Friday, October 31, 2014

Chapter 3.8- Safely Planted

            “Are you alright?”
            “I guess.”
            Roger beamed at Mariah and it was like he’d never left. Her cares melted away into meaningless nothings as she began to look over the man who stood in front of her.
            “Your hair is different.”
            “Yeah, either I had entirely too much of it or not nearly enough. I went with too much.”
            “Are you growing a beard?”
            “Just don’t shave as often as I used to. It looks more ‘natural’ this way. I fit in better.”
            “Are those tattoos? Wait. Roger? Is that a plug in your ear?”
            Roger sighed, his smile fading.

            “’Riah,” he said, taking her hands. “’Riah, I know I look really different to you, but all of this? Is just skin. Skin and hair. And I like my ink. You will too.”
            “You’ve lost weight,” she pouted in response.
            “So have you. So there. And you shouldn’t be losing weight, should you?”
            Scowling, she lowered her gaze. His remark brought her recent reality back, bursting the small bubble of happiness she thought she’d found.
            “C’mon, ‘Riah,” Roger said, noting the disappearance of her smile. “Let’s go inside and you can tell me all about how I’m going to be a dad, ‘cause I kinda don’t believe you yet. If you talk long enough, maybe I can stay the night.”

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            Mariah did indeed manage to talk to him long enough that he stayed. Any euphoria he might have felt from her announcement replaced with worry over how she handled the news herself. In the end he thought he might have talked her around to the idea of being a mom once more, though. At least, he hoped he had. Time would only tell if he’d done a good enough job or not.
            And while they had stayed up late talking, he’d still managed to be up in time to catch Dove’s early stirrings on the baby monitor. Dressing silently he slipped into the nursery hoping to get to her before her wails woke her very tired Mama.

            Greeting the little girl he’d known so well with a smile he lifted her onto his hip hoping she’d snuggle in just as she always had.
            Instead, Dove frowned up at him, pushing herself away, twisting herself to get a better view of the person who held her.
            “Aw, c’mon, babe,” Roger attempted to soothe her. “It’s just me. It’s Roger! Daddy? Remember me? It hasn’t been that long has it?”
            But Dove refused to respond. “If you’re not going to cheer up, I know what can get you to smile,” he continued, a mischievous twinkle dancing in his eyes.

            “Do you know what will make you smile for me?” Roger asked the still somber little girl.
            She only frowned deeper, making tiny creases appear between her eyes.
            “Well you’d better smile, and fast, or the tickle monster will come to get you.”
            Dove still refused to respond.
            “Well then here it comes, *Gasp!* It’s. The. TICKLE MONSTER!!!”

            Before he could even try to approach her with his hand Dove let out a shriek. Not just any child’s wail either. Roger had no idea how something so small could manage to cry that loudly without shattering eardrums and glass.
            NOOOOOOOOoooooo!!! NOOOoooooo You!!! Mommieeeeeeee!!! Hep! HEP MEEEE MOMMMMIIIEEE!!! NOOOOOO!!! BAAAAADD!”
            So much for letting Mariah sleep in.
            But there was one last thing to try. Maybe he could head her off before things got really bad.

            “Hey, you,” Roger forced a smile. “Look, Dove. Looks who’s up!”
            Roger had managed to plug the bottle into Dove’s still trembling mouth just before Mariah had walked in.
            “Hey, yourself,” she answered, her voice still heavy with sleep. “What on SimPlanet is going on in here?”
            “Oh nothing,” he replied as cheerily as he could through clenched teeth. “Just getting reacquainted. I didn’t think it had been so long since I’d seen her.”

            Mariah scoffed.
            “She’s still a baby, Rog’. Your hair and skin is as much a part of you as your clothes are to her. And it’s been almost 3 months since she saw you last. Give her some time.”
            Reaching out, Roger pulled Mariah nearer.
            “But that’s just it, babe,” he said. “I don’t have a lot of time.”
            Nodding, Mariah traced the whorls of ink on his forearm with a finger. “You’re coming back to help me redo the nursery though, right?”
            “I wouldn’t miss it. You’re going to call an interior designer to help you lighten the rest of this place up too, right?”
            Mariah nodded again. She wouldn’t miss doing that either. A little change would probably do her a world of good.

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            “We did a good job, right?”
            “It looks fantastic. So much better than that flowery monstrosity. I swear if you looked at that stuff too long your eyes would bleed.”
            Mariah’s doctor had assured her a little boy was all the source of her pregnancy misery. Something about how her body responded to the miniscule amounts of testosterone made her have extra severe pregnancy symptoms or something like that. At least she’d struggled out of that first half of pregnancy and things were settling down. Though she could still use a good nap.

