October 10, 2010 § 2 Comments
When he was a young boy, Charles was a little fish in a big pond. He had pale grey skin, and unique features. He was different, and so he was isolated. But he was also outgoing and friendly, and that’s what made the children of Sunset Valley afraid of him. Gradually, his peers had gotten to know and like him, and soon he had risen up to be a big fish in a little pond. When he reached high school, he became the big fish in a big pond. And he was happy.
Now, teenaged Charles almost wished that he was unliked and isolated again. After school, he had a job at the Grocery Store. He now had multiple friends and acquaintances, all wanting his attention. And in his free time, all he wanted to do was work out, practice the guitar, or read. But since his mother had gotten promoted and his father was always out fishing, hoping to accomplish his lifelong dream before he died, Charles found himself looking after Monte and Madeleine too. During the week, Charles would deal with the tasks given to him – school work and his job, and dealing with his peers and younger siblings – but on the weekends he was locked away in his bedroom, working out or playing the guitar, indie music blaring either way.
After seeing the success that her oldest brother had become, Madeleine decided that she wanted to be something special. Though clumsy and unlucky, she tried her hardest to make friends and a reputation for herself. Charles’s friends loved her – she was their Chieftan’s adorable little sister – but she wanted kids her age to love her. She wanted to become a big fish in a big pond, too.
Everything in the Hallovin household seemed to revolve around fish; every day, the children would come home to find more unique, perfect species of fish and sea creatures floating around in the aquariums. Brant was getting closer and closer to achieving his goal, and the family was proud. Cora became concerned, though, about their family. Brant was usually gone by seven in the morning, and she left for work at around eight. She came home at at 4:00 in the afternoon every work day, and Monte was always parked comfortably in front of his laptop in only his swim suit, and Cora began to suspect that he didn’t go to school every day. Like with the birthday situation, Cora felt a bit of dèja-vu; as the Hallovin children grew up, the order kept in the family was falling apart. She knew that dealing with teenagers and children was difficult for most parents, but she felt that in her family it was something a little deeper than that.
Cora decided to try and fix the family difficulties the same way that her mother had: by taking the family on a trip. But instead of taking them to an exotic land, the Hallovins visited France again. When Madeleine was told that she had French heritage, she became very excited to go visit her ancestors’ home town. She and Charles went to the Nectary and she watched Charles make his own bottle of nectar with the fruits that grew outside. Since she was underaged, she wasn’t allowed to drink any, but the kind folks who ran the Nectary gave her some fruit juice.
Brant tried to take Monte to one of the Art Museums in Champs Les Sims, but Monte would hear nothing of it. He preferred to stay at the base camp, walking around the building and amusing himself with the plants and stairways.
Cora decided that since they were in Champs Les Sims anyways, she should see if Jean Luc Beaumont, her niece’s father, was still alive. He was, and he was still living in the same house, behind his old shop. He had retired, but he was still the old, arrogant, smooth talker that Cora remembered Rayna telling her about. Cora and Jean Luc had never met, but they recognized each other; Cora could see some of Sarah’s features in his face, and he hadn’t forgotten the smooth, pale Hallovin skin. Cora griped about how his seducing her sister, so shortly after they had become young women, had caused the family so much grief, with Rayna’s freedom as a young person cut short and their mother nearly disowning her. Jean Luc blamed her, saying that it was her fault that Rayna was unhappy and came and saw him. In the end, Cora left, declaring Jean Luc an enemy of the Hallovins, whether he and the Sekemotos made up or not.
On the second day of the trip, at the base camp, Charles learned that Berthe Girard was looking for an adventurer to find something in the Chateau Landgraab. Charles was curious, especially since he was half Landgraab, Charles wanted to explore this mansion for Berthe. But when he asked his parents, they wouldn’t let him go. Cora said that they were just vacationing in town for a few days, and that he should leave that job to the professional explorers. While Charles was usually a good, obedient kid, he was very curious about this likely relative, and what secrets his home contained. His father had never mentioned an Admiral Landgraab, and he wanted to learn more about his roots. At 11:00 pm when everyone had gone to bed, Charles snuck out of his bedroom and went to see Berthe Girard and to get his instructions. Charles got to the mansion a little after midnight. He went to climb the stone steps and try and open the front door, but when he stepped on a particular tile, it sunk down, and fire burst into life just in front of him at the tope of the steps. A fire trap. Berthe had warned him about traps, but she said she was confident that a smart boy like him would figure out how to get in.
