James and Marla Centowski are 60; Jamie Centowski and Meadow Thayer are 18; Kyle Centowski is 56.
Marla glared at James across the bedroom. "You were drinking, weren't you?"
"Only a couple of beers while I was working on the report..."
"... and wine with dinner..."
"Are you saying I have a problem...?"
"I'm saying you should know better. Every time you drink, you do stupid things. Remember our wedding day? You got so drunk at the reception that pee'd your pants and passed out on the sofa. I spent the night in the spare bed in your little sister's room, and we missed the plane for our honeymoon."
"That was almost 40 years ago, are you never going to let me forget it?"
"It was my wedding day, James, no, I'm not going to let you forget it."
The got into bed. A half an hour later, they were still awake. At least, James was. He wasn't so sure about Marla, although she had her eyes closed. He had an idea that she was pretending to be asleep, since he was doing the same.
"Ok, maybe I was a little harsh...", he started.
"I was just trying to make a point..."
"We got it," she said.
"Well, I don't get it!" He sat up. "So she married Kevin for the wrong reasons. I get that. But it'd be different if she'd left him when Autumn was a baby... but they had three more kids, for crying out loud! How long does it take her to realize marrying him was a bad idea?"
"She wasn't happy," Marla said. "He wanted more children, and she thought if she made him happy, she would be too. Only she wasn't."
He lay down again. After a few moments, he asked, "And is she happy now?"
"She misses everyone here, but, yeah, I think overall she is."
"Pity her kids can't say the same."
With a sound that was somewhere between a sigh and a growl, Marla rolled over and shut her eyes. James did the same. There was no point in even trying to discuss this any more.
Across the hall, Jamie was still awake, too. Wide awake, despite trying to get to sleep for the last hour. Finally he turned on the lamp. "Meadow...?"
"What is it?" she answered sleepily.
"I was thinking about what you said earlier... you know... about us being too young."
"The thing is... you and I, together... I mean, we are going to get older, aren't we?"
"Yeah," she said, nestling against him. "We're going to get older."
James went to work the next morning in a foul mood. He had a headache, Marla still wasn't talking to him, he still didn't understand what his daughter had done, and he certainly didn't approve. And he needed to look into some soundproofing for his son's damned bedroom walls.
Somehow he knew that it wasn't going to be a very good day.
The phone call only confirmed that.
He was out in the foyer in seconds, telling the secretary that he would be gone for the rest of the day.
"But... you have appointments..."
"Cancel them. This is a family emergency. I have to go."
"But - "
"And call my cousin, tell him I need to speak to him urgently."
"Dr Pitts. Maybe he can get them to do something right for a change..."
"But... where will you be?
"He can contact me on my mobile. And if anyone else needs to know, I'll be at the hospital.".
So Kyle's doctor was with a patient. James cursed to himself... this was going to take all day at this rate. The nurse suggested he visit his brother while he waited. That was all very well, but it was only when he walked into the room that he realised that he had no idea of how to explain why he was there at this time of day. It didn't matter, in the end - Kyle had worked it out.
"Someone told you?"
"Yeah, someone told me... and I'm not happy about it. Whoever had the stupid idea to discharge you so soon... I won't let them just kick you out of here."
"No one is kicking me out of here. I asked to leave."
For a moment, James was speechless. Then he stammered, "And - and they agreed to that? Your doctors, I mean? They think its ok for you to just leave?"
Kyle nodded. "They'd only stop me leaving if they thought I was still a danger to myself. And they don't. Basically, I'm here voluntarily, unless - ". He was cut off by James' cellphone ringing.
"Ignore it," James said, fumbling in his pocket to silence it.
"All I'm saying is, I want to go home," Kyle said.
"Home? Back to Richmond?"
"Back to - "
"James... " Kyle started.
"But - "
"We've talked about it, Willow and I," Kyle said firmly. "I'm going back to my home... and back to my wife."
"You're not ready. You've said so yourself, and you can't tell me that's all changed in two or three days. You say you're still scared and you still don't know what you want to do, and then you - "
"I'm not going to find out here."
"You're safe here."
"Safe for what? I'm not doing anything here. I feel like I've come as far as I can, here, and now I'm just hanging. My life isn't here... so maybe I'm still scared, and maybe I'm not ready, but I don't think I'm ever going to be any less scared or any more ready than I am now... not if I just stay here. "
"But what... I mean, what if... you're taking a risk."
"I know." He shrugged. "It's called living. I haven't done it for a while, but... it beats the alternative."
"Don't even joke about that."
"I'm sorry," Kyle said. "I mean, for what happened - I'm really sorry. If there were any way I could change it or take it back... believe me, if I've got any choice in it at all, I'm never going to feel that way again."
"But do you?"
"Do I what?"
"Have any choice in it?"
"Yeah, I think I do, " said Kyle. "Probably more than I ever realised."
"Just promise me that - that if things don't work go as well as you want them to - I mean, if - "
"I won't let it go that far again. I promise. It was a stupid thing to do and I don't want it to ever happen again."
James took a deep breath. For all his doubts, it was somehow pleasing to see Kyle this passionate about something. James doubted he could change his brother's mind, and maybe - just maybe - at this point it would be wrong to even try.
His phone rang again.
"You'd better get that this time," Kyle said.
James nodded, annoyed, pulling out the phone. A missed call and a text message. "Ashley," mumbled, reading the message. "He's here... can meet me for lunch...".
"Will you be seeing Ashley later?" Kyle asked.
James thought for a moment, then nodded. The situation might be different, but he probably should meet him anyway. It had been a while and, really, he probably owed him an apology or two...
"Can you give him a message from me?"
James nodded again.
"Just tell him he was right," Kyle said. "I lied."
"Just tell him," Kyle replied, grinning at his brother's confusion. "He'll understand."
"But - " James would have tried to find out more, but he was interrupted by a knock on the door. The nurse, telling him that Dr Rhodes was available now. James hesitated, looked to his brother, who was watching him expectantly. Then he turned back to the nurse.
"Tell her it doesn't matter. I don't need to see her after all."
"Are you sure?"
"I'm sure," James said, after a moment. "Everything here is fine".
I don't think James has a drinking problem in the way that, say, Cory did... probably, its more a matter of James not drinking often, and then when he does, he can't handle it. I've had bit of evidence of this in-game - their wedding happened much the way Marla described it, including the wedding night sleeping arrangements, after James got too hooked on the toasting set. And, thanks to the SimSlice Beer Keg, James once proposed to Kyle - and an equally drunken Kyle accepted! I had to exit without saving because they both got the relevant memories of becoming engaged... despite both already being married (and being brothers!!)... I figured if they were that drunk, they weren't going to remember it the next day anyway... :)