Jamie Centowski and Meadow Thayer are 19.
James and Marla Centowski are 61.
December 2025 - RCT Semester 1.2
As if things weren't hard enough already, they hardly saw each other lately, with classes at opposite ends of the day.
She was only mildly surprised to find him still in the living room playing a video game. He'd been much more relaxed about school since changing his major. After all the effort and struggle to get even halfway decent grades as a law student, English Literature came to him so easily that he barely felt the need to study any more. And surprisingly, despite this attitude he was now doing far better than he ever had in his entire first year of college.
"Oh, hey, did you - " he started, then suddenly realized what it meant that she was home. "Oh, hell, is that the time?!" He jumped up, throwing the game control down on the sofa. But even in his hurry, he didn't leave without a proper goodbye for Meadow...
... and for their baby...
It all seemed so idyllic Meadow thought, as she watched him go. Hell, if she's seen them from the outside, it would have seemed perfect - the nice house, him so loving, the baby on the way. The kind of life she'd always wanted.
Funny how wanting something can backfire so badly sometimes.
His parents knew about the baby now, of course. They hadn't said much at the time, it was only after they thought that Meadow had left, that the inevitable argument broke out between Jamie and his father.
"Have you really thought about this?" James had asked. "If this is her way of trying to marry - "
"Dad, no!" Jamie said. "No, she's not trying to trap me into marrying her or something. How can you even think that?"
"Well, look at her background..."
"Just so you know, I've actually already asked her to marry me, more than once, and long before she was pregnant. She always said no. She had plenty of opportunity without having to have a baby to do it. It was a mistake, nothing more."
"A mistake." James repeated. "You should have known better than to make a mistake like that."
"it's not that hard," Jamie said. "Remember... I was a mistake, too."
"There is no comparison," James said. "We weren't a couple of college kids. We'd been married for twenty years, we had a home, good jobs... hell, we were mature adults."
"... and all the more reason why you should have known better!" Jamie had snapped back, before storming out of the room. To say that things were awkward between him and his father since was an understatement, but he was still probably nowhere near as uncomfortable as Meadow was, whenever Jamie's parents were around.
And, of course, living in their house like this, it was pretty much impossible to avoid them. The only time she really felt she could relax, were times like now when they were at work and she had the house to herself.
How much longer would that go it, she wondered? Jamie had already talked about moving out if his father couldn't accept the baby. They wouldn't have much, he'd said, but they'd be ok. Meadow was less certain - she'd deal with it better, living on a student loan and maybe a part-time job, she'd spent her whole life living on next-to-nothing in a string of underfunded, overcrowded childrens' homes. But Jamie? Jamie, who'd spent his life with wealthy parents who could buy him pretty much anything he could want or need?
When Meadow had remarked on how out-of-place she felt in their home, James and Marla had said that it wasn't always like this for them But for Jamie, it was always like that. He couldn't remember it any other way. She tried to imagine them in some cramped apartment, struggling to balance school, part-time work, and a tiny baby on top of it all. Unlike Meadow, Jamie would have a choice. He'd have somewhere else to go. How long before he left her to come back to his comfortable life here?
It wouldn't be so bad, if she'd had someone else to talk to about this. The closest thing she had to family was her friend Angel, and she'd moved to SSU at the beginning of the semester. They still talked on the phone, but it wasn't the same. And anyway, Meadow didn't want to burden Angel with her problems, not when she had enough to deal with herself right now. And it wasn't really a friend that Meadow needed right now. What she needed, was a mother.
She'd realized that, in the early days of the pregnancy, when she was sick all the time. She needed a mother to tell her that everything would be fine, that the baby would be fine. She needed a mother to tell her that she'd spent the first few weeks of her own pregnancy throwing up, that she'd barely been able to eat for weeks and she'd had the flu at the same time and she'd taken flu medication and done all the wrong things before she even knew that she was pregnant.. and that the baby had been fine, even so.
And even if she couldn't tell her that, Meadow reasoned, at least with a mother she'd still have a place to go, and maybe the future wouldn't seem quite so frightening, even if they weren't ok.
James winced as the bright sunlight hit him in the face. He'd had a headache even before he realized that he'd left half the papers he needed for work today at home.
