When Connor moved in with me (or I guess more accurately moved onto my lot) we took the little money he had and built ourselves some privacy, at least from one another. Our relationship was still new enough that it seemed wise to leave some mystery and allow Connor some modesty since he wasn’t exactly comfortable showering when he didn’t know who was watching him. I didn’t have the heart to remind him that he was being followed pretty much constantly now that we were officially together but that the shower was the one place he wasn’t being stalked instead, I agreed and we built the first little building on my big lot.
Things between us were progressing splendidly. We spent many hours basking in the starlight while holding one another close, looking into each others eyes and discussing our hopes and dreams and really, everything about ourselves. I learned so much about Connor in those days and every little tidbit made me love him more and more. He was often reading, even though we had a television and it always amused me to call him ‘my little bookworm’ but I don’t think it was the first time he’d heard that. His love of reading lead to a love of writing and I was honoured when he finally shared with me that he’d always wanted to be a professional author. He loathed his journalism career, there were too many people around for ‘a loner like me’ (his words, not mine, obviously) and besides, he was so absent minded that he rarely remembered to turn in the articles he wrote… Or do his dishes, or make the bed, or… He was a good man though. The best.
What? Did you expect that all we did was talk? Connor and I connected on more than just an intellectual and spiritual level. With only a poor quality television, the couple of books Connor had brought with him when he moved out and very little money we had to find ways to entertain ourselves. We built forts and had pillow fights, we threw random items from my fridge into bowls to see how they’d taste. We went fishing and vegetable picking at the park across the street but to tell my readers a secret? Sometimes, often, we didn’t even have to be doing anything together to be happy. It was enough to just share company.
Everyday I considered myself grateful that I had Connor. I’d never met anyone so understanding before and so willing to compromise. It was no problem for him to help out around the lot and he was often wandering around tidying things. Never cleaning but always tidying. Never fixing but tidying. I guess it’s just as well he left the cleaning and fixing to me, I’d had a lot of practice and somehow he never really got things right. I never said anything or did it while he was home but I always had to rewash the dishes if he’d done them. My stove was still making me uneasy and Connor was willing to not use it so long as I agreed to keep the refrigerator. I knew he liked cooking and wanted to get better at it but I just wasn’t prepared to take any chances.
It was a joyful day when I found out that stocking the fridge for him was not much different from me. We both sheepishly enjoyed our pre-mixed cereal. Not only that but the same cereal with the same 2.5% Milk. Preparing dinner, lunch or breakfast was always a breeze and Sugar Oats are always a welcome treat. We’d fallen into an easy pattern of acceptance and comfort between the chores, our jobs and Connor’s writing everything was in place, on track and sailing smoothly. We had both been promoted recently, Connor to Freelance Writer, which gave him a lot more time to write his own books and not articles about dog shows. I was the Head of Department Q7 at Doo Peas! The people who worked for me were great, always got me my coffee while it was hot and rarely misfiled anything. I like them… The girl… and the uh… guy… and whatshisface… Don’t tell.
L: “Thou art so leaky that we must leave thee to thy sinking.” (Anthony and Cleopatra 3.13)
R: “Either thou art most ignorant by age, or thou wert born a fool.” (The Winter’s Tale 2.1)
L: “Descend to darkness and the burning lake! False fiend…” (Henry VI Part 2 1.4)
R: “This is the foul Flibbertigibbet.” (King Lear 3.4)
Author’s note: Thank Google for Google!!
All I can really say is that life was good for us. Our days flew by in second and minutes and hours of joy and happiness. Though I’d known from the moment I’d laid eyes upon Connor that he and I were meant to be together, I hadn’t anticipated that we would be such a good match. No more frantic dreams plagued my nights, instead forest spirits danced through fields of clouds with hippopotamus companions on a nightly basis, converging on one building or another within Sunset Valley, depending on the night.
I suppose that when everything goes smoothly, it can only mean one thing: Trouble was brewing. I’m not sure either one of us noticed or intended it, it really seemed to just happen. One day we were blissfully happy and early in the evening I finished my 7:00pm cleaning and cuddled into bed with my boyfriend while he read his book. He finished his chapter, put his book aside and murmured sweet nothings into my ear while we watched the sun’s rays settle below the horizon. As night fell and the crickets chirped we, well, what came next is none of any reader’s business.
