Thursday, July 14, 2016

Chapter 3.18- A Sign of Peace

            “This shouldn’t take long,” Taylor clicked the pen she held in one hand. “What is your connection to Andre Parker?”
            Mariah’s head still spun. Roger had walked into the door not five minutes ago announcing his return. She’d barely registered when he told her Taylor was on her way to ask her a few questions.
            “Uhm, he’s, uhm,” Mariah blinked, shaking her head trying to catch up to the moment. “He’s the father of my oldest child. You know this.”
            “Yes,” Taylor barely glanced up from scribbling on the note pad. “Yes, but this is for the official record. We need to make sure we’re covering all bases.”

            “When was the last time you had any contact with him?”
            Closing her eyes hard, Mariah rubbed them furiously, hoping to get a clue. “Uuuh, I think, gosh,” she panted. “It’s been a really really long time.”
            Roger scoffed, sharpening Mariah’s focus considerably. Ah. They were back to this then. Okay. Fine.
            “The last time I saw Andre was the night after high school graduation. Over 9 years ago now. The last time I had any contact with him was almost 9 years ago.” She put as much venom in her words as she could. Roger would have to get it through his thick head that she was NOT in love with Andre, much less in contact with him!

            “What’s going on, Taylor? Roger only told me you’d be here to ask a few questions after asking me where Andre is. I’m really in the dark here.”
            Taylor, glanced up again. There it was in her eyes. Taylor really didn’t care much for her. Why?
            “He was reported as a missing person about a week ago.”
            “Oh, wow. I’m so sorry to hear that! Is foul play suspected?” Did anyone other than cops on TV talk like that? It felt stupid once Mariah said it.

            “Were you aware that Andre intended a visit to Appaloosa Plains before his disappearance?” Taylor ignored the awkward question.
            “No. Like I said, we’re not in contact any longer. As far as I know, he didn’t know his daughter was alive.”
            This time Taylor’s gaze hit Roger, who had the decency to look slightly abashed.
            “Would you know anyone else in town he might have been coming to visit?”

            “Uhm, Kelci? Kelci Jenner? Maybe? I dunno.”
            The corners of Roger’s mouth rose fractionally and his eyes softened. Even Taylor smiled sadly.
            “Kelci Parker?”
            “Oh,” Mariah nodded to herself. “I didn’t know they’d married. But I guess I should have known.”
            The scratching of the pen on paper stopped.
            “Why should you have known?”
            Whoops. Not the time to go there.

            “Maybe because he wouldn’t leave her for me, the mother of his child, so long ago?”
            “Was this recently?”
            “Dove’s going on 9. No. Didn’t we already go over the whole ‘it’s been a really long time since I’ve seen him’ bit?”
            “Just trying to find a missing person, Ms.Sixkiller.”

            “Perhaps he was on his way here to visit his parents. They still live in town,” Mariah offered.
            This time, Taylor looked at her with something akin to pity.
            “We’ve already talked to them,” Taylor clicked her pen closed. “I have no further questions, but I do want to issue a warning for you off the record.”
            Bracing herself, Mariah took half a step back.
            “Andre might not have been aware of Dove, but for whatever reason, his mother has half guessed she might have a grandchild in town. I suggest you brace yourself, and Dove, for a visit once they find out we came by here.”

            As Taylor made her exit, Mariah got a hand on Roger’s arm.
            “Mind explaining why you just had me questioned?” she hissed at him.
            His shoulders slumped a little. “Yeah, sure,” he said. “Guess we might as well talk now. Let’s sit.”
            Waiting for him to begin, she had a hard time reining in her patience. He was home! And he was still hung on the non-existent possibility that she might still be in love with Andre. Jackass.

