Friday, 26 April 2013

Chapter 1.6 - Making Plans

“Ariko,” Evelyn sighed with a hint of resignation in her voice, looking disapprovingly at her sister. Ariko looked pleadingly at Evelyn at the sound of her name.
“Please Kyoko, I really need your help. I don’t know what to do,” the teenager pleaded. “I didn’t plan for this to happen.”
“Nobody your age does, Ariko,” Evelyn reminded her sister. “You’re only sixteen, for crying out loud. You shouldn’t have slept with this guy in the first place,” she scolded the teen. Ariko folded her arms defiantly and scolded at Evelyn.
“Well, I did,” she retorted angrily. “Maybe I shouldn’t have, but wishing I didn’t isn’t going to get rid of this stupid baby,” she argued. 

Evelyn sighed and stood up, trying to calm down. While she understood Ariko’s problem, she didn’t appreciate the girl calling the baby growing in her womb ‘stupid’.
She turned back around, looking at her sister again.
“So I take it you don’t want the baby?” Evelyn questioned Ariko. A myriad of expressions crossed Ariko’s face before she looked down, biting her lip.
“I don’t know,” she confessed. “A part of me does, but…” She trailed off again before she looked up, looking Evelyn challengingly in the eye. “I’m too young, Kyoko. I don’t want to sit with a baby. There’re too many things I want to do first. I want to finish school. I want to go to university. I want to travel; see the world. I can’t do any of those things if I have to take care of a baby!”

Evelyn crossed her arms across her chest, glaring slightly at Ariko. She had fled to Sunset Valley in an attempt to escape her family, but it seemed like her family troubles always found her.

“So why did you come to me? What do you want me to do?” Evelyn asked of her sister. Ariko reeled back slightly, caught off guard by the question before looking down again.

“I don’t know,” she admitted. “It’s just…you’re the only person I can talk to about this. Nobody else knows,” she confessed.
All irritation fled from Evelyn at the vulnerable tone in Ariko’s voice. In view of the size of the problem, it was very easy to forget that Ariko was probably terrified of the pregnancy and everything that came with it. She was still very young. Evelyn shuddered to think of the argument that would occur if their mother ever found out.

She returned to the couch and sat beside Ariko, giving the girl a gentle half-hug before pulling away.

 “Okay Ariko,” she relented. “I’ll help you. You can stay here until we figure out we’re going to do. I’ll think of an excuse to tell Mother.”

Ariko laid her head against Evelyn’s shoulder. “Thank you,” she whispered softly, her voice filled with gratitude and relief.

Evelyn sighed and pulled the girl’s head down onto her lap. “That’s what family should be for,” she murmured softly, thinking of her own child sleeping peacefully. She truly hoped that Chantia would never have to deal with the kind of family issues Evelyn had to.

The next couple of days were hectic as Evelyn tried to figure out how she was going to help Ariko. While Ariko had only told Evelyn of her problem, Evelyn knew that wouldn’t be able to help the girl on her own, so she called the one brother she was close to, Takuo.

He was horrified to hear of Ariko’s problem, but he agreed to help them. He alone, of all the other brothers and sisters, believed that family should be able to depend on each other. The others tended to compete with each other, going out of their ways to make the other siblings suffer.

“I’ll think of a suitable excuse to tell Mother,” Takuo agreed. “How long will Ariko stay with you?”

Evelyn shrugged, unsure of the answer herself.

“I don’t really know,” she admitted. “I told her she could stay until we find a way to deal with the problem, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she stayed here until the baby is born, which should be in approximately seven months.”

A brief pause followed her words before Takuo spoke again.

“If she didn’t want the baby, why didn’t she abort?” Takuo asked. Evelyn reeled back, horrified that he would even suggest it. Almost as if he could see her, he immediately continued. “Look, I’m not saying she should – it’s a horrible thing to do,” he explained. “It’s just that a lot of people in her situation do it. It might look like the easiest way to solve the problem.”

Evelyn mulled over the words, hearing the logic in Takuo’s words. Ariko had always been the type of girl to take the easiest way out of everything, so it was surprising that she hadn’t tried the easiest way out with this problem.

