Heads Up

August 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

I really don’t know how to explain this, but I just received news that my cousin had killed himself on Saturday, and I don’t expect to be updating any time soon. I’ll let you all know via the Writer’s Hangout forum when I return.

2.9 Take Two

August 29, 2010 § 2 Comments

Charles’s birthday came quickly, and he became an adorable toddler. He looked to be a nice blend between his mother and father, with Cora’s round face and dark eye colour, and Brant’s eyes and hair colour. He bore a striking resemblance to his uncle, Simon, as well, but that could just be because the haircut and outfits that had been popular when he was a toddler had become popular again. The family didn’t do much as far as celebrations went, since Audrey was the only Hallovin relative who’s location was known, aside from Rayna and her family.

Cora loved her son almost more than anything else, but as the heiress of the legacy, she needed a daughter. When her daughter was born, she would still spend lots of time with Charles, of course. But a special girl was what the household needed.

Since Charles loved being outside, the family spent a lot of time together in the back yard. When the renovations had been done, the yard had been left flat and empty, so that whenever the family wanted to add something or landscape, they could with ease. It became clear that when Charles was older, there were going to be a few sources of entertainment outside for him. On a beautiful afternoon, Cora decided to teach Charles how to walk. Brant was nearby, tending to his apple trees, and the afternoon was filled with laughter and joy.

Brant and Cora loved spending time with their little  boy, and often when Brant went fishing, he would take Charles with him. His parents were afraid that since he knew how to walk, he would be a bit of a nuisance, but Charles was a good boy, always sitting next to his father as the official tackle box handler. The Hallovins would often go on little picnics, and Brant knew the perfect spot to take his family, right by the ocean. The blanket would be laid out in the shade of a few fruit trees, and Charles could play either on the soft grass or near the water, where Daddy would be fishing. The trip was probably the best any Hallovin had ever went on as a family, and the bond between the family was becoming very strong. Best of all, with all of these trips with her loving family, Cora was finiding it more difficult to become stressed.

When Cora discovered she pregnant for a second time, she was overjoyed. Maybe now she would give birth to a daughter.  Charles was nearing the end of his toddlerhood, and he wouldn’t need as much attention by the time the baby was born.

Cora had quickly learned, things could never stay calm in this house for long. Cora was in her third trimester when Brant received news that his aunt had passed away. This aunt had been special to the family, and Brant was deeply hurt. Brant decided to take a day trip to go to his aunt’s funeral, since she was very loved and many family members would be there. He had to leave very early in the morning, but he promised to be back late that evening or the next morning. Cora spent the day reading with both of her children, and the trio, fetus included, enjoyed a wonderful day. But as the sun set at the ocean’s edge, something began to play at Cora’s nerves.

Cora had just ate a very late dinner, and was about to go back upstairs to tuck Charles in and go to bed. She heard the front door creak open, and a knot of worry settled in her gut. She knew that Brant wouldn’t be home this early, so who could it be?

Cora was shocked to find that a burglar had snuck into her home. Ironically, Evelyn had had a burglar alarm system installed when her girls were born, because though she was a criminal herself, she wanted her own family to be safe. Now, the alarm was blaring loudly, and Cora knew the police would arrive shortly.

A young officer by the name of Gregory Simms arrived, though the criminal woman did manage to escape his arrest. Officer Simms apologized to Cora, explaining that he was new, but Cora was just happy that her son was safe. Cora slept lightly that night, afraid that if she fell asleep something would do harm to her or her babies. She heard a taxi park outside the house early that morning, and after looking cautiously out the window, she knew Brant was home.

The next morning, just after giving Charles his breakfast, Cora went into labour. Like with Charles’s birth, she was early, and it was because of stress. Cora and Brant’s second son was name Monte, pronounced “Monty” and meaning “mountain” in Latin. Monte had suffered from the stress more than Charles had, however, and was born a light sleeper and insane. Monte was also the first Hallovin born without the signature pale skin. His parents knew as soon as they laid eyes on him that this child would be… interesting.

