Kaya could see that she was staring out of the window watching him in the garden by himself, wishing that she was out there too.
"Just go, we'll look at this again later." Kaya sighed, seeing that she was getting nowhere.
"Thanks Mom!" Morgan called, shooting off the chair and running into the back garden at the speed of light.
Kaya watched from the kitchen window as the pair of them sat in the newly installed sand pit, building sandcastles was their latest craze.
She scooped Noah from his high chair and said, "Never grow up Noah." The boy giggled and tugged at her hair. Kaya knew what this meant, whenever Noah wanted a visit from the claw he would tug at her bangs until she gave in.
"Oh no! Somethings wrong with my hand, quick Noah run!" She cried before attacking the boy and tickling him relentlessly. Noah squealed in delight and tugged at his Mom's hair some more.
"Howie? How do you suppose they make sand?" Morgan asked as she allowed the grains to fall effortlessly between her fingers.
"It's made by the erosion of rocks and shells Morgan." Howie chuckled, he loved listening to her pondering.
"Oh. Do you suppose we'll be allowed to play in the sand pit when we're older?" This line of questioning had been a common theme recently as Howie's birthday was that weekend with Morgan's following a few months after. She had become fixated on how growing into teenagers would affect them.
"I guess there's nothing to stop us." He grinned.
Morgan stood up suddenly and said, "But what if there was something we could do about it?"
"About what?" He asked, bemused.
"About growing up silly! What if we could stop it from ever happening? That way nothing has to change and we can just be kids forever!" She asked, her eyes widening at the thought.
Howie smiled, he had studied science, biology, chemistry and physics pretty hard and was fairly certain that an anti-aging serum was just the stuff of fantasy but he wasn't about to let Morgan down. "I bet we could mix a potion to fix it." He replied confidently.
Howie donned his lab coat and protective goggles, he wanted to make the "experiment" look official!
"Now i think if we add a little fairy dust to three parts youth juice, we might just be onto something." He confided.
"Wow, Howie you're so smart." Morgan stared at him in awe as he poured and mixed the liquids.
Howie added some pink dye to water and shook it vigorously until the colour swirled around the container evenly, "That should just about do it." He proclaimed.
He turned around to find that Morgan had been raiding the dressing up box again, only this time she'd opted for the princess costume. Howie stared at her.
"What? Do i look dumb or something?" She asked innocently.
"N-No." He stammered. He wasn't sure why he found it difficult to get his words out, it was as though they were refusing to form a coherent sentence. Sometimes Morgan just seemed to take his words away.
"I figured i should dress as a princess to drink the potion coz they're always having magic stuff happen to them right?" She explained.
"Cool, is it ready?" She asked, grabbing the elixir from him and setting it to her lips.
"Careful!" Howie warned, "Just take a sip, it's only in the testing phase and it might taste weird." He added, still playing along.
Morgan nodded conspiratorially and took the smallest of sips.
"Ewww! So gross." She exclaimed wrinkling her nose in disgust, "Tastes like, erm, well it tastes like cotton candy. Actually it's pretty nice Howie are you sure you made it right?" She demanded.
Howie chuckled, it didn't matter how inane or childish Morgan's idea's were he loved the time they spent together and he would do anything just to see her happy.
"Hey Howie!" She called.
"Huh?" Was all he managed to utter before his face met a pillowcase. Morgan creased up with laughter at the stunned expression he pulled.
"Oh you think that's funny? You should really check this out!" He laughed.
Kaya could hear the sounds of war breaking out upstairs and called from the hall, "Bedtime you two!"
Morgan dropped her pillow and climbed into her bunk bed and Howie dutiful copied.
Kaya had decorated Josh's old room and made a haven for boys which was supposed to house Howie on his three nights a week and Noah, when he finally grew into a child.
But Morgan had insisted that she wanted to share with Howie and had totally snubbed the princess room which Kaya had painstakingly decorated.
Kaya wasn't comfortable at first having them share, but they were best friends and there was only so much ear bending she could stand before she gave in and allowed it. Plus it had given her a new project to turn her attention to, making the other bedroom into a little boys room for Noah was just the distraction she needed.
