OKAY SO I FAIL

Hi everyone!

Wow it has been a THOUSAND YEARS since I updated this blog.  I am soooo sorry.  >.<

To make a long story short, the Crosswells became more of a burden to me than a source of enjoyment.  I think this kind of a story was just WAY too much for a first time blogger like me to take on as an initial project.

So lemme tell ya what I’m doin’.

I have not left the internet (not at ALL).  In fact, I have been ashamedly present lo these many weeks and months, feeling guilty-er and guilty-er every time I got an e-mail or a comment asking for the next update!  So never fear that I’m luring you in just to desert you again!  I’m just giving myself a much more REALISTIC project to keep my writing skills and my Sims 3 love sharp until I can summon up the courage and energy it takes to play and write for the Crosswells.  It was a dilemma I caused myself: one chapter of the Crosswells was becoming SO labor intensive that I dreaded playing them at all.  😦

So here’s what I’ve done.  I’ve made a new blog that is MUCH less serious, with less plot but much more humor.  With this new, light-hearted project, I’m trying to keep myself interested and excited to do updates.  😀

Anyway, I hope you all understand and I hope you’ll all check out my new blog about the Waylinn family:

http://littlesnistersims.wordpress.com/

 

I love you guys so much!  I’m so sorry to be such a fail at my first blog! ❤ ❤

Chapter 10 – Something to Treasure

Seventeen year-old Marisol Crosswell had been assigned a particularly cumbersome report for science class. It was going to come due in the next couple of days, and she was starting to feel really anxious. In truth, the assignment itself wasn’t terribly difficult (all the students had to do was write a few pages on a marine biology topic entirely of their choosing), but in a moment of, well… supreme overconfidence Mari had announced to the teacher that HER report would focus on the unique defensive abilities of the Caribbean fire sponge.

So while her classmates would be turning out cookie-cutter blather on manatees and dolphins, she relished any challenge to go above and beyond what was expected. Her motivation was always equally fed by the desire to learn and the wish to impress.  Mr. Henderson had tried to encourage her to pick something a little easier, but she was determined. She’d even come up with a glamorous title: The Caribbean Fire Sponge – It’ll Give You Such a Rash!

Now however Mari was regretting her stubbornness just a little. Everything she could find about the fire sponge was pretty advanced, written by and intended for actual biologists. She’d given up searching the internet from home (Wikipedia was getting her nowhere, much to her frustration), so she’d gone out on a limb and contacted someone in the biology department at the community college. Alex Birnhart had readily agreed to meet up with her at the library and give her some tips for her report.

True to his word Alex WAS helpful, but the whole encounter left Mari feeling a little less than impressed with collegiate men. For all that he was clearly smart, Alex looked like he’d just rolled out of bed. His hair was un-brushed and way too long (a girl in Mari’s gym class had that same haircut!), and his clothes appeared to be covered in some kind of ectoplasmic vomit. On top of it all, his inept attempts at flirting really got under her skin. After all, she JUST wanted his help, and he was too old and obviously too slovenly to interest her in any way. When she finally got away, she was tired and irritable. If that’s what older boys were like… well, geez.

As she was headed for the door, a different young man intercepted her. He looked sort of familiar. Perhaps guessing that she wouldn’t recognize him, he quickly introduced himself. He was Dominic Colby, and he’d been a classmate of hers… pretty much since they were in preschool.

Mari blushed and apologized, but Dom waved away her apology good-naturedly. He’d always been shy and kept to himself in school. 

Dom explained that he had overheard the conversation she’d just been having, and he wanted to apologize on behalf of his cousin. Mari stared. Alex was Dom’s cousin? Well, now that she thought about it she supposed there was some similarity between them. They seemed to have the same eyes, at least. Such an interesting shade of light blue.

Dom just shook his head and smiled. Yep, Alex was his cousin and he could be a bit oblivious when it came to flirting. He just thought all women were naturally interested in him. Alex had always been that way, a smooth talker and pretty full of himself, Dom said, rolling his eyes.

Mari laughed. Now that she thought about it, she did remember Dom. 

She had rarely noticed him, since he was shy as he’d mentioned, but there were a lot of memories that she could recall where he’d done something nice for her. Shared his lunch money, helped her unstick her locker, let her look off his book when she forgot hers. They were little things, ones she was ashamed she hadn’t always thanked him for or truly appreciated. Mari smiled at the boy, and somehow she just knew that she wouldn’t overlook him again.

After their ‘re-meeting’, for of course they’d been distantly acquainted with each other nearly all their lives, Mari and Dom began spending more time together. It came as another slightly embarrassing surprise when she realized that they had several classes together, but now she was glad. When Mari got her fire sponge report back and saw she’d gotten an A+, Dom was the first person she excitedly told.