Raising Monte was one of the most difficult things that Cora had ever done. Monte was a needy baby, and one could not ignore his tortured-sounding screams for very long. Cora knew that if she wasn’t a legacy sim, she would not have any more children after having Monte. She desperately began hoping to give birth to a daughter, for the sake of her sanity and because she and Brant were getting older.

2.8 Expecting

August 26, 2010 § 2 Comments

The day after the return to China, Cora woke up with an odd sense of calm. Yesterday had been the longest, most stressful day she had ever lived, but this day showed potential. When Cora woke up, pregnant, she knew that things could only get better. Soon, an official third generation of Hallovins would run around the mansion, and one of them would carry on her grandmother’s legacy. Cora felt that even if her first child was a girl, she would still want to have multiple children with Brant. Growing up, she had only had her older, twin sister, who was her exact opposite. Her children would have better childhoods than she had.

Brant, Bryce, and just about everybody she told was thrilled. Bryce was especially excited, since his only grandchild outside the womb never visited. Rayna didn’t seem to like coming back to her first home, so that meant Sarah didn’t come out too often either. Like her sister had before her, Cora enjoyed being pregnant. It was probably the least stressful period she had ever gone through, and her husband and father were ready to do anything for her.

Cora spent most of her maternity leave painting. After Evelyn had passed away, the studio had been an empty, desolate place, with one unfinished painting by Evelyn still on its easel. But pregnant Cora felt somehow inspired, and what better way to pass one’s time then by releasing feelings onto canvas? The money made from her paintings was also nice, since Bryce had been doing poorly at work after his wife passed away.

As if Evelyn could read her family’s minds, her ghost appeared very early one morning. Coincidentally, Bryce had a day off and hadn’t been able to sleep that night, and could be found in the little library that the household called the Green Room. Evelyn’s ghost homed right in on Bryce, and the couple was reunited. When Bryce tried to kiss her, though, Evelyn’s ghost stopped him.

She explained that since they lived in two different realms, as two different beings, they could not yet be together. But once Bryce passed away, they would get married in the netherworld. Above them, they could hear Cora and Brant start to wake up. Evelyn knew how much her death had shaken her daughter, and since she was now pregnant, she didn’t want to unsettle her further by making an appearance. She promised Bryce that she would see him soon, and disappeared. Bryce never told his daughter about Evelyn’s appearance.

Every day of her pregnancy, Cora knew that she had made a good choice in choosing Brant. He was constantly feeling her belly, anxiously hoping for a kick, and every morning when he heard her come down for breakfast he would jump up and help her, talking to his unborn child the whole way to the kitchen. Everyone in the town knew that Brant would make an excellent father.

Cora should have known that the peace she felt while pregnant was unnatural, and couldn’t last long. She and her father were enjoying a nice lunch together when he suddenly stopped eating. Slowly, he stood up, and as if in deep thought, he moved to the other end of the room. He took out his cell phone and phoned Sally, who had become his rock. Their conversation was quick and low, an as if that wasn’t creepy enough, the Grim Reaper appeared as soon as Bryce pocketed his phone. Whereas Evelyn had begged on her knees to stay, Bryce happily shook the Reaper’s skeletal hand. Bryce had lived to be a little older than his wife, and he was ready and willing to join her. He knew that he wouldn’t see his grandchildren, but he knew that Brant and Cora would do fine without him. Besides, he had a wedding to attend to shortly, anyway.

Never before had Cora been so stressed. Both of her parents, gone, in such a short span? She couldn’t cope with such a loss. She had Brant put Bryce’s urn safely by the fireplace in the foyer, and retreated to their bedroom. Touching and seeing the urn, it would make the whole thing real. She knew that she would have to lay Bryce to rest next to Evelyn, but she couldn’t just yet.

There were two people alive left in the large, three story mansion. But as they went to bed the night of Bryce’s passing, a third Hallovin was ready to join them. Cora had been barely asleep for a few minutes when she began to go into labour. When her screams woke Brant up, his only thought was that she was a few weeks early, and that the stress from her father passing away so shortly after her mother must have induced labour. Cora’s wails were so loud and painful, both parents-to-be expected a very messy home birth. But fortunately for Cora and baby Charles, they had made it to the hospital just in time. He was born absent-minded, and he loved the outdoors. So far, the first boy born into the legacy would be just like his father.

