working, because this business is more his than Grandpa’s these days, though Grandpa always goes, he just isn’t as sharp as he once was.

He tends to make people angry at him more than not, and he couldn’t sell a tent to Bigfoot if he tried. I don’t get it, he used to be dazzling out on the sales floor when I was a kid, but he’s totally lost his knack. Dad spends all day long putting out his fires and trying to keep customers happy.

I’m the first Millett to not be required to work at the Northern Moose, at all. Hadley had been allowed to work at the hospital but she had to keep her weekends free for the Moose. That isn’t the case for me. I will go in to help Mom some nights when I know inventory needs done, but otherwise I am happy to stay clear. I’ve been working at the pizza place down the road.

Where I fell in love with Lulu Grimsley. And she seemed to have a crush on Dean instead, who has a serious girlfriend that doesn’t even live in town.

Lucky me, I get to serve the stupid guy, that can’t see that the most gorgeous girl in our school is pretty much in love with him. And he’s not a bad guy, he comes here with his nieces, Vivienne and Cicely all the time. But still, why date a nonlocal at all when someone here likes him.

Closing up one night, I happened to be shutting down the arcade games, and saw Lulu getting cozy with our boss, Clayton.

He’s a grown up, and we are just sixteen. He left and she came back in to help me close up, and I couldn’t pretend I hadn’t seen it. I was livid, how stupid could she be? I’m a man, or nearly, and I know that all he wants is to use her.

She didn’t take kindly to any of it, and I tried to remember that we weren’t exactly friends. While I dreamed of her frequently, it was pretty clear that I was just a work-friend in her world.

I apologized, and told her that really, I thought it would be best if she dated someone in high school, and leave the adult world for the grownups. Admitted that I liked her, and maybe she might like me too?

I would have taken even a little bit of liking.

She just stuttered through it, then looked awkwardly away as she mumbled something about liking Clayton.

After that, working was difficult. I felt humiliated to even talk to Lulu, though she seemed to have repressed everything. And whenever Clayton was at the restaurant, I just wondered if they were fooling around in the bathroom. I ended up dropping food on more than on person, and Clayton chewed me out for it.

He’d probably be nicer if he knew that I could blackmail him. Pretty certain that you can’t date teens if you ain’t one. I allow myself to daydream it, but I wouldn’t do it. Lulu would hate me then, and what would be the point? I just focus on my task, and read fiction to take my mind off my life.

Walking home, I live to the west, but Clayton lives to the east, and I wonder if she sneaks over there after work, claims that she had an extra late shift perhaps. And I feel inadequate.

I couldn’t lament over Lulu too long though, Grandpa passed out from the heat, and took all of our focus and fuss for a good week.

He ended up being okay, and in the same week, I suffered from heatstroke too. It’s been a killer summer. Though I rebounded faster than poor Grandpa. He just isn’t have the easiest of times as of late.

I took Nolan to the local park, we both like collecting bugs, and while he plays violin like his Mother/Sister, he also has quite a bit in common with me.

When I saw that Willa and her tagalong Bea were hogging the swings, I should have left though. Bea never causes me issues, but it seems Willa likes to perform for her, show just how nasty she can be. The Promenade across the way has a great garden for collecting bugs, and that was where I should have headed promptly, but Nolan wanted to find bugs in the wood chips and see his friends, and so I forced myself to stay.

Once Willa caught sight of me, she stalked over giddily, and began to mock me loudly for looking for bugs, and making fun of the cut of my shorts. She couldn’t resist embarrassing me in front of Nolan and all of his classmates that were there. She hates me, and delights in making fun of me for being weird, and for being interested in things like bugs and astronomy.

I can’t wait until she graduates and leaves. I hope she doesn’t go to EU, because I don’t want to run into her on campus when I finally do. I can just imagine her seeking me out and humiliating me at keggers.

I hate being sensitive in front of Nolan, I want him to look up to me, and not be embarrassed because I’m some weirdo misfit.

When we walked back home, everyone was grilling out on the deck, and I felt like I didn’t quite fit in with my family, and not for the first time.

Nolan ran up and started chowing down some corn on the cob, and I just wondered where I belonged, in the world, in my school, with my relatives.


Notes: Lulu and Clayton were entirely ACR. I was completely out of that loop, but decided to go with it, because they’d already gone all the way.

