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Raising Marilee- Updated May 12, 2018

SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member


Before she even entered the apartment, Tresa didn't have high hopes for it. About all it had going for it was the low rent and deposit. She hated the necessity of the move, but there was no way she could have afforded the rent on the apartment she had shared with some friends on her own. Even before the landlord raised the rent she had been looking for anew place for herself, her daughter Marilee, and their two cats, Angel and Oreo.
Tresa hoped no one here would object to a half-alien child. She knew there were anti-alien protests in the city, though fortunately they hadn't passed any on the way into the building. She had had to cover Marilee's teal skin on the way out of their old place int he Arts Quarter, hoping no one noticed them.
She took a deep breath. "Let's have a look at our new home," she said, taking Mari's hand.

"Mouse holes, that's just great," Tresa muttered, spotting them almost immediately during her tour of the apartment. At least there were only two, one in the master bedroom and one in the living room, and she hoped they were empty. Her two cats weren't the greatest mousers, Angel being too lazy and Oreo was not a very good hunter.

Having decided she had been patient long enough, Marilee demanded to be fed, and Tresa obliged, bringing her a bowl of cheese crackers.

After snacktime, Tresa decided it was time to work on Marilee's communication skills, though they seemed to instinctively understand each other, oddly enough.
Marilee babbled cheerfully away, her words tumbling over each other, but at least she seemed to be enjoying the lesson and at the end had picked up some new words.

When Marilee's attention waned, Tresa ended the lesson, letting the inquisitive toddler wander around on her own. Though Tresa had the television on, she paid close attention to Marilee's movements.
Marilee decided to pet the cats, first toddling up to Angel, who was nearby and very receptive to her attention. She had to look for the roaming Oreo, who could be more aloof. When the black and white cat was finally tracked down in Tresa's room, he submitted to being petted for a few seconds.

Done with the cats, Marilee decided to see what her mother was up to and found her still watching TV. She climbed up onto the other end of the couch to watch too, curious. Growing bored with the grown up movie, she demanded attention. "Hold me!"

Tresa quickly obliged, swinging Marilee up into her arms and snuggling her. The moment was interrupted when she realized someone was knocking on the door.
Still carrying Marilee, she answered, surprised to find two people waiting. Once introductions were made, she let tem in. "I'm sorry I didn't answer sooner, I didn't hear you knock over the TV," she apologized.
Jesminder Bheeda waved off the apology. "That's all right. Isn't it, Raj?" she nudged her companion.
The man only grunted and shrugged, looking around. Tresa hoped he wouldn't cause any trouble.
Sending Marilee off to play, she sat on the couch with her guests, hitting it off with Jesminder, who promised to become a friend.
They got so busy talking that Raj must have felt left out, though bizarrely, instead of leaving he wandered into Tresa's room and made himself at home on her computer.
Tresa had just gone after him and brought him back into the living room when Marilee came out of her room and joined them.
"Potty, Mama," she said distinctly.
"All right, we're going," Tresa said, standing and picking her up. "I'm sorry, I need to deal with this. I won't be long," she told her guests, leaving them alone to chat with each other.

After a successful potty training session, Tresa put Marilee down for a nap until dinnertime, though it was already early evening.
Turning from the bed, she found Oreo blocking the way to the door, and stopped to pet the cat. Once back in the living room, Tresa saw that her guests had left. Feeling both relieved and guilty, because she wouldn't have to figure out how to socialize any longer, she decided to make a garden salad for dinner.

Marilee had a pair of feline guards during her nap, at least until Angel fell asleep instead, But Oreo remained on duty outside the door for a bit longer before wandering off.

Finished with her salad, Tresa took advantage of the fact that Marilee was still asleep to work on a painting, which she later sold to a collector for 46 simoleons.

Marilee woke and sought out Tresa's company, chattering cheerfully away.
Then she noticed the full-length mirror nearby and turned her attention to it, distracted by their reflections. Waving her arms around, Marilee babbled to herself.

Not long after, Tresa finished her painting then decided to get Marilee fed before she got tired and cranky.
Marilee was delighted with her dinner of chicken nuggets and actually ate them instead of decorating herself, the high chair and the floor with them.
Bedtime and story time followed, and Tresa had nearly finished the story, Marilee's eyelids drooping heavily, when a sudden loud noise from next door startled both of them.
"What are they doing over there, having a fight to the death?" Tresa demanded aloud, jumping to her feet. "Mari, stay here, I'm just going to ask our neighbors to quiet down so you can sleep." She would try to be polite, since she was new, though she felt like yelling at someone. Maybe if it was just here she would put up with the noise, but Marilee could become impossible if she was overtired.
Post edited by SimTresa on


  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    Two; Pestilence

    Tresa returned from her fruitless discussion with the neighbor still in a foul mood. She had learned that Greta Radoya was the mother of Raj the man who had visited earlier in the day. What an obstinate, uncaring snob! The nerve of that scrawny old witch, refusing to apologize but instead implying that Tresa should get out more. When it was clear that Greta was the one who needed to grow up and stop being so selfish!
    Taking deep breath, Tresa barely managed to refrain from slamming the door and walked back into the apartment to check on Marilee. She entered the bedroom to find the toddler making a mess, and from the looks of it she had started as soon as Tresa left. Filled with her own need to destroy something, she was tempted to just let Marilee continue expressing her own feelings.
    But she knew she had to be the responsible one and correct her daughter, teaching her that wasn't acceptable. "Marilee, stop, please. Making a mess is very bad."
    Marilee didn't respond at first, too intent on watching the contents of the bottles spread and mix on the carpet. Tresa was about to grab them when Marilee stopped and looked up, letting the empty bottles fall. She babbled a request for food.
    "Maybe you do need a snack," Tresa agreed, picking her up.
    "No, you don't need cookies now. How about some yummy peas?"
    Marilee's brow furrowed and her lip pouted out in displeasure, but as if she sensed her mother wasn't in the mood for an argument, she gave a huffy little sigh and nodded, eating her peas quietly.
    Tresa was grateful for that. She could hear the Radoyas still going at it next door and bit back some rarely used forbidden words. Didn't they ever sleep?
    With Marilee safely contained in her highchair for the moment, Tresa attacked the mess in her bedroom, channeling her rage into the action. If it was only herself she had to worry about, she would put on headphones and tune them out, ,or just stay up if that didn't work. But Marilee needed her sleep and Tresa did not appreciate the Radoyas' insensitivity one bit. Now, if Marilee didn't sleep late and refuse to sleep the next night, she would be cranky and tired all day, neither prospect desirable.
    Finished cleaning, Tresa sank into the seat across from Marilee with her journal and began scribbling furiously, pouring out all of her feelings. Calmer, she pressed her hand to her face, doubting herself and wondering if she could have handled things better if she wasn't so socially awkward. No help for it now, she wasn't about to go back over there and back down, or apologize, or anything of the sort.
    By the time Tresa got Marilee settled into bed and dragged herself off to bed as well it was after 1:30 in the morning.

    In the morning, Marilee woke first and went into Tresa's room to wake her up. "Hungry! Eat now?" she asked. as soon as she was sure she had Tresa's attention.
    She sat down with the toddler to eat, sighing when the girl barely touched her meal before tossing it on the floor. "Oh, Marilee, when will you stop doing that? Why won't you listen to me?"
    Oblivious, Marilee giggled, poking her fingers into the mess left behind on her tray.
    Ignoring the mess for the moment, Tresa got them both ready for the day, pausing only to shoo the cats away from the food ont he floor.
    Next it was time to make sure the cats had food and clean litter. That was when Tresa noticed that Oreo seemed to be in pain and walking gingerly. She wondered if he had been bitten or if something worse was wrong.
    "What's the matter?" she asked Oreo when she caught up with the cat, kneeling to pet his head. "I think you need to go to the vet, just in case."

    Tresa dropped Marilee off at the daycare on the way to the vet, deciding that was better than bringing her along. She signed in and felt tense being around so many strangers, but at least it wasn't long before the vet called them back into the examining room.
    After a brief examination, the vet, who introduced himself as Mortimer Goth, announced that Oreo had sizzlepaws and recommended treatment.
    "I want him to have the best treatment possible," Tresa decided after a brief pause, willing to spare the expense for her cat. She would just have to hope her paintings sold for more to make up the difference. '

    Home again, and glad to be away from crowds, since they seemed to have arrived when everyone in the building, or at least on the floor, was on the move, Tresa settled Marilee at the table with a snack of yogurt. Oreo still seemed to be uncomfortable, wandering around like his old self. Angel followed him for a little while before she seemed to get bored and curled up for a nap.
    Marilee had great fun splashing in the bath, chattering about what she had done at daycare, a unique experience for her since Tresa took care of her herself as much as possible.
    Hearing some odd words in Marilee's chatter, Tresa wondered if she should ask about them, or if they were just random babble. Then Marilee said them again in a singsong, looking expectantly at her.
    "That's um, very nice. Did you learn it at daycare?"
    Marilee seemed to consider her answer very carefully. "Wa. Nap," she said finally.
    "You want a nap?" she asked, confused, as Marilee didn't seem tired.
    "No!" Marilee gave her a frustrated look, clearly wishing she could convey what she meant better.
    Tresa decided to drop the subject. "Okay, time to get out of the bath before you get cold."
    While she had Marilee in the bathroom, Tresa took the opportunity for another potty training session. That was when she noticed the pipes on the wall were leaking. Not wanting to bother the landlord on her second day in the building, she decided to see if she could fix it herself while Marilee played.
    Not long after, with the pipe fixed, Tresa put Marilee down for a nap without any fuss, the toddler having tired herself out with play.
    Tresa tucked her in, taking a moment to look at this sweet, chubby child who was hers and deeply loved though she bore the unmistakable mark of an alien father. A father Tresa didn't even remember but assumed was someone she had meet at the last GeekCon she attended, her last clear memory. Marilee had her mother's hair and had probably inherited her build as well, but thw teal skin, scattering of freckles, and green eyes were all her father's. Tresa had never really tried to find the man again, not sure she wanted to and knowing what she'd say if she did meet him. He probably wasn't interested in being a father anyway, at least not to a hybrid child.
    Tresa remembered the initial fear and panic she had felt when she first realized she was pregnant, after the denial passed. She hadn't been prepared for motherhood and wasn't sure she could take care of the two of them. Somehow she managed, wanting Marilee to have a secure, comfortable life if not a luxurious one. from the moment Marilee was placed in her arms, Tresa had seen the baby as her daughter, not as an alien planted unknowingly on her. Most of the time, she didn't even notice any difference in behavior, it was just how Marilee was.
    Straightening, Tresa left Marilee to sleep with a whispered "I love you," and went to make dinner.
    Wanting something simple and quick, Tresa cooked macaroni and cheese. The apartment seemed too quiet with Marilee sleeping and the cats off somewhere entertaining themselves.
    Taking advantage of Marilee's long nap, and wanting her to get as much rest as possible in case their neighbors decided to be noisy again, Tresa started working on a new large painting, hoping the collector who bough the last one would like it.
    Tresa finished her painting and decided to check on Marilee, finding her playing contentedly with a toy. Tresa joined her for a few minutes before carrying her into the kitchen for a late dinner.
    As if some signal had been flipped, the instant the clock ticked past 11pm, loud music began to blare from the neighbors' apartment, setting Tresa's teeth on edge. She almost wasn't surprised it was the Rasoyas again.
    Again she left Marilee to go confront them.
    This time Raj appeared instead of his mother, and he didn't even have the decency to look right at her as he basically parroted Greta's response form the night before.
    Angry, Tresa shouted at the closed door, letting the Rasoyas know just what she thought of them. She really hoped they didn't intend to disrupt every single night because that would be exhausting, to say the least. And bordered on the deliberately vindictive.
    Left on her own and in a playful mood, Marilee predictably dumped the last of her dinner on the floor, wondering if the cats would eat it.
    Tresa got them both into bed within two hours, to her relief. The music stopped abruptly, and she thought sourly it waons't out of any consideration but simply because the stereo had broken.