            “The pink carpeting?”
            “Gone by midweek. That wanna be Mohawk you’ve got going on?”
            “Ain’t goin’ anywhere, babe.”
            “When did you start using ‘babe’ so much?”
            “Just getting all that awesome vernacular and awful grammar I use on the job thoroughly ingrained. Wanna go for a roll in that haystack babe?”
            Mariah punched his ribs playfully and went to lay down her roller. Downstairs, Dove squealed with glee at something Roger’s dad, Ottawa did. Both of his parents were there. They were supposed to be watching Dove, but Sally had taken the opportunity to be in Mariah’s house to do other things as well. In between stocking the freezer with casseroles and playtimes with Dove she’d come up to ‘survey the new nursery.’ During those trips she’d dropped many heavy hints that it was time for Roger to give up his assignment. Time for Mariah to trust them more. Time to be thinking ahead to the next pregnancy. Time for rings on fingers and name changes, too. In short, she wanted both of them to give up the world for their love.
            Mariah was thoroughly annoyed by it.

            Walking to the other window she surveyed the river flowing behind the house. She missed her little cabin by the river and her trips there. A good swim in the rushing waters might be a bit much though.
            “So, no roll in the hay then?” Roger slipped up beside her.
            “My dear, I’m not too sure I could manage hay right now,” she chuckled. She was uncomfortable enough as it was.

            “Back to names then?”
            The two had figured out Roger could text Mariah fairly regularly without anyone being the wiser. Most of their text time had been spent going over and over, around and around every name in a baby name book Mariah had bought. Mariah burned the book in the fireplace the night before, frustrated that it didn’t have the ability to magically hand her the prefect name on a platter. Ten minutes after the flames had died down she'd cried in horror over the ashes, ashamed of what she'd done.
            “I-I had a bit of an-an epiphany last night with a-a name-a name,” Roger offered.
            Mariah turned to him. If it brought back his nervous stuttering, he must think the name was pretty important.

            “You don’t have to be afraid to tell me,” Mariah said.
            “Well, it’s-it’s kind of important, and I feel-I feel a little ashamed I didn’t think of it sooner,” Roger still looked super nervous.
            Mariah waited.
            “There was this-this kid. He was into the organization pretty deep when-when I got there and he was-he was the only one who had any kind of faith in me. The first month or so I-I really thought I was going to be pulled out because-because I wasn’t getting anywhere, no one trusted me or liked me. But this kid managed to convince some of the others that I was-I was okay. He was a great-great kid. He was only there because life hadn’t offered him anything else. I miss him a lot.”
            The kid hadn't survived some rivalry dispute. But Mariah liked the name, it was a little different. And so on the same day she got her nursery, Mariah also found the perfect name for her baby.

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            Figures. Mariah gave up on sleep at last. The pains had begun that morning, but she remembered how much time she’d had last time. So with pains in the morning that were never less than 15 minutes apart she had all day ahead of her.
            With 5 minutes to midnight showing on the clock, her day was over.

            She’d meant to tell Roger earlier that day, but wanted the pains to be closer before she texted. Not that there was any guarantee he would have been able to come. He’d managed to do something or other that had impressed someone who had decided he needed to be a bit more in the thick of things.
            Pregnancy brain meant she was still unable to figure out the finer points of it all. At the moment, she really couldn’t care.

            So he’d been officially moved to Lucky Palms to keep up his undercover work. That had pissed off both the department here and the one there. The one here didn’t want to scramble to find someone else here less than a year after getting someone safely planted.

            The department in Lucky Palms didn’t like that some nobody from the middle of nowhere could waltz in and oust their own man.
            Mariah was pissed because it meant he now lived almost 4 hours away.

            Most of all, she was pissed at herself. Why hadn’t she told someone, anyone, that she was having contractions? Now she had no one to watch Dove and in the middle of the night the minor off and on pains of the day had become full blown labor.
            When a particularly sharp pain threatened to rip her belly in two she realized she wasn’t just in labor, she was about to deliver.

            And so little Ceeven Sixkiller made a smashing entrance into the world.

            Once she’d managed to clean the little guy up, dressing him in his first outfit, he was already asleep.
            Mariah chuckled at the sweet look on his little face, still somewhat in awe of what had just happened. If she didn’t have other very pressing matters to attend to, she would have stayed to have watch his slumber. Instead she quietly tiptoed out, hurrying back to her bedroom.

            “Thank goodness you’re still too little to roll over, huh?” Mariah sighed with relief, picking up Ceeven’s completely unexpected twin sister.
            Mariah was nervous about toting both babies upstairs at the same time and so had left this little one on her bed, pillows surrounding her to make sure she didn’t fall.

