The Yomins: Hidden in Sight Updated Sept. 4, 2018

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SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
Prologue and Background:
Generation One
The Yomin family began three generations ago with Mestral Yomin. At least, the local branch did. Mestral crashed in Newcrest as a young adult. He altered his appearance to blend in and began learning all he could of his new home. He became an artist as much to make money as to have a way to preserve his observations. One day his neighbor and coworker Phoebe Cortes came to visit and they slowly built a friendship.
The first tentative attempt to move from friends to lovers was rocky, complicated by Phoebe's discovery that Mestral was an alien. At first it seemed all they would have to hold them together was their mutual love of painting, though neither was especially skilled. Then they married and lived modestly together, eventually welcoming their son Harley to the family.
Generation Two
Harley's green skin set him apart from the beginning, but he did his best to fit in. He was a goofball and outgoing, traits that won hi many friends. He picked up the love of art from his parents and developed the skill himself, joining the same career. He eventually passed them in skill and rank. He met Jewel Wood as a teen and they remained casual friends until they became young adults. Their courtship went a bit more smoothly than Harley's parents', probably due to the fact that Jewel was a full alien who had been raised in a human family.

Jewel's father had been abducted and returned pregnant. He decided to keep the baby, naming her Jewel. To strangers and acquaintances, she was just the fifth and youngest of Bian and Caron Wood's children - the fourteenth for Bian, who had thought he was done growing his family. Jewel preferred not to stand out among her siblings, only using her alien powers with those she knew and trusted, and rarely even then. Jewel admired Harley's confidence and being around him gave her the courage to drop her disguise at home, something she never did in public during her lifetime.

After their marriage, Harley and Jewel found his parents' house too small and crowded for four people. There was no room for them to start a family in Jewel's family home either, so they moved out on their own. Harley worked as a painter, while Jewel chose to stay home and tend to their house and children in between writing novels. Their first home was cozy, with just enough room for Harley, Jewel, and their two oldest children, Marcia and Leonard. Then Harley was abducted and came back with an alien baby growing in his womb. Not long after, Jewel found out she was pregnant with twins. One baby could sleep in a bassinet in the living room, but three would be too many. Harley already knew he didn't want to send his son back to the homeworld.
Deciding another remodel would be just as costly as starting over with a new house, Harley and Jewel agreed it was time to move their growing family into a bigger house. They had no sooner settled in when Tim, Russ and Joel were added to the family. Being blue, Tim didn't look like either of his parents or his half-siblings, but he never let that make him feel as if he didn't belong. Harley and Jewel never had another child, focusing all of their energies on their brood of five.
Harley died first, leaving Jewel alone and mourning. She never thought she would love again, until she met Vijay Desai and found they had plenty in common. On impulse, she became pregnant one last time, giving Vijay a son they named Indira. Like his older half-brother Russ, Indira only inherited Jewel's mental powers, lacking the ability to disguise himself.
Sadly, Vijay died while Indira was a toddler, leaving Jewel widowed again. The teenage twins helped Jewel raise Indira, then took over when she too died. By that point, Marcia, Leonard and Tim had already moved out to start their own families.
Generation Three
On reaching young adulthood, Russ and Joel decided between them that Russ would move out, leaving Joel to raise Indira alone in their family home. Russ moved to Brindleton Bay where he met and married his wife Bianca and got a dog. Joel began working as a tech guru, relying on his strengths and interests, to support himself and Indira. He hoped to find another alien or part alien to marry someday.
Like his father and grandfather before him, Joel was abducted by aliens, and enjoyed the experience until he realized they had sent him home with a little surprise. Following the family tradition, he kept baby Vaughn, though he knew raising two children alone with his long hours would be hard work. Fortunately, Teresa Ranjea came into their lives to help out, making the transition form Oasis Springs to Newcrest.. He family had come seeking a new life for themselves, and found just what they needed in Oasis Springs. Teresa had a dream to start her own vet clinic, but lacked the funds. Joel offered her a deal: He would help get her vet clinic started and even work with her when he could, if she would marry him and help raise his half-brother and son. Teresa agreed, but it wasn't long before the two fell in love and Teresa became pregnant with her daughter Amanda. The clinic got off to a rough start, but is beginning to show a small profit.
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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    edited January 17
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    Joel Yomin loved story time almost as much as his daughter Amanda did, and took every opportunity he could to read to her. Even if it was late at night, he was tired, and he had to go to work in 10 hours. Getting Amanda settled and happy was important. His wife Teresa had her own nightly ritual, especially after spending all day alone with Amanda. She couldn't rest until the house was clean.
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    Tonight, since the boys had already gone to bed, she also took the time to feed Astro. The chubby little cockapoo had quite an appetite, and Joel was glad he hadn't grown much bigger than when he was a puppy. Maybe seeing Astro eat would convince certain suspicious neighbors that he was a real dog and not a robot, despite his marking.
    Joel shook himself, realizing his attention had wandered and he was starting to nod off. Looking down at the sleeping toddler beside him, he smiled. "Sweet dreams, Mandy," he murmured, kissing the little girl's round cheek. Yawning, he put the book away and decided he needed a quick snack before he went to bed. A slice of chocolate cake should do the trick.
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    Indira and Vaughn woke early, uncle and nephew having a quick breakfast before settling down at the table together to finish their homework.
    "Uncle Indira, is this right?" Vaughn asked.
    Indira glanced over, glad to have a break from figuring out equations. "Yes, that's it. You're doing fine," he encouraged, smiling.

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    They just managed to finish in time to leave for school. Vaughn's excitement failed to rub off on Indira, who just wanted to get through the day, already looking forward to graduation.

    Teresa checked in with the vet clinic after getting breakfast for herself and Amanda. What she found alarmed her The clinic had been open particularly late recently, in the hopes of getting more customers. The experiment wasn't working and the clinic had lost money even with only one employee to pay. They had put most of their funds into building it up and the household's reserves were low. She cornered Joel before work with his concerns.
    "This isn't good," he said, concerned.
    Teresa frowned. "I suppose we could close up for a while, but who knows how long that will be?"
    Joel nodded. "Plus there are bills to pay, and they're already pretty high compared to what I'm making."
    "So what do we do?"
    Joel didn't have to think long to decide. "We move somewhere smaller and cheaper. With the sale of this house, we should be able to save the vet clinic and still have a comfortable cushion left over if we plan carefully."
    Nodding, Teresa slowly began to smile. "That should work. I'm sorry, this is my fault."
    Putting a finger to her lips, Joel stopped her. "No, it's not. We both agreed the clinic was worth a try. We got into this mess together, and we'll get out o fit together, all right?"
    "All right." Teresa kissed him and watched him dash out the door to work. Then she went to check out real estate listings.

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    Surprisingly, finding anew home wasn't as hard as she'd feared, and they were soon moving. The first floor was small and cramped, and though there were enough bedrooms for each member of the family and a second bath upstairs, there wasn't much extra space and almost no yard. Teresa consoled herself that it was only temporary, until they could afford something larger again.
    Teresa spent the first morning outside with Amanda, enjoying the fresh air and the quiet. She taught Amanda how to disguise herself then concentrated on her communication skills while Astro sniffed around exploring.

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    Hearing Astro barking from inside the house, Teresa cut their session short and went inside to find the dog bowl and food, setting them out for the hungry dog.
    Amanda, finding herself alone, shouted, "Mama! Wait for me!" She toddled after Teresa as fast as she could, slowing down only to climb up onto the deck. The door had been left unlocked, and she was able to push it open all by herself.

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    Teresa met her in the narrow hallway that separated the living room and stairs from the kitchen. "Mama's here, sweetie. I'm sorry I left you. You know I wouldn't leave you on purpose, right?" she murmured, hugging Amanda. The toddler clung to her, comforted.
    "Play!" she demanded in a sudden change of mood.
    Teresa willingly complied with the demand, swinging her up into the air and onto her back. In the midst of their play, she thought she heard the doorbell ring over Amanda's giggles. When the sound came again, she stopped and set Amanda down so she could answer.
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    "Oh, hello," she said, finding four of her neighbors waiting on the porch. She stepped outside as introductions were exchanged, glad she was still disguised. She wasn't yet ready to reveal herself to so many strangers at once. Maybe once she got to know them a little.
    Teresa was surprised to discover that one of her visitors was actually related to Joel, a fact established after they'd exchanged names. "Really? How?" she asked, curious.
    "Our mothers were half-sisters, though I didn't know Aunt Jewel's side of the family well," Brianne explained.
    Teresa smiled, hugging her. "Pleased to meet you, cousin. I hope we can be friends. We'll have to get the kids together sometime."
    "Sure, if I can work it into my schedule," Brianne promised.
    Suddenly Teresa laughed, looking from Brianne to Harry. "You said your name was Kibo? And you look familiar....I think we have another familial connection. Joel's brother Tim is -"
    "Married to my twin, Hikaru," Harry broke in, nodding. "That's right. I just remembered myself."
    "Family gatherings are going to be very interesting," Jessica Cook broke in.
    "They are," Teresa agreed. "Why don't you come in and help me finish some cake, since we're family?" She saw Justin Delgato hovering on the edge of the group and apologized for ignoring him, extending the invitation to him as well.
    All accepted, and the group settled at the dining table for snacks and more conversation. Amanda sat in her highchair with her dinner and watched the adults.

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    Joel had not managed to get enough sleep the night before and came home dead tired. He barely acknowledged his visitors as he came in and dragged himself up to bed. He was so exhausted that he didn't even notice that Justin Delgato had snuck upstairs to use his computer. Not that he could have harmed anything anyway.

    Soon after, all their guests left and Teresa let Amanda out of her highchair, the toddler going upstairs to her bedroom. Noticing a horrible smell, Teresa wrinkled her nose. "What is that? Astro! What did you get into?" She asked, spotting the smelly little dog, who was so dirty he looked mostly black with patches of brown. She picked Astro up and carried him upstairs for a bath, knowing she would a shower herself afterward. Though all she really wanted to do was climb into bed and go to sleep.
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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    Indira had gone to bed so early the previous afternoon that it was still very early when he woke, went to the bathroom, and ate something before starting on his homework. As he did every morning, he put on one his favorite turbans, which he had inerhited from his father, Vijay. Wanting to check on Amanda, he ended up doing his work in the chair in her room. He hadn't gotten very far when the smell of a dirty diaper distracted him. Wrinkling his nose, he found Amanda awake and out of bed.
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    "Come on, Amanda, let me get that smelly thing off you," he said, starting to crouch to pick her up.
    "No!" Amanda yelled, having woken up cranky and contrary.
    Indira frowned at her, surprised. "Please? You'll be more comfortable."
    Amanda crossed her arms and shook her head. "No! Not you!"
    Deciding it was much too early to deal with her defiance, Indira stood and took a step back, muttering something under his breath. "Fine, stay wet and smelly if you want. What you really need is a bath anyway." He stalked out, hearing Joel on the computer but not wanting to disturb him. He decided he could use another slice of cake before either of the adults caught him.
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    Left alone, Amanda stood by her bed not quite sure what do with her victory. She really was wet and smelly and uncomfortable. But Indira had startled her into instinctive defiance. She wasn't used to this new house yet and wasn't sure where her parents was. So she did the only thing she could think of - she threw a tantrum.
    Hearing her from the next room, Joel rushed over to see what was wrong, leaving the computer running and his daily video game running. "Amanda? What happened?" he asked, picking her up. He got a whiff of her bottom. "Someone needs a bath."
    "Bath," Amanda agreed enthusiastically, relaxing into his hold, the tears drying on her face.
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    Downstairs, Indira and Vaughn decided to take naps before school so they wouldn't be too tired.

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    Bathtime over, Joel took Amanda downstairs for breakfast a much calmer and more compliant child. He took the opportunity to lecture his captive audience on her recent behavior, having extracted the entire story from her during the bath. He had heard Indira's voice earlier, just before Amanda's tantrum.

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    Teresa came down and started breakfast so the family would have real food to eat tomorrow. She greeted Joel as they passed each other going opposite directions and chatted with Amanda while she cooked. Joel went back upstairs to finish his game before work. How lucky was he to have a job that required daily videogaming? Though he was looking forward to his next promotion.

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    Indira and Vaughn woke form their naps around the same time. Indira went into the kitchen to finish his homework, relieved that Amanda didn't seem to mind his company this time. Vaughn had a cold and wouldn't be going to school, but he was feeling energetic enough to do some push ups.
    Teresa, noticing her stepson's cold, took a few minutes to make a quick phone call to the vet clinic.
    "Hi, Kari, do you mind running things on your own again today? I know I said I'd come in, but Vaughn has a cold and I don't feel right leaving him alone."
    "Not at all, I'll be fine. I hope Vaughn feels better soon."
    "Me too," she agreed. "I'll try to come by tomorrow for restocking. You can take the day off, you've earned it."
    Kari sounded happy over the phone. "Thanks. See you later. "
    "See you later," Teresa echoed, ending the call.
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    With that arranged, she took her breakfast up to the master bedroom to keep Joel company until he had to leave for work.

