The weight of decision burdens Ella, making every morning a struggle to get out of bed.
Summer break is nearly upon her, and that’s the problem. She desperately wants to sleep in, but all the responsibility and choices lay in those months ahead.
The band had been her salvation. She could face each moment of indecision with band practice in the evenings. Now Isla was singing her songs, well Monroe’s, but he had written them for her bluesy voice, not Isla’s pop-monstrosity. Everything was upside down, and she blamed Monroe. If he had never invited her to his band, she wouldn’t have known life could be so good.
University or no? It pummeled her brain at all hours, time was slipping through her fingers, and soon it would be too late. She had scholarships, Cesar and Manny were beyond proud of her for it. If she didn’t go, they’d be disappointed. Monroe didn’t know if he would attend, but why did it matter? He was with Vivienne now, and she wasn’t even in the band.
But it did matter, even if she told herself it didn’t.
She can hear Marisol already grunting and panting in the living room. She’s the bright spark that Annie had wanted Ella to be. Perhaps if she’d been the first born their Mom would have found happiness.
Mari is driven and focused. She didn’t let emotions get her down, she’s completely opposite of Ella that they can’t relate.
It still stings, but Ella feels helpless to change that relationship. With their minds on different burdens, the three teens catch the city bus for school while Cesar heads to work.
His Mom is already running inventory when he arrives. She watches him head into the office, and he knows she has something to say.
He busies himself with a customer to avoid her. It’s closing in on Memorial Day, and everyone is guaranteed price protection through the month. It’s making his sales stay steady, and he’s appreciative of that. Ella’s final numbers haven’t come in from her SAT, but it’s likely she will need some financial assistance if she decides to go regardless of the outcome. He’s working extra hard for her.
During his lunch, they both team up on him. It’s usually pleasant working with his parents, except for these moments.
His Mom is all cheerful as she explains the the new community center is open. Cesar hadn’t known that it had, and was already thinking about the ways it’d help his teenagers, when she pushed on.
See, there was a singles meet and greet to be held that evening. If he ever wanted the chance to be married for fifty years, he had to get started now. He wasn’t exactly a young guy anymore. Didn’t he want more children with a fine woman?
He groaned; she always had to go there. When he’d been with Annie, she had been devastated. He seemed to have a type that was the exact opposite of his Mom’s wishes, perhaps it was unconsciously on purpose.
Cesar knew he’d be forty in less than a year, didn’t he? His thirties had gone by in a blur, entirely devoted to his kids and the business, that he regularly forgot his own age. Was 40 old enough to start panicking about the prospects of a lonely future? He felt more concerned about a manipulative step Mom for his kids.
His Mom left to help with a new customer while his Dad stayed behind. He told his son to not rush into things, but to realize that soon, he’d be an empty nester, even if it didn’t feel that way.
The twins were nearly thirteen, he knew from experience with Ella that it would go quickly. It never truly felt like they had settled after Annie’s death, then the custody battle with Matthew, who barely managed to see Ella for a few years before dropping off completely. As soon as his twins graduated, he never bothered with Ella anymore.
He’d wanted to provide Ella with more stability, more happy moments, and his time was up. He hoped he’d given her enough confidence to demand respect, and enough guidance to make wise choices.
Cesar stayed late that night, wanting to get those last few sales in the books.
However, his Mother’s words haunted him, and he decided to head out to the meet and greet. Perhaps a woman’s touch would have helped Ella more, and maybe he could provide that for Manny and Mari.
It wasn’t that he hadn’t dated, just that Marta had cheated on him, a whole lot. If he’d met the right girl, he would have asked her to marry him. He just hadn’t met anyone.
The new center is close to the high school, and everything is bright and clean for the moment. He’s directed up the elevator for the meet and greet, the girl at the front desk doesn’t even ask, she just knows what he’s after.
The elevator doors open, and he’s greeted by the snarling face of a divorcee. She’s complaining about her exhusband loudly, and Cesar suddenly feels exhausted to deal with strangers and their baggage.
He notices a girl watching him from the sofa, and he feels like a steak on the market. He’s never done anything like this, it feels desperate and weirdly like flaunting himself as a stud at market.
There were more women than men, and each man was occupied with at least one eager young lady.
He caught the red head divorcee eyeing him while he watched a bold younger woman hit on the youngest guy.
They were sent into the business room to do some speed-dating. Cesar’s stomach somersaulted, and he didn’t really understand why. He usually felt confident with women, he’d only been knocked off his feet by Annie, and she’d left him in a pit of despair before she’d even died.
Before he could talk to the long haired woman, another one pulled him to his feet to exclaim about him. She came on strong for his personal likes, and didn’t usually trust a person who flattered strangers.