Dom was such a friendly person. Quiet of course, but so laid back. Hardly anything ever seemed to upset him. Mari, by contrast, had always been more impulsive and she was often irritated when things didn’t go her way. She started to find that the more time she spent around Dom the easier it was to simply relax. And likewise it seemed as though the more time they were together the more confident Dom was becoming. He was still quiet, but he spoke up in class and at the lunch table much more than before, and the more he talked the more other students began to notice him. Maybe he didn’t say much, but when he did folks would generally stop and listen.

Eventually Mari began to wonder whether her new friendship with Dom wasn’t turning into something deeper. She knew she enjoyed having him around, but at what point does preference turn into attachment? When does attachment become affection? Would there be a day when a light bulb would flick on and she would suddenly know? But then… what about all that ‘love at first sight’ business that books and movies and television shows always talked about? It seemed to Mari that love, when it comes to a person, ought to burst in all of a sudden with a trumpet of fanfare, like a white knight on a horse. It should ride at you at a gallop, transforming the countryside of your life as it thunders through, leaving everything irrevocably different than before. Love should be OBVIOUS. The notion that it might actually come tiptoeing softly to your side in the form of friendship was disconcerting. If Love could be so soft and silent, how were you supposed to know it’s arrived? And worst of all, what if you didn’t notice at all? What if you were distracted thinking about something else and by the time you turned around and were ready to really pay attention, love had already slipped away?

It’s possible that at seventeen Marisol might have been making herself nervous over nothing. But the pains and uncertainties of youth, which is of course too young to understand the “this too shall pass” nature of things, are keenly felt and not compatible with words like “sensible” and “rational.” So was this really friendship or was it love? Mari decided that she had to find out. One afternoon after school had let out, she and Dom went for a walk. They bypassed the park and kept going until they reached the canal walk near the science facility. Mari was greatly enamored of that building, imagining that she’d love to work there someday. Dom was chatting happily about something that had happened to him in English class when suddenly, with a deep breath, Mari turned and faced him on the sidewalk.

In a stammering, halting way (a decided contrast to her usual straightforward manner) Mari tried to explain the thoughts she’d been having, how she’d been wondering for weeks about the status of their friendship.

That was as much as she could really make clear for a while, until finally Dominic laughed and told her to just spit whatever it was out already.

Marisol Crosswell never did anything without thinking. She was not an impulsive person. She liked to do things with calm precision whenever she could, making sure everything she could control was in place before taking a leap. But not today. Maybe it was love, maybe just hormones, but whatever the reason today she just clenched her eyes and leapt. She leapt with absolutely no idea where she would land.

As the sun began to dip beneath the hills and twilight fell over the valley, Mari looked at Dom and grinned. Her anxiety had turned to butterflies. She was full of a strange, surging happiness that was leaving her completely speechless. Apparently even when love chose to come quietly and in its own way, there could still be that moment of shimmering realization. And her life was transformed after all. True, there hadn’t been galloping hooves or trumpets blaring, but in a soft and impossibly sweet transition, like a veil being withdrawn, everything was different.

Update! YAY!

Got my laptop back!  The fan is silent as the grave now, lol.  Sorry about the lack of updates in the meantime, I think I just lost my inspiration without my dear, sweet, trusty mechanical friend to type on.  But all’s well now!  Expect an update in the next 24-48 hours! 😀

An Update – Grrrrr

So the last week has been super rough on me.  What began as a simple visit to Best Buy has now become a source of listlessness bordering on actual depression.  Here’s the story:

About a month ago, I started noticing that whenever I used it, now and then my laptop’s fan would start to spin REALLY loudly.  The “whirr”-ing and occasional rattling of it was SO noisy in fact that I could hardly hear whatever movie/game/anything I had going.  That went on for a few weeks, with me optimistically hoping it would just clear up on its own, but then a frightening new symptom emerged.  The whole laptop was starting to get really hot everytime I fired up the Sims 3.  Like first-degree-burn-on-your-leg-through-your-pants hot.  o_O;

Now I don’t know much about computer software, and I know far less about computer hardware, but this whole habit of rattling-whirring-overheating-repeat was starting to really cramp my enjoyment of my trusty laptop.  Happily, though, it was still covered under the Best Buy warrantee (yay!).  So on the day I finally couldn’t take it anymore, I trekked on over to the Best Buy Geek Squad folks and explained what the problem was.

Everything was going fine – the dude was polite, helpful, and most importantly he didn’t act like what I was describing was anything to really worry about (it’s always been an irrational fear of mine that what seems like a simple issue to me is actually A HORRIBLE MALIGNANT CANCER OF AN ISSUE that would’ve been spotted by a smarter person long ago).  But then GeekSquadMan said the words that have been haunting my dreams ever since: “The repair should only take between two and three weeks.”  On the outside all I did (I think) was arch my brows and sigh a little, but on the inside sirens were going off and all my bodily systems were engaged in trying to prevent the onset of cardiac arrest.