  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    Tresa enjoyed a quiet, solitary breakfast of bacon and eggs, hoping for a quiet day at home. She almost got her wish too.
    Finished with breakfast, Tresa took out the laser pointer to play with Angel, encouraging the cat to move her lazy self. She heard Marilee wake and fixed a plate for her.
    Marilee took her plate to the couch to eat, feeling like a big girl. She didn't pay any attention to Oreo, who eyed her food with apparent interest.
    Deciding it was safe to leave Marilee alone for a little while, Tresa went into her room and turned on her computer, wanting to browse the parenting forums and maybe connect with some other parents. She didn't mind that the room was not as brightly lit as the rest of the apartment, except for her painting corner, relying on a combination of limited sight, memory and touch to navigate. She knew there were aliens out there, though she had never met any that she knew of. Except one...
    Shaking off the thought, Tresa continued searching, focusing on any reference to aliens or half-aliens.
    She found one forum that seemed interesting, though it seemed to be mostly for the parents of adopted aliens children. Breathing problems? Luckily that didn't seem to apply to Marilee, but she was still little. Telepathy? Now that was informative, and might help explain some things. Though the forum didn't seem to be too active, Tresa signed up anyway. She was too shy to post just yet, wanting to just read for now.
    Tresa was tempted to try searching for the words Marilee had used the night before, guessing at their spelling, just in case there was something to them after all, but she decided she had left the toddler alone long enough. Maybe next time.
    Still feeling confident that she was doing something right after all, Tresa decided to tackle potty training again, just in time to avoid another dirty diaper.
    Then she spent some time with Marilee, playing with blocks and toys. She tried to see if Marilee was telepathic, but though there seemed to be an awareness of something, it was more about feelings than images. The awareness of what Marilee needed and felt that Tresa had always considered to be a normal part of their bond suddenly seemed to be more, and she wondered if she wasn't just reading things into it. No one in the forums mentioned always knowing where their child was, though.
    Needing to focus on something else, Tresa brought out the flashcards and went through them with Marilee until she got bored and wanted to be play on her tablet.

    In the living room, Tresa spent a few minutes cuddling Oreo, who seemed to have completely recovered from his illness.
    That was when she spotted the first cockroach and tracked it to an area near the litterbox and bookshelf. Grabbing the bug spray, she sprayed the area. It didn't seem to help, and only left Tresa with the urge to bathe, which she did.
    Meanwhile, Marilee wandered out of her room looking for Tresa. Failing that, she decided to babble to herself in the mirror instead, the mirror holding her interest for several minutes
    Done with the mirror, Marilee met Tresa coming out of the bathroom and decided her mama needed some cheering up. "Hug!" she demanded, holding her arms up.
    Smiling, Tresa knelt and wrapped her in her arms.
    Pleased, Marilee said, "I hug you happy, Mama."
    "Your hugs make me very happy, Mari," Tresa agreed, kissing her round little cheek.
    With the success of one hug, Marilee decided the cats could use hugs too, tracking down first Angel then Oreo, both of whom submitted, trusting her.

    Tresa started dinner, not entirely sure her choice of grilled cheese wasn't influenced by her forum reading.
    Once again Marilee ate her meal on the couch, actually managing not to make a mess.
    It was while Tresa was filling the cats' bowl that the second cockroach made its appearance. Tresa shuddered in disgust, not quite quick enough to spray it. She was beginning to doubt her decision to stay in the city with Marilee. Living in a rat-infested and probably mouse-infested apartment with leaky plumbing was not at all the life she wanted for her daughter. She should probably start looking for somewhere away from crowds, noisy neighbors and an overabundance of vermin.

    Appetite gone, Tresa headed for her painting easel, needing to calm herself in the rhythm of painting. She chose a large canvas, knowing she could sell it for more and money would be necessary if they were going to move.
    She hadn't gotten far when a dank smell reached Tresa's nose. She abandoned her painting to track it down. Still reticent about contacting the landlord, she tried to deal with it herself, which worked, thankfully. And... there went another cockroach.
    "Not again," she groaned. "I guess this is a sign that I should just give in and let the landlord handle it if he can."
    It occurred to her that it was about the time the Rasoyas usually struck up a ruckus, and so far there hadn't been a peep from them. She supposed she should be thankful for small mercies.
    The landlord, Reyansh Kumar arrived promptly, with a big bottle of bug spray and started spraying the area the cockroaches seemed to be hanging out in.
    Tresa thanked him after she cleaned the litterbox, and said goodbye, thinking that would be the end of it.
  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    4: Mice and Cockroaches Unite!

    When Tresa came out of her room in the morning, she was surprised to find the landlord still there, apparently having spent the night. "Look, I really appreciate all you've done for me, but I barely know you and I don't like that you stayed all night while I slept and my daughter was in the other room. So please leave," she said firmly.
    "Fine, everything seems to be okay here, but don't call me again anytime soon , eh?" Reyansh answered, stalking out.
    Tresa blinked after him, watching to be sure he really left this time and locking the door firmly behind her. She supposed that could have gone worse. Or better.
    Though she had no appetite, Tresa grabbed a grilled cheese sandwich from the fridge and made herself eat some breakfast, knowing she'd need the energy to keep up with Marilee.
    Since Marilee was sleeping late, Tresa took advantage of the opportunity to get in some reading, though she didn't really think she'd be lucky enough to finish before Marilee woke.
    Sure enough, it wasn't long before a little voice intruded on her solitude, demanding attention and breakfast.
    Tresa set the book aside to tend to Marilee's needs, not minding in the least.
    Marilee needed a bath before she could have her breakfast, and it seemed to Tresa that she managed to splash about half the bathwater onto the floor.
    Once Marilee was out of the bath Tresa went back into the bathroom to mop up the puddle before Marilee decided it would be fun to play in.
    Marilee climbed into her new favorite spot on the couch to eat, with no cats for company this time, which made her sad.
    Tresa called Reyansh, wanting to make sure they were still on friendly terms in case she needed his help again.
    Done eating, Marilee went in search of the cats, finding Angel first behind the couch. She immediately began imitating the cat, giggling with amusement at this new game. Being a cat was so much fun!

    Later, Marilee settled in the same chair Tresa had chosen that morning to look at a book while Tresa brushed the two cats, gently drawing the brush through their long, thick fur.
    Noticing the book Marilee was looking at, Tresa decided now was a good time to bring out the animal flashcards. "Do you know what this is? It's a bobcat, just like in Billy and the Bobcat," she said. "Can you say bobcat?"
    Marilee's lips pursed, then she repeated, "Bobcat!" happily.
    "That's right," Tresa said, smiling, before moving on to the next picture.
    She heard a faint squeaking noise and knew there was a mouse nearby, probably behind her. With an effort, she kept calm, not wanting to upset Marilee. As if cockroaches weren't bad enough! It was the first mouse she had spotted, so she had hoped the holes were empty. Apparently not, and who knew how many mice had been wandering around the house unnoticed? Hopefully none had been near Marilee, she shuddered at the very thought of her precious baby being bitten by the disease-carrying rodents. Maybe one of the cats would go after it, though that seemed a faint hope with neither cat present.
    Moving out of the city was sounding more appealing with every moment. Fortunately, she had already been in contact with her friend Bree, an architect married to a realtor and she had promised to look for something affordable for them.
    The flashcards done and the mouse gone for the moment at least, Tresa had more grilled cheese for dinner, not feeling like cooking.
    Giving no sign that she picked up her mother's concerns, Marilee went back to her own room and spent several hours happily playing with her toys.

    Tresa started work on another painting in the meantime, feeling inspired.
    Two hours later, Tresa once again found herself outside the Rasoyas' apartment, banging on the door. They hadn't even waited until eleven before they started partying, or whatever it was they were doing in there. "I should have known they couldn't stay quiet long," she muttered. She was now convinced they were doing it on purpose. She banged on the door again, not sure whether they couldn't hear her or were deliberately ignoring her.
    "Well that's just fine, I don't want to talk to you right now anyway," she yelled at the door, followed by a string of forbidden words, wanting to get them out of her system before she went back into her apartment. She also wanted very much to smash someone's face, not caring whose so long as it was someone in the Rasoyas' apartment.
    Stalking back inside, Tresa did her best to distract and calm her angry, tired toddler while holding onto her own temper.
    To distract them both, she started teaching Marilee the manners to Rasoyas obviously lacked.

  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 23,084 Member
    I'm really enjoying this ! Too bad Geeta and Raj are such annoying neighbors ! In my game , they were the good neighbors and someone else was the pain!