Once he got in, Charles spent three hours carefully exploring the main floor of the mansion. It was a large home, and there were many traps, and Charles knew that when he left there would still be much left to discover. He saw the documents he was looking for on a desk inside a sitting room, and ran to get them. After three careful hours, Charles made his first mistake: halfway across the room to the desk, there was a powerful electricity trap. Charles’s heart stopped for a scary second, and he was burned. When he realized he was okay, he grabbed the documents and bolted, being careful to retrace his steps through the safe path he had created. He gave the documents to Berthe, who said she’d look at them that night, and contact Charles if she needed his help further. Exhausted, hungry, and burnt, Charles returned to the base camp. He felt awful, and he was miserable. But deep down, he still felt the adrenalin. He had had fun exploring the house and disarming traps, and he hoped that Berthe would call on him again, especially if the next mission involved the Chateau Landgraab.
On the third and final day of the trip, Brant, who had been fishing most of the time, caught a perfect snail and a perfect frog. The Hallovins had left eleven perfect sea creatures at home, and now Brant knew that he had enough to say that he had the perfect private aquarium. He was eager to return home, and so were Monte, Madeleine, and Cora. Charles would have liked to stay longer to explore more tombs, but after his late night/early morning excursion, he wasn’t up to any more exploring this trip. The family made a quick trip up to the old Hallovin Castle, and both Charles and Madeleine agreed to try and repossess the castle for the family. With this new goal, the family returned home. Brant carefully put the snail and the frog in the aquarium with the other unique, perfect fish, and felt pride wash over him. When he was a young boy, Brant was a little fish in a big pond. He was the younger Landgraab son, always in his older brother’s, Malcolm, shadow. He had always wanted to do something with his life, and be different, instead of being like the rest of his family. And now he was; now he was the big fish.
September 19, 2010 § 9 Comments
With Cora’s birthday approaching, she felt a sense of déjà-vu. When she was Charles’s age, all of the birthdays in her family were lined up. For three solid days, the family celebrated. Now, there would be five birthdays over the course of seven days, and Cora’s was first.
Sitting at the top of the guest list for Cora’s party was her twin sister, Rayna. Other close family and friends were invited, but Cora was looking forward to seeing her sister and celebrating their birthday together. Rayna didn’t keep in contact much, and when she arrived, she told Cora that she had already celebrated her birthday the week before with her family. The girls had been drifting apart since they were young children, but this was like the period at the end of the sentence. Cora and Rayna were sisters in blood and flesh, but not in heart and mind.
Soon, it was time to blow out the candles, and the results were unwelcome. All throughout her life, Cora had thought that her unique face shape was horrifying. Only when she had become a young adult and things had sorted themselves out could Cora bear to sometimes tie her hair back. But as a middle aged woman, the emotional hardships she had faced became evident in clear, hard wrinkles in her skin.
Not only did Cora look older, but she felt older. She was the mother of three children, and she was pretty high up in her career ladder. She was not a young woman anymore, and her look wasn’t complimenting her new features. Cora decided to get a bit of a makeover, and decided on a more mature look. She didn’t want to be an old woman who still tried to appear younger.
The next up in the birthday line-up was Charles. His parents were a little bit sad to see their adorable, responsible young son grow older, but they couldn’t wait to see how he would grow up. Charles invited his closest friends to celebrate with him; the boy was quite popular amongst his peers, and he simply could not invite all of his friends to celebrate. Soon, Charles stepped up to blow out the candles, with his five closest friends celebrating with him. Everybody was amazed with teenaged Charles’s appearance. Demarcus Harden, his best friend, was a little envious, as his genes weren’t the greatest. Latasha Bachelor and Krista Ursine (a special friend of Charles’s, since their grandmothers had been best friends) quickly ran their fingers through their hair, trying to make themselves look prettier.
Nobody was really surprised that Charles developed the Charismatic trait. He was likable and handsome, and when Bryce visited early the next morning and spoke with Charles, his ghostly eyes glowed with pride.
Monte’s birthday was next, and Cora and Brant were excited for the wrong reasons. They could not wait for their younger son to grow up and be able to fend for himself. Monte’s toddlerhood seemed to have lasted an eternity, and Cora blamed Monte a bit for her new, deep wrinkles. The celebration was kept low-key again; Monte was sort of the family’s dark secret. They didn’t want the town to know about their problem child.