TWO TO THREE WEEKS.  WITHOUT A COMPUTER.  As a poor young professional living in a city where one month’s rent is slightly more than an entire paycheck, I don’t have a desktop computer.  I don’t have a smartphone.  I BARELY have tv.  My laptop is the source of all my entertainment (the Sims, Hulu, youtube, EVERYTHING) and my most important link to the outside world (oh god how I’ve missed your loving caress, Facebook).

So today marks the end of one week.  One of the torturous two (MAYBE THREE!!!%&$@!*”!) weeks.  And it hasn’t been easy, let me tell you!  My life without a computer is a lot like living in the wild.  Instead of playing the Sims, I have to read.  Instead of chatting to friends online, I have to CALL them.  It’s horrific, it really is!  And it’s turned out to be surprisingly stressful to realize that when you shut off your work computer on Friday, you will have no access to ANYTHING for the entire weekend.  The WORLD COULD END (and according to some radical Christians, it’s apparently going to on Saturday??) and I would have no idea.

But enough of my melodrama.  On a more Crosswell-related note: I have gone through my files and it seems that I do actually have enough screenshots for a new chapter (granted, not a chapter in which too much HAPPENS, but you can’t have everything!), so as soon as I can find the motivation to write I will get to making that.  You guys’ support has been a great motivator thus far, and I only hope the long wait between chapters hasn’t turned you off my silly little blog!

<3,

LLB

1.9 – The Kids are Alright

Time heals all wounds, though the healing process is rarely easy or simple.  Much more often it is the application of the antiseptic, the bandaging, the slow knitting together of bones and the rejuvenation of flesh – in short, the parts of the healing process – that emerge as the true agony.  Long after the memory of the wound has faded, recovery goes on and on, an endless repetition of days – sometimes painful, sometimes numb, and then sharply and suddenly the pain again – this is the ordeal of healing.

Temple went back to work, glad that she had a routine to return to.   Getting out of the house, back to the hustle of activity in City Hall – these would be excellent distractions.  But as it turned out, while her body went through the motions, her mind was free to worry.. and worry it did.  And of course, her thoughts were always on her children.  Their father was gone and his absence was like a gaping hole in their lives.  Again and again, she wished she could somehow be enough for them, but of course that hole could never be filled.  Not by her, not by their friends, not by the lovers and children that might come along over the years.  They would always have the burden of missing their father.  It was up to Temple to be their mother, strong and supportive enough that they could go on, even carrying that burden.

 

Only rarely did she let herself cry over Hunter.  She gave so much of her energy and emotion to her family, to getting them through this, that there just wasn’t much left to spare.  But she couldn’t forget him, and for a while it seemed like everyday, for a moment or two, that she wasn’t equal to it.  Like the weight of having to carry it all alone might just come down and crush her. 

Like their mother, the kids were greatful to go back to school.  

Marisol watched her little brother carefully, always wondering how he was coping.  For his sake and though it was hard, she tried not to cry or be weak in front of him.  When she had to do it at all, she cried alone.  

 

Nevertheless, while sadness was pervasive the family did all try to make the best of things.  For instance, family dinners become more frequent than ever.  Mari and Temple eventually became very open with each other, and even Malcolm began to come out of his shell and talk about his days at school more. 

 

But Mari still worried that her brother was withdrawing from them.  Though he would talk about homework and field trips and what he’d had for lunch, still it seemed as though he was just going through the motions, day after day.  Malcolm and Marisol used to enjoy their special bonding time every morning on the bus, where away from their mother Malcolm would open up and chatter animatedly about everything he’d been thinking about.  But nowadays the ride to school was spent in silence.

Mari was worried; she didn’t want her sweet little brother to keep her at arm’s length forever.  She wanted to find a way to make him feel better.

 

After a lot of thought, Marisol decided she would suggest that the family hold a funeral for Hunter.  He’d already been buried in the cemetery, but a get-together of some kind with friends of the family to remember and honor Hunter might make them all feel better.

First, she brought up the idea to Malcolm, asking him seriously how he would feel about having a funeral for dad.

Not looking up from his waffles, Malcolm shrugged.  It seemed to Mari, though, that under his outward indifference, Malcolm really did seem to like the idea.  He seemed a little happier, anyway.

 

Next would come the much harder task of suggesting the idea to Temple, but Mari made up her mind to do it that evening.  She wasn’t sure if her mother would react with sadness or anger, but Mari certainly hoped Tmple would be understanding even if she didn’t like the idea.