“I don’t know,” she confessed. “But it doesn’t matter. If she does bring the option up, I won’t let her do it,” she defended vehemently.

She could almost hear her brother shrug through the phone.

“I know,” he agreed. “I was just wondering,” he said before changing the subject. “But anyway, if you can ensure she gets a good education, I might be able to convince Mother that it would be best for Ariko to stay with you. There are several specialised schools in Sunset Valley, aren’t there?”

Evelyn shook her head.

“I can’t possibly afford to enrol her into one of those schools,” she protested. “They want a §1000 a month,” she told her brother. “I don’t make even a third of that amount and I do have a baby to care for, you know,” she argued.

There was a brief pause again before Takuo replied. “Okay, that is a lot of money,” he admitted. “I’ll think of other options and call you back later.”

Evelyn nodded. “Right,” she agreed. “We’ll talk later then.”

Takuo’s question stayed with her for the entire day. In hindsight, getting rid of something she didn’t want was a typical thing Ariko would do. Ariko always liked living easy and comfortably. So why was she willing to go through so much effort for a baby she didn’t want?

Finally, she couldn’t take it anymore. She needed an answer.

That night at dinner, Evelyn finally broached the topic.
“Why didn’t you abort?” Evelyn asked, seemingly out of nowhere. Ariko choked on her food, caught off guard by the question.
“W-what?” Ariko asked with disbelief in her voice, as if she wasn’t sure she’d heard Evelyn correctly.
“The baby,” Evelyn clarified. “If you didn’t want it, why didn’t you abort?”
Ariko placed her fork down and looked levelly at Evelyn.

“Because I made a mistake,” she admitted, “not the baby. It’s not the baby’s fault that I’m an idiot,” she replied and picked up her fork again, pushing her food around on her plate. “I might not want it, but my actions made it exist. It wouldn’t be fair of me to decide that it has no right to exist anymore.”

Evelyn swallowed hard and looked down. Ariko was still very young and usually carefree, but there were some moments where the girl surprised Evelyn with her maturity.

As it was wont to do, seasons changed as time went by. Little Chantia grew older and larger as she grew up, and Ariko grew larger and heavier as the child in her womb developed further. Evelyn and Takuo managed to convince their mother that Ariko was enrolled in boarding school and Ariko and Evelyn discussed options regarding the baby once it was born. If nothing else worked out, Evelyn agreed to adopt the baby and raise it as if it was her own child.

Soon, it was time for change in the Marquel household as little Chantia’s second birthday approached and Ariko’s due date grew closer until the day finally arrived.

A long and difficult labour later, Mia Marquel was born. By the time they finally returned home, both women were glad it was over.

 Evelyn took Mia from Ariko once they were safely inside the house. The younger girl was loath to hand the baby over, but eventually did so without a fuss.

“As agreed, I’ll care for her as if she is my own,” Evelyn promised Ariko. “In return, you’ll go the boarding school of our choice,” Evelyn reminded the teen. “Also, once you graduate, I will not stop you from seeing her, but I also won’t just hand her over. She’s not yours anymore,” she gently reminded.

Ariko nodded with tears in her eyes, accepting the terms.

The next week, it was time for Ariko to finally go to the boarding school. Evelyn and Takuo had decided to send the girl to Fort Starch Military School, hoping that it might teach the girl some discipline.

Evelyn spent a last couple of minutes to say good-bye to her sister.

“Take care, Ariko,” Evelyn told Ariko. Ariko smiled wanly and hugged Evelyn tightly.

“Thank you, Evelyn,” Ariko thanked her, her voice filled with gratitude. “You have no idea how much this means to me.” Evelyn smiled and patted the girl on the back.

“Just don’t make the same mistakes,” Evelyn asked of the girl.

“I won’t,” Ariko promised. “I’ve learned from my mistakes.” With that and another quick hug, Ariko left the house, leaving Evelyn and the two children alone.


