Cesar called a family meeting, asking Ella to come home for the weekend from university; it was to announce a new move for the family.
The twins had grown up in the apartment, it was their first home after their Mom died, and they didn’t really recall Annie at all. So it was really the only home they’d known.
Cesar had turned forty though, and he wanted to stake his claim on some real estate, instead of being a lifetime renter. He wanted a more permanent home for the kids, but also himself as he neared middle-age and being an empty-nester.
Cesar had expected Marisol to be upset, but it was surprisingly Manny who objected.
Generally, Ella and Manny were more subtle with their emotions, they’d brood, and sink deep much like their Mother, while Mari was quick to show every fleeting emotion, and then quickly forget why she was upset at all.
Ella was supportive of the move, excited for Cesar to own his own home, have a place he could do whatever he wanted. Imagine being forty and not allowed to have a real grill on your deck?
She also remembered what it was like in her childhood home, with their yard and fence. It had been nice to have walls that weren’t shared with strangers, and she’s pretty sure her siblings will enjoy it too.
Seeing there was no winning, the twins subdued, resigned at the idea of a new home.
Cesar unfortunately had to use his cheating, ex-flame for a realtor, Marta. She was extremely helpful in navigating the real estate world, something Cesar knew nothing about, and something his parent’s hadn’t been involved in since before Cesar was born. She found him a fixer-upper on DeWitt Street, three bedroom 1920s build. Best of all, it was in his price range.
Mari was upset there was only one bathroom, but Cesar said eventually they’d add another, or not. The twins were already thirteen, and Cesar wasn’t sure he ever wanted more kids, and if that were the case, a single bathroom suited him just fine.
Ella spent a moment in her empty bedroom, remembering what it was like being tucked into bed that first night in there, after her Mom had died and Cesar’s parents had decorated the entire room in black and pink. It hadn’t felt like home at the time, all the sounds unfamiliar and menacing, but somewhere in the past decade it had become home to her, more than any other place on earth, and she would miss it.
The new house was charming though, and it won everyone over pretty quickly. Marisol would miss the apartment pool, but they actually had a yard which they didn’t have to share with other tenant brats.
Ella excitedly lit the fireplace, she’d never had one before, and it seemed the epitome of wealth.
Marta had squeezed herself back into Cesar’s life, he had a weakness for women in need. Marta apologized for having cheated on him all those years before, but she was ready to be a good Mother; the baby had been her choice
Cesar didn’t feel any inclination to be a Dad again though, especially not to someone else’s baby. He knew his weakness, but it didn’t meant he had to indulge.
So he ended it before it could become anything, and he truly hoped it was the end of Marta Steele in his life.
He met the Browning family which lived at the end of the street, and he made quick friends with Luca.
When the kids were in bed, he invited Janice over to see the new place. It was time to introduce Janice to the kids. They’d been secretly seeing one another for a bit more than a year, after they’d met at the community center during a singles meet and greet.
He decided the next night would be good, he asked Ella to come home again for another weekend. He called a family meeting in the dining room, which was something Cesar unexpectedly enjoyed having. Previously it was all an open floor plan, and he liked the dining area being a bit separate. Although Marisol could still see the television when eating, which was a big distraction.
Janice came in and sat at the table while Cesar introduced her to the kids.
Manny stood up immediately, feeling awkward. He didn’t expect his Dad to never date, he’d had Marta after all, but he’d done it so sparingly, and so privately, that Manny felt surprised and uncomfortable with all the new changes.
Ella and Marisol were both pleasantly happy about the new development. For all the years of Marisol’s life, she’s never once missed her Mother, being rather vocal about the way her Mom had been addicted and succumbed to her own weaknesses. Often it was a point of anger between the two sisters, building a wedge between them.
So while Ella was happy for Cesar to have what appeared to be a good woman, Marisol was happy to have an actual woman figure in her life, a Mom to fill the hole of the shoddy one she’d been given.
One slight remark from Marisol on this regard, and Ella was taken aback. She wasn’t sure she’d ever truly get along with her only sister in all the world, because they believed so differently about their Mother.
While the sisters bickered, Manny excused himself quietly. He didn’t want to appear rude, but he really couldn’t handle the conversation between his sisters or the implications of Cesar introducing them to a woman.
Janice excused herself while Cesar tried to blow over the sisters’ conversation to something more light and appropriate for the current company.
She knocked on Manny’s bedroom door, feeling awkward to push herself on him, but feeling she really needed to nail a positive first impression. She really loved Cesar, and he came with kids, she wasn’t blindly thinking it’d all work out, so she really wanted to work for it.
She insisted she wasn’t trying to replace his Mother, that she still recalled how it was to be a teen, and she didn’t want to impose on him in a parental way, but perhaps she could be of help with girls or relationships.
Girls? Relationships? Manny couldn’t have less interest in sharing those deep secrets with a perfect stranger.