            “Now then, where are we going to put you?”
            Mariah scanned her room, her mind struggling to find the energy to process what had just happened.
            “Wait, where are we going to put you? What are we going to call you? What am I going to do with three kids?”
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I hate my game. Now to backpedal a little and put first things first.

When I redid Tibi’s room to be a second nursery I redid the house entirely. You can see pics of it here if you’re curious. It took me forever for a lot of reasons, none of which are remotely interesting. Lol
After that? Baby girl will get a name next time. Why? Because I didn’t have one prepared for her birth in the first place. She was a total shocker to me. Want proof?
See that awesome little number up there? That 2% chance of twins? I just knew I wouldn’t hit that chance. When I went back to a prior save to get that screencap I also replayed through the birth just to see what would happen a second time. It happened exactly the same way. A little boy, a little girl. Birth animation plays for the boy and then the girl pops out of the ether onto the floor in ‘please reset the baby’ pose. (For those who would like further proof, ask Misty about my reaction. I might have blown a hole in her monitor with the rage.) So while I’m supremely disappointed in how this messes with my plans, I’m going with ‘it’s meant to be.’ Also, there are no spoiler pics like there were for Dove because I don’t have them yet. I have spoiler pics of grown up Ceeven, but baby girl is yet to be photographed.
I will, however, reward your patience with a roll reveal. Congrats.

Number of children: 3/2. Dammit

Friday, October 17, 2014

Chapter 3.7- Squeaky Hinge

            It had become an all too familiar sensation. The insistent roiling and churning had been giving her plenty of grief for the last week or so. Sometimes it would last all day, barely allowing her sips of water to keep her mouth moist in between the worst bouts.

            Okay. Perhaps ‘sometimes’ was a bit of an under estimate. Make that most days. All day. Make that every night. And go ahead and tack on anytime she had to change one of Dove’s foul diapers or whenever she cooked or had to clean anything or 5:30 each and every stinking night along with many other on the dot times as well. Dear Twallan. She might as well set up camp in the bathroom and offer to help the Navy keep their famous master clock accurate. If she was on her knees in the bathroom, it must be thirty minutes past the hour. Ugh.
            First thing in the morning she’d dig into the cabinets in her bathroom and grab a left over test. It was still super early but this could only mean one thing: she really was an after-school special. 

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            Wedged as tightly into the corner of the bathroom as she could manage, Mariah stared. Flat surface? Of course not! Timer counting down the minutes while she patiently waited in another room? Who needed that? It never took her long to convince herself it was just another stomach bug. Just another gross virus that would eventually pass leaving her a few pounds lighter as it went. Which is 100% why she was gripping the test hard enough that cracks were appearing in the plastic under her thumb. Her eyes were dry because if she blinked she might miss the magic moment when the word ‘not’ would pop up in the little window, balancing the glaringly bright ‘pregnant’ that had long since appeared.
            Wasn’t this test supposed to take 7 minutes? Surely, it’s only been 3. Could it really have been 10?

            After a full 20 minutes had passed she gave in, sinking onto the edge of the tub, test still tight in her grasp.
            Predictably, her stomach knotted and rolled daring her to calm down, attempting to twist her thoughts from their current bent.
            Pregnant. Again. With Dove barely old enough to toddle around on her little legs. Pregnant. Again. With the man who was out of reach and out of touch. Thankfully, the reasons were different behind the circumstances but still. Mariah grew up without her dad around, now her children would have to do the same.

            Not that Roger could ever be compared to Andre. Roger would most likely be happy, perhaps even excited, to know he would be a dad. His mother would probably be ecstatic even. He’d told her how his mom had been badgering his brother, Benji, for grandkids now he was married and settled.
            Perhaps this would be good for Dove, too. Tibi and Mariah were so far apart in age it didn’t feel like she had a sister, it was more like having an older overbearing cousin. Close in age siblings were supposed to be good playmates, right?

            Pregnant. Hmm. Maybe it wouldn’t be so horrible to be a mom again after all.

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            Or maybe it could indeed be pretty horrible. Being pregnant with Dove wasn’t nearly the nightmare this go around was.

            She was losing weight from being sick so much. And the tired? She could pass out and never wake up and it wouldn’t be enough sleep. All she wanted was sleep! Was that too much to ask? Even with a full night’s sleep she would spend the entire day yawning her head off wishing she could lay down for a nap. Or three.
            And then there were the hormones.

            With Dove in her arms, she prowled the house almost ceaselessly. Haunting memories followed in her wake like shadows, taunting her attempts to find peace.
            Her ostensible mission was to determine a suitable room to put the new baby in. Dove still needed her little crib and Mariah couldn’t bring herself to entertain the thought that Dove could have a toddler bed in a different room. According to all the parenting magazines that room belonged to Dove. It would cause resentment and jealousies between the newly introduced siblings if she were to displace her toddler daughter with the baby.

