G5 Chapter Thirty Three – The Twins Have Twins

One week later…

“Sweet pea, you look so beautiful,” Danae told Elyse as she fixed her hair. She never wore her hair down, not since she was little, but since Danae had changed her hairstyle Elyse had been more willing to change.

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“Thank you, Mama,” she replied. “Why are we going out again?”

“Your daddy and I have something we want to talk to you and Eamon about, and it’s pretty big. We want to make this special for you two.” Danae kissed her daughter’s cheek. “Are you almost ready, honey?”

Elyse nodded her head. “Can I bring Poppy with me?” Poppy was the doll they brought back from Sunlit Tides for her, and she loved it. Especially since Emmitt’s death, she was attached to the doll. Poppy went everywhere with Lysie.

“This is a really fancy restaurant, sweet pea.” She saw the look of disappointment on her daughter’s face. “But if you keep Poppy off the table, I guess so.”

Elyse smiled brightly. “Thank you, Mama!”

“You’re welcome, sweetheart.” Danae smiled at her. She knew she needed to pick her battles with the kids, and a doll wasn’t a dealbreaker for her. “Let’s see if the guys are ready yet, okay?” Elyse smiled and nodded, Poppy grasped in her fingers.

In the next room, Andy was finishing tying Eamon’s shoes and straightening his jacket.

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“You clean up good, sport,” Andy told him. “You’re a handsome little dude.” Eamon giggled madly and Andy hugged him. “You know, you have to be on your best behavior tonight, son. We’re going to a fancy place. Your mama and I have something important to tell you.”

The giggles stopped quickly. “Something important?” Eamon suddenly wore a concerned look on his face. “What is it?”

Andy laughed. “It’s a surprise, sport. Don’t worry, Eamon, it’s a good thing!” Danae’s head peeked into the bedroom door. “Are you ready, my sweet?” he asked her.

“We are. How’s it going in here?”

“You ready, son?” Andy asked him.

“Yes, Daddy.”

“I guess we’re good!” Andy took his hand, and Elyse had Danae’s hand. Together, the family walked to Andy’s car.

They arrived at the restaurant and Andy opened the door for Danae and the kids. Elyse took Andy’s hand and Eamon sidled up to Danae as they walked toward the door. “Remember kids, you need to behave. Make your mama and me proud of you tonight, okay?”

Elyse and Eamon both nodded. The looks on their faces told Andy they were a bit overwhelmed by the atmosphere. The host showed the family to the back room by the kitchen, the one called the Chef’s Table. Andy held the chair for Danae as she sat, and then Elyse beside her. Eamon took his seat beside Andy.

Kirby noticed the family had arrived, and he wiped his hands on his apron, walking toward the table. “Well, look who is here!” he chirped at the children. “Welcome, kids!”

“Hi, Uncle Kirby!” Elyse greeted him. “What are you doing here?”

Kirby chuckled. “This is where I work when I’m not working with your dad. I own this restaurant.” He smiled, observing the kids’ faces as they looked at him in wonder.

“Wow!” Eamon exclaimed. “This is awesome! We have this room all to ourselves?”

Kirby nodded. “Yes, you do! Make yourselves at home. You all are my guests this evening.” He nodded at Andy and brought the usual bottle of wine to the table, with milk in fancy glasses for the children.

Andy ordered dinner for him and Danae, and two orders of macaroni and cheese for the kids. She looked at him and smiled, reached for his hand and squeezed it. “Kids,” he began, “your mama and I have some news for you, and a gift for each of you.”

Danae watched as their eyes widened in excitement. Each of them had a basic, simplistic knowledge of where babies came from. It was a conversation Danae had with them when Trixie was expecting her baby. She never foresaw the need to discuss it with them about their own siblings.

“Remember when we had the talk about babies when Trixie was having her baby?” Both of them nodded their heads. “Well, your daddy and I… We are going to have a baby. Well, we’re having two babies. But they are not coming the usual way.”