At least is wasn't far to come back for them, but it was still a waste of time he didn't need. But then, there was a lot going on right now that he didn't need.
The house looked empty, but as he passed Jamie's room, he heard a sound. A quiet little whimper that made him wonder at first if the dog had been shut in there. Then he heard it again, and he realized that it wasn't the dog at all.
He would have knocked, but the door swung open against his hand. Meadow was lying on her back on the bed, very still, her breathing shallow. Another sob escaped from behind the hand over her face.
Afraid that the girl was sick or somehow hurt, James took a step into the room. "Uh... are you alright?"
Meadow sprung up, her eyes wide with surprise as she jumped to her feet.
"I'm sorry," James started, "I didn't mean... hey, careful!" He stepped forward to steady her as she staggered a little, but she waved him away, sitting down heavily on the end of the bed.
"I'm ok," she said unsteadily. "I just got up too fast."
"Just be careful," he said. "I didn't mean to scare you, but you need to be careful with... you know... the baby."
"I'm really ok," she said, although he could see the tears streaking her face now.
"Well... alright," he said. "But I... I mean, if you need anything..." He trailed off, wishing that Marla were here. Or even Jamie - it was his girlfriend. He should be the one dealing with whatever was wrong.
"Why are you doing this?" she asked suddenly.
"Being nice to me. I mean, you don't have to pretend to like me or care about me or anything."
James dropped into the chair opposite her. "Look, I... I'm not going to pretend I'm not bothered by what's happened here, because I am. We both know that. But that doesn't mean I'm not concerned if something is wrong."
She looked up at him with wide, reddened eyes. "I never wanted this to happen. Really," she said, gesturing down at the small bump at her middle.
James nodded. "Ok, I believe you."
"Really," he said, unable to hide his exasperation. They could be going around in circles like this all day. "Look, if you'd just tell me what's wrong - "
"What do you think is wrong?! I'm pregnant, for God's sake. I'm 19, and I'm pregnant, and I've got nobody."
"You've got Jamie."
"That's not what I mean."
"Well, what do you mean?"
"I don't know what I mean! I just don't know anything anymore." And she started to cry again.
He should have been even more annoyed by the irrationality of it all, but instead he was thrown by the sudden image that crossed his mind. An image of his own eldest daughter, at the same age as Meadow, also pregnant in her first year of college. An image of Cherry, in Meadow's place, crying and frightened and confused.
No, she wouldn't have been like that, he told himself, pushing up his glasses to rub the bridge of his nose. Cherry wouldn't be like that. She was too confident, too fearless, too full of excitement and anticipation for what the world had to offer her. Or at least, she had been, up until...
Up until around the time she met Kevin.
Meadow was staring him curiously. He set his glasses back in place, straightened his jacket self-consciously. He was about to speak, when something caught his eye.
"It seemed like the right thing to do," Meadow said, realizing what he was looking at. "You know, with a baby coming." She fingered the ring nervously. "It's the best thing we can do, right?"
There was only one answer to that question, James knew that. Even so, he hesitated.
"Yes," he finally said, surprised at the feeling of defeat that came with the single word. "Yes, I guess it is."
RCT Semester One Grades:
Meadow Thayer - B
Jamie Centowski - B
Oh, James... *sigh*... When I saw parallels between Meadow and Cherry, I so wanted him to tell Meadow to just do what was right for her... to show he'd actually learned something... but, no, I couldn't write it that way, not when he still has negative wants related to with Cherry, and rolling a persistent want for a relative to get engaged... of course, he's got lots of relatives, but the want seemed to fit this situation well.
Remember how Meadow never rolled the want to get engaged to Jamie? Apparently, it was because she was always engaged, to... someone. Not Jamie. Not anyone I could find in her memories, or in Sim-Pe - but she just started with the ring one day. No matter what I did with hacks (un-engaging her, engaging her to Jamie, etc, etc), the ring stayed and Jamie couldn't propose in-game.
I've been cropping or photoshopping it out of pictures for some time now, but I decided that this was a good opportunity to just make it 'official'. It fits that there would be no big proposal scene, anyway. I don't know if she'll be able to marry Jamie (or anyone else) in-game normally, but we'll deal with that when the time comes.