            “I didn’t tell you this, but Andre was working for Tex too,” Roger started apologetically. “You know what I did. Andre managed the casino Tex used to launder the money we made him, and we know that on some level Andre was at the very least aware of what was going on and we suspect much more.”
            Suddenly, he shot her a fiery look. “You don’t know any of this.”
            “I never have known any of what you’re doing, Rog,” she soothed with a sneer, annoyed at how far his trust with her had been broken. “No one will hear it from me.”
            “Yeah,” Roger sighed. “Anyway, we thought we were finally closing in on Tex’s supplier and thought we might finally get a chance to shut that entire ring down but something happened.”

            “The casino hadn’t been doing as well as Tex would have liked under Andre’s reigns. He was too busy schmoozing, wanted to run for mayor of Lucky Palms or something on his way toward becoming Leader of SimNation. He’d gotten careless with managing profits especially and the feds were getting suspicious, that’s how Kelly got involved.”
            “Wait. Kelly is a fed?”
            “She’s an agent, yes. And Tex finally figured out that the feds should be suspicious and didn’t see them clearly so he came in one day and shut the whole thing down. He wanted us to clean the entire warehouse out and up with instructions on where to meet up across the border with his goods. But this was all the front end of the chain, on the back end, Andre had disappeared three days before and Tex was a little too blasé about it.”

            “We figured he suspected Andre was his mole,” Roger continued. “But Kelly was really freaking out. Devi, Tex’s mistress, had been suspicious of her for a while. Then you’ve got that I can’t cross the border, Kelly could. She was also worried that I was a little too close to Andre’s disappearance for my own good. She said it was to protect me from having to explain awkward things to LPPD later, but she phoned my supervisor and told him that I had outside connections to Andre that might lead to a conflict of interest if I continued to follow Tex. So here I am. I had Taylor question you because she’s the detective on the case here in Appaloosa Plains. I also needed to make sure there isn’t a shadow of a doubt that I was not involved. I’ll get a ton more respect from the force here for my experience, but if there are rumors I did something to my baby mama’s ex I won’t get to go as far as I’d like. Sorry.”
            Mariah’s head spun. If that was a short explanation, she’d hate to hear the long one.

            “So what about your relationship with Kelly then?” she asked. Totally not for her own reasons. Sure.
            “She’s gone,” he whispered. Mariah had seen that look before. He was heartbroken and while she was still very annoyed with him she couldn’t find fault with him for that. “She felt it would be best. Long distance is one thing, but she didn’t think she could keep it up internationally and undercover.”
            “I’m so sorry,” somehow, she almost meant it.
            “I want the kids every other weekend.”
            Her head snapped up. That was a 180. After how he’d just blindsided her with his own mistrust, what made him think he could trust her now? Or just waltz in and take her babies? And that camping trip? The half-truths and a very hurt Dove? Nope. Not happening.

            “No.” You will NOT get my kids without some ground rules about who sees them buddy!
            “I want my kids, Mariah.”
            “They don’t know you.” And they sure won’t know you if you’re too busy playing with another woman!
            “They will.”
            “No,” she said firmly and his face hardened. “They don’t know you. If you’d like, you can start coming once a week after school, and a couple of hours on weekends for at least a month. Then we’ll talk about you seeing them more often.” In MY HOUSE. With MY RULES. About MY KIDS. While I’M around!

            “You promise?”
            “Pinky swear if you want to,” she quipped, offering her little finger. I’ll break each and every one of your fingers if any of the kids come home complaining about some new girlfriend.
            “Nah,” he relaxed into a smile. “Nah, I believe you.” You shouldn’t.
            “I believe it’s called co-parenting. They do need to know their dad.” But not your next booty call!
            “Can I have Dove, too? When the time comes?”
            “Of course! Unless they find Andre and he objects that is. The kids belong together.” With me!
            Roger chuckled, nodding. “Alright.”

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

            Roger had held true to his promise of allowing the kids to get to know him better, arriving each Monday as soon as the bus dropped the three off. Yesterday’s visit had been a particular triumph for him. For the first time since the camping trip Dove had begun to warm to him again. It was because of that Mariah thought it might have been him at the door, even though it wasn’t his day to come.
            Instead, the face through the window nearly stopped her in her tracks. It couldn’t be, but the person on the other side looked just like the missing Andre.

