Different Roads - Part One





Sept 2024

Samantha Bradshaw is 25; Serdar Green is 74.







It was going to drive her crazy. Samantha was sure of that, as she read through the articles for probably the hundredth time.  The words weren't going to change.  The brief reports weren't going to yield any new information.  Frustrated, she shoved the photocopies back in their folder, and shut it in the drawer.  Well, wasn't this what a person deserves, for trying to find out all the answers?  Just more questions?  She should never have gone to the library in the first place.

Someone was knocking. Samantha shut her bedroom door and went downstairs to find Helen and Cory's father waiting at the door.
"Is Helen home?"
Samantha shook her head. "She's visiting a friend. I'm not sure what time she'll be back."
"Is it alright if I just come in for a moment?" he asked. "If I could just trouble you for a glass of water... "



"Of course, come in."  she said.  She'd never really felt comfortable with Serdar, but that was no reason to make him stand on the doorstep.  She went to get the water, but a sudden movement made her turn back, as he stumbled and leaned against the door frame for support.


"Are you ok?" she asked, quickly putting down the glass to help him.
"I'm fine... really... " he said, although he leaned heavily on Samantha as she guided him to a chair.
"Do you want me to call someone?".  She said.  "I could phone Cory to - "
"No," he said firmly.  "You mustn't tell Cory.  He would only worry."
"Maybe he'd have a good reason to worry."
"Maybe he would," he said,  "but that's not the point.  I'd still prefer you didn't call him."
"Helen, then.  She's just down the road, and - "
"I'm fine," he said. "I'm just tired, that's all."


Samantha sat down across the table from him.  She didn't know what else to do, if he wouldn't let her call anyone, but she wasn't comfortable to leave him alone, either.

"Speaking of Cory," he said suddenly. "I believe I owe you an apology."
"Oh?"
"That night you came to dinner at my house.  I should never have harassed you over contacting your family.  I'm sorry."
"It's ok," Samantha said.  "Did Cory tell you - ?"
"He told me that you'd talked about it.  I still don't know that its a good idea to cut yourself off from your past, though, not when - "
"Uh, I don't know if an apology counts if you go straight on and do the thing you just apologized for," Samantha cut in.
Serdar smiled slightly.  "Point taken, and I apologize again.  I don't mean to be difficult... there are reasons why this bothers me probably more than it should."
Yes, there were reasons.  Samantha thought of the folder of papers in the drawer upstairs.


"I don't know what it is about you," Serdar went on.  "Maybe its because you're so secretive, I really don't know... but something about you reminds me of my first wife, Cory's mother..."
"His mother?" This wasn't the reason that Samantha had been expecting.
Serdar nodded.  "Please, let me explain... maybe you would think again, if you knew about her ."
Samantha started to say that she didn't think she would, but she stopped.  She was curious...  she nodded for him to continue.
Her name was April," he started, "We met in our first year of college... "

----

.... I'd earned a scholarship to study out of town.  She was away from her hometown, too.  She never talked about it much - her home, I mean.  She didn't like to.  All I knew was that she'd never been happy there.  It was as if she preferred to think her life had started right there at college, and nothing before that existed any more.  She had this way of looking so sad, when she didn't realize that I was watching her... as if there was some memory that she couldn't escape from, but she never told me what it was.  Probably, she was running away from something, even then.  In the whole time that I knew her, I never found out much at all about her past, but at the time, I didn't care.

I had fallen madly in love with her and all that mattered was the future that we were going to have together.  And how we planned our future!  We both wanted a big family, and we couldn't wait to get started.  By the time we graduated, Cory was on his way.


We went back to Richmond, and moved in with one of my brothers.  Cory was born a couple of months before our wedding.


I could have watched her with him forever... she was so happy.


So was I.  Those months were probably the best time of our lives together.

Before long, she was pregnant again.   Around the same time, I inherited some money from my parents.  It was enough to pay the deposit on an old farmhouse in Bluewater Village.


We had this dream, April and I.  We were going to raise our family in the country, away from everyone and everything.  She talked about us filling the house with children and having our own little world to raise them in... we'd grow our own food and she'd cook and sew clothes for the children... it sounded idyllic, and buying the farmhouse was the first step.

In reality, things weren't quite so ideal.  She didn't have the patience to learn to sew properly, and she was an extremely careless cook.


I had to keep working in Richmond to pay the bills, and the commute was even longer then, before they improved the road.  But we told each other that things would get better.  She'd learn and improve.  I'd be able to cut back my work hours when we had a bit of money behind us.