All the customers hated Merrill, I’m not sure why, but he really couldn’t sell. If he tried to sell to someone who was about to buy, it’d literally turn dark and dip way down.

Simon is a bit of an odd-ball in his family. He’s rather geeky, and I take him for not fitting in anywhere, not right now. He is his Mom’s pet, but Nolan has kind of taken that standing without intending too, and she’s caught up being unhappy herself to really take notice that Simon is miserable.

I had really wanted him to date Lulu. I saw his crush, and that they worked together, how cute would that have been? *sigh* When directed to talk to her, he did that flick to his head with that angry face! I’ve never seen that before!

Thanks for reading!

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6 thoughts on “on the sidelines

  1. It’s really rough for Simon right now! His mom is in a self-absorbed phase, and I felt so badly for him, he was being so kind to Nolan, helping him bug hunt in the wood chips, and Willa was so mean. And then the whole crush on Lulu seemed ill-fated for Nolan. It is so sweet how concerned he is about her; it really shows how sensitive he is that he is worried so much about their boss taking advantage of her, instead of just being jealous that she likes someone else. I wonder too, what will happen with Nolan as he gets older; will someone else break it to him that Julia is his mom? And what an odd thing about Merrill ruining sales all the sudden. I loved that line about not being able to sell a tent to Bigfoot!

    1. I always feel that Leah misses out on life. She always seems lost in her own mind, miserable living with her mother-in-law, who makes her life miserable, while her husband is Switzerland for everything. It’s not really the life she wanted, and now that her girls are out there, going to college, getting degrees, ready to be a doctor, she realizes that her high school diploma, and quick wedding, weren’t quite all she wanted in life.

      I felt bad for Simon though, he really could use his Mom, and I was sad that Lulu didn’t work out for him. They would have been SO adorable together. I’m still missing out on the cute pictures of them flirting behind the counter at work. sigh. I don’t even know what I am going to do with Nolan… and finding out about his Mom. I really hoped that Julia would roll A want for him, just one! She rolls nothing for him at all, total disconnect. Would have been easier if she felt partially maternal.

      I don’t get it with Merrill, but I think he needs to retire soon, though I can’t imagine he ever would. Especially since I lost his log cabin up in the mountains during a rebuild (accidentally deleted it without installing it), he lost his outdoor places.

      Thanks for commenting Shannon!

  2. O good gracious, so much happened and my head is spinning. Lulu and a grown man!?!?! I want to squeeze Simon in my pocket, he is the sweetest and not a weirdo at all (btw I like his shorts and his bug collecting) and I adored how he wanted his nephew/pseudo-brother to look up to him. I agree, Nolan will find out soon enough, I mean Simon was his age when he was born!

    1. I love Simon too, he’s a super nice kid, and always rolls wants to do stuff with Nolan. I love that they bug collect together. That is true about the age of Simon when Nolan was born. And he will definitely find out about his Mom, I’m waiting to see how things unfold a bit in the game. I don’t see many grade school kids talking/knowing about it. But in high school, I think that gossip would happen more. I’d really like Julia to get a maternal instinct towards him though, and save him the heartache. Thanks for commenting Starr!

  3. All the way? Oh Lulu, honey, no! This Clayton is a bit of a worry, isn’t he? She’d be better off with Simon, although she doesn’t seem interested. đŸ˜¦

    Poor Merrill. I got scared when I saw him with the heatstroke and thought he might be a goner. I guess it has to happen sometime but I’m glad he survived this round.

    I really felt for Simon. I’ve always had a soft spot for him. What is his personality like? I know he’s a serious type but is he on the shy side too? He seems to lack confidence in himself, though that could be explained by feeling like such an oddball amongst his family and peers as well. I hope he finds his stride in college – is this his last session as a teen?

    1. She has zero inclination to date Simon sadly. I was shocked and surprised that she went all the way with Clayton. Also surprised that Scarlett had with Alex. Seems that this current group of teens are very anxious to go to the next step.

      Merrill scared me on the ground, I haven’t had an unexpected death in a bit of time, so it makes me nervous when they are all deathly looking.

      I don’t have my game up right now, I’m trying to load it to check out Clayton’s age for you in the other post. But I do know that Simon is mega nice, and mega shy. Those are biggest personality traits. He’s a junior right now, but yeah, you are probably right that it is his last play session. Sheesh. My kids are growing up too fast!! I can’t keep up. I really need to do some SAT scores and career criteria.

      Thanks for commenting Carla!

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