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    After breakfast, Teresa checked on Amanda and decided it was time she started potty training. Then she got herself dressed and brought out the flashcards to run through them with Amanda.

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    All that learning wore Amanda out so she curled up on her bed for nap.

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    Teresa went down to check on Vaughn, finding him having brunch on the couch while he watched TV. She decided to let him and went back upstairs, feeling a headache coming on. But before she could order any medicine, she had to repair the computer.

    Vaughn decided that the perfect place to play fetch was inside, throwing the ball from the kitchen at a slight angle into the living room. Astro enjoyed the new game, catching on quickly.
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    Upstairs, Amanda woke up from her nap and played with her toys for a while, her imagination getting quite a workout. Teresa checked on her briefly and went to browse the parenting forums, which proved to be a mistake, as the experience left her tense and convinced she was doing it all wrong. She wished another adult was around to vent to. Maybe she'd just go pet Astro for a while, that always soothed her.
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    Indira returned home from school and decided to watch a cooking show while he had a quick early dinner. His boss thought it would help his cooking skills, especially if he ever wanted to be promoted. Something seemed to be going around, because he had a sore throat. Taking the time to drink some medicine made him a few minutes late to work, prompting a phone call from his boss

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    Vaughn went upstairs and joined his little half-sister with some imaginative play of his own, needing to unwind. They began another round of the adventures of Mr. Tentacle and Mrs. Butterfly.


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    Teresa applauded Vaughn's efforts, but decided to take the opportunity to teach him some manners while she had the chance. The lesson didn't last long, and Vaughn soon went off to bed.
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    Feeling hungry, Teresa went downstairs to cook dinner, taking her plate of pasta primavera into the living room.

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    Joel returned from work about then, proud of himself for earning a promotion and bursting with the news. On his way through the kitchen in search of his family, some gut instinct made him grab a plate of food for Amanda. In her room, he found her trying to go potty by herself and stayed to help. Independent she might be, but Amanda was still a toddler and this was her first day of potty training after all.
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    "I do it!" Amanda said, proud of herself.
    "Yes you did! You're such a big girl," Joel agreed, wrinkling his nose at the mess in the potty once Amanda was busy with her dinner.
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    Teresa joined them upstairs at that moment, wrapping her arms around Joel and giving him a kiss in greeting. He returned it ardently, then remembered they had a tiny audience and pulled back, chatting with Teresa about their respective days.
    Amanda was oblivious, however, more interested in filling her tummy before bed.
    Joel was exhausted and needed to shower before bed, so once they parted ways he cleaned the potty then showered while Teresa took out the trash and mopped a puddle.
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    (is this chapter too long? Couldn't decide where to break it up.)
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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    Chapter 3: Monsters and Nightmares.

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    Vaughn woke very early in the morning convinced there was a monster under his bed. It must have snuck in from the mist outside his window, that looked plenty scary! He wondered if his monster scaring lights were broken.

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    Unable to sleep, he went downstairs for breakfast. The kitchen table looked big and lonely so early in the morning when he was the only one awake.

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    In no hurry to go back upstairs, just in case the monster was waiting for him, Vaughn washed the dishes after breakfast. He then went back up to his room. Deciding the coast was clear, he went to play with his stuffed animal. Sure it was a monster, but it was also big, cuddly, and not hiding out trying to scare him.

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    While all of that was going on, Joel and Teresa woke. Joel decided to get to work on his programming, feeling rested. He was glad he already had some experience with programming form his teen years. Teresa stayed up just long enough to go to the bathroom, then crawled back into bed for a little while longer.

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    Teresa found she couldn't sleep after all, with a sense that she should get up in case she was needed. "Something's wrong," she mumbled, swinging out of bed. She checked on Indira and the children, reassured that all seemed to be well. Maybe it was a bad dream, the memory of it already fading now that she was awake? Shrugging it off, Teresa decided to go see if anything was on TV> The first thing that caught her eye was a sad movie, which she quickly turned off. She hoped no one could tell she'd been crying.

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    Upstairs, the monster came back, scaring Vaughn badly. He decided to just stay out of his room for the rest of the day, taking a book with him into the living room. He might even have a chance to finish it before school. Then he could get a head start on his book report on the bus.


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    "Astro, go potty, that's a good boy," Teresa said to the little dog, watching as he obediently trotted to his doggy door. He knew to go on his own, but it never hurt to reinforce the lesson from time to time. Glancing out the window, she noticed it was a lovely morning. She deiced to take her breakfast outside with her and eat while enjoying the sunrise.
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    Back upstairs, Teresa noticed that Joel had come down to get his own breakfast and joined Vaughn in the living room. Not seeing or hearing any sign of Indira, she reached for him mentally and found him still asleep. "Get up! It's almost time for school," she yelled, up the stairs, startling the teen awake. Then she went into the living room and inserted herself into the conversation, switching the TV to World Public Access.
    She smiled when she heard Indira's footsteps thumping down the stairs.

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    "Joel, would you mind doing the dishes so I can grab a shower before Amanda wakes up?" Teresa asked, standing and stretching.
    "I've got them. Go ahead. You'd better hurry," Joel replied, gathering the dishes.

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    After her shower, Teresa discovered Amanda was still in bed, and decided to use her extra few minutes to take out the trash. While outside, she discovered the bills had been delivered and brought them inside to pay. This new bill was much lower than the last one form their old house had been, much to her relief.

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    Joel realized he still had a little time before he had to go to work, so he decided to take Astro out for a jog.
    "Come on, boy want to go for a walk?"
    "Bark, bark!"
    Joel laughed as the little dog barked and seemed be trying to dance on his back legs. "I'll take that as a yes. Let's go." He brought out the leash, reflecting that the family would have to be better about getting Astro out on walks. Usually he seemed content to roam around the house and yard.


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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    Chapter 4: Clinic Day


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    Amanda woke, and not feeling particularly hungry, decided to play while waiting for someone to notice her and feed her. She got out her tablet and found her SimShape game all by herself.

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    Joel unleashed Astro and sent him home, not wanting to be late for work. They weren't far and he trusted Astro could make it on his own. He did stop and watch until the dog was across the bridge and away from the road that ran above it.

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    Teresa got Amanda fed and packed the tablet, a toy and a book to bring with them to the clinic. She would have preferred to take a nap, but she had things she needed to take care of at the clinic and she had promised Kari. She also didn't want a wide-awake toddler wandering around the house alone. No telling what kind of trouble Amanda would get into.

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    Inside, Amanda sat down in the waiting room with her tablet, switching to a different game.
    Teresa went on into the exam room and began restocking the vending machine. The next order of business was some cleaning up - someone had left a cup of coffee sitting around and it had spoiled, along with the brew in the pot. She wondered if Kari had forgotten about it. Speaking of coffee, a fresh cup sounded good right about now.
    Checking the budget, Teresa decided the clinic was making enough money for some expansion. A new exam bed was in order so they could treat twice the number of patients. And advertising would definitely help bring in patients. Last but certainly not least, Teresa hired Rania Gupta to give the elderly Kari a hand on those days when Teresa couldn't come in herself. She hoped Kari would be able to stay until Indira graduated and could come to work with her regularly.

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    Growing bored and impatient sitting by herself, Amanda came in and sat at her mother's feet, alternately chattering and playing her game while Teresa finished her coffee and mentally checked off her lists of tasks.
    "I think we're done here. Ready to go home?"
    "Yeah! I gots to potty. Carry me?"
    Teresa obliged, making an exaggerated face. "We'll get you on the potty as soon as we get home. Remind me to buy a potty chair for the clinic."
    "Kay,' Amanda answered, snuggling against her shoulder.
    As promised, the first thing Teresa did on returning home was put Amanda on the potty, praising her efforts. That done, and with Indira and Vaughn home from school, she decided it was safe to go to bed.

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    Wanting to feel close to his parents, Vaughn went into their room to play instead of staying downstairs with Indira or joining Amanda in her room. He brought out Tentacle Tom, deciding the toy's latest adventure would involve a visit to Sixam, where he met some aliens who weren't very nice.
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    Realizing it was time for his favorite cartoon, Vaughn put away his tot and turned on his parents' tiny TV, the one that used to be in their old living room. He would have liked to watch it on the big screen, but he didn't feel like arguing with Indira over who got to watch which TV.
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    With Indira at work, Vaughn snuck into his uncle's bedroom to do his homework, giggling to himself. He made sure not to disturb anything, not wanting to find the door locked against him. He still wasn't quite sure it was safe to go into his own monster-infested room.

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    Amanda entertained herself with the blocks, inspecting the shapes from all angles and babbling happily to herself. She eventually grew frustrated and tossed them aside.
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    Going downstairs in search of something more interesting to do, Amanda spotted the stereo on the coffee table. Poking the buttons, she managed to get it to turn on. Squealing, she began to bob to the music, trying to imitate what she remembered her family doing when they danced.
    She was getting tired of that too, and thirsty, when she heard her father come in the door. She went to meet him, arms up to be lifted. "Daddy, I thirsty!"

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    Joel stifled a yawn. "All right, let's get you some juice." He settled her on his hip and carried her to the kitchen and her highchair. Setting Amanda in the seat, he went to the fridge, greeting Vaughn, who was washing his own dinner dishes. While he was getting the juice, he decided he could use a quick snack while he waited for Amanda to finish, so he gt out some chips.

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    While Joel wasn't looking, Vaughn decided to make a mess, feeling playful.
    Unfortunately for him, while Joel was tired, he still knew when one of his children was up to something, and quickly caught Vaughn. "Vaughn! Stop that. I'm very disappointed in you. You know better," he said, too tired to deal with this now.
    Vaught hung his head. "Sorry, Dad."
    "Just clean it up, please. Then you go straight to bed, understood?"
    "Yes, Dad," Vaughn mumbled, contrite.
    Joel stood over him and watched while he cleaned up the mess, waiting until the boy started up to bed before picking Amanda up and following. He tucked both children into their respective beds then dragged himself off to sleep.


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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    Chapter 5: Adulthood

    For one reason or another, Indira's birthday party got pushed to late in the day, after Joel had returned from work and the children had done their homework. Indira had announced that he wouldn't have his party until an error in his birth certificate was corrected. From now on, he was to be known as Indra, the name he should have had all along.
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    Teresa made his cake herself. It was chocolate with raspberry filling, Indra's favorite.
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    Indra was tired, but he didn't want to wait too much longer to blow out his candles. He did wait for his niece Amanda to finish in the bathroom and join the rest of the family at the kitchen table, though.
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    With everoyne present, Indra drew a deep breath and blew out his candles, making a wish as he did so. He was embarrassed at the fuss Joel and Teresa were making, thinking his sister-in-law's reaction was a bit over the top.
    "Oh, stop, it's not that big a deal," Indra said, blushing.
    "Sure it is. Remember, I've helped raise you since you were a kid, so I feel like you're my oldest,' Teresa said.
    "Thanks, Indra replied, touched.
    The party over, the entire family went up to bed.

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    Vaughn woke in the middle of the night, convinced he had heard strange noises coming from unde rhis bed. Monsters! Jumping from bed, he ran into his parents room, glad to find his stepmother still awake.
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    "Mom! There are monsters under my bed.
    "Again?" Teresa asked skeptically, thinking he was getting much too old for that. "Are you sure you weren't just dreaming?"
    Vaughn nodded, looking toward his room and back. "Yes! Please come spray them."
    Unable to refuse him, Teresa went with him, making sure to do a good job of spraying.
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    "There, that should do it. Those nasty monsters won't be back tonight, " Teresa said brightly.
    "Thanks, but I still don't feel like going to sleep yet," Vaughn said, even though he was tired. He was still too scared to get in bed.
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    Teresa sat at his desk. "I'll stay until you're ready, then," she said, suppressing a yawn.
    Vaughn beamed. "Thanks, Mom." Noticing that Astro had come in at some point, Vaughn knelt to pet the dog, the action calming him quckly, while he chatted with Teresa.
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    A few minutes later, Vaughn stood up, stretching and yawning. "Will you tuck me in?" he asked.
    "Of course I will,' Teresa assured him, waiting until he climbed into bed. She bent over him, kisisng his temple and wishing him sweet dreams.
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    Astro chose that precise moment to bark from his position on the rug.
    Teresa turned to the little dog, who hadn't grown much since hwas a puppy, and frowned at him. "Astro, shush! You know better than to bark inside," she said firmly. "If you behave, I'll let you stay to keep an eye on Vaughn, but bark again and youre sleeping downstairs, were you won't wake anyone up."
    Knowing he was in trouble, Astro retreated. It was very hard for a vocal dog to be quiet, after all.