"You know i really think i can feel the potion working already." Morgan confided, "I can't wait to see your Dad's face this weekend when you blow out your candles and nothing happens." She laughed. "Night Howie."
"Goodnight Morgan." He said softly before flipping off the light.
Although his logical brain informed him that there was no way pink flavoured water could prevent him from turning into a teenager, Howie couldn't help but allow a little bit of Morgan's naivete to rub off on him.
He wished that things could always be this way too, as he was certain that once Morgan grew up she would have plenty more options when it came to finding friends and he would no longer be required.
6 months later...........
Morgan trudged out of the school doors. It was her final day of grade school, soon she would be attending Bridgeport High. She sighed as she walked to the bus alone.
Since Howie's birthday and eventual growth into a teenager she had been flying solo at school, it wasn't that other kids didn't like her and she liked some of them well enough, but they just weren't Howie.
To make matters worse it seemed that this ageing bug was spreading, it had gotten to Noah too!
He was now at grade school.
Morgan had been excited at first, after all Howie was like her brother and he had been awesome fun to play with so she was certain that her half brother Noah would be the same. But Noah was not Howie.
For a start he didn't get the whole concept of building sandcastles. Oh no, Noah just liked to destroy them!
He did like to play dress up though, but whenever they played as T-Rex's he always ended up standing on Morgans tail and making her fall over. Not to mention the fact that his room smelled kinda funky, like gym socks and mud!
Kaya assured her that most older sisters felt this way about their younger brothers but Morgan wasn't so sure.
"Hey Howie." She called brightly as she entered their shared room. Kaya had been certain that teenage Howie would want his privacy, but he seemed happy to continue to share.
"Hey Morgan! So how's it feel to be done with grade school?" He asked.
Morgan shrugged, "S'ok i guess."
"Yeah? You looking forward to high school?"
"Should i be?" She asked, expectantly.
Howie hesitated before replying.
He could tell Morgan the truth of course, that high school was filled with superficial Sims who cared nothing for learning new things and devoted most of their time to ridiculing others, which would no doubt mean the end of her childish dreams and fantasies. But he figured that he shouldn't taint her opinion of growing up any further.
Since his birthday when she realised that their "youth elixir" was not destined to become the worlds latest scientific breakthrough, Howie had watched Morgan attempt to recreate their relationship with her half brother Noah, trying to hang onto the last of her childhood.
Watching her realisation that she couldn't magically remain a child forever was difficult but seeing her try her hardest to leave her childish ways behind was near impossible. Morgan was a dreamer, she always would be and he wouldn't wish it to change.
"You're gonna love high school, I'm sure of it." He encouraged.
"Awesome!" She laughed, skipping off outside to play.
Howie stood amongst the revelry of Morgan's birthday party feeling more lost than ever. He was moments away from meeting a teenage version of his best friend and he was nervous.
The butterflies were doing over time in his stomach and he'd known for a while what the cause of them was.
Sure he had tried to make excuses for the way he was feeling, heck anything was better than admitting the truth. First he'd toyed with the notion that he was merely worried that Morgan would loose her wonderful innocence and become an airhead like the girls who made fun of him at high school. But deep down he knew she would never change so radically.
Next he experimented with the theory that he didn't want her to grow up and realise that he had fed her so many white lies over their childhood years, maybe when she found out that fairy dust was made up she would hate him. But underneath he knew that wasn't it at all.
He glanced at Morgan who was looking equally impassive towards the festivities. She stared soulfully at him, seeking his approval before she blew out the candles and Howie winked at her his encouragement.
As she closed her eyes in preparation to blow out her candles Howie let out a deep breath in unison with the flames extinguishing, and he allowed the truth to flow over him. Morgan was so much more than his best friend, he was in love with her.
And as he took in the sight of her new transformation he realised, it wasn't about to get any easier.
"Happy birthday sweetie." Kaya said enveloping her daughter in a perfumed hug, "Are you enjoying your party?"
Morgan hesitated before replying. She was happy to be surrounded by her friends and family, but she also couldn't help thinking of the one family member who wasn't in attendance. Her father.
