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Between the Present and the Past - Part One





Kyle Centowski is 56; Willow Centowski is  54; Alex Centowski is 32; Ashley Pitts is 65.


November 2024



Well, you wanted a distraction...  
With a grim laugh, Kyle tossed his phone in into Willow's bag, closed the bag, closed his eyes, and tried to pretend he couldn't hear that it was still ringing.  He knew why James was calling, and he couldn't deal with it right now.  His brother could wait.


When it finally stopped, he got up and peered around the waiting room doorway, looking for a familiar nurse or doctor or someone who could help him.  So he wasn't a patient, but this was still a hospital, right?  Someone must be able to give him something for the splitting headache he'd developed during what had been a very long night.  They'd been here since... what?  3am?  4am?  He wasn't sure what time Alex had called Willow, only that it was almost lunchtime now, and he'd had little sleep beyond the occasional doze on the uncomfortable waiting room sofas.

He glanced back at the bag that Willow had left with him, when she went to sit with their son.  He respected his wife's privacy enough not to fumble through everything, but he couldn't help but look in the top in the hope of spotting some asprin or something.  All he could see were paint swatches and color charts.  More distractions.

He'd made himself busy, this past month or two.  He worked full-time at the shop most days now.  Lily,Vince and the kids had moved back home to Bluewater Village, but the house had been far from quiet.  Instead, Kyle and Willow had used to opportunity to pick up on a plan they'd made a very long time ago, to renovate part of the house, using the space from the now-spare downstairs bedroom to restore the tiny kitchen to its original size.  He was doing as much of the work himself as he could.  Staying busy.  Staying distracted.

Yes, he'd wanted distraction... but he never expected anything like this.

The door swung open.  Kyle stood up, trying to read Willow's expression before she spoke.
"Jane's ok for now," she said.  "The baby is too, or that's what the doctor said.  They say it'd probably be better for her to deliver early, but probably better for the baby to wait..."
"Probably?" he repeated.


"Probably," she said.  "I mean, they said she could have the baby tonight and they'd both be ok.  Or she could have the baby in a couple of weeks like she's supposed to, and they'd still be ok.  Or, something could go wrong, at any time... so right now, they just want to wait and see... "
"How's Alex?"
"Ok, I guess... about as ok as he's going to be right now.  I'm meeting him in the cafe for some lunch in a few minutes."  She never suggested that Kyle join them for lunch.  He never asked either. It was an unspoken understanding between them, that he would stay clear of their son right now.

"How about you?" she asked.  "How are you doing?"
He shrugged.  "Tired as hell."
"You should go home, get some sleep."

"No, too far," he said.  "If anything happens, it'll be almost an hour before I could get back here from Richmond."  

He'd considered not coming to the hospital at all, but in the end he was there for Willow.  He'd be there for Alex, too, if he would only let him.  But his son had barely spoken to him in the past few months.
"You should at least go get some lunch."
"I'm not really hungry.  You go ahead, Alex is waiting... ".  He picked up his book, as if to reassure her.  "I'm fine. We'll talk later."
When she'd gone and the door closed behind her, he snapped the book shut, silently cursing his son for putting them in this position.  Ok, so to some degree he was to blame too, but this had gone on for far too long.  Maybe Alex thought he was hurting him, and maybe Kyle deserved that, but he wondered if his son had ever considered what he was doing to anyone else.  
----

Alex drummed his fingers nervously on the cafe table.  Mum was taking too long.  She'd said it would be a good idea to take a break out of Jane's room, get some lunch while his wife was sleeping, and he had to admit that she was probably right... but it would help if she were actually here like she'd said she'd be.



So she had to talk to Dad first.  How long could that take?  Five minutes?  Ten?  An hour?  He didn't even know why his father was there.  Mum has said something about being supportive, but really, he should have thought about that six months ago.  They would have had to do without his support, if he'd had his way six months ago, so they could just as easily do without it now.


It wasn't like he'd lost a great deal.  They'd never had a lot in common, not like some fathers and sons.  In a way, he'd been closer to his grandfather.  They'd shared his house, for the last few years of his life.  Alex was the one who'd gone to his grandfather's room, on an ordinary morning, and found he'd passed away during the night.  He was the one who had to break the news to the rest of the family, and he still couldn't shake those memories.

He still missed Grandad - although, of course, not the way Dad did, he thought bitterly.  Just ask anyone in the family, after what Dad had done, no one else's grief could possibly come close.  No one else's grief was even worth mentioning...

He stopped drumming and gazed around the room.  He knew his mother didn't approve of the way he felt about his father now.  Well, that was her problem, and in all honesty he didn't approve of the way she'd dealt with things, either.  He'd always thought she was stronger than than.  He'd never seen her as the kind of person who could be manipulated into running back into an unhappy marriage.  So she said she loved Dad - isn't that what they always said?

Fed up with waiting, he shoved back the chair and stood up.


He couldn't even have a quick lunch with is mother, without Dad getting in the way.  Yeah, this was badly timed.  Yeah, this was an emotional time for Dad... wasn't that what Mum had said.  Well, it was an emotional time for Alex, too, and it was his wife and baby at stake here - just this once, didn't he have the bigger claim on emotional distress?
----

"Willow!  Hey, Willow, wait a minute!"
Willow turned to see Ashley waving to her from the other end of the hallway.  She stopped to let catch up with her.


"I thought it was you.  What's happening - why are you here?"
Willow explained the situation with the Jane and the baby.
"So Kyle's here too?"
She nodded.  "We've been here most of the night."
Ashley looked at his watch.  "I'd go see him, but I need to get changed and be in the operating theatre in about five minutes..."
"You're operating?" Ashley had never wanted to be a surgeon, or so Willow understood, and consequently had only basic skills in the area.
"No," he said.  "Just observing.  New surgical technique.  My son is operating."