Eventually our twins were born.  I think that's when things really started to go wrong.  It sounds harsh, I know, but at the time I didn't really think of how hard it would be for her... alone in an isolated place, with three young children to care for.  It was different for me, I went to work every day, mixed with other people... but I didn't think about it that way at the time.  All I could see, was that we were living our dream, and she should be happy about that.

At first, I really think she was.  She kept trying, kept working towards the lifestyle we'd dreamed of.


Then, gradually, she let it all slide.


I'd come home from work and find the house a mess, the children hungry.  I'd get angry with her; it was cruel of me, I know, but all I could see at the time was that I'd been working all day to support us, and I didn't need to come home to all that.  Our relationship was starting to fall apart, along with everything else.



My family knew that we were struggling, and they tried to help in whatever way they could.  In particular, my eldest sister and her husband used to visit quite often.



Sometimes, her husband would visit alone.



I'm not sure when he started visiting when I was at work.


In a way, I should have seen it coming... April was so lonely, and he'd never really been cut out for monogamy.  And he always had a thing for redheads.


Maybe I just wanted to pretend it wasn't possible.

Then, one day, I got the promotion, the higher pay and reduced hours that we'd been waiting for.  They let me go home early, and after that, none of us could pretend anymore.



I was shattered when I found out, and too stubborn to see past my own hurt and anger.  I made her leave and wouldn't let her contact the boys.  Even my family was more sympathetic to her than I was, and my brother and his wife gave her a place to stay again.  A few weeks later, I heard that she was pregnant.



Maybe things would have been different if it had been my baby.  Maybe we could have worked things out.  But any doubt there had been over the paternity disappeared when April's daughter was born with my brother-in-law's dark blue eyes.  And that, in effect, ended our relationship.  I never spoke to her again.


I tried not to think about her.  I had three unhappy young boys to consider, and they saved me from falling apart completely.  I took leave from work, spent time with them.  I threw myself into doing whatever I could to have the kind of life we'd planned, even without April.  We even planted the garden that she had always wanted. Everything reminded me of her, but I couldn't swallow my stupid pride enough to even call her or allow her to see our sons.

April and her baby spent the next few months moving from one relative or friend to another.  She never stayed anywhere for long.  Even when things seemed to be going reasonably well, trouble followed her.  She broke things, she set kitchens on fire.  She started arguments.  As time went on, I heard stories about her behavior becoming increasingly erratic, to the point that people were worried for her daughter.  Finally, my younger sister and her husband stepped in.



They were good people, raising a large family of their own, and fostering other children as well.  It seemed like the ideal environment to give April and her daughter some stability.

Once again, things seemed to go well at first.  April calmed down a lot.  But at the same time, she became more and more distant from her daughter.  No one noticed it at first, but gradually the little girl became more attached to my sister and her husband, than to her own mother.


Maybe that was deliberate.  Maybe April had planned her next move all along.  Or, maybe, she just did it in reaction to the fact that she didn't feel a part of her daughter's life anymore.



We'll never know.  She went in the middle of the night.  She never left any explanation, only the documents that would give full custody of her daughter to my sister and her husband.


One of their daughters, Ruth, happened to wake up as she was leaving.  She chased April down the stairs, trying to find out where she was going.  April ignored her and got in the taxi without looking back.  The minute she was gone, Ruth said, April's daughter woke up and started to scream.  It was like she knew.


----

Samantha knew, too.  She had realized where this was going, even before he finished the sentence. Serdar closed his eyes as he continued.  "Ruth was the last person in the family to ever see April alive."  



"We spent the next six months trying to find her," he went on, "but I'm guessing that she didn't want to be found.  We eventually heard that she'd died in an accidental fire, in a small, dirty apartment she'd rented a few weeks before." 
"An accidental fire...?" Samantha repeated.
"That was what the investigation decided."
"But you don't believe it?"
Serdar shrugged.  "We'll never know..."

"It had to be an accident," Samantha said.  "You said yourself... she was such a careless cook... "
"... and she knew that, but didn't care enough about her own safety to get even a cheap smoke alarm."
Samantha found herself remembering something Cory had said... just different roads to the same destination... She shivered.  "What happened to her daughter?" she asked.
"My sister and her husband raised her as their own...



"She still lives here in Richmond, with a family of her own now. They bought her up well.  Her father stayed involved.  I suppose I should give him credit for that, although I never completely trusted his motives in anything anymore."


"You blame him?  For what happened to April, I mean."
"I have no right to," said Serdar, shaking his head.  "Not after the part I played... even my own family had more compassion for her than I did." 