Elyse shook her head. “I don’t understand.”

Danae took Elyse’s hands and looked into her eyes. “Sweet pea, when your brother Emmitt was born, something happened to me that made me not be able to have any more babies.” Danae waited for the inevitable questions.

“Now I really don’t understand, Mama. How are you having a baby then?” Eamon looked at her with the cutest expression. He was trying so hard to understand.

“Sweetheart, I’m not going to have them. Aunt Darcey is going to carry them for me and give birth.”

Elyse’s eyes filled with tears. “Why, Mama? What about Emmitt?”

Andy saw Danae’s eyes well up with tears, and he reached for his daughter. “Sweet pea, Emmitt will always be in our hearts, and we will never stop loving him or missing him.” Andy wiped the tears from her face. “We always wanted more than three children, Lysie. You know, your aunt Darcey is a very special lady. She wanted to do this for your mama and me because we love both of you so much. Wouldn’t you like a baby sister, Lysie? Or another baby brother? Maybe even one of each!”

She nodded and sniffled. “I would like a sister. I’ve had brothers my whole life,” she said, a serious expression on her face. Andy could not suppress the laugh. “What’s so funny?” She asked.

“Oh Lysie, this is such a good and happy thing! Your mama and I are very excited about this.” Andy squeezed his daughter’s hand. “We want you and Eamon to be happy about it, too.”

Eamon smiled. “Another brother?”

“There aren’t any guarantees, sport, but there’s a chance you’ll get another brother.” Andy patted his son on the back. “Mama and I have a special gift for both of you.” Andy got Kirby’s attention so he could bring the gifts Andy had left after work.

Elyse smiled when Kirby approached the table, two gifts in his hands. “Your mom and dad wanted me to bring these to you.” He handed the gift with the pink bow to Elyse, and the box with the blue bow to Eamon. “Are you two happy about the babies?”

They both nodded, and Elyse spoke. “I want a sister!” she chirped. Kirby chuckled and patted her head.

“What do you say, kids?” Danae prodded them.

“Thank you, Uncle Kirby!” they said in unison.

“You’re welcome, but your mom and dad are giving you these, not me. I’m just the messenger.” He smiled and went back to the kitchen.

“Can we open them, Mama?” Eamon asked, excited to open the gift.

Danae nodded, and she reached for Andy’s hand. The kids tore into the paper and Elyse had hers open first. It was a shirt that said, I’m Elyse, and I’m the big sister! She squealed with delight when she saw it and giggled. “I love it, Mama!”

Eamon opened his gift, and his shirt said something similar: I’m going to be a big brother! His smile warmed Danae’s heart, and he jumped up, excited. “I love my new shirt, Mama! Thank you!”

“You guys… you’re very welcome.” She hugged each of them. “So, are you okay with all of this? I know we put a lot of information on you.” She looked into Eamon’s eyes. “What do you think, sweetheart? Are you excited about us having twins?”

He nodded his head. “I miss Emmitt. It will be nice to have a little brother again.”

Danae laughed. “We’ll have to talk to Aunt Darcey about the little brother thing.”

Eamon smiled ear to ear. “Well, Aunt Darcey likes me, so I think she’ll do it.” Andy and Danae looked at each other and belly laughed.


Time flew by as Darcey’s pregnancy progressed. Before they realized it, she was twenty weeks, and her ultrasound to determine the sex of the babies was upon them. Andy, Danae, Clint, and Darcey sat in the obstetrician’s waiting room together.

“Darce, you’re huge already,” Danae remarked. “Are you sure it’s only 20 weeks?”

Darcey laughed. “Yep! This is what happens when there are two in there. They’re very active, too. I feel flutters all the time.” She put her hand on her belly. “Come here, Andy. Feel your babies moving around!”

Andy smiled and put his hand on the babies and felt one of them. “Oh, honey, this is incredible! You have to feel this!” He motioned for Danae to join them, and she gently laid her hand on Darcey’s belly. “See? Isn’t this awesome?”

