Looking for a Happy Ending Part Seven



 Rose Green is 36; Cory Green is 49; Melissa is 16.

September 2026

Previous updates here and here


So, school was in again, and Melissa hated it. And not just because of the stupid rule about no unnatural hair colours, either.


That was bad enough in itself, but she couldn't believe this school was mean enough to make her repeat a grade.   Sure, she'd missed a lot of school when she'd run away, and she admitted she hadn't paid a hell of a lot of attention or gotten grades much higher than a D even before that.  But she'd improved in the last few months, and she thought she at least deserved a chance.

They apparently didn't share that opinion,

"It could be a good thing," Cory had tried to tell her. "If you had passed, it would have been with a low grade. This way, you'll start from the beginning again and get a much better result."


Melissa didn't care about her final grade. Even a low one would have been a pass, and that was all that mattered.

Georgia had tried to be positive too, of course. Georgia always was.


"You'll be in our class now," she said. "We'll go to class together, and we'll graduate together and we'll go to college together, and it'll be great!"

Melissa had to admit that it would be nice to be in the same class as her new friends, and even better, she wouldn't be in the same class as Thomas any more.


He still wasn't talking to her and it was just awkward every time they saw each other.

But it would also be awkward being the oldest person in class by almost a year. She'd only just stopped being the person who ran away and doesn't live with her parents any more, now she'd be the dumb person who had to repeat a whole year.

At least it had happened after she'd stopped living with her mother and Joshua, that was one good thing. She could just imagine the way they would have reacted. Rose and Cory had been surprisingly calm about the whole thing. But then, they had other things on their mind. Like Cory becoming a grandfather a few weeks ago.

Sam's baby was a girl, and she and Matthew named her Sophie.


Melissa had never believed that Sam would actually leave her baby behind. She'd either stay, or take the baby with her, she'd reasoned, because how could anyone leave behind their own little newborn child?

But Sam had left, and Sophie now lived next door with Matthew's parents. Sam and Matthew would come up from college to visit her on the weekends. Everyone kept saying that this was the best solution, that Sam and Matthew would be able to get through school without the demands of a child to care for, and that would be better for everyone, including Sophie. But that didn't account for the fact that Sophie would barely see her parents now. Or that Sam and Matthew would most likely miss her first words and her first steps and everything like that. Melissa could barely stand to think about all that she was missing out on with her little brother Shane, so missing out on all that from you own child was beyond her understanding.

There must have been other ways to do it, ways to arrange babysitters and juggle their schedules so that they could have the baby and college. Rose and Cory had done it with their jobs, after all.  Rose was back at work, teaching at Melissa's school.


Cory's stepmother looked after baby Emily for three days of the week, and Cory had changed his schedule to work weekends so he had the other two days off. It meant that he and Rose never had a full day home together but, given that they rarely seemed to agree on anything, Melissa couldn't help but wonder if this wasn't for the best.

It was weird, having one of her foster-parents working at her school. It would make things all the more difficult if Melissa tried to skip school or something. Not that she had ever done that at the new school, or really wanted to do it, but you never know.

She was missing school today, although that was with the agreement of both Cory and Rose. Well, sort-of agreement. They hadn't been completely in favor, when she had told them what she wanted to do.


"It's only a preliminary hearing," Cory said. "It's not like anything will really happen. They'll set a date for at trial, that's all."
"I don't care," Melissa said. "I want to go."

And so they went. It had surprised Melissa that both Cory and Rose had taken time off work to come with her. She couldn't imagine Joshua and Sharla ever doing that just because she said she wanted to go somewhere. Although to be fair, wanting to go see your abusive stepfather appear in court was a bit different to just wanting to catch a movie or something.

Still, she wasn't used to adults moving their lives around to accommodate her, and she was still surprised that they were willing to do it.


She caught sight of her mother at the courthouse, the first time she's seen her since she left home. At least, the first time in person. Her picture had been all over the newspapers, after Joshua was arrested on child pornography charges .

The whole time, she'd maintained that she knew nothing about her husband's interest in teenage girls. They hadn't had a real marriage since she was pregnant anyway, Sharla had said. For the last year or more, they'd been living entirely separate lives.


At first, she didn't recognize the woman with Sharla, until some vague memories came back to mind, of her aunt Dee babysitting her, a long time ago, before Sharla had even married Joshua.

She must have been staring, because Dee turned and looked her way. Then, it was Dee who was staring, and it felt to Melissa like she could see right through her.


Even seeing Joshua in the courtroom wasn't as unsettling as that look.


---

They were leaving the courthouse when Sharla called out to Cory.
He hesitated for a moment, then handed Rose the car keys. "You guys go ahead," he said. "I won't be long."
"I don't think you should - " Rose started.
"I won't be long," he repeated, turning and walking back to his ex-wife.

"I was surprised you brought Melissa here for this," Sharla said.
"We didn't bring her. It was her idea."


"Still, I don't know that it was the best - "
"When did you ever care about what was best for Melissa?"

Sharla sighed. "Ok," she said, "fair comment."
Cory just stared at her.

"What?"
"it's not like you to concede an argument."


"I'm not conceding anything," she said. "I'm just being honest."
"Well, maybe you want to be honest about something else that's been bothering me."

When she didn't answer, he went on. "They were talking about an anonymous tip-off," he said, gesturing in the direction of the courtroom they'd just left. "A lot of information... passwords, accounts, things only someone quite close to him would know... "
She shrugged. "It's like I've always said. We had separate lives."
"Whatever you say."

