“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.
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!”
“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.