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Outside Interference - Part 2




Kyle Centowski is 57; Willow Centowski is  55


September 2025


Even with his eyes closed, Kyle could still see the computer screen hovering in front of him, as if to mock him with its endless columns of figures that made no sense.  


He'd never really had a way with numbers and accounts, and he had happily stood back while his father, then Cory, handled that side of the business.  It was only now, with both of them gone, that he was starting to appreciate exactly how much it was that they'd done.  Worse still, very little of it made any sense to him at all.  He was going to have to figure it out soon, though, if he was going to keep this business running.  If he could just - 

He nearly fell out of his chair, when someone suddenly called his name.  


"What - what are you doing here?" he stammered. "How did you get in?"
"The door was unlocked," Willow said.
Kyle groaned.  "I meant to lock it, but I kind of got caught up in this again... " He gestured to the computer.
"I was worried," she said.  "You weren't answering the phone, either."
"Sorry... I turned the ringer off so I could concentrate.  But you didn't need to come down here.  It's not like..." He trailed off, suddenly aware that, from her point of view, it was probably all too much like another evening when he hadn't come home. 
"Do you know what time it is?" she asked.
"No... I... hell!"  He tapped his watch then shook it, unable to believe that it was actually that late.

"Yeah," said Willow.  "You should have been home hours ago.  You've been late almost every day this week, although this one really takes the prize... "
"The accounts," he said apologeticaly.  "I have to sort this mess out."


"Not now, you don't," she said, reaching over him to the computer to save the document before shutting it down.

With the decision made for him, Kyle stood up and tried to stretch out the stiffness of too many hours hunched over the screen.  His eyes were stinging and his neck hurt.  She was right, it really was time to give it up for the day.

"I went to see Gavin," Willow said, as he turned out the lights.
There was an awkward silence, then Kyle asked "How did it go?"


"You were right," she sighed.  "He didn't want to listen.  He insisted that they were ok, he was even angry at Georgia for asking for the loan, although he did admit that they needed it eventually.  He says he'll pay it back next month."
"How?  Has he found a job or something?"
Willow shrugged.  "He wasn't exactly open with the details..."


"You know, I kind of figured that would happen," he said.
"I know," she said.  "but we can't just ignore it... what do we do?"
"The same thing we did the first time," said Kyle.  "We watch what's going on, we give as much help as we can without offending him, and we hope he comes round."
"But if - "


"If things get too bad, if it looks like they're really heading for disaster, then of couse we intervene, no matter what.  We can deal with the consequences later... We'll know if the time comes... I just hope it doesn't get to that."
----


Willow tried not to think too much about the Newsons, in the weeks that followed.  It wasn't like she had a shortage of people to worry about - along with Kyle, her own children and grandchildren took care of that.

She and Kyle had spent a lot of time with Rose's children over the summer, taking care of them while their mother visited Cory.  They were still struggling with their father's absence, even more so now that Rose and her father-in-law had tried to explain to them the reasons he'd left.


Willow was glad that Rose had Serdar's help, as he'd been through all this before, when Sam was a young child.  In a way, it was easier with Rose's kids. They learned about things like addiction and substance abuse early in school now, so Corinne at least had some idea of what was going on, although she had a hard time reconciling the image she had in her mind of an addict with that of her own father.


Noah really didn't get it, though.  He just wanted to know when his father would be back.

When they weren't babysitting Rose's kids, it seemed, they were babysitting Alex's.  Things had been especially hectic at his and Jane's house, with all six kids home during the summer.


With Kyle and Willow just across the street, the kids spent a lot of their time with them on the weekends, and Alex and Willow had both taken time off work at different times over the summer, to help ease the pressure for Jane on the week days. 



 It was a relief now that school was back in, especially with the young twins also starting school.  That left only baby Orlando home during the week, and Alex had commented on how quiet it was... how much he missed a house full of babies and toddlers.


"You wouldn't!" said Willow.


"We can't!" Alex grinned.  "We took care of that after Orlando was born, remember?"
"That's just as well..." said Willow, relieved.  She wanted to believe that they wouldn't seriously consider another child, not after last year, but still...

The conversation reminded her that it wasn't that long ago that Alex had seen their attempts to help as interference, too, especially Kyle's.  Even now, Alex and Kyle didn't have a particularly close relationship, but they were on good terms, and they were both trying to at least respect each other's very different view of the world.  For now, that was enough, and Willow found herself wishing that they could reach a similar understanding with Gavin.

Things were considerably more relaxed at their younger daughter's house.


Although they visited often, Kyla and Remus rarely needed help with babysitting, with Remus working from home more and more...


... and Remus' brother, who seemed to spend more time at their place, than at his own.


Of all their children, Lily's family seemed the most settled.  Willow would drop in and visit them often on her way home, as she worked only a short distance from their house in Bluewater Village.


