Bea had mostly taken her break-up with Jett like a trooper, as her Dad embarrassingly told her. Bea had known that him heading off to university before her might lead to their destruction. But she didn’t really believe that it would. He’d taken her to his Mom’s wedding, he actually seemed like marriage might even be on his mind, like family and her, that they were both important.
She joked with her brothers, and put on a brave face, but she felt shaken.
She retired to her bedroom, earlier and earlier. Declining a part in the holiday play at the community theater, and she worked to answer questions she had never asked herself before. Her co-star, Sam used to flirt with her, and she couldn’t deny that her heart had fluttered. She thought she was the kind of girl that would never cheat on her boyfriend, but what did it matter, when he cheated on her?
She knew what her Mom would say, treat people how you want to be treated, or something of that nature. But Bea wasn’t sure if she believed it. She wanted to, but couldn’t help but think that if she had moved on with Sam, then when the news came about Jett’s betrayal, that she wouldn’t have even cared.
As it were, she didn’t feel broken by the break-up, not until she found out that Riley was pregnant. Jett’s baby. Bea could pretend that she used to think that it might be her one day, but she hadn’t even slept with him. Perhaps that was why he cheated? She never imagined them getting married, even when she thought Jett might be. But it didn’t hurt any less that he’d been intimate with Riley, and she was having his baby.
Her thin veil of normalcy was shattered with the news. She didn’t even mind that her Mom found her sobbing in her room one night.
Her Mom had her hands full with her teenagers. With Bea breaking down in her bedroom, and her middle son, Monroe sneaking out of the house. She couldn’t say how long he was doing just that, nor why, seeing that she was lax with rules. But sneak out he did, and one of the nights she happened to be aware of it.
She waited up until the early hours of the morning, partially concerned, but mostly she was royally angry. When Monroe caught sight of her, he smiled like his charm could work on her.
He found himself severely grounded, with the promise that his Dad would be informed when he woke up. No matter how Monroe shouted back, Hazel did not budge, and he resigned himself to his room.
With all her kids safely inside, Hazel locked up the house, and prepared for bed when the phone rang. For a moment she thought that perhaps she had called the police after all, and was surprised when it was her Mom on the line.
Hazel could hardly follow her Mom’s frantic story, making out bits and bobs of it. “Your Dad wasn’t feeling well last night, he kept tossing and turning in bed, but insisted he was fine.”
She awoke sometime later because her back was cold, and found that George wasn’t in the bed with her. She had called out for him, expecting he might have holed up in the bathroom, and only began to grow concerned when he didn’t readily answer. She went on how he sometimes slept on the sofa, and that she wasn’t really that worried, but she couldn’t find him, and when she came back in the room, she saw that he was on the floor.
“He’s gone, he’s gone, Hazel,” Mandy cried, and suddenly, Hazel understood everything.
Hazel woke up Jude, and left a note for the kids to skip school, but no mention of their Grandpa passing away. Finn was the first to arrive, but Hazel was right behind him. Finn worked on calming Sydney down, while Hazel got her hugs in with her Mom. She had half-expected to find her Dad’s body still in the home, but he’d already been taken to the funeral home.
By five in the morning, all of the kids were in their childhood home. Nicole took over the duties of informing people of the terrible news, calling immediately for those that were closest, and waiting until dawn for the rest.
They hadn’t all been together since Thanksgiving of the last year, they were all planning to gather again at the end of the month. It was all supposed to be just the same, except now Oliver was engaged. It seemed impossible that their Dad would just be gone without time in the hospital, a moment to say good-bye.
They didn’t return home until it was past noon, Finn had gone with their Mom to get some lunch, and find a proper outfit for George’s burial. None of the kids were on the main floor, and Hazel had a moment to gather herself together.
In the end, Jude took over telling the kids, allowing Hazel to just be in the room, and requiring nothing from her.
The kids all accepted the news differently. Monroe was outright angry, while Bea and Roman worked at accepting the news. Everyone knew that George had health issues, that was why he had changed his diet, and bought the exercise bike. But when he’d had those problems, there had always been a hospital visit, and a list of things to do. It seemed abruptly final.
Jude looked to his wife, to see if he should share all the news, and gently she nodded. It seemed cruel to add more layers of hurt and change onto the kids, but they wouldn’t be able to hide it for long.
“Grandma is moving in with us, and it’s very likely that we will be selling our house, after Bea graduates in the spring.”
There was an uproar at that news, and Bea immediately ran from the living room. Jude put his arm around Hazel to hold her back, insisting that Bea needed time to process.
She had intended to call her best friend, Willa. But somehow, she found herself calling Sam. She hadn’t seen him since the previous spring, it seemed absurd to call him out of the blue, but it rang in her ear, and he was the one to answer. She just blurted everything, that her Grandpa died suddenly last night, and that her parents were selling her house.
Sam came over immediately, and met her in the backyard, per her instructions.
