Looking for a Happy Ending Part Eight

July 2027

Rose Green is 37; Cory Green is 50; Melissa Green and Thomas Beare are 17; 
Kyle Centowski is 59; Willow Centowski is 58
Samantha Bradshaw is 27 

Previous update here


Cory opened his eyes slowly, aware that he wasn't in his own bed, but momentarily confused about exactly where he was.


He realized that it was Kyle and Willow's spare room, the bookshelves reminding him that it used to be Kyle's office, back when he was a writer. They'd converted it into a bedroom back when Gavin Newson had lived with them.


He got up and pulled on his clothes, found his cigarettes and went quietly down the stairs and out the door.

Even in the early morning, he felt the heavy heat as soon as he left the house.


So... 

He mentally reviewed the events that had brought him mere.  He and Samantha had closed up the shop the evening before - nothing unusual about that.


He'd gone back to Samantha's apartment with her - also nothing unusual anymore.


What was unusual, was that Rose had gone looking for him there.


When the ensuing argument started to get out of control, Samantha had done the only thing she could think of. She'd called Kyle.


About the only thing they could all agree on, was that it wasn't a good idea for Cory don't go home with Rose right now. It certainly wasn't a good idea for him to stay with Samantha, either.


Not everyone agreed that going to Kyle's place was the best solution, but it was late by then. They all decided they'd talk about it the next day.


It wasn't a conversation that Cory was looking forward to.

Not that he could put it off for long...


"So... " said Kyle
"Yeah... " said Cory.


A small breeze rippled the grass and the surface of the pool. In the distance, the birds in Willow's aviary excitedly greeted the new day.

"I can't do it any more," Cory said.


"Can't do what?"

"Can't go on with Rose the way we have been.  Can't pretend everything is ok. Can't go on choosing between keeping everything inside, or sneaking around like I'm having some cheap affair - "


"Are you?"
"Am I what?"
"Having an affair."

"No!" said Cory. "Nothing happened with Samantha. I mean, nothing like what you think happened."
"I don't know what happened," said Kyle. "That's why I'm asking you."


"We talked. I swear, that's all we did... that's all we ever did, since she came back to town. Samantha is a friend, nothing else."
"All right," said Kyle.
"You believe me?"

"Shouldn't I?"
"I just didn't expect - "
"Look, I'm not going to make assumptions or accusations here, I just want the truth."
"I've told you the truth."


"I know."

----

Is he ok?

Georgia listened through the window again, then texted Melissa back.


I think so

Are you sure he's ok?


I don't know, they're just talking and stuff. They don't sound upset or anything. 




Do you want me to ask him?

NO!!!

I need to think about this. Don't say anything, ok? Don't even tell them you heard from me.

Melissa had no idea what was happening any more. Rose had gone out last night, and come home to tell them that Cory was going to be away for a couple of days because of work.



That sounded wrong from the start, and Melissa had been planning to go by the shop and ask him herself... if he was even at the shop... but then Georgia had told her that Cory was at her house. He'd stayed last night at Rose's parents' place. 

None of that made any sense. 



Nor did standing around in her pajamas staring at her phone as if it was going to magically give her the answers. 

She put it down and pulled out some clothes. 

----

"While we're in the mood for honesty," Kyle said, "there's something else I need to know from you."


"Go ahead."
"Did you ever cheat on my daughter?"
"No... apart from that one kiss on New Year's Day a couple of  years ago, that you already know about. But that was all, nothing more, ever."

"Have you ever been drinking again, since you've been with Rose? Apart from what I already know about, a couple of years ago, I mean."
"No, not at all."
"But you've come close...?"

Maybe Kyle was the wrong person to talk to. Maybe confiding in Rose's father was just going to make everything ten times worse.

Cory didn't care. He was too tired to pretend any more.

"The first time was right back when Corinne was born. She was so small and needy, and I was so afraid of messing things up for her. And she reminded me of Melissa.


"I tried to tell Rose, but she didn't want to hear it. She said we were a family now and I should just put everything else behind me... it was like it hurt her every time I said I wasn't happy. Like it was an offence against our relationship or our family. Like that should make everything perfect, and something was wrong if it didn't. That was when I realized that no matter how bad I felt, I could never talk to her about it."



"So what did you do?"
"I found other people I could talk to. My father. Your father... He was a really good listener, you know."
"Unlike me...?"


"I didn't mean - "

"It's ok, I know I haven't exactly been supportive of your relationship with Rose. If it's any consolation, it wasn't because of you. It was Rose.  As you've just pointed out, she has this almost childish idea of how relationships work, that love should fix everything and you have the fairytale happy ending and life is perfect from there on."


He sighed. "Of all the people you could have gotten into a relationship with, she's probably one of the least equipped to deal with the kind of challenges your history would bring. You deserved someone who was up to supporting you."


Cory started to say something, stopped, fumbled for words.

Kyle just shrugged. "I told you I was in the mood for honesty."

----

Rose was in the kitchen when Melissa came down the stairs.


"I'm going to take Lulu for a walk," she said, clapping her hands to call her puppy.


"Don't go to far," Rose said. "It's going to rain soon."


"It's ok," Melissa said, "I won't be long."
Actually she had no idea how long she was going to be. Or where she was going.



She just needed some time to think, and she couldn't do that here at the house.

----

"So, what happens now," Kyle asked.


Cory took a slow breath. "I need to talk to Rose," he said. "And I need to talk to the kids... they'll stay at the house, Rose will keep the house. Technically, it's mine, but the kids need somewhere to live, and Melissa... Oh, God, I have no idea how this will affect custody of Melissa. If I'm not with Rose, then - "


"Hey, stop," said Kyle. "You're getting way ahead of yourself."
"Am I? I just don't see any other way this can work out. I tried talking to her last night, but... well, you saw how well that worked."

