Danny Tarro is 20; Candice Marsh is 20; Penny Tarro is 25; Anna Phoenix is 22;
Belle Tarro is 7; Anna Tarro is 11; Ellen and Clare Marsh are 3
Previous update here
It seemed strange, having so little responsibility. Just a job and herself to take care of - no need to worry about kids, no battles over homework or getting out the door in time for school.
Things had moved quickly in the last few months for Penny, although to be fair, she had first been offered the Sous Chef job in the city almost a year ago. She'd had to refuse it then, as she couldn't afford a place big enough for them all in the city, and nor could she afford the time to commute. But when the job came up again... well, there were more options now.
No one had ever really told her that Danny and Candice were a couple, he'd simply started sharing her bedroom after he'd moved back from college.
Looking back, it had been so obvious that Penny was surprised she hadn't worked it out sooner. Penny knew better than to ask what had happened to his college girlfriend, or to talk about college at all. It was a touchy subject, not just because of the girlfriend, but because Danny had dropped out. After all the fuss he'd made about going, she just wished he'd made a bit more effort, taken it a bit more seriously. He'd regret it someday, she was sure.
All that was in the past now, though. With Danny home and working, she was able to move back into the city, go back to the free and easy life she'd enjoyed before her sister had died and left her three kids to care for. She'd accepted the job, and started searching for an apartment. Then Danny had suggested that she contact one of his former college roommates, who had recently graduated and was looking for a someone to share her place.
It was a little awkward at first, when she realized that Anna Phoenix was a close friend of Danny's former girlfriend Ivy. But Anna was quick to set her at ease.
"What happened between Danny and Ivy is their business. I'm just looking for a roommate, and I'm happy to ignore anything else if you can too."
So the decision was made. There was the rush of packing and saying goodbye to old friends...
... but almost before she knew it, she had moved in.
It was a strange little apartment, part of an old house, with an entrance in the alley behind the building and its neighbour, and a bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor for Penny.
In the basement, there was another bathroom, and a large kitchen/living area.
Anna had curtained off the end of the room to make a bedroom for herself.
Anna was working part-time in a bar while looking for work in the fashion industry, and spent most of her spare time designing and making things to sell on her website, an enterprise that earned her almost as much as her job.
Danny had warned Penny that Anna was very... outgoing was the word he'd used. Penny hadn't realised just how much so, until she'd lived there a while.
It took a bit of getting used to.
Penny was reasonably easy-going too, though, so they got on well for the most part.
Neither of them were particularly tidy, and this often meant that things didn't get cleaned until they were unbearable...
... but overall, it worked out well.
With the chores done for the day, and a whole Sunday afternoon ahead with absolutely nothing to do, Penny set out to enjoy all the city had to offer.
It was strange, having so little responsibility. Just a job and the kids - no need to worry about assignments or exams or struggling to stay awake through class after working late the night before.
Things had moved quickly in the last few months for Danny. At first, all he could think about was the mess he'd made with college, and Ivy, and everything.
He'd spent the first couple of weeks just moping around the house, not doing much of anything. Then one Sunday afternoon, when Penny was at work, Candice had told him he was coming to the park.
"But I don't want to."
"I don't care. The kids want to, and I can't manage four of them on my own. You're coming."
So he did.
"What are you thinking?" Candice asked.
"The girls. They're so happy now. It's hard to believe that it wasn't all that long ago when our mother died. They're so resilient, they just bounce back from anything."
"That's true," she said. She paused for a moment, then added, "Isn't it time you did the same?"
"I just feel like I've let everyone down."
"Not everyone," she said.
He got a job working for April at the park cafe where Candice worked, and he even laughed at the fact that the one thing from college that was of use now, was his experience in the campus coffee shop.
Penny moved out a short time after, chasing her dreams in the city. It was only right that she do that, Danny thought, and it meant he was able to fulfill a dream of his own. He was finally able to support his own family.
He and Candice worked their shifts out with April, so that there was always one of them home for the kids. It meant that they saw less of each other, but the time that they did have together, they made the most of.
Neither of them worked full-time, but they had just enough to get by on.
Danny's sisters were good about doing chores and helping around the house...
... freeing up more time for the adults to spend with the twins, who were at an age where they seemed to need constant attention...
... at least, when they were awake.
When the older girls were at school and the twins were sleeping, Candice would sew toys and children's clothes.
