Gavin Newson is 29; Andrew Goss is 26; Cory Green is 49; Tracy Lea is 21
Previous updates: Gavin, Andrew
Gavin glanced up from his breakfast to check the time.
He’d have to leave for work soon, he realised. Without the distraction of other people about, it was too easy to get caught up in a thing and loose track of time. He wasn’t completely alone, thanks to the puppy he’d bought from a neighbour, but that wasn’t the same as having children and teenagers to sort out in the morning He had to admit, this was a much more relaxing way to start the day.
He'd surprised everyone by announcing that he was moving to Bluewater Village. He'd always hated the commute to the shop, so at least that gave him an easy way to explain the decision to people.
He rented a little furnished rowhouse cottage near the sea, a few minutes out of the main Bluewater township. And since moving in, he'd become increasingly aware that his wife had been right. Without the responsibility of his family, he didn't have a clue what to do with himself.
After a few boring evenings thinking about exactly what he wanted to do with his new spare time, he decided to plant vegetables. He’d enjoyed helping in Willow’s garden, so it seemed like a good place to start. On his next day off, he went to the new garden shop in Richmond.
He was disappointed when the guy running the shop had told him he couldn't grow anything much out there.
“The soil’s too sandy,” he said. “It won’t work.”
What would work, was to dig out some beds and fill them with better soil. So that was what Gavin did.
The resulting garden was tiny, but it was good enough for a start. The place was a far cry from the city where he’d lived and worked before, but Gavin had to admit, it was actually starting to feel something like home.
He finished breakfast and took a quick shower. He was about to leave when the phone rang.
... and that was the end of his hopes for a relaxing day.
Mumbling curses to himself, he grabbed his keys and cellphone, and rushed out the door.
The train was pulling into Richmond Station, when Samantha’s phone rang.
It was Gavin. “Kyle can’t make it down today, some family thing happened. I’m here on my own and I need you to come in to work.”
"I can't. I'm on the train."
"But – "
"No. It's my day off, and I'm not going to just get off the train and get another one back. You'll have to manage on your own."
"But - "
"It's not that busy in the middle of the week – “
“It’s busy already!”
“You'll be ok. I’ve got to go, I’m almost at my station.”
“But – “
“See you Friday. 'bye." She ended the call before he had a chance to say anything more.
She treasured these days off in the middle of the week, ands she wasn’t about to give one up. They were the only time she could visit Richmond without the danger of bumping into Andrew, or Cory, or his family. She was, as far as she could tell, alone again, which is why it was all the more important to her to visit Helen whenever she could.
She’d had a travelling companion for a while, but he’d stayed behind when she came back to Richmond. Said that there was no reason for him to go to the funeral of a man he’d never met. When she’d called him to tell him she was staying a bit longer to help Kyle out, he’d said there was no reason for him to come stay in a town he’d never been to. To be fair, she’d never realistically expected them to be together forever, even if she had considered the possibility from time to time.
When she didnt hear from him, she’d thrown herself into her work at the shop… a little too much so, as it had turned out.
Even Kyle’s daughter had complained about her full-on sales style…
She’d finally been relegated to working as cashier while Gavin and occasionally Kyle handled the selling. She didn’t mind. She was just glad to help out, glad that in some little way, she might be able to make up for some of the trouble she’d caused, last time she was here.
She couldn't get off the train at Richmond without remembering the day she’d left.
It had felt something like home here, and even though she knew realistically that she’d had no choice, she couldn't help but wonder if she’d done the wrong thing by leaving.
She looked at the time. She was early, Helen wasn't expecting her for a while. There was somewhere else she wanted to go first.
She remembered the first time she’d come here, she’d been momentarily surprised that Serdar wasn’t buried next to April. But April had been gone a long time, she realised, and if anyone would eventually lie next to him, it would be his second wife, Brandi.
She spun around, startled to hear her name, and even more surprised by the voice saying it.
"It's good to see you again."
"You... you don't seem surprised."
"I know you're working at the Bluewater shop. Kyle is terrible at keeping secrets, even if he thinks he can. Granted, I didn't expect to see you here today, but I knew you were around."
"You... I... I thought you'd be at the shop today."