2.7 Rest and Relaxation

August 25, 2010 § 4 Comments

As the plane touched down in China, Cora realized that she was the only one in the family who had visited all three of the hot destinations. She had to smile, considering she was usually the only one who stayed at the camp and read, while her parents and sister explored. Thinking of her family made her think of her mother’s death, but she quickly averted her thoughts. Everyone dies eventually, and her mother had led a long and successful life. Now as the heiress, she had to carry on the legacy her mother had started. Grieving wouldn’t help, and Cora would not have Evelyn’s work be for nothing.

The first thing to do in China was to go sight seeing. Brant wanted to check out the fishing, but on the way down to the riverbank, Cora was ambushed by some beautiful purple butterflies. She was enchanted, and a bold butterfly even landed on her nose. Cora could already feel the calming effects of the beautiful country de-stress her.

The newlyweds spent the day sightseeing, checking out the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army. Seeing the ancient tomb made Brant want to explore, but Cora was still somehow uninterested in uncovering ancient relics. As the sun began to set, the couple made a quick trip back to the base camp, and then they set out for the hot springs. A massage and a glass of sugary juice were key in calming Brant’s neurotic, easily stressed wife. Soon, all of Cora’s worries were left behind at home, and she could begin to enjoy herself on her honeymoon.

Day two began bright and early, with a bike ride up to the Phoenix Academy, home of Sim Fu. Sim Fu was supposed to be very calming, and a good way to defend oneself. Brant went straight to the target dummy, and Cora grabbed a book of the shelf and began reading about the ancient art of Sim Fu. They both found Sim Fu to be very easy and relaxing. Both Cora and Brant were quickly rising through the ranks, and by the time the day was over they both had their orange belts.

On the third day, the couple split up. Cora wanted to meditate in the Scholars Garden, but a local had asked Brant to retrieve a relic from a nearby tomb. And so Cora spent the day at the Scholars Garden, clearing her mind and relaxing, Brant retrieved a relic for a local’s fireplacemantle. As evening fell, the couple met at the base camp, and soon they boarded their flight and returned home.

The plane touched down in Sunset Valley at around 10 PM. By the time the Hallovins got home, Cora remembered that she had work the next morning, and it was too late to phone and ask for the next day off. After saying good night to Bryce, who seemed to be doing better, Cora went to bed. But all throughout the night, Cora would wake up and have to throw up. By the time her lunch break came at work the next day, Cora knew that the calm she had built up during her three day trip to China was quickly deteriorating.

2.6 That Fateful Night

August 21, 2010 § 6 Comments

The wedding was scheduled to take place at 5:00 pm on Saturday. It wasn’t going to be a big event, just some family and some close friends. While the bride and groom had planned the party, Bryce was the one who phoned the guests and set up a place in the backyard for the event. When he phoned the French Hallovins, however, no one answered. It was unfortunate, but the wedding would happen, whether the bride’s cousins and aunt and uncle could make it or not. With the wedding so close, all that Brant and Cora wanted to do was be with each other. But to try and keep it somewhat traditional, the couple refrained from seeing each other the whole day. The afternoon dragged on slowly; Bryce and Brant were busy setting up the platform and decorations in the back yard, while Cora and Evelyn booked a trip to China for four for noon the next day. By the time the doorbell rang at 5:00, the house, yard, and family were ready.

Since the men were still outside, and Cora was applying the finishing touches to her appearance, Evelyn went to answer the door. But as she touched the doorknob, she felt something deep inside her just stop. With horror, Evelyn realized that she was dying. The guests, impatient to see the marriage, rang the doorbell again, and Cora decided to go and see why her mother hadn’t let them in. The anguished cry that followed Cora’s discovery left the guests outside silent, and sent Brant running back to the house.

