"Hey wait up!" She called, "You got a minute?"
"Um, sure." Declan replied, uneasily. "Is this about the child support money? I thought we were all up to date?" He asked.
"Oh yeah, we are." She answered, "It's not about that."
The tension between them was thick like a cloud of smog that would not lift until the rays of the morning sun broke through it, but Morgan pressed on hoping that she could express herself succinctly.
"Look i know that things have been difficult between us and really i just wanted to put that right." She began.
"Morgan you don't need to put anything right. I was out of line at the kids birthday party, i feel like a total jerk." Declan replied, the words coming hurriedly from his lips. "I was hurting from the divorce, you know? It just hadn't sunk in that this wasn't my life anymore and when i saw Howie with the kids i just lost control."
"I understand." Morgan told him, "It's been hard on me too you know?"
"Honestly? It really didn't seem like it Morgan." He retorted, "From where i was standing it looked as though you'd forgotten we ever existed."
"I could never forget that Declan." She replied, softly biting her lip. "You were my first. My only love and I'm not sure I'll ever get over you, but i have to try."
"I really messed everything up didn't I?" He asked sadly.
Morgan nodded silently.
"I wish i could make it right." He replied, staring soulfully at her. "I'd do anything."
Morgan stared back into his beautiful emerald eyes and a flash of all the good times they had shared raced through her mind. From their blossoming friendship, to their wedding day and the kids birth. She had thought all of her memories were tainted by his deceit but she was wrong, the good ones were still there as untouched as before.
"I forgive you for what you did." She told him, "But i won't ever be able to forget it, not completely."
"That means more to me than you know." He smiled, taking her hand and squeezing it gently in thanks.
"I hope that you'll find what you're looking for Declan, you deserve to be happy. To get married again." She laughed lightly.
He smiled and answered, "Actually i do have some pretty great news. I've written a book and it's going to be published."
Morgan took a quick intake of air, hoping that he hadn't written what she thought he had.
"Oh no! It's not what you're thinking." He interjected swiftly reading her body language as he always could, "It's fiction, I'm done with facts." He joked.
"Then I'm really happy for you Declan." She smiled easily, "I'm glad you found the success you deserve."
"And what about you?" He asked, "What's in your future Morgan?"
She paused at his question and her eyes wandered to the ground, suddenly uncomfortable with the discussion.
"I don't mean to pry." He apologised, "I just figured after what i told you about Howie that maybe he would have made his move."
Morgan shook her head, "Howie and I haven't spoken in a while. I guess it's awkward between us now."
"Did you honestly not know?" He asked.
"I had no idea." She admitted, "Was it that obvious to you?"
"Well i always knew he didn't like me." Declan told her, "And the way he looked at you. It was like you were the centre of the universe."
Morgan sighed and closed her eyes, she had been nervous enough putting things right with Declan but Howie was a whole other ball game. Their relationship was much older and far more complex than her marriage had ever been.
"Just talk to him." Declan advised, "Tell him how you feel." Morgan nodded and gave Declan the briefest of hugs.
She felt a great sense of relief as he left knowing that at least this relationship had become much less tangled, yet she had no idea how she could untangle the complexities of her and Howie. How could she tell him what she felt when she still was confused herself? She had thought she was ready to face it but maybe she needed to take a few more baby steps before she tackled that particular issue.
Olivia studied the pages of the script to the Wizard of Oz. Bridgeport Elementary was about to hold it's annual school play and she had her sights firmly set on the lead role. But as she tried her hardest to focus the words danced on the page in front of her and jumbled themselves into a mess of garbled letters and sentences. Blinking she urged them to reassemble, but they were stubborn.
"Never mind" Olivia thought to herself, she had seen the movie a dozen times at least she was certain that she could figure out what to say and when to say it, at least enough to convince Ms Fitch, the drama teacher to give her a shot. That is unless Ms Fitch was planning on playing it safe in which case the star role would go to Stacey Leigh, as per usual, and Olivia would end up as a munchkin or something equally tragic.
Stacey Leigh. Every school had a girl like her. Pretty, popular and talented. Stacey had been on the pageant circuit since she was five, she was well versed in performing to an audience and had no trouble in winning them over with her perfect blond curls and wholesome smile.
But the worst thing about a girl like Stacey was that you just couldn't hate her. She was in essence a nice person, albeit a very lucky one who seemed to glide effortlessly through life getting what she wanted handed to her on a silver platter. Still she was friendly, polite and would always offer encouragement to others and for this reason people loved her.