While Janice and Manny spoke, Ella excused herself. Every time she thought her and Mari were getting closer, the wedge always dug deeper. She didn’t have rose-colored glasses about Annie, even if Mari insisted she did, however her sister, Marisol had on a cold-callous pair of glasses! Ella was certain of that much, but still, a thought nagged at her. She could never say aloud they were better off without their Mom… but she sometimes wondered it.
Janice decided the way into Manny’s heart was to give him space. She started showing up at Cesar’s Used Car lot though, and being around in a subtle way. She really liked the retro feel of the shop, although she thought Cesar might want to update it some. There was an awful lot of faux wood paneling.
He liked having Janice around, he came in early during the week, and he enjoyed her visits.
His Dad was still helping him with the sales, but he’d said several times he was ready to retire entirely. Cesar wasn’t ready to hire anyone new to help with the shop, especially with his parents costing less than new employees who would know less than his parents. His Dad had started the business before Cesar was born, and he would have liked Manny to join him if he desired eventually.
What Cesar loved most about used cars was all the beginnings. While used cars had a history, they were going on a journey with a new owner, and many of them were teens and college students, young families just getting their start. He liked to think the cars he sold would stay with the person forever, remembering fondly their first car.
Of course, a large portion of used cars were unsatisfied customers. No matter how much work was put into a car for the lot, there was always bound to be a fluke or something that went out after it’d been driven off the lot. It was the nature of cars, whether new or used. Thankfully his Mom handled the customer service portion, and she was good at calming down the irate.
Soon he’d have to hire replacements, and he was dreading it. Perhaps some of his sons’ apprehension over new things didn’t stem entirely from his ex, but also from him.
He did embrace Janice though. Sneaking out for lunches and dinners whenever he had the chance and the kids were busy with their own social calendars. She was strong in ways Annie never was, and he wasn’t exactly building a comparison list, believing in rest for those that had passed. But Janice was independent, career-focused, she didn’t balk at challenges but seemed to thrive.
Manny was still best friends with Nolan, but he started hanging out with Asher too. Watching classic movies happily became their Saturday night.
Mari couldn’t wait until she had a car of her own, and she was old enough to drive it. Every night spent at home was torture. She spent it on the phone with her friends, all of them upset over being apart.
Usually Shira could come over with her twin brother, Asher. It was mostly convenient being friends with another set of twins. However, there were downsides. Like when Shira asked Marisol to find out if Logan liked her, and if he did, to ask him out for Shira.
She absolutely had to deny the request, not for fear, but because Manny had a crush on Shira. There was no way she could facilitate a new relationship while her brother crushed on Shira.
She also couldn’t rat her brother out either, so she had to use lame excuses about being intimidated by Logan, which couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Mari wouldn’t tell her brother about her crush, but she did share with Shira, whom promptly giggled.
Shira liked Logan, because he always seemed to be brooding and have a bit of an edge. While Mari liked Nolan (her brother’s best friend), and Shira thought he was such a suburbia boy from Millwood. Shira didn’t know anything about Nolan though, so she didn’t let it bother her, and she didn’t inform her how wrong she was.
She’d spent her summers and breaks on secret detective work with Nolan, spying on his birth Dad and finding out who he even was. There was more to Nolan than his suburbia life, especially since his ‘parents’ were just his grandparents.
She worried about him, and she couldn’t talk to Manny or Nolan about it. Nolan was being aloof with his Birth Mom giving birth in the next month, it was weighing him down, but he wasn’t sharing it with her. If he did share it with Manny, he never told her, and they told each other almost everything.
She wanted to call him, but she was afraid he’d get angry at her for being nosy or realize she liked him and tell her he wasn’t interested.
It was too risky, but she agonized over calling him daily.
While Manny disliked having Janice around, Marisol couldn’t care less with Nolan hurting all the way out in Millwood.
Janice seemed fine to Mari, plus she made hot breakfasts on chilly autumn mornings, and Mari fully approved of that luxury.
She was sure Manny would come around eventually.
Notes: They move into their new house, and Ella’s immediate want is to light the fireplace.
Cesar’s predominant fear this round was having a baby, even when he was on a date with Janice, which surprised me since that’s when sims usually go crazy with their wants. Ideally he will have at least one more child, preferably with Janice seeing he’s picked her out of the plethora of woman I offered him. 😉 She’s 33 and on birth control, so I don’t see a surprise, and I wouldn’t force him to have a baby with the fear.
Manny was cranky this entire round, every conversation sent him into a tantrum, even when he’d respond positively to the topic! He wasn’t in the red either, but it was a low green, because he fills his wants panel up wanting all the types of pets and wanting to go steady, but no one is interested in him currently. I don’t see Cesar as the kind of guy to have any pets, and he doesn’t roll any wants for them so I think he agrees. Cesar’s wants are all for his kids to be Overachievers and for Janice.
I hope to have Cesar’s house tour posted on tumblr this weekend, currently my internet is being a pile, so we will see.
I’m really happy having Cesar in his own house, and he seems pretty happy with it too.
Thanks for reading!