    Marilee is adorable !
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Do you also play The Elder Scrolls Online? You can find me there as CathyTea, too!
  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    Interesting how things are different in each game. Could it be that since they're the only neighbors, they got the noisy neighbor role?
  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    Five; Last Straw

    Two a.m. Tresa and Marilee were still awake and still angry, unable to sleep with the music blaring next door. Tresa might have missed the mouse if it hadn't darted right in front of her, causing her to jump and yell. And was that a hint of mildew she smelled from under the bed? Too tired to deal with either problem, she gave in and called Reyansh to come deal with the problems.
    "I'll be right there, since you're such a good tenant," he promised.
    Finally finally the music stopped and she got Marilee settled before crawling into bed, ignoring her growing hunger pangs.
    She was so exhausted that she didn't even hear Reyansh come in to deal with the mouse and mildew.
    After barely three hours of sleep, Tresa woke and went in search of a snack, deciding on a grilled cheese sandwich. She was too tired to be surprised that Reyansh was still there, and decided to just let him stay and talk, thinking maybe he was keeping an eye out for other problems. Hmm, maybe if she got friendly with him she could convince him to kick the Rasoyas out....
    Instead of leaving, Reyansh got comfortable in front of the TV as if he had every right and started watching a science-fiction movie. Ignoring her landlord for the moment, Tresa focused on Marilee, who had woken demanding food. Food that ended up on the floor and smeared across the highchair tray three bites later.
    Sighing wearily, Tresa decided to let it go this time, understanding the urge to throw something. "All right, back to bed with you, little miss, I'm not giving you more food until you're ready to eat it, not play with it," she said firmly, swinging the toddler up into her arms.
    Marilee nestled sleepily against her, the small, warm weight comforting.
    While she was up, Tresa decided to clean the littler box. Then she went back to sleep, tired again after only a short time awake.
    Tresa felt as if she had just laid down when there was more loud banging through the walls, accompanied by screams of pleasure. She didn't begrudge whichever of the Rasoyas were enjoying themselves, she really didn't, but did they have to do it now, when she'd had a long, restless night? That was very inconsiderate of them, and they'd no doubt woken Mari too with their...enthusiasm.
    This time, Tresa didn't even bother to bang on the door, figuring she'd be ignored or dismissed again. She was sick and tired of the Rasoyas, and this apartment -she spotted more cockroaches and another mouse on her way across the apartment to Marilee's room.
    She got Marilee settled on the couch with breakfast then grabbed her journal and began writing in quick, angry strokes at the kitchen table.
    Whether Marilee was just ravenous or remembered her mother's earlier warning, she ate every bite of cereal without making a mess, being very quiet.
    As if to prove there were still things that could go wrong, the lights chose that moment to go out, leaving the apartment in darkness. Only for a few minutes, but that was long enough for Tresa to decide that they were moving. Today, just as soon as she could get herself and Marilee packed.
    On her way back to her room to tell Bree she was accepting her friend's offer of a house, Tresa spotted another mouse under the keyboard some previous tenant had left behind. She made a noise of disgust and hoped Marilee would forgive her for bringing her into this unlivable apartment. Maybe she was too young to remember.

    It wasn't long before the little family were moving into their new home in Brindleton Bay, on a small plot of land with three big trees to provide shade. It had been used as a model home, so though it was furnished the walls were a neutral color. Tresa decided she could live with that for a while, as long as it was clean, comfortable, and free of vermin. It was also cozy, but just right for two people.
    Marilee was exhausted, so the first thing Tresa did was put her to bed in her newly set up bedroom, which was actually smaller than her old one though not by much.
    Glad to be done with moving, Tresa sat down to a light lunch of garden salad, knowing she'd be able to eat without worrying about mice, cockroaches, or noisy neighbors. She had been concerned at first about being right behind the Brindletone Pawspital, but so far that didn't seem to be a problem.
    Hugging Angel, Tresa eyed one of the lovely antique living chairs, thinking it would be a shame if the cats damaged them. She'd have to be more vigilant about keeping them off the furniture.
    She checked on Marilee, found her still asleep, and went to bed herself, confident there would be no rude awakenings this night.
    Some hours later, Marilee emerged from her room looking for comfort after a potty accident, and Tresa gave it willingly, praising her efforts and encouraging her.
    Calmer and full after a quick snack, Marilee went right back to bed, still tired.
  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    6: Settling In

    Having gone to bed early the night before, Tresa was awake before dawn the next morning, by her own choice. She felt rested and relaxed.
    She had barely sat down the couch, which wasn't as comfortable as their old one, and begun to eat her oatmeal, when she heard Marilee stirring in her room.
    Knowing Marilee would be hungry, Tresa went to get her breakfast ready.
    While Marilee ate all of her cereal like a good girl, Tresa checked the cats' bowls, finding them full and the litter box still clean.
    Full, Marilee found her blocks and plopped down to play, singing a song that sounded like nonsense but actually made perfect sense apart from being mispronounced.
    When Tresa came to check on her after hearing nothing but silence, she found the toddler curled up on herbed, napping. Deciding to leave her there undisturbed, Tresa smiled and whispered, "Sweet dreams, Mari," before slipping from the room as quietly as she had entered.
    Tresa played with the cats for a while, then had more salad for lunch before deciding to get some painting done while she could. She had heard the cats enjoying themselves in the kitchen and wondered if there would be kittens. IF so, she would do her best to find them good homes, not wanting to be overrun with cats.
    Painting finished and sold for a good price, Tresa took a nap of her own, knowing she would need the energy wihen Marilee woke.
    It wasn't long before Marilee woke and came looking for her, demanding an early dinner. ""P'nut-butta-jelly!" she insisted.
    "Peanut butter and jelly? That sounds yummy," Tresa said.
    She stayed int he kitchen while Marilee ate, chatting with her. She missed the closeness of their old kitchen table, but she reminded herself this greater distance was a small price to pay to keep her daughter safe, healthy and happy. Besides, it wouldn't be forever.
    "Up, pwease" Marilee demanded, finished with her meal.
    "Up? Is this high enough?" Tresa teased, swinging her into the air. They played for several minutes until Marilee yelped
    "Ow. Don't wanna play anymore," she sniffled.
    Tresa immediately stopped and hugged her close. "Oh no, where does it hurt? Mama will make it all better," she said, holding Marilee until she calmed down, kissing her cheek.
    Tresa decided a warm bubble bath was in order, and Marilee seemed to agree, enjoying splashing around in the water.
    Exhausted by a busy day of playing, Marilee was in bed and asleep only a few hours later.

    Reyansh came to visit that evening. Tresa had been so surprised to hear from him that she agreed to the visit before she had time to think. Fortunately, she had a good time chatting with him while she had dinner.
    Once they'd eaten, they went into her room to continue talking.
    Reyansh had been in a flirtatious mood when he arrived and some of it must have rubbed off on Tresa, because she found herself flirting with him and confessing her attraction, something she never did so soon.
    Apparently things were moving too fast for Reyansh because he stood suddenly. "I should get going and let you get to bed. I've things to do tomorrow."
    "All right, good night. I enjoyed your visit, I really did. We should do it again sometime." Tresa stopped, afraid she was close to babbling, which would not do.
    "Yeah, sure, I'll let you know." For all he was a dog lover, Reyansh didn't hesitate to give the cats some attention on his way out.
    They hugged goodbye like two friends, neither sure what to do with the new romantic connection between them.

    (A/N: That was totally spontaneous. Tresa had a flirt interaction and I went with it to see where it went.)

  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    Chapter 7: Playtime

    Marilee was in a chatty mood almost form the moment she woke, and Tresa enjoyed their breakfast conversation, telling her a funny story from her own childhood.
    Tresa hoped she could channel Marilee's high spirits into learning, focusing on manners for a couple of hours. The lesson had mixed results, with Marilee resisting learning to say please and thank you but listening intently as Tresa taught her about conflict resolution.

    Tresa thought both she and Marilee needed to get out of the house for a while, and decided a visit to the park was in order. Maybe there would be some other toddlers there for Marilee to play with. Tresa invited Jesminder to join them, both for another adult's company and to make up for turning down Jesminder's offer to hang out earlier in the week.
    After a brief chat on their arrival, Jesminder went off somewhere on her own. Tresa shrugged and let her go, focused on Marilee.
    Marilee was fascinated by the big toddler play area, and went immediately for the wheel on one side. "It a space station. Mama, you play too, kay?"
    "A space station? That sounds like fun!" Tresa said, joining in, letting Marilee take charge of their pretend play. It was, she decided, oddly appropriate that her half-alien child preferred space stations to pirate ships. Tresa wouldn't at all be surprised if she proved to have an interest in space or rocket science when she got older. To be fair, Tresa shared that fascination with space, so it wouldn't really be that much of a surprise if she had passed that along to Marilee.
    Marilee soon grew bored of her game and moved on to the slide, while Tresa took a moment to check her phone. No messages, and she decided not to worry about the fact that she hadn't heard from Reyansh, it hadn't even be a day yet after all and he did have a building to take care of.
    Spotting a chess table nearby, within view of the play structure, Tresa sat and studied the board.
    She hadn't been there long when another woman joined her, making Tresa tense as she always did around strangers. This time, she decided to try to make an effort, wanting to make friends in this new town. Mariko Mori seemed friendly enough.
    Marilee was having so much fun exploring the tunnels and jumping in the ball pit that she barely noticed she was getting tired.
    Noticing the lateness of the hour, Tresa said goodbye to Mariko. "This was fun, but I need to get my toddler home to bed. Goodbye."
    "Nice meeting you, goodbye," Mariko echoed, walking off.
    Tresa waited for Marilee to surface from under the balls and picked her up. "Time to go home, my busy little bee."
    Marilee was just tired enough to be cranky and contrary. "No! Want play more."
    "It's getting late, and you should be in bed," Tresa said.
    "Not tired," Marilee claimed, trying to keep her eyes open.
    Tresa managed not to smile. "Well, I am, and I say it's time to go. We'll come back and play some more another day, I promise."
    Satisfied with that, Marilee relaxed against her. She was asleep the moment her head hit the pillow, despite her claim of not being tired.
    Tresa decided she needed a microwave pastry before she went to bed herself. While she ate, she noticed that Angel looked uncomfortable and was very restless. The cat was also noticeably fatter, a clear sign she was pregnant.
    Tresa decided to stay up with Angel, wanting to be there since this would be her first litter.
    Reyansh finally called late in the night, wanting to meet in the park in San Myshuno. Tresa blinked in surprise, wondering what the man could possibly be thinking. Much as she hated to, she had to decline. "Sorry, its too late for me. I do have Marilee to think of, you know. Plus, I'm tired, and Angel is probably going to have her kittens soon, so I don't feel I should leave."
    "Oh, right, sorry, I wasn't thinking. Well, good night, and I hope Angel's kittens are healthy."
    "Thanks, me too. I'll call you tomorrow. Goodnight."
    Angel had her kittens shortly after dawn the next morning, a black and white female named Monica and a white male named Gabriel.
    Though Tresa knew Marilee was up and would want to see the kittens, she didn't call her, suspecting the toddler would want to keep them.
    Instead, she went to her computer and quickly arranged to sell the two adorable kittens, knowing that if she waited she would only get attached and giving them up would be even harder. Maybe someday they could save a kitten from Angel's last litter.
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 23,084 Member
    Those kittens are adorable! And I hope it works out with the former landlord! :)
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Do you also play The Elder Scrolls Online? You can find me there as CathyTea, too!
  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    Yes they are, and I hated having to let them go. I'm not sure if that relationship is going anywhere, as Reyansh is noncommittal and they keep getting the Awkward Encounter interaction. Not quite sure what's setting it off.
  • RipuAncestorRipuAncestor Posts: 2,332 Member
    Aww, kittens AND an adorable toddler! How will Tresa handle all the cuteness in her life? :)
    My Sims stories:
    The Fey of Life - fairytales in life are few and far between (Forum thread HERE)
    The Chrysanthemum Tango - a story about life, death, magic, and how to be a good landlady (Forum thread HERE)
    Forget-Me-Not - some things just refuse to stay buried; an Ambrosia Challenge story (Forum thread HERE)
  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    edited February 2018
    Chapter 8: Paintings and Circuses

