As you can see, I’m back and I’m glad to be here. The house took me a long time to get to how I wanted it and it now looks nothing like the other design I had for it. And it still desperately needs some landscaping and finishing touches. I haven’t played ahead much but I’m hoping to get a new chapter out next weekend.
Thanks for still being here, it means a lot!
Now that Micah’s officially Violet’s husband, he’s also officially moved into the house with us. He’s great to have around, actually, even if things are a lot louder than they used to be. It’s GREAT to have a handyman around the house, especially now that Mama’s hands have started shaking when she picks up the heavy tools. We’re also going to be getting lots and lots of fresh fruit and veggies now. Vi absolutely insisted that I allow Micah to plant a garden in the yard so as my wedding gift to them, I get fresh, organic food without doing any work myself… I think that might be more of a gift to me than to them!
I wouldn’t dare tell Vi that though, she always looks so proud of her man when he comes into the house covered in dirt. Mama just cringes and follows behind him with the vacuum cleaner. Vi’s also gotten really testy and moody which is totally unlike her. I’m pretty sure it’s my job to be the hot-headed one around here but it sure is nice to have someone else take the heat sometimes. I just wonder what’s gotten into her.
“REALLY? Oh wow, wow…. Letty! We’re gonna have a BABY!”
Well, I guess that answers that question! There’s no denying that Micah is terribly excited about Vi’s announcement, I didn’t hear the announcement part but I sure did hear Micah’s response to it. There’s really not that much space between my room and theirs and if I hadn’t known better I would’ve sworn that Micah was right next to me, screaming in my ear.
Ah! I can hear Vi coming now, time to play dumb and not let on that the whole neighbourhood knows her news.
“ZZ! I’m pregnant! I’m gonna be a mom!”
I put on my happily shocked face and throw my arms around my big sister, mostly just so I can stop seeing the horrid maternity wear she’s got on, but don’t get me wrong. I’m very happy for them.
“Eeeeee! Vi! I’m so happy for you!” See? “I’m gonna be an auntie! You’re gonna be a MOM!”
“I know! I gotta go tell Mama!”
I can hear Vi banging out the front door, yelling for Mama and I know she’s out in the back, watching the sprinklers water Micah’s plants with a forlorn expression. I think if she could put that in a hermetically sealed room Mama would play in the sprinkler all day, instead the one time she worked up the nerve to try she ended up with mud on her toe and we had to carry her back into the house.
Once again, I’ve missed the particulars of Violet’s announcement but I was busy sneaking onto the balcony to see Mama’s reaction and it’s… Interesting.
“Oh I know dear, your father told me last week.” A spookily serene smile “Congratulations, Violet. I can’t believe my baby’s going to have one of her own.” Mama’s attention shifts down to Violet’s belly, where there’s hardly a bump. “You’re going be a beautiful little one, aren’t you my little princess?”
I guess Daba told her it was going to be a girl too? I may have to keep an eye on her.
With dawn (noon) came revelation. I know something has to be done and it has to be done soon. In less than a year Violet will be bringing her first baby into this house and the situation around here has gotten pretty dire. The place is stark and white, the carpet too bleached to still be soft, the kitchen is small and the living room is hardly big enough to breathe in. We’re going to need some more room and I know just the person to call!
Luckily Bridgett is between projects right now ’cause she’s the best contractor I know and her team is great! I’ve done a couple of murals on the walls of some of her builds and I just know that no one, not even the Holmes Inspector, could find fault with her work. We’re getting right to work! When this place is done it’s gonna be bigger and better and it’ll have colour too.
No thanks to Mama on the colour front, she keeps trying to convince Bridgett that the current colour scheme is perfect “though we could go lighter in the bathrooms and kitchen perhaps…” Luckily my contractor knows who she works for but she has managed to sell me on what she swears was one of Mama’s ideas: A playpen/room for my niece or nephew (and maybe my children, one day. Maybe) so that all her toys can be corralled easily. I can still remember the mess Vi and I made as kids so I’ll give Mama this victory.
