"I can't believe I'm finally getting married." Liz gushed, "Can you believe of all the jerks I've dated I'm settling down with a man called Romeo?"
Morgan shook her head and laughed at her friend, it was true Liz had the worst luck with men but then it seemed that her own luck had not been so great either.
"I'm sorry Morgan, i shouldn't be going on like this. How are you doing?" Liz asked, her face clouding over.
"Liz you're getting married, it's all you should be talking about, honestly I'm fine." Morgan assured her.
"Have you talked to Howie yet?" Liz queried.
Morgan sighed before replying, "No. I don't know what to say to him."
"Well how do you feel about it all?" Liz pressed, not wanting her friend to dismiss the issue.
"I just can't get my head around it. I mean I love Howie, but he's my family. I don't understand how his feelings can be like that for me." She replied, screwing up her face in confusion.
"But you're not actually related to him, i mean there wouldn't be anything wrong with you two being together." Liz pointed out.
"His Dad is married to my Mom!" Morgan cried, "Jackson virtually raised me, he's the only real father figure i ever had."
"But you do love Howie right? Just ask yourself Morgan if all the other stuff wasn't in the way would you want to be with him?" Liz asked.
"It doesn't matter about the what ifs Liz." Morgan shook her head, "This is how it is and the fact that Howie hid those feelings all this time....." She trailed off letting her head sink to her hands, "I just can't deal with all the secrets any more. I think i should be by myself for a while."
"Hey you're not by yourself okay? You have me, always." Liz smiled and grabbed Morgan's hand, "Besides i need you too, more than ever now."
"You need help with the wedding?" Morgan asked, confused.
"No! Between my sister and my Mom it's pretty much covered. But marrying Romeo is not the only thing I've got going on right now." Liz smiled and patted her tummy.
"A baby! Really?" Morgan squealed jumping from her seat and hugging Liz, "This is amazing! I'm so happy for you."
And she truly was happy. Having her children was the most important thing to Morgan and through all the crazy drama the past few years had thrown at her nothing had kept her more grounded than her triplets. She loved each one of them immeasurably.
Thanks to her daycare business getting back up and running, Morgan had been able to decorate and furnish a room for each of her children. Oscar had a typical little boys room.
But Oscar wasn't your typical little boy, instead of his room being a pit swirling with smelly socks and crusted t-shirts he kept it immaculate. Everything in it's place and a place for everything was his motto. He would never let his Mom clean his room because she never could get it to be just so, the way he liked it.
He had insisted on getting his own bathroom too, refusing to share one with his sisters or anyone else for that matter. This too was kept in a pristine condition. It seemed to Morgan that Oscar held cleanliness and tidiness up as the most important factor, but as he grew older she had begun to wonder if there was more to it than just an idiosyncrasy.
She had noticed that Oscar would wash his hands an obsessive number of times, over and over going through soap like there was an endless supply. Once he started school, he had refused to use the bathrooms there, calling them "filthy".
And it was not uncommon for him to also refuse his food. If Morgan hadn't prepared it to his exact specifications and presented it in the perfect way then he would just sit and stare at the plate, watching as his meal turned stone cold.
Morgan had tried the "You'll sit there until your plate is clear" routine until she was blue in the face, but there was no convincing Oscar. The only way to get him to eat was to prepare him a separate dish each night and hope that it met up to his super high standards.
Olivia, of course was the exact opposite to Oscar. Her room resembled a pig sty, with clothes strewn casually on the floor and dolls and toys piled high instead of being put away. She wasn't a slob, far from it. Olivia was forgetful, her head usually in the clouds somewhere dreaming up a fantasy life for herself where she was a princess or a pirate.
Yes Morgans' middle child had a flair for the dramatic.
Especially when faced with doing something she did not want to, such as playing outside. Olivia's hatred of the great outdoors continued on into her childhood. Morgan would have to stifle her laughter as she watched her daughter sigh and swoon as though she were about to pass out, as if Morgan had forced her to walk on hot coals, instead of asking her to get some fresh air!
But how Morgans heart would soar as she watched her day dreamer daughter play as a normal little child. One day Olivia would be a racing car driver.
The next a queen presiding over royal court ordering them all to make macaroni and cheese, her favourite meal.