    Later in the day, Tresa joined Marilee on the couch for a lunch of more garden salad. She watched the toddler eat, smiling, glad her little girl liked vegetables so much. She wondered if it had something to do with her extraterrestrial heritage. Something to ask on that forum, if she remembered and had a chance, maybe.
    After lunch, Marilee toddled off to play with her blocks while Tresa cleaned up. She turned on the TV, keeping the volume low enough that she could hear Mari over it. She was glad she'd been able to afford a large enough TV that she could easily see the screen from a distance. While she watched, she called Reyansh to confirm their plans for the evening. "You're sure we'll have to time to to both the circus and a concert tonight?"
    "Oh, I'm sorry, I meant to call you back and tell you I had the date wrong," Reyansh said contritely. "The concert is next Sunday."
    "That makes a lot more sense. I'll be ready," she promised. She thought Marilee was a little young yet to enjoy a circus, and wasn't ready to expose her to so many strangers at once.
    The two of them spoke for a few more minutes before saying goodbye.
    Hearing nothing but silence from Marilee's room, not even the sounds of her tablet, Tresa peeked in and found her curled up asleep on her bed.
    "Great, maybe she'll sleep long enough for me to get some painting done," she murmurred, checking on the cats before going back into her room, which still doubled as her studio.
    Feeling inspired, Tresa worked quickly on her latest painting, a study of contrasting faces. It occured to her that the faces had an otherworldly look to them, and she hoped the finished product would appeal to buyers.
    That painting finished and packaged, Tresa decided to start a second one of about the same size, still feeling inspired. She measured her lines carefully, planning the image out every step of the way. This one would be a geometric shape, she cided. A series of circles in pastel shades linked by fine green lines. Actually, the final result reminded her of a Tangled Shapes puzzle she had done once years ago.
    Marilee woke up while her mother was busy painting, and decided to entertain herself rather than looking for trouble She found her tablet and turned it on, playing Blickblock Baby for a while.
    By the time Tresa came to check on her, Marilee had tired of her tablet and was clearly ready for a break.
    "Hey, Mari, let's check out these new animal flashcards Reyansh sent you.
    "Rey come?" Mari asked, looking around hopefully.
    "Not today, but soon." Tresa sat down and opened the pack of cards, holding up the first one. "This is a duck. Can you say duck?"
    "Tuck," Marilee managed.
    Tresa smiled. "Close. We'll come back to that one," she said, moving on.
    The next one was easy, and Marilee gleefully said, "Kitty!"
    Both had so much fun Tresa nearly lost track of time. "Okay, that's enough for now. It's time for you to go to daycare for a little while," she told Marilee.
    The toddler frowned. "Where you go?"
    "I'm going to the circus. You'll have a lot more fun at daycare," Tresa assured her as they left the house.
    To her relief, Marilee seemd to take her word for it and didn't argue.
    Tresa had a good time with Reyansh at the circus, enjoying the various acts though it was also nice to see everyone's costumes. She arrived home with Marilee just in time to read her daughter to sleep, deciding bathtime could wait until the next day since they were both tired. She did however manage to stay up long enough to get her own bath out of the way before bed.
    Post edited by SimTresa on
  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    Chapter Nine: Roommates

    One morning while Tresa was busy cleaning up after breakfast, Marilee followed Oreo outside in her pajama top and knelt to pet him. She was oblivious to the puddle he stood in, but somehow managed to avoid it herself. "Good Oweo. Love you," she told the cat, who stood very still and patiently let her handle his ear, knowing she wouldn't pull his fur or pet him too hard.
    Tresa hadn't even noticed Marilee's absense, she was so busy cleaning up the vomit the cats had left everywhere and taking out the garbage.
    Marilee tugged at the end of her tunic to get her attention. "Bath, please, Mama?"
    "Yes, it's time for your bath," Tresa agreed, picking her up. She noticed the dirt on Marilee's feet. "Have you been outside?"
    "Uh-huh. Wif Oweo."
    "Well, next time you want to follow the cats, let me know, okay? And don't ever go further than our yard, remember."
    "I 'member," Marilee answered, nodding solemnly.
    Marilee had a great time in the bath, barely staying still long enough to be dried off and dressed afterward. She insisted on wearing her new green dress with the matching jacket, wanting to look pretty. "Like you, Mama."
    Tresa's heart melted, she couldn't very well argue with that.
    She turned her attention away from Marilee for just a moment to put the dirty clothes in the hamper, and turned back to find Marilee leaning over the toilet, playing in it.
    "Marilee, stop that this instant," she said firmly. "If you get your dress wet, you'll need to change and have another bath to get clean again. Only bad little girls play in the toilet."
    Marilee obeyed instantly. "I'm sowwy," she said, pokiing her lower lip out. "I be good."
    "I know you're very sorry, Go play in your room for a while," Tresa told her.
    Tresa followed Marilee from the bathroom, standing where she could watch the toddler's progress to her room.
    Then she picked up her phone and called Reyansh. "Morning, Reyansh. Remember how you said last night you wanted to get to know Mari better? Why don't you come over today and join us for an erly dinner?" she invited.
    "I'd love to. I'll be right over," Reyansh answered.
    "Great. We'll be ready."
    "Oh, one more thing. Would you mind if I brought Mari a gift? I'd like it to be a surprise if possible."
    "Not at all, as long as it's not too expensive or fancy," she cautioned.
    "It's not. Just a stuffed bear I saw and thought she'd like," Reyansh assured her.
    Tresa smiled. "In that case, bring it. We can sneak it into her room while she's not looking." They hashed out the details of the plan before saying thier goodbyes and hanging up.
    To pass the the time until Reyansh arrived, Tresa checked the clothes on the line and took them down, putting them away quickly.
    After letting Reyansh in, Tresa went into Marilee's room. "Guess what? Reyansh is here. He's in my room, go say hi."
    "Rey!" Mari paused only long enough to grab one of her toys to show him before she hurried across the living room to her mother's room.
    The moment she was out of sight, Tresa opened the froont door as quietly as possible and brought in the large pink bear Reyansh had bought. She knew Mari would love it. Fortunately, there was just enough room for the toy in Marilee's bedroom, right beside her bed.
    "Hi, Rey. See my car?" Marilee asked, showing it to him.
    "That's a nice car. I like red, it's my favorite color," Reyansh said, dutifully admiring the car. "What's your favorite color?"
    "Pink an' purple!" Marilee declared. She was more interested in showing him how fast she could make the car go, enjoying having someone else's attention besides her mother's. The daycare providers din't really count because they had to pay attention to everyone at once.
    When Tresa came in a short while later, she instantly sensed that Reyansh was sad about something. and rescued him from Marilee's incessant chatter. "Mari, there's a surprise waiting for you in your room. Why don't you go see what it is?" she suggested patiently.
    "For me?" Marilee's eyes widened and she raced off to go see.
    Left alone, the two adults were able to speak uninterrupted, and Tresa did her best to cajole Reyansh into a better mood. She tried a little flirtation, but quickly realized that wasn't going well and left it alone for now.
    "Reyansh... we've been spending a lot of time together lately. I like you, so does Marilee. Why don't you move in? That way we can get to know each other even better and we'll figure out for sure if this is going anywhere before we take it further," she suggested, not wanting him to feel pressured into a commitment.
    Reyansh looked away, thinking about it. "It's something to think about," he said, finally. "But I think I like the idea. Your home is much more pleasant than the city. I understand now why you wanted to leave it behind."
    "I'm glad to hear it. Staying here would also give you a chance to find out if you can live outside the city without having to worry about paying for your own place," she pointed out.
    "True." he smlied. "You've sold me. I'll give my notice and start packing after dinner."
    "Good. We'll come help," Tresa offered.
    "I'd like that."
    Marilee was very surprised to find the giant stuffed bear waiting in her room, and froze for a moment, staring at it. "Bear! My bear!" she yelled excitedly. She had seen one just like it once on the TV and asked for it, but her mother said they couldn't afford it, not that Marilee really understood what that meant yet.
    Marilee flung herself on her new toy, hugging it as best she could. "I Mari. You Steitikki," she told it, somehow knowing that was the perfect name for a pink bear.
    "How do you feel about grilled cheese for dinner?" Tresa asked as she got out ingredients and turned on the stove.
    "Love it." Reyansh sat on a bar stool to watch her cook, admiring the way she moved and the fit of her outfit.
    They chatted easily while she cooked, and Reyansh insisted on being the one to prepare Marilee's plate, feeling that if he would be living with them he should take part in caring for the toddler.
    Touched, Tresa let him, wanting the two to bond, especially if this relationship lasted.
  • CathyTeaCathyTea Posts: 23,084 Member
    Rey is so nice! And Steitikki is the perfect name! :)
    Cathy Tea's SimLit Anthology