The next day, my ever considerate, ever kind and gentle and thoughtful Connor stood me up. We’d planned to meet after work since we both work at Doo Peas and instead of heading home we were going to walk through the park and catch a movie. I waited and waited out front of the building for him to rush through the doors with an explanation of where he’d been and what had taken him so long, instead I watched as his co-workers left the building one by one, each giving me a curious look as they passed. I felt like a fool standing around, waiting for my man.
When Connor eventually arrived home he arrived home to an absolutely furious me. I had waited for an hour for him at work and it had been another hour and a half since I’d gotten home and finished straightening up the lot. I fumed and I paced and I paced some more and when he finally arrived I sat him down and gave him what for. I yelled and yelled at him until my voice was hoarse, trying not to heed the apologetic but not confused look on his face. When I’d finally stopped screaming he said he was sorry, he told me he’d been tied up interviewing someone for an article for work and that they’d demanded he meet them across town. He told me it was a very important citizen and that if the story ran it would be very good for his career. After more sucking up and a couple of token apologetic actions I forgave him. I didn’t want to go to sleep mad at him.
Connor started working late into the night so that he could spend time with me before I went to sleep. He was pushing out articles as fast as he could and was writing his second book, Life after Life, a Sci-Fi novel. I loved to see the look on his face when he started explaining his book to me, his first tale had been alright, but this one he had clearly put a lot of effort and imagination into. My favourite lullaby became the clacking of his keyboard as he typed, tap-tap-tapping into the night. My only disappointment was that he wasn’t writing the Sims in Space story featuring my doppelganger, but he reassured me that he wanted to write that when he was sure he had the skills and in the meantime, the money he brought in from submitted chapters was really helpful.
I arose earlier one morning than usual and quietly slipped from my warm bed into the cool, dawn air. I set about my cleaning but my mind was elsewhere. I was contemplating my life and my relationship with Connor, sure, there had been a few bumps in the road but we always cleared them with little to no damage and we had only gotten closer with the more time we’d spent together. For me, our love was all encompassing. It made everyday a dream but I was still not satisfied. For as amazing as it all was, I wanted more and I was sure that not only was the time near for me to get what I most wanted, but the time was now.
When Connor, sleepy-eyed, bed-headed, handsome Connor, rolled our of bed some hours later he nearly walked into me, kneeling on the grass. I could do nothing but grin as I watched him rub his eyes and gape at the small velvet box I held in my hands. Of course I was a little bit concerned as I crouched there, Connor had a track record of turning me down, but as I revealed the shining silver band I could tell by the excited speechless-ness that overwhelmed him that I didn’t have to worry.
“Connor Frio, every day since the day we met I have fallen more and more in love with you. There has never been anyone so important to me in my life and all I want is to spend the rest of my life in your warm and loving embrace. Please Connor… Marry me!”
We celebrated our engagement long into the night and by the next day we had spread the news all over town. Days went by, as days do, and Connor and I found ourselves often so exhausted by our daily life and wedding planning that we collapsed into bed each night thrilled to have our arms around each other. Life was a little tough since we were being so frugal but it was also simple and perfectly suited to what both of us needed right then. We were both used to sleeping outdoors, but I had also become rather enamoured with the idea of forever being able to look up from my bed to see the heavens slowly moving by.
Home Sweet Home! It had almost – ALMOST – reached the stage where I didn’t want more than I had. Maybe a more comfortable bed, perhaps a light in my bathroom room, a stove that didn’t come off as sinister, a sink that didn’t double as a fountain 90% of the time. Maybe some better chairs and a good kitchen table. I didn’t ask for much, all I really needed was what I had in my love with Connor, my beautiful vistas and my increasingly rewarding career.
So the afternoon when I returned from work to see a proper house on my property, I was nearly ecstatic. I hadn’t expected to be so pleased to find a civilized building where my belongings had once been carefully strewn about the lawn but I was thrilled! I hadn’t expected a house at all, so one that seemed so large was unbelievable. It wasn’t the house of my dreams, but I suppose my dreams at one point my dream WAS of a dream house and this was the first step towards it.
The day I got home to a home and not a not-a-home was a huge day for me at work too, I’d once more been promoted and was now Vice President of the company. I really liked the ring of “Vice President” and briefly I wondered whether I should have gone into politics. When I walked inside I was delighted to find Connor already getting settled and frustrated to find that my appliances had remained the same in our one room, one bathroom abode. Connor was hard at work preparing dinner for us, Autumn Salad he informed me, telling me he’d still respected my wishes that he not use the stove just yet. Surrounded by counter tops somehow the oven seemed more comfortable and it the heat I normally felt radiating from it was… less. I’d have to keep my eye on the new sink too though. I didn’t like how it hid it’s workings inside the cabinetry.