            The closer she got, the more convinced she was it couldn’t be him and her heart stopped racing. This man wasn’t as tall, his face wider and more lined, his hair lighter than ever Andre’s was.
            “Can I help you?” she asked, hoping for once in her life the couple in front of her might be religious peddlers. She had no use for The Watcher or His PlumbBob and slamming the door in someone’s face would give her an unusual amount of satisfaction right now. However, she wouldn’t get that pleasure today.

            The woman looked up and the man took a deep breath, narrowing his eyes a little.
            “I believe you’re the mother of our grandchild,” he said. Next to him, the woman nodded slowly.
            Mariah closed her eyes, steeling her nerves. Taylor had warned her this day would be coming; she hadn’t thought it would be this soon.
            With a sigh she nodded herself.
            “Dove,” she answered. “Her name is Dove. Please. Come in.”

            Leading them into the house, she indicated a loveseat for them while she took the other. No one spoke. No sounds were heard. The kids were upstairs playing so quietly you wouldn’t have known they were in the house. Mariah would have paid for a year’s supply of ice cream for dessert had one of the twins noisily raced down the stairs at that moment. Instead, she was left to feel the awkwardness of the situation while she scrambled to find the right way to start a conversation with Dove’s other family.

            “I’m sorry,” she whispered at last. These people must hate her now they knew about her Dove. How she’d kept them from her while living in the very same town. Long ago, Mariah had taken pains to find out where they worked, where they preferred to eat out, what route they took while jogging all to make sure she could keep Dove out of their sight for as long as possible.
            And now they knew of her, like Roger, they would try to take one of her most precious treasures. Their judgement of her was nothing compared to their intended crime against her.

            “We haven’t given up hope they’ll find him, dear,” Andre’s mother replied at last. “We’re actually more curious about Dove. Is that what you said her name is?”
            Mariah nodded without looking up.
            “The police questioned you because you have his daughter? Dove is his daughter?”
            Once again Mariah was only able respond with a silent consent.
            “I don’t want to be rude, or appear ugly, but you are positively sure this is Andre’s child?”

            This got her full attention at once.
            “I’m positive,” she answered harshly. “I notified him when I found out I was pregnant. He acknowledged that Dove was his as well.”
            The couple exchanged glances; a spark of excitement along with a hint of incredulity mixed with their mirrored surprise.
            “I saved that last letter from him, if you’d like to see it,” she offered. “The folds are a little delicate from the years and it has a-”

            “-No, nono,” the woman interrupted as his face softened. “No, that’s not necessary right now. We believe you. Uhm…”
            Again the two looked at each other, this time he appeared to be urging her on.
            “I’ve seen her. She has my nose and her father’s hair color,” she continued. “I’d noticed her while the circus was in town. We’d taken one of our grandsons, Amber’s son, while they were in town. Patrick took him while I-I’m sorry for this but you didn’t seem to notice me-I followed you. I knew who you were, and when I saw Dove I remembered something your grandmother told me that I’d thought impossible.”

            “I was one of your grandmother’s clients and she once told me we’d have a relative in common, a female, an eternal sign of peace between our families,” she said. At her side Patrick nodded benignly. “When you and Andre worked on that project in high school I just knew he would break up with Kelci for you for this to happen. I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when it didn’t happen. Or so I thought.”
            “Cassandra and I have been wondering: Were you a couple while he dated Kelci?” Patrick finally spoke again.
            Mariah sighed heavily. She really didn’t know these people and airing her sins out to them was not something she wanted to do. Besides, their son was missing; telling them how horrible he was most likely wouldn’t go well for her.
            “Yeah,” she said shortly. “Before he left for college we were still secretly seeing each other. It ended when he left town.”