So, both of the required children of the roll have been born. I wanted something a bit different, so in order to keep with the Hidden Heritage, I impregnated Ariko with the pizza delivery guy >_<. Hopefully Mia will have the Pizza Appreciator trait.

Anyway, so Generation 2's roll is: Couple, with a primary career of Ghost Hunter and a secondary career of Author; 3 kids; A Party to Remember and No Strangers. Ought to be interesting.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Chapter 1.5: Changes and Complications

For the next month until her baby was born, Evelyn dreaded receiving another call from her mother. Fortunately though, her worries were unneeded as the woman never called her.
Soon, her days settled into an easy rhythm again while she was steadily growing larger and heavier. Since she was on maternity leave, she slept in later than usual in the mornings and prepared the large breakfasts she never had the time for while working. 

She spent her days reading books, playing chess and daydreaming about her child. She had always known that she wanted children, but she never thought she's have them so soon in her life. Even so, ever since the first time she felt her baby kick she couldn’t wait to meet her little girl.

Before long, the long awaited day finally arrived. She was peacefully reading a book in her living room when her water broke. She called a taxi and not long after, she was on her way to the hospital. On her way there, all she could think about was the many ways something could go wrong.
As expected, nothing went wrong. Although it felt like an eternity to Evelyn, in reality the labour was short and easy. At 18:27, just as the foreboding full moon that only appeared once every five years began its mystical ascent into the night sky, Chantia Marquel was brought into the world, completely healthy and in Evelyn’s eyes, totally perfect. 

Evelyn loved being a mother. Chantia was a very easy baby to care for, as she never cried needlessly. Evelyn was amazed by the way everything seemed to fascinate Chantia and the way she smiled at everything. The young mother was positive that her child was the most amazing thing in the world whenever the brown eyes Chantia had inherited from her father lit up in happiness or fascination.  

Two days after Chantia’s birth, Gustave arrived in Sunset Valley, eager to see his child. As Evelyn handed their daughter over to him, she could see that he was just as amazed by the life they had created as she was.

“She’s beautiful,” he breathed with awe in his voice. Evelyn smiled happily and laid her hand on his shoulder, gazing down at their daughter.

“That she is,” she agreed with a smile.
As time went by and Chantia grew older and bigger, Evelyn settled happily into the demanding life of motherhood. Despite the fact that Chantia was easy to care for, she was still a baby and had absolutely no problem waking her mother at two in the night. Still, Evelyn wouldn’t give up her child for anything.
Unfortunately, time didn’t stand still. Before long, Evelyn had to return to work as her maternity leave ran out. While she was excited to see her middle school students again, she was loath to leave her baby in the hands of another.

Evelyn studied the babysitter in front of her. In her eyes, the girl was woefully inadequate to care for her little girl. Chantia deserved the best and Evelyn would do absolutely anything to ensure that she got the best.
“Are you sure you’re old enough to do this? You look awfully young,” Evelyn questioned the babysitter in front of her. The teenager in front of her sighed slightly, but still answered politely, clearly used to being questioned intensively by parents. 

“Yes ma’am,” the girl replied. “I’ve been helping my mother ever since the birth of my brother two years ago. I know how to work with children,” she stated. Evelyn gave the teen another studying glance, still not satisfied with the result.

“Why aren’t you in school? You’re not old enough to have graduated already,” Evelyn tried again. The teen inclined her head, acknowledging the point.

“No ma’am,” she agreed. “I’m doing my studies through the City Hall on my own time. I am not bound to specific times,” she explained. Evelyn was still not satisfied.

“Why are you doing it through the City Hall and not through the Community School? Were you expelled or something?” Evelyn asked. The teen shook her head fervently.

“No ma’am! It was my mother’s choice to enrol me in home schooling. Now that I’m older, I’ve just never had the desire to attend public school. I’m used to doing my studies on my own time, that’s all,” she explained.