That was how it started, a phone call in a desperate time, and a response that brought comfort. While her parents were occupied with Grandma’s belongings and the selling of her house, Bea was spending time with Sam.
The family had decided that Oliver and his fiancee, Brooklyn could buy the house, at a discount. He had seemed uncomfortable with the idea, and in the end only accepted if the family was okay with him making heavy changes. He really didn’t want the home to remind him of his Grandpa.
They all agreed, but silently worried at what it would cost them emotionally to see the changes of the home. Mandy put on a brave face, insisting that babies were just what their family home needed. It seemed impossibly near and yet so far, when she recalled her children running amuck in the tiny hallway. She hoped that Oliver and Brooklyn would eventually have their own family there, that their children’s laughter might echo and mingle with the past.
The funeral passed with many people in attendance. George had left a legacy behind, and touched many other lives as well. Mandy stayed in the house a bit longer to pack and sell things that wouldn’t fit in a single bedroom.
That fall, Millwood’s Park and Rec threw a harvest festival specifically for teens. With luck and great persistence, Monroe and his band got their first big booking.
Bea brought Sam, as her date, and the entire show was a success. She was proud of her brothers, they’d worked hard the past two summers on their sound, and it had all come together.
Afterwards, Bea and Sam hit the pizza place. They had never gone out to eat with one another, and everything felt new in an exciting and terrifying way. She wouldn’t say that things had gotten stale with Jett, they hadn’t been together that long, but she knew him, or at least thought she had, and Sam was a whole different game.
She regretted not joining in for the holiday production. Sam filled her in on all the crazy stories, and she really felt as if she were missing out on time with her extended family.
While they spent the rest of their evening playing arcade games, and talking about every minute of their life before that moment, the band had gone into South Port to celebrate.
They’d decided to try Love + Flour, and were thrilled to find an entire back seating area that they could monopolize. Monroe took a chair near to Ella, but purposely worked to not look her way.
Except, when he couldn’t help himself. He really loved to see her smile, and it seemed to come easier than when he’d begged her to join their band. All the time spent together had developed feelings, but it seemed only on his end.
And Monroe was painfully aware that his little bro was falling head over heals for her too. Which was insanity, because Roman had hated her to begin with, and had tried to be such a miserable cuss that Ella quit the band. But now he seemed to clearly think that he had some chance of dating her.
Whenever Monroe saw that determined look in his brother’s eye, it always fueled him to action. Usually he just made a fool of himself though; it didn’t seem like anything he did impressed Ella.
Their Grandma was set to move in at the end of the month, but before that came to pass, the three teens still had their school afternoons free of adult supervision. On a particularly cloudy fall day, the boys were off practicing a new song out in Jake’s garage, and Bea invited Sam back to her place.
Later on, she might think that she had rushed into this next phase, and that it was more of a shock-reaction to Jett getting Riley pregnant. But in that moment, it was definitely something she wanted to do.
When Mandy did move in, the dynamics in the house changed. Suddenly there were things like pies when they got home from school, and it all felt like an old-fashioned American household, which was nothing like their household previously.
Roman was on a kick to be funny, he seemed to know that he wasn’t as good at the music aspect as Monroe, and was trying to find his own niche. Mandy smiled at his jokes, but it was apparent that he wasn’t going to be the next comedian.
Everyone enjoyed the pie, and Mandy appreciated the opportunity to take her mind off things.
The nights were the hardest, for both Mandy and Hazel. They often found each other in Mandy’s new bedroom, seeking comfort for their loss that neither could truly give.
Notes: It was terribly sad for me to kill off George. He was very devoted to his family, I could always count on him rolling wants to invite his grandkids over, or call them to talk. Whenever one of them started dating someone new, he wanted to be their friends as well. He left quite a legacy, you can see their family tree here.
Survived by 3 kids, Finn, Hazel, and Violet-Adele. Ten grandkids, and seven great grand kids. He never got to meet any grandchildren from Violet-Adele, which makes me sad, but I’m glad he got to walk her down the aisle. *sigh*
I will likely move Hazel into a smaller house, but with more space. Currently, they have a lot of bedroom space, but not a lot of living space. And to be realistic, I’d like to put Mandy on a main floor with a bathroom.
As for Bea, she matched for Romance aspiration, but I felt that she would only go that route if something in her teen years prompted it. I really didn’t think anything would, Jett has a good personality, and he shouldn’t have made all these mistakes that he did. While I still hold out hope for Jett to not be his Dad, I did feel that all of this would make Bea lean towards that romantic aspiration, so it will be her secondary.
And both Monroe and Roman are smitten with Ella. However, she still likes Dean, who some of you may recall, she had a huge crush on, but he always looked at her like a little sister.
Oh, it should be time for elections, but I’m reelecting Kenzie. I haven’t had time to play much for a while now, and I never got to build her project. So 4 more years with Mayor Kenzie!
Thanks for reading!
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