Olivia sighed and launched into a run through of her favourite scene, where Dorothy first arrives in munchkin land. She recited the words to the movie easily, sweeping her arms dramatically as she envisaged the perfectly miniature houses and of course the yellow brick road.
"God Traytor! Is everyone in your house a total freak?" Anson ridiculed Oscar openly.
Anson Leigh was proof that where twins were concerned one certainly soaked up more of the good genes while the other feasted on the bad ones. Stacey's brother was never polite, friendly or encouraging of others. He was far more likely to be looking down his over privileged nose at the mere mortals of Bridgeport who deigned to cross his path. And today he had Oscar set in his sights.
"One sister thinks she's Dorothy and the other talks to thin air!" Anson laughed, gesturing at Odd who as usual was in a world of her own, mumbling unintelligibly to no one.
Oscar kept his gaze impassioned until Anson walked away, off to set his disparaging remarks on another victim no doubt. Once the boy was out of earshot Oscar allowed the shame he felt to show on his face.
It wouldn't do to let the other boy know he had got to him, that was not Oscar's style. He much preferred to show the world his perfect, controlled presence and deal with his emotions deep inside. He found that suppressing his feelings was no harder than keeping his room neat and ordered. Everything had it's place even feelings, and their place was locked well away from the rest of the world.
However, he made an exception to his rule where Odd was concerned. His sister was such an embarrassment, always drawing unflattering attention towards him by virtue of being his triplet. Still she had to compound the matter by behaving like a total alien in public and he had, had enough.
Oscar was accustomed to controlling every aspect of his life and he was not about to allow Odd to bring that composure crashing down.
"Can't you just for once behave like a normal girl?" Oscar demanded. His voice was not raised and his pitch was low and controlled but his eyes were ablaze with fury.
Odd stepped back from his words and regarded him warily, "What is normal?" She questioned.
"Stop talking to yourself." Oscar hissed, "It's embarrassing."
Odd blinked at her brother and remained tight lipped until he walked away, realising that she would have to be more careful. It wouldn't do to draw more attention to herself, much better that she tried to remain inconspicuous and blend into the background as much as possible.
Oscar sat next to Olivia on the bench as she continued to recite Dorothy's lines. Odd was a lost cause, of that he was sure, she would always live up to her nickname and he couldn't control that. However Olivia was entirely different. Yes her head was in the clouds and she was far too flighty and scatter brained, but she could at least pass for a normal Sim with a little effort.
"Can i help you learn the lines to the play?" Oscar offered, noticing the scrunched up script next to her on the bench.
"You could try, but it's a lost cause." Olivia sighed, "Stacey probably knows them word perfect already, and she's so much prettier than me she's bound to get picked."
Oscar considered his sisters complaint. Glancing at Stacey he figured she was almost certainly right for a change. Stacey was perfect and talented and was a shoo in for the lead role, but what if there was a way to change that?
If Olivia got this role and beat Anson's sister, little miss perfect Stacey, she would be a winner. And Oscar would be seen as a winner too by association.
Oscar smiled as a plan formed. Maybe he couldn't control Odd and what others thought of her but he could certainly make sure that he and Olivia were well thought of and if he achieved that the other kids would soon forget that they were triplets at all.
The following day at school it was time for Oscar to put his plan into action.
"Hey Stacey." He called to the girl, plastering a false smile across his face.
"Oh hey Oscar. Thanks for helping me out in maths class today, i would never of solved that problem without you." Stacey replied.
Oscar smiled and congratulated himself silently on his cunning plot. Helping the girl out in class set up the scene perfectly for what he was about to ask her. "So can you hang out after school?"
"Sure." Stacey replied sweetly. This was just too easy, Oscar thought. But then he realised that he should never underestimate how gullible some Sims could be.
After class let out Oscar met Stacey and lead her towards the City Centre park. Since the council had built a brand spanking new play ground in the more child friendly part of town the central park had suffered from neglect and as a result was rarely used. Oscar realised that it was unlikely they would have to share the play ground with anyone else.
Following Stacey's lead he climbed the rusting ladder to the top of the jungle gym.
"My Mom used to fetch me and Anson here all the time when we were little." She gushed, "I always loved that you can see the school from up here. I used to imagine what it would be like to ride the bus with all the older kids and now i can everyday!"
Oscar smiled while inside wondering if little miss perfect was as squeaky clean as she made out?
As the girl prattled on about how much she loved school Oscar made sure to keep the phony smile in place while his hands ran over the uncared for, rotting frame of the jungle gym until sure enough he found a weak spot in the railing.
Giving it a little shove he heard the banister give way under his force and realised that it wouldn't take too much more pressure to break it completely.
