Going Home - Part One


July 2024


James and Marla Centowski are 60; Jamie Centowski, Meadow Thayer and Angel Go are 18; Cherry Centowski is 36; Hayley Kauffmann is 34; Laine Cameron is 33.



James was trying his best.  He really was.  It wasn't so much the fact that his son's girlfriend was moving in, and it wasn't even the fact that she hadn't actually slept at her own home since school finished anyway.



It was more the little things, like finding his son kissing the aforementioned girlfriend, still in her pyjamas, halfway through the morning.  You're growing up.  You're adults.  I get it.  He and Marla managed to keep it behind their bedroom door for the last 40 years.  Why the hell couldn't their kids do the same?




He drank down the last of his beer and got up. Sometimes James wondered if his kids were just out to confound him.  Ok, to be fair, Laine had managed to put together a reasonably decent life - good husband, a couple of nice kids, a good career, following her mother into architecture.  Hayley hadn't done too badly, either, although she'd really limited her chances to advance her medical career, by marrying a farmer and going to live out in the middle of nowhere in Bluewater Village.




But then there was Cherry... Cherry had barely spoken to him since she left Richmond, despite the fact that she was still technically employed by his law firm, running her own office on Twiki Island.  She was back in the city for work at least every three or four months, and she managed to more-or-less avoid her family every time. The last time he'd seen her, it was at his father's funeral.  She'd slipped quietly into the back of the church, away from her children sitting near the front with the rest of the family, and slipped out again at the end, without speaking to anyone.




He got another beer from the fridge.  So Cherry was actually coming to dinner tonight.  He had no idea how Marla had managed that one, but he had a bad feeling about it.  Just watch yourself, Marla had told him.  I don't want you pushing her away.  When had he ever pushed anyone away?  Cherry made her own choices.  He didn't know what they wanted him to do about it.

He wondered if he could just make some excuse... go visit Kyle or something, just miss the whole thing ... no, that would never work, not now he was seeing his brother almost every day since he'd agreed to have visitors... and for the life of him, James couldn't think of anything else important enough to not be at dinner tonight.

 -----
 
As he walked up the steps of the children's home,   Jamie found himself wondering if it had been a bad idea to bring his dad's car into this neighbourhood.


 

Meadow had gone back earlier to pack up her things - she didn't have much and they probably could have carried it on the bus, but borrowing the car just made it easier, or so he thought.  Now he had a frightening idea that he might come back and find it looking like that old wreck at the side of the building.  He thought of his dad's reaction and shuddered.  It was a good thing he wouldn't have to come back here again after today.




Meadow was waiting for him in the little cubicle that had been her only personal space for the last few years.
"I told Angel I'd say goodbye before I left," she said.
"I'll take the things to the car".  Jamie said, probably a little too quickly.

Angel had been his first girlfriend, and she had introduced him to Meadow.  It wasn't like they'd been in love or anything - certainly it was nothing like the relationship he and Meadow had - but they'd had some good times. Somehow the girls' friendship had survived the inevitable drama when he and Meadow got together , but Jamie still found it awkward talking to Angel.  Doubly so, if Meadow was there as well.



The girls were still talking when Jamie came back.  "We need to get going," he reminded Meadow.
Meadow nodded, then turned back to Angel.  "Call me when you move into the dorm," she told her,  "and don't look so worried.  We'll see each other on campus all the time."

She did look worried, Jamie realised, and she'd only nodded to acknowledge him.  He had always suspected Angel took a certain pleasure in his discomfort around her, and it wasn't like her to miss an opportunity.

"Is she ok?" Jamie asked, as he and Meadow left.
"I think so," Meadow said.  "She's just worried about moving out.  It's a big step for her."
"Its a big step for you, too"

Meadow grinned nervously.  She still wasn't completely sure it was the right step.  She would have been happier if they'd moved into the dorms, too, rather than with Jamie's parents.  His mother seemed ok, but his father just made her nervous. 
"Sorry we had to rush," Jamie said, "but my sisters are coming to dinner tonight and Mum might want some help getting ready.   Dad's too busy writing some big report for work."



"I don't think I've met your eldest sister," Meadow said.
"You haven't.  She lives mostly on Twikki Island with her boyfriend."
"That sounds like fun"
"Maybe.  The part that wasn't fun, was that she left behind a husband and kids when she moved there."

"Wow," said Meadow,  "You mean she just - "



"Yeah... I think she and her husband were having some problems, and she went off to the island, alone, to have some time out.  She met some native guy who entertains the tourists there, and... well... she only come back long enough to tell them that she was divorcing Kevin and going to live on the island.  He husband's remarried now, but Dad's still annoyed at her over it all... you need to know that because Dad can be a pain when he's annoyed over something... "
 
"I noticed," Meadow said dryly.  She was fairly sure he was annoyed over her moving into his house, even if he hadn't said anything directly to her.




"Yes!" Jamie pumped his fist in the air, as they rounded the corner.
"What?"
"The car still has tyres!"
She laughed.  "Snob!"
"Oh, like you're not glad to be leaving?"
She just grinned.  Glad - yes.  And excited.  And, in all honesty, nervous as hell.  No turning back now, though.  She got into the car next to Jamie.
"So..." he said, "lets go home".