            “And you told him you were pregnant with his child and he agreed it was his?” Patrick prompted.
            “Look,” Mariah stated. “Look, Cassandra? Patrick? Is that right?”
            Both nodded.
            “Andre is missing, correct?”
            Again, both heads bobbed an acknowledgement.
            “If they find him, do you really want to know all of this?”
            “We want to know our grandchild,” Patrick stated.
            “We know Andre isn’t perfect,” Cassandra gave her a sad smile. “C’mon, Mariah. We’ve already found out his job might not have been legitimate, that he was eyeball deep in debt to some very shady characters and that he had a secret love child. I think we can handle whatever you tell us about who he really is.”

            “He wasn’t… entirely aware of Dove,” Mariah said haltingly, casting about for words that didn’t want to come. “I told him I was pregnant pretty early on, but I didn’t hear back from him for months. Finally, when I was in the third trimester he wrote me back. He’d sent me some cash and insisted I abort her. That he didn’t want her, or me, or ever want to see either of us.”
            Cassandra gasped, a hand flying to her mouth in horror while Patrick’s eyes went round as coins.
            “He also stridently urged me to keep both the pregnancy, and his involvement, a secret. In particular, I don’t think he wanted Kelci or her dad to find out. But I’m also fairly positive he didn’t want either of you to know. Or his sister. I doubt he knew that I’d carried her to term. Or that she’s healthy and alive at all.”

            “I’m very very sorry to be the one to tell you this,” Mariah finished lamely. “It must be hard for both of you to hear such things.”
            A tear slipped down Cassandra’s cheek. Patrick bowed his head. The brittle hush wouldn’t be interrupted by Mariah. The dead needed to stay dead. Why won’t Abuella stay dead??? Yet again Abuella Sabria had meddled in my life. The old bat.
            “I wish you would have told us anyway,” Cassandra finally whispered. “That’s our grandbaby.” Patrick nodded solemnly.

            “She’s here,” Mariah offered, defeated by her empathy. “She’s home from school and is probably playing with her brother and sister upstairs.”
            Both brightened, a smile nearly appearing on Patrick’s face. Perhaps he could sense what she was about to offer against her better judgement.
            She sighed, internally wincing at her words. “Would you like to meet her?”
            At this Cassandra beamed and both squeezed the other, nodding away.
            “How old is she?” Cassandra asked.
            “A very grown up 9,” Mariah managed a small smile. “I’ll go get her.”

            A few moments later, she had walked her oldest down stairs, marching her up to her new relatives.
            Cassandra beamed, clasping her hands together and crying. Patrick somehow managed to be too stiff and formal for the moment.
            “Dove,” Mariah began, but she wasn’t allowed to finish.
            “I’m your Mimi! Mimi Cass! And this is your GrandDad Pat.” Cassandra gushed at Dove.
            Dove had shot her mom a single wondering look when the other two adults fell on her, enveloping her in a tight embrace.

            “Our darling Dove! We’re so glad to meet you!” Cassandra’s voice wavered as both adults held Dove tightly, patting her back, stroking her hair, crying.
            Mariah felt a twinge of sadness amidst her annoyance at the scene. Dove couldn’t be her exclusive property any longer. It was the beginning of the end. Roger wanted his kids, and after such a maudlin show of emotion at their meeting these two would claim grandparents rights and she’d have no choice but to allow visits.

            Mariah snuck around behind the trio on her floor. A box of tissues in the kitchen would be sorely needed after all this blubbering.
            Once she was around the group she turned to glance at her Dove’s face and decided to stop altogether.
            Maybe she wouldn’t have to worry about sharing Dove so much after all.

            Dove stood ramrod straight. And the look on her face?

            Was priceless.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Sorry that was so long, but a lot of explanation was needed. There will be even more explanation next time. Though from a different direction and about other matters. lol

So! Who remembers Cassandra from the circus crowd? :D (3.15-Time to Move on) Go back and look for her if you’d like. Dove drew Cassandra’s notice during Ori’s fire dance though she’d been following them since the Illusionist’s show and only lost them briefly before the Contortionists appeared. 