Morgan hadn't mentioned him in a long time. Once she had come to realise the truth about her Dad, that it was he who had the violent temper, so violent that he had killed someone, Morgan decided that she would cut him out. Pretend that he didn't exist.
But the older she got the more difficult she found it. It wasn't easy to erase a memory or an emotion associated with it, but she found that immersing herself in fantasy and day dreams made it more manageable.
She longed to talk to her Mom about him to find out if it was normal to miss a person who had done so many terrible things to other people, but whenever she tried to bring it up her Mom would always steer the conversation to something else and Morgan had learned that it was better to just keep her wonderings to herself.
"The party's great Mom." She smiled sweetly.
Looking around she could see no sign of Howie who had been there just a moment ago. Excusing herself she went searching for him.
"There you are!" She called catching him raiding the fridge, "You know most people eat cake at a birthday party." she laughed.
Howie turned around but didn't reply, he just gave her an awkward smile.
"Are you okay?" She asked.
"There's something i need to tell you." He started. Morgan noted that he seemed unsure of himself, in fact he wasn't acting like himself at all.
This was exactly what she was worried would happen, she'd heard all about teenage turmoil and how it made you change the way you behaved. She had been waiting for it to come and she figured it was finally here, Howie had realised that he was too grown up to hang around with her.
"Well just get it over with then." She pouted.
"This isn't easy to say." He stumbled over his words. "It's just well......."
"Oh for Gods sake Howie i get it I'm just a stupid kid and you're this sophisticated grown up now, i won't bother you at school don't worry!" She replied, sulkily.
"It's not that Morgan." He assured her, "I asked my Dad if i could go to Brookstein science school and he said if i kept my GPA up he would see if he could stretch to the fees and well, my grades are perfect."
"Fees? Isn't it free to go to school?" Morgan asked, screwing up her face.
"Not if it's a boarding school." Howie answered.
He'd been pretty pleased with his genius idea when it first occurred to him, all he had to do to was avoid all contact with her, that was sure to make these feelings go away. I mean it wasn't as if anything could ever come of the way he felt towards Morgan, she was practically his sister. Practically, but not really, a small voice inside told him.
No Howie was sure that this was the best way, besides if he stuck around he knew how it would play out, Morgan was beautiful as soon as she started high school she'd fall in with the cool crowd and Howie would be left firmly on the outside. He didn't have the stomach to face that kind of rejection, it was much easier to just run away.
"You mean you're leaving?" Morgan asked, the sadness registered across her face. "But what about me?"
"I'll just be gone during term time." He assured her, "We'll still have the summer together and holidays too."
"I can't believe you're doing this Howie!" Morgan cried, before turning and running away.
Howie watched her as she fled. This was a good idea, he was sure of it. At least he had been.
Noah scoffed his breakfast at record speeds prompting a tut and a sour look from Morgan. His sister had been in a foul mood ever since Howie had left for boarding school.
Noah didn't really get why they were friends in the first place, after all everyone knows that girls have cooties.
Not that he cared too much about his sisters sullen mood. Since he started school Noah had found plenty of friends who didn't lecture him about destroying sandcastles or his room smelling funny.
His best friend was Jayson and he loved all the same things as Noah.
He liked making faces for a start, man the faces this kid could pull! Noah could try for hours to emulate them but his were never as good.
The pair of them had this great little scam going. After school let out Jayson would call his Mom and ask to study at Noah's and Noah would pull the same stunt with his Mom, it basically gave them total freedom to do whatever they wanted.
Which never seemed to be homework that was for sure!
Noah and Jayson had several activities which ranked way higher than homework.
Their favourite was visiting the junkyard. Not that they were supposed to be there as the big "no children allowed" sign announced, however they had discovered a gap in the wire mesh fencing which meant they could sneak around virtually undetected.
Noah loved searching through the piles of junk, he always managed to find awesome scrap metal which he knew would come in handy someday.
"Whatcha gonna do with that?" Jayson asked as Noah examined a steel pipe before stuffing it in his school bag.
"I gotta plan." Noah said conspiratorially tapping the side of his nose, "C'mon lets go to my house and I'll show you."