Though the suggestion certainly surprised her, and immediately she knew that the occasion itself would be extremely hard to face, Temple did understand that having a memorial of some kind would be good for the kids, particularly Malcolm, and so she agreed.

Later on that night, after both Mari and Malcolm were in bed, it struck Temple how strange it was that she never thought of holding a funeral party before now.  She worried that Hunter would feel ashamed of her negligence.  Not for the first time, she couuld almost feel him looking down on her, but unlike the times before she thought that now he must be angry and hurt that she didn’t think to give him a memorial service.  Having one now, though it might not ultimately appease Hunter, would surely go a long way toward making it up to the kids.

And so, a few days later the party was held.  Temple herself cooked the meal as the kids finished their homework, so that they would all be ready once their guests arrived.

The event turned out to be larger than even Marisol was expecting.  Her mother had many friends from work and some of hers and Malcolm’s school friends came over as well.  For the next several hours, everyone milled around the Crosswell living room, discussing their memories of Hunter.  Even Malcolm found himself talking candidly with a few kind-faced adults.

At one point, Marisol found hereslf seated on the couch with a woman she had never met before who introduced herself as Sandy Mayor. 

Curious, Mari asked Sandy how she had known Mari’s dad.

Sandy revealed that several years ago, Hunter had helped her when her and her husband’s house caught fire.  Hunter, though he told his family he was out fishing, spent an entire weekend helping Sandy’s husband Tom rebuild the family’s garage where the damage had been worst.

Mari was shocked and touched that her father had done something so selfless and never even told his family.  It made her wonder who her father had really been.  To her he had always just been ‘dad’, but clearly he had been a lot of things to a lot of people.  Mari felt happy, but she was also a little sad at the thought that maybe she hadn’t known him as well as she’d always thought.

Meanwhile, as Temple was walking around thanking everyone for coming, she was shocked to spot her old boss, Heather Crosby.  Heather had never been very friendly to Temple once she discovered that Temple had flirted with her boyfriend (now her husband), and though years had passed since then she was still pretty frosty on the rare occasions that they saw each other.  So what was Heather doing at Hunter’s funeral?

Knowing that she couldn’t just ignore Heather, Temple forced a smile onto her face and went over to talk to her one-time friend.   To Temple’s eternal surprise, Heather’s chilly attitude was completely gone.  Suddenly she was warm and apologetic, and revealed that she had been so upset when she heard the news about Hunter’s death.  It had been then that Heather had realized that she had been petty when she stopped being friends with Temple when Temple flirted with Hank.

Heather said she was ashamed of how she acted and asked if Temple could possibly forgive her. 

Practically speechless, Temple replied that of course she would.  After all, it hadn’t been all Heather’s fault.  Really, it had all just been a big misunderstanding.  Heather was gracious that her apology was accepted, and launched into a big speech about how she had gone to grade school with Hunter long ago, and what a kind and generous man he had always seemed to her.  Temple and her children must miss him terribly.  It was at that point that Temple broke down and cried on her new friend’s shoulder, the emotion of losing Hunter but gaining Heather back as a friend all just a bit overwhelming.

  

Heather said again and again how glad she was over their renewed friendship, and let Temple cry herself out on her shoulder.  She swore to always be there for Temple going forward, to make up for all the time that she wasn’t.

With everyone’s emotions running high inside the house, it wasn’t that surprising that Malcolm soon found himself outside alone.  He scuffled his sneaker in the dirt, lonely and a little depressed.  It was so easy for mother and Mari to talk to all those strange people, but Malcolm didn’t like to tell a stranger how he felt.  He didn’t want to talk to a stranger about how he missed his dad. 

Malcolm wasn’t alone for very long.  Another boy had been brought to the service; Dexter had been forced to come with his mom, who worked for Miss Temple.  Dexter and Malcolm were in the same Art class at school, and though they were both a bit shy they had talked enough off and on to know that they liked each other. 

The two boys talked for a while, and at some point Malcolm started to try to explain how he’d been feeling lately, how sad he felt about his dad’s passing.

Dexter was very understanding, and even provided some unexpected help.  Dexter explained that he himself had been adopted by his mom and dad, and had never even met his biological parents.  Malcolm had never known anyone who’d been adopted, and was nervous to ask more about it, but Dexter was good-natured and happy to answer all Malcolm’s questions.  The conversation that evening, and many conversations on many other days after that, helped Malcolm realize just how lucky he was to have known his father, even if it was only for a relatively short while.

After the funeral, everyone seemed to feel much,much better.  Malcolm was still fairly quiet, but after all that was his nature.  He was certainly happier and less stressed out at home and at school, and truly began to blossom as he and Dexter became inseparable best friends.

For Temple, it felt as though an enormous burden had been lifted off her shoulders.  She was able to engage much more at work, and returned to her regular habit of climbing the ranks – the point where she was eventually elected Governor of Riverview!  It was a new title with new and weighty responsibilities, but for the first time in a long time Temple felt more than up to the challenge. 

