Monday, February 11, 2013

Chapter 48: Marshmallows

  Rhys wandered aimlessly around the streets all day, he didn't want to go home and face Reilly's questions.  He knew Reilly would know right away something was wrong, and then he would offer Rhys logical advice on how to fix things.  But Rhys didn't feel logical about anything.  He felt out of sorts. 

  Once night fell; Rhys still didn't feel like going home, so he went to visit his parents instead.  They had moved to Monte Vista, shortly after Rhys had moved there.   When he got to their house, he found his mother was throwing a pool party.  Rhys got into the spirit of things though, and changed into his swimsuit.  His Grand Aunt Poulani, and his Aunt Melina and Uncle Ethan Jr. refused to get into swim wear when it was so cold outside.

  "Your side of the family is crazy Rhys."  Melina commented.  "Who would throw a pool party when it is freezing outside?  And your parents don't even own a pool!"

  Rhys just shrugged.  His parents had always been a bit eccentric, he never could figure them out. Melina started talking about her cross breeding robots plans, which soon had Rhys eyes glazing over.  He found his attention wandering.  Melina looked a lot like her mother, he mused.  Only less scary.  Grandma Kei was still intimidating, even in her old age.

  Lilith was overjoyed to see her older brother.  "Rhys!"  she exclaimed happily.  Rhys returned her warm greeting.

    He had always felt bad for Lilith.  After the quads were born, she had to share everything, including the parents, while Rhys had grown up pretty much like an only child.  Lilith had never seemed to mind though.  "What have you been up to big brother?" 

  Rhys shrugged again.  "Nothing."  Lilith looked at him curiously, but didn't push, for which he was grateful.  "I see you're expecting again?" 

  "Yeah."  She patted her tummy.  "Giacomo would like a boy, to carry on his family name.  I don't care if this baby is a girl or a boy, as long as the baby is healthy." Rhys hoped this marriage worked out for his sister.  She had married a distant cousin, Jeramie Goodfellow, they had a very tumultuous relationship that had produced four kids, Kristofer, Kerry, April, and Cyriaque.  When they finally ended things, it had ended badly.  She had stayed single for a while, until all her kids had become teens, then Lilith had just recently married a local, Giacoma Modeno.

  Rhys sought out his father, and once he found him, he asked if he could stay overnight.  His Dad looked at him for a long moment, but agreed.  "You'll have to sleep on the floor Rhys."  Tristan apologized.  "We just don't have enough beds."

  "Thanks Dad.  I brought my own sleeping bag."  Rhys found a nice comfortable spot in the kitchen, where it was quiet and dark, and he laid out his sleeping bag and crawled into it.  He fell asleep to the sounds of laughter and chatter in the background.

  The next morning Rhys woke up to the sounds of his little brother, Johnnie laughing.  He got up and began to roll his sleeping bag up.  "What's so funny?" Rhys asked irritably.   His little brother kept laughing and pointing.

     Rhys stood up and glared at him.  That wiped the grin of the little runt's face, Rhys thought with satisfaction.   Little brothers and their sense of humor.

  Johnnie moved to a safer location, really, his brother was a grump in the morning.

  Rhys wasn't feeling so good.  Maybe all that walking in the sunshine yesterday had been a bad idea.  He went to find his parents, to say goodbye, and ran into his little sister Mona.

  "Hi Mona!" Rhys said with a quick smile.  "I gotta go, we'll catch up later, okay?"  Rhys was starting to feel really poorly now, like he would pass out at any moment.  He definitely should not have stayed outside in the sun so long yesterday.

  He ran outside, but as soon as the sunshine hit him once again, he felt himself blacking out.

    Nira ran up to her son.  "Rhys!  Rhys!" she shook him, but Rhys didn't respond.  "Tris, something is wrong with him!"

  Tristan lifted his son up, and over his shoulder.  "Nothing a good dark room won't cure." He told his wife as he carried Rhys back inside the house.

  Ash had his birthday.  He was so excited when he realized he was now old enough to get a car.  Oh the possibilities!

