Danny Tarro is 22; Candice Tarro is 21; Anna is 12; Belle is 8; Ellen and Clare are 4
Candice couldn't quite say she her life was perfect, but it was by far closer to it than she'd ever dreamed it could be.
Here she was, renting a nice little home on a nice street, with some flowers out front, and a little bit of yard for the kids to play.
And Candice had a husband - a good, caring husband, who didn't yell at her or or call her stupid like her mother's husband had, in the little time he'd been around. A father for her daughters, too, now that the adoption was finalized.
She and Danny worked opposite shifts at the cafe, so that one of them would be home for the children. They'd never make their fortune like this, it paid well for what it was, and April was a good boss. They'd paid off a good chunk of their debts, and they had a bit of money to spare now.
For all his good qualities, though, he wasn't above being a little jealous when he found a package of books in the mailbox.
"Your ex-boyfriend is giving you gifts?"
She laughed. "He's not the type you'd call a boyfriend. But, yes, he gave me some old books. Roman knows I love learning, and - "
"Wait, Roman?" Danny asked. "That's not the same guy Penny bought home that night?"
"Uh... yeah, same one... "
"So my wife and my aunt have both slept with the same man?"
"To be fair, I didn't know at the time... but, yeah, I told you he wasn't the type you'd call a boyfriend."
"No kidding... but he's giving you books... ?"
"His brother's an architect and Roman knows I'm interested in design, so when the brother was getting rid of these books, Roman thought of me. That's all."
She was surprised when he'd just accepted that, and let it go. She'd been amused at his reaction, and even a little flattered, but she'd also been a little afraid. She'd seen how some men reacted when they were jealous.
But Danny wasn't that kind of man. She already knew that, and he kept proving it to her, again and again.
They'd formed a tight little family, with his sisters and her - their - daughters. The kids were growing fast. Anna was 12 now, starting high school after the summer.
She'd had her first formal dance, a couple of weeks ago.
The photo she bought home wasn't the most ladylike pose, but she'd clearly enjoyed herself.
At eight, Belle was nowhere near as outgoing or active as her sister.
She seemed happiest in front of the tv, or reading a book.
The twins were four, taking every opportunity they could to remind Candice that they were 'big' now...
... even if all that meant was that they could play on the big-kid equipment in the park.
When Candice and Danny had time off work together, they usually went to the beach.
It was free, and they all enjoyed it.
So, life might not be perfect, but it sure as hell was close. So why did Danny have to go spoil everything?
To be fair, it wasn't like he'd set out to upset her. Rather the opposite, he thought he was doing her a favor when he set the brochures down on the table.
"College brochures?" she asked. "You're going back to college?"
"They're not for me," he said. "They're for you."
"College brochures," he repeated, "for you. I know you always wanted to go to college, and I think you've got a chance to do it now."
"But the fees... "
"There are grants and scholarships," he said excitedly, opening one of the books. "See, here, for young parents... you can get your first year of study paid for, and if you pass over two thirds of your papers, they'll pay for the second year, and - "
"Danny, I didn't even finish high school."
"There's an equivalency course you can do over the summer. It's not too late to start."
"But the kids..."
"The twins will be in school in less than a year.. until then, there are childcare subsidies, and - "
"Even with the fees paid, we can't afford for me to stop working."
"I've thought about that, " he said. "I can do extra hours when the kids are in school. And a lot of the papers can be done part-time, or by distance learning. You wouldn't have to go to classes every day, so you could still work a day or two if we needed it, and - "
"Danny, stop! This is crazy. You're making all these plans, and... and I didn't even finish high school. What if I'm not good enough?'
"Why is that even a problem? I failed college and you never held it against me. At least you'd know. You said you loved learning, and - "
"Is that why you're doing this?" The words were out before she even realized what she was saying. "Because my ex gave me books so you have to come up with something better?"
"Candice, no... come on, you know I wouldn't do that."
She did know, and it hadn't been fair, saying that. She could see that she'd hurt him.
"When I saw the advertisement for the equivalency course, I thought about you saying that you loved learning, when you got the books," he said. "That's the only connection, I swear it. I'm sorry if I upset you... I just thought it was something you should do."
"I know," she said. "I'm sorry, too. Let's just forget this ever happened."
Of course, it was easier to talk about forgetting, than it was to actually do it.
That was all very well, but what if you'd rather not know?
Danny was brave enough to try, and fail, and get back up again and find some new dreams. Candice wasn't sure that she could stand to do that. Not when everything was close to perfect.
The brochures were still on the table.
... what if...?
Roman really did sleep with Candice, back in TS2, before she had a relationship with Danny. And here in TS3, he really did send her books. In game, he does seem to have romantic intentions, but I don't imagine Roman-character as the type who'd want someone to cheat for him... someone better tell him she's married now! :)
I always intended Candice (TS2 knowledge sim) to go to college when the twins were in school. In TS2, where only YAs could go to college, I had a custom 'college career' - the game saw it as a career but the levels were written as college semesters, for older students. Here in TS3, that won't be necessary as any age sim above teen can go to college.
All of my TS2 knowledge sims have been given the genius trait in TS3 - I don't think of them as all being geniuses in the remarkably high IQ sense, but the trait makes the sim want to learn and makes learning easier, so it seems like a good translation for the knowledge aspiration. Probably because of this trait, Candice has been rolling college wants. She won't have to wait as long as I'd originally planned her to, thanks to a change in the way I do ages in this game.
In TS2, toddlers became children when they turned five. I did it that way because school here starts at five. I know 3-4 yr olds don't act like TS2 toddlers, but it was convenient. I could alter heights, which lessened the toddler appearance and wobbly walk somewhat - a tall toddler looked very similar to a short child.
Here in TS3, I can also change heights with a slider, but it doesn't work for toddlers. So toddlers now become children at age 3. I'll let some 3-4 year olds start school and imagine they're in preschool or daycare. For the others, Nraas mods allow me to set them as home-schooled, so the bus won't come and they won't be penalized for non-attendance.
So a whole bunch of 3-4 year old TS2 toddlers have come into TS3 as children, including Candice's twins. When Roman's books started turning up, it seemed like a good opportunity to bring up the college idea.