The first thing the family noticed when Monte became a child was that he still didn’t have much hair. Cora wasn’t sure whether this was because she had been stressed when she was pregnant with him, or because everything about Monte screamed special, or both. The second thing the family noticed was as soon as Monte finished his cake, he went and sat in front of the television. After spending most of his time in front of the television as a toddler, Monte developed the Couch Potato trait. When Cora and Brant went to bed at 11, they told Monte to be in bed by 11:30. But when Brant woke up at 5 AM to go to the washroom, he found Monte was still watching the television. Brant sent the young insomniac to bed at that time, but as soon as he went downstairs Monte got up and continued to watch his shows. He was almost late for school because he ‘needed’ to see how a show ended.
The next to have a birthday was Brant. While the children were eager to grow up, and Cora just accepted it, Brant did not want to become an elder. His oldest was a teenager, but his youngest was still a toddler for another day. He refused to have a party, and even a cake. That morning he had fished, he enjoyed a lovely little lunch with Cora, and played catch with Charles and Monte until Monte went inside. Before dinnertime, he held Madeleine close. He was old enough to be her grandfather, but her blue eyes, his blue eyes, protested. He kissed her on the forehead, praying that he would live longer than his parents and grandparents had, just to see his daughter grow up.
That evening, Brant sat in the Green Room, alone. He was reading, and waiting for the dreaded transition. As it got closer to midnight, he could no longer focus on his book, and began thinking. He was likely to die before Madeleine became a young adult, and it made him a little angry. But who’s fault was it? He hadn’t felt any romantic feelings towards any girl until his young friend came home from France as a stunning young adult. He was a little bit older than Cora, but it wasn’t his fault. Was it her parents’ fault, then, for not having their daughters earlier? Or his, for deciding to have two more children after Malcolm was a teen? Minutes away from midnight, Brant began to feel the sensation of aging. As he became an elder, he decided that if there was anyone to be angry with, it was life and fate. Life was unfair, and fate would do what it pleased.
The next morning, the family celebrated the last birthday. Cora brought the giggling young heiress up to her cake and helped her blow out her candles. Things were a bit rushed, as the boys had to catch the bus after, and Cora had to go to work, but when Monte came to the dining room Cora was glad that they had decided to do the party privately, at home. The insane boy had deemed it appropriate to come to the table in just his swimsuit and goggles. Madeleine blew out her candles regardless, and became a gorgeous little girl with the Unlucky trait.
Since she had just became a child, she didn’t have to go to school that day. She watched Monte and Charles run to the bus, and then explored the house on her own two feet. After finding her redecorated room, she found a little child’s oven in the kitchen. Sometimes, when she was younger, Cora would sit her on the kitchen counter while she cooked dinner, and Madeleine had always watched with fascination. Now, she had her own little oven to make food with. Her first three batches of vanilla muffins came out flawless, and since her brothers were at school, mother at work, and father out fishing, Madeleine decided to take her muffins to the park and see if anyone thought they were any good, and maybe meet some of the townsfolk.
September 12, 2010 § 2 Comments
On the first night of Cora’s third pregnancy, she felt a strange compulsion to go visit her mother’s grave. She had been getting ready to go to bed, when something told her to go to her parents’ resting place. Cora carefully approached the small gravesite, bracing herself for the emotions that were likely to surface. But when she saw her mother’s smiling ghost, she was calm. Cora and Evelyn talked into the early morning, and Evelyn promised her daughter that the house would soon see the special little girl that everyone was eagerly waiting for.
For the most part, Cora’s pregnancy went smoothly and quietly. Brant made sure to stay home the whole time, and the family always engaged in leisurely activities. Cora didn’t want to stress out the next heiress, if in fact she was carrying a girl. No one had seen Evelyn since she visited Cora in the early, early morning, but one morning, young Charles woke up and felt the same compulsion as his mother had not too long before. In the pre-dawn light, Charles went into the back yard and discovered his grandfather’s ghost. Bryce had decided to visit the Hallovins, and meet the grandson who’s birth he had barely missed. Charles and Bryce met under strange circumstances, but soon the two were playing tag together under the rising sun. When daylight signaled Bryce to return to the Netherworld, Charles felt a little bit of sadness. He could tell that he and his grandfather could have had a wonderful relationship, but Bryce was only permitted to visit early certain mornings.
One night, Cora woke up with the extreme abdominal pain that she was all too familiar with. Baby number three was ready and eager to be born. Cora and Brant took a taxi to the hospital, and a teenager down the street came to watch over Charles and Monte. The birth was quick and easy, and Cora and Brant returned home with baby Madeleine just before sunrise. Madeleine was born Excitable and Clumsy, but she was the most beautiful baby girl that they had ever seen. See had the trademark pale skin, and her dark eyes held hints of blue. When Cora went to put her new daughter in bed, she found that Evelyn was in the Green Room, reading. Cora went to show her mother the next heiress, and Evelyn’s smiling, glowing eyes seemed to say “I told you so”.
Time in the Hallovin household went quickly, and soon it was the young heiress’s birthday. Like with her brothers, Madeleine’s birthday was kept low-key, and only the family celebrated. As a toddler, Brant’s face was showing strongly in her’s, down to the eye colour. The first blue eyed Hallovin, and the first with Landgraab hair with Hallovin streaks. Neither family had seen such a unique blend of genetics, but both were pleased and anxious to see what she would look like when she was older.
Cora and Brant could finally relax. With their unique daughter, the legacy finally had an heiress, and the parents could become old without fear of this legacy dying out.
September 6, 2010 § 2 Comments
On the outside, the 15 Summer Court Hill seemed like a normal home. The house itself was dark, the fenced-in yard oddly flat and bare, and there appeared to be a small graveyard in the back corner, but other than that, the Hallovin home was quite normal. But on the inside, it was a mad house. As soon as the front door opened, Monte’s tortured wails could be heard, along with the pacing of two parents desperately trying to calm him. It was only when Cora finally gave up, passed her son to his father, and passed out in their room down the hall did Monte, and the rest of the household, seem to be at peace.
Soon, Charles’s birthday was upon the family. Though thoroughly exhausted, Cora and Brant phoned a few family members and friends and invited them to the park, to celebrate Charles stepping into true childhood. With red balloons scattered throughout the park and loved ones cheering them on, Charles blew out the two candles with Cora’s help. It was then decided that if Brant had been born a Hallovin, he would have looked just like Charles. Charles received the Athletic trait, and after getting his hair cut like his father’s, the two went fishing together. Charles was only able to catch a few minnows, but as a gift and a test of responsibility, he was allowed to keep one in a bowl in his room, if he made sure to feed it every night before bed. He was very happy with this gift, and eagerly fed his fish twice daily.
Since Charles was now old enough to go out and about with his father, whom he idolized, he was always looking for his father’s attention. But since Monte would only stay calm in Brant’s arms, the family had a problem. Fortunately, shortly after Charles became a child, Monte became a toddler, and the family found it easier to raise him. Monte’s room was filled with toys, books, and even a small television was placed in his room out of desperation. This worked very well, and both parents could relax until Monte started elementary school.
Since Brant’s burden of keeping two young boys entertained was lifted a bit, he found that he had more free time to himself. While Charles was at school, he would spend quality time with Cora. He knew about the legacy that her mother had started, and knew that a girl was needed to carry on the family name. But the more they thought about it, the more they wanted a girl, just to dote on and dress in cute outfits.
On weekends, Charles would beg his father to take him with him on his fishing trips. Brant found it hard to say no to the little boy that looked almost just like him, only with his loving wife’s pale skin tone and dark eyes. Brant took Charles to the park every Saturday evening, and father and son fished and talked for hours. Charles loved spending time with his father and idol, telling him about his day at school and seeing him catch wonderful, giant fish, and Brant loved spending time with his little Hallovin clone, and seeing the fascination and awe in his eyes whenever he reeled in a salmon or trout.
With Monte entertained in his room, and Brant and Charles bonding, Cora returned to painting and sculpting. She was still on maternity leave, and she spent this quiet time tucked away in the studio, letting her emotions flow onto canvas or into clay. It was then that Cora discovered that she was expecting for a third time. Just as things in this loud, stressful house had calmed down, Cora became pregnant again. She hoped with all of her being that this time she would have a girl, because she was nearing full adulthood, and did not want to be a grandmother and still trying to raise an heiress. Brant was nearing elderhood, and Cora didn’t want her children to lose their father when they were young.
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.
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.
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.