    Do you also play The Elder Scrolls Online? You can find me there as CathyTea, too!
  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    Thanks @CathyTea
  • RipuAncestorRipuAncestor Posts: 2,332 Member
    Mari is so precious! Also so cool that she gave her bear a name with a very similar logic as my toddler (her light blue and white bear is named Tikki/thari). They both seem very colour-oriented when they're young. :)
    My Sims stories:
    The Fey of Life - fairytales in life are few and far between (Forum thread HERE)
    The Chrysanthemum Tango - a story about life, death, magic, and how to be a good landlady (Forum thread HERE)
    Forget-Me-Not - some things just refuse to stay buried; an Ambrosia Challenge story (Forum thread HERE)
  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    They do, don't they? :)
  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    Chapter 10: New Routines

    Reyansh had to give up his job as a landlord when he left the city, naturally. But he couldnt give up working completely, something that had definied his entire life, so he decided to try to see how he'd make it qas an athlete. He got an early start on his workout routine, turning on a power sclupting video with the volume set low enough not to disturb anyone but high enough he could still hear it.
    Next he went for his usual morning jog. The silence would take some getting used to, and Brindleton Bay was also darker, with fewer traffic lights and lit windows lining the streets. It wasn't unpleasant, Reyansh decided, exploring the streets near home. Soothing was a better word for it, and safe. Yes, this move had definitely been a good idea.
    Back at the house, Reyansh quickly showered, then decided he'd better be friendly with the cats if they were going to be living together. He started with Angel, who was the more approachable and affectionate of the pair. He bent to pet the white cat. "Hi, there, Angel, what a pretty cat you are. I've never seen eyes like that before, one blue, one brown," he said. "I wonder if you'd pass them on to any kittens."
    Angel meowed at him, apparently deciding she liked him because she didn't avoid his touch.
    While Reyansh was eating an early breakfast, which was only leftovers form the evening before, Oreo approached, either wanting his share of the attention or hoping for a handout.
    The latter, Reyansh decided as the tomcat's eyes followed the movement of his hand. "This is not for you, silly cat. You wouldn't like it, anyway you have your own full bowl of food," he told Oreo firmly.
    Oreo made a sound that could only be described as disgruntled and stalked off, tail twitching.
    By the time Tresa woke, Reyansh had gone to bed, wanting to nap so he would be at his best when he went to work.
    Tresa went into the kitchen and began making breakfast. She decided to keep it simple and quick, settling on eggs and toast. she wanted to get the washing started before Marilee woke, so it would have most of the day to dry on the line.
    Tresa had just finished with the laundry and come back inside when she heard Marilee calling out from her room. Going in, she discovered Marilee was not only awake, but had dressed herself. "Good morning, Mari. What a big girl you are, getting dressed all by yourself," Tresa said. She was impressed that the outfit actually matched.
    "I hungry, Mama," Marilee announced, returning Tresa's hug.
    "Then let's get you fed," Tresa said, standing with her.
    That evening, Marilee had a blast playing with her cat toy, which she decided looked justlike Angel. "Cat princess lives in a big castle," she told Angel, seeing the castle in her imagination. She had great fun making up the cat's adventures, including Oreo too.
    Mariko Mori came to visit, much to Tresa's surprise and pleasure. She might be a loner, but that didn't mean she couldn't appreciate adult company in small doses. It was only crowds of strangers she really hated. The two women sat and chatted while Marilee played with her blocks at their feet.
    "She's adorable. I wish I had one of my own," Mariko said at one point.
    "You're welcome to come spend time with us whenever you like," Tresa answered. "And I'm sure you'll have some of your own someday."
    "I hope you're right."
    Reyansh returned home while Mariko was still there, and though he was half-asleep on his feet, he sat and chatted with her, as was only polite. "Good evening," he managed to say without yawning. Now if he could just keep from falling asleep until after he managed to get to bed...
    Tresa took advantage of the opportunity to get a very sleepy toddler to bed.
    Marilee was having too much fun to go to sleep quickly, so Tresa quickly ran thorugh some number flash cards with her in an attmep tto tire her out a bit.
    Her plan worked, and Marilee was soon dressed in her pajamas and tucked into bed. "Story, please?" she asked sweetly.
    "One story, then you're going to sleep," Tresa agreed, taking a book from the shelf. "Once upon a time there was a little frog..."
  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    Chapter Eleven: Baby Steps

    Reyansh had company for breakfast the next morning, in the form of a certain black and white Maine 🐸🐸🐸🐸.
    He frowned at the cat. "Oreo, get down from there. You know better than to jump on counters," he scolded.
    When Oreo only turned his back as if eyeing his chances of leaping across the room to the counter by the stove, Reyansh reached out and lifted him down.
    Oreo gave an indignant "Meow!" and darted off out the door to do some exploring.
    "Just stay away form any skunks," Reyansh called after him, amused. This was part of why he preferred dogs. A large one wouldn't be likely to jump on counters THen again, one could probably swipe his meal right off the counter and run off with it, so he had to concede that both pets had their advangates and disadvantages. A large dog probably woudln't be very comfortable in this tiny house anyway.
    After cleaning up anything that might tempt either cat, Reyansh put on aont her body sculpting video, enjoying the fast pace. It would be even better if he had access to home gym equipment or even a swimming pool, but he was carefuly budgeting while his career was just getting started. Someday, he promised himself. Assuming they lasted that long. So far, he hadn't gotten the urge to move on, but it was early days yet, and he expected this relationship to end just like all his others had. Though luckily for him, Tresa hadn't made too many demands on him or their relationship yet. He liked living here with her, Marilee and the cats, and was in no hurry to leave. He just hoped he and Marilee could become friends. She was an adorable little girl, adn the idea of being a father figure to her didn't scare him too much - yet. He didn't want to let anyone down, and was afraid he'd do just that given his commitment issues.
    Marilee eimerged form her room looking for something to eat just as Reyansh prepared to go for his morning jog, so he took the time to prepare a plate for her. "Here you go, be careful," he warned, watching until she was settled on the couch with the plate balaced on her lap.
    "Thank you, Rey. I always careful," she said, smiling briefly at him before turning her attention to feeling her little tummy.
    Reyansh smled, watching her for a moment before he left, knowing Tresa would her her and wake if Marilee needed anything.
    Full, Marilee put her plate carefully on the counter, pushing it so it wouldn't fall, then sat down with her blocks to play quietly by herself.
    When Reyansh returned, Marilee was happy for his attention. "Flashcards, please?" she asked, showing him an unopened pack.
    "Numbers? Are you sure you're ready for those?" Reyansh asked, surprised. He didn't know much about childhood development, having been an only child and with no children of his own. That fact suddenly struck him as sad. He didn't really want to be the last of his family, with no one to pass his genes and his legacy onto. He shook himself out of his thoughts to focus on Marilee.
    "Yes. I like numbers," Marilee told him confidently.
    "All right then, numbers it is," Reyansh agreed, flattered that she had asked him, even if it was only because he happened to be the nearest adult. He sat down across from her and held up a flashcard. "What number is this?"
    "Four! Like me!" Marilee shouted happily.
    "Oh you're four already? You're getting to be a big girl then," he said, chuckling.
    Marilee nodded agreement, waiting for him to show her the next card.
    Tired of flashcards, Marilee wandered out of her room in search of her mother. Finding Tresa having breakfast on the couhc, she climbed up beside her and chattered away about her morning.
    Tresa listened intently. "Really? Sounds like you had a lot of fun," she said, smiling.
    "Uh-huh. Rey is nice," Marilee admitted.
    "Well I'm glad you like him."
    Reyansh took the opportunity to get ready for work, thinking he had to make more of an effort to find time to spend with Marilee. He did enjoy those moments, rare and far between as they were, given that he was usually at work until after she went to bed and he didn't always wake early enough for them to have much interaction int he morning.
    When Reyansh passed Marilee's open door and she called out to him to "play with me!" he couldn't refuse, even though he knew he would be a few mintues late getting to work. He knew just what to do, having seen other parents and even some teenagers do it with toddlers before. He found the game much more enjoyable than he thought it would be, and judging from Marilee's happy squeals and giggles she was enjoying herself as well, which made him happy.
    "Okay, I think that's enough," he said after several minutes, letting her down to the floor. "I've got to go t work, but I'll be back tonight."
    "Can we play again later?" Marilee asked hopefully.
    Reyansh laughed, smiling at her. "We'll play again another time," he promised, hugging her before he left.
    Still revved up from their play, Marilee raced around the house and yard with her arms outstretched, pretending she was flying. Hearing some birds tweeting in the trees, she tried to mimic them as she did the cats. It was much harder, since she couldn't see what the birds were doing.
    Tresa kept an eye and ear on her daughter while she washed clothes. Who would have thought doing laundry would build such muscles? A washer and dryer were definitely on her wishlist when she was sure they could afford them. Or maybe just a washer, she did like the smell of freshly sun-dried clothes.
    Marilee eventually wore herself out with all that running and went inside. Spotting her blocks, she plopped down beside them and picked one up, studying the shape, colors and number on it. "Purple. I like purple. Square has four sides. One two three four," she counted, pointing to each of the square's sides. Then she counted the block's six sides, turning it over in her hands.
    Marilee eventually moved on to her tablet whlie Tresa continued to do chores, much too asborbed in her play to think about getting in trouble. She knew being good made her mother happy, and that made Marilee happy.
    "What's that smell? Marilee, is it you?" Tresa called, crossing the room to the doller's side.
    "Not me!" Marilee protested, giggling, even though it was.
    Tresa laughed. "Well, you're getting a bath anyway, just in cise," she said, picking her up and tossing her gently into the air.
    Marilee giggled some more, clinging to her.
    After Marilee's bath, Tresa planned to cook dinner. But first she had to empty the littler box and check the cat bowls. This gave Oreo the opportunity to jump up on the counter and try to sneak up on the abandoned package of raw tilapia.
    Unfortunately for him, his owner was quicker and caught him in the act.
    "Oreo! Get down from there," she said sternly, rescuing that night's dinner before it could become cat food. She thought about sneaking him and Angel some of the leftovers, but didn't want to encourage any bad habits.
    With Oreo safely banished from the kitchen, Tresa got busy preparing that evening's dinner and extras for the next few days. She knew Angel was watching her, but not only was the cat pregnant, she was more prone to scratching furniture than trying to jump on it, so Tresa felt safe ignoring her. Not that she was about to leave the meal out on the counter unattended, in case Angel decided to make the effort of jumping up onto the counter after all.
    When Reyansh came home with an appetite, Tresa kept him company while he ate, turning on a romantic movie.
    In between discussing their days, the two flirted lightly, still testing the limits of their relationship and how far each was willing to go just yet.
    Reyansh stood and picked up a single rose from where he'd left it on the coffee table. "I pcked this for you, because it's lovely, delicate and strong, just like you," he said. "I'm sorry I didn't see any yellow ones."
    "Oh, it's lovely, you flatterer," Tresa said, accepting automatically, though she was both flattered and flustered by his words. "I didn't know you were a point."
    "I'm not really. I don't know where that came from," Reyansh admitted, blushing. "I guess you bring out new thoughts and feelings in me."
    "Is that good or bad?"
    "Good, I hope."
    "Suppose we'll have to see how it goes one day at a time," Tresa said, suddenly at a loss for words and feeling anxious, not wanting to make a mistake.
    Reyansh seemed to sense her change in mood. "Is it too early for a kiss then?"
    Relieved he didn't press for more, she nodded and stepped away to put the rose in water. "I think so. Sorry."
    "No, dpn't be sorry. I guess this is were we say goodnight."
    "Goodnight," she echoed.
    Tresa sat with Marilee while she had her dinner, the little girl having woken up hungry. She found their conversation a welcome distraction from her thoughts about Reyansh, which were confused and conflicted. She did like him, and found him very attractive. It was nice to have company, someone to share the raising of Marilee with though she'd been managing well enough on her own. On the other hand, knowing Reyansh wasn't one to commit for long made her nervous. She wasn't sure she should bring someone into Marilee's life and build a relatonship with him only to have him leave just as they came to rely on him. Nor did she want Reyansh to feel trapped in an unwanted relationship. Maybe it would be best if they just remained friends and never formalized whatever it was between them.
    Tresa sat up long into the night thinking once Marilee was back in bed. She barely tasted her own dinner and stared unseeing at the TV while she ate. She didn't even notice Oreo sneaking onto the counter behind her again. Finally, yawning, Tresa made herself go to bed and stop worrying over what to do. One day at a time...
  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    edited March 2018
    Chapter Twelve: Short but Not So Sweet