  Reilly decided that things were getting rather tight in the main house, and so he and his Dad, Kit, built a new addition in the backyard.  The first thing to go in, was the piano that Elly had to have.  But never played.

  Juniper decided though that playing the piano was very relaxing, he could lose himself in the music.

    At least until his little sister Lia found him.  "Whatcha doing?"

  "Playing the piano, what does it look like?"

  "That looks like fun!"

  "Lia, stop pressing the keys, I'm trying to play."

  "Are you going to grow up and play piano for a living?"


  "Why not?  I don't think you play too bad.  Not too good either." she said thoughtfully.

  Juniper ignored her last comment, and answered her question.  "I'm either going to join the Fey, Mom's people, or join up with the Camulodunum people.  I haven't decided yet."

  "Why not?"

  Juniper sighed.  "Because."

  "Daddy says Because is not an answer."

  "It's my answer."


  "Lia, can't you go bother someone else? "

  Lia shrugged.  "I already have.  They told me to see what you were up to."  Juniper stopped playing, and stood up.  He wasn't going to be able to concentrate with Lia around.

  "If I play tag with you for an hour, will you leave me alone?" he bargained with Lia.

  Lia grinned and stuck her hand out.  "It's a deal!"  Lia was excited, so far today she had managed to get everyone to play tag with her.  Juniper was more fun to play tag with than the others though, he would actually turn into his smaller fairy form and chase her around.   

  Drake likes to smustle, like Grandpa Kona.

  Ceddie can't stand all the leaves that have been piling up all over the yard.  She gets to work on cleaning the yard up.

  She was soon joined by more family members, and soon the yard was filled with piles of leaves.  Rhys made it back it in time to help with hauling the leaves to the recycle bin.  After the fifth trip, Rhys decided he had enough of that, and decided to start burning the leaf piles.  The first few went off without a hitch.  Then...

  Fire!  Fire!  Puck ran and grabbed a fire extinguisher and started to battle the fire.

    Puck thought that while fighting the fire was kind of fun, he hoped there wouldn't be another one so close to the house.  It left a huge stinky, gooey, mess of half burned leaves and a scorched patch of grass.

  In the excitement of the fire, everyone almost forgot that it was the quads birthday.  Lia decided to have her birthday first, even though she wasn't born first.  Drake freaked out at the thought of a teen Lia, a child one had been bad enough.



  Alder wasn't so sure about this birthday stuff.   Was he even ready?

   He was more than happy to blow the party horn for his sisters though.

  Ceddie (Cedrela):

  Puck thinks that Cherry's glasses are super ugly, but he won't tell her that.  He doesn't want to hurt her feelings.

  Lia was a little more blunt.  "Really Cherry?  Those glasses are hideous!"  Which started all three girls squabbling amongst themselves.

    Sisters.  Alder was so out of there. 

    Lia was given a camcorder for her birthday.  She insisted that everyone go back outside so she could try it out.  She had this great idea for a scene, and it involved snow.


  "Cherry, you stand here, like, no, not that way, like this."  Lia posed her sister.  "Yeah, now, stay that way.  Okay, so here's your lines..."

   "Dad!  Why'd you have to give her a camcorder?  She's bossy enough!"  Cherry groaned.

  "That's why I thought she'd make a good director."  Reilly said.  He watched as Lia placed her siblings in various locations and gave them lines.  Lia then talked him into having a cameo roll in her impromptu first short film.

  Alder was wise to the ways of Lia, and slipped away before she could spot him.  He took his birthday present with him, a brand new electric guitar.  He was thrilled with it.  He could feel the music seep into his soul.

  "Alder?  Where's Alder?"

  "He bailed Lia."

  "Darn it!  I need him for this next scene!"  Lia pouted.  "Well, I suppose I'll have to finish this later."  Her announcement was met with cheers by her siblings.  She stuck her tongue out at them.  "You won't say that when I make it big as a movie director.  Then you'll be begging me to be in one of my movies."

