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Brightest Star


March 2024

Penny Tarro is 23; Danny Tarro is 17; Anna Tarro is 9; Arabelle Tarro is 4; Roman Bonaccord is 29


When Danny Tarro was late home, his Aunt Penny was furious.  "I'm already in trouble for being late to work. What are we supposed to do for money, if I lose my job?"



"We didn't ask you to take us in," he told her, "if we're too much trouble you should have just put us into foster care".  
It was an argument they'd had so many times, it almost felt scripted.  But this time, Penny's reply was cut off by Danny's little sister.  "Why are you yelling?  What's wrong?" 
"Nothing's wrong, Anna,"  Danny said. "Right, Aunt Penny?"
"I don't have time for this," Penny muttered, already on her way out the door.


Danny danced Anna on his feet until she smiled again.  He could stand the arguments with Aunt Penny himself, and really, he knew she was right - he'd been late, he'd messed up again.  But he still hated it when his little sisters were upset.  At least this time Arabelle hadn't heard

He tried to forget the argument.  It wasn't hard -  there were plenty of other things to occupy his mind.





When the girls were finally asleep, Danny had some time to himself.  He went and lay down on the back lawn and watched the stars.  When the girls were out here with him, he would tell them that the biggest, brightest star was their mother, watching over them.  Although he wouldn't admit it to anyone, he had sort-of believed it himself once.  He didn't any more.


He took a carefully-folded letter out of his pocket. He still couldn't believe it - he'd earned a college scholarship.  His grades had plummeted after his mother died, but with a lot of work and a lot of help from Ivy, he'd improved enough to earn a scholarship.  Combined with the study grant given by the city to all orphaned kids, he'd have enough money to go to college.

It was because of the letter that he'd been late home, waiting at the train station for Ivy to get back from her fancy private school in the city, to tell her the news.  He'd been dying to tell Aunt Penny, too, although now he wondered why he'd even expected her to be interested. 

Danny got up and went back inside. He thought about doing his homework, then decided, why bother?    He was kidding himself if he thought he could leave Penny with the girls and go to college.  On his way to bed, he screwed up the letter and threw it in the rubbish bin.

---

Penny managed to make it to work on time, serving takeaways until late at night at a fast food restaurant on the road out of Richmond.  She tried to put the argument with Danny out of her mind.  She knew she was hard on him, and he was only 17.  But she was only 23, he was the closest thing she had to another adult, and if she had to grow up fast, so did he.



She hadn't asked to be in the situation they were in, either.  Before her sister had died, her life had revolved around friends and dates and parties at her little city apartment.  She'd lived beyond her means, believing that as long as she could afford the monthly credit card payments, she'd be fine.  She would have been, too, but her sister had left her three kids and more debts.  The credit cards were maxed, there were more bills than ever coming in, and Penny just couldn't see a way out of it all.

About halfway through her shift, her boss called her over.  He was pleased with her job performance, despite her sometime lateness.  One of the restaurant hostesses on the morning shift was quitting, and he wanted her to take over.



It was the break Penny had been looking for.  She wouldn't have any more money, at least not at first, because she'd have to pay for childcare until Arabelle started school in a few months, but she didn't care.  Maybe working days instead of nights she wouldn't be so tired all the time.  Maybe she'd even be able to spend the occasional  evening in the city, catch up with old friends, make life a little more bearable again.

It was a quiet night so, to celebrate her promotion, the boss gave her the rest of the evening off.  There was a man who came into the restaurant often for takeaways.  He made a point of going to Penny's counter - or, at least, she liked to think he did.  He was there when she got the promotion, and he was the first person to congratulate her.  He invited her out for a drink to celebrate.


Several drinks later, they ended up at his apartment.


There were certain rules that Penny had been bought up with, of what you do or don't do on a first date.


She broke them all
.

When she got home, it wasn't that much later than the time that she usually finished work.  Danny and the others would never need to know that anything else had happened. Or so she thought.

She overslept the next morning, and when she got up, the older kids had already left for school.  On the kitchen bench was a vase of flowers and a card:


"I had a great time last night, so I got you this.  We should do it again some time.  Roman."

---

I'm really not very happy with the way this post turned out, but it seemed doomed from the start.  First I wrote it, put in the pictures, everything... then somehow managed to totally delete it!  So I wrote the whole thing again, but it just didn't 'feel' as good as the original... and I couldn't figure out how to improve it.  

Then I decided that some of the pictures of Penny at work were really bad and I needed more... only when I tried to take her back to the fast food place, an unowned community lot, the game crashed, over and over again.  I figured the problem was the community lot, I tried to find it in my lots folder to put a new copy in my hood (it was a downloaded lot that I customized a little) but I couldn't find it.  By this point, I had wasted literally hours on this thing and really, I was sick of it.

I considered scrapping the post all together, but I really wanted to introduce Danny's family situation here... and the thing with Penny and Roman, too (Yeah, him again, yeah, ACR again! :)  Not that either of us mind really - he's well on his way to being the only sim I've ever had to fulfill the 'Woohoo with 20 sims' LTW).   I finally decided to just post it how it is... I'm still not 100% satisfied with the writing or the pictures, but I've decided that it serves the purpose of introducing the family, and for the sake of actually getting on with the story, I'll leave it at that.

5 comments:

  1. I don't think it's as bad as you say! It does exactly what you wanted it to do, introduce Danny and his family and his family-situation!!

    I hope Danny tells his aunt about college, it would be great if he would be able to go, but I understand that he's reluctant about it; leaving his aunt with his sisters...

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  2. I really enjoyed this post, actually! But I understand being dissatisfied with something you've written. I find it puts me in a negative frame of mind when I go to write an update after I've had so many issues with Blogger/the game.

    Anyway, I also hope Danny thinks a little further into the future and rethinks college. If he's got a good job, he just might be able to help out his sisters a little more.

    I really feel for poor Penny too. Being the mother figure to a 17 year-old when you're only 23 yourself is no small feat. She seems like she's doing the best she can though.

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  3. Thanks for the positive comments, Tanja and Carla!

    I'm glad to see that the post came across better than I imagined it... that's encouraging, especially as I'm new to this! :) I guess its kind of hard to read something objectively when I'm in a bad mood with it.

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  4. I loved this post! I'm very glad you didn't scrap it!

    Oh, this little family just melts my heart! These poor kids! They're so young, and neither one of them wanted to end up having to sacrifice their future for this situation. So sad :(

    I'd love to see Danny go to college, but he really is in a bind, isn't he? It honestly isn't very fair to leave Penny with the girls alone either. Are there any community colleges or night schools nearby in Richmond? lol!

    But lol, Penny! Breaking all the rules! Hope she's careful, because another baby is about the last thing they need added to the mix ;)

    I can't wait to hear more from these guys!

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  5. Thanks, Laura... I'm glad I didn't scrap it now, too! :) Someone is going to have to sacrifice something here, but I'm trying to figure out a way to at least minimize the damage... not sure if it will work out or not (even now, having played some time ahead), but I'll be writing more about their attempts in the near future.

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Thanks for reading and commenting!