(For anyone wondering about the inlaws eating crow- It took Hubs’ grandmother chewing them all out to get it, but in the end they were most gracious with their apologies. For days. xD [Well, almost all of them-MIL still had to both discount it and take credit for the turn around all in one breath to any random relative that would give her an ear. The old bat.])


  1. (Woohoo! Yay for inlaws eating crow! But, even better that you guys have had the health turnaround!)

    LOVED this update! I was glad to see Roger soften towards her as he began to hopefully realize that Mariah was not mooning over Andre. (Seriously, anyone that sends a cowardly letter like that, giving you cash to abort the baby is never going to be high on your romantic list!)

    Oh man, so now, not only is Mariah going to have to juggle Roger wanting time with the kids, but she's going to have to deal with the grandparents wanting time with the kids! For someone used to making her own rules, that is going to be HARD!

    I'm glad you included the link to the circus! I was going to go back and play Where's Cassandra! :)

    1. Thank you! But it was far sweeter to see them having to acknowledge that hubs can do something outside of what they expect of him.

      Thank you!! Yes, it was time for Roger to see that he was going a little too far with his assumptions. Just because she rejected him doesn't automatically mean she had someone else on the side.

      Yup! She's about to have to learn a lot about playing by the rules others set down. She'd had to do that while Layla was broken, but once her mom had died she'd done everything she could to enjoy a little freedom. No longer!

      Lol! I just knew I'd made her too obvious that chapter too! Ha! So yes! Go look for her!

  2. Just imagine how confusing it must be for Dove. These two random people entered her house and hugged her and told her that they were her grandparents. Lmao, seems like she doesn't like her new grandparents though!
    I think I've found Cassandra in the circus crowd, is she on the opposite side of the circle and wearing the same outfit as she is in this chapter?

    Part of me agrees that Roger shouldn't have the kids for the whole weekend just yet; they don't really know him. But it's selfish of Mariah to keep them all for herself. I mean, the kids aren't just hers biologically. Yes, she mostly raised them but if Roger wants to be in their life, then Mariah should let him. At least he's gotten over this whole "you're still in love with Andre" business (hopefully).

    What if Andre's parents tell him about Dove (if he ever resurfaces)? OooOOoooh! That would be interesting indeed. Not gonna lie when I was reading this, I was half imagining that Mariah was keeping Andre in like her basement or something as a hostage. I don't know why, but I got that impression XD Could you imagine though?

    1. Exactly! Mom brings her downstairs to meet some crying strangers who then tell her they're her relatives and expect her to love them like they love her immediately! Dove's a bit of a chip off the old block too. No.Strangers! Ha!

      Yes! You found her!

      Mariah will have to start letting go of her kids very soon anyway, just because they're growing up. So starting to share them now would probably be good for her. And Roger will start to get some time with his kids again. But he's going to have to show *her* she can trust *him.* These two keep breaking each others trust in a circle. Maybe they'll break that soon.

      LOL. Should I take a pic of the secret basement to prove it's just full of fish? No Andre? (Or maybe he's hiding under the tables holding the fish! ooooo!) Haha. xD As for the first question... Let's just say that not everyone up there was telling the truth, or the *whole truth* the entire time. And! That statement is not relegated to a single character. Though I think you can rule out Dove as being the one hiding anything this time. =D But I can tell you that we'll clear that up in about two chapters.

  3. Love Mariahs reaction to sharing HER babies! And with their father none the less. If he wanted the kids that badly, he wouldn't have left to beging with. He needs a good slapping.

    Poor Dove having two creepy strangers hugging her like that. And at age nine, she's almost a grownup now! But I was surprised at how they acted, I was expecting firebreathing and lots of shaming of Mariah there. There has to be something fishy about them with that terrible son.

    Why was it an "whoops" that Mariah should've known Kelci and Andre got married?

    And Grandma Hub is awesome, MIL not that much.