  Her siblings scurried away before Lia could change her mind.  She huffed.  Family.  You just get no respect from them. 

  The next night was a full moon, and perfect for this one scene Lia had in mind.  She went around and asked for any volunteers, but everyone was busy with homework, or work.  She smirked.  Like she believed that.  Her mom was free, but her mom was flighty.  She sighed.  Her mom had a ten second attention span.

  She brightened up when a thought occurred to her. There was one other person.  She just might get him to star in one of her movies.  She grabbed the phone and dialed. "Hello?  Bianca?  Is Claudio there?  He's not?"  Lia was really disappointed.  "When will he be back?  What do you mean you don't know?  There was a big fight and he took off?  Okay, thanks Bianca."

  Lia slumped on the couch.  There went that idea.

  Early Sunday morning, the Kahekili house was awakened by the sounds of an electric guitar.


  Alder had found his purpose in life.  Writing music. 

  Sheesh!  Lia thought, try to help someone out and they get all bent out of shape.  She had offered to help Cherry with her wardrobe choices.  It didn't go over very well though.    Apparently her sister didn't care that she looked like a 70s reject.

   Lia picked up the phone.  It was time to see if Claudio was home yet.  Bianca gave her the same answers she had before.  No, he wasn't home.  No, she didn't know when he would be back.   Claudio was fine, Bianca told her.  His family would take care of things.  Lia glared at the offending instrument in her hand.  His family?  What was she?  Rotten tomatoes?  She grumbled.  The Monty's sure had some weird ideas about family.

  Lia had quickly disabused Claudio on some of his weird ideas about family and friends.  When Lia had first started following him around, he had tried many different ways to get her to stop.  None of them worked, to his exasperation.  Claudio was hers, Lia knew it, she had just needed to wait until he knew it too.  And then he had started spouting off nonsense about how he was a Monty, didn't she know what that meant?  Didn't she know the Monty's were bad news?  So what? Lia had told him.  She was a Kahekili, which was a lot harder to spell, so he had a much better last name.  And if Claudio didn't know how to be a friend, well, she would just teach him.

  Claudio still hadn't given in to the idea that they were meant to be, he had held out for a little while longer.  He next tried stonewalling her, and ignoring her, but that only made her more determined.  No one ignored Lia, she wouldn't allow it.  Until finally, he had given up.  He had stopped trying to ditch her, and he no longer ignored her.  What was the point? he had said.  It never deterred her.  Instead, he let her into his life.  He had talked to her, about stuff she didn't really understand then.  But she had listened, and that had been enough.

  Lia smiled fondly.  She liked having Claudio as a friend.  He was thoughtful, caring, and a lot of fun.  She liked to think that she brought some joy to him, for he was far too serious.  He would brood for hours, if she let him.  Lia always knew though, how to elicit a smile from him, and sometimes she could even get a chuckle.  She was worried about him.  It was time to take action.

  Reilly decided that today was the day.


  He was going to do it.  He would brave the icy ocean water... join the Polar Bear Club!


  Kit thought Reilly was on to something, he wanted to be a part of the Polar Bear Club too.  So Kit joined his son in the frigid waters.


    Claudio was right where Lia had thought he would be.  She knew his favorite brooding spots, and a fight with his family, that would merit a trip to Venice Beach.  It was a little stretch of coast, off the beaten path.  Not many people ever went there.  Claudio warned her not to go there by herself.  He said it sometimes served as a meeting place for secret shipments of Sweetbriar, among other illegal activities. 

   He didn't notice her at first, but when he did, she almost laughed.  He nearly fell off his chair.  "Lia, you grew up!"  She had forgotten that he had not seen her yet since she had her birthday.

  "It happens to the best of us." She said lightly.


  Claudio couldn't believe that the vision, that angel with the pink wings, staring at him was Lia.  Lia the pest, the one he had tried, in vane, to dissuade from hanging around him.  He didn't want to hurt her, and Monty's did not have the best of track records in that regard.  She had eventually worn him down though, and in the end, he had rather enjoyed having her around.  "Well, you look, uh, very grown up." he said lamely, still trying to recover from the shock of seeing an older Lia.  A very attractive Lia.  Then he frowned.  "What are you doing out here?  Didn't I tell you not to come out here alone?"