But when her nerves settled a bit, he found her to be more pleasant. No one could say that Janice was a shy, submissive woman; she definitely knew what she wanted and went after it.
He listened to her talk about her work and ambitions, and he started to admire her strength. She reminded him of Marisol in ways, though he didn’t tell Janice that.
When Janice excused herself to refresh her coffee, the other woman came up to flirt with him. Cesar felt bad, but he wasn’t interested. She seemed nice enough, but also shy and insecure. He didn’t want to build up another woman in his life, he spent all his freetime doing that for his teenagers.
Janice came back, and boldly asked if he’d like to get something to eat sometime.
He surprised himself by saying yes. He hoped that Janice was truly confident, as opposed to Marta who had appeared to be, then fooled around. That didn’t scream confident to Cesar.
She leaned in close and whispered in his ear before excusing herself for the night. She had to be up early, and it’d take a few hours to work the caffeine out of her system.
After everyone had gone to sleep, Ella crawled out of bed to check the computer. Lily-Mae and Alex had been talking over lunch that dorm assignments had come in.
The anxiety had pitted into Ella’s stomach all day, but she’d been too terrified to check when anyone was around.
She was still too scared, but she forced herself to look.
She was assigned to Miner Hall. Both Lily and Alex had been placed there.
When she’d done to the EU tour, that was the dormhall she’d been shown by the perky senior. She tried to imagine herself there, but it was impossible.
She looked up the majors though, and there was music. She could learn more about the history of music, the mechanics behind writing it, lessons for singing her best. Everything she could ever imagine was right there, and she knew she had minimum a 50% scholarship.
Maybe she wouldn’t be perky, but she could be passionate.
The next afternoon, she nearly burnt the apartment down making a pizza.
She wanted to surprise Cesar with lunch, and show him how grateful she was for him, and she couldn’t even do it without catastrophe.
He didn’t even gag when he went to eat it though, because Cesar was that great of a Dad.
She found the courage to speak from her heart, to thank him for everything. He was her real Dad in all the ways that mattered. She hoped that she could call this place her home after she graduated, and during her summer breaks from EU.
She quickly looked away and snarfed down a bite of pizza while it registered for Cesar all that she’d said. He was beyond thrilled she would be attending university.
All that remained was confronting Monroe, which she didn’t want to do, but it needed to be done. She text him to meet her at Mixed Tape, and then chewed her fingernails until it was time to leave.
Manny insisted on going to meet up with Nolan, and she didn’t mind. It was nice to sit silently by him on the bus, she’d always felt they could have been the twins with their likeness in mood and mutual understanding.
Monroe was thrilled she had called him. While Ella was starting to have regrets, how could she ever begin to say all the things she wanted? Her counselor, Alice was really urging her to end her high school career with closure, but this was Monroe.
She’d never said the word to anyone before, but she was nearly positive that she actually loved him. Not in a bandmate kind of way.
One couldn’t reject a boy then merely mention those types of feelings. Plus he’d never said anything of that magnitude for her, even when he’d asked her out.
Instead she blurted about going to EU. She was going to do it, study music, and then… well she didn’t know that part yet.
He went on about how happy he was for her; it was definitely the right choice. She was talented, and he even hedged that he missed her being part of the band.
All the while she wondered if she should say something more, and if it was pointless with her leaving so soon.
She was grateful for Monroe too, pulling her into the band, begging Cesar to allow her to be part of it. Monroe had given her light through music that she felt would last a lifetime. She owed him, but what?
Did she owe him to tell her feelings? Or to leave peacefully and let him be with Vivienne?
Instead she just said thanks for the band.
Before they left, he pulled her in for an unexpected hug, and told her he was truly happy for her. Truly happy. It felt like cupid dust straight to her heart.
Then he was gone.
Just a few weeks left before her high school career was gone too.
Notes: Ella finally rolled the want to attend university, it was by the skin of her teeth that she did. She’s a pleasure sim, and I find them the hardest to get that want.
For the meet and greet, I pulled some sims in then left it open to adults only. Lulu showed on her own accord and was flirting with the townie. She isn’t technically broken up with Clayton, but this might mean she will be?
I really wanted Cesar to leave with Abril, but he picked Janice. He seems to like the pale girls with dark hair the best. I’m not saying that Abril has zero chance, and he’s marrying Janice by any means. He’s a family sim that doesn’t roll romantic wants. He’s very devoted to his kids and their needs that I don’t see him settling down anytime soon.
I do want him to have another kid though, lol. Whether its with Abril, Janice, or another sim. So I’m hoping he cooperates with his wants and actions!
High school prom is up next!
Thanks for reading!