For out-takes, Gameplay and Storytelling notes, and other miscellaneous rambling, visit Richmond Behind-the-Scenes

Looking for a Happy Ending Part 4


Cory Green is 49; Rose Green is 36; James Centowski is 61

March 2026
Last Update Here

She never said so out loud, but Rose was cursing Allie Phoenix.   


Logically, she knew that she couldn't blame her - Allie was only thinking of Melissa. She didn't know how vulnerable Cory still was, or how their whole family were still recovering from the events of the previous year. The last thing they needed was a troubled, disruptive teenager in the house.


Rose also knew that Cory might have thought of it himself, even without Allie's encouragement.  Certainly, he wanted it enough. For the first time in months, Rose saw real hope, even excitement, in his eyes.

It  only made her all the more opposed to the idea.

"I've already let her down once," Cory had said. "I'm not going to fail her a second time."


She wanted to tell him that getting custody of Melissa wasn't the same thing as not failing her. She wanted to make him see that all it would do was create so much more potential for failure. She wanted to make him consider what such a failure might do to Melissa. And to Cory himself.


He was in the kitchen when she got home, looking at the photos again.


He'd done that a lot lately.


He didn't notice her there until she spoke.  "My parents said they're ok to keep the kids a bit longer if we can't get back tomorrow," she said. "I've just got to put a couple of things in my bag, then we should get going."

He nodded, gathering up the pictures and putting them back in the box. She didn't reply, hurrying up the stairs before he could see how close she was to just breaking down and crying.


It was all happening too fast. It was only a few nights ago that they'd met with her Uncle James to discuss the custody process.  Her father had arranged it, figuring that given the circumstances of Cory's past it would help to have one of Redwood City's best lawyers on their side. James had even offered to represent them for free, which was no small thing given both his reputation and his busy schedule. 

In the end Rose hadn't even tried to make Cory see the danger in this. When it was this important to him, she just couldn't bring herself to be the one to say no. In all honesty, a part of her had believed that someone else would do that for her, and James certainly seemed to be thinking along the same lines. As he pointed out, it wasn't even a year since Cory had been in rehab, with a history of alcohol abuse that went back a lot further than that. Social Services weren't going to ignore that, no matter how much Cory wanted another chance with Melissa.


"I know this means a lot to you, and I'll do what I can, but you need to know what we're up against." James said, as he took out a pen and notebook. "In any case, we'll start with the paperwork.  So, lets see... you want to apply for custody of  Melissa Cadey?"
"No," said Cory, shaking his head. "I mean, her name's not Cadey."
"So she uses her mother's name?"
"No, she's still Melissa Green."
"Really?"
"Yeah, Sharla never bothered changing her name."



"Is that so?", James said thoughtfully, writing down the name.  He asked a few more questions before suddenly putting down the pen. "I've just thought of a phone call I have to make." He stood up. "Excuse me a moment."

When he was out in the hall, Cory whispered to Rose, "He doesn't seem too optomistic, does he?"  Rose didn't reply.

"Sorry about that," James said, putting away his phone. "Now, where were we?"  But they'd only answered a few more questions, when his phone rang. He looked at the caller ID. "Sorry, I have to take this," he said, getting up again.


"He's kind of distracted," Cory whispered.
"Well, he is doing it for free," Rose said. "We can't expect him to just ignore work he is getting paid for."

James was smiling when he came back into the room. "You're going to get Melissa," he said to Cory. "According to the birth certificate, you're still her father."

For a moment, they just stared at him. Then Cory stammered "But... but... I... no, that's not right."
"It can't be," Rose said.
"I saw the test results myself," said Cory. "I'm not her father."

"That may be the case biologically," James said, "but legally test results mean nothing if you don't put them through the official channels. I figured if she'd never bothered to change the girl's name, she probably never bothered to apply to change legal paternity, either. I just had my secretary call in a favor and check it out. Legally, you're still Melissa's father."
"But... David's paid Sharla child support all these years. Doesn't that indicate he's her father? I mean, legally as well as biologically."
"Not necessarily. They may have arranged it between themselves without out involving any legal channels. More fool him, I guess, although I imagine Sharla would have gone to the trouble of registering him as the father if there were money depending on it."


"So... all these years, I could have... she could have been here, with me?"

"No," said Rose. "No, I don't think so. You know Sharla. If you'd so much as tried to take Melissa off her before, she would have had the birth certificate changed just to spite you."
"From what I've heard of your former wife, sadly she's probably right," said James. "The only reason I believe it'll work now, is that Sharla's at the end of her rope with Melissa and will probably be only to happy to hand over the problem to you."

"The problem? Fourteen years... I was still her father on paper... and all she is to Sharla is a problem?"
"Cory, you can do something about it now." James said.
Cory looked up at him. "But, can I?" I mean, I'm still the same person I was before we knew. I still have the same history, even if I am supposedly her father. What makes you think they'll be any more willing to let me take her?"


"Social Services have a mandate to keep families together. Right or wrong, if you have foster parents and biological parents experiencing exactly the same difficulties, the foster parents are likely to lose the child, while the biological parents will be supported to keep it.  What this means for you, is that there'll be social worker intervention. They're likely to watch you quite closely, especially at first. If you will agree to that, then I think you have an excellent chance of getting custody of Melissa"

----

Wiping her eyes, Rose crossed the room to throw the last few things in her overnight bag. 


She had to stop wasting time and get moving.  They had a four hour drive ahead of them and tomorrow, for better or worse, they'd bring Melissa home.

---

If you're wondering about the last name thing... remember, Sharla passed Melissa off as Cory's child for the first couple of years of her life, so his name must have been on the birth certificate. I had the idea that Sharla never bothered to change it when I discovered (while recreating my hood) that I had neglected to change her last name in-game after her mother and Cory split up. 

My original idea was that Melissa discover it and think it meant that Cory was her biological father, but then she ran away in-game, creating the opportunity for me to finally  get her into Cory's home, where I have always wanted her. Except for that little matter of his problems last year...  I think the legal father thing makes it at least a little more plausible that he would get custody.

4 comments:

  1. Very cool that something that just happened to slip your mind, like changing Melissa's surname, worked out so well for the story!

    I'm glad it looks like there won't be any problems with Cory getting custody of Melissa. It could be the best thing for her. I hope Rose can handle it though. I have to say, I hadn't really considered how it might affect her and I'm not sure if Cory has really thought about all possible ramifications either. But then again, what else can he do? Morally, he would feel an obligation to take her in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, I think Cory would just go through with it even if he had thought it through properly. It's kind of fitting that you hadn't thought about how it could affect Rose. I feel like she's been kind of a background player in Cory's story, and now its time for her to tell her side of it.

      Delete
  2. Wow, I feel for Rosé. They're having a surprise pregnancy, their daughter is pregnant and now they're bringing in another teenager. Lots of things to handle while being pregnant, I can't wait how you will write everything out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really don't know how this household does it. Play some families, absolutely nothing happens. Play these guys for three days... two unplanned pregnancies! And, where else would I have my first ever teen pregnancy? *sigh* .

      So, yeah, Rose does have a lot to deal with right now. I am kind of enjoying playing this out, though, and using her in-game reactions/wants/etc to kind of feel out how she's handling it all.

      Delete

Thanks for reading and commenting!