Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chatper 2.37- Too Awful

          Mariah grown up was a fresh source of torture to Layla’s soul. Those eyes haunted her just as Henry’s had. They enhanced her nervous state and made her wish she could turn back the clock and take back everything she’d ever done that might not have been right, or perfect, or wonderful.

          She regretted words to Sally, Cyrus, Ned, Galen, everyone, in short, whom she’d ever spoken too. Her focus no longer was on being the perfect mother, it was on the shortcomings her little girl forced her to see in herself.

          But she couldn’t just call all of them up and apologize. It was too awful, too embarrassing and there were far too many of them she had no way to get in contact with. Others, why would they want to answer the phone if she called?

          If she couldn’t erase her past, how would she be able to change now for her future? She was too awful. Her only consolation was trying to get ahold of Phedra. If she could at least apologize to Phedra, maybe she’d finally get something right.

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          Ignacio had talked Layla into going out for the afternoon, and she still hadn’t returned that evening. Noticing a moment where Mariah wasn’t being hovered over by her mother, Tibi took the opportunity to get to know her little sister a bit better.

          “Now then,” Tibi picked up the feather-light child. “You and I are finally going to get to know each other.”

          “Uver???” Mariah lisped back.

          “Yup! Each other. And the first thing you have to know is…

          “That monsters are real,” Mariah’s eyes grew round as saucers as Tibi continued. “Monsters are everywhere in the world. They can even look just like normal sims.”


          “Yup, Monsters,” Tibi slowed her voice, sighing theatrically. “In fact-”

          “-I think I might be a monster!”

          “No Tib! No Tib! No monzder!”

          “Yes! Yes! It- It’s got my hand!”

          “No Monzder!”


          “Oh no! I can’t control him! He wants to get you Mariah! Ack!”

          Mariah’s giggles and laughter rang throughout the house, making Ignacio smile downstairs.

          “A’gin! Monzder a‘gin!” Mariah cried as her sister’s tickles slowed.

          And so Tibi obliged. After all, how could she resist that giggle?

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          “Has your dad ever used a camera?” Emily whispered through her smile.

          Fighting back an urge to roll her eyes, Tibi kept her carefully practiced smile focused on her dad trying to get a prom pic of the two best friends before they went to their first school dance.

          “Oops!” a suddenly flash of light lit the scene as Ignacio fumbled with the buttons on the camera.

          Unable to hold in her sigh any longer, Tibi whispered back: “We’ll get our photo done at the dance and we’ll just make copies. He’s a better shot than Mom at least.”

          Another flash illuminated the girls as the horn of the waiting limo sounded.

          The girls turned and ran off giggling with Ignacio waving to their backs.

          When his baby girl had told him she’d been going to the dance with her best friend, he’d been happy it wasn’t some random boy coming to sweep his little princess off her feet.

          And then Emily had started to come over to join Mariah playing with Tibi and Ignacio realized it wasn’t a young man he’d needed to keep his eye on.

          No. It wasn’t a young man at all. Though he wasn’t sure his darling little girl knew it, or how she’d respond when it all came out. Losing her best friend would be difficult if it came to that.

          But Ignacio wasn’t sure it would be that way. In fact, he wouldn’t be surprised at all if Tibi came home late, bubbly, giggling, and very very happy. And after all, isn’t that what every parent wants for their children? Their happiness?

          Sighing as he smiled thinking his little girl was as happy as he could wish, the limo had pulled away leaving him alone in front of the house.

          But still he stood. Looking at the spot where his little girl had vanished into the evening. Where had his time gone? How had he lost the tiny baby he’d taken such tender care of?

          Wanting to hold on to those memories a few moments longer, he sat on the bench facing the road allowing himself to be carried back to when everything was so much simpler.

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          Layla was alone in the house as Ignacio saw Emily and Tiburcia off to prom when it happened again. The phone in the kitchen rang.

          Her heart had literally stopped when she heard it. Breath caught, eyes wide, the dread she felt hearing that phone ringing sent a jolt right through her. Goosebumps had then erupted down her arms as her stomach churned.

          Snatching the receiver off the cradle one of Layla’s eyes felt bruised, as if it could pop. She had to force herself to remember to breathe.


“This-This is she,” Layla panted, trying to keep her voice level as her head spun from lack of oxygen.

          “Yes! Yes, I am the one trying to get in contact with Phedra Dean. I’m her sister.”


          Her jaw went slack.

          Her stomach dropped.

          “No,” she whispered.

Her eyes closed.

Her head exploded.

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Uh, if I told you to wait for next time so that it would make more sense, would you be able to?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Chapter 2.36- Something

          Day 1: Ignacio sleeps on. And while still a little sore and tired Layla is surprised at how easy it is to get up to take care of her baby daughter in the middle of the night. Sure, she’s groggy and has managed to tangle her foot in the sheet, but she’s more alert than she thought she would be.