"We decided not to open today," he said. "Rose had the baby last night."
"Shouldn't you be with her?"
"Her parents are there, meeting the baby. And I just thought... I wanted to... " He trailed off, gesturing in the direction of the grave.
"I understand," she said. "I'll go." She started to walk away.
"Samantha, wait,” he said. "It wasn't your fault."
"Last year... what happened. It wasn't your fault. Maybe you... maybe you made me face up to a few things that I'd been carrying around far too long, but it would have happened eventually anyway. None of it was your fault."
"I don't think we should talk about - "
"But I want to talk about it! Damn it, why doesn't anyone get that? I need to talk about it!"
"Ok, calm down." She looked around, afraid of drawing attention.
"Please, just don't go again. We need to talk."
"Ok..." Samantha took a deep breath. This was a bad idea, she was sure of that. "Ok, then we will."
Andrew looked at the clock. Only a few more hours until he finished work. He’d thought he was having the day off, when Kyle decided not to open, but then Gavin had phoned in a panic to see if he could work at the Bluewater shop instead.
He was only too happy to do so. Tracy lived out here, after all.
He certainly hadn’t expected things to move as quickly with Tracy as they did. In the few short weeks since their first date, he had fallen head over heels in love with her.
When he really thought about it, he didn't know all that much about her at all - she went to college part-time, she grew vegetables and sold them at the weekend market in the village.
Andrew wanted to know more. He wanted to know every little thing about her. Maybe they hadn't been together long, but it was long enough for Andrew to know that she was the one for him. Tonight, he was going to tell her that.
He waited a moment before picking up the phone. Maybe things were moving too fast. Maybe there was a reason she didn't like talking about herself.
He shook his head, trying to shake off his doubts. Tonight...
Smiling, he picked up the phone.
They found a quiet spot in the old part of the cemetery, where next-to-no one ever came anymore.
Helen might wonder why Sam was so late, and Cory's family might wonder where he'd been for so long, but for the moment, none of that mattered. There was a lot to talk about.
Even when they'd exhausted the serious conversation, they stayed, just enjoying the chance to be in each other's company again.
"We used to play here as kids," Cory said. "Dad would spend ages at Mum's grave, and my brothers and I would get bored. We used to hide behind the crypts and try to scare each other. Dad's grandad is buried here somewhere." He looked around. "His parents, too."
Samantha looked about nervously. "Rose's great-grandparents," she said. "I hope they don't think badly of us."
"Why would they?" said Cory. "We haven't done anything wrong."
"Then why are we hiding like this instead of just going to a cafe or something like normal people?"
"Would you prefer we did that?"
"No." She admitted. "Right or wrong, this is probably easier than explaining."
"Exactly," he said. He looked at the time. "We really should go soon, though, or we really will have some explaining to do. Its probably not a good idea for us to leave together." He looked around. "I'll go out the old gate over there," he said, gesturing to the far corner of the cemetery. "You wait a few moments, then go out the main entrance again."
"The gate's rusted shut," she said. "Or, at least, it was when I tried to take a short cut home from the shop one time."
"I can climb over it."
"You do this often?" she asked.
He laughed. "I used to come in this way when I didn't want anyone to know I was visiting my mother's grave."
She shook her head. "You weren't kidding about carrying stuff around, were you?"
"No, I wasn't. And, thank you," he said. "For listening, I mean... and for actually giving me the chance to explain."
"Well, it seemed so important to you..." Samantha said.
"I wish Rose felt that way. She just... its like she wants to pretend last year didn't even exist. There's so much still hanging... maybe there always will be. Maybe I'm just going to have to accept that and stop thinking about it."
"... so then you have another set of buried feelings to come bite you some time when you're down?"
"That's the thing... " he sighed as got up from the ground. Then he smiled. "But at least I got to talk things out with you. That helps, it really does."
"Any time, Samantha said, brushing the dead leaves and dirt off her jeans as she stood.
Cory nodded, and turned to walk away.
"Wait," Samantha said. "The baby - I forgot to ask. Boy or girl?"
"A girl," Cory said. "We named her Emily."
"That's a lovely name."