  "But I'm not alone Silly."  She rolled her eyes.  "You're here."

  Claudio stared back down at the fire he had built.  "You didn't know that.  I might not have been here.  This place is dangerous Lia."

  Lia sat down on a nearby chair.  "But of course I knew you would be here.  I know you."  She stared at him, but he refused to look up.  He had to get his reactions under control, it was true enough that Lia knew him well.  He didn't want her to know that he was feeling a little more than just friendly towards her. 

    He felt itchy under her gaze.  "I'm fine Lia.  You'd better get home, before you get in trouble with your father."

  Lia put her hand in her pocket, and wrestled out a bag of marshmallows.  She tore the bag open with her teeth, found a nearby stick, and poked one of the marshmallows on it.  "Want one?" she offered, she held the bag out.  Claudio silently met her gaze, he read the challenge in her eyes, and then took some of the marshmallows.

  "Daddy hates marshmallows." she said conversationally.  "I don't know why.  He's never said.  But he won't even look at them, and he makes this little pukey face, and then Rhys starts laughing.  So in order to have them, we have to sneak them.  Lucky for us, Mom loves marshmallows.  Unlucky for us, Mom catches them on fire, and then we have to call the fire department."  She stared pensively into the fire, watching the marshmallow turn round and round as she twisted the stick.

  "I like your mother.  I miss mine."  The last bit slipped out by accident.  Claudio tightened his lips, Lia always had him saying more than he meant to.

    "What was your mother like?"

  "Sweet."  Claudio immediately said.  "She made my father into a softer, kinder person.  No one could sooth him like she could.  She died when I was really young, so most of my memories of her are fading.  When she died, he became the cold person he is today.  Cold towards me anyway."

  "Why just you?"  Lia asked softly.  Claudio stared into the fire, and Lia thought maybe he wasn't going to answer her question.

  "He blames me for her death."  Claudio said finally.

  Lia looked up at him.  "Oh, Claudio, no..."

  "I was a bit of a spoiled brat." he said with a crooked grin.  "Hard to imagine, I know.  I wanted to go to the pond and ice skate, and I wouldn't stop talking about it, so finally my mother took me.  It was too early in the season though, and the ice was too thin.  We both fell in, she pushed me up onto the ice, I don't even know how she did it.  She told me to get help.  I looked and looked, but I couldn't find anyone.  It was a private pond, on our property.  I got lost, and well, to make a long story short, she froze to death while I wandered around.  I was eventually found, but it was too late for my mother."  He fell silent.

  "How old were you?"


  Lia stared at him, aghast.  "You were only four years old?  How awful!  That was just an accident Claudio, none of it was your fault!  Your father was probably just grieving, I'm sure he doesn't blame you for her death.  How could he?  It wasn't your fault!"

  "No, he still blames me.  His last words to me, before he went to prison, were, I wish it had been you, and not her.  I already have one son, I did not need another.  I can't blame him."  Claudio said sadly.  "If I had not wanted to go to the pond, and been so insistent..."

 Lia snorted.  "It's not your fault, and your father is a jerk for saying such a thing to you.  Why I have half a mind to.." she stopped her rant midway.  "Oh no!"

    "My marshmallow!" she cried.  She stared at the blackened, smoking husk of what used to be her marshmallow.


  Claudio laughed.  He laughed until he cried.  "Oh ha ha."  she said sourly.  The marshmallow incident removed the tension, and the moment of deep conversation was broken.

  "I hope you never change Lia." he said, as he took a bite of his perfectly roasted marshmallows.

  "Cause I love you just the way you are.  And I meant that in a non-romantic, friend kind of way." he hastened to add.  He didn't want her to get the wrong idea.