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    In the morning, Amanda woke first and went downstairs to have breakfast and watch TV.
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    Joel joined his daughter a few minutes later with his own breakfast. "Morning, Mandy. Mind if I change the channel?" he asked.
    "No, go ahead," she replied. "This part's boring anyway."
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    Hearing them talking and the TV running, Vaughn brought his own cereal into the living room and joined the conversation while he ate. "That looks like a real lion. Do you think maybe it's frozen?" he asked, looking at the screen.
    Joel laughed. "No, it's a just a very good carving," He told his son.
    Amanda made a face at Vaughn. "You're so silly sometimes."
    "It was just an idea,' Vaughn shrugged.
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    Indra had planned to have some o fhis cake for breakfast since he hadnt't had a chance to eat any the night before. But when he opened the fridge, he saw that some of Amanda's cake from her birthday was still there, and decided to have a slice of it instead before it went bad.
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    Teresa woke and decided to do some quick browsing of art sites before Joel needed the computer. She wanted some ideas for decorating both the house and the vet clinic.
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    Joel took his turn as soon as Teresa was done, continuing to work on some freelance work, though he knew he had to much left to be able to finish before work. At least he'd have made progress, and the income would be a welcome extra.
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    When she came down a short time later to make French Toast, Indra was still in the kitchen.
    "Are you planning to go to the clinic today?" he asked.
    "Yes, why?"
    "I'd like to go with you."
    She looked at him, surprised. "You don' t have to start right away. I thought you'd rather have the time to just relax and do whatever."
    He shook his head. "I'd rather just get started. I know you're backed up after Rania's unexpected death on top of Kari;s retirement."
    "All right, if you're sure. I could use the help, and we can hire on another vet or two to alternate days with us," Teresa relented.'"
    "Thanks, Teresa. I'm going to go get ready."
    "Take your time."
    Indra was eager to get started, but he followed her suggestion, trying not to hurry as he dressed in his new clothes.
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    Still hungry once he'd finished in the bathroom, Indra grabbed a plate of French Toast and ate it in the living room watching TV while he waited for Teresa to get ready.

    At the vet clinic, Teresa and Indra agreed on two new employees, Nenya and Andy. There was barely enough time for introductions before patients began arriving with their owners. Both Teresa and Vaughn were kept busy, treating five pets between them.
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    After school, Vaughn and Amanda went to the vet clinic to wait for the adults to finish for the day while they did their homework in the waiting room.
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    During a lull between patients, Indra came out to join them, chatting with them.
    "Hey, how was school?"
    "All right I guess," Amanda answered.
    Vaughn finished his work and stood up. "I learned a new joke today Want to hear it?"
    "Sure." Indra laughed obligingly at the joke.
    Not long after, it was time to close up for the day and head home.

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    Back home, Teresa took the opportunity to let go of her disguise for the night and relax while watching TV>
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    Downstairs, Indra entertained the children with a funny story while they ate. "Once upon a time, there was a little llama who wanted to fly..."

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    Joel arrived home bursting with news about his latest promotion, joining his family int he living room to tell them all about it. Teresa came downstairs just in time to hear about it, and beamed at him. "That's wonderful news!" she said.
    Joel grinned. "Thanks," he said, before the subject moved on to other topics. He could tell by the look in his wife's eyes that they'd ahve their own private celebration later. He found himself wishing the kids and Indra wuld go to bed early - Vaughn already looked tired.
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    When both Vaughn and Amanda went upstairs, the three older family members moved into the kitchen to continue their discussion while Indra and Teresa had their dinner. Indra had made the macaroni and cheese himself and was pleased it had come out well. He sensed the vibe between his half-brother and sister-in-law, so he ate quickly and left them alone, deciding to see if anything neded to be cleaned up. Seeing Astro's empty bowl, he took care of that too.
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    Joel took Teresa aside for a kiss, not even giving her time to put her plate int he dishwasher.
    "I think it's time we tried for another baby," Teresa murmured when they came up for air, a small smile on her lips.
    "Thought you'd never ask," Joel said, delighted by the idea.
    They rushed to their bedroom, where Joel decided he too wanted a break from holding onto his disguise and removed it before they climbed into bed.
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    Teresa was dsiappionted the learn their efforts were in vain and she wasn't pregnant. Saddened, she found her journal and went downstairs to write.
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    After several minutes of pouring out her melancholy, Teresa felt much better and her usual cheerful nature reasserted itself. She still had plenty of time to keep trying, and maybe next time she and Joel would get lucky. If not, they could always adopt. "Tomorrow. We'll try again tomorrow, when we're not so tired," she promised herself aloud.
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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    edited January 19
    Chapter 6: What Party?


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    Joel woke and wnet downstairs for a breakfast of French toast without bothering to restore his disguise. He could do that later, right now his mind was on eating and wondering if he would be able to finish his current freelance programming job before work.
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    Once again disguised, Amanda played in her room for a few minutes before coming down in search of breakfast. She decided the helicopter was just as much fun as her favorte butterfly, if not more. Though, if she'd had time to find the rocketship, she wouldn't have to pretend the helicopter was a spaceship.
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    Vaughn was still sleepy when he came down to eat his bowl of cereal. He really hoped the monsters stayed gone, but they always came back.
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    Indra was surrpsied to find Teresa eating cake for breakfast when he got his French toast. "What's up? You don't do that often," he asked.
    Teresa wouldn't look at him, embarassed. "Just needed a pick-me-up this morning I guess. Plus Vaughn woke me up with a story about monsters under the bed, so i need the extra energy fromt he sugar."
    "If you say so." Indra thought there was more to it than that, but he wasn't going to pry. He could hear them just fine from the bathroom, where he had been giving Astro a bath last night. "Can't believe Vaughn's still hearing monsters."
    "Neither can I."
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    Having eaten, Amanda decided to do her own laundry rather than leaving it for one of the adults to do. She felt very responsible and proud of herself for doing it all on her own, without even a reminder.
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    Because Teresa and Indra weren't planning to go into the vet clinic today, instead letting Navya and Andy run things on their own, Indra had time to relax. He got comfortable on the couch while listening to some music, enjoying himself.
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    When Teresa joined him, they had a nice long chat about their plans for the rest of the week.
    "I don't think we both need to go in every day," Teresa said.
    Indra nodded. "Just two or three times each then, the way you did when it was just you?"
    "That works. I'll take tomorrow, then you can go Friday, and one of us will do at least one of Saturday or Sunday."
    "Sounds good," Indra agreed. He wondered if he could fit a trip to the club or lounge in there somewhere, hoping to meet a woman.
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    Their talk over, the two went their separate ways. Indra did laundry while Teresa took Astro out for a walk. Their walk was cut short when a skunk crossed their path and sprayed silly dog, who didn't have the sense to stay away from it.
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    "I can't believe you're stinky already, you just had a bath less than a day ago. Next time, stay away from skunks," Teresa scolded as she bathed Astro.
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    That taken care of, Teresa began preparing the incredients for clam chowder, hoving a taste for it. A phone call interupted her. She saw it was her brother-in-law and Joel's twin, Russ.
    "Hi, Teresa. I'm having a birthday party today and hoped you and the famliy would be able to come," Russ said. "I know it's a few days early, but I won't be able to hold it on the actual day."
    "Of course we'll come. Were you able to reach Joel?" Teresa asked.
    "Yes. He said he'll be there after work."
    "Good. We'll see you soon then. Bye."
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    As soon as Vaughn and Amanda returned from school, the family left for Russ's home across town, anticipating the party .
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    Teresa stopped to cautiously greet the family's dog, a Pharaoh hound named Tutankhamen He seemed a little wary, but not aggressive, and she let him be.
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    Indra enjoyed the chance to catch up with his three oldest siblings, whom he wasn't very close to. He greeted Tim with a hug while Vaughn and Amanda met their aunt Marcia, who lived in Newcrest and hadn't visited since they were babies and too young to remember.
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    Growing bored witih the adult conversations and reminisces about things they'd never heard of, the two children gravitated toward the only other person their age, their cousin Lyle, and had a good time chatting with him. They were surprised to discover his paleness was not due to being part alien, but simply something he had inherited from his fully human mother.
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    Vaughn yawned, wondering why nothing seemed to be happening. How were they suppose to have a birthday party if Lyle's parents weren't even home?
    "Lyle, do you mind if I use your bed?" Vaughn asked, unable to keep his eyes open a moment longer.
    "No, go ahead. It's upstairs on the left," Lyle said, going back to his conversation with Amanda.
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    Teresa went into the kitchen to grab some chips. On her way out, she spotted Supriya and decided now was as good a time as any to try to mend things between the two of them.
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    When that effort seemed to have gone as far as it possibly could, Teresa wandered back into the living room, passing Joel on the way. She spotted Amanda chatting with several other guests and was about to join them when Marcia drew her attention. It probably wasn't wise to use their secret handshake in public, but Teresa assumed everyone who wasn't family was someone Russ or his wife Bianca trusted.
    Realizing she hadn't seen Vaughn in while, she called, "Amanda, do you know where your brother is?"
    "He went to Lyle's room," the girl answered, shrugging.
    "Okay, thanks for telling me."
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    The party finally began to break up as the hour grew later and still there was no sign of the guest of honor. People were getting tired and hungry. Teresa sent Amanda up to get Vaughn while she, Indra and Joel said their goodbyes.
    "Vaughn! Wake up, it's time to go home!" Amanda called out, coming into the room.
    Vaughn sat up, blinking sleepily, and groaned. "Can't I Just stay here? Lyle doens't have any monsters under his bed."
    "You know Mommy and Daddy won't let you spend the night on a school night," Amanda reminded him.
    "Okay, okay, I'm coming. Go away."
    Amanda was onyl too happy let him get dressed in privacy.
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    Back at home, Joel went straight to bed. Teresa hadn't been satisfied by the chips and grabbed a plate of the cake she'd expected to have at ht eparty, eating in front o fthe TV. Not hungry but also not in a hurry to go bed, Indra joined her.
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    By the time Amanda came in with her dinner, Teresa had finished her snack and gone upstairs to see if she could wake Joel. They never did get a chance to try for a baby again, and she was determined to do so.
    Indra lingered to keep Amanda company, chatting with her until his fatigue caught up with him. "Good night, Mandy," he said, standing and yawning.
    "Night, Uncle Indra."
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    Indra heard a strange noise and saw a bright light out the window, and couldn't help but investigate. He knew better, having been there when Joel became pregnant with Vaughn and having heard all about UFOs. Yet he found he could not resist the pull, and some part of him was curious about seeing the inside of a spaceship. Maybe they'd recognize that he was half-alien himself and actualyl talk to him instead of just probing him, though he knew that was a faint hope. They hadn't hesitated to use Joel without his knowledge or consent after all. Or their grandfather Harley a generation earlier.
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    Amanda and Vaughn were too busy chatting to notice what was happening outside, and if she had noticed, Amanda was too tired ot be curious anyway. When Vaughn finally stopped talking, Amanda made her escape. "I'm going to bed. Night," she said, leavning him alone with his toy.
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    The last one awake in the house, Vaughn decided to have something to eat before bed. He knew he was only stalling because he was afraid the monsters would be back now that he was home. He didn't think Teresa believed him about them still lurking under the bed, but he knew they were real.
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    Joel and Teresa fell into a deep sleep after a very satisfying round of woohoo, oblivious to the fact that some aliens were still evidently very interested in abducting the men of the Yomin family for reasons known only to them.
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    At first, Indra felt fine when he returned. He even thought about picking up Astro's toys and putting them away. Then the wave of dizziness hit, derailing his train of thought. Indra decided he'd rather just go to bed. He felt odd after being probed, and hadn't really managed to see or hear much of anything, since the aliens had given him more drugs or something as soon as they realized he wasn't completely out.
    Indra knew what they called themselves, thanks to stories passed down from Grandfater Mestral, but they were alien to him. As he fell asleep, he thought of those tales, peppered with words like xin'ivre, Vingihoplo, and bizoo.

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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    Chapter 7: Back to Normal

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    Despite their late evening, the family was up early. Indra joined Joel and Teresa at the table. "I was abducted last night," he told them, catching their interest.
    "You were? DIdn't think we'd have another visit since we've been left alone for so long. Teresa said.
    "That's right, the last visit was the day we got Astro," Joel agreed.
    "I really hope that was the last time," Indra said, shuddering. "Joel, do you remember when you realized you were pregnant with Vaughn? What do I watch for?"
    Joel didn't have to think very hard to remember, though it was obvious he wished he could forget. Not that he could ever regret keeping Vaughn. He remebered the same stories Indra did. "There was discomfort the day after, and my stomach glowed. I remember thinking I'd eaten something bad. Then there was the weight gain..."
    Indra listened, taking it all in. He still felt fine, but it had only been a few hours after all.
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    While the adults discussed abductions, pregnancy symptoms and the possibility of another implantation in the same family in one generation, the children did their homework upstairs, though neither had time to finish before school. They weren't very hungry because they had eaten so late the previous night.
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    After all that talk about pregnancy, Teresa was disappointed to learn that she herself had failed to conceive again. She decided to blame their midnight visitors in a moment of whimsy, which helped ease some of her sadness. She decided she would just keep herself too busy to be too upset about it.
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    Joel volunteered to clean up after breakfast, checking for any stray plates, bowls and cups while he was at it. He had a little more time than usual before he had to leave for work, and went upstairs to finish up his freelance job once he was done washing dishes.
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    Indra had dressed and come back downstairs for a glass of orange juiice. When he heard splashing sounds from the bathroom, he went to investigate. He caught Astro playing in the puddle of water from the broken toilet. "Astro! Bad dog! Stop that," he scolded.
    Contrite, the dog obeyed, looking adoringly up at him.
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    Teresa heard him scolding the dog and came to investigate. "I'll take of the toilet, you go finish your juice," she said on seeing the situation.
    "All right." Indra carried his glass back out to the kitchen table, drinking quickly.
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    Indra came back into the bathroom once he'd finished his drink. "Come here, Astro," he called to the dog, kneeling to pick him. He wrinkled his nose at the smell of wet, dirty dog. "You're worse than a toddler. It's a good thing you're not really a robot, the way you like water," he told the dog. The rumors about Astro being a robot seemed to have died down lately.
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    Done with the bathroom, Teresa did the day's laundry. Her throat felt sore, so she took some medicine before heading to the vet clinic.