            She could get that. After all, Tibi and herself were living reminders of how jealousy between siblings could cause rifts. Mariah was jealous of Tibi’s time with their parents. Tibi was jealous of the living child Mariah held in her arms. Though this, Tibi’s fourth pregnancy seemed to be going much better. Their kids would only be a few months apart if this baby managed to hang on.
            From sibling rivalries to cousins Mariah’s thoughts wound round, intertwining with a different set of memories all together.
            She hated this room.
            She'd be back in an hour to cry over how much she secretly loved it.

            Not that her emotions were any better in her own room. A grown up now and owning the house and she still slept in the room her mother had decorated for her when she’d been just a child. It was dark and slightly dreary. The bed was too small and she’d for sure outgrown the toys Dove squealed over now.
            Up and down, back and forth; her hormonal tide carried her along until she couldn’t stand it anymore.
            “Come on baby girl,” she announced. “Out you go. Mama’s going to get dressed and then we’ll dress you to go out for a picnic.”

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            Damn hormones.
            Usually the cemetery was lovely and calming to Mariah, today it was just morbid. At least it was deserted, as usual. There was no one staring or being overly loud or rude like they did at the public parks.
            It was also the perfect place to start getting Dove used to the idea of a baby coming to join them.

            “Dove, we’re going to have some surprises coming really soon. Would you like that?”
            Dove tipped her head to one side, eyes bright, reminding Mariah of a puppy, but she kept her mouth firmly closed. It was obvious she had no clue what Mariah meant.
            “Mommy’s tummy is about to get really big and then one day soon a baby will come and stay with us, okay?”
            Again, Mariah left Dove far behind.

            “Would you like a new baby brother? Or what about a little sister? You’re going to be a big sister when the baby arrives.”
            Dove’s eyes wandered from her mother, serenely watching a few birds wheeling overhead.
            “Dooove,” Mariah crooned, trying to bring her back. “Dove, sweetheart, would you like a baby to play with?”
            But she’d already lost her audience causing Mariah’s spirits to sink even lower. Would no one be happy about the baby? If I can’t even handle one kid ignoring me, how would I cope with two? Shoulders sinking she steeled herself. When she got home, she’d do whatever she could to get in touch of the one person who could make her happy.

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            “Hi, Taylor?” Mariah’s nerves made the hand holding the phone tremble. It sank her spirits even lower. “Roger told me to call you if I ever needed him.”
            Needed him. Those words nearly stuck in her throat. She didn’t need anyone. But him. She needed him, right now, before she sank so low she wouldn’t be able to find her way up again.
            “Yeah, it really is kind of important,” why did she have to explain herself to this woman? “Please, I wouldn’t be calling if it weren’t urgent. I know it’s not business hours or whatever, but I waited because I really didn’t want to have to call him in… Thank you.”

            Hours passed.
            Dove had been put to bed. Dishes washed and put away. Floors scrubbed. Baseboards dusted. Windows washed. Laundry pretreated, soaked, started. She’d oiled a squeaky hinge on one of the doors and still nothing. So she’d taken to pacing, fears creeping in as tears snaked down her cheeks and when she’d hit the point where the thought she would explode it finally happened. The doorknob rattled.
            It took only a moment for her to digest what it meant, staring at it hungrily before she could wait no longer and launched herself outside.

            “Hey, sorry it took a liMMMMMMMPPPPPFFFFFF-”
            Mariah had taken a running leap onto a very startled Roger.
            Pausing long enough to allow him to find his balance, Mariah refused to allow him to speak just yet. Her relief in being able to interact with another sim who wouldn’t judge her or try to tell her to be reasonable or calm down was very great indeed. She could wait for his explanation. Besides, she had much more important information.

            “Uhm, that-that was-was, wow, but I-I mean, you-you’re, Taylor said-”
            “-You’re going to be a dad.”
            The giggle Mariah let out was so out of character it surprised even her, but how could she help it?

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Okie doke. First of all I’m am so incredibly sorry for the absence. I can promise the wait for the next chapter won’t be nearly so long though because I’ve managed to have enough shots for two. Huzzah!

Random chapter title is Random. I couldn't come up with a phrase from the above that cranked my engine so I went with that. Oh well.

For clarification: Tibi and Mariah are Friends. No matter what I do I cannot get them past Good Friends, which drops back to Friends very quickly. Tibi really has had a lot of phantom pregnancies and I have no clue what’s up with it. I’ve gotten the pop up that she and Henry are expecting 3 times now and every time I save and go back in she’s not pregnant again. This time I used the pollinate option on her and it stuck. Thank goodness.

So stay tuned! There's a birth next time because I want this all to get a move on! Giddy-up y’all!