"Hey Stacey! Come here, check it out!" He cried, "You can see all the way into Simlish class from here!" He gestured towards the school and beckoned the girl over to him.
"Where? I can't see?" She replied, her brow furrowed in concentration.
"Over there look, just lean a little further." He encouraged. As Stacey allowed the banister to take her weight she squealed in shock when the support cracked completely and gave way, causing her to fall to the floor.
The girl landed hard against the ground and tried to sit up amongst the gravel and dust that her fall had sprayed up from the play park floor.
"Stacey! Are you alright?" Oscar called, thinking that his acting was so good maybe he should try out for the play.
"N-No I'm not." She whimpered. "Oscar, my ankle really hurts."
Oscar scrambled down the ladder to safety and rushed to her side, "Careful, let me help you." he said, taking Stacey's arm and allowing her to rest against him. "Try to put your foot down." He directed.
"OWW!" Stacey screeched in his ear as the pain shot through her damaged ankle.
"We'd better get you to the hospital." Oscar told her, continuing to feign concern. "Give me your cell phone, I'll call your Mom."
Odd watched from behind the tree as her brother dialled Stacey's Mom. She couldn't be sure of what she had seen but to her it looked awfully like Oscar had wanted Stacey to fall. What she couldn't figure out is why?
Why would anyone want to hurt someone else? She could think of no good reason, but when it came to social interactions Odd was no expert. Maybe this was how "normal" children behaved, but she didn't think so. One thing she knew was that she had to get this off her chest and there was only one person she could turn to.
Iris watched Odd from the veranda. The girl was wrapped up in her own little world, seemingly in deep conversation with someone although as usual there was no one to be seen. Iris regarded this now regular sight and smiled. Since she had moved back into her old home she had become increasingly fond of her youngest great grandchild whose openness to the world around her reminded Iris so very much of Cody and the love for the world the two of them had shared in their lifetime.
Yet Odd's affinity with the world had little to do with nature and the beauty of all living things. Iris had come to realise over these past few months that Odd was tuned into a very different frequency.
"Come on dear it's time for bed." Iris called to the girl, who dutifully snapped to reality and headed her way.
Odd said nothing as she approached the house, but Iris blocked her path. "I wanted to talk to you Odette, about your friend." Iris began.
Odd bristled at her Nana Iris's words, she had tried to be so careful since Oscar had warned her about being a freak in public. She was so sure she had it under wraps but as usual she was less aware of the actual world around her than she realised. Looking up at her Nana with wide eyes Odd waited for the lecture to come.
But Nana Iris looked down at her with such love that Odd relaxed. "You're a very lucky girl Odd to have such a friend." Iris said.
"You, you can see him?" Odd asked her face wide eyed with doubt, surely Nana Iris was as blind as everyone else when it came to George but maybe she was wrong.
"No dear i can't but i can see you more clearly than anyone else i believe." Iris replied, "You're a very special girl Odette and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise."
Iris pulled Odd into a hug and whispered, "Use your gift wisely my dear."
Odd turned her head towards her Nana and smiled slightly. She didn't know how she knew her secret but somehow she did and this revelation made Odd's heart swell with joy. Finally she wasn't an outsider, for now she had someone else who believed in her.
Morgan woke early the next morning as per her usual routine. She padded bare foot into the kitchen expecting to see Iris standing at the stove cooking a fresh batch of pancakes for the family but her Gran was nowhere in sight. Taking a well deserved lie in, she figured before preparing the breakfast herself.
After the kids had been fed and dispatched off to school Morgan realised that there was still no sign of Iris.
Easing the door to the guest room gently open Morgan slid into the room and observed her sleeping Gran. It was unusual for her to sleep so late, usually Iris was up at the crack of dawn and now it was almost 9.30.
Shifting forward Morgan took a closer look at the figure laid in the bed and realised that Iris was not simply sleeping. She had slipped away in the night, peacefully during her sleep, a fact that would eventually give her family comfort but in that very moment there was no comfort to be taken.
Morgan felt a heavy sob tear from her mouth as she realised that her Gran was no more. When Iris had asked to move into the house "While she still had time" Morgan had no sense that she was coming home to die, she had envisaged many happy years ahead of them but sadly it was just not to be. She knew that the children would be devastated, they had each grown so close to their Nana Iris.
Her body still racked with sobs Morgan left the room and made the hardest call of her life to Kaya to let her know the terrible news.
After the call to her mother events seemed to pass by in a flash. The funeral director had collected Iris and made all the necessary arrangements for the family. Morgan had called Declan to let him know the news and ask if he could take the kids after school until she figured out how to explain this turn of events to them.