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    Indra hung out at the house, not having anywhere in particular he wanted to go, then spent time with his niece and nephew when they returned from school, agreeing that they could play before doing their homework. Then he sat with them and ate his dinner while they worked, keeping an eye on them.
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    Teresa arrived home around the smae time and decided she'd earned a slice of cake after her long, busy, difficult day. She ate in front of the tv, needing to relax and unwind.
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    Joel got busy on his latest work assignment, having decided he wanted to try his hand at making a virus. He had no plans to relese it on any random people, except maybe if they annoyed him. It was a good test of his programming skills, and he worked on it until he was tired and knew he had to get to bed so he would be alert in the morning.
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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    Chapter 8:Third Time's the Charm

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    Once again, Vaughn woke in the middle of the night due to monsters. He decided not to wake his parents this time, wanting to handle things on his own.
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    Going downstairs, Vaughn called Astro over and pampered him the couch, finding it relaxing.
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    Next, in no hurry to try going back to bed, Vaughn decided to have some cereal. He had just sat down with his bowl when Teresa and Joel came down and joined him with their own very early morning snacks.
    Pleased to have company, Vaughn sat with them and chattered away, deciding not to tell them about the monsters.
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    After they'd gotten Vaughn back to bed, the two adults went into their bedroom.
    "Let's try again for that baby," Teresa suggested, smiling.
    "All right. Our luck has to change sometime," Joel agreed, most definitely in the mood.
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    Relaxed, happy and rested, Joel got to work on his virus program with more energy than he'd had the evening before. He had a good feeling about this as well as the outcome of the morning's lovemaking.
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    Teresa was stunned when she saw the results of her pregnancy test, then elated. "Finally!" She knew her patience and repeated attempts would pay off. She rushed to tell Joel before he left for work.
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    Indra decided to take Astro on a jog, enjoying the outdoors for a while. "Let's stay away from any skunks today, okay?" he asked the dog.
    Astro barked, running happily along behind him, occasionally stopping to sniff the ground.
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    Teresa wasn't feeling well, so she took some medicine to clear her stuffiness. Last thing she needed while pregnant was to have a cold or something, she was going to feel miserable enough as soon as the morning sickness kicked in.
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    Indra and Teresa took their lunch out onto theback porch to chat. "Of course I'm going to stay and help when the baby comes," he said.
    "Thanks for the offer, but you really don't have to. You've your own life to live. Someday you'll find love and want to start your own family."
    Indra shrugged. "I'm in no hurry. I barely dated in High School and I haven't really met anyone so far."
    "Take this weekend for yourself and get out and about. There's someone out there for you, you just have to go find them," Teresa urged.
    "I might just do that." Indra turned the idea over in his mind, knowing he needed to get out and socialize more. He just always preferred sticking close to his family.
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    Amanda came home from school and sought out Indra's company, telling him about her school day over a plate of mac and cheese. "And guess what? I got the lead role in our school play," she finished.
    "You did? We'll definitely have to come and watch," Teresa said, overhearing.
    "What about Vaughn?" Indra asked, nodding agreement.
    "He's helping paint scenery cause there weren't any roles left," Amanda told them.
    "Well that's just as important, and I'm sure he'll do a good job," Teresa said
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    Vaughn came home from school feeling sad, but it had nothing to do with the school play. He had made a paper airplane in class that day, but by the time recess came around and he had a chance to try it out, the nose was bent and it wouldn't fly. He picked Astro up and hugged the dog, talking softly to him and taking comfort from Astro's soft furry body.
    "You might really be Uncle Indra's, but you're still my best friend ever," he whispered to the dog, who barked and licked his chin, eliciting a giggle.
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    Vaughn played with Astro for a little while, then decided to write out his feelings. He brought his journal downstairs, wanting to be near his family, but didn't participate in the conversation at the other end of the table, focused on his writing.
    Amanda was working on her homework while still talking to her mother and Indra.
    Indra noticed she was struggling and pitched in to help.
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    Joel returned from work happy and surprised that he had earned a second promotion so close on the heels of his previous one. His work had so impressed his bosses that he was made Project Manager. He hoped he continued to a good enough job to earn more promotions. He was exactly where he had hoped to be by the time he turned 30.
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    Finished helping Amanda, Indra went to get the clothes from the dryer and check the lint filter. HIs thoughts drifted back to his earlier conversation with Teresa. He definitely needed to explore the town a bit more, staying in Brindleton Bay for now. Maybe he would go across to the island this weekend, he had never been there but he had heard great things about the restaurant and museum. Pity he wouldn't have anyone to explore the lighthouse with him.
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    Joel and Teresa exchanged kisses and an embrace in the living room before Joel headed upstairs to do some more programming.
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    Vaughn went to bed early, too tired to notice when Amanda came up and began playing with the doctor playset. Even so, Amanda played quietly to let her older half-brother-sleep. She knew he had been sad on the way home and decided to be nice to him.
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    Indra decided to visit the club for a few hours that evening, feeling confident. To his disappointment, there didn't seem to be very many people around, and in fact several left as he arrived.
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    The club was very quiet, with only a piano player in the corner and a few people wandering around. He went out to the bar, deciding to have a drink and see if things picked up later. While he was there, Indra caught up with his cousin Ruby Landgraab, who was also half-alien. They spent a few hours chatting, catching up and exchanging news about the various branches of thier family.
    Around midnight, he began to feel tired and said his goodbyes, heading home. He resolved to try somewhere else after his shift at the vet clinic Friday.
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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    Chapter 9: The Invitation

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    Vaughn had barely gone to bed when strange, loud noises form under the bed woke him. Trying to show those monsters he wnas't scared anymore, he knelt by the bed and yelled at it to go away!
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    Going downstairs, Vaughn hung out with Astro for a while, petting, plaiyng with and brushing him. He found the activities helped him calm down and forget about the monster sooner.
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    Vaughn was still wary of going back to his room, just in case, and instead fell asleep on the couch for a few mour hours of sleep. He didn't want to get in toruble for falling asleep in class again.
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    Waking, Vaughn decided to get to work on the homework he hadn't had a chance to do the night before. "Oh, I get it now!" he exclaimed, reading through his textbook and notes. He must have been too tired to figure it out when his teacher tried to explain it to him.
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    By the time Teresa, Joel and Amanda woke and came down for their breakfasts, Vaughn had finished his homework and gone back to sleep in his now monster-free bed for an hour so until it was time for school.
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    Indra was the first to notice the broken sink, and decided to try his hand at repairng it. "Hope I can get this done before the kitchen floods," he said to himself. He noticed Astro nearby, and also hoped the dog wouldn't get it into his head to start playing in the puddle. Though he had behaved himself since the last warning, if the fact that Teresa hadn't had to shoo him away while she mopped was any indication.
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    Done mopping, Teresa decided to make another attempt to contact her older sister and pass on her big news. This time, they connected and had a nice chat.
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    As arranged, Indra went to the Happy Paws Vet Clinic alone once he had repaired the sink, cleaned up his mess, and changed.
    He didnt stay very long, feeling stressed and hungry after only a few hours. After treating his last patient, Indra left the clinic in Navya and Andy's capable hands and returned home.

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    Back at home, Indra grabbed a plate of mac and cheese, surprised it was still good. He joined Teresa on the living room couch, telling her about the day as he ate. He thought things were going well, and the clinic's rating had even gone up to two whole stars.
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    When Vaughn and Amanda joined them wanting to talk, the two adults changed the subject to the movie currently on the TV.
    "It's not horrible, but it could be better, " Indra said.
    "I'm not surprised it didn't make much money. It's got so many plotholes," Teresa agreed.
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    The movie over, Teresa and Indra helped Amanda and Vaughn respectively with their homework. Joel had returned from work earlier and joined them in the living room with his dinner, watching them.
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    Indra was talking to Vaughn about the importance of saying sorry when his phone rang. He was surprised when he saw the name on the Caller ID, not having expected to hear from Angel Banerjee. He had only recently met her at the club the night before, and they hadn't spoken long then.
    "Hello?"
    "Hey, I was hoping to get to know you better, I think we have a lot in common. Would you like to meet me for dinner at the Bend DIner?"
    He was surprised again and flattered that she'd asked. "Ah, sure, of course I'd like that. I'll be there soon," He promised. He had never been to Willow creek before and hoped he didn't get lost.
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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    edited January 21

    Chapter 10: From Dinner to Date

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    Angel met Indra outside the diner and they walked in together. "Oh, I should probably warn you, I'm vegetarian. Got a problem with that?"
    "Not at all. My dad was one too. Will it bother you if I eat meat?"
    Angel smiled, relieved. "No, feel free to order whatever you like."
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    Inside, they were seated immediately. Indra ordered for both of them once they had decided what they wanted. He thought about having a veggie burger like Angel's, but instead chose the roast chicken, realizing he had a taste for it.
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    Conversation continued straight through their delicous meal. As it turned out, Angel was right about them having much in common, both being outgoing music lovers. They discussed their political views, which were also compatible, which was fortunate since she was a politician.
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    They talked long after other customers left and the restaurant was being cleaned up around them. Indra steered the conversation back onto lighter topics and decided to try his hand at flirting, testing the waters. Angel seemed receptive, admitting she was single.
    "Let's get out of here and go to the nightclub, unless you're tired," Indra suggested, not ready for the evening to end.
    "I'd like that, actually. I love a party!" Angel answered enthusiastically.
    Standing, Indra took her hand, barely remembering in time to pay the bill before they left.

    [img]https://i.imgur.com/zlPHLNl.png?/img] At the nightclub, Indra alternated between flirting and getting to know Angel, enjoying their conversation. He inserted a joke about aliens, wanting to get a feel for her opinion of aliens without revealing his own ancestry just yet. He was aware enough to be cautious, though a politician could be a good ally. To his relief, Angel laughed. "That sounds like an alien I know, actually." "So you've met aliens?" "Not many. I like the ones I've met, and they're supportive of my cause," she told him. "Oh, that's good. I'm glad you've met friendly aliens." Indra smiled. "What about you?" "Oh, I know many aliens." He debated whether or not to tell her now, not wanting to scare her off. Then he deiced he'd rather know now whether or not things would work out between them. "In fact, I'm half-alien myself." Instead of being repulsed, Angel seemed surprised and intrigued. "What? You...I never would have guessed." Indra smiled, relaxing. "Guess I got more of my father's genes than my mother's." "So can you do anything special?" "Let's sit down and I'll tell you everything you want to know."[/img]Uak941u.png?2
    As at the diner, the conversation flowed easily between them, both losing track of the time. Indra eventually switched the focus off of him and back onto her, curious about her life and family. He learned that she had a place in Oasis Springs though she was rarely home, being busy traveling and campaigning. She was the only child of elderly parents who had passed on years ago, and she wanted a family of her own though at this point she had begun to consider that might never happen.
    Indra was filled with the desire to make her dream of a family of her own come true someday soon, but he didn't say so just yet, not wanting to seem overeager or something. He lightened the mood again with a dirty joke, delighting in the sound of her uninhibited laughter.
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    Deciding the moment was right, Indra stood and moved around the table to Angel's side. He leaned in to kiss her, catching her by surprise. But after the initial moment of hesitation, she relaxed, her lips softening and giving beneath his.
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    With the success of their first kiss, Indra decided to make things official, needing them both to know where they stood. "Angel...will you be my girlfriend?"
    "Are you sure? You don't mind that I'm older than you?"
    "No, or I wouldn't have asked. We're both adults."
    "True enough. All right, yes, I;d love to be your girlfriend."
    "Great!" Indra smiled, kissing her again. He would have to introduce her to his family soon. Maybe after the twins were born.
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    They moved to the couch on the other end of the nightclub from where they'd been sitting. Indra offered Angel a massage, which she gratefully accepted.
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    The new couple spent some time making out until Indra realized he had been out far longer than he had planned and it was early Saturday morning. Angel was tiring as well. "Goodbye. I'll see you soon," he promised, giving her a final goodbye kiss before they parted ways.
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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    edited January 22
    Chapter 11: Unexpected