She'd build up a small but loyal customer base through parents at the girls' school who had seen the clothes Candice made for them, and the extra income went a long way.
Danny had developed some skill in fixing things around the house...
... and this helped save a little more.
All through the summer, there were little reminders that, slowly, they were starting to get ahead.
Like the day they bought a small secondhand tv to replace the one that had been repossessed last winter.
Life was far from perfect... but they had the feeling that they were finally on their way...
One Saturday, when Candice and Danny were both off work, Penny came to visit them. The kids were delighted that she'd kept her promise to visit often...
It was even more fun than they had expected. As a visitor, Penny had so much more time just to play...
... or to tell them all about her new life in the city...
The day ended all too quickly, although Penny promised she'd come back soon.
Candice went back to the city with her, for a night out on the town. Penny suggested that she stay overnight and come back the next day.
Danny also thought it was a good idea. "You can stay out as late as you want, you can drink, and you don't have to worry about getting a late train back or anything."
"But... will you be ok with the kids?"
"We did this all the time when I came home from college for the weekend, remember. Why should this be different?"
It was a good question, and Candice couldn't quite figure out the answer, but it was different, somehow.
Not that she didn't enjoy the night out, even so...
... they all did...
Candice called Danny the following morning to see how things were going.
"We're fine," he said. "Just lazing around."
"We were going to have a late breakfast in a cafe down the street... if you don't mind me being a little later back."
"That's fine. We miss you, but we can wait a little longer."
"Miss you too..."
It was just Candice and Penny at the cafe.
Anna had a call from a guy she'd met at a club the night before, inviting her to the weekend market in a parking lot down near the waterfront.
Candice had only met Anna the day before, but she knew enough to agree with Penny that they would probably be doing more than just looking at old furniture and clothes.
It had been a great weekend, Candice decided. But even so, the city might be a lot of fun, but the best part of that Sunday afternoon was coming home.
Candice wasn't really the lacy dress type, but she'd found something white and pretty in a second hand shop, because Danny deserved to have his wife looking at least a little like a bride, on their wedding day.
They were married on a Sunday afternoon near the end of summer. When they had booked the Town Hall wedding, they'd expected some dark little judge's office. They were pleasantly surprised by the chapel, with its flowery arch and even a pretty balcony outside for photos.
April and her husband, and Penny, were their witnesses...
Along with the children, of course.
It might seem to an outsider that they were rushing into things, especially when Danny had only just broken up with someone else... but he knew it wasn't like that at all. He'd known all along that Candice was the one he'd spend his life with, right from the first time he'd kissed her.
He may not have wanted to believe it at first, not when he was trying to hold on to whatever was left of his relationship with Ivy... but really, he'd known.
Candice had known, too, although in some ways it had been even harder for her to accept. Girls like her didn't get married. They weren't supposed to settle down with one man for the rest of their lives.
Certainly, they weren't supposed to find a man like Danny... one who was not only willing to marry her, past and all, but who had started the process of adopting her twins as his own.
But, then, what did she know about what was supposed to be? If you'd asked her a year ago... well, Danny was supposed to stay in college, and he was supposed to be with Ivy. And she was supposed to... well... everyone knew what girls like her were supposed to be.
She couldn't have been more wrong.
There'd be times when they'd second-guess the decisions they'd made. Who doesn't, once in a while?
For now, though, they both knew with certainty that this was exactly where they were meant to be.
Wow, I really went overboard on the picture for this one! There's a lot going on, though...
Danny and Candice really did want to get married, right from their first kiss. That was when they first rolled engagement wants. And, as soon as they were engaged, they rolled marriage wants, so here we are :)
These guys are all so happy now, they might as well be perma-plat! Family sim Danny, who spent most of his college time in low-green aspiration or in red, has never been lower than gold since he's been home, and that was before the massive aspiration boost from the wedding. All his wants are about Candice and the kids. He's best friends with both the twins, so I've now set him as their father.
Candice is just as happy, all wants for Danny and the kids, with a few easily-filled knowledge sim things thrown in.
Penny (pleasure aspiration) is pretty happy with her new life, too. It was hard keeping her aspiration level up when she had little time for herself before. I've also been holding her back from promotion because there is no large restaurant in Richmond, and I can't imagine her having the time or money to commute to the city when she was the primary caregiver of Danny's sisters.
So, happy endings for everyone so far... except Ivy. We'll get back to her soon. I don't have any plans for her as such, but I hope something good will happen for her, next time I play the students.