She'd always be grateful to Lily and Vince for putting their lives on hold to move temporarily to Richmond when she'd needed them, but she was glad to see them back here.  It suited them, with the old Victorian house that Lily loved, and SSU nearby, where Vince worked.


When she visited, Willow often found Lily working on her computer, although she was secretive about what she was actually doing.  That didn't surprise Willow - this was the same girl who'd hidden the stories she wrote under her mattress as a teenager.  Willow had wondered why Lily felt the need to be so secretive, coming from a family of writers... although maybe that was the reason in itself, because Kyle's father - and, to a lesser degree, Kyle himself - made a hard act to follow.


She didn't mention any of these thoughts to Kyle.  He'd never gone back to writing after his father's death, and as if by some unspoken agreement, no one ever referred to him having been a writer in the past.  He didn't even stock his own books in the shop.

The shop... sometimes Willow wondered if it really had been the right decision for Kyle, going back there.  Especially at times like this.  Kyle was never cut out to be a businessman, and that would have been fine had he not suddenly been left with this business to run

At Willow's request, he'd stopped staying late, but that only meant that now, he bought the extra work home.


She was used to seeing him hunched over a computer, through all the years he'd been writing.  She wished that were what he was doing now.  It frightened her, seeing him like this.  When his writing career had floundered, it had been part of a chain of events that nearly destroyed him.  How much harder would it hit him, if the shop failed too?

As always, he'd been at the computer the evening when they got the call.  Willow was shaking  as she hung up the phone.  "Remember when we talked about Gavin, and the twins...?"


"Mmm-huh," he muttered, his eyes never leaving the screen.  
Angrily, Willow reached down and grabbed at his arm, pulling his hand from the keyboard. 



"Dammit, listen to me for once - this is important too!"

"What is it... what's wrong?"
"Remember when you said we'd know if it was time to intervene with Gavin and the kids?"
"Yes...?"


"I think it's time now."
----

Not much happened when I played Kyle & Willow's house, aside from the shop dropping down from level 9-10 to level 8 (!) due to both lack of staff, and the fact that I had to micromanage both Andrew (who has nil badges and therefore takes forever to do anything), and Kyle, (who does very little autonomously beyond sitting in the office reading.).

So, along with the fact that the business is getting into trouble, I decided to make their update a peek at what their children have been up to - Lily's household update is coming soon so it was a good chance to introduce them back, too.

Alex's wants panel:


Sorry, but No. Freaking. Way!!!  Have you already forgotten this?!


Roman really does spend all his time at Remus and Kyla's house... every time I play them, he turns up autonomously, and almost always makes a line for the hot tub!

7 comments:

  1. Wow, I hope everything is ok with Gavin and the twins, that was a tense ending :| but I trust that things will get better

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  2. Alex has got to be Family secondary, right? I don't expect that kind of nonsense from a Knowledge Sim, lol!

    I'm looking forward to seeing how Gavin receives this unsolicited intervention. I'm curious to know what happened to finally force Willow to feel like they don't have any other choice other than to help out.

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  3. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Apple Valley, We'll catch up with Gavin and the twins in the next update...

    Carla, Yes, Alex is Family secondary... like he hasn't got enough kids already to keep a secondary aspiration satisfied... at least he hasn't rolled the want for 10 of them - yet! :)

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  4. A cliffhanger? Arrgh!

    I wonder what happened with Gavin and the twins?

    Maybe Kyle should hire a manager so he can spend more time away from the business and get back to his writing.

    Alex has to be joking with that want.

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  5. Oh wow! I can't believe they're going to go through with intervening! I really like how you passed the time, and we got to see all the kids during summer then heading back to school. I can't believe Alex! Um ya no! Can't wait to see what happens with Gavin, and how sad that Kyles business isn't doing well, it'd be nice if he could hire it to be managed and just check in now and then, maybe write a little.

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  6. I second what HeredonCove said "A cliffhanger? Arrgh!"

    I need to know what is going to happen. Like now.

    I really hope Gavin didn't do something illegal which is the vibe I got from this update. *Crosses fingers*

    It was nice to see what Kyle and Willows other children are up too. I am sure everyone is relived Alex and Jane won't be having anymore kids. They have their hands full already with the ones they have.

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  7. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    HeredonCove, I probably should have made it clearer in the update, but Kyle has a manager - Cory. He never let him quit when he tried, but he's been gone far longer than they expected now. I don't think Kyle would be comfortable replacing him, though - Cory kept the shop going when he couldn't face it, and Cory's also married to his daughter. It makes for an awkward situation, if Kyle did hire someone in his place.

    maisie, see above re the manager - giving up the writing wasn't just due to time, it was part of the whole failure thing he went through after his father died, and although he eventually took the shop back, he never started writing again.

    I like putting other family members in each other's updates. I've got so many families in my hood, if I can fit more than one household into an update, I will :)

    oasisvalley, new update up now :) . Gavin didn't do anything illegal, although I can see how you might get that idea. And, yeah, Alex... definitely a relief!

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Thanks for reading and commenting!