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    Arriving home, Indra found that his family was still asleep. He was still too energized from his date and knew his thoughts would keep him awake if he tried to sleep, so he occupied himself taking care of chores. First up was the laundry. Searching pockets before he put everyone's clothes in the washing machine, he found some change. It wasn't much, but he kept it anyway.
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    While the washing machine ran, Indra cleaned the downstairs bathroom, which was really gross. It should have been done the day before, but somehow it had either been forgotten or put off because everyone assumed someone else would do it.
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    All that cleaning and going up and down stairs with loads of laundry had given Indra and appetite, and since he hadn't eaten since the night before, he decided to make something quick for brunch, settling on fruit salad. Angel would definitely approve, he thought.
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    Indra had just finished preparing his salad and was sitting at the table with a bowl when Teresa woke and came down to join him with some fruit salad of her own.
    "So how was your evening?" she asked.
    Indra grinned. "It was great. Angel and I really hit it off," he told her, going on to tell her about his evening, comfortable sharing with her. He knew she would be able to tell when he was holding back, and he trusted her so he didn't even try to keep secrets.
    "She sounds like a wonderful person. I'm looking forward to meeting her," Teresa said.
    "I'll introduce you soon," Indra promised.
    Teresa leaned toward him, a mischievous smile on her lips. "Do you think she's the one?"
    "I think...it's too soon to tell," Indra said, not wanting to jinx things. "How are you today? Babies giving you any trouble?"
    Teresa let him get away with changing the topic. "I'm feeling pretty good at the moent, actually. I think they're both sleeping, resting up for when it's time to come out."
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    Indra would have said more, but that moment Astro ran up to him, demanding attention. Kneeling, Indra complied, lavishing Astro with attention in the form of lots of petting.
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    While Indra was busy with the dog, the rest of the family woke and came downstairs looking for a snack or a meal. Indra lingered in the kitchen with them, his attention devided between the multiple conversations going on at once and playing fetch with Astro. It was nice that he could play inside with such a small dog.
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    Since Indra and Teresa had finished eating first, they were the first to move t heir conversation into the living room. Indra got the remote first and chose what to watch.
    "Oh, I'm definitely staying until after the babies are born. I'll move into Vaughn's room and we can turn mine into a nursery," Indra said in response to Teresa's question.
    "Sounds like a good plan, as long as you're sure."
    "I am, or I wouldn't have offered. I know you'll need the extra help in the beginning."
    "Thanks, then. We appreciate it," Teresa said, speaking for Joel as well.
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    Not being very interested in the current TV program, Amanda went upstairs to play with the doctor playset for a while, enjoying herself. She eventually got lonely and went down to rejoin her family.
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    Joel finished his virus then set to work looking for more freelance work appreciating the extra income even though he was now halfway up the ladder in his career.
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    Teresa was surprised when her phone rang and she saw a strange numnber come up. She answered cautously, wondering if one of her patients' owners from the vet clinic were calling on her home phone for some reason.
    "Hello? This is Mariangela Gomez. I know we got off on the wrong foot, and I'd like to fix that. Will you please meet me at the Bend DIner so we can talk over a meal?"
    Teresa thought about it. She wasn't quite sure what had gone wrong, but this might be her only opportunity to fix things. She could wipe the slate clean between them, literally. It might be nice to get her seven-and-a-half month pregnant self out of the house for one last itme before the twins arrived, too . Who knew when she'd have the time or energy for another outing afterward? "Yes, I'd like that. It's a bit of a drive for me," she warned.
    "That's fine, I'll wait."
    "All right, goodbye."
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    No sooner had the two women stepped inside to request a table then the host died right in front of them. All talking, cooking and eating immediately ceased as everyone in the diner rushed over to mourn the loss, word spreading quickly. Genji Okada had been popular and well liked, so he would be missed even by those who only knew him in passing. Teresa regretted that she had barely had the chance to say hello before he died, saddened at his death.
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    A new host was assigned from among the diner's staff, and slowly things returned to normal. Because some diners had left rather than linger, Teresa and Mariangela were swiftly seated and a waiter appeared to take their order. Though Mariangela ordered an alcoholic beverage with her dinner, Teresa decided she should stick with milk.
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    After several minutes of small talk, during which Teresa began to feel uncomfortable sitting there waiting for their food to be delivered, she decided to speed things up a bit and wipe the slate clean. Literally. She did something she had never actually tried before, and erased Mariangela's memory.
    Mariangela appeared to be dazed and confused afterward, so Teresa introduced herself, keeping their conversation light, friendly and inoffensive as possible.
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    By the time their food arrived, Mariangela appeared to have gotten over her shock that Teresa was an alien and they were well on their way to becoming friends instead of enemies. The meal was enjoyable, though later than Teresa had planned or expected, thanks to the delay caused by Genji's death.
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    Returning home nearly three hours later, Teresa was sore and tired. She was glad to find that Joel was still awake and asked him for a massage.
    "You look like you need a trip to the spa, not a simple massage, but I"ll do my best," Joel said, reaching for the knotted muscles at her neck and shoulders.
    "Oh, that feels good," Teresa said, leaning into his touch.
    "How was dinner?"
    "It went fine. I think Mariangela and I will be able to be friends now."
    "That's good. Can't have too many friends."
    "Unless you have too many to keep up with," Teresa joked.
    Joel laughed. "There is that."

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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    Chapter 12: Birth Pains

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    It began ordinarily enough, with no hint of the excitement to come. Amanda spent some time petting and playing with Astro, even though he was dirty and smelly. She hadn't paid much attention to him lately and felt bad about that, so decided now was the perfect time to make up for that lack.
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    Upstairs, Vaughn decided to unwind by playing with Miss Kitty in Amanda's room. He did play with toys other than his favorite Tentacle Tom every once in a while, no matter what Amanda thought. He had gotten through the previous night without a visitation by monsters, and was very pleased with that fact. Maybe they were really were gone for good this time.
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    Indra noticed Astro's stinky state and took him upstairs for a bath. "I'll let you know when we're done so you can play fetch," he promised Amanda.
    "Okay. I'm going to go read in my room."
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    Though Teresa had chosen to give birth to Amanda at home, she was adamant that the twins would be born in the hospital, and Joel agreed with her, not neeeding to have her reasoning explained to him. He had only had Vaughn at home because he hadn't wanted to face the hospital and had still been a tiny bit in denial. After all, he was barely into adulthood at the itme.
    The fact that he had helped raise three children, two of them his own, didn't stop his panic. Juggling two babies would be difficult . Could he and Teresa between them earn enough money to take care of a larger family? At least Vaughn would be a teenager soon and able to help some once Indra moved out.
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    Realizing he was being left behind, Joel pulled himself together enough to follow Teresa into the operating room. He was glad to see that thier neighbor Brianne Kibo was her doctor. They had a connection not just through her husband and TIm's, but through thier grandfather, Bian Wood, their mothers being half-sisters.
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    Joel and Teresa cuddled their newborn baby girls, both in total agreement that they were cute, no matter what anyone else thought.
    "Finally, a child who looks like me," Joel said lightly, smiling down at Celia. "My siblings and I all took after our mom, except for Indra, and Vaughn looks like his mother too."
    "At lese these two won't be able to fool us like you and Russ used to trick your parents" Teresa said, tucking Kara against her shoulder.
    Joel laughed. "Unless they choose identical disguises," he pointed out. "Let's go home."
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    At home, Joel and Teresa gave the twins their first feeding together in the newly redecorated nursery, glad the changes had been made just in time.
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    Vaughn and Amanda took turns cooing at and talking to their new siblings. Fortunately for their parents, both were happy about the new additions and looking forward to being able to play with them. Vaughn knew he would be expected to help out when he was older, but he didn't really mind, as long as he didn't have to change any stinky diapers!
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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    edited February 21
    Chapter Thirteen: It Began With A Kiss

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    Time passed for the Yomin-Desai family. Not long after the twins were born, Indra and Angel became engaged, agreeing that they would marry in a quick, private ceremony. When they visited Indra's family afterward, they could not resist stopping to embrace and kiss when they were barely in the door.
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    The adults sat down and chatted comfortably together, making Angel feel very welcome and as if she had always been there. She even felt comfortable enough to take out the garbage and change the channel on the TV. Conversations overlapped and wandered from topic to topic as Angel got to know Teresa and Joel better.
    "Where's Amanda? I heard a story I thought she'd like," Angel said after a while, having convinced the entire family to support her politics. At least, those old enough to vote.
    "I saw her go outside right before you and Indra came in," Vaughn answered from the recliner.
    "Oh, she's back inside. Check upstairs," Teresa suggested.
    "Thanks, I will."
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    Angel found Amanda outside her bedroom and greeted her with a joke, which delighted the girl, before telling her the story.
    "Oh, that's a good one! I'm going to tell it to all my friends," Amanda exclaimed at the end.
    "I hope they like it too. Are the twins up? They must be getting big."
    "Yes, they're just being quiet now. They can be really loud when they want somehting!" Amanda told her.
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    Angel cooed over the twins, deciding they looked cuter every time she saw them. "You're cute, don't let anyone tell you otherwise," she whispered to them, smiling. She wondered how long it would be before she would be holding a baby of her own. She hoped for more than one, so they would have each other and never be lonely. Though she wasn't sure if she could hadnle twins, much less triplets. She admired those who could and did.
    The visit ended soon after, Indra and Angel taking Astro and his belongings with them when they left, as had been agreed. Angel hoped Astro would like his new home, glad he was already house-trained. She would defintely put in the extra time and effort to become friends with the cute little dog.


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    Later that evening, another spaceship visited. Teresa went outside, wanting to see if she could warn them off since she was one of them, but apparently this group had no compunctions about forcibly abducting thier own kind. So it was that Teresa found herself being snatched from the same spot Indra had been in nearly a year before.
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    At about the same time, Vaughn was woken by the monsters that had reappeared under his bed, tentacles, fog and all. He also heard the spaceship outside his window and decided the monsters must be evil aliens out to get him, since nothing kept them away. He tried yelling at the monster again, but he was just so scared this time that he lost his resolve to handle the fright on his own.
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    "Daddy! Wake up! There's a monster under my bed," he yelled, running into his parents' room. "Please come spray it."
    Joel jumped out of bed, startled awake. He was about to respond when a distinctive wail reached his ears. "Can you stay here and play for a few minutes while I see what your sister wants?" he asked, deciding the crying baby needed his attention first, before she woke her other sisters. He noticed Teresa wasn't in bed and wondered where she was, but he didn't have time to focus on that, assuming she must be somewhere in the house.
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    Joel went into the nursery and found Celia awake and wailing, recognizing her "I'm hungry!" cry. He picked her up, murmuring soothingly as he gave her a bottle.
    Vaughn tried, he really did, knowing he was getting too old to cling to his parents all the time. But he couldn't help the fact that he wasn't ready to be alone, and he followed Joel, sitting behind him and taking out his Tentacle Tom toy while he waited. Sometimes he almost wished the monsters would leave him alone and go bother Amanda for a change. He didn't understand why she never seemed bothered.
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    With Celia fed and happy, Joel went back to Vaughn's bedroom with the boy and sprayed the monsters as promised. "That should do it. Do you think you can sleep now?"
    "Maybe I can sleep in Uncle Indra's old bed..."
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    "I'll tuck you in," Joel said, moving to the other bed. He felt dizzy for a moment, and blinked, wondering what had just happened. He felt as if some missing piece of him had just been returned, setting his world back on its axis. He was so busy thinking, he didn't notice Vaughn tense up again.
    "The monster's back!"
    Joel shook off the sensation and the sound he thought he'd heard at about the same time and focused on Vaughn. "How about if I stay up here and tell you a story until it's gone?" he suggested.
    "Okay," Vaughn agreed dubiously.
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    At about the time Joel felt dizzy, Teresa was dumped on her backside in the backyard. Apparently the aliens couldn't get rid of her fast enough once they'd had their fun probing and poking her. "Ouch. That was rude," she said, glaring up at the spaceship. No wonder her parents had cut all ties to the homeworld, with people like that inhabiting it.
    Picking herself up, Teresa realized she was too hungry to sleep and went inside to get the other half of a ham and cheese sandwhich she'd made earlier but never finished eating.
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    "That wasn't very funny, Daddy. Sorry," Vaughn informed Joel, unimpressed.
    "Well, at least it distracted you, right?" Joel asked hopefully.
    Vaughn shrugged, taking his toy out again, still not quite ready to sleep.
    Joel decided to drop the subject, dashing next door again to see what Kara wanted.
    Post edited by SimTresa on
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  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 22,237 Member
    You're getting a very full house! :)
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    Ten-Cent Tarot


    Dragon Name: Hywicoes | House: Ravenclaw | Wand: Dogwood, Unicorn hair 11 ¼" , Suprisingly Swishy
  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    edited January 22
    CathyTea wrote: »
    You're getting a very full house! :)

    Part of why I pushed the wedding through quickly and dropped the total back to six. Though I'm sure Indra and Angel well show up in later chapters. Hes still working at the vet clinic.
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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    Chapter 14: Divide and Conquer