They went to the restaurant in the old lighthouse on the beach. One day they'd seen an advertisement for it, and Tracy had mentioned that she'd seen the building so many times, and never been inside it.
After they finished eating, they wandered down to the water.
"You feel all tense," Andrew said. "Turn around..."
"I am tense," Tracy said. "There's a reason for it.."
"What's wrong? Is it something I've done?"
"No... well... yes, kind of. I just... you keep talking about the future... and I... "
"What is it? Are you saying you don't want us to have a future together?"
"It's not that, it's just - " She smiled and took his hands.
"Before you even think about the future, I need you to take me home. I need you to see where I live, and I need to explain something there."
"There's just someone you need to meet," she'd said, as they pulled up outside the little cottage.
Inside, it was cozy and comfortable, in an old-fashioned way. An older woman came out of what Andrew assumed was a bedroom to greet them.
"This is Tania," she said. "My daughter."
Later, when the girl was sleeping again, they sat outside to talk.
"I was only a kid myself when I got pregnant," Tracy said. "Her father was someone I never should have gotten mixed up with in the first place. We're better off without him."
"What about your parents? Did they kick you out or something?"
"No, no, they've actually been really good. They're not exactly rich themselves, but they pay all my college fees, and send a little money for Tania when they can. I moved back here so they wouldn't have to worry so much about supporting me. This cottage belonged to my mother's parents, but it had been empty since grandma died a few years ago. No one in the family minded me living here rent-free, and the place is being taken care of this way, too."
"Why didn't you tell me sooner?" Andrew asked. "You don't even mention you have a child on the dating site."
"I never expected anything serious to come of it - not with you or with anyone else. I didn't think I was even ready for another serious relationship... I just wanted to get out a bit, have some fun and a bit of adult company." She sighed. "In any case, a lot of guys just aren't interested when they find out you've got a kid."
"Then you've been seeing the wrong kind of guys."
"What about you - are you the right kind? Can you honestly tell me that this doesn't make you want to rethink the idea of a future together?"
"Well... 'rethink' probably isn't the right word for it... "
"Then how do you feel?"
"I'm... " He hesitated, searching for the right words. "It's a lot to take in, and I think I need time to process it. I just wasn't expecting this, that's all."
"What about you?" He asked. "Can I ask you a question now?"
"You said thought you weren't ready for a serious relationship. Do you still think that?."
Tracy smiled. "I brought you here, I introduced you to my daughter. I told you the one thing that I believed would frighten away someone only out for a good time. So, you tell me what I think now"
Gavin hung up the phone, then beckoned the puppy to follow him.
Gavin looked forward to the time when Frisky would be big enough for long walks, but for now he'd have to settle on a quick trip to the corner and back.
He walked slowly, giving the little animal time to keep up.
As he walked, he thought about the phone call.
April had accepted his invitation to come stay for the weekend. It had taken a bit to convince her but, well, it had been her idea that he make a fresh start on his own, hadn't it? She needed to come and see what he'd done with himself.
It was crazy - his wife, who now not only lived in a different home, but in a different town... and yet stayed married to him, even so. Who wouldn't talk about a future, but wouldn't talk about them not having a future.
He wondered if other people went through life like this, constantly preoccupied with the ones they loved but weren't with...
... or even the ones that they were with, and weren't, all at the same time...
Frisky was yelping behind him.
As usual, they'd walked too far, and Gavin picked up the little dog. The puppy nuzzled against his face. "Come on," Gavin whispered to him.
"It's time we went home."
So this is long, and needed pictures from a bunch of different locations, which is part of why it took so long to write (along with reformatting my computer, and rebuilding my crash-prone downtown subhood)... but most of this is setup for future happenings, and none of these stories are really big enough for an update on their own...
Andrew and Tracy started rolling marriage wants on their first date! She and Tania were sims I downloaded and recreated in Richmond, after playing and getting attached to them some time ago, in my 'throwaway' hood. And Cory really did meet up with Samantha at the cemetery... when I took the pictures at his father's grave for a previous update, she turned up there. He's been rolling (thankfully non-romantic) wants for her ever since.
Also, meet Emily:
... more about her here
Also, meet Emily:
... more about her here