          By the time she makes it to the top of the stairs Mariah is bawling her tiny head off, fists churning and legs flailing.

          “Oooooh,” she coos, entering quickly to pick up the wailing infant. Offering her little one a smile she draws her close and momentarily Mariah’s cries are soothed.

          Snuggling the warm little bundle near her warms her straight through and she’s again attacked by the thought that this is too easy. Phedra said it was hard, that she couldn’t make heads or tails of it, that Henry cried so much and it was so frustrating. But Layla’s caress seems to have quieted her little one quickly. Maybe she’d finally found something she was a natural at.

          But the moment she lowers Mariah her wailing begins again. Staring blankly at the wall, Layla runs through possibilities in her tired mind before remembering that she was likely hungry. After all, she hadn’t fed her and hadn’t her own mother mentioned middle of the night feedings before? Perhaps there was something in that.

          Plugging the bottle of greenish formula (Was that stuff really healthy or nutritious? How on Sim Planet did they ever discover that it’s what babies needed? Who would volunteer their infant for such an experiment?) Mariah continued to whimper for only a moment. Once she began to settle, eyelids dropping as she nursed the bottle, Layla’s confidence picked up again. It was easy.

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          When Layla rose again, the sun had already risen and Ignacio’s side of the bed was cold. There were dark circles under her eyes that weren’t usually there, and she had a sharp crick in her neck.

          Wondering at these anomalies brought back the knowledge that she was a mother. She’d forgotten. How could she forget?

          Hoping that Ignacio had taken care of their daughter this morning while she slept in, Layla went ahead and made the bed when a new thought hit her. Her Daddy would never know the little darling that lay in the crib upstairs.

          He’d been such a good daddy for her, he would have made a wonderful GrandDaddy as well. And while he knew of the existence of Henry, and had lived with Galen and Arden’s children, he’d missed out on Cyrus’ children and would now miss out on hers. It wasn’t fair.

          While cleaning up in Tiburcia’s room she spied the family photo the three of them had made before Mariah’s arrival. The thought that Buck should have been a part of that group hit her. She should have invited her father to visit. She should have made Cyrus patch things up. Unable to look any longer, she turned, crying into the bookshelf.

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          Looking out the nursery window Layla felt an intense desire to cry along with her daughter. The snow was finally beginning to melt with peeks of spring green showing in the landscape at last. She’d love to be out there gathering all that had been hidden by winter’s snow but she was inside, puzzling over why Mariah was still unhappy, tired after spending most of the night awake with the fussy baby.

          She’d fed her. She’d changed her. She’d cuddled her. What else was there? Why wouldn’t she stop crying?

          Deciding the infant was as bored as she, Layla put her in the swing attempting to play peek-a-boo.  But Mariah simply pouted, not amused by her mother’s play.

          “Come on Mariah! Mommy needs a nap! Be happy! Happy baby! Happy baby means happy Mommy! Sleepy Mommy needs a nap.”

          Helen had always told her how Buck would help her with the night shifts when she’d had her babies. How her Daddy was so great with kids. And it wasn’t that Ignacio wasn’t good. On the contrary he’d begged to take a share in the night feedings, but Layla insisted that she had to do it alone. That she could manage. That she was as good at this as any other woman.

          A sudden hush brought Layla up sharply. She was so tired. How long had this quiet been going on? Why was it so quiet? Looking at the swing she saw Mariah soundly sleeping. Was that why she’d been so fussy? Had she just been tired too? Deciding not to fix what was no longer broken, she went to take a nap herself hoping for more than an hour of sleep.

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          “So, a dance is coming up soon at school,” Tiburcia said, trying to be flippant and careless sounding. She had already made plans to show up with her bestie Emily so they wouldn’t be going alone.  

          “Oh,” holding back the great leap of panic he’d felt at his daughter’s words took a lot more self-control than he even knew he had. “I didn’ realize it was getting close.” That was a half lie. Ignacio’d known, but had pushed the information to the back of his brain not wanting to acknowledge that his little girl was old enough for such a thing as ‘School Dances.’

          “Yeah,” Tibi continued not noticing her father’s rather cool reception to the news. “Yeah, so can I have your credit card to go get a new dress and shoes?”

          “No,” Ignacio snorted into his dinner. “But you may come with me on a shopping excursion where you may purchase a dress and shoes with my approval and my money.”

          This time, it was Tiburcia who snorted. No one went with their Dads to shop for prom things. And Mom had no idea what fashion was. And anyway, she was so wrapped up in Mariah right now Tiburcia doubted she’d be able to drag her out of the house.

          But, she wanted the new dress. And she wanted the shoes.

          “Fine,” she said rolling her eyes. Parents just didn’t get it.

          Ignacio smiled.