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    Life with twins was not easy and never boring, as one or the other of the girls always wanted attention. Teresa and Joel managed to get into a routine that worked for them, taking turns tending to the twins and working together as a team. When they could get both Celia and Kara into bed at roughly the same time, they each read a story to one toddler then swapped places to tuck them in.
    That morning, the girls had woken the entire family with their cries, and everyone decided it was just easier to stay awake rather than try to go back to bed for another hour.
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    Joel appreciated the extra time to work on his freelance programming, which he hadn't had a chance to do the day before. He just hoped he wasn't so tired that he made a foolish mistake and failed to provide the client with what they wanted. That would be embarrassing, might very well ruin his chances of finding more freelance work, and would not result in any pay, which was important.
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    Vaughn decided to work on his homework at the desk that had never been moved from the nursery, thinking he cold keep an eye on the twins at the same time.
    Amanda must have had the same idea, because she joined him, sitting on the side of Kara's bed with her book.
    "You should have dressed first, now you'll have to hurry," Vaughn scolded.
    Amanda shrugged. "I'll manage. I don't have much homework today anyway."
    "As long as you're sure, but don't blame me if you're late."
    "I won't." Amanda stuck her tongue out at his back.
    As it turned out, bout of them did manage to finish their homework and leave for school on time, Amanda having dressed in record time.
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    Teresa prepared a late lunch of chili, knowing her husband and oldest children would be hungry when they got home. She was surprised the twins were still asleep, and decided she'd better wake them to eat so they wouldn't be up all night. Just as soon as she had her own peaceful, leisurely lunch, a rarity while raising twins. She found it almost a relief that she dind't have to worry about Astro too, though at times she missed the dog's company.
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    Celia was awake when Teresa went to check on the twins, and hungry, but not yet at the point where she would throw a tantrum for attention. She babbled when she saw her mother, and Teresa managed to make out what she thought was the word "hungry."
    "No chili for you, you'd better have a sandwhich," Teresa said, carrying her downstairs and putting her in one of the two highchairs. THe dirty one as it happened, how had she forgotten to wipe it down? No point in doing it now, it would probably only get dirty again.
    Celia babbled cheerfully as she ate.
    Knowing that if one of the girls was up the other soon would be, Teresa prepared a second sandwhich beforr going back up for Kara.
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    Fed and dressed, Celia toddled into the living room to listen to the stereo someone had turned on and forgotten.
    Teresa followed her and entertained her with a funny story.
    "Mama," Celia giggled, adding more babble that Teresa decided to interpret as Celia's apprecation of the story.
    Joel had stayed to listen, and laughed. "That's a good one, Teresa," he said, standing with his empty bowl of chili in hand. He heard Kara yelling to be let out of her highchair. "I'll get Kara."
    "Thanks." Teresa kept talking to Celia, encouraging her to speak.
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    While Teresa gave Kara her bath, Joel got Celia started learning her basic needs. He didn't know if it was his past experience or the fact that Celia was a fast learner, but she seemed to catch on quickly and enjoyed the flashcards.
    "Cookie," Celia babbled, pointing.
    "THat's right, it's a cookie. Cookies are good to eat when you're hungry," Joel agreed. Though he supposed he'd better lay off them himself...
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    Fresh from her bath, Kara toddled into the nursery and found her blocks, which were slightly worn from having been passed down through so many hands, but still brightly colored and legible.
    Seeing an opportunity, Teresa followed and began teaching Kara her shapes. "That's a circle. Can you say circle?" she prompted.
    Kara blinked up at her and babbled something that might have been an approximation of the correct word.
    "Very good," Teresa praised, wanting to encourage her.
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    While Joel was busy putting away the flashcards, Celia snuck outside and began making a mess, much to Joel's dismay when he caught her.
    Because she was so little and it was only the first time she had made a mess, Joel was patient and calm with her. "Please don't do that, Celia. Making a mess is very bad," he told her, interrupting her.
    Celia babbled to him, holding up her arms to be picked up.
    Softening, Joel picked her up. "This was my fault. Daddy shouldn't have left you alone," he said.
    "Dada ba," Celia agreed in his ear.
    Joel laughed, carrying her inside. "And Celia needs to learn how to use the potty," he told her.
    More babble followed, which to Joel's ear seemed to include the syllables "ellee", as if she was trying to say her own name.

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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    edited February 22
    Chapter 15: Much to Learn

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    Vaughn woke early the next morning and decided to try his hand at making breakfast. The eggs and bacon came out well, he thought. At least they were edible, if not perfect. He wondered if his father might like to go the gym one day soon, he missed hanging out with him though the teen would never admit it.
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    Upstairs, Teresa woke Joel in the best way possible, with a kiss and some fun. Joel didn't mind, though it was a little early for him to be up. They had their fun, and while Teresa slept, having bene up particularly late, Joel decided to stay up and go eat breakfast early.
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    Joel came downstairs and prepared a plate of eggs and bacon. He found Amanda there ahead of him. "Good morning, Amanda. What are you doing up already?" he asked, surprised.
    "Morning, Daddy. I wasn't sleepy anymore, so I got up," she explained, shrugging.
    "I hope you don't fall asleep in class," Joel warned.
    "I won't. I can nap on the bus," Amanda answered.
    "Sounds like a plan. Where's Vaughn?"
    "In the bathroom. He cooked today."
    "He did a good job. I"ll have to remember to tell him that."
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    By the time Vaughn returned to the kitchen, Joel had gone back up to work on making a virus for work.Vaughn joined Amanda at the table to the homework neither had managed to get to the evening before.
    "Daddy said he liked your cooking," Amanda told her older brother.
    "Thanks, I'm glad," Vaugn answered, relieved at the news though disappointed he had just missed Joel. That seemed to be the norm lately.
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    The twins woke happy and entertained each other with bright, echoing babble as they waited for an adult to come feed them. They loved to play together though they had their own individual personalities, likes and dislikes. They managed to dress themselves then went their separate ways.
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    Celia found her tablet and sat down to play a game, content to wait. She wasn't very hungry yet and was dry and clean.
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    The more inquisitive and impatient Kara wandered from the nursery to their parents' room. Spotting Joel on the computer, she watched him, curious, babbling.
    "Hi there, Kara," Joel said, glancing over, describing what he wad doing though he knew she couldn't understand.
    Teresa watched while she ate, trying not to laugh at the look of concentration on Kara's face, so like her husband's.
    To Kara's intense disappointment, Joel eventually finished what he was doing and left, having stayed longer than he meant to. He was now officially late for work and had some serious groveling to do.

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    With the twins fed, Teresa decided to tackle their potty training. She wished her mother-in-law was still around to ask for advice. The older woman had once mentioned managing to potty train two at the same time. But Teresa couldn't seem to manage that feet, and wondered if she was missing something. Or maybe one of the boys had simply been imitating the other. As it was, she had to focus on Kara first, letting Celia wander while she waited her turn.
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    Kara went into Amanda's room to play with her big sister's toys as soon as she was released fromt he bathroom. Celia joined her a little later, the two having great fun babbling to each other and making up imaginary stories around their toys.
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    Instead of taking the time to dress, feeling quite comfortable in her pajamas and with no plans to go anywhere, Teresa took advantage of the twins' preoccupation to fix the downstairs sink and mop the mess left behind.
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    After school, Amanda took her dinner of chili upstairs to her parents' room to watch TV, not wanting to watch the sports program Vaughn had turned on downstairs. She thought the World Culture Channel was much more interesting, and anyway she didn't feel like arguing with him over who got to watch what.
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    Vaughn had invited his friend Ricky Sasaki-Stone over after school. After watching the game for a while, he decided it was time to reveal his secret, trusting Ricky. To his surprise, Ricky seemed to take the revelation in stride.
    "Hey, man, that's cool. I'm glad you trust me enough to tell me."
    "I've been thinking about it for a while, just wasn't sure when or how," Vaughn said.
    "Guess that's understandable. Didn't I ever tell you I'm cousins with the Landgraabs? They have some alien ancestry too."
    Vaughn shook his head. "Never came up. Do you know them well?"
    "Not really.While I"m here, let's get our homework doon. Want to see that great alien brain of yours at work," Ricky teased.
    Vaughn laughed. "You're on!"
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    Still wide awake, Kara wandered into the living room, her attention focused on the stereo, whose volume had been turned up so the two teens could hear it from their places in the kitchen. She bobbled to the music, noticing Joel. "Dada!" she exclaimed, adding some babble that Joel couldn't quite make out.
    "Are you enjoying dancing to this nice music? It's Winter Holiday," he told her conversationally, pretending he understood.
    A few mintues later, he took his bowl into the kitchen and went upstairs to continue working on his virus, pretty sure he was close to finishing it. He just had to make a few tweaks and check his code and it would be perfect.
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    By the time Teresa had a chance to sit down with her own dinner, Kara was getting tired.
    Vaughn noticed, and reached for her despite his own exhaustion. "Come on, Kara -bear, it's time for bed," he said.
    "I can take her up, Vaughn, you don't have to," Teresa said, starting to put her bowl down.
    "No, I've got her, Mom," Vaughn answered, leaving the room. "
    "All right, thanks," she called after him.
    "No problem!"
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    Teresa joined Joel in their room shortly after. "What's got you in such a good mood?"
    "Oh, nothing, just a successful day's work and the presence of my lovely wife," Joel answered.
    Teresa laughed, flirting right back, all thoughts of sleep forgotten.
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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    Chapter 16: Self-Expression

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    With Celia awake and Kara still asleep, Teresa took the opportunity to teach her to talk once she was fed and dressed.
    Celia enjoyed learning, babbling happily away. Her speech was definitely becoming clearer and her vocabulary increasing. Teresa thought Celia's verbal skills might just be a little better than Kara, but she was sure her twin would catch up.
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    Because he had done so much work the evening before, Joel decided to reward himself by taking the tame to join a video gaming tournament before work, knowing he should just be able to finish in time. He hadn't had a chance to play video games just for the fun of it in a while and missed doing so, which made this a perfect opportunity. Unfortunately, he overestimated his skill and entered the wrong tournament, which he lost.
    "I'll win next time," he promised himself with a disappointed sigh.
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    Amanda really wanted to earn a part in the next school play, and since there would be a lot of singing, she thought if she practiced she might have a better chance of getting the part she wanted. Singing was fun anyway, and she often sang to herself when she was happy. She just didn't think she was good enough to sing on stage yet. She hoped her efforts paid off.
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    Celia wandered back into her room and sat on her bed with a picture book, having had enough of learning new words. She babbled to herself, making up a story to go with the pictures, wondering what those funny marks on the page were.
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    Growing bored with the book, Celia went looking for her mother, finding her in the bathroom with Kara. "Mama, teach me dance? she asked hopefully.
    "Yeah, dance!" Kara agreed, lisping.
    "Yes, I'll teach you both to dance, Teresa answered, helping them both downstairs. She was glad they were now walking well enough to navigate the stairs on their own, if slowly. Saved her having to make two separate trips.
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    Teresa turned on the stereo, choosing a station playing easy listening for the girls' first real dance lesson. "All right, watch me," she began moving to a good spot to dance. She looked over her shoulder at the girls, encouraging them.
    Celia caught on quickly, bobbing to the music and giggling.
    Kara seemed more interested in just listening at first, but then she too began to bo to the music, mimicking her mother and sister. "Fun," she said, smiling.
    "Lots fun," Kara agreed, not to be outdone.
    Celia had been awake first and so tired first, soon going upstairs all by herself for a nap.
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    Judging that Kara still had too much energy to go down for a nap just yet, Teresa let her stay up. It ws her turn to learn to speak, and she cought on just as fast as her sister. Teresa didn't think it would be very long before the two of them were speaking a mile a minute in full sentences. In fact, they seemed to be catching on faster than Vaughn and Amanda had. Could it be because they had each other to talk to, not just parents and older siblings? Once again, Teresa wished she had someone to compare notes wiht. Maybe she'd have another try at those parenting forums,, which she had avoided for years thanks to a bad experience. She was more mature and experienced now after all. It might be time to try again.
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    Vaughn came home tense and annoyed because hewas breaking out in zits. He decided it was just as well he wasn't seriously dating anyone yet, as he wouldn't want to be around them now. In fact, he just wanted to hide from everyone until the zits were gone, including his family. Instead, he tried his hand at making grilled cheese sandwhiches, having a craving for his favorite comfort food. They came out poorly, to his disgust.
    He muttered a bad word under his breath and decided to try eating one anyway, too hungry to make a fresh batch.
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    In contrast, Amanda came home in a good mood. She had become an A student and her music teacher was impressed with her singing ability. How great was that?
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    Vaughn had just sat down to eat when Amanda came in looking for dinner. "Hey, try one of these," he said, pointing at the platter.
    Amanda made a face. "That looks gross. I'll just have peanut butter and jelly."
    "Gee, thanks, Mandy," Vaughn said, pretending to be hurt though he knew it was poor.
    "Sorry, Vaughn. Maybe you should just stick to breakfast."
    "Yeah, maybe." He made himself finish the rest of his grilled cheese, then dumped the others in the trash, deciding he couldn't expect the family to help eat them and knowing he didn't want another.
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    Kara entered the nursery and sat down with the tablet, wanting to play a game. She hadn't been there long when Celia woke form her nap, crying.
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    Teresa had been on her way to check on the twins when she heard Celia crying, and dashed into the room, crouching to hug Celia tight. "You're all right, Mama's here," she murmured, rubbing Celia's back.
    Kara looked up from her game, frowning in concern. "No cry, Cel'ya, kay? No cry. Not be sad," she said, or tried to.
    Celia eventually calmed down, sniffling and rubbing her face against Teresa's shoulder. "Not scawed now, Kawa," she told her twin.
    "Good. Scawed bad. Not like that," Celia declared.
    The memory of her nightmare already fading, Celia wriggled free of Teresa's hold and looked up. "Hungry, Mama. Eat now?"
    "Yes, you can eat now. How about a sandwhich?" Teresa suggested, picking her up, sensing Celia needed the security of being held just a bit more than she needed to be indpendent at the moment.