    1. Mariah is certainly a mother bear, isn't she? lol. Roger is still directing a lot of his past hurt at her which is, in turn, hurting his cause. Add on his disappointment in his (now)ex-girlfriend turning him in and getting him kicked off his dream case and you've got a Roger not going about things in a way to make Mariah trust him too much.

      She is nearly grown up! lol. At least in her and Mariah's eyes. HA! Uhm... Patrick and Cassandra... They have kind of moved past the 'shock' stage of things. I know this wasn't too clear, but Andre has been missing for nearly a month at this point and with everything else they've learned (there's more they didn't tell Mariah as it wasn't the right time yet) they've come to a place where they're much more accepting than usual. It's all a bit surreal for them, though. I will say that Patrick was far far more skeptical about Dove's parentage than Cassandra. But more on that later.

      It was a whoops just because it implied that she might still be interested in what happens to Andre. That and it took the conversation right back to "It's been a long time." She was a little over that. lol

      I love Hub's Grandma. She's amazing. MIL? She's a piece of work. Ha!

  4. Of course you would release a chapter on the day when I'm half-nuts from pain meds from surgery. Ex/ I've had to restyle stuff 10 times (12 now) due to typos.
    Why aren't I reading yet?!
    Can't really think yet. But I will say that it wasn't too long. Almost not long enough.

    1. 13; I mean retype. Stupid autocorrect.

    2. Surgery? :( Get better soon! Don't be on here trying to muddle through my tangled web, rest and heal!

    3. OKAY. YAY! Another update! When's the next one? I guess I should get to really commenting on this puppy before I start demanding more.

      First of all, it doesn't speak well of Taylor at all that she's judging Mariah before getting all the facts, and by that I mean thinking that Mariah would know where Andre was because of the things that Roger told her. She should know better than to listen to only one side of the story. Of course, I realize she's human, but I do hold her to a higher standard being a police investigator and all. I'm not necessarily saying that she expected Mariah to know where Andre was; I'm saying that she shouldn't be judging Mariah's character based solely upon the complaining Roger has undoubtably continued to do to her about Mariah. In her defense, it looked like towards the end she was starting to come to the same conclusion.

      Then, we have that little chat afterwards between Mariah and Roger. GOOD JOB MARIAH in not letting him just having the kids whenever he wants them. I do wish she'd explained herself as to WHY she would demand what she demanded. I guess she might've worried she'd look as angrily jealous as she was.
      And he actually had the gall to question his trust that she'd keep things to herself?! Jackass is so very ultra-correct.
      I wanna say that he won't get a new girlfriend, but I honestly have no idea.

      Now for Andre.... I would guess that IF he showed up in town that he'd visit his parents or bunny-girl's (can't remember her name right now and don't care. She's bunny-girl) in order to get some money to keep running from Tex or whatever he's up to. THAT means that dear ol' Mom told him about his daughter. That is, of course, assuming he's not been fitted for a pair of lead boots, the latest fashion sensation at the bottom of the ocean.

      So THAT's who the mystery woman was! I guessed correctly inasmuch as it was that woman that kept showing up in the pictures and watching Mariah & Co. Yeah, that's still creepy.

      Then there's the scene with Andre's parents. I just have to say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the look on Dove's face. Ha! Give 'em hell, Dove! XD

    4. I forgot to end it with this:

      Please? :)

    5. Thought of something else:

      Didn't Tex allude to knowing where Roger went on his "shore leave" (for lack of something better to call it)? Is that going to pose a problem now?

    6. Ah! Next one is half done, with about 2/5s of the second half finished. lol. (I've got a little checklist over here to keep it all straight. Haha)

      Ah! But Taylor is judging her for hurting her friend, not necessarily for this. She's feeling slightly warmer toward Mariah now, especially when she figured out that Roger didn't give her the full story, or a correct one. She wouldn't have warned Mariah that Cass and Pat were most likely on their way otherwise. So you're very right that in the end she'd realized she might have been a bit too hard on Mariah.