    Tresa woke to Angel mewing very loudly, clearly unhappy. She knew it wasn't because her cat was going into labor, having been through that with her before. This was different. And was that a flea? Well, it was probably inevitable, the way the cats were constantly going in and out.
    "Reyansh? I'm going to take Angel to the vet. We should be back soon."
    "Go on, I hope she's all right," Reyansh called back across the kitchen, where he was checking on Oreo, who fortunately seemed to be flea-free for the moment.
    Tresa dressed hurriedly and grabbed Angel, lifting her carefully and carrying her out the door. She was glad they lived so close to the Brindleton Pawspital, making the trip short and quick.
    Tresa arrived at the vet clinic and signed in, letting Angel roam while they waited for a vet. She comforted Angel as best she could, petitng her, hoping she didn't get too stressed. That probably wasn't good for any kittens. The wait was longer this time despite the early hour, or maybe because of it, but eventually they were led into an exam room.
    Tresa was not really surprised to have her fears confimed: Angel did have flees. Naturally, she paid the price for the best treatment, wincing slightly at the cost. That was most of Reyansh's weekly income, or the equivalent of about 3 large paintings for her. They were definitely putting the next kitten or kittens up for adoption, there was no way they could easily afford the vet bills for three cats at this point.
    Back at home, Tresa greeted Reyansh and Marilee then went right to her room for a nap. She had woken way too early to take care of Angel and wanted to catch up on her sleep so she could keep up with Marilee.
    Reyansh left for his jog shortly after, several hours later than he liked. He was glad the weather was a little cooler, despite the same bright sun. He did regret that he'd forgotten to bring his sunglasses or at least a hat, hoping he didn't get sunburned.
    Either way, it felt good to be outside and on the move.
    Returning, Reyansh found Marilee in the living room playing with her tablet. ""What are you playing?" he asked, looking down at her.
    Marilee barely glanced up, intent on her game. "Blickblock Baby. It's my favorite ever," she told him.
    "It is? Looks like fun," Reyansh said. 'I like to play Blickblock too."
    Marilee gave him a skeptical look. "Nuh-uh. It's for little kids."
    "There's a type of Blickblock for adults too. You'll learn when you're older," he told her.
    "I want to learn now," Marilee said, inquisitive as ever.
    Reyansh cast about for a way to distract her from that subject, and hit on telling her a funny story, which seemed to work for the moment.
    Feeling hungry and rested, Tresa woke and joined them with her lunch in hand. She listened to the end of Reyansh's story with interest, joining the conversation between bites once she understood what he was talking about.
    Thinking Marilee and Reyansh needed more time alone together to get to know each other, Tresa quietly retreated back to her r oom to work on another painter. She hoped to have enough experience soon to be able to send her work directly to a gallery, but for now she relied on collectors willing to offer good prices. Today she wanted to experiment with abstract patterns, producing something that resembled a flower. She was pleased with the result and hoped a potential buyer would be too.
    While she was painting, Angel had her kitten, a girl who looked like her father but with her mother's eyes. The kitten was quickly adopted, naturally. For some reason, this time she felt saddened to see the kitten go, and deal with her feelings by painting some more.
    Oreo came in seeking attention, and Tresa was only too willing to give it, glad for the interruption. She lavished Oreo with attention, petting and talking to him.
    Post edited by SimTresa on
  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    Chapter Thirteen: No Labels, Please


    Late int he evening, Reyansh heard Marilee throwing a tantrum and realized he and Tresa had failed to wake her earlier so she could eat. He brought her a grilled cheese sandwhich and sat on her bed with her, chatting with her.
    "How about a bedtime story? Is that okay?" he asked once she'd finished eating.
    Marilee considered his request for so long he was sure she would refuse. Then finally gave a regal nod. "The bunny story" she instructed, pointing to the appropriate shelf.
    Reyansh felt a rush of relief that he had finally been allowed close enough to such a simple task for her. "The bunny story it is," he agreed, retreiving the book.
    Once Marilee was in bed, Reyansh had showered and changed, intending to get in his daily workout, planning to go to the gym for a change of pace. Instead, he found himself cleaning up after the cats first. He wasn't sure which of the two had been vomiting again, possibly both of them, but at leas tthere were only two puddles, he had seen as many as four previously. Next was cleaning the litter box, one task that defintely made him prefer dogs. At least once they were trained they made their messes outside so they didn't stink up the whole room. While he was at it, he checked the cat bowls as well.
    By 5AM, Reyansh was in the gym he used to frequent in the city. He had gone there because he was familiar with it and hoped soee some of his old friends. Unfortunately, it was pretty quiet that morning, and Reynash exercised alone, enjoying the feeling of working his muscles. He thought he might gift himself with a punching bag after his next promotion, to along with the basketball hoop. He didn't think he could convince Tresa they could afford a pool just yet, but maybe somewhere down the line they could have a small one put in. After a few hours, he decided to go home to shower, feeling like he had been away long enough.
    Back at home, Reyansh joined Tresa for breakfast. As was becoming thier habit to keep both of them comfortable, their conversation was a mix of the casual and the fliratious. This time, Reyansh even managed to throw in a dirty joke.
    Tresa laughed. "Just be glad Marilee didn't hear that one, mister, or you'd be explaining it with no help from me. You do know she's entered the "why" phase?"
    "Oops, thanks for reminding me," Reyansh said, and quickly steered the conversation back onto safer topics. "Think the cats would get along with a dog?"
    "No idea, and we're not going to find out yet. Remember the last vet bill," Tresa said.
    "Right. Well, it's something to think about along the way. Have I told you how nice you look today? I like your necklace."
    "Thanks, it's new." Tresa smiled, relaxed. "Reyansh? I think I'm ready for that kiss now..."
    Reyansh grinned, glad to hear it. "Me too."
    The kiss was soft, slow and tender, almost tentative on Tresa's part.
    Afterward, the pair stood watching each other, each waiting for the other to make the first move ro say something.
    "I do care for you, very much. And I value our friendship," Reyansh said at last, softly.
    Tresa nodded quickly. "Me too."
    "So...I...does this make us boyfriend and girlfriend?" Reyansh asked, subconsciously drawing back, waving his hand between them.
    Tresa immediately put her own hand up as if to stop him. "No. Let's not put a label on whatever this is between us yet, please. Let's just...be."
    Reyansh just caught himself before letting out a sigh of relief, wondering why he also felt disappointed at her rejection. "All right, yeah, sure, that works," he agreed, aware he was babbling. "I'm sorry I brought it up."
    "Don't worry. I don't want you to feel pressured, and I'm not sure I want anything so formal either," Tresa admitted.
    "Okay, well, good. Moving on." Reyansh found a smile somewhere, which probably looked as weak as hers did.
    They both heard the leaking faucet at the same time. "I'll take care of that, you just finish your breakfast," Tresa said quickly, moving around the counter away from him.
    Reyansh dropped onto the bar stool and picked at the remains of his meal, watching her.
    After a long silence, she said, "Mari's birthday is coming up. We shoud plan something."
    "What did you have in mind?"
    "A visit to the park, then cake and a couple of presents at home. I did promise her, but somehow never quite managed it."
    "Sounds good. When?"
    "On your next day off?"
    "That should work. Does she have any friends to invite? Someone from daycare maybe?"
    "I havne't heard her mention anyone in particular." Tresa frowned. "I'm afraid she'll turn into a loner like me, which isn't what I had in mind for her."
    "She'll make plenty of friends soon enough, give her time," Reyansh assured her.
    Tresa smiled. "I hope you're right."
    "I am, you'll see. It's just Brindleton Bay is a small town and we're pretty isolated out here. There'll be plenty of school friends soon enough."
    "That's right, I guess I'm just worried that she won't fit in."
    "Don't worry. One day at a time remember?"
    Tresa laughed. "That should become the famly motto."
    "Maybe,," Reyansh laughed.
    Hours later, Reyansh sat watching sports on TV while Tresa showered when Marilee finally woke up and came into the living room. "Good morning, Mari. Will you let me help you dress this morning?"
    Again he got the sense she was studying him as if deciding whether or not to trust him to care for her more directly than providing food, play and the occasional help with flashcards. Apparently reaching some internal verdict, Marilee said, "Yes, please, and started to climb back down from the chair.
    "What do you want to wear today?" he asked, letting her lead the way into her bedroom."
    "My unicorn shirt," she told him.
    He located the freshly washed shirt and decided a pair of jeans seemed a safe bet to go with it, helping Marilee out of her onesie. It turned out she only needed a little help getting her clothes on the right way around, but he didn't mind, feeling that dressing her briught them one step closer. No, he definitely wouldn't mind being her stepfather, if things ever got that far.
    As soon as Marilee was dressed, Reyansh had to leave for work, and said a quick goodbye as he left.