The only downside to the new house was that there seemed to be a film on everything. EVERYTHING. After a delicious dinner, while Connor click-clacked tip-tapped away on his laptop working on his story I set about wiping down everything. EVERYTHING. The fridge, the tiles on the floor, the bed frame, the door knobs, the window sills, I didn’t rest until my hands were chapped and everything was gleaming. I was extra delighted to find that once Connor had arrived home to a pure, pristine, beautiful white house he’d taken the initiative to deck at least one room out in my favourite colour. I would have been very happy with a white bathroom as well, but it was so thoughtful that I could hardly even think of a complaint.
Life inside our happy little home continued much the way life in our not-a-home had. We worked, we played, we laughed and we loved. We cleaned and wrote and continued strengthening our relationship. At night, once all chores were taken care of and Connor had completed the chapters he was working on we’d curl up in bed and stare at the ceiling while sharing our hopes and dreams. Nowhere in the world was I happier then when I was safe in my bed in Connor’s arms.
Shortly after we’d gotten settled I decided that it was time to test both my cooking ability and the oven’s cooking ability. I woke early and carefully followed a recipe for waffles that I somehow knew. As I cracked eggs and whisked flour Connor snuck into his seat and sat quietly while I agonized over my batter. I really had no idea what I was doing, it was the first time I’d made more than cereal or canned soup and I was nervous.
Food was in the oven and the aroma in the house was decidedly delicious. My stomach rumbled for waffles, ached for hot food and a good breakfast and over the sounds of typing I could hear Connor’s belly echoing my own. Each second that passed with my food in my previously untrustworthy appliance rose my anxiety to levels I hadn’t dealt with in a long while. Even the morning I proposed to my love, I wasn’t this close to having a total freak out but I kept it under wraps knowing that if I ran away and spazzed I’d certainly…
… burn breakfast to a crisp. My waffles were hardly recognizable as waffles, instead they looked like bricks of smoking charcoal sitting on my previously spotless flatware. I was devastated that I’d put my trust in this… this… hunk of electrics! and it had failed me. My first try at cooking had been a disaster and the only silver lining was that I’d pre-prepared cereal for Connor and I just in case something exactly like this had happened. As we munched on our soggy cereal Connor tried his hardest to convince me that the oven was safe to use and that only with experience would I be able to make the perfect waffle but I wasn’t sure I believed him. If he thought the stove was so great, HE could do all the cooking!
As the months flew by I became more and more absorbed in planning my wedding. Our wedding. I’d managed to convince my fiance that we should at least have a couple of people over to celebrate with us, even though he would have much preferred a quiet, intimate ceremony at town hall. The only condition under which he allowed me to plan a small party was if I planned it and he didn’t have to. He claimed he had no idea how to set up a ‘shindig’ and so I was on the phone day and night, trying to get my vendors to agree to providing me with what I needed at a reasonable price. I was determined that the day I got hitched would go off without a hitch.
I had no idea when I took on the responsibilities of planning my own wedding just how many details were involved. There was my dress Connor’s tux the ring the food and the guest list the entertainment the settings the decorations the time the day and and and and and. The list kept growing and by the time the big day arrived I was stressed beyond belief. I was sure that I’d forgotten something and that it would ruin the ceremonies and Connor wasn’t much help. No matter what task I’d given him he’d stared at it with lost (beautiful) eyes and then the next day he would turn it over to me helplessly and I’d find that he’d done next to nothing.
We’d decided that we would keep with tradition and the day of our wedding, which we held in the backyard, I didn’t see him in his tux and he didn’t see me in my dress until the guests arrived. I busied myself with checking and rechecking each and every detail while Connor waited for our guests to arrive. The only things he had to do that day were get dressed, keep the ring safe and welcome everyone to the happiest day of our lives. We were finally going to be formally joined together for eternity and I was sure he was just as excited as I was to begin our union.
I was thankful that the first guest to arrive was Connor’s brother, Jared. We hadn’t met yet but I was sure that we would get along famously. After all, we were going to be family soon and I was looking forward to spending time with my brother-in-law since Connor had always kept us apart. I couldn’t understand it anymore than I could understand why Connor appeared to be giving his brother a stern talk the second he turned up. I know, I know, we weren’t meant to see one another but I cheated when I heard their words carried on the wind.
“Please Jared, be nice! This is my wedding and I need you to be excited for me and you can’t ruin this for Lily. She’s a wonderful woman and she’s put a lot of work into today. Just be nice!”