Noah had formulated his "plan" a few days back when he had seen his Dad working at his bench. His Dad had all these cool tools and gizmos' that looked especially tempting to a 10 year old boy and he was determined to get his hands on them.
Sneaking around the back of the garage, Noah and Jayson emptied out their haul of scrap and sorted out the best parts.
Noah surveyed the selection of tools and settled on a wrench. He worked quickly on the metal, twisting and bending it to his will.
Next he grabbed the hammer with glee and began flattening out the metal in certain sections. Jayson looked on bemused, to him it just appeared that Noah was destroying the scrap further but the look on his friends face was one of pure concentration.
"So what is it?" Jayson asked, screwing up his face.
"Just what i was wondering." A stern voice came from behind the pair. Jackson stood with his arms crossed surveying the scene in front of him. "It sure doesn't look like homework."
Noah turned to face his Dad and gave him his best puppy dog look.
"Time for you to go home Jayson." Jackson ordered, "And you, go to your room!" He admonished Noah.
After the boys had left Jackson began tidying up his work bench. he picked up the fruits of Noah's labour, it was actually pretty impressive, not that it excused his bad behaviour but it was clear that Noah had talent, when he put his mind to it.
But what Noah wasn't putting his mind to was his school work. When Kaya and Jackson read his report they were shocked to see that he was failing every single subject.
It was time for a serious discussion.
"Am i in trouble?" Noah asked sweetly.
"No sweetheart." Kaya replied.
"Actually yes you are." Jackson interrupted giving her a disapproving look, "Noah you know that you're not supposed to touch my tools, they're very dangerous you could have seriously hurt yourself." He lectured.
"But i just wanted to make something!" Noah protested.
"And you did a wonderful job sweetie." Kaya congratulated him.
"That's beside the point!" Jackson frowned at her complacency, "Where did you get the metal for your project?"
Noah remained silent hoping that his Mom would interject, but she seemed to be letting his Dad take over. "The junk yard." Noah mumbled quietly.
"You are grounded for the next month young man!" Jackson said sternly, "I expect you to come straight home after school and we are going to work on your homework together. Now go to your room!"
Noah mumbled his apologies and sloped off to his room, grounded for a month that sucked!
"Don't you think you were a bit hard on him?" Kaya asked Jackson.
"No, Kaya he needs to learn to listen to what we tell him other wise his behaviour is going to get out of hand." Jackson replied.
"Jackson he's only ten, he's got years of school left to improve his grades." She reasoned.
"So what's your solution? We just let him do whatever he wants? Look he's obviously resourceful and smart i mean he made this all by himself." Jackson gestured to the metal llama, "Just think what he could achieve if we actually get him to focus."
"Okay, we'll do it your way." Kaya relented.
"Really?" Jackson asked, a surprised look playing across his face. It had been a long time since Kaya had given in on anything.
"Sure." She shrugged.
"What's wrong?" Jackson asked, his brow furrowed as he sensed an issue brewing.
"Well you're obviously so much better at this parenting thing than me." She pouted, "Look at Howie off at some school for genius's while my two kids can't even get above a D grade. I guess they inherited their brain cells from me."
"Hey don't be so rough on them OR yourself." Jackson smiled reaching for Kaya's hand which she pulled sharply away.
"Maybe you should have stuck with Beth and made a few more kids like Howie." She spat, her jealousy rearing it's ugly head.
"Kaya, you know i love you." Jackson exclaimed.
"Do i?" She threw back, "Then how come you've never asked me to marry you?" She demanded.
Jackson reeled from her accusation, "Honestly Kay, i didn't think marriage was something you wanted. You never mention it and well i guess what with everything that happened with Robson the moment never seemed right." He explained.
"Well i do want it." She replied quietly, "I always have."
Jackson thought for a moment before standing and walking to where she sat. Kneeling next to her he said, "Kaya Traytor, you are my whole world and despite the fact that you can't recite the periodic table it would make me the proudest Sim alive if you would be my wife." he grinned.
"You're sure this is what you want?" She asked, biting her lip nervously.
"More than anything." He replied. "So what do you say?"
"I say YES!" She yelled, leaping up from her chair and throwing her arms around him.