With tears still falling down her cheeks Morgan set out for down town. There was only on place she wanted to be in that moment, only one face she longed to see and only one person to comfort her.
Howie answered the door after the first urgent knock expecting to see a cop or some kind of angry repo man judging by the force of the hammering against his door, but he stopped in his tracks when he saw a tear stained Morgan.
He hadn't clapped eyes on her in what felt like forever yet the sight of her grief stricken face instantly melted away any animosity he had been harbouring and he ushered her inside.
I didn't take long for Howie to establish what had caused Morgan's distress and prompted her visit. She was desperately seeking comfort and answers to understand just how she was going to break such hard news to her children. Yet Howie couldn't help feel that perhaps there was more to her visit than this alone.
After she had dried her eyes and rectified her streaked mascara Morgan sat silently next to him and the awkwardness between them returned.
Morgan stared at Howie, there was so much left unsaid between them that now she was actually here facing him she couldn't order her thoughts enough to form a sentence coherently. She thought back to the advice she had been given from Liz and even Declan on dealing with Howie, "Just tell him how you feel" being the most memorable words imparted to her.
Morgan had been so caught up in the surprise of Howie's feelings that she hadn't fully found time to realise her own, but there had to be some reason that his was the first place she had run to in her moment of need? That had to mean something, surely?
Howie decided to break the tension that had formed, "Maybe i should make you a drink, a hot cup of tea perhaps?" He offered.
"Do you have anything stronger?" Morgan asked, knowing it was out of character, but perhaps a little Dutch courage would help her through this.
"Erm, sure i think i have something in the back of the cupboard, somewhere." Howie replied, flustered by her request.
As Howie rooted through his kitchen cupboard Morgan took a moment to peruse his apartment. She had never visited Howie at home before and looking around the poky little place she felt a sadness wash over her at how he was living. She knew that Howie had an important job at the Science Facility and was sure that it paid well yet he still lived in the same apartment block he had as a student. The place was impersonal and drab and did not reflect Howie at all.
But as she looked closer Morgan realised that there were personal touches all over the flat. Photographs and keep sakes were displayed proudly each showing off the life that he was so fond of. The life he had shared with Morgan.
"Do you remember that day?" Howie asked, from over her shoulder glancing at the photograph of the pair of them as children.
"Jackson took us to the zoo." She smiled in recollection, "Remember the monkey that threw it's business at you?" She laughed.
"Oh ha ha!" He retorted, smiling fondly, "Laugh at the guy who got covered in monkey feces why don't you!"
"I can't believe you have all these." She gestured to his photograph collection, "You even have the kids pictures." Morgan felt her smile fade as she realised that her life was Howie's life. Her every achievement was his greatest joy, it always had been she'd just been too naive to realise it.
Slowly she allowed her hand to rest at her side brushing gently against his before taking his hand into hers.
"You must think I'm crazy having all this stuff on display?" Howie asked, his nerves taking over and forcing an explanation from his lips unprovoked. "Its just that i have so many happy memories, it's nice to be reminded of them everyday." He continued.
Morgan turned to face him and replied, "I don't think you're crazy Howie. I just never realised until today how much you put your own life on hold. Was it all because of me?" She asked, feeling the guilt course through her veins that the photos on Howie's wall were of her children and not his own.
"Morgan the choices I've made were all mine, and i wouldn't change them. Except for maybe one." He replied.
"And that is?" She asked in anticipation.
"When i realised that what i was feeling for you was more than friendship i ran away. I made my Dad send me to that boarding school because i thought it was wrong to be in love with you." He admitted, his face flushing bright red at the statement. "Maybe if i had stayed things would be different?"
"But after you came home and realised that i was in love with Declan, why didn't you move on and find someone else?" She asked perplexed.
Howie looked down in embarrassment at her question realising how pathetic he must seem to Morgan, but she came here for answers and he knew he must give them to her. "No one ever matched up to you." he mumbled.
Closing his eyes firmly Howie wished with all his might that she would make the let down quick and painful, like ripping off a band aid. But as he looked up he found Morgan smiling, not a trace of shame or ridicule playing in her eyes.
"God i love to see you smile." he told her, setting his nerves aside and bravely reaching out to stroke her cheek.
Morgan felt her hand rise instinctively to Howie's as the pair of them stared deeply into each others eyes, finally accepting the truth that had lay between them, dormant for so long and now finally in the open.
THE HEIR VOTE FOR GEN 7 IS NOW OPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!