      LOL. Mariah really should have explained herself a little better. As it is, they're heading to the same circular conclusion as their relationship. No.Change! But he does have some explaining to do and thinking angry thoughts won't get her reasons in front of him for him to fix any of that. He'll probably get another girlfriend at some point. SP loves to pair off the unattached. Ha!

      oooOOOooo! Love this conjecture! How about we address all of that in exactly two chapters? ;) *snort. Bunny-girl. lol. Kelci would hate that xD

      Yes! You get a cookie! But you couldn't have known any more than that since we hadn't been introduced to Cass yet. Still! You spotted her. =D Very creepy. Very... stalker-ish.

      Dove is having a very serious WTF moment there. Ha! Bless her. Her grandparents certainly have an uphill battle with her after such an introduction.

      I swear to PlumbBob it's coming! I'm about to open Blender to finish poses! If you really want things to speed up I'm in desperate need of 'dressed' sims. OMG desperate. *cries at the serious lack of .sim sims out there. Especially ones that are dressed and made up decently. Geez. To make the last circus crowd I downloaded families off the exchange to have enough characters... My game hates me now. I have no idea what was attached to them. Once this generation is over I'm going to have to start afresh to get rid of whatever crap came with those sims3packs. Ugh.

      Tex was more making a threat than alluding to specific knowledge. Once Roger realized Tex was suspicious he cut back his visits home considerably to regain the ground he'd lost. Tex is nothing more than a suspect in Andre's disappearance now. =)

  5. *sneaks in, late as always...*

    TAYLOR! M'lovely! :) But Taylor is cop mode is scary. She wasn't like that all too much in my story because she was the trampled down mother of firecracker Kaity. I think she loved going to work to get away from it, lol. Anyway....
    Yeek. There might be a long lost grandparent stopping by? And where's Andre? Why is it Mariahs business anyway?? Like she cares about him after all this time! Though, I feel like she was kinda making a point in front of Roger, rather than telling the whole truth... Like she's playing a game trying to get Roger back, so making him feel stupid for leaving her thinking she was wanting Andre.

    Wow, Roj, that's a confusing explaination! So, basically, Andre was having illegal dealings, then disappeared, and the ring leader - type seems a little too calm about it like he knows where he went? Kelly was Rogers girlfriend, right? Can they date when they're undercover? Seems a bit tough, but I suppose if they were working the same case they don't have to hide that all too much to the targets?

    I'm on Mariahs side on the whole kids front. It's not fair on them to suddenly disrupt their routine and send them off with some guy they barely know every other week. Totally reasonable.

    Well, that 'meet the grandparents' thingy was actually surprisingly unawkward!! Poor Dove, though. She really had no idea that was going to happen. But I get Cassandra and Patricks reaction, their son is missing, this is all they have of him right now, and although Dove's never met them, and they didn't know about her until recently, they have to cling on to what they can.
    But Doves face. LOL!!!!

    1. You're not late. *smoochies* You're here!

      Taylor was a lot harder here than she should have been too. Stickin' up for her buddy Rog... She's so awesome.
      Hmmm... Where *is* Andre? That's a good question. ;)
      Mariah was absolutely trying to make a point! She's done with his 'holier than thou' bit. While she's not a saint, neither is he and it's time he got his head out of the sand to see what's really going on.

      It was really confusing, sorry! But yes. The ring-leader (Tex) was much too calm about Andre's disappearance.
      Yes. Kelly was Roger's girlfriend and I'm not positive he'd have been able to keep up a romance undercover otherwise. Especially as he introduced her to his kids. Rocky doesn't sound much like Roger. ;) Maybe if he'd stuck to his real name... Anyway, yeah. They didn't have too hide from each other the same way they had to around everyone else.

      Lol. She thinks so too! xD

      Aaaah! But perhaps there's more to the story than they gave there that made it so unawkward for them... =D

      Poor Dove! lol. Mariah really should have explained things *before* the actual meeting. HA!

