As the sun began to rise Finlay and his campaign team gathered on the steps to City Hall.
The day of the mayoral election had arrived and soon the civic plaza would be brimming with Sims coming to register their votes for either Finlay or Cain.
"Well this is it guys." Finlay said, "I want to thank you all for......"
"Hey, save the thanks for tonight when we get the result." Don said, interrupting Finlay, "It's going to go our way i can feel it in the air, this day has got potential."
As the polls opened Finlay was first to vote, followed by Charlie, Don and Marcus.
"Well that's four votes down." Marcus said, Finlay could see he was nervous he supposed that the dressing down he gave him over the leaked stories had finally sunk in.
The four of them spent the rest of the day greeting voters as they arrived, and although it was tradition for both candidates to await the outcome together Finlay decided they should wait it out back at the campaign head quarters. If Cain was going to steal victory again, Finlay did not want to see his smug face.
Minutes passed by like hours for them as they waited for news of the official count.
Staring around the makeshift office Finlay paused to remember Martha Cole and all that she had taught him, he wished she could be here now to see how far he had come.
She had once told him that the glory was not in the victory, and she was right.
Taking part in the campaign had given him so much already, it had made him realise that he was a strong Sim who when faced with adversity could make it through without compromising himself.
But to lose now would be devastating, not only to Finlay but also for Bridgeport. Finlay feared what state the City would be left in if Cain won another term.
Marcus was checking his phone every five minutes to see if the result had been announced.
"This is it!" He said as the number of the official counters office flashed up on his display.
"Uh-huh - They're just about to announce the result." Marcus said, relaying the information to the others.
Charlie grabbed Finn's hand and squeezed it tightly.
"68 percent! That's fantastic!" Marcus exclaimed into the phone before shouting, "We did it!"
Finlay had won the election! He could hardly believe it, he stood still in shock for a while until Charlie threw her arms around him.
"You did it Finn, you're the new Mayor!" She enthused, clinging onto him tightly.
Everyone began celebrating and Don popped open the champagne.
The mood in the office was electric as everyone breathed a sigh of relief for the victory that they were so uncertain of.
"I don't know what to say." Finlay admitted, "I'm just so grateful to you all, you know you all have a job at City Hall right?"
"Sounds good man." Don said, "Look i gotta get outta here and go see Cherry."
"It's 2am!" Finn reminded him.
"I don't care i gotta see her." He insisted.
"I should go too, let the two of you celebrate alone." Marcus said.
"I meant that for you too Charlie, if you want a job it's yours." Finlay offered.
"Thanks but this is your dream not mine Finn." She said, "I loved working with you but honestly a desk job is not for me."
"We've been focused on me for so long now that you've been overlooked." Finlay said regret tinging his voice, "Tell me what your dream is? Anything at all and I'll help you achieve it." He said.
"Honestly Finn I'm already happy, i never had dreams of a career like you did. All i ever really wanted was a family of my own. A husband." She said stroking his arm, "A beautiful home. Babies?" She slipped in.
"Hmm." He said, placing his arm around her waist and drawing her close, "Let's see, we've got the husband part covered." He agreed kissing her neck lightly.
"The beautiful house? Well i never spent any of the money my Mom gave me when she made me heir so if you want to refurbish the place go right ahead." He said kissing her cheek.
"And the babies?" She asked coyly.
"I think that can be arranged." He replied planting a kiss on her lips.
The following day there was an official ceremony to swear Finlay in as Mayor of Bridgeport.
John Cain had begrudgingly accepted his defeat and was in the process of clearing out his office.
Finlay offered him his hand to shake but Cain refused, pushing past Finlay on his way out of City hall.
A few weeks later Cain left Bridgeport for good after the police department opened an investigation into the accusations made about his bribing of council officials.
Finlay found that being Mayor was everything he imagined it would be, but as Martha had warned him it was a job not without its difficulties.
Cain had ransacked the public funds, he had used tax payers money to pay for all kinds of private expenses not the least of which being a summer house in Barnacle Bay.
Finlay had reported all of this to the detectives investigating Cain, but they had frozen all of his assets while they conducted their case so Finlay was not able to demand any of the money he had stolen back.