    Mariko came over in time for dinner while Marilee napped after a long day of playing.
    Tresa smiled, relaxed in her friend's presence - and she really did consider Mariko a friend, she realized. Friendships for her were few and treasured, social awkwardness making them hard work. She wasn't sure this one would havw grown so fast if Mariko wasn't so persistent.
    The two women sat and chated for a while before Mariko finally stood. "Thanks for hanging out with me. I'd better get going. See you later."
    "See you later," Tresa echoed, walking her to the door.
    Once Mariko had gone, Tresa went to check on Marilee, bending to tuck her in and kiss her soft, round cheek. She was growing up so fast and becoming more independant, yet Tresa still remembered her as a helpless little baby. She wondered if she should think about giving Marilee a little brother or sister, missing having a baby around. She was pretty sure Reyansh would be on board with the idea and be an involved father, given how attentive he was to Marilee.

  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    edited February 2018
    Chapter 14: Don't Say Commitment

    When Reyansh returned home from work, he quickly ate and joined Tresa in bed, having missed her. He woke her and to his pleasure found her in a receptive mood, having been in bed just long enough to be sleepy but not too exhausted.
    They slipped from the bed afterward so they could talk while standing facing each other.
    "I love having you here, Reyansh," Tresa admitted softly.
    "And I love being here. I also love you and Marilee," Reyansh said, only just realizing it himself. "Listen, I know we just talked about not having labels but I think of you as my girlfriend. Would it really be so bad if I introducdd you that way? It's not like we're getting engaged. "
    "I suppose it would be all right, if you're sure," Tresa said, surprised.
    "I am, until we both decide otherwise," Reyansh answered, meaning it. He was about to seal their agreement with a kiss when they both heard Marilee's little voice chattering to herself in the living room. "Let me go to her ,you go back to bed," he offered.
    "Thanks. Try getting her in a bath if she's not hungry, then read her a story, that usually works."
    "Will do."
    Reyansh expected to be nervous about bathing a toddler for the first time, but Marilee was not only cooperative, she was articulate enough to instruct him on what to do. He found himself enjoying the experience, and he didn't even mind getting splashed, though he had a feeling Marilee was going easy on him. Or else she was just too tired to splash as vigorously as he knew she could, according to Tresa.
    Again, Marilee was cooperative with getting dressed in a fresh pair of pajamas. She held out a book to him expectantly, familiar with this routine.
    An old hand at story time by now, Reyansh took the book and sat down on her bed to read, being sure to give every character a different voice. He never thought he'd be reading about talking animals, but he found he liked doing so. Having a child of his own was starting to sound more and more appealing.
    He tucked her in just as Tresa would have, then went back to bed himself.

    Tresa woke with a smile on her face, surprised at how pleased she was to know that not only did she have a boyfriend, but Reyansh had apparently overcome his noncommittal attitude enough to want to be hier boyfriend. She didn't know how long the situation would last, but she intended to enjoy it for as long as she could.
    In the mood to indulge in a special treat, Tresa went into the kitchen, still smiling, and whipped up a batch of pancakes. She wished she had some fresh berries or bananas to add. She'd have to remember to find some for next time.
    Reyansh certainly appreciated Tresa's efforts, stuffing himself on the pancakes. He was glad he had a fast metabolism, though he considered the pancakes worth it.
    Reyansh had company when he began his power sculpting workout after breakfast.
    Marilee brought her tablet over and plopped down nearby while she drew, clearly choosing his company over her mother's.
    Reyansh was pleasantly surprised, having expected her to follow Tresa outside. Then again, wet, dirty laundry was probably not very interesting. to a toddler.
    Sometime later, when Tresa came to check on Marilee, she found her reading quietly by herself and stopped to listen, wondering just how much Marilee understood and how much she had just memorized.
    "and the little llama walked up the...big rock..."
    Stifling a laugh, Tresa left her to it, hurrying into the bathroom to do some much needed repairs and cleaning. It seemed like everything was breaking at once lately, thanks to the cheap plumbing. Still, it beat that second-rate apartment.
    Eventually tiring of her book Marilee moved onto her blocks, arranging them to spell words. She really loved learning new things, and once she had been introduced to the concept of letters she had great fun sounding them out and trying to figure out how to pronounce the words in her books. Sometimes she would use as many words starting with the same letter as she could in one sentence, such as "Some salad for supper."
    The bathroom finally set to rights, Tresa realized it had been a while since she had gone over manners with Marilee, so she got started on that.
    "Don't wanna," Marilee complained.
    "Well you need to. Nobody likes rude, mean little girls. Come on now, won't you do this for me?" Tresa sked.
    With a little more coaxing, Marilee listened for about an hour before she grew restless and Tresa decided to quiet before restlessness gave way to a tantrum. Marilee hadn't had one in a while, and Tresa wanted to keep it that way.
    It was time for dinner anyway, and instead of cooking, Tresa served up more baked tilapia for dinner, letting Marilee eat sitting in her favorite chair.
    Reyansh was glad of his recent promotion, but the pleasure of it was overshadowed by stress. He needed a vacation, and soon. Right at the moment though, he would settle for a comforting bath, a hot meal and something fun to do to distract himself from the stress and cheer him up.
    It took all of that, plus a stimulating conversation with Tresa over dinner and finally a quick game of basketball before Reyansh felt relaxed and tired enough to actually sleep that night.
  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    Chapter 15: Happy Family

    Tresa woke first again, and this time decided to eat leftovers rather than cook again, not wanting the pancakes to go to waste.
    Whie she ate, she thought about her plans for the day. And there was Marilee's brithday coming up too. she was surprised Mari hadn't asked about it more. She hoped her little girl was ready for school. There was supposed to be a new one opening in the area, and Tresa hoped Mari would fit in there, with everyone being new.
    Marilee herself appeared, toddling over to Angel and interrutping the cat's breakfast with pats and cheerful chatter. "Angel, good Angel. Love you, pretty cat. You're soft like my pillow. Mama, can Angel be my pillow?" Marilee asked in a sudeen change of focus.
    Tresa laughed. "You can try, but I don't think she'd like it very much. She might scratch."
    "No she wouldn't. Angel's nice," Marilee corrected.
    "Well, she wouldn't mean to do it," Tresa answered, sliding off her barstool.
    "Why doesn't Angel have spots like Oreo? Is it because she's a girl?"
    Reyansh stepped in to attempt to answer that one, letting Tresa slip into the bathroom.
    Sensing another round of difficult to answer questions about to start, Reyansh distracted Marilee by lifting her high over his head.
    Marilee laughed, stretching her arms and legs out. "Higher!" she shouted gleefully.
    Tresa came out of the bathroom at that moment. "Reyansh, be careful," she warned., watching them.
    "She's fine, I've got her," Reyansh reassured her. "And she hasn't eaten yet."
    As if the mention of food had reminded her, Marilee announed, "I'm hungry," as soon as she was safely back in Reyansh's arms.
    "Breakfast is comign right up," Reyansh promised.
    After eating, ,Marilee wandered off to play with her blocks, deciding she wanted to build a tower this time.
    Realizing how late it was getting, Reyansh rushed out the door to go for a jog, hoping he would have time to finish and shower before he had to leave for work. The mascot costume was hot enough without adding the sweat and stink for his workout to the equation. At least it gave him plenty of motivation to earn another promotion, which he very much wanted.
    Tresa spent part of the afternoon working with Marilee on her manners again. For some reason, the toddler was being stubborn about saying please and thank you. And yet at one point she had beem using both words. Maybe the gap between lessons had been too long? Whatever the case, Tresa was determined to remedy the situation.
    Tresa tried another new recipe for dinner, wanting to add some variety to their diet. The Italian Meatballs didn't come out as well as they could have, which was disappinting. Tresa decided to make the best of it and managed to get down a serving rather than wasting the whole dish.
    With Marilee in bed Tresa took the opportunity to finally put on that dance video she had meant to try out the day before, though she knew she should probably wake the girl and get her to eat. It was much more fun than she expected and Tresa soon lost track of time, having fun with the workout.
    She only stopped dancing when Reyansh returned home and Marilee woke up on her own, wanting to eat.
    "Well, what do you think?" she asked, watching them eat the meatballs.
    "Um...I've had better..." Reyansh said carefully.
    Marilee had no such restraint. "Yuck!" she announced, pushing the plate away.
    Tresa sighed. "That's what I was afraid of. Guess I'll just have to keep trying."
    "I'm sure you'll get the recipe right with practice," Reyansh said, still eating, either because he was ravenous or to be polite.
    "Thanks, love." Tresa decided she couldn't force them to finish the rest when she didn't want more iether and dumped the remaining meatballs int he trash.
    "Time for little girls to be in their beds," Tresa announced, picking Marilee up.
    "Don't want to sleep," Marilee protested, squirming.
    "You have to, or you don't get to go the park tomorrow," Tresa warned.
    Marilee decided the chance to go to the nearby park was worth having to go to sleep, and allowed herself to be carried off to bed. "NIght-night, Reyansh," she called.
    "Good night, Marilee," he answered, barely tearing his gaze fromt he action movie he was watching.
  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    Chapter 16: Birthday Girl