  6. Roger is so annoying sometimes...and the way he asked for partial custody of the kids was so unfair. Like he thought the sudden subject change would catch her off guard to make her agree to it. Not likely!

    I can understand how Patrick and Cassandra feel, to a point. But are they really hiding something? And they have overwhelmed Dove too much, obviously. She needed to warm up to them. "I’m your Mimi! Mimi Cass! And this is your GrandDad Pat." The way she said that just cracks me up! No, this is definitely not too much for a 9-year-old to take in.

    1. lol. You'd think Roger would know better methods to get his way with Mariah. xD At least she wasn't fooled and managed to keep up with him.

      Lol! Yeah, Haha. They need to slow down. In their defense, they've had a little while to get excited about Dove. She, however, hasn't. It was far too much for her to take in, poor thing. But she'll get there. After all, who wouldn't love grandparents who are more than ready to spoil her in an effort to make up for lost time?

      As for whether they're hiding something... we'll let Cassandra say her piece in a couple of chapters. ;)

  7. I finish last as always, but at least I'm still competing!

    That was a confusing plot for my poor brain, but Gemma helped me there.

    It must be painful for Mariah to drag out her history with Andre into the light again after all these years. Let's hope he doesn't emerge and claims Dove. Grandparents is one thing, but I can't really see him as a father figure.

    To just turn up out of the blue and suddenly demand to have the kids every other weekend isn't reasonable, it would really piss me off. Mariah's solution seems much better. I'm surprised she didn't throw a fit to be honest. In the long run though, it's good that he's finally there for them. I don't care that he had a secret mission or whatever. *humph* He's being super annoying and has been for some time now.

    I want mooooore! MOAR!

    1. Y'know what? Let's say I'm last. Because, y'know, I kinda disappeared for a few months there. Whoops! lol

      Yeah, it wasn't an easy plot line to follow. Sorry. And parts of it might not be what they seem and might get more complicated as we go. *blushes* sorry.

      It was really tough for her to have to drag all of that out of her mental closet, but some of it she needed to say now she's a little older (and maybe wiser? IDK about that though. lol) Yeah. Andre as a father figure is kind of a murky thought. Ha!

      Mariah didn't throw a fit because she's still carrying her torch for him. It might not burn as brightly as it once did, but it's still there. Her method gets him to the house and she gets to see him as much as the kids. However, she's still under the influence of his shenanigans last time he had her kids by himself. She will live and die by that No Strangers! rule. Haha

      MOAR is coming! Actually, it's typed and ready to go! but I'm so far behind I feel I need to catch up on others first before bothering with posting. Haha. Thank goodness I've caught up to where I'm at in game! Gameplay pics/posting is *so* much easier than story set up.

  8. I've nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award. :)

    1. Thank you, Lovely! *HUGS!!!* *MMMMWWWUUUUUAAAAAHHH!!!

  9. What? No! I can't believe I caught up already! What am I gonna read now? Aw, now the terrible wait for the updates begins... D:

    Dove's face really was priceless! The poor kid. Andre's parents are sweet and all, but just going and hugging her like that with little explanation? Haha, I can't wait to see her reaction to this.

    Hm, wait a moment... something weird must have happened with the 'Next Post' button. I think I just went from 3.19 to 3.18? But this right here seems to be the latest post - at least there's no more 'next' button. Strange.
    Ah well, the story worked either way! And I really cannot wait to see how it continues!

    1. At least I'm already working on the next. lol. It might be a while still though. Busybusybusy.

      Poor Dove! Pat and Cassandra really screwed up there. lol.

      FIXED IT! Yes, that was super weird. *facepalm. I'm so sorry. I hadn't even realized that had happened. This chapter was in process when 3.18 was published, half of it was completed and had already been put in Blogger. But I'd accidentally published 3.18 under the wrong title. And instead of just switching the titles around, I switched around the HTML. Should have just switched the titles since it seems to think this chapter had been published *first*. No longer. Thank goodness for that function that allows you to change the date published! SORRY FOR THE CONFUSION! D: