Homecoming


May 2027

Cherry Centowski and Kevin Beare are 38; Talin Vijayakar is 30; David Beare is 9

Previous update here


It was good to be home.


Cherry had almost forgotten how much she loved being on the endless beaches of Twikki Island. She walked slowly, savoring everything - the sound and smell of the sea, the gulls crying overhead, the salty taste of the breeze.


Two weeks in Richmond had stretched to over four months, as she worked to rebuild her relationship with her children. And while she hadn't regretted a minute of that time, she needed to come home. Her employer's sympathies could only be stretched so far in giving her leave and allowing her to do some work from Richmond. But even without the job to get back to, this was home now and she missed it.


She'd missed Talin, too, in the last month or so of her time away. His work couldn't spare him for so long, and he'd had to leave her and come back. In the distance now, she could see him walking up the beach towards her, meeting her after work like he had so often before.


This was always her favorite time of the day.


It was even better, now that her son was there to meet her too.


Never in her wildest dreams would she have thought, a few months ago, that one of her children would come and live with her here on the island. Even as she had become closer to them over the past weeks, she never have even considered suggesting it.

It had been David's own idea, not long after she had told him she would soon leave to go back to the island.


"I want to come with you, Mama. If you can't stay here, I want to go where you are."
"That's not possible, baby. You live here, with your dad."


"But I don't have to. Dad's got enough kids to live with him, and lots of people live with their mothers when their parents live in different places. Why can't I?"


It was actually a good question.

Talin thought so too, and he had another question for her.


"Do you want him to live with us?" he asked

"I... I don't know. I've never even considered it... I mean, he lives with his father. I can't just take him and - "
"Why not?" Talin asked. "You're his mother."


"Well... what about you? How do you feel about him living with us?"

"You know how I feel about us sharing our lives with a child," he said.


Well, she thought she'd known. She'd thought he wanted a child of his own - something she couldn't give him when she had four other children she barely knew. She'd had her chance at raising children, and she'd blown it.


Or, maybe not. Maybe she'd get another chance after all.

---

As much as she dreaded taking up the idea with Kevin, when the time came she was ready. Or, as ready as she could be.

He was, predictably, furious.


"You think you can just come back, after all this time, and take my son away?"
"Our son," said Cherry.

"You've barely seen him in years. You don't even have the right to call him that."

"I think it's a good idea," said a voice behind them.


Cherry hadn't even realized that Autumn was there.

"He's never going to be happy here, Dad," she went on. "It's too busy, no one has any time for him and he just feels lost in it all. That's why I have him at my place as much as I can - to try to give him some of the attention he needs. It'd be so much better for him, living with Mum."

"I thought you were close to him," Kevin said. "Of all people, I thought you'd want him to stay here."


"I do," she said. "But when you care about someone, you've got to let them do what's best for them, not what you think they should do."

She was far from subtle, but Cherry appreciated the support.

"Why should I even trust you with him?" Kevin asked. "After all this time, what makes you think you're even fit to be a mother?"


"That's a fine question, coming from you," Cherry said. "Remember, on Christmas day our nine year old son traveled an hour and a half across the city alone, and you didn't even realize he was gone."


"Don't you dare judge me," Kevin said. "You've got no idea what it's like in a household this busy."

"Are you saying it's difficult, raising a large family?" Cherry asked.


"Of course it's difficult! You really don't know anything at all about having a family, do you?"

"I just wonder," Cherry said, "if it's so difficult raising a lot of kids, why do you keep having more?"


Kevin just stared at her.

"Just remember, next time you question my fitness as a parent," she said, "I'm also a lawyer. A good one. My father is a better one. David wants to live with me, and I want that too. We can do this the hard way, or the easy way. Up to you."
---

Even the easy way wasn't all that easy. There were long days of forms to sign and agreements to negotiate. They eventually agreed that David would live with Cherry and Talin on Twikki Island for three months. At the end of that time, they'd review things and come to an agreement on where he'd live for the long term.


"Give him time to get this stupid island idea out of his head," Kevin said. "He'll be back home just in time for school to start after the summer."

"There are schools on the island, you know," Cherry said.


"Yes, and I'm sure they're wonderful if all you want to do is dance a hula on the beach, but I want something better for my son."

Talin had a Masters degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management. Cherry figured that was probably about four years' more college study than Keven ever did. She wondered if that would be better enough.



She decided not to ask - they still had an agreement on shared custody of Alana to work out, after all. They'd left Thomas out of it, as he would be 18 in a month or so. He'd barely spoken to Cherry in all the time she'd been here, but she hoped that some day it would be different.

----

They'd arrived back on the island late at night. David could hear that the sea was close by, but he didn't realize how close until morning.


"Mama, the sea is almost in our house!"
"I know," said Cherry.
"But what if it comes inside?"
"I've lived here a long time, and it's never come inside the house," she said.


"See how the house is on kind of legs?" Talin added. "That means the sea will go under the house, not come inside it."

The answer satisfied David, but there were plenty more questions to follow.

"Mama, there's a pirate ship! Does it have real pirates in it?"


"Mama, who build these things? And why did they let them fall down?"


"Mama, there are fish jumping outside my window. What if the fish jump into the house?"



"Mama, why doesn't the bird have a cage? Won't he just fly away?"


"He can fly away if he wants," Cherry said. "He's his own person. But he has food here, and a place to hide from the rain. I hope he's happy enough here to stay."

"Mama, his beak is so big!...


"...I hope he stays, too."

As different and surprising as the island was, some things were just the same as Richmond. Like icecream...


... and homework.


When they found that David wasn't a good swimmer, Talin started teaching him, in the shallow water at the beach.


If  Cherry had any lingering doubts about Talin accepting David, they didn't last long.


He was a great stepfather, and she could see he'd be a great father to his own children, too.


Because hopefully it wasn't too late and, really, what was there to stop them now?


In three months, she'd face Kevin again. It wasn't going to be easy, but she didn't want to think about that right now. In any case, she was fairly sure David wasn't going to get this island out of his head by then, and that would count for a lot.


The future was looking very, very bright.

---

I had decided long ago, back in TS2, that David would eventually live with Cherry and Talin. Once Kevin started having kids with Heather (three under four years old), the house became almost unplayable. I had to move someone out. It made sense that it be David, as he had really low relationships with everyone in the house. 

Thomas will leave for college in a few sim-months, and that'll leave just Alana, a teen, with Heather and Kevin and their three little ones. 

I had also decided that Cherry and Talin would eventually have a baby together. In my mind, Talin always wanted kids, but he knew that Cherry wouldn't have more after how things turned out with Kevin and their kids. He basically accepted that because he cared about her more than he cared about becoming a father someday, but he always hoped she'd change her mind. They're not pregnant yet, but I'm leaving it in the hands of Story Progression, and we'll see what happens.

This update also provided one of those great moments of sims being exactly the way you imagine their characters. I have child support enabled (via Nraas mods), and Cherry has been paying Kevin support for the three kids still at home. It's a bit silly now, though, as Cherry pays support for Alana and Thomas, and then Kevin immediately pays back half of it as support for David.

Or, not.



... hang on, didn't Cherry literally just paid you twice the amount... oh nevermind *sigh*

4 comments:

  1. Aw, I hope Cherry and Talin do have a baby together. He'd be a great dad, based on how he is with David.

    I think you're quite brave playing with Story Progression on (I always go into SP and turn basically everything off but friend and money related things)...but you did get that little gem there with Kevin and his slacking on child support!

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    1. I've turned off a lot of things in SP for the town overall, then I turn on what I think suits the individual households/sims. For example 'Try for Baby' is turned off for the hood overall, so any pregnancies will be risky woohoo (similar to what I did with ACR). But for Cherrry and Talin I've now turned TfB back on, and I will do so for any other couples I imagine are actively trying. Have done similar things with a lot of setting. I figured I can keep tweaking the settings if I'm not happy, and there's not much that isn't reversible (cheats/exit without saving), if I really mess up big time :)

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  2. This one was such a sweet turn of events. I'm so happy that Cherry will get a chance to raise one of her children, maybe more with Talin too. And good for Autumn with her support, that was very mature of her. David seems very happy there. What a neat environment for him to grow up in, with so much to discover! I loved how curious he was about everything.

    And Kevin, whoa, isn't he just toxic? (Thinking of Autumn's conversations with him, too.) He has some unfortunate ideas about life, and he's stubborn. That's going to be a poison to his whole family. (Great character writing though!)

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    1. Thanks for the comments! David's curiosity gave me a fun way to show off my TS3 Twikki Island.

      Kevin's attitude is going to have a big effect on his other children in future (assuming they don't do anything to change the story I have planned, lol), especially Alana. And we'll get a glance at how Thomas is doing, in the next couple of updates

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Thanks for reading and commenting!