"She was upset last night. Let me talk to her first. I know she doesn't believe you that nothing happened with Samantha, but she might believe me."


"But it's not just Samantha, it's everything. I meant it when I said I can't go on the way we are. I tried to tell her that."

"Just let me talk to her. At least let me find out how this looks from her point of view. We can figure out all the rest from there."


Cory nodded. He wasn't going to change Kyle's mind even if he could be bothered to try. He figured that at very least, he had nothing else to loose.
---

It was starting to rain. Melissa tried to walk faster, but Lulu couldn't keep up.


She understood now why parents put little kids in strollers even after they'd learned to walk.


Pushing aside the image of herself pushing Lulu in Emily's stroller, she picked the puppy up and started to walk faster. The rain was good, she told herself. It would break the sticky heat. It was good for the plants. It was -


"Melissa... Hey, Melissa."
She turned around to see Thomas running after her.

"You're getting wet. My car's over there. Let me give you a ride."


"You have a car?"
"As of last month I do. Where are you going?"


"Uh... nowhere. I'm just walking."
"Well, at least come and sit in the car. The rain's getting heavier."
"But I have my dog."


"Well, bring the dog too, then. Come on, we're both getting soaked here."

----

"I thought you had the day off work today," Willow said.


"I did," said Kyle. "But Cory wants to go to work as usual, and it would have been Samantha there with him today. That's probably a bad idea right now."

"Well, I'm glad you can still recognise a bad idea sometimes."
"Huh?"


"I'm talking about Cory. Rose is our daughter, do you really think it's a good idea for her husband to stay here while they're having problems."

"I think it's a terrible idea. But do you have a better one?"
"Well, he has a brother - "
"The last time he left his wife and stayed with his brother, he almost burned their house down."
"I think he's in a better state of mind right now than he was then."


"He is, and I want to keep it that way. We can't just dump him on his brother like trying to re-home a stray dog or something, can we?"


"I guess not," Willow sighed. "I just hope you know what you're doing."

----

They went to a cafe to stay out of the rain. Thomas found some thin rope in his car, and they tied Lulu outside, in the shelter of the porch.


"I never knew you had a dog." Thomas said.
"I got her last Christmas."

"I'm sorry," he said.
Melissa frowned at him. "You're sorry I got a dog for Christmas?"


"No... I mean, I'm sorry for... when you ran away the other Christmas.  I shouldn't have been mad at you for leaving. I didn't know what was going on... you know, with your stepfather. I wish I had, I would have - "


"Would have what?" Melissa asked. "Asked him to stop? Threatened him? He would have just laughed at you."

"I would have done something. I'm sorry."


"I wish people would just stop saying that."
"Saying what?"

"Saying they're sorry for what happened. It just makes me think they could have stopped it or something... then I feel like I should be mad at them because they didn't." She looked up at him. "I don't want to be mad at anyone but Joshua."

"Ok," said Thomas. "I'm glad, anyway. I don't want you to be mad at me."



"Why do you care what I think about you?"


"I don't know. I just do."
----

"I thought you weren't going for long," Rose said.


"I bumped into a friend, and we went to a cafe to get out of the rain."

"Was it Georgia?"
"No," Melissa said. "Why?"


"No reason," said Rose.

Not that Melissa had actually expected Rose to say she was thinking about Cory, but it was worth a try.


She wanted Cory to come back, and she'd take any sign she could get that Rose wanted that too.

It was evening before she got another sign.


"Can you stay here with the kids?" Rose asked. "I need to go out somewhere."
"Where are you going?"


"Just out."

Still worth a try.

Melissa figured it took five minutes to drive from their house to Georgia's. So she waited for ten. Then she waited another five minutes, just to be sure. Then she texted Georgia.

The reply came almost immediately...

She's not here 


Are you sure?



Yeah, I'm sure. I'm in the living room. I'd see if someone came in.

I wonder where she went then.


----

"I'm not here to make trouble," Rose said.


"Isn't that what you said when you came to my front door a couple of years ago?" she continued. "You said you wanted me to listen to you. Well, here I am.  I'm here to listen. Tell me what's going on with my husband.

----
Whew!! :)

I know this is long and jumping all over the place with Melissa and Thomas and so on, but without them, it'd be mostly just Kyle and Cory talking, and while I hope I've made the conversation interesting, visually it would be kind of boring :)  . 

At least doing it this way gives me the chance to introduce some of my favorite Richmond residents into TS3-land - I think Kyle, Cory and Rose are quite close to their TS2 versions, Willow less so (although not for lack of trying!). Melissa is an exception in my re-creations in that I probably could have made her more like her TS2-self, but she actually looks more how I imagined her looking 'in real life' as she is now, so I'm keeping her this way. Also some familiar locations - Kyle and Cory's houses, and the bookstore, still very much a WIP  (hence only one strangely-framed shot ).

I'm so glad to have this update done, I've left these guys hanging in limbo far too long. This and the next update about them form the conclusion of Cory & Rose's storyline, and it's the one that even stalled my blog back in TS2, because I knew where I wanted it to go, but not how to get it there. 

It's also the most planned and posed update I've done in TS3 yet, without the pose boxes I'm familiar with, or facial overlays, or the ability to make any sim active in one click... It was an adventure! But I learned a lot about how to do this in TS3, and I'm quite satisfied with the results even though it took quite a bit longer than it would have in TS2.


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Thanks for reading and commenting!