They stared awkwardly at each other for a moment.


"Are you going to be ok?" Cory asked.
"What to you mean?"
"Well... you're on your own now, you haven't worked in years, you've got a young child... "


"Don't worry about me," she said. "I'll be getting a very good settlement after this."
"I'm sure you will," he said, even though that wasn't really what he'd meant. "I need to go. Rose and Melissa are waiting."  He turned to leave .


"Cory, wait!" Sharla said. "I... Melissa... I... I mean, if there's anything she needs... anything ... you know... to... to make up... "

"Make up..." Cory repeated, as he walked away. "That's the thing. We can't."


---

It was getting late when Cory knocked on Melissa's bedroom door.
"It's unlocked."
He hesitated awkwardly in the doorway, never sure if he should go in, or if that would frighten her, or even what to say to her after a day like this.


"I... um... I was worried. You know... because you've been up here since we got home, and - "
"I'm fine. I just needed to think."
"Are you sure you're ok?"
She nodded, staring down at the bed.


"I want to go to the police. I want to tell them about what Joshua did."
"Are you sure?"
"I thought you wanted me to."
"I do, but... all those things you said, about not wanting people to know... once you start this, you can't go back. I just want to be sure you're ready."
"I'm as ready as I'm going to be. And anyway, people already know."


"Why... did someone say something? "
"They didn't have to... I mean, it's just a feeling I had.  Joshua had this - this stuff on his computer, and he's got a stepdaughter who won't live with him... it's not hard to work out, is it?"

"I guess not, but its still up to you what you do about it... "
"Well, at least I don't have to worry so much about people not believing me."
"That's true, although Joshua will fight it. You know that, don't you? He'll try to discredit you any way he can."


She nodded. "I'm not so scared of him now."  She smiled, a little, forced smile, but a smile, even so. "What did Mum want?" she asked.

"I'm not really sure," he said. "I think she just hadn't expected to see you there."
"Ok..."
"You know, for what it's worth, I think maybe she believes you now."
"Did she say that?"


"Not really," Cory said. "It's just a feeling I had."

---

8 comments:

  1. I think the hardest part about repeating a grade is the social aspect, so at least Melissa will have Georgia with her. That's going to be nice. The kids in the grade below might not be quite so in touch with the running away and the rest of Melissa's history as well.

    Looks like Sharla's neglect of her daughter over the years is coming back to bite her in the ass. I feel for her but at the same time, she has to lie in the bed she's made. :\ Melissa is so vulnerable right now and it's probably not a great idea for Sharla to come back into her life.

    And I'm really happy Melissa is going to the police about Joshua too. I doubt he'll have a leg to stand on, given the child pornography.

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    1. Yeah, Sharla did bring this on herself for the most part. Sharla-sim actually started rolling wants to talk to Melissa, so despite their bad relationship, she does miss her. Not sure whether or not she'll have any kind of relationship with Melissa, but Sharla will be in the story in future. I had planned to make her non-playable, but there was this in-game phone call for her just after she broke up with Joshua... the implications of it were interesting enough that I decided to keep her around :)

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  2. I'm so proud of Melissa for standing up and going to the police. The scumbag needs to be locked up with the key thrown away, and she is so brave for facing the fear and shame that brings.

    It seems that her life with Cory and Rose is looking up. I hope she can find a way to stand on her own two feet. I wonder what will happen after she finishes school.

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    1. It was important to me that Melissa be the one who reported what had happened herself. I've given her this terrible storyline, and aside from running away (which turned out really badly anyway), she's had next-to-no control over anything that has happened to her. That's why I came up with the story about the computer and the pictures... Sharla was in the better position to turn him in, and she had more the personality to do it, but I didn't want her reporting what had happened to Melissa - it had to be Melissa who brought him down for that herself.

      I have some ideas of what might happen in her future, but as always Melissa-sim has the final say.

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  3. WTG Melissa! So glad that she is going to turn him in, he's such a sicko! I was worried when I saw Melissa at the courthouse with Sharla poking around (Adore the courthouse!), I do hope that Sharla does believe Melissa's truth.

    Stinks that she's being held back, but I totally understand the reason, and she does have Georgia as a friend. One day, she will graduate, and none of it will matter, and she won't have to tell anyone that she doesn't want to. High school is truly something you can leave in your past as long as you don't make any permanent decisions.

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    1. That's true about high school, although I remember at the time, it felt like this was the whole of life and it would be important forever :)

      I think Sharla does believe Melissa now. I imagine all this will make a big dent in her confidence (not that she'd let anyone else see that!) - she let her daughter down badly, and she was also so horribly wrong about her husband. I'm kind of pleased it worked out for me to keep her in my game (see above) because it'll be kind of fun to try to interpret her wants/actions in relation to that.

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  4. I'm diving in the middle of the story here, but I can see that Melissa is taking a huge step and she is really brave. It really touched me about how she said she wasn't used to adults moving their schedule around for her. She's been so neglected, and I'm so glad she's got people who care for her now, and a friend in her new grade.

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    1. Welcome (and sorry for taking so long to get back to you!)... glad you're enjoying the story.

      Melissa hasn't really had a 'normal' relationship with any adult in her life, so it's been hard for her to adjust to her new home. She's gradually realising that she can trust Cory and Rose, and that they genuinely care for her.

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Thanks for reading and commenting!