Never before had the Hallovins felt such pain. Evelyn was dying at her daughter’s wedding, and at a such a young age in comparison to her parents and Claire. Cora couldn’t stop sobbing, and when Bryce arrived he was speechless. But when the Grim Reaper arrived to take his wife, Bryce was howling. The ghost of Evelyn begged and pleaded with Grim Reaper – just one more day, while her youngest daughter got married – but the Reaper would hear nothing of it and banished her.

Only after the Reaper left were the guests let in. Bryce found a golden urn on the floor next to where Evelyn had been, and he held onto it tightly for the rest of the night. The guests could guess what had happened by the Hallovins’ teary faces and Evelyn’s absence, and most left right then, not wanting to burden their hosts after such a loss. The Hallovins, minus Evelyn, considered calling off the wedding. It wouldn’t be the same without their matriarch. But in the end, it was decided that it would have been what Evelyn wanted, and the ceremony began.

By the time that the smudged make up was washed off and the rings were being exchanged, most of the guests had left. The only person left was Zachariah Timmons, a friend and coworker of Cora’s. He was very supportive of the mourning family, and stayed close to Bryce at all times, not minding when he was suddenly hugged by the older man. Cora and Brant were married on the platform that had been put up just for the occasion, in front of the carefully set up, albeit empty, pavilion. They had spent the afternoon setting it up, so it wouldn’t make sense to not use it, even if there was no one else there. Despite Evelyn’s death, the couple managed to have a good time under a beautiful night’s sky. When the food was served, Zachariah took the fragile, shaking Bryce into the house and left the newlywed Hallovins to their meal. French music was played softly in the background in honour of Evelyn, and once they were finished eating, everyone went to bed.

The next morning, a funeral was held for Evelyn, and only the closest friends were invited. Evelyn’s ashes were buried in a shady corner of the yard, and red rose bushes were planted alongside the grave, as if to shield her. Her tombstone stood tall and proud, reminding the guests that Evelyn was an accomplished sim. Bryce had planned on making a speech, but standing in front of his wife’s grave all he could do was cry. Zachariah had been unable to attend,  but Brant’s sister Sally was there, and she was a big support to Bryce.

When it came time to leave for China, Brant phoned to cancel the tickets. Bryce insisted that they go, though, saying that he would be fine at home without them. Sally promised that she and Zachariah would take good care of Bryce while they were gone, and that the couple should consider the trip as a honeymoon. Going with Evelyn wouldn’t feel right, since it was her idea to go to China in the first place, but Cora and Brant eventually agreed, and Brant only cancelled two tickets.

Rest in peace, Evelyn Hallovin.

2.5 The Good Life

August 20, 2010 § 4 Comments

With the Sekemotos out of the house, Rayna’s old room was an empty space. Her old furniture had been sold, and it was then that the Hallovins realized how much money they had made. After a few calculations by Bryce, it was decided that if they tore down their house and sold a few of the brilliant paintings that Evelyn painted in her spare, retired time, they could build themselves a nice little mansion. Finally, the Hallovin home rivalled those of the Altos and Landgraabs next door. Evelyn was sure that their home was even grander than the town’s founders’ homes. But the Hallovins had worked for their fortune, and since every Sunday the household raked in over §2,500 in book royalties, everyone could sleep easy at night. Evelyn could remember when she first came to Sunset Valley, and how she would try to sleep under the stars. Most of the time she was unable to sleep, because she was worried about her future, financially. But now she slept snug in a large, warm bed, and between the book royalties, Bryce’s and Cora’s jobs, and the paintings and sculptures that she and Cora did, the household would never have to worry about their money again.