The public purse was almost empty and although he was loathe to do so he knew he would have to raise taxes to cover the shortfall. It was sure to be an unpopular move especially amongst those who supported him, but Finlay guessed that this was just the first in a long line of tough decisions he would have to make.
A few months after the election, Tate sadly succumbed to the cancer and passed away in his sleep.
Audra was devastated.
Although his health had declined over the past few weeks, and she knew he had been in pain, she couldn't imagine her life without him by her side.
It was a shock to Finlay and Eliza, who had not been told about their fathers cancer, but Audra explained that it was Tate's wish for them not to worry about him.
Eliza did not take the news of this secret well, she blamed her mother calling her a liar.
"You should of told us about this!" She accused.
"Sweetheart, please I'm sorry." Audra begged.
Finlay comforted his mother after his sister had left, "This is just a big shock to her, that's all Mom." He soothed.
"I shouldn't have kept this from you both." Audra sniffed.
"If it's what Dad wanted then you did the right thing." Finlay said, "You know how Eliza is, she always wants to get to the truth, that's why she's such a good detective."
"I suppose the truth always comes out eventually." Audra replied.
After the service at the cemetery, Audra found Finlay watering Tate's garden.
"He loved this place." She said tearfully, "I know that you and Charlie are renovating the house, you will make sure that the garden is left intact won't you?"
"Mom of course we will." Finlay said, hugging his mother closely.
"We're not trying to erase any memories that were made here, Charlie just wants to make it her home." He explained.
"I know that dear." Audra said sadly, "I hope it's a happy home for you both, now make sure you fill it with lots of grandchildren for me." She smiled.
Charlie had a feeling that it wouldn't be long before Audra got her wish!
The next day she visited her doctor who confirmed her suspicions, she was expecting her first child.
When Charlie got home she found chaos reigning. The contractors who were in the process of extending the house had managed to tear down the wrong wall and had left the side of the house completely exposed, and were frantically trying to repair it.
She found Audra in the kitchen crying her eyes out.
"Audra, are you alright?" She asked, rushing to her mother-in-laws side "You're not injured are you?" She began checking her over for signs of damage.
"I'm fine dear." Audra said holding onto Charlies hand to stop her worrying, "I suppose this is just all a bit too much for me." She explained gesturing to the bomb site that was once her home.
"I'm so sorry Audra, i would never have started this project if i had known that Tate was ill." Charlie apologised.
"It's not your fault Charlie, you didn't know." Audra sighed.
Charlie regarded Audra for a minute, she had, had a tough few weeks first losing Tate then fighting with Eliza now her house was slowly being demolished around her.
"I've just come from the doctors surgery." Charlie ventured, rubbing her hands over her slightly rounded stomach to indicate the result.
Audra's whole face lit up at the prospect of Charlies' words, "You're expecting? Oh Charlie that is wonderful news."
"I haven't had chance to tell Finn yet, so keep it under your hat OK?"
"He is going to be so happy!" Audra exclaimed before hugging Charlie to her.
"Will you come to town with me?" Charlie asked, "I could use your expert advice on what books i need to be reading, i want to be prepared."
Audra agreed, Charlie hoped that the builders would have fixed their mess by the time they returned.
That evening as they lay in bed together Charlie said, "I got you a book today, why don't you take a look at it?"
"Oh thanks babe." Finlay replied, "I'm pretty beat right now though, maybe tomorrow."
"Right now would be better." Charlie urged, trying to stifle her excitement.
Rolling his eyes Finlay did as asked and picked up the book. Without looking he flicked to the centre page and feigned interest until his eye focused on the subject matter, turning back to the front cover he exclaimed.
"Baby incoming prepare with vigilance!"
Charlie nodded, her eyes wide with anticipation at his reaction.
"But this is a book about baby proofing?" Finlay said seeming confused, "You mean? You're pregnant?" He confirmed.
She nodded her agreement.
"That's the best news I've heard in weeks!" He cried reaching out to stroke her stomach, the taught skin was slightly raised and Finlay marvelled at the thought of the life growing within.