Other than the playroom, which is taking a bedroom out of my initial plan, I won’t compromise on what I want any more than I already am. I’m still going to have to put off building a studio for my art, I’ll be painting in an unfinished room and sculpting outside until I can afford more construction. It took me two weeks to convince Bridgett to let me help with building and little by little I’m learning electronics and plumbing and woodworking. Constructing is just as rewarding as sculpting is!
As months drag on I’m starting to get anxious, I haven’t chosen colours or fabrics or flooring or anything yet! It seems as though nothing’s been done since the day Bridgett first arrived, despite all our hard work, but she assures me that it’ll come together in a split second. I know she’s right but it still leaves me with no real sense of what the place will look like and it’s making me nearly as argumentative as Violet.
In the end, Bridgett was right. In the blink of an eye the house was built around us and we’d done a great job. Really amazing. The house is warm and welcoming and spacious and just in time too, since Violet looks like she’s about to pop. I’m so thrilled with the place that the unfinished rooms and lack of art space aren’t bumming me out too much. I’m just really glad that we’re done… For now. It’ll be nice to get into clean clothing and out of the house again.
Mama likes the house more than she’ll admit, I think. It’s a little bit overwhelming for her for sure but the child in Mama has always like shiny and new things… And I kept her old stove so she lets us cook. I tried to keep as much as I could really, I don’t think a single one of the redbricks of the old house went to waste (so long as they came down in one piece). I made extra sure that we kept the ones that Vi and I used ‘draw’ on, using a rock to scratch in a pattern. There’s even one with Mama’s name on it, but that’s outside
I even kept the old front door. The house really feels huge now, like there’s enough room for generations and generations of Clarke babies to grow up in and I’m coming to understand that it’s kind of on me to make sure that happens. I’m the heir, right? I probably should have thought of that and made some time for Abner during the renovations, instead I hardly saw or spoke with him and it’s actually been five months since we last saw one another. I’m OK though, he wasn’t really what I’m looking for. He was a magician!!
I can’t wait for Violet to have that little girl already (yup. it’s a girl!) ’cause for the last… Oh gosh it feels like forever… she’s just bean mean! And grumpy! Anything will set her off and send the rest of us scampering to get her what she wants. And she’s always hungry, for the strangest things. I’m always thrilled when I know there’s someone closer to her than I am ’cause it means I’m free and clear.
I had no idea she could hit that note! My sister is really talented! Wow! But –
“AARRAAAGNNNPH SOMEONE GET ME TO THE HOSPITAL”
BABY! “OUCH!” I probably shouldn’t have dropped my hammer on my foot but in my hurry to get back inside, my sculpting tools fell victim to gravity. My hearts wrenching at every one of her screams, she sounds like she’s in so much pain and I can’t remember the first step to getting a pregnant woman to the hospital. Thank goodness Micah and Mama are calmer than I am!
Millie! She’s so small and warm and gurgley and perfect. Vi’s got her and her room totally decked out in pink and it’s pretty adorable. I didn’t think I could love a child this much but if you could only see some of the faces she pulls! Violet got home from the hospital that night and collapsed in bed with Millie clutched protectively in her arms. She almost killed Micah when he took the baby to put her in her crib and I can totally understand why with those pretty green eyes and gurglry noises.
My room, on the top floor of the house, is my sanctuary now. Too far away to hear the vacuum or Millie’s screaming during the night and just big enough to not make me feel trapped. It’s just so… comfortable. That may be my Egyptian cotton sheets though, mmmm luxurious! I’d be in heaven except my dreams? Not as perfect as the room lately. I guess Mama’s talks about the responsibility of an heiress and news of Abner’s impending nuptials have me on edge. How am I supposed to get married and have a dozen little babies if I can’t find a man who’ll even mourn the end of our relationship? At least Abner had the good graces to wait until we were through before he moved on, before I pushed him away?