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          Again, Layla was desperately trying to soothe a screaming Mariah. No matter what she did she couldn’t seem to calm the tiny girl sometimes.

          Deciding to try a bottle once more, she steeled herself, attempting to put her brightest tones into her voice to encourage her baby to take it and quit screaming.

          “Oh boy! It’s a bottle! Who’s a hungry little girl?” the bags under her tired eyes had become nearly permanent from the constant attention she slathered on her daughter.

          But Mariah didn’t want the bottle, putting out a tongue stained slightly green from her mother’s previous attempt to give her a bottle.

          Mariah returned to her wailing as Layla frantically sought to discover what made this little one such a fussy baby.

          It seemed like all she did was cry and she never did seem to be able to figure out just what was wrong with her little one.

          But her trials would be over soon she hoped. Just tomorrow, her little darling would age up and at last would be able to talk and tell them just what was wrong.

          And then perhaps, Layla could get some sleep, some time to herself outside, and some peace and quiet.

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          Sabria was the only one available to attend Mariah’s birthday. Everyone else in the Guerra family had had to work that evening. And the moment Sabria had entered the door, she’d done her best to get Ignacio alone in a corner giving him a sense of foreboding. To try and prolong whatever it was she was dying to tell him, he’d grabbed Mariah and pulled the cake out as quickly as he could.

          Besides, Layla was dead on her feet and maybe the sooner Mariah aged up, the sooner Layla would lay off of the relentless drive she’d had to take care of Mariah.

          Blowing the candle out for Mariah, Ignacio made his own wish. That Layla would quit her obsessing about the past and move forward along with their little girl.


Legs Appear! Hair sprouts! Suddenly, she has skin tone and coloring!

          In particular, she has her Grandmother Helen’s eye color. The same eye color as Phedra, and her son Henry.

          Mariah immediately leaves the others to the delights of birthday cake and goes off to explore the house on her newly grown legs.

 (Alt Caption: Because that’s an appropriate baby toy!)

          However, she isn’t allowed to explore her mother’s dusty, dirty finds for long as Sabria scoops the child up, pressing a hand against her soft bare arm momentarily before hurrying off to find either of the child’s parents.

          Finding Layla hadn’t partaken of the cake, but was instead silently staring out at the chilly spring night didn’t surprise Sabria one bit.

          “Now is not the time to get away,” Sabria said quietly, hoping not to startle Layla.

          Turning, Layla looked stonily at the older woman holding her daughter.

          “Again, because you need to hear this, now is not the time to get away,” repeated Sabria. “I know you want a break. I know you remember the islands you visited when you were younger and trying to discover yourself, but they do not hold the answers you seek.”

          Looking closely at Ignacio’s mother, Layla was surprised to see how much the other woman had aged. There were lines about her nose and mouth and her cheeks had sagged. Had so much time passed? When?

          “Oh,” Layla finally found her voice. “Oh, I’m not thinking of going anywhere. Just reminiscing.”

          “The islands will not bring back those you’ve lost, don’t forget it.”

          Attempting a weak smile, Layla nodded. Sabria was talking nonsense to her to get her attention. Layla was only thinking of going out to the island chain Phedra’s research team was on to talk to her sister face to face to apologize, to reunite, to escape. She wasn’t going to look for anyone she’d lost. She was going to find the one person who could ease her mind right now.

          Mariah fussed a bit and wriggled, reaching for her mother. Sabria handed her over silently, frowning. She’d just have to make sure Ignacio didn’t let her go.

          Cornering Ignacio was easy for Sabria this attempt.

          “Your little girl has brought things into sharper focus,” Sabria started the moment she’d caught him. “There are greater difficulties ahead than I have ever seen before.”

          “Mami,” Ignacio sounded weary. “Mami, she’s a baby still, barely crawling around. How can she be what brings these ‘difficulties’ to the surface?”

          “Son,” Sabria begged him to listen, to take her seriously as he used to do. “Ignacio, I have warned you long ago that there was a great possibility for you to be hurt by Layla. Not once, but twice. One of those times is near.

          “I’ve warned you to get her to talk through what she keeps bottled up. I’ve begged her to release her emotions. But neither of you have listened nor has there been a change and things are about to break. I’m not entirely positive, but Layla could break even. And it would break you. You’ve got to get her some help. Something has to change!”

          Ignacio looked at his mother, flipping through his thoughts to find some instance where he could say that Layla had not moved on. And he couldn’t all he saw was her attempts to be a great mother to their little girl. And so far, she had been. What was still amiss?

          “Mami,” he said slowly, forcing his words to sound true. “Everything is just fine.”

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          So I love Twallan’s new Play With Genetics Option in MC. Can you tell? Mariah is a fantabulous mix of features and colors from her entire family. So.Awesome.

And I beg pardon for the length of this one. The next one is a little shorter to make up for it. After that, let’s take a leap of faith, shall we?