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    With both girls fed and in bed and the rest of the family home, Teresa permitted herself to take a much-needed nap. She had been on the go since before dawn, keeping up with the twins and making sure they didn't get in trouble, and she deserved the rest. There were still things she wanted to get done - once she'd rested for a few hours.
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    Still tense from stress caused by school and what felt to him like a suden plague of zits, Vaughn took out his journal and began writing. He eventually felt better after getting all his thoughts down on paper, but he still wans't sure he felt like going anywhere hat weekened. Maybe he'd just wait and see how he felt the next day. Hopefully the zits would clear quickly.
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    Bored, Amanda wandered into her parents' room and noticed the computer wasn't in use. She took advantage of the opportunity and began playing a computer game, careful to keep the sound on low. This was so much fun! She lost track of time and ended up playing right up until bedtime.
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    Refreshed from her nap, Teresa took care of the family's laundry, taking the time to search pockets for any stray change. She wondered where Amanda had gotten 21 simoleons, not having realized she'd been saving up her allowance for that long.
    Deciding to ask the girl what she was trying to save up for later, Teresa had a quick dinner then went back to bed, snuggling up against Joel. No bedtime aerobics this time, neither being in the mood.
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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    edited February 23
    Chapter 17: Catching Fire

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    The day the twins figured out how to use their disguises for the first time, Vaughn began his morning by helping Kara with her basic needs, though he suspected she had only asked him for the flashcards because she wanted his attention. Not that he minded spending the extra time with his little sister. He would have to give Celia extra attention soon too.
    "Vaughn, I hungry," Kara said at last, standing up.
    Vaughn stood as well, stretching. "Okay, I'll feed you. Want some eggs and bacon?" he asked, picking her up.
    "Uh-huh. Pease?"
    "You want peas too?" he teased her.
    "No!" Kara's laugh echoed musically. "I say pwease!" she tried again.
    "Oh, please. Good girl, using your manners," Vaughn praised just as his parents did.
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    Teresa took a break from parenting that morning, letting her husband and oldest son handle the twins while she enjoyed the chance to sit and just watch TV for an hour or so after breakfast. She didn't even bother to get dressed, not having plans to leave the house until later in the evening.
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    Celia was the first to don her disguise, though she still wore her favorite outfit. She also continued to look more like her father and older brother than like her mother and sister. Happy, she sat down on the floor to play with her tablet.
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    Joel interrupted Celia's play to work with her on using her manners and saying sorry, finding it a slow go because the girl was in a stubborn mood.
    "Don't want to!" Celia finally yelled, stomping her foot.
    "All right, we'll take a break and try again later," Joel said, giving in at last and calming her down.
    Pleased that she'd gotten her way, Celia relaxed. "Eat now?" she asked.
    "Yes, you can eat now, Miss Crabby," Joel agreed.
    Kara giggled. "I not cwabby, I Cel'ya."
    "Right now, Celia is crabby. She needs food so she'll be nice again," Joel said, smiling.
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    Teresa was astonished to find herself looking into a miniature of her own face. It was like looking into a mirror into the past, though she thought she saw a hint of Joel's face in the tiny features too. "We're going to work on manners today, okay, Kara?" she said, smiling, kneeling in front of the tot.
    "I know manners," Kara said.
    "I know you do, but we have to practice so we always remember to use them,' Teresa explained patiently.
    Kara accepted that answer, listening intently to her words.
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    Meanwhile, Amanda went outside to unload the dryer and start a new load. Only, she forgot to clean the lint filter between loads, and by the time she remembered, it was too late to fix her mistake. The dryer caught on fire, the flames quickly spreading to her clothes. "Aahhh! It hurts!" she yelled, panic and fear freezing her in place.
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    Thinking fast, Joel grabbed the fire extinguisher and aimed at it Amanda, grimly determined to save his daughter. He didn't want the fire to spread to the washer or the house, but his first priority had to be his young daughter.
    Teresa and Vaughn stayed out of the way, watching helplessly.
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    Several agonizingly slow minutes later, the fire was completely out, and the family took turns hugigng Amanda tight, assuring themselves that she was fine, just scared and covered in soot.
    Under any other circumstances, Amand awould have enjoyed the attention, but right then all she wanted to do was take a shower and get out of her dirty clothes. Even her hair smelled like smoke.
    "I'm okay, really," she insisted. "I'm sorry I started the fire."
    "It was an accident, no one blames you," Teresa soothed.
    "That's right. Just be more careful next time. Or let one of us handle the laundry," Joel suggeted gently.
    "But I like helping," Amanda said.
    Joel shook his head. "Go get cleaned up, we'll talk about it later." He shared a glance with Teresa, both knowing that neither wanted to risk Amanda again any time soon. Maybe next year, when she was a teenager, they'd let her wash clothes alone again.
    "Okay. Can I use the computer after?"
    "Sure." Joel was ready to agree to just about anything, so long as it kept her away from the laundry. He could always get his programming done later.

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    When Indra invited Vaughn to the Romance Festival, he agreed without a second thought. He completely forgot about his plan to lay low for a few days, just needing to be away from the house and the lingering scent of smoke. He was sure it had gotten into his pajamas too,, which meant they needed to be washed too. Later, because the image of his little sister on fire was just too fresh in his mind. He hated that he hadn't been able to do anything for her, hadn't moved faster or found a second extinguisher. Lucky Joel had gotten there first, having already been int he kitchen.
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    The first thing Vaughn did was buy a festival t-shirt, which he changed into in the bathroom, wanting to get into the spirit of things. It was still early, so there weren't many people around, and most of them seemed to be adults, to his disappointment. Then Vuaghn reminded himself he didn't want to date seriously until the zits were gone and he built up some muscle mass.
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    Vaughn tried to enjoy himself chatting with his uncle, who shared the news that Angel was pregnant again."
    "That's great, another niece or nephew to spoil!" he said, genuinely pleased, hugging the older man.
    Indra grinned. "Thanks, we think it's great too. And the doctor thinks he heard two heartbeats, so we might even be having twins."
    "Wow, you're going to be busy."
    "Yes, well Angel did want a big family. So do I," Indra added quickly, lest there be any doubt.
    "You'll definitely have that. How are she and Darshan?"
    "They're great." Indra was happy to talk about his family, and Vaughn was content to listen.
    Eventually Indra wound down and seemed to noitce that Vaughn wasn't enjoying the festival that much. "Let's call it an early evening. I don't wan to leave Angel for too long."
    "Why didn't she come with you?" Vaughn asked, curious.
    "She said she'd rather spend as much time as she could with Darshan before the birth, and that I was to get out while I could. Hard to argue with that."
    Vaughn laughed. "She's smart. I'm glad you married her."
    "Me too," Indra agreed with a soft smile as they left.
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    Back home, Vaughn changed and went out for a jog, needing to clear his mind. He was still too tense fromt he fire to relax and enjoy the evening. Being outside and on the move helped, calming and distracting him from the memory. He headed down toward the beach, wanting to watch the waves beat against the shore like his feet pounding the ground.
    He returned grimy but in a better mood, and without a word to anyone made his way straight to the shower.
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    Amanda got her computer time, eventually switching from video games to browsing kid-friendly websites. She stayed up past her beditime, too tense to go to sleep. What if she had nightmares about the fire? She wanted to talk to someone, but she wasn't sure who, not wanting to worry her parents. Vaughn was a boy, and the twins are too little to understand. Sometimes Amanda wished she had a sister her own age to share secrets with, or at least a best friend who lived close by. She saw someting about penpals on the site she was reading, and was intrigued. Maybe she should try that, she thought, yawning. But she wasn't even sure what to say. She saved the site to come back to later, once she'd had time to think.
    Shutting down the computer, Amanda finally went to bed, sleeping restlessly but without a nightmare.

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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    Chapter 18: Leisure

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    Joel's sleep was interrupted far too soon when Kara woke from a nightmare and came to him for comfort, crying. He knew Teresa had come to bed after him and moved quickly to grab her in a bear hug before she could wake her mother too. "Shh, sweet Kara, it's a right," he crooned, rocking her.
    Kara's sobs eventually faded to hiccups and sniffles, and she snuggled against him, still tense but no longer sobbing.
    "Let's go scare away those nasty monsters, then I'll read you a story," Joel suggested, getting to his feet with her in his arms.
    "Kay." Kara rested her head against his shoulder, sucking her thumb.
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    Joel stayed long enough to be sure Kara was asleep, then checked on Celia and Amanda before heading downstairs, deciding to have a snack while he was up. He took his bowl of cheese crackers into the living room and turned the TV on low, needing some amusement.

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    Determined to improve his cooking skill and redeem himself for the grilled cheese failure, Vaughn made breakfast again, though it was only more eggs and bacon. He wasn't about to try toast only for it to end up burned. He did his best to ignore the smoking and sparking fridge as he cooked, focusing on one thing at a time.
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    Leaving the serving dish out for the rest of the family when they came down, Vaughn skipped his own breakfast to fix the fridge first, too uncomfortable to eat.
    "Morning, Vaughn. Wow, that's a big puddle," Amanda said, eyeing it as she grabbed a plate and sat down.
    "Yeah, I know. I'll mop it up as soon as I'm done with this. Unless you want to do it?"
    "Me? No way!" Amanda made a face at the idea. "Today's your day to mop."
    Vaughn shrugged. "Worth a try."
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    Amanda ate quickly and escaped up to her room before anyone else could try to assign her extra chores. She had done quite enough of those recently. And maybe she was just a little resentful of Vaughn getting to skip out of weekend chores to go hang out with their uncle.
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    Having repaired the fridge and cleaned up the mess, Vaughn joined his parents in the living room to chat and watch TV.
    "You're not going to the clinic today, Teresa?" Joel asked.
    Teresa shook her head. "No, I've decided to take a break until the twins are older. Besides, with Indra, Andy and Nenya there, they don't really need me every day."
    "Guess that means there's no room for me to work part time there," Vaughn said, not all that disappointed.
    "No, sorry." Teresa answered.
    "That's too bad. Wish I could decide where I want to work."
    "There's no need for you to if you can't," Joel told him.
    "Thanks for saying so, Dad."
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    Vaughn decided to keep his new exercise routine going by working out to a power sculpting video once the TV show had ended and his parents moved on to other things. He was really enjoying himself, feeling pleasantly sore at the end.
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    Joel found his plans to continue his programming work interrupted by a broekn compputer, so he sat down to repair it frist, grumbling at how old the thing was. Might be time to replace it with something more modern. If the budget could handle the expense so soon after replacing their dryer.
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    Teresa went upstairs to check on the girls, having left Kara downstairs eating a late breakfast.
    "Story, please, Mama?" Celia asked after the three chatted for several minutes.
    "All right, pick a book," Teresa agreed, sitting on Amanda's bed to read it.
    Amanda stayed to listen too though the book was below her reading level and a bit smplistic to her. She just enoyed getting to spend time with her mother and being read to for a change.
    "Once upon a time there was a great treasure hidden away by a greedy, mean witch..."
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    Story time over, Celia wandered downstairs. Kara was busy with her tablet and wouldn't play, to her disappointment. "Watch cartoons wif me?" she asked Vaughn, spotting him.
    "Sure. Let me just change the channel," Vaughn answered, grabbing the remote. He watched untils he was settled on the couch then switched to the cartoon network.
    "Funny bear," Celia said, pointing. Watching the characters made her want to dance and she soon slid off the couch to do so, wriggling in imitation.
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    That evening, Joel and Teresa left Vaughn in charge while they went out on a dinner date. They both needed to get out of the house and just be themselves, not the parents of four growing children, for a few hours. It was nice to have an adult conversation. Teresa thought they had to find a way to do this more often, though that likely wouldn't be until the twins were in school
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    At home, Amanda began building a town of blocks at the blocks table even though it was getting dark. She wished her room was bigger so it could fit in there instead. Vaughn had told her they used to live in a house that had enough room for everything inside and she had seen pictures. But their cozy little house was all she knew and she liked it most of the time. Another thing Amanda would have liked was a dollhouse, though she thought she was getting too old for one. In the meantime, she would enjoy the blocks. Maybe she could teach the twins how to build stuff, like Indra and Vaughn had taught her, that would be so much fun. She smiled at the thought, already imagining what she would do and say.
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    Vaughn got in one more workout before he finally went off to shower and get ready for bed, tis time a dance video. It was intense and complicated, and he realized that in some ways it was more complicated than the power sculpting video with the need to keep track of all the moves. He was sure he'd be so exhausted afterward that he would sleep through the night.
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    Teresa and Joel returned home just in time to put the twins to bed. Teresa read Celia a story while Joel gave Kara a bath first.
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    Joel had just put Kara to bed after convincing her not to play in the garbage, especially right after a bath, when he heard Amanda come in and sit at the desk with a glass of milk.
    "Amanda, what's wrong? Why are you up?" he asked, coming over to her.
    "I heard a monster under my bed, so I went to get some milk, then I saw the light on here and I didn't want to be alone," Amanda explained in a rush, lip trembling.
    "Well, I think those monthers must be long gone by now. Let's go back to your rom and see, then I'll put you to bed," Joel suggested, hugging her.
    "Okay..." Amanda said reluctantly, clearly wanting to trust him.
    "Finish your milk first," Joel said, not hurrying her.
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    Joel walked into Amanda's room with her and made a show of looking around, under and inside everything. "See, there are no monsters here. Do you think you can try to sleep now?"
    Amanda nodded. "If you tuck me in," she said, giving him a pleading look.
    "I will. Hop in." Joel waited until she was settled, then, tucked her in as asked, kissing her cheek. "Sweet dreams."
    "Night, Daddy," Amanda yawned, already drifting off.
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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    Chapter 19: Perpetual Motion