The next guest, and the first person I greeted was my good friend Nick. He’d hardly stopped to say congratulations to Connor before rushing to my side to tell me how beautiful I looked… And to comment about Jared’s ‘formal’ attire with a sneer. I wasn’t pleased by the leather jacket either but I wasn’t about to let it ruin my special day. NOTHING would ruin my special day. Now that Nick and I had some small amount of privacy that was never available at work, I had something to ask him, a big favour – I wanted him to give me away, to walk me down my aisle and send me to my new life with love. I knew it was a lot to ask and I knew that Vita may not approve (she didn’t seem to like me) but Nick was willing and it just made my day!
As our guests watched on with teary eyes, Connor and I recited our vows with the sun setting behind us.
“I, Connor Frio, promise to love you, Lily Clarke, from now until the day we pass. No matter what happens, whether the stars flee the sky or waves crash over our house I promise to be with you, at your side, supporting you and loving you.”
“I, Lily Clarke, promise to love you, Connor Frio, from now until the day we pass. Through riches or poverty, cleanliness or filth I promise to be with you, at your side, supporting you and loving you. You are the sun in my sky, the rock I cling to.”
My heart spun pirouettes as Connor slipped the wedding ring he’d purchased for me onto my finger. I was now Mrs. Lily Clarke and he was my Mr. Connor Clarke! I forgot about my guests, I forgot about the food and the music and everything else in the world. All that mattered was that he and I were one. I was married to the love of my life, I had a family now and it was time to really get my legacy on track. The cool, smooth metal band hugged my finger and promised me a lifetime of happiness and love. All my dreams were coming true as if there was some fairy godmother looking out for my best interests and making sure I got what I wanted. I was the luckiest girl in Sunset Valley.
Our first kiss as Man and Wife was truly magical. The world froze around us except for the excited cheers of our guests. We spent the rest of the night attached at the hand, moving from one guest to another, eating dinner, cutting cake and staring into one another’s eyes. Connor finally met all of the people I loved and I met the person he loved (other than me). My high hopes for having a friendship with Jared were dashed pretty much instantaneously but even that couldn’t shadow my glee. When our guests left and my yard was clean my husband and I celebrated our marriage in the most traditional of ways.
Not long after our wedding I began to feel ill. Every morning, without fail, I found myself uncomfortably hunched over my toilet, ruining all the hard work I’d inevitably put into it only half an hour prior. I wasn’t confused, I was 85% certain that I knew what was happening to me. I was finding myself hungry at the oddest hours for the strangest things, so much so that I learned to cook just in order to satiate myself. The oven still acted up on a regular basis but it was worth it each time.
The shower and both sinks also acted up regularly and I wasn’t nearly so pleased to deal with those. Connor had yet to master my technique of smacking plumbing wildly with a wrench and fixing them so it was always on me to beat my fixtures into submission. In the privacy of my bathroom I would insult them and grumble at them as I worked (which may have just worsened my problem) but in front of Connor I always put on a happy face. I never let him know how my back ached or my stomach roiled because I knew he was also working hard at a thankless job for the benefit of our union.
We were just getting into bed one night when I felt the baby inside of me move for the first time. I hadn’t told Connor yet, unsure of whether or not I was right with my guess as to why I’d been sick for so long but now? Now I knew, so I told him. I also didn’t have a choice, when the little one had kicked I’d let out such a noise of surprise that Connor’s reaction was so quick I couldn’t hide it when he asked what had happened. I told him my suspicions and he sprung from the bed to run and embrace me.
He never got to me though. I never got my celebratory hug. We’d kept the fixtures from the wedding up since I hadn’t wanted to take them down. I’d been heartbroken when my bathroom had been torn down to make room for my house and I loved being able to see the scene of my wedding from my window. It’s just as well that we could, or we never would have seen the burglar who had chosen that instant to sneak onto our property! Our celebrations never began as quick-thinking Connor pulled his phone from where it was charging and calling the police.
As policeman and thief fought in the yard Connor and I looked on in horror.The sounds of their shouts filled the air and all I could see was flailing limbs and the dust that was kicking up around them. It had been a really, really long time since we’d had any rain. Connor, oh good hearted Connor, admitted to me the next day that he had felt a little bad for the robber since he got beat up so badly. After all, we’d gotten our things back and he’d apologized and everything. I had a bit of a harder time finding that kind of forgiveness.