  "Oh, I know how you meant it."  Lia said.  She had more she wanted to say about his mother, but it would have to wait.  She was just happy to see him smiling again.  "Oh, I almost forgot to tell you."  She stood up.  "My dad got me a camcorder for my birthday."

  "Why do I suddenly have a bad feeling about this?"

  "Oh hush you, it was a most excellent gift.  And I am going to be a fabulous, rich and famous movie director one day.  But I need a star."  She looked at him, and fluttered her eyelashes.

  "Oh no, not me..."

  "You would be so perfect Claudio!  You're good looking, with the bad boy aura about you, girls go crazy over that sort of thing, and best of all, you'll work cheap."

 He had choked over a marshmallow when she had declared him good looking.  Lia thought he was good looking?   "I will?"

  She pulled out her camcorder.

    "Of course you'll work cheap, free even.  After all, we are best of friends, and I am going to make you a famous movie star.  Smile for the camcorder."  She hit the record button.

  "I don't want to be a famous movie star, I want to paint."

  "Okay." she shrugged.  "I can work with that.  You'll be my actor, and I'll pose for your painting."

  Claudio's eyes bugged out at the thought of her posing for him while he painted her.  He immediately pictured her naked, then tried to get rid of that image.  It wouldn't leave.  He would love to paint her.  All the different sides and shades of Lia, could he ever capture her soul in paint?  "Not that kind of painter." he said, and he tried to sound convincing.  He wasn't sure that Lia bought it, she did know him well, too well.  Then he noticed the blinking red light on the camcorder. "I hope you're not recording this."

  "Of course I am." she retorted.  "But this will be for us, for our children and grandchildren some day.  When they ask us, how did it all start?  I can pull these home movies out and show them."

  "You scare me Lia."

  "That's how it should be Claudio.  Now, when are you going home?"  She clicked the record button off, and put away her camcorder.  She looked at him expectantly.  He slowly stood up.

  "I'm not going home." he said.  "I'm done with them.  Antonio is trying to strong arm me into the family business, and I have zero interest in becoming yet another puppet on a string for my father.  Bianca just refuses to face the truth, and lives in never never land."  He shook his head in disgust.  "I just want to live my life, my way, and get away from all things Monty."

  "Excellent plan, I approve.  But you can't sleep out here, in the snow!  So, you'll just have to come home with me.  I'm sure Daddy won't mind."  She paused.  "Too much anyway.  He's all for helping people better themselves, and what better than to help his future son in law?"

    Claudio groaned.  "I hope you won't put it that way to him!  He'd want to kill me, not help me."

  Lia smiled.  "No worries Claudio.  Honesty is the best policy with Daddy.  He can spot a lie a mile away."  She frowned to herself as all the different times she had attempted to lie to him came to mind.  He had always caught her, always.  She grabbed his hand.  "Come on."  She tugged him.  "Daddy won't let you sleep in a snow bank either."

  He shook off her hand.  "I think this is a very bad idea."

  "What nonsense!" she declared.  She grabbed his hand again, and this time did not let go.  Claudio allowed her to lead him.  "You'll see, Claudio, things will work out just fine."  Claudio nodded his head, fatalistically.  At least, he reasoned, if he was dead, his father or his brother couldn't reach him either.


  Challenge Notes:  Whoosh!  Long chapter!  Sorry about that.  I had a bit to get through, to start setting up for the next generation.  So for the expansion part of the challenge, I built a whole other building behind their house.  My original intent was to build a place where they could store all their gems, rocks and other collectible stuff.  Their inventories were getting quite full!

  But then I got to thinking, it would be nice if they had a music room.  So I added that.

    The main floor, I added some beds too, which are not shown in the picture.  They have been short on beds and space for a while, but since most of them are fairies, they just took turns sleeping in the fairy house, lol.  Now they all have their own bed.

  I also decorated the walls, and with plants, things that had been given to the family via the mailbox gift system.

  And----Johnnie is so cute!  He is a mixture of his Dad, Tristan (genetically Reya's sim Rio Sari) and his grandfather, Chaine (Nellas' sim).  :)