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    Celia spent her morning playing with her blocks, delighting in building towers only to knock them over.
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    Eventually tiring of her blocks, Celia wandered around, wondering where her twin was. She found Teresa first and stood watching her mop. "What you do? I help?" she asked.
    "I'm mopping up this puddle, so stay back," Teresa answered. "You're too little to help, but thanks for asking.
    "Play?" Celia asked hopefully.
    "Maybe after I give your sister a bath," Teresa promised.
    "Okay." Celia toddled off to investigate the toys in Amanda's room.
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    With the shower repaired and the bathroom floor clean, Teresa finally got Kara into the bath, wrinkling her nose at how stinky the girl was.
    "Bubbles!" Kara yelled gleefully, splashing around so much that Teresa could barely get her clean
    "Okay, you can play first then, but you'll get all wrinkly," Teresa said, laughing, giving in. At least she didn't mind getting soaked too much.
    Kara thoroughly enjoyed her bath, only agreeing that it was time to get out when the water started to get cold. "Have ta dress like Celie today," Kara said, using her own name for her twin sister.
    "Oh you do? Why?" Teresa asked, curious. The twins rarely wore matching outfits, though they might wear similar styles or have a color in common.
    "Just cause." Kara shrugged, not sure how to explain it.
    Recognizing that was all the answer she would get, Teresa helped her put on a similar jumper in purple and pink.
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    By the time she was ready, Celia was hungry, so Teresa brought both girls downstairs with her, wanting to make sure Kara didn't get into any mischief in her playfulness.
    Vaughn had invited Ricky over again, and introductions were quickly made.
    While attention was diverted from her, Celia proved she was the one who should have been watched, dumping her dinner on the floor after barely touching it.
    "Celia! You bad girl! Guess you'd rather play than eat tonight," Teresa scolded, rising to go back around the table and clean up the mess.
    "Food fun," Celia said, unrepentant.
    Kara ignored her sisters, more interested in this new person and not the least afraid of speaking to a stranger, as long as her family was around.
    "Gross, Celia," Amanda said, making a face before returning her attention to her dinner.
    "Still think having a younger sibling is always fun?" Vaughn as Ricky.
    "Well maybe not all the time..." Ricky conceded, bringing out his homework so they could work on it together as soon as Vaughn finished eating.
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    Joel returned, surprised to find a guest but recognizing Ricky from The Cakery. "Hello, Ricky. How is your famly?" he asked politely.
    "They're good, sir," Ricky answered, looking up from his homework. "Thanks for asking."
    Noticing that Celia looked sleepy, Joel picked her up. "I'd love to stay and chat, but I need to get Celia to bed."
    "That's all right, I need to be going soon anyway. Goodnight, Celia," Ricky said.
    "Night night, Ricky," Celia answered, yawning.
    "I go sleep, too. Night night," Kara announced, toddling after her father as fast as her little legs could go.
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    "Daddy, read me story please?" Kara asked, coming into the room just after Joel tucked Celia into bed.
    Joel turned his head to look at her. "Of course. Let's find a book," he said, walking over to the bookshelf.
    Kara took her time choosing, and Joel let her, though he was hungry and tired himself. "This one."
    "Pajamas first, then get in bed and I'll read to you," Joel instructed. He sat on her bed to read the story, though Kara fell asleep halfway through.
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    Joel sighed in relief as he finally had a chance to sit down and eat, flipping through the channels until he found something worth watching on TV. He was too tired to do any programming and thought he might be able to squeeze in his daily quota first thing in the morning. Early to bed, early to rise after all.
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    Teresa finished emptying every garbage can int he house then went up to check on the twins and assure herself they were both still breathing. They were just getting to that age right before their major growth spurt where they would start having difficulty breathing. To her relief, both seemed fine
    Satisfied, Teresa next helped Amanda with her homework and saw her off to bed before finally turning in herself.

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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    Chapter 20: Bromance or Romance?

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    Joel woke early enough to cook breakfast for his family for a change. He was feeling good about the fact that his clothes felt a little looser today. Maybe he was finally doing something right, finding a balance in his life that allowed him a little time to exercise. Of course it helped that he hadn't had any cake lately either.
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    Teresa brought Kara down for breakfast, greeting Joel when she caught sight of him at the stove. "Now you eat your breakfast, don't throw it on the floor," she told Kara sternly.
    "Okay, Mama. I be good," Kara promised, picking up half of her sandwich.
    Teresa kept an eye on her for a few mintues, then, satisfied, she went to turn on the TV, knowing Joel could see and hear if Kara decided to disobey.
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    The entire family made themselves comfortable in the kitchen to watch TV, having heard that Angel would be in one segment as her campaign efforts progressed. What made this even more interesting was that she planned to openly state her position concerning extraTs. The entire family knew she was on their side and grateful for the support, hoping she became mayor someday.
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    Afterward, Joel wandered upstairs to do some programming, though his thoughts weren't completely focused on what he was doing.
    Kara follwed him upstairs, curious and wanting his attention. "Daddy, I'm going to be a superhero," she announced.
    "Really? That sounds like a big job. Are you sure?"
    "Yes. Cause flying's fun."
    "What about stopping bad guys?"
    "I'll make them be good!" Kara declared confidently.
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    To make up for not having a chance to exercise the day before, Vaughn went for a jog that morning, getting a later start than he woudl hav eliked. Oh well, hopefully being a few minutes late to school wouldn't affect his grades too much. Not when he was so close to being an A student! Why had he never noticed how quiet and peaceful the beach was in the morning before? This might just become one of his favorite spots to jog.
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    With no immediate demands on her time, Teresa took a few stolen minutes to dance along with a dance video. She suspected she wouldn't be able to dance long before one of the twins either came looking for her or found some sort of mischief to get into.
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    True to her prediction, Teresa's private time didn't last long. Kara was the first to put in an appearance, attracted by the music. She made up her own little dance, unable to follow her mother's more complex, rapid movements, wathcing with curiosity. "How do you do that, Mama?"
    "With practice. You'll be able to do it too when you're older," Teresa told her.
    "That's a long long time," Kara said, disappointed.
    Teresa laughed. "Not as long as you think."
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    Growing tired of dancing so much, Kara climbed onto the couch and sat listening to lullabies while Teresa took Celia upstairs for her bath.
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    Celia wanted to play after her bath, so Teresa lifted her into the air and onto her back, never once letting on that the toddler was getitng too big and heavy for such roughhousing. She would miss these precious moments when Celia and Kara grew too old to want to play this way.
    "Again, Mama!" Celia shouted, still giggling, when Teresa let her down.
    "Not right now, Mama needs a break," Teresa told her, feeling sore and wondering if any of it could possibly be from her workout. Wanting to distract Celia from asking agian, she suggested, "Why don't you go see if Dino wants some company? I tink he's lonely."
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    Successfully distracted Celia toddled into the nursery to hug and talk to her the giant dinosaur, which was her favorite of their stuffed animals, just as Kara favored the dog. She told the giant stuffed toy a long, complicated story that consisted of real and imagined events all mixed together.
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    Worn out from a long morning of play, Kara went to bed without prompting, sleeping for several hours longer than her usual short nap.
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    Celia considerately took her tablet out into the hallway to play so she wouldn't disturb her sleeping twin. Having woken a bit later than Kara, she wasn't tired yet so was allowed to skip her nap.
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    Amanda's school let out early because of a teachers' in service day so she got home first and did her homework, then brought out her project. She spotted Teresa coming back from the mailbox after paying the bills and called out, "Mama, can you come help me with this, please?"
    "Sure, I've time. You have the solor system? That's a good one," Teresa said, kneeling next to her. She wouldn't let Amanda take anything out of the box until after reviewing the contents and having a look at the instructions.
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    Ricky arrived with Vaughn again, who barely yelled a greeting before he rushed into the house, desperately needing to use the bathroom.
    "Ricky, come help us!" Amanda called out.
    "All right, looks like fun." Ricky watched for a moment to see how far along they were before pitching in, appearing to enjoy himsself.
    With three helping, the project was done in no time, and Amanda spent several mintues admiring it before putitng it away.
    "Thanks for helping," she said, smiling.
    "No problem. I'm gonna go see if Vaughn's out of the shower yet."
    "And I'd better check on the twins," Teresa said, leading the way back intot he house.
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    Teresa peeked in on Kara first, but didn't immediately see Celia, and started to worry whens he noticed the bathroom door was closed. Sure enough, when she entered, she found Celia just finishing on the potty.
    "Mama, I'm hungry," Celia announced.
    "I think there's some mac and cheese left. Would you like that?"
    "Yes, please," Celia agreed happily.
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    Vaughn enjoyed an early dinner while he chatted with Ricky, enjoying his company. He decided since he'd trusted Ricky with the secret of his being an alien, their friendship could handle one more truth between them, especially when he realized Ricky was ain flirty mood. "Hey, can I tell you something?" he began, watching Ricky carefully.
    "Yeah, man, what's up?" Ricky asked, seeming to pick up something in Vaughn's tone.
    "I have a crush on someone. Just thought I'd share with you, since we're frineds and all," Vaughn whispered as nonchalantly as he could.
    Ricky leaned in, interested. "You do? Who?"
    "Someone you know very well. In fact you see him every day," Vaughn answered with a meaningful look.
    "What...you mean me? I'm flattered. But I hadn't planned on a High School romance," Ricky said, surprised.
    "Neither had I. So let's not call it that," Vaughn suggested, relieved at Ricky's reaction. "I mean, it's not like we're promisng forever, right?"
    "Right," Ricky agreed quickly.
    Hearing the rest of his family in the kitchen and knowing how little privacy there was in a famiyl of six, Vaugn suggested, "Let's go up to my room and.. work on homework. Or talk about this, or whatever."
    "Right behind you," Ricky answered.
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    In the end, Vuaghn did his homework alone after hainging out with Ricky for several more hours asthey discussed the change in their relationship and its possible impact on their friendship. Both agreed only trusted friends would be let in on their relationship, which would remain casual but exclusive until they decided together to change things. No pressure, no expectations, just an exploration of their developing feelings.
    They sealed things with a kiss, and the memory of that first kiss kept intruding on Vaughn's thoughts as he tried to study, slowing him down. It had been nice, and he wanted to do it again to see if it still felt the same or better because of actual experience. Soon, he promised himself, then shook it off and made himself focus, wanting to get his homework done so he could go to bed. Sleep would bring his next meeting with Ricky closer too.
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    Amanda played arithmatic attack until Joel returned and needed the computer for work. She had enjoyed working on the solar system and had been inpsired to improve her math skills. She hadn't realized just how much fun numbers could be until that moment.
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    Teresa found Kara awake and ready to eat, and was glad she wouldn't have to wake her though she probably should have done it earlier instead of taking the time to take out all the garbage. Oh well, too late to change things now.
    "You know what, I could use some dinner too," she told Kara, picking her up.
    "We eat together," Kara said, smiling, pleased by the idea.
    "That's right," Teresa agreed.
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    She ignored her own exhaustion to bathe Kara before putting her back to bed. Fortunately, Kara was cooperative and the bath didn't last too long. Teresa just hoped she stayed in bed throughout the night.
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    When Teresa finally headed for bed, she enticed Joel away from the computer. "Come over here and relax with me," she said, giving him a suggestive wink.
    "That sound slike way more fun than this," Joel answered, rushing across the room to join her under the covers.
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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    This story has been moved to Wordpress, where it will continue. It and my other stories can be found here; Muse Urania's Library
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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
    Two new chapters today, as the focus switches to Generation Two

    2.1 Choices
    2.2 Looking For Love
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  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 1,359 Member
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