Pulling her against his chest he said, "So i suppose I'm doing pretty well on making your dreams come true?"
"Not bad." She said not wanting to inflate his ego too much, "I'll definitely keep you around." She quipped.
"You'd better Mrs Traytor!" He said before kissing her softly.
Charlie's pregnancy progressed well and fortunately the builders managed to complete the extension without causing any more damage.
She spent most days with Audra, keeping Tate's garden growing and the two women became firm friends.
Charlie read every book about pregnancy that she could find, she was determined to be the most prepared mother in history.
The book she had bought for Finlay contained some useful tips on how to keep your baby safe in the home, it stressed that the nursery was the most important room to focus on.
Charlie wanted to get it just right, she ventured into town to shop for a crib and some toys, but when she went to the register to pay her credit card was declined.
"I'm sorry Ma'am, do you have another card i can try?" The sales clerk asked looking at her with pity.
"Oh no that's fine, I just remembered that i purchased some large items last week so my payment probably hasn't cleared yet." Charlie, said scrambling for an excuse, after all it wouldn't do for people to think that the Mayor's wife was broke.
She rushed to the cash machine to check her balance. Finlay had given her full access to the family fund his mother had given him and she had paid the contractors out of it last week when they completed the job.
The machine told her that the balance was Nil!
But i can't possibly have spent it all! Can I? She wondered.
That night she caught Finn admiring the view from their new second story bedroom, "Do you like it?" She asked cautiously.
"Hmm, oh of course i do!" Finlay said, his thoughts interrupted by his wife's presence.
"Finn there's something i need to tell you." She said tentatively.
"Is it that we're having twins?" He asked mischievously patting Charlie's humongous stomach.
"No silly! The doctor confirmed it's just one." She scolded him, "You do like the new house don't you Finn?" She asked coyly.
"Of course, Charlie you've done an amazing job." He said , thinking she needed to hear some praise.
"I'm really glad you like it Finn." She said nervously, "because i may have gone a little over budget."
"Oh really, how much over budget?" He asked, thinking she would say a few thousand simoleons.
"I've spent it all Finn, the account is empty." She confessed.
"Empty!" He exclaimed, unable to hide his shock, "But that was over 50,000 simoleons!"
"I know! Finn I'm so sorry i just got carried away. The contractor asked how many bedrooms we wanted and i asked for five, i don't know why it's just i always wanted a big family and you said i could have whatever i wanted." She started speaking faster and faster and Finn had to remind her to breathe.
"Charlie calm down, it's OK." He soothed, wary that too much stress could harm the baby.
"Really? You're not mad at me?" She asked, her doe eyes filling with tears.
"Never." He said drawing her into his arms.
As she hugged him tightly his face drained of colour behind her back, how could he tell her that there was no more money? That he had been forced to take a huge pay cut to help relieve the burden on the tax payers following Cain's theft.
He sighed, he couldn't inflict this worry on her while she was so vulnerable, he would just have to find the money from somewhere, somehow.
As Charlie slept, Finn pondered his predicament.
He had decided to take a pay cut to help soften the blow of raised taxes and to show the public that he was sharing the financial burden, there was no way he could renege on that now.
Since his tax increase the budget money had slowly began to build back up, he just needed a small amount to tide them over, would anyone know if i borrowed it? He wondered.
His thoughts were interrupted by Charlie who sat straight up in bed and began to wail.
"Oh Finn, i think the baby is coming!" She screamed.
Finlay dressed at lightening speed and rushed to her side, the baby wasn't due for another month yet, an early delivery could be bad news. Not wanting to alarm her further he gathered her things and drove them both straight to the hospital.
Finn stayed by Charlie's side for the entire birth, she squeezed his hand so tight he thought it would surely break. But the pain was worth it when the doctor announced, "It's a girl!"
She was perfect, all ten fingers and ten toes.
"Wait, we're not done yet." The doctor said, "Mrs Traytor i need you to push!" He instructed.
Moments later they both felt a mixture of shock and awe to be introduced to their second daughter!
Finn looked down into the eyes of his twin girls, his world had just gotten a whole lot bigger and his money worries had grown to match.
One thing he knew for certain, he couldn't let them down.