Evelyn stared at the teen in front of her for some time before she gave in to the inevitable.
“Fine,” she sighed. “I’ll let you look at her for today and if, only if I am satisfied, I will rehire you,” she told the girl. The teen merely inclined her head, accepting Evelyn’s words.
“Of course ma’am,” she stated politely.
When Evelyn returned home that afternoon after a long day of teaching, she was pleasantly surprised by the babysitter. It appeared that the girl was as good as her word and did indeed know how to work with babies. Chantia was happily giggling in the girl’s arms.
“Fine,” Evelyn relented. “You seem to know what you’re doing. Can I count on you to help me further on?” Evelyn asked Melanie, the babysitter. Melanie smiled politely before nodding.
“Of course, ma’am,” she agreed. “She’s such a sweet baby. I’d love to take care of her.”
After that, Evelyn quickly adapted to motherhood. She went to work during the mornings and when she returned home in the afternoons, she thanked Melanie and took Chantia out for a stroll. For the first time in a very long time, she could say that she was truly happy.
Still, she should’ve known it wouldn’t last forever. It was the law of her life: whenever things appeared to look up for her, something would inevitably interrupt her life. Such as an errant sister standing in the pouring rain in front of her door. 
“Ariko!” Evelyn exclaimed and quickly ushered her youngest sister inside. “What are you doing here?”
Ariko’s bottom lip trembled and the next moment, she threw herself into Evelyn’s arms and started sobbing, her tears soaking into Evelyn’s shirt.
Evelyn reflexively folded her arms around the younger girl. While she was never particularly close to her siblings, Takuo and Ariko had always held a special spot in her heart, being the eldest and youngest of the eight siblings respectively.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” Evelyn asked her sister with a gentle voice. Ariko merely sobbed loudly and tightened her arms around Evelyn.
“I need your help,” Ariko murmured softly into Evelyn’s shoulder. “I did something stupid and now…” Her tears intensified. “Please Kyoko, I don’t know what to do!”
Evelyn patted her reassuringly on the back.
“Hey, don’t cry,” Evelyn tried to calm her distraught sister down. “You can tell me later what’s wrong. First, let’s get you out of those wet clothes before you catch a cold.”
Ariko sniffled before pulling away, still refusing to meet Evelyn’s eyes.
“Okay,” she agreed. 

An hour later, Ariko emerged from the bathroom, clothed in Evelyn’s spare clothes. She hesitated slightly before she joined Evelyn on the couch.
Evelyn wordlessly handed Ariko a cup of hot chocolate before broaching the subject.

“Now, tell me what’s wrong,” Evelyn gently asked her youngest sister. “What did you do?”
Silence fell between the two of them as Ariko played with her mug, apparently trying to find a way to tell Evelyn of her problem. Evelyn merely sipped her hot chocolate, patiently waiting for Ariko to talk.
“There was this guy…”Ariko finally stated after a couple of minutes. “I…we…” Ariko stammered before taking a deep breath, changing her sentence. “I liked him. Really liked him,” she confessed.

Evelyn nodded nonchalantly, waiting for Ariko to continue. She had a faint suspicion as to where the conversation was headed, but she didn’t say anything. She was almost afraid to hear her suspicions confirmed.

Ariko looked down again. “He’s a couple of years older than me, but I…well, I started seeing him. I really enjoyed his company and eventually, we…” Ariko’s voice drifted off and she fell silent again, biting her lower lip softly.

Evelyn sighed and looked down, able to derive what the rest of the sentence would be.

“You’re pregnant, aren’t you,” she stated, already sure of the answer. Ariko’s bottom quivered and she broke out into tears and sobs again, nodding fearfully. Now that she knew what to look for, Evelyn could see the slight rounding of Ariko’s belly.

“Yes,” Ariko whispered through her sobs.

Evelyn sighed heavily. It seemed like she just couldn't escape her family and their problems. Her life just got a lot more complicated.
So, Evelyn's baby is finally born! In my mind, I see Evi as this completely overprotective parent (it fits perfectly with her roll), so she had to have a confrontation with the babysitter. Still, I lucked out with that - the babysitter has the Family-Orientated trait, so she literally drops everything just to keep little Chantia happy :). And I included Ariko in Evelyn's story just to make her life more complicated :p