She even got a new makeover more befitting of her new title.

Most importantly of all, perhaps, she felt that Hunter, wherever he was now, must be happy with her again.  When she was alone, she could sometimes feel his presence, always silent but warm and loving.

She even began to sleep better at night; therenewed sense of being closer to Hunter made the pain of missing him much easier to handle. 

She also began to spend much more time with Heather, and the two women became quite close as they realized how well they really got along, and how similar their personalities were.

Marisol, like her mother, felt relieved of some invisible weight that she hadn’t realized had been holding her down.  It filled her with joy to see her mother and brother so happy.

One day Heather suggested to Temple that they should get together – nothing special, just a simple girls’ night.  Temple said she’d order a pizza and invited Heather to come over that evening.  When Heather arrived at the house, it was clear that a ‘simple girls’ night’ wasn’t all that had been on her mind — she had some news to share! 

After years and years of trying, she and Hank were finally having a baby – their very first, and more than likely their only child since they were both advancing in years.  It was a veritable miracle and Heather was bursting to share the news with her best friend.

Temple was thrilled for her, and so happy they renewed their friendship in time to celebrate it together.

But as it turned out, sharing the news of her impending motherhood wasn’t the only reason Heather was there.  All of a sudden, she and Marisol leapt to their feet and started twirling noise-makers.  “Happy Birthdy, Temple!” 

Caught completely off-guard, Temple burst out laughing.  It WAS her birthday, though she hadn’t wanted to broadcast it (what woman wants the world to know that she’s getting older?), but the effort they had gone to to keep the celebration a surprise was touching and she couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear.

Malcolm clapped and laughed along too; it was the happiest Mari and Temple had seen him in a long time. 

Everyone was having a wonderful time at the impromptu birthday party and Temple felt her age catching up with her at last.  It came over gracefully, and she smiled gently when the transformation was complete.  It was high time, after all, and she wasn’t ashamed.  Everyone grows old, and she is more than happy with her family and her life. 

That night in the privacy of her room, Temple talked to Hunter in her prayers.  It was something she’d never done before, never having been a very religious person, but something about growing older made her nostalgic to see his face again.  Was he still proud of her?  Did he miss her?  Was he watching over their children?  Did seeing how far Mari and Malcolm had come, how they were both blossoming so well, make him as happy as it made her?

A few days later, Malcolm woke up with the most extraordinary feeling coursing through his body.  What was this?  Somehow he just knew and the sudden excitement of it made him grin: it was his birthday at last!

“MOM!  MARI!  IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!”

 

The girls had been out in the hall waiting to come in and surprise him with cake and presents, so when they heard his yelling they both burst out laughing and rushed into the room. 

While Mari took pictures for the family album, Temple clapped and cheered for her son who was finally making the leap from child to teen.  What would he look like?  Would he still be her sweet, smart, quietly remarkable little boy?

When it was all over, Malcolm stared at himself in the mirror.  Who WAS that?  He couldn’t recognize himself at first.  He looked a little closer at the tall, handsome young man and scratched his head.  So did the young man.

“WOOHOO!” shouted Mari, and the silence was broken.  All three laughed and Malcolm blushed brilliantly. 

Temple glowed.  Her son was as handsome as she could’ve wished, and his features were the most perfect blending of herself and her husband.  Surely Hunter was looking down on the family right now, and surely his heart was bursting with pride.

 

(Author’s Note:  WOW, what a long chapter!  Hope you’re still reading!  Anyway, join us next time when Malcolm gets a makeover, Mari meets a man, and probably some other stuff will happen too!  XoXo, LLB)

1.8 – Growth and Goodbyes

The remainder of Malcolm’s toddler days and Marisol’s first years as a child passed swiftly and without great incident.  It seemed like the very next day they were enrolling Malcolm in school while his sister was headed off to her first day at the new high school.  Everybody was excited, spirits were high.  Temple and Hunter beamed with pride as they watched their children head off to catch the bus.  Their kids were growing up!

Marisol was really coming into her own.  She had been a happy child, thrilled to try anything new and adventurous.  Now a teenager, the messy pony tail, dirty sneakers, and awkwardness of her younger days were gone.  She was blossoming into a beautiful young woman.

She looked so much like her mother, albeit without Temple’s distinguishing hair colors.  She had inherited other features such as her mother’s piercing green eyes, her pouty lips, and her no-nonsense brow.  The shape of her face, by contrast, was very much like Hunter’s, and there was no mistaking that her nose and hair color had come from him too. 

Mari delighted her parents in looks and in personality.  She had been a happy child and she was no less cheerful as an adult.  She was more mature now, that could hardly be helped, but her love of exciting new experiences remained.  She was feisty, intelligent, and highly ambitious.  She sometimes looked at her mother like there was nobody else in the world.  Temple was her role model; her success both as a mother and an underdog politician (though Riverview had been surprisingly accepting of a politically-minded single mother with two children born out of wedlock), deeply impressed and influenced Mari.  Temple was gorgeous and the smartest woman Mari had ever met.

Mari found it hard to concentrate in school sometimes, always day-dreaming about what lay ahead of her during class time.  She was determined to excel, however, and be just like her mother when she grew up.  She didn’t know if she wanted to go into politics like Temple, but one way or another she would be just as successful in her chosen field.  With that lofty ambition, Mari worked very hard in school in spite of the fact that she found it all pretty boring.

Little Malcolm, on the other hand, loved school.  He loved learning in any form.  His favorite pastime turned out to be reading, though he hinted that he wished they had a chess board in the house as well so he could try his hand at a game of logic. 



Malcolm had grown into a rather serious child.  He didn’t often like to play outside, and sometimes it seemed like he had trouble relating to other kids his own age.  He had friends at school who occasionally invited him over, but it seemed Malcolm was happier in his room or at the kitchen table, studying or reading or talking with his family.  He turned out to be no less intelligent than his older sister, he just preferred to do things quietly.  He was shy, more introverted, but very close to every member of his family. 

He was especially close to his sister, who looked after him and helped him with his homework on the rare occasion that he needed any help.  Mari doted on her little brother and could engage him in long conversations when no one else seemed able to do so.  It was a common practice for the two to sit at the kitchen table after school and work on their homework assignments together.  They would chat about their days, Mari would inevitably say something about how boring school was.  She’d rather do anything than have to sit in class all day while the world was passing her by.  Malcolm just smiled and shook his head at his sister’s silliness.

 

Malcolm felt like he didn’t always understand Mari, though, especially when she would get to talking with Temple about working in politics and elections and debates and things that Malcolm had no interest in whatsoever.  He understood that his mother was someone of importance in town, but that didn’t really affect him.  He’d listen to his mom and sister talk about City Hall, about how hard it was working in politics, how it was a long hard slog to the top, and feel baffled.  How could that boring stuff really interest them?

Sometimes he wished he lived in a house with women who were less ambitious.

But there was one person Malcolm looked up to more than anybody else.  He worshipped his father.  Hunter was his hero.  Hunter was content to be quiet and still for a while.  Hunter appreciated the fact that one didn’t always have to talk-talk-talk-talk.  Hunter took Malcolm fishing and played video games with him.  Malcolm was forever wanting to be more like his dad.

Temple was so happy these days.  Her children were blossoming into the people they would someday be, intelligent members of society who were capable of anything they put their minds to.  In the meantime, though, Temple wasn’t doing too badly herself.  She was quickly climbing the political ladder and after a lot of effort and schmoozing and hard work, she was elected to the almost unimaginable honor of Mayor of Riverview!

 

When she first arrived in this sleepy little town all those years ago, bright-eyed and ready to take on life, she never dreamed such a day would come – and now it had!  She was one of the most influential people in the city.  When she talked, other people stopped to listen.  And yet still her family remained the most important thing in her world.

Hunter was overjoyed that first his kids and now his wife were all doing so well.  Their happiness was all he felt he needed to be happy himself.  He congratulated Temple profusely on her success, and began to help out with the kids and the house even more than before, knowing that she would be needed at City Hall more and more. 

Hunter washed dishes, cooked dinners, helped the kids with their homework, and when Temple got home he promptly sat her down on the couch to relax and put her feet up.  Maybe he was trying to make up for those earlier years of neglect, maybe he was realizing how much he actually enjoyed married life.  Either way, Hunter had become the model husband and father. 

And he was still active, too, even in his advancing age.  Every Sunday morning he would get up at the crack of dawn to go out fishing.  It no longer mattered to him whether he caught anything in particular (his long-ago dream of having the perfect aquarium had fallen by the wayside, eclipsed by less egocentric goals).  He just loved the quiet and peace of the sport nowadays. 

On those mornings he would peck Temple on the cheek and then slip quietly out of bed, trying his hardest not to wake her.

After dressing he would tip-toe into the kids’ room to check on them.  Usually they were sound asleep, sometimes mumbling disconnected words as they dreamed.

Hunter would stop at his son’s bed first.  The boy was tossing and turning, his brows furrowed and then going smooth.  Sometimes he would mutter something – often it was about science or computers.  Hunter smiled and smoothed Malcolm’s hair off his face.  He loved how smart his boy was, and knew he would do great things when he was older.

Moving on to Marisol’s bed, Hunter would bend and kiss his daughter on the forehead.  She was a more restful sleeper, rarely moving, but now and again a word or two would be whispered, always just a little too low for Hunter to make it out.  He beamed with pride.  His daughter was as beautiful as her mother.  Her future was so bright.  Only time could tell what she would go on to achieve.

One night as he was getting ready for bed, Hunter began to feel strange.  It was almost 7pm and he was tired, he wanted to get up early to fish.  But there was a strange tingling in his fingers and toes that he worried might keep him from falling asleep. 

This would not do, Hunter thought grumpily.  He should have been asleep ten minutes ago!  What was going on?

Something strange was happening.  Sleepiness overcame him in a wave.  It was a comforting but confusing sensation, like sinking into a warm bath or falling asleep on a huge down mattress.  All of a sudden, he wasn’t worried about going out fishing anymore.  All of his cares seemed to have been wiped from his mind.  More than that, all the aches and pains of his old bones had disappeared!  And yet Hunter didn’t feel shocked by this.  He felt… completely at peace.

A dark figure materialized in the room near the foot of the bed.  It wore a black cloak with a hood, and seemed to be inseparable from the shadows.  “Hunter Crosswell,” came a soft, echoing voice.  “It is time for you to come with me.”

Temple, Mari, and Malcolm stood by, watching in horror as Hunter peacefully complied with the figure’s request.  “I know you’ve been feeling tired, Hunter,” the echoing voice continued.  “Come, it’s time to sleep.”

Hunter’s ghostly face turned slowly toward his wife.  On his lips was a tired little smile, full of the love he still felt for her in death.  He knew he would see her again, one day.  He was going to rest now, but he would always be waiting for her.

The loss of a loved one is never easy.  Temple wept.  It felt as though her heart was being ripped from her chest.

It was too soon!  She and Hunter had barely been married five years.  He was still so young.  She could still look into his eyes and see the man she’d met long ago at the bistro on a warm summer night.  Now that man was gone, leaving her to raise their young family .. alone.

Marisol cried softly as she watched her father disappear into the darkness.  She was old enough to understand death, but that didn’t make losing her father any easier.  Maybe he hadn’t been all he could’ve been, especially when it came to committing to her mother, but he had loved her, Malcolm, and Temple.  And he had always been there for her.  She would truly miss him.

But she had to be strong – for her mother and brother.  Mari knew how much her mom and loved her dad, and Malcolm had looked up to him so much.  This was going to be hardest on them.  Even in the midst of her own grief and shock, Mari knew that somehow she would have to find the strength to hold up her family and get them through this.

Malcolm tried to be strong.  He tried not to cry.  His lip trembled, but with his father gone he, Malcolm, would be the man of the house now, and the man of the house couldn’t give in to tears.

But he was only a little boy, and eventually the grief broke through.  He’d loved his dad so much, his dad had been his hero.  He was strong and he’d always been there for Malcolm, through his entire young life.  Malcolm didn’t know how he would ever get along without his dad to teach him, to take him fishing, to understand when Malcolm got frustrated with his mother and sister.  He and Hunter had been so similar.  It felt to Malcolm like he’d lost more than a father, like he’d lost his best friend in the world.

That night, Malcolm dreamed of being with his dad, of leaning against him as they stood by the lake, neither one of them speaking.  They cast their fishing lines in identical arcs into the pre-dawn air, watched as the lures sank out of sight beneath the dark water.  Times like that, it was everything just to be together, father and son, and words weren’t necessary.

Mari too dreamed of Hunter.  In her dream, it was as though she was seeing through his eyes.  She recognized herself as a toddler, chubby and dimpled, giggling as he taught her how to talk.  “Say ‘daddy’, Marisol!  ‘Dad-dy’!  Come on, baby girl!”  Mari felt the pain clutch at her throat; her father had loved her so much, from the minute she was born.  She had been his baby girl.  A few tears slid down her cheeks as Mari turned over in her sleep.

Temple couldn’t believe it.  She was all alone now, a single parent to two young children who were just coming into their own, just starting to show their potential.  How could she do it on her own?  How could just one person give her children all the love and support of two parents?  Temple began to panic as she imagined how Mari and Malcolm might be changed forever by the loss of their dad.

She herself was heartbroken, but that pain was greatly dulled by her worry for her son and daughter.  It was easier than breathing to forget how lost and lonely she was when she had the two of them to focus on.  How would they manage?  “Oh, Hunter,” Temple sobbed later that night when she found herself alone in the room she had shared with him for so long.  “How could you leave us so soon?”

 

That night she dreamed of her husband.  He hadn’t always been there for her, that was true, but when it really mattered he had always turned up.  Childish, afraid of committing to her, but always around in some capacity.  He had never looked at another woman, never wished he had a life other than his own.  He’d been so happy just to be with their children and to see them grow.  How could Temple find fault with him for how he’d treated her, when he’d been such a good dad?  It would be selfish to think of herself.  For the rest of their lives, Mari and Malcolm would have what no one else could give them, and nothing could ever take away: memories of their father, and the knowledge that he loved them with all his heart.  Temple knew that was the most important thing of all.

The next morning, the Crosswell home was very quiet.

Marisol and Malcolm hid their puffy eyes from each other as they got out of bed and went about their morning routine.  The school bus would be arriving soon.  Going to class, seeing friends, each hoped these familiar things would comfort and lessen the grief for a while.

Temple kissed her children goodbye as they left for school.  She went and put on her best suit, taking only a few minutes in the bathroom to shed some tears.  Everyone at work would have heard the news by now, and she would have to be prepared to accept condolences all day long.  It would be best for everyone if she didn’t keep breaking down each time.

Steeling herself for what she knew would be a very rough day, Temple took a few deep breaths and headed off to work.

A Little Administrative Break

Hi everyone (i.e., all two of you ;))!  I thought I ought to take some time out and introduce myself properly, seeing as how we’re already on chapter seven of this (SEVEN!).  My name is Erin and my blog-tag is LovelyLittleBlogger (LLB).  I live in Washington, D.C. and I have a demanding job so playing the Sims is how I like to relax and blow off steam! 

After reading several absolutely amazing Legacy blogs written by other folks, I decided it would be fun to try my hand at it as well.  This is my first blog anywhere ever so I’m still not reeeally confident about what I’m doing.  I will say that I find WordPress.com pretty user-friendly so that’s helped, and of course I wouldn’t have had the idea for this at all without massive inspiration from folks like Rad (visit her totally awesome blogsite here), JCNorn (her hilarious McCool legacy blog is one of my all-time favorites), and the writer of the very FIRST Sims 3 blog I ever discovered and possibly MY MOST FAVORITE EVAR, Erika of RedShirtKnitting.com and author of the Splines Legacy (check it out!).

Going back to my own sad little attempt at a Sims 3 blog, I’ll say that I generally have zippo understanding of mods and custom content.  Apparently other people who’re vastly more intelligent than myself have through the magic of their technological skillz created .. STUFF to add to your personal game, everything from hairstyles to clothes to entire sims to houses to mind-blowing changes to how your game actually functions!  Seriously, who are these people?!  Are they GODS?  I DON’T KNOW BUT I LOVE THEM.

So I went on sort of a spree yesterday and downloaded a bunch of stuff, among them some skin defaults by.. um… let me see.  WORDPRESS WHY U NO LET ME COPY AND PASTE THINGS  Aikea_Guinea.  They’re lovely “moonlight” tones that once you download them replace the default skin settings built into the game.  This means that not only can you create new sims with pretty, smooth skin but the look is also applied to all of your existing sims!  The default face and body skins can be found here in a listing posted by MilkywayMariah (another very entertaining Sims blogger)!

By the way, none of these people I’m linking to know that I exist!  I’ve gotten into the habit of lurking on their blogs, enjoying and becoming intimidated by their awesome writing talent, and then get too shy to actually comment and tell them of my fan-girlish love.  So they’re not even aware that I’m giving them kudos over here!  TOO BAD FOR THEM.

So anyway, now I’d like to demonstrate the sheer WIN that is these new skins.  Observe.

This is the Temple you’re familiar with.  This is her in Create-A-Sim (CAS), accessed in-game whenever you click on a mirror and tell a sim to ‘change appearance’, with the default skin created by EA:

It’s okay.  Pretty enough.  But also kind of vague.  You have the impression of a face, without any real feature definition.

Now THIS is Temple post-download of new skins:



 

Take a gander at THAT!  Holy macaroons, Batman!  That’s what I’m talkin’ about!  Aikea_Guinea, you are a genius, whoever you are!  I LOVE the new look and I’m so happy it automatically applies to all my existing sims.  Temple, you look gorgeous!

(Temple: Why thank you, honey-pie!)  I don’t know why, but I always imagine her talking with a very southern-y accent. 

This is completely unrelated to new downloads, but here’s a shot I should’ve included in the first chapter, but I forgot.  It’s the outside of Temple’s little cottage in Riverview!  I think it’s positively adorable.  Of course, we’ve had to expand a little since the kids have come along, but it still looks pretty much the same.  Isn’t it precious?

Alright!  I don’t have any more photos to share for the time being so that about wraps up this update!  Stay tuned for our next episode where there will be birthdays, parties, even MORE angst and drama, and somebody might even *gasp* DIE!   WHO WILL IT BE?  Well, probably it’ll be Hunter since he’s so damn old – BUT SERIOUSLY YOU NEVER KNOW!  Until then!

XoXo,

LLB