It’s time for me to get out of the house. No more babysitting or sculpting or painting, at least today. Today I’m going to… I don’t know what I’m going to do. I guess I’ll start with a bath, head to the park and see what happens from there. It seems like a reasonable way to solve my problems for some reason. I have a feeling that it’s going to be a pretty good day. Like everything’s coming up Roses! Or maybe it’s Rose coloured glasses?
I hardly touched a chessboard while I was working on the house, and now that I’m sitting down in front of one again, I can hardly remember which pieces move in which way, never mind any strategy for the game. Well, perhaps that’s an exaggeration but this is really slow going. I can feel the rust working itself off of the gears inside my head (I’m a simbot, dontchyaknow) and before now I can see the moves and remember how a Knight works. Shining armour and all.
“Excuse me, miss? Do you mind if I join you?”
I kind of do, actually, so I guess I shoouuu- oooooooh… “No, uh, not at all. Please, have a seat” that was actually pretty smooth, now to put all the pieces back where they belong, switch Queen with King, and pretend I know what I’m doing. “I’m Rose.”
“Stephen, Stephen Boylan.”
“Rose Clarke, nice to meet you.”
“You too Miss Cl- Rose.” He’s blushing and I can’t help but smile. The man sitting across from me is so handsome, even if he is quite a bit older than me. I can see gray in his blond hair and are his eyes…? They’re like gold! Ok… Queen’s pawn, to… uh… Two spaces forward.
The more we played, the better I got and while Stephen may have won our first game easily, at least for the second and certainly this third one I’m putting up a challenge. He’s really quite nice, just moved to the city with his sister so she could open the new salon in town. He’s working at the Arena but says he’s doing it more for the exercise than the work. He’s smooth and suave and a little bit of a snob but he has a nice smile and he’s not too sore a loser.
“Good game, Rose.”
“You too, Stephen. Well… uh… it was nice to meet you.”
“You too, have a good evening.”
So ever since that salon opened up in town Micah’s been talking about tattoos non-stop. I guess he feels a little threatened by the fact that most of the guys Violet works with are more ink than skin. He finally got up his courage but he’s dragging me with him. I’m not exactly an unwilling participant here, I’ve been thinking about getting one too but I’ve also been freakin’ SCARED! I’ve heard that it hurts a lot but Micah said he’d pay for it for me if I came with him so I said yes and now I have to choose a design.
Micah goes first, settles into the chair and looks up at the artist with the same puppy dog eyes he gave me that got me here in the first place “be gentle?” The whine of the tattoo gun fills the room and I keep changing my focus from his arm to he face, trying to see how much it hurts but he doesn’t look like he’s having that much trouble. My turn comes around and I get ready and take a deep breath… “OOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWW!!”
Micah got a simple pink banner with Millie’s name spelled out in it on his arm. I don’t even have to ask him why he chose it, it’s simple and to the point and Violet loves it. She coos over what a sweet man he is while she pokes the still inflamed area on his arm as if he can’t feel any pain. I might agree with her – it’s either that or he’s the best actor in the world.
My tattoo hurts… A lot. Sleeping is tough but it’s sooooooo pretty. Four pastel flowers running down my spine is totally worth waking up in agony ’cause my sleeping body has decided to roll itself over. I probably should have thought this thing over but when all is said and done, I’m considering where to get my next one… There was a really pretty star pattern on the wall.
“Ouch! Toes! Damnit phone…” My hammer has hit my foot, once again, and this time I’m not wearing boots. It’s going to take everything I have not to swear into this phone.
“Hi may I speak to Rose Clarke?”
“Oh! Hello, um… I don’t know if you remember me, but my name is Stephen Boylan… We played chess at the park a couple weeks back?”
“Yes, I remember you, how are you?”
“Good, good… I hope this isn’t too forward but I got your number from your website and can I take you out for coffee sometime?”
