Florence Green is 58; Ben Green is 75, Whitney is 9.
Last update here.
Ben hated winter. As always, he spent much of the season longing for spring. It was beautiful out here at their little cottage in Bluewater Village, when everything was covered in snow. But even so, he still longed for the warmer weather.
He and Florence had settled into a routine. She spent the days at the shop that she had inherited from her parents...
...he took care of things at home. Not that there was a lot to do, they had a housekeeper come for a few hours each day, one of the few luxuries he'd maintained after leaving his mansion in Richmond to live out here with his new wife.
But he'd always enjoyed cooking, and when spring came, he'd try his hand at gardening again. At least it would be something to fill the time. The only downside to his marriage was the fact that all his family and friends still lived in Richmond, and with a Florence working, the days were far too long and boring.
They'd have the evenings together, when Florence came home. Ben might have enjoyed an active social life in his younger days, but now he was content to just spend his time with his wife.
Or, he had been, until their routine changed again.
Her name was Whitney. She was nine years old, and the social worker had brought her to them a couple of months ago, after their application to foster was finally approved.
It had been a long time since Ben had cared for a child, and then he'd only had sons. Fortunately, he quickly learned that girls weren't that different...
It wasn't that hard to fill the hours between school and the time Florence came home from the shop...
... and, truth be told, it was a lot of fun...
... for both of them.
Florence would come home and they'd have dinner together, and it almost felt like they were a family.
It was only after that, that the cracks started to show.
It was natural for Florence to want to spend as much time as she could with Whitney, before the little girl went to bed.
Whitney needed that time, too.
As much as she was playful and outgoing, she also had a way of just losing herself in what looked like sad thoughts.
It wasn't unexpected, Ben reasoned... she'd had a much harder life than a kid her age should, and there would be consequences to that. And, while she would rarely open up to Ben during these times, Florence had a way of bringing her out of herself.
By the time Whitney went to bed, Florence and Ben were tired...
... and moody...
... and well past the point of enjoying the short time they had to themselves at the end of the day.
They couldn't go on like this forever. At first, Ben had tried to wait for the right moment to talk about it, but it never came.
So, he finally just came out with it.
"This is the kind of thing I was afraid of when you wanted to adopt," he said. "So we're parents, but look what it's doing to us as a couple."
"Other couples manage," said Florence. "Other couples can have a child, more than one child even, and still have a relationship that works. Why not us?"
"I don't know," said Ben. "I do suspect our ages has something to do with it. I don't have the stamina I had at 25, and no matter what you say, I'm sure you don't, either... but maybe it's not even that. Maybe it just isn't right for us to have a child."
"Isn't right for me to have a child, you mean?" said Florence. "You've been a parent before."
"Florence, I didn't mean - "
"So, what do you mean? Do we send Whitney back to the children's home? She trusts us. I care about her now."
"I care about her too," Ben admitted. "But that doesn't make it any better for us. I don't want to let her go, either, but we can't have everything. I just don't see any way to make this work."
"So, that's it? You or Whitney, I make the choice?"
"There shouldn't have to be a choice! We are married. That should come first."
"What, because I'm your wife and my wants come second to my husband?"
"You're being ridiculous now..." He crossed the floor to the bedroom, slamming the door behind him. Florence stayed where she was until he was gone, then she went quietly into Whitney's room.
Florence's heart went out to the little girl, sleeping peacefully in the same bed Florence had slept in as a child. How do you tell her that she has to leave? How do you betray the trust that they had built up?
And yet, she would. If she really had to choose, then she'd do it. Knowing that was the hardest part of all.
Ben, please... don't make me do this... don't make me choose...
Florence and Ben barely talked over breakfast, as if by some unspoken agreement they'd spare Whitney from knowing yet that anything was wrong. She dropped the girl at school, then spent a long and troubled day at the shop.
By then end of the day, she knew what she had to do.
She walked in quietly, taking in the scene of Ben and Whitney playing together.
If she'd doubted her decision before, she didn't anymore. "Ben?" she said softly. "We need to talk."
When Whitney had closed the bedroom door behind her, she told him what she was going to do.
"You - you can't!" Ben stammered, almost too surprised to speak. Obviously, he'd never even considered her solution.
"I can," Florence said. "it's my shop and if I want to sell it, I will. Then, we'll have all day for each other while Whitney's at school."
"It was your parents' shop," he said. "Your family business."
"My family is here. You... and someday, I hope, Whitney too. You were right, I can't have everything, but maybe I can have the things that matter. My parents would understand that, I think."
This was one interesting play session! I started out wanting to play a nice happy couple and write an easy gameplay update about them. About the only 'conflict' in the thing was Ben's mid-winter wants...
I'm not sure how it happened in-game but, un-noticed by me, Ben and Florence's relationship was dropping. I only realized when ACR kicked in, they got on the bed, and then Florence rejected Ben, repeatedly.
Ben, of course, did not take this well.
... so the relationship dropped even further, and they kept trying/rejecting, and before I could do anything about it, they'd fallen out of love.
So, I had a problem. They didn't love each other any more. Florence actually had a higher short-term relationship with Whitney. I didn't want to break them up, but...
Then - to my relief - Florence rolled this:
I jumped at the opportunity... Whitney was at school, so I had her ask him on a date. He accepted. And, before long, Ben rolled this.
By the end of the date, they'd both achieved their wants - whew! - and all I had to do was write a story around it. Florence was never into her shop, I had to really drive her to do anything there - she just wanted to sit around out back and be lazy. But working all that into a story took a little longer than I had planned for what was supposed to be an easy update, and consequently my next 'real' storytelling update may be a little delayed...
For anyone wondering about Whitney, she was a townie, who became best friends with a playable child who lives in Bluewater Village. By my 'rules', townies who become best friends or higher with a playable, becomes playable too. So, she needed a home, and I'd decided that Ben and Florence would foster. If they both become BFFs with Whitney, they'll adopt and Florence will fulfill her want for a child.
Also, Whitney is really photogenic! :)