Whilst Morgan would never have favorites, she adored that Olivia played and dreamed as a little child should. Next to Oscar's serious nature and Odette's silence Olivia was a ray of sunshine that never failed to bring a smile to her mother's lips.
Odd had grown up too, just had her brother and sister. Her silence now, they all realised was out of choice not inability. Yes Odd was a quiet child, always hiding out in her room, her head usually buried in a book.
Of course if you were to speak directly to her she would answer you, heck ask her the square root of 1,000,009 and she'd answer you. Odd was a brilliant child who excelled in nearly all subjects with the exception of gym, where her unparalleled lack of coordination let her down.
She still preferred to keep to herself, with no real friends to speak of.
Yet still this didn't seem to phase Odd at all. She would play like a normal child, just by herself.
Morgan would watch her from the kitchen window with a heavy heart as Odd played hopscotch in the back garden all alone.
Sometimes she could swear that Odd would be talking to someone, but of course there was no one there.
Yet the girls face would screw up in confusion or appear wide eyed in surprise as though she were having the most in depth conversation of her life. Morgan wrote it off as nothing to be concerned over, after all Odd spent so much time alone what harm would a little imaginary friend really do her?
One night as Morgan dried the last of the dishes she glanced out to check on Odd and noticed her daughter crying her little heart out. Morgan raced outside immediately fearing the worst, an broken limb perhaps but when she reached Odd there were no signs of a physical injury.
"Sweetheart, what's the matter?" She asked taking Odette in her arms.
"I'm sorry Mom." Odd replied, wiping her eyes and racing away inside the house, back to the safety of her room no doubt.
Morgan set off to follow her but she hadn't taken a single step before her cell phone sprang into life, trilling it's cheerful tune.
The caller ID was Jackson's and Morgan pressed to answer swiftly, wondering what he could want.
"Morgan?" He asked, sounding apprehensive.
"Jackson, is everything alright?" Morgan asked, her concern rising at his edgy tone.
"I'm afraid it's your Grandpa Cody, I'm so sorry sweetheart but he passed away tonight." Jackson told her.
"Oh no! I didn't even realise he was sick." She cried her heart leaping to her mouth at the sad news.
"He was just old Morgan, it was his time."
Morgan shut the phone after promising to visit her mother and Grandmother the next day to help with funeral arrangements, yet as she did she remembered Odds words, "I'm sorry Mom".
Morgan had assumed she was apologising for some unknown misdemeanor but as she thought on it further a chill ran right through her. Surely she couldn't have meant this but what else had she to be sorry for?
Morgan headed straight for Odds room, but when she entered the lights were out and Odd was fast asleep on the top of the two bunk beds, which she insisted on having even though she had the room to herself. Morgan closed the door to the bedroom gently so as not to wake her planning on having the talk with her the next day.
But somehow the next day Odds strange apology slipped from Morgan's mind as she became preoccupied with the funeral arrangements for her Grandpa Cody and that weekend the family gathered by his graveside to remember his life and mourn his passing.
The visit to the cemetery was particularly hard on the children, especially little Olivia who became quite overwhelmed by the experience. As Morgan comforted her daughter she asked, "Mom, is Poppa Cody in heaven?"
"Of course he is sweetheart." She soothed, stroking her daughters soft auburn hair. "I'm sure he's watching over us all now."
"No he's not." Oscar interrupted.
"I beg your pardon?" Morgan exclaimed turning to face her son, whose fists were balled in fury at his side.
"That's a lie!" He demanded, "There's no such place as heaven that's just a story for babies."
"Oscar!" Morgan admonished him sternly, "What a terrible thing to say."
"It's true!" He insisted, "When you die there's nothing no clouds no bright light just an empty void!"
Morgan could feel Olivia tensing up at her brothers retort and knew that her tears would not be too delayed. Straightening herself up so as not show her own shock at her sons bleak outlook she chided him firmly.
"Oscar, believing in heaven is not for babies. I am not a baby and i believe it. Now stop upsetting your sister and behave yourself." She appealed to him.
Oscar said no more but his folded arms and affronted stance told Morgan that he was not sorry at all for his harsh words.
Oscar's outburst and Olivia's histrionics had meant that Odds reaction to her first funeral had gone unnoticed, by Morgan at least.
Iris found her youngest great grand-daughter staring sorrowfully at an unmarked grave. "Odette. Are you alright my dear?" Iris asked.