When he hadn’t asked me for my number or shown any interest in seeing me again after the park, I’d more or less given up on him but now I’m anxious to set a date with him. At the very least I’m going to get coffee.
Coffee with Stephen was a really nice time, I’m glad that he found my number. Since that first ‘date’ we’ve been for coffee and met for lunch, saw a movie but it’s been really casual so far. More like friends that anything else but I know how I feel (I think?) and I see how he looks at me and these feel like dates more than just ‘hanging out,’ I think he’s worried that he’s too old for me. Maybe an older man is just what I need? I still have to tell Mama though, I think she’ll be happy I’m seeing someone. I know I’ll be happier without her hassling me about more grandchildren! Isn’t one baby enough in a house?
“Mama? I’m heading out now… On a date.”
“Oh! How nice!”
“Yeah, it is. I’ve been seeing him for a while now. He’s an athlete, just moved to town.”
“I’m very glad, Rosie. It’s time you settled down, you know that! So long as you like him and he treats you well.”
“He does Mama.” I rise and give her a kiss on her forehead “He does, I’ll see you later. But Mama?” I pause, practically out the door “He’s quite a bit older than me.”
Mama just smiles and nods at me, but as I walk out of the room I can swear I hear her say “I know dear, your daddy told me.” I hope I didn’t just hear that.We’re walking around downtown Sunset Valley and I’m starting to feel bad, I’ve dragged him into literally every store – grocery, book… uh… And now I’m going to drag him into the consignment store. I’m considering selling a lot of my paintings and statues, they’re just standing around and well, I could be making money off of them. I have to apologize first though, I’ve never met a man who liked shopping but he blushes (he blushes all the time, a little over-dramatic sometimes) and tells me not to worry. That he’d shop with me anywhere. Could he be any sweeter?
After speaking with the owner of the store (I’m pretty sure I’m gonna sell at least some of my work) I start browsing the racks, seeing what people are selling and then. All of a sudden. Like a gift from above is THE dress. I swear, I’ve been looking for a dress like this since highschool. I wanted to wear it to my prom but it was no where. I can’t help it, I’m so excited I could scream. I squeal instead, clutching the fabric to me as I search frantically for a fitting room.
“I have to try this on!”
It fits me just right, the colour is amazing and the fabric… Oh wow it is so soft. I can’t stop spinning in front of the mirrors, trying to see it from every side at the same time. I’m craning my neck at an unnatural angle when Stephen comes up behind me, puts his hands on my shoulder and stops my twisting.
“You look beautiful, Rose. Let me buy it for you? Let me take you to dinner tonight.”
I can’t even think of saying no! I spin and throw my arms around him, thanking him before I’ve even said yes. Not only does he buy me the dress but a pair of shoes AND he buys himself a suit and tie just so he can “look appropriate” on my am. I ask him where we’re going but he doesn’t want to tell me. It doesn’t matter, I know. There aren’t many restaurants in town and I told him about The Bistro the first day we met.
In the cab I pull my hair from it’s braid and give it a little bit of primp. If I’m having a pampered night (and whole afternoon, mind you) out on the town I’m going to look good for it! He looks great in his suit, it just hangs so nicely off of his muscled… frame… beautiful eyes… soothing voice… I don’t remember most of dinner, just that it’s a couple of hours later when we leave the restaurant.
We both need cabs to get home but home is in different directions for the two of us so we’re stalling. At least that’s what I’m doing. I compliment his personality, he tells me a flirtatious joke, I gaze into his eyes, he holds my hands. We’re moving closer and closer and I can feel my heart beating like a drum in my chest. He smells nice, he’s closer, his eyes really are an amazing colour. Closer still, he should be able to hear my heart by now. Could I have fallen for Stephen?
Has Rose have fallen for Stephen?
Did she get a goodnight kiss?
Why does Lily keep claiming to have spoken with Connor?
Who does Millie look like?
I can answer all of those questions, but may choose not to in Generation 2 Chapter 4 – Old Habits