---

Meadow shifted uneasily in her chair.  Any fantasies she might have had about loving, enjoyable family dinners were rapidly disappearing in the tense silence around the table.  She wished she wasn't there.  This should have been family only, none of Jamie's sisters had bought their partners, and that was probably a good thing.  Especially in the case of the eldest sister, Cherry.  As it was, nobody really seemed to know what to say to her.




"So, are you two going to get engaged or anything soon?" Laine asked.
"What, so she can screw up another marriage?" James said.




Cherry just stared straight ahead.
"I didn't mean her," Laine said smoothly.  "I meant them."  She gestured to Jamie and Meadow.

Jamie stared straight ahead.
"They're too young." James said firmly.
"So, how's work?" Marla quickly asked Hayley.  "Is the clinic busy at the moment?"



"It's getting busier, with school out.  Kids getting into trouble, breaking bones and things, you know..."
"Autumn's finished high school now," James said to Cherry.  "Your eldest daughter.  Remember her?"
"Of course I remember her!"  Cherry wasn't hiding her irritation any more. "I also know she doesn't want to go to college, although I'm not sure what she's doing instead."




"I think she said that anything was better than running away with some guy in a grass skirt."
"To hell with this!"  Cherry was out of her seat and out of the room before anyone really had the chance to react.  Marla started after her, but Hayley stopped her.
"I'll go," she said, running after her sister.
The silence in the dining room was deafening.


"I'm going for a walk," Meadow said suddenly, getting up.  Jamie started after her.  She shook her head to him.  "No, its ok," she said.  "you stay here... please.".  He looked confused, but he didn't follow.  Meadow grabbed her jacket and hurried out of the house, taking care to avoid the sisters engaged in a tense conversation at the gate.

---

Jamie was waiting in the front yard, an hour later, when she came back.  "I'm ok, really," she said, in answer to his concerned questions.  "I just figured you guys needed time to talk... as a family, without anyone else around.



"But you're my family too, sort of... or you could be," he said.  "I've been thinking about what Laine said... "  In truth, he'd been thinking about it a lot longer than that, but Laine had at least given him an opportunity.  "What do you think about... you know... about us getting engaged?"
"I think your father is right," Meadow said slowly.  "I think we're too young."
"You do?"  He couldn't hide his disappointment.
"Jamie, we've only just finished high school.  We've got plenty of time.  What's wrong with the way we are right now?"
"Nothing, I guess... ".  He went to say something else, but she had already gone inside.

 ----

In two parts because 1) its long, and 2) I'm still not happy with one of the later parts of it, and I wanted to post something this weekend :)

Jamie rolled an engagement want pretty much the minute he aged up to YA, but Meadow hasn't... at least, not yet.

James isn't coming across in the best light so far - he does have a good side, really! :)  I've always imagined him as a bit abrasive, or at least, really tactless... and he's got a lot going on right now, probably more than he realises.  Aside from the whole thing with Kyle, James had only recently lost his father, too - that's another part of the selfish aspect of what Kyle did, I've realised, in that he's effectively derailed everyone else's grieving process  I might come back to that idea later, as I introduce the rest of Kyle and James' siblings.

Cherry's coming back now as she's only just started rolling wants related to her family, after several sim-years and several play sessions away.  Don't know if she'll get her own update yet but she's going to figure quite strongly in a couple of others I've got planned.
 

4 comments:

  1. It wasn't untill your notes that I realised that James also lost his father recently. I knew he's Kyle's brother, but I never made the connection that they share the same father :-p
    They seem to have a large family, did you ever think about making profiles or a familytree?
    I would love to get to know more about Cherry, she seems very interesting.

    Are Meadow and Jamie going to stay home while they are at college or will they move to a dorm as well?

    I like what you did with the townie-teen/children.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've started making profiles of my households, at the right side of the screen under Richmond Families... only James' family is there now as I will add others as they appear in the blog, until everyone is there.

    Cherry has always had an interesting story, and you'll find out more about her soon, as she and her family appear again in the near future.

    Meadow and Jamie will probably eventually move into a dorm, but for the moment, it works for me to have them live with his parents so I can tell their stories at the same time... in the story, it works too, as their house is quite close to my downtown university.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ha, my reaction was just about the same as Meadow's - Wow! She left a husband and the kids!?! I think I remember you telling me about her, in relation to my whole Leila and Corbin thing. Shocking!

    All the different kinds of tensions in this family! James cracks me up! He's so blunt! I love it! :)

    But wow, I can't be surprised dinner didn't go better, lol! They're being tough on Cherry, but really, what does she expect? Eeek!

    Awww, Jamie got shot down, lol! They're cute though, and Meadow's right, nobody ever got hurt by waiting.

    I'd be interested in seeing a family tree too. You should check out the website I found to redo mine - it's super easy! And very quick to do! I seriously breezed through all my families in about a night!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Laura, that's right, I remember mentioning Cherry before. She'll have her own update this round, and I've been thinking about how/why she could leave... her story is becoming clearer now than it was at the time.

    I remember that family tree site, too - I was going to look at putting my r/l family tree there as well as the sim one, but it ended up on my painfully long 'to do - someday' list. If its that quick and easy, I might give it a try sometime soon... with my complicated hood history it's probably good to give readers as much help as I can :)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for reading and commenting!