"You were hurting... "
"So was she," said Serdar.  "And, in the end, so was everybody."  He paused for a moment.  "How much has Cory told you... about his past, I mean?"
"He told me some of what happened when his marriage broke up," she said carefully, thinking about the folder of papers upstairs, "and about why you have custody of Sam."
He nodded.  "Cory was probably the only one of the boys old enough to understand much of what happened with April.  If you ask him, he'll tell you he doesn't remember her, but I think he does.  I really believe that so much of what happened with Cory, happened because of April."

"But what did happen, with Cory?" she asked, her curiosity finally getting the better of her.
"I thought you knew?" said Serder, "I mean, you just said - "
"I know pieces... more pieces than Cory knows that I know... but it still doesn't explain..." She realized she'd probably never have a better chance to find out, than this conversation.  "Wait, I'll show you," she said, jumping up from the chair.  She had no idea of how he'd react, but she had to try... she ran up the stairs two at a time, and went to her bedroom for the folder.

---

It took a lot of time, but I had so much fun with this, ageing down my sims and recreating the pictures!  Will write some more about it, after the second part.

8 comments:

  1. OMG, more!!!

    I'm so in love with this story! I can't believe you haven't been telling these stories until now! There is such an amazing depth to all these families.

    LOL, I was cracking up when he apologized, and then started lecturing her again!!! Too funny!

    Wow, what a prequel story that was! So sad how she just kind of unraveled like that. They both seemed to have such good intentions. I remember you telling me about her before, because she shared the same name as my April - I guess that's a common name in Sim-land, lol!

    I was wondering which Ashley that was? Was that the current elder Ashley then? Or his dad? And who did her little girl grow up to be?

    What an awful thing for both of these families to go through. I can see how the children were affected by it all. I can't wait to hear more about it after then second part.

    Oh, but I wonder what's wrong with Serdar? :(

    (And now that I'm digging through their family profiles, you have me wondering, do you play Brandi's boys too, Beau and Dustin - I notice you do have them listed in the profile.)

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  2. I'm loving your writingstyle more and more! You write and people want to know more!
    The details on all the families in Richmond, I love it!!!
    I hope Serdar is ok, and that he will help Samantha understand everything!

    I'm getting really nervous about getting Samantha in SimsVille, I think it's going to be quite boring after all the other visits she had :(

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  3. Thanks, Laura... more coming! :)

    Yeah, that was my April Hutchins... 'her' Ashley was the first Ashley, the father of the one in the story now. He was married to Serdar's eldest sister, Becky (but don't try to think too hard about the ages because I played my houses out of sync back then, and some things just don't work... lol... I'm trying to get around it by being deliberately vague :) ). For a romance Sim he didn't do too badly - he was only unfaithful twice, both times when he rolled so many wants for the woman, that there was no other way to bring his aspiration level up (and both times with members of his wife's family... eeek!)

    I didn't want to include too many names in the story because I thought it would just make it confusing. Also didn't want to include April's daughter, Allie, in Ashley 2's siblings on the families page until after I wrote this - will add her now.

    You haven't met Allie in the blog yet, but you will as she and her family are still playable. She grew up in the Centowski home and I would sometimes even be mildly surprised when the game didn't count her as one of their children. The only reason I didn't have them adopt her, was that I wanted to keep her family tree & relationships to the Pitts & Green families intact.

    She married Jimmy Phoenix, which happened purely because of attraction/relationship, but really amazed me because I couldn't think of a better last name for her, really! :)

    I played Dustin and Beau Broke, they both married and had families... for the purposes of the story they've both moved away now (non-playable), although they turn up occasionally for family events.

    Tanja, thanks, I'm loving writing this, too. Don't be nervous, as Laura said before, after the previous hoods Samantha would probably appreciate a change of pace :)

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  4. Wow, I want to know more. Ugh, cliffhanger!

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  5. The whole thing seems so tragic, like he couldn't do anything to stop it. I really want to know what happens next, but thanks to a cliffhanger... lol!

    I've never archived pictures of anything for my own blog so I do the same as you; age 'em down and let the drama begin!

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  6. Apple, cliffhanger = useful device to get around the fact that you want to post a blog update but haven't got time to finish the whole thing :)

    Shake, I've got pictures from 'back then', but at the time I took really crappy screenshots - walls down, camera a mile away, etc, etc. So it worked better to recreate them... also was fun seeing my sims younger again!

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  7. I love your writing style. I was really into listening to Serdar tragic story about April. That was so sad.

    The cliffhanger is a great device to use and you did it perfectly.

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  8. Thanks... hopefully will have part two done soon.

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Thanks for reading and commenting!