Odd considered her question for a moment before replying, "I wonder why some Sims are not missed when they pass on?"
"I suppose not everyone is lucky to be blessed with family the way Cody and I were." Iris replied.
Odette considered this reply even longer, her little face solemn as she did so. "Do you suppose that Sims who are happy in life are happy in death too?"
Iris cocked her head at Odds exceedingly grown up questioning before answering, "I imagine that everyone is at peace once they are passed on, regardless of their experiences."
Odd returned Iris's stare and said nothing to convey her discordance with this theory, but shook her head ever so slightly in disagreement. "Poppa Cody was happy with his life and he's happy now too, almost." She paused, deciding whether to reveal more. "He'll wait for you though because he can't be completely happy without you."
Iris stepped back at Odds appraisal, regarding the girl with curiosity. She smiled and watched as Odd skipped away.
After the funeral the family retreated back to Morgan's house to swap stories about Cody and relive their memories. Oscar went straight to his room and Morgan excused herself to speak with him alone.
"Oscar i want you to understand why i was angry with you earlier today." Morgan began.
"It's okay Mom i understand." He replied hanging his head.
"Sweetheart, it's not that i don't want to tell you the truth about things, it's just that some things are difficult for someone as young as you to understand properly." She continued.
"I'm not a baby!" He muttered under his breath although loudly enough for her to hear.
"You're my baby Oscar." She replied, "I understand today was difficult for you but you need to understand that Olivia is much more sensitive than you are. Today was very hard on her."
Oscar sighed and began to brush imaginary lint from his trousers, a sign, Morgan had noticed, of his discomfort. "I just want you to tell me the truth that's all." He sniffed.
"Oscar the truth is that i don't know what happens to us when we die, no one does. But believing in heaven, a place where we can be happy while we wait to be reunited with our loved ones is a comforting thought." Morgan paused, regarding her sons stern expression, "It doesn't hurt to believe in something that brings you comfort."
"I suppose." He shrugged.
"I'm always here if you ever want to ask me anything." Morgan told him, "But try not to upset Olivia, okay?"
Oscar nodded and hopped down from his bed, opening his drawer and removing a perfectly pressed set of pajamas, "Mom?" He cried, gesturing for her to leave the room while he changed for bed.
"Sorry sweetheart." Morgan replied, heading swiftly for the door. She knew that if she didn't obey Oscar's little bedtime ritual he would never sleep and so she left him to settle in for the night alone.
Morgan settled Olivia into bed as per her preference, which was being read to sleep with her favourite story Simderella, before joining Iris downstairs for a plate of food.
"Grandma I'm so sorry about Grandpa Cody." She exclaimed, cursing herself for not spending more time with Iris today.
"Thank you Morgan." Iris replied smiling sweetly, "But I'm sure that your Grandpa is at peace wherever he is now."
"You're taking this very well." Morgan observed, "I would be a wreck."
"Cody and i had a long happy life together." Iris smiled, "And something Odette said to me earlier made me realise that he's not sad wherever he is, so i shouldn't be either."
"Odd?" Morgan asked, wondering what her nine year old daughter could possibly of said to make her ninety year old gran feel so at ease.
"Yes, she's a very special girl." Iris replied, cryptically. "Actually Morgan i have something to ask you." She continued, "How would you feel about me moving in here with you and the children? I should very much like to spend more time with them while i can."
Morgan looked at Iris in surprise, this being the last thing she had expected to hear fall from the woman's lips. But as she thought about it she could see no reason to deny her gran her wish.
"Of course, I'm sure the kids would love having you around." Morgan answered her.
"I don't believe you!" Noah yelled at Shay. He had invited her over the day following his Grandpa's funeral for comfort but all she had brought him was further misery.
"It's true." Shay insisted, "This is nothing to do with you, besides Travis wants to marry me and I've already said yes."
"Like hell Shay!" He hissed, "That's not happening."
"You can't tell me what do with my life!" She yelled in response.
"What on Earth is going on here?" Morgan demanded walking into the spare bedroom which she had been about to prepare for Iris's arrival. "Noah?"
"Ask her!" Noah seethed, pointing furiously in Shay's face.
Morgan was shocked to see her little brother so angry, his face was red and she could see that he was close to losing control. "Noah i think you should step outside and let me speak to Shay." She explained slowly, hoping to diffuse the tension and Noah obliged her, storming from the room.