    Tresa gave Marilee her breakfast then got to work making her birthday cake, which was strawberry, just as Marilee wanted.
    Reyansh helped himself to some pancakes. "Good morning. That smells good," he said.
    "It had better, it's a very special cake after all," Tresa answered.
    "She'll love it either way," Reyansh said confidently.
    "I'm sure you're right."
    Marilee played in her room with her wooden duck while waiting for someone to come and give her a bath so she ocudl get dressed. "Happy birthday to me," she sang to her toy, smiling with excitement. She knew she would get a big girl bed today, and she would get to start school, which sounded exciting but scary too. She had even picked out today's outfit all by herself, wanting it to be extra special.
    At Pupperstone Park, Marilee made a beeline straight for the ball pit and dived in, with her mother and Reyansh watching. Balls were so much fun to play in, she wished she had some at home so she could play all the time. She had asked, but Tresa had said no, pointing out there wasn't much room in their yard and the park was only across the street. Marilee couldn't wait to be allowed to cross the street all by herself to come play whenever she wanted. Maybe there would be other kids around to play with sometimes too. Though she did like having Tresa, Reyansh and the cats to play with when she wanted company.
    What would it be like to have a real friend all her own who could come out and play with her, not just pretend play like Steitikki?
    Unaware of Marilee's deep thoughts, Tresa and Reyansh sat at the chess table and began a game while eachi keepin an eye on Marilee.
    Mariko joined them soon after. "Hi! Nice meeitng you here."
    "Hey, Mariko." Tresa smiled. "How did you date go?"
    "Oh, it was all right, I guess. I"ll tell you about it later." Mariko studied the chessboard curiously.
    "All right, I look forward to that."
    Reyansh made a move and looked up form his fierce concentration, not wanting to admit he wasn't much of a chess player. "Oh, hello, Mariko," he said, just noticing her.
    "Hi again, Reyansh. Tell Marilee I said happy birthday. Her present's in the mail."
    "We will and thanks, you didn't have to send anything," Tresa said, surprised and touched.
    "But I wanted to. I like her."
    The conversation moved swiftly away from the topic of Mariko's romantic life until she spotted a cute guy she wanted to talk to and said her goodbyes, jogging off.
    Meanwhile, Marilee finally grew tired of the ball pit and moved to the big wheel near the slide, pretending she was in charge of a big space station. "Mama, Reyansh, come play with me!" she called out excitedly.
    "Go ahead, I'll just watch," Tresa told Reyansh. "This will probably be your last chance to join one of her pretend games, and I"ve done it before."
    "As long as you're sure."
    "I am. We can take turns if it makes you feel better, but you should still go first."
    Seeing Marilee growing impatient, Reyansh decided to stop arguing and hurried over to join in, taking his role as an astronaut very seriously.
    To give them more time together, Tresa jogged to the nearby food stand for a drink, feeling thirsty. She had forgotten to bring a drink for herself, though she had juice in a sippy cup for Marilee.
    At the end of their game, Reyansh picked Marilee up for a snuggle, smiling when she lovingly patted his cheek. He hoped they could remain friends. He thought back on all the memories they shared and knew he couldn't have been prouder of Marilee had he been her father. He hoped she saw him as her father, finding that the idea didn't frighten him at all. Except maybe in his ability to measure up. Reyansh might even be willing to attempt to make a marriage work, despite his fears of commitment, just so he really would be Marilee's father.
    "I love you, little Mari," he whispered, startled by the feeling of warmth, safety and contentment that filled him. He had felt similar things before, always when he was near Marilee, and wondered if that was normal. He had nothing to compare it to, and hadn't found an opportunity to bring the topic up with Tresa. Besides, what would he say?
    "Love you, Reyansh." Marilee wriggled to be let down. "I want to slide now, kay?"
    "Go ahead, I'll be here." Reyansh set her down and watched her run off.
    Reyansh knew the plan was to go home to eat after letting Marilee play for a while, but he found he didn't want to interrupt her pleasure. So instead he moved to a nearby grill and began to make hotdogs after running home to grab them from the fridge. It was very convenient living across from the park, even if it meant they had few neighbors.
    The two adults sat together at the picnic table to eat, the cake on the table between them. Reyansh had grabbed it as well, glad Tresa didn't object to the change of plan. There was little conversation, each lost in their own thoughts.
    Marilee frowned down at the hotdog on her plate. "Can't I have cake?" she asked, eyeing it.
    "Not until you finish your dinner," Tresa told her firmly.
    "Why?" Marilee pouted.
    "Because cake is for dessert. It comes after dinner."
    Marilee tried a different tactic. "Reyansh, can I have desert now please?" she asked sweetly.
    Reyansh shook his head at her. "Sorry, Miss Mari, that's not going to work. You need to listen to your mother."
    Marilee huffed and accepted the plate. But just because she had to eat the hotdog diddn't mean she wasn't going to drag the process out by alternately playing with her food and eating it, even though she knew only babies played with their food and she was a big girl now. Somehow, the hotdog got eaten, and Marilee slid off the bench to join the adults at the picnic table.
    When Tresa went to pick Marilee up to help blow out the candles, she was wriggling so much with excitement that she nearly slipped from Tresa's arms.
    Tresa laughed. "Be still, the cake's not going anywhere," she admonished gently. "Now blow, like this," she encouraged.
    Reyansh began to stand, taking a noisemaker from his pocket to celebrate with.
    Marilee finally settled down long enought o blow out her candles, grinning as she was set back on her feet.
    Reyansh turned to Tresa and hugged her. "I can't believe our little girl is growing up!"
    Tresa pulled back slightly to look at him. "Our?"
    "Yes, that's how I think of her. You don't mind, do you?"
    "No." she smiled, kisisng his cheek. "I"m glad you're here to share this moment with us."
    Reyansh returned the kiss. "I hope I'm here for many more."
    "Do you reall ymean that?"
    "I do, or I wouldn't have said it."
    "Good. Maybe we can talk about giving Mari a little brother and sister then."
    Reyansh grinned. "I'd like that very much."
    Leaving Reyansh to clean up their picnic area, Tresa went looking for Marilee, who had wandered off during their discussion. She found her on the monkey bars and stood wtching for a few minutes.
    "All right, you've had enough fun for one day. It's getting late, time to go home," she said at last.
    "Aww, Mama, just five more minutes?" Marilee begged.
    "Nope. Come no, now, you can play antoher day. Right now you need to get ready for bed so you'll get enough sleep for school tomorrow."
    Sighing heavily, Marilee climbd down and joined her as they walked to mee tup with Reyansh and head home.
  • SimTresaSimTresa Posts: 3,184 Member
    Chapter 17; First Day of School


    Marilee woke up bright and early on her first day of school, too excited to sleep. Careful not to wake the adults, she poured herself some cereal and climbed up on a barstool to eat. She was glad she was old enough to sit at the breakfast bar instead of in a chair. She still ached a bit from her growth spurt, but she could ignore that.
    Tresa woke, surprised to find Marilee had already gotten up and eaten. "Good morning. I was planning to make breakfast for you," she said, smiling.
    "Sorry, Mama, but I couldn't wait," Marilee answered.
    "Never mind, I'll just make you a plate for tomorrow," Tresa answered.
    "Okay!" Marilee darted off to the bathroom.
    Marilee brought out one of her new schoolbooks and looked through it.
    Sitting nearby with his own bowl of cereal, also unable to wait for breakfast to be ready, Reyansh said, "You must be really eager for school."
    "Oh, I am. I want to be a good student," Marilee answered cheerfully.
    Reyansh smiled. "You always were a smart kid. School shouldn't be too hard."
    "And if it is, we're both here to help," Tresa added.
    "I know. I'll ask for help when I need it, I promsie." Marilee smiled.
    Marilee headed out to the bus slowly, suddenly nervous as well as excited. This wasn't like a short, infrequent trip to daycare. She hoped she would fit in at her school, wanting to make friends. So far, she had more experience talking to adults than children her own age, and hoped she would know what to say.
    Tresa nd Reyansh looked at each other for a long moment once Marilee left. Reyansh broke the silence first. "We've got the house to ourselves and i don't have to go to work for a few hours. What should we do with oourselves?" he asked with a suggestive leer.
    Tresa smirked back. "I have an idea," she said stepping into his arms. "We could try for that baby we both want."
    "We could," Reyansh agreed, eyes lighting up. And that was exactly what they did, only emerging from the bedroom when Reyansh really did have to get ready for work if he didn't want to be late.

    Marilee invited her classmate Tom Matson over after school, having taken a liking to the slightly older boy. They had a blast playing pretend and chattering in her room for a few hours.
    She learned that he had two siblings, an older sister and younger brother, as well as a dog named Splotch. That was a funny name for a dog, and she giggled. Well maybe it wasn't any sillier than Oreo.
    Tom's normally cheerful expression dimmed as he looked closely at Marilee. "Hey, why are you sad? I thought we were having fun."
    "We are, it's just..." Marilee sighed and bit her lip.
    "What? Maybe I can help."
    "Someone left a party invitation on my desk, but when I asked about it, she said it was a mistake," she confessed in one breath.'
    Tom nodded sympathetically. "Was it from Dawn? She likes pranking all the new students, thinks it's funny. Just ignore her," he advised.
    Marilee smiled slightly. "I'll try. I'm glad we're getting to be friends."
    "Me too. I need to get going though, my folks want me to be home for dinner."
    "Okay, goodbye. See you tomorrow."
    "Yeah, see you. Maybe you can come over to my house next time."
    "I'd like that." Marilee followed him to the door, then went to take a shower.
    Tresa had a craving for fish tacos that evening, oddly enough. She liked them when they were cooked well, but they weren't her favorites. She couldn't even remember when she'd last had them. Probably before Marilee was born. Hmm, that was suspcious...
    Now that she had no one to play with, Marilee started on her homework, wishing Tom had been able to stay so they could study together. Maybe next time. She started with a reading assignment, finding it fairly easy.

    Late one night, Tresa confirmed her suspicious with apregnancy test. She jumped up, smiling, delighted by the news and hoping Reyansh would be just as pleased. Their little house would be getting fuller soon, and they would have to decide whether to remodel or move. Tresa didn't really want to move again, she liked the town and the neighborhood. She wondered how involved Reyansh would be, given his hours, deciding any help would be welcome. She had already gone thorugh the whole signel parent thing and that was hard enough with just one child to worry about.
    To Tresa's relief, Reyansh was still awake, though dressed for bed.
    "Reyansh, I'm pregnant!" she announced.
    Starlted, Reyansh stared at her for a moement. "You're what? Pregnant? That's wonderful!"
    Standing, he embraced her, tightly, knowing they had some decisions to make, such as where to live and what name the baby would have, but that could wait. Right now, Reyansh just wanted to savor the moment and the knowledge that his line wouldn't end with him. He had a feeling Marilee would be happy about a new baby, since she wanted a sibling badly, and he hoped they would get along.
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