Unfortunately, not only were our celebrations delayed, we never had them. That night, after all the excitement, we finally got to bed and fell to a deep sleep and the next day, well, life carries on. The only proof that we were expecting was Higgins, who Connor brought back from the store one day after work. We never really discussed it and well, life carried on. I didn’t really like Higgins, I’m not sure why. Perhaps with no child to play with him, he was just a creepy bear sitting on the floor next to my ‘dining’ table.
In my free time, when Connor wasn’t around, I spent a lot of time reading up on what I should expect. I’d never thought about what was really put into taking care of myself when I was pregnant, I’d thought about babies but never pre-baby stage. It had been so long since the night baby had first shifted and in all that time Connor hadn’t said anything about our child. He gave nervous looks to my belly and wasn’t meeting my eyes as often when we spoke, but he was working harder and I’d never seen him so focused before. He almost never forgot anything anymore!
He was coming home late though, always telling me that he’d been late researching, but when I found a tattered copy of “Totally Preggers: An Expecting Mothers Tale” tucked under his pillow while I was making the bed one morning I knew that we were going to be alright. I still wished that he would talk to me about it though, whenever I raised the subject he would change the subject and I was tired of feeling so alone when I was with him.
I turned to food for solace and nutrition. In the middle of the night I would crawl out of bed and make tuna pancakes for myself. After many tried I’d perfected my recipe but also managed to work with my oven while it tried to work against me. Connor never ate the leftovers I made, which was just as well because I didn’t want to share. Maybe this was ‘cravings’ that everyone told me about, but they tasted so good that I couldn’t believe they weren’t a delicacy! I gorged myself on pancakes for months, drowning my concerns about the baby and about Connor and fluffy, fishy, deliciousness.
You can’t imagine how relieved I was when I started to really show. All of a sudden Connor was at my beck and call and he could hardly keep his hands off of my stomach. I would be cleaning the house when I’d turn around and there would be Connor, eyes wide and excited as he lowered his ear to my belly. He would whisper to it in loving, murmuring tones, telling it short versions of the stories he was working on, filling the tiny head in my huge stomach tales of the stars and aliens and spaceships. Finally, everything was going smoothly… Except that the house was never as spotless as I would like it to be. My back got sore quickly and I tired out as well. Thank goodness for maternity leave or I would never sleep.
The day we got the crib for the little being in my belly is the night I went into labour. I cried out in agony as contractions ripped through me. My due date was only days away but I was certain that this kind of pain meant that something had gone wrong and not that the baby was coming. I was delirious with panic and Connor spent nearly half an our freaking out that he couldn’t get me to respond to him before he packed up a change of clothes for us and hurried me to the hospital. We were there for what felt like days, but was really only a couple of hours. I freaked out all through labour and even once my baby was born, convinced that something had gone wrong… But when they put her in my arms and I held my beautiful baby girl for the first time I knew everything would be OK from now on.
We were exhausted by the time the doctors let us call a cab. I felt worn out an ragged and the whole night seemed as though it had happened to someone else. In no time at all I had gone from Lily Clarke, brand new sim, to Lily Clarke, wife to the most handsome man in Sunset Valley and mother to the most perfect little girl who had ever been born. We couldn’t decide what to name her, everyone had been convinced that I would have a boy and so we’d come up a shortlist of boys names that Connor insisted (to my displeasure) were ‘rad,’ but we hadn’t considered girls names.
Violet. 7lbs 4oz of delicate little Violet. We had used my old sheets to pad her crib and seeing her nestled in with the bed bugs who had been my first companions, I knew my life was now complete. I could die happy, but hopefully no time soon. We’d named her Violet after my favourite colour and because I thought it was cute since my name was a flower as well. I don’t think Connor liked it as much, but he was so smitten with her we could have called her anything I don’t think he would have noticed any more or less.
“Baby Incoming: Preparing With Vigilance” hadn’t prepared me properly for what my days became once little Vi was born. The smells and mess and sounds that such a tiny, innocent bundle could produce constantly bewildered me. I couldn’t remember when the last time I’d slept a full night through had been. Every hour increased my nervousness – I was not ready for this! I tried my hardest, I really did, and Connor was there with me for every step but when no one was around and Violet was asleep I spent most of my time pacing and fretting over whether I would be a good mother. I wasn’t cut out for this! And I hated Higgins.
Who was Connor’s ‘upstanding citizen’?
Will Lily cope with her new baby?
What will Violet be like as a child?
Will the dream house ever be built?
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?’
I don’t know if there’s an answer to the woodchuck question, so it won’t be answered at all in Chapter 4 – The Miracle of Life