"What have you done?" Morgan demanded, facing Shay. She had never liked this girl, one minute she was running all over town with Noah then the moment his back was turned she had set her sights on their cousin Travis. She didn't know what Shay was doing here now, but what she did know was that she was trouble as far as Noah was concerned.
"Oh sure, it's all my fault." Shay snapped, "Not innocent little Noah, he would never do anything wrong would he?" She countered sarcastically.
"Look i don't know what you're doing here or why you've upset my brother so much but i think it's best if you leave and never come back." Morgan replied, trying to appeal to the girls better nature. If she even had one.
"I was trying to leave, it was your brother who wouldn't let me." Shay sneered.
Morgan's eyes dropped towards the floor and as they did so took in Shay's appearance. Her jersey top was not fitted purposely yet it clung to her stomach in a telling way. "Are you pregnant?" Morgan asked in shock, "Oh no! Please don't tell me...."
"What? That it's Noah's?" Shay scoffed, "I'll tell you like i told him, this baby has nothing to do with him."
"You're lying." Morgan snapped in reply, instantly seeing why her brother was so furious with Shay.
"This is none of your business either!" Shay yelled, jabbing a finger at Morgan.
"So what did you just come here to rub his face in it?" Morgan challenged.
"I just want him to stay out of mine and Travis's life." Shay responded touchily, instantly telling Morgan that her first instinct was right. This baby was Noah's and Shay was simply trying to protect the gold mine she found herself sitting on being Travis's girlfriend. It was no secret that Travis was a world class record producer, having delivered numerous hit albums over the past few years and clearly Shay was not about to give up the lifestyle to which she had become accustomed, all to settle for an army major.
"Get out of my house." Morgan snapped at the girl impatiently, not wanting to look at her spiteful face any longer. After Shay had left she sought out her brother hoping to calm his nerves.
"Noah." She called, clutching his hand in sympathy but he snatched it away still angry. "How long has this been going on?" She asked.
"It never stopped." He admitted.
"Noah, I'm sorry." She consoled.
"It's my baby, I'm certain it is." Noah sobbed. "What am i supposed to do Morgan?"
"Noah, you have to tell Travis." Morgan replied, taking his arm and squeezing it in support, "She can't hide this once he knows."
"He's one of my best friends." Noah sniffed, "He'll never forgive me."
"You don't know that." Morgan replied, "Noah you have to tell the truth." She insisted.
"You mean like Declan did?" He snapped, "Or maybe Howie, he was honest wasn't he?"
"That's not the same Noah." Morgan replied, stepping back from his outburst.
"Why not? They told you the truth and you still pushed them both away. If i tell Trav I'll lose him, Shay and this baby. They wont want to know me." He asserted.
Morgan considered his logic. Maybe he was right, she demanded the truth then turned away from those who had given her it, but it was difficult to forgive someone who had hurt you. She had never considered that it was just as hard to come clean and tell someone the truth knowing that doing so would hurt them.
"You're right Noah." she answered finally, "I haven't been fair to Declan or Howie, they did the right thing in telling me the truth and i owe it to them both to forgive them. I'm not saying that it's easy, but it is the right thing to do."
Noah wiped the tears from his eyes and regarded Morgan, the pain showing on his face, "Do you think she'll tell the truth ever?" he asked.
"There's only one way to find that out." Morgan replied.
Noah nodded and mumbled his thanks setting off towards his truck. He didn't know how things would pan out but he knew right then that if there was even the smallest chance that he was going to be a father he had to know for sure.
Morgan stood on the veranda considering the advice she had given Noah. she had seen first hand just how tormented he was at the thought of hurting someone he cared for and losing what he held dearest to him all in one go. She knew then what it had taken for Declan to be honest about his true intentions towards her when they first met and just what he had risked by giving her the truth she had demanded of him. And how had she repaid him? By tossing their marriage aside.
Then she thought of Howie, who hadn't been able to tell her his true feelings himself. And who could blame him when she had clearly been the only one who had never realised the extent of his devotion to her? And when she had realised she had cut him from her life all because she was too embarrassed to deal with his love head on.
Morgan stared out at the city skyline ahead of her and resolved to match her brothers strength of character. She too would face her fears and make peace with both the men in her heart.