Willow felt a little stab of sadness, at the pride in his voice when he mentioned his son.
"What?" Ashley asked.  She'd never been good at hiding her feelings.
"I was just thinking of all the times you and Kyle used to commiserate together over not being able to relate to your sons..."
'Alex still not talking to him?"
"No.  Nothing's changed."


"Look, if its any consolation, I still can't relate to my son.  I don't think he really understands me, either, but once you actually accept that and stop trying, its actually a hell of a lot easier."
"I think its gone past that now," Willow said.  "I think they - "  She was interrupted by a cellphone ringing.  They both stopped, each expecting the other to answer the call.
"It's yours," Ashley said.
"It doesn't sound like mine."
"It's coming from your bag."
She dug around in the bag and pulled out... Kyle's phone?  She looked at the caller ID.  "I'd better answer this," she said.  Ashley nodded and mouthed, later, then continued down the hall.

----

The waiting room door swung open, and Kyle looked up to see his son standing there.  They stared at each other for a moment, then Alex said, "Mum's not here?"


"I thought that she was with you."
"I wouldn't be asking if she was with me."
Kyle took a deep breath.  "I said that I thought that she was with you, not that she was..."
"Like I'd ever be interested in what you think... " Alex said, turning to leave.  

Kyle jumped up from the chair.  "For crying out loud Alex, I didn't overdose just as a personal insult to you, you know!"  The words were out before he could even stop himself.
"No, just to Mum..." Alex muttered as he kept walking.
"What?!"
"You heard," he said, turning back to face Kyle.  "And don't play stupid.  She was leaving you, and you wanted to punish her for it.  And to make sure she never tried to go again..."

"You know, if you actually tried talking to either of us, you'd find that it was nothing like that.  And even if you were right, in case you didn't notice, your mother seems to have gotten past it... in fact, I think pretty much everyone's gotten past it... except you."


"Yeah, well that's the bit I don't understand... how does that happen?  How can you do something like that, then people end up liking you more? "
"I don't think it made anyone like me more.  I hurt people.  I know that.  I apologised, they moved on.  That doesn't mean they like me any more than - "
"Well, what about Christopher?  Ever since you came back he doesn't stop talking about you and how -
"Don't tell me you're jealous because your son - "


"I never said I was jealous.  Why the hell would I ever be jealous of you?!"

The sheer bitterness and disdain in the last word was enough to make Kyle recoil as if he'd been slapped.  "I get it now... " he said slowly.  "I get why it's different for you.  It's not because anyone else likes me more after what happened.  The difference is that they liked me before. That's it, isn't it, Alex?"  He wasn't even trying to hold back his anger any more.  "I haven't changed how you feel about me, I've just given you the opportunity to behave in exactly the way you've always wanted to."


"That's ridiculous."
"Really?  Try looking at me while you say that."


Alex lunged at his father. "Right, fine!  I'm looking at you!  Satisfied?!"

"Alex, what the hell is going on here?"  Willow let the door slam shut behind her.  "I can hear you right down the hall..."


"What, so now its my fault...?
"You're the one who's yelling."
"Fine, its my fault.  It might as well be my fault, its never his!"


The door slammed again behind him.  When he'd gone, Kyle sat down heavily.
"Are you ok?"  Willow asked.
"I really thought he was going to hit me," Kyle said shakily.  "I wasn't trying to get into a fight, I just... it just happened somehow..."


"You're both tired, you're stressed... probably, you couldn't have avoided it... "
"Yeah, I could have... " he sighed.
Willow sat down next to him.  "Your phone was in my bag," she said after a moment.  "James has been trying to call you."
"It's about tomorrow."

"I know, but I told him what was going on.   He said we can go to his house to get some sleep if we want. We'd only be ten minutes away if anything happens.  He said there probably won't be anyone home, but you'd know where to find the spare key."
Kyle nodded. "You know, that's a good idea.  I could really do to get out of here for a while."

----

This started out as a one-part story but, once again, got so big that I decided it was better to split it.  Also, as I haven't finished the ending, this way I at least have something to post today, after all this time.


Lily and family have moved back to their house in Bluewater in-game, and I've been redecorating the Kyle and Willow's house... they moved in when Alex and Kyla were born, and it still has almost all the same furniture and decorating!  Aside from turning a bedroom into an office for Kyle at some stage, there has only been one major change - we took out half of the kitchen and half of the downstairs bathroom to make an extra bedroom when they fostered the Newson kids.  They don't need this now, and the bathroom was ok small, so they've got a really nice, big kitchen  now.  I'll post some before-and-after pictures when we're done.  


As for Lily, I had a storyline for her at her parents' house that didn't eventuate.  It will happen though, in a slightly different form, when we catch up with her family at their place next sim-year.

2 comments:

  1. Oh man, it got heated! I can see why he thought he was about to get hit, it definitely was giving that vibe.

    It must be so difficult for Willow to be in the center of all that. So many issues and hurt feelings built up.

    I hope everything will be ok with the baby, and Jane. And wow on Ashely, he doesn't look bad as an elder.

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  2. Maisie, yeah, Willow is kind of stuck in the middle of it all... Alex started out feeling angry kind of on her behalf, but now he's making things worse for her himself.

    As for Ashley, I try to gradually age my sims, which means I try to make sims in late adulthood look a bit older, and sims in early elder-hood look a bit younger - aiming to make the actual age transition almost invisible. It's worked particularly well with Ashley, and with his twin sister (You'll meet her soon), who looks younger than some of my middle-adulthood women!

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Thanks for reading and commenting!