The fire between Cora and Brant was dimming. Brant’s father, the famous Geoffrey Landgraab, was trying to convince his younger son to move back in, and become a scientist like him. But Brant was artistic and loved the outdoors, and refused to go back. Cora didn’t want to involve herself in her lover’s personal affairs, but she hadn’t expected it to take this long to sort out. She really missed spending time with him, and she was getting quite lonely. One evening they made plans to go to the art gallery, but it wasn’t the art that they were admiring. That evening was amazing, and a real eye-opener. Cora and Brant were wonderful together; they loved being in each other’s company, and they could go on for hours just talking, especially about art. Cora knew that there was no one else she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, and raise a third generation of Hallovins with than Brant. And so, because she couldn’t wait any longer, Cora got down on one knee and proposed to him. Brant didn’t mind that she had proposed to him, instead of the other way around; he was ecstatic. If he said yes, not only could he spend the rest of his life with his lover, but surely he could escape his father. With that, Brant gladly excepted the ring. The night was spent in the Hallovin manor, with a wedding being planned to take place in a few days.

2.4 Leaving The Nest

August 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

Sarah’s birthday came much too quickly for Bryce’s liking. Today his granddaughter would become a toddler, and in a few days his eldest daughter would get married, and the morning after that they would leave the house. Since Bryce felt the most affected by these events, he was given the honour of holding the birthday girl and assisting her blow out her candles. And the results were surprising. They say that babies are often born with blue eyes, and that they will sometimes change colour. Sarah was born with the family’s dark eyes, but as she became a toddler, her eyes turned grey. And her face, which looked like Rayna’s, resembled her father’s more than ever.

The only thing familiar about Sarah was her strange blonde hair, the same colour as Rayna’s. The family joked about Rayna somehow gaining a strange gene, giving her her hair colour, and that she passed it on to her daughter, giving her grey eyes as well. Rayna couldn’t help but think of Scotty Howland, her first real crush, when she looked into her daughter’s eyes.

Everyone loved to be around Sarah, even Sam, who felt a bit of hurt when he saw the unfamiliar features. Rayna, though, didn’t seem to like to spend much time around her daughter. Sometimes, especially when she saw Sam with her, she regretted going to France, and getting angry with Cora, and staying with Jean Luc. But when she held her daughter and saw her smile, or heard her laugh, she didn’t regret it. Mistakes happen, but this beautiful one was worth it. But that didn’t keep her away from the stereo or chess table, and the task of raising Sarah became Bryce’s. With Sarah’s birthday party over, the next celebration would be the wedding.

Every evening in Sunset Valley was gorgeous, and the evening that Rayna and Sam said their vows was no exception. The guest list was small, mostly Hallovins, the old maid, Aleksey, and some coworkers. The party was going very well, though, and lasted late into the night. Eventually Sarah had to be taken home, and Bryce gladly took her home and stayed with his granddaughter for her last night in the family home. Meanwhile, the party on the beach went smoothly, until an unexpected guest arrived.

When the Grim Reaper appeared, Evelyn felt fear for the first time since arriving in Sunset Valley. Surely Death wouldn’t take her here, now, at her daughter’s wedding! He had taken her mother not long after her father, and her brother, now an elder, stood beside her in fear too. But when the reaper chose Aleksey Arrington, the Hallovins’ first maid, Evelyn felt relief, and after, sorrow and guilt. It was not her time, yet, but this brush with death  reminded her once again that life was too short. Soon, the reaper would come for her and her husband and her brother, and she shouldn’t be on bad terms with her children before she died. The guests left afterwards, the party less of a success than anticipated, and Evelyn apologized to Rayna for almost disowning her when she was pregnant with Sarah.

The next morning, the new Sekemotos packed their things and left the Hallovin household. Since the party had lasted late into the night, the Hallovin parents were still asleep, and Cora was the only one awake to see her sister and her new family leave. Their first stop was to City Hall, to change Sarah’s last name to Sekemoto. She would be raised as Sam’s daughter, and when she was old enough, Rayna would tell her who her father was. Then they would go to their new home, which was unknown to the rest of the Hallovins. Sam had told them that he wanted to fix it up a bit, since he was a bit of an architect and the house needed work, and then they would invite them over.

Cora wondered what the house would be like with her sister, niece, and new brother-in-law gone. No longer would someone be hammering away at the sculpting station, or be working out every evening, the electronic music playing loudly. And, she dreaded it, what would happen when her parents passed? All she could do was hope that that wouldn’t happen for a long time.

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