“Darcey, I’m in awe of you,” Danae said and smiled at her sister.

“Darcey?” the assistant called her. “The doctor is ready for you.” The four of them stood and went back into the exam room. Darcey took her place on the table, Clint seated next to her, Andy and Danae nearby.

The sonographer entered the room, somewhat surprised to see four of them. Darcey smiled. “This is my husband,” she said and pointed to Clint. “My sister Danae and her husband, Andy. They will be the babies’ parents after they are born.”

“Oh, so you’re the ones! How exciting for you!” She shook Danae’s and Andy’s hand and sat by Darcey. “So, today we’re going to see if the babies are positioned so that we can tell their sex. What are you hoping for?”

Andy smiled. “It doesn’t matter as long as they are healthy.”

“He really wants a baby girl,” Danae piped up. “If we have a girl, she will be Theresa or Tessa for short.”

“What an adorable name!”

“It was my mother’s name,” Andy beamed. “Our son was named for my dad, but we lost him last year.”

“Andy… Murphy?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“That’s where I know your name from then! My husband and I are huge football fans.”

Andy smiled. That wasn’t unusual on the island.

She turned her attention back to the task at hand. “Let’s see what’s going on in here!” She squeezed some gel onto Darcey’s belly and placed the wand on her skin. “Here’s twin A,” she pointed out on the screen. “And here is twin B.” She pointed out each of them. “It looks like twin A is a boy!” She moved the wand toward the other baby. Danae took Andy’s hand, praying the other baby was a girl. “Twin B is a girl. Congratulations, Mom and Dad!”

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Danae’s eyes filled with tears. It was exactly what they had hoped for. “How about that?” Andy beamed. “One of each!” He kissed Danae tenderly and wiped her tears away. “Are you happy, honey?”

“So happy! Are they healthy?” Danae asked.

The tech continued the exam, taking measurements and making notes. “They look very healthy. The girl looks a bit small, but they are on target for development. You’re feeling well, Darcey?”

“Yes, very much so. They’ve been much easier than either of my two boys.”

“Well, I have what I need here. The doctor will be in shortly.” She turned to Danae and Andy. “Congratulations again!” With that, she turned and left the room.

Clint and Darcey kissed, and he whispered into her ear, “I’m proud of you, kitten, and I love you.” She only smiled.

The room was quiet, only the occasional sniffle was heard from Danae. As happy as she was, the thought of two babies was still a bit overwhelming for her. But her own preparations were going well and would be moving forward within the next month. The results of the ultrasound and the doctor’s impressions would dictate what Danae’s doctor would do next.

Ten minutes later, Darcey’s doctor entered the exam room and shook hands with all of them. He set the chart on the counter and gently examined Darcey’s belly. “Well, I have some great news for all of you. The babies are on target as far as development, and we see two very healthy babies. The girl is just a tad smaller than her brother, but that’s normal. Do you have any questions for me?”

“I need to talk to my own doctor about my nursing prep schedule. Are you thinking she will go to term or deliver early?” Danae asked.

“There’s a possibility she will deliver early. We won’t induce her unless a problem arises, but I don’t foresee that happening. So you can tell your doctor she’s on target for at term. I am not a lactation specialist, but I think that means you’ll be pumping soon?”

Danae nodded. “At about 3 months until birth, yes.”

“Well, you can tell her we’re shooting for a 40-week birth. But I can send that report to her if you’d like.”

“Sounds good.” Andy put his arms around her and hugged her to him.

“I’ll see you in two weeks, Darcey.

The four of them walked to the parking lot. The sisters hugged and the brothers-in-law shook hands. “Come on, kitten. Let’s go home,” Clint said. “We’ll see you guys later!”

Danae was quiet on the way home. “What’s cooking in that pretty little head of yours, Nae?” Andy asked.

“Just thinking about Emmitt. I miss him, Andy. I ache for him. No baby is ever going to take his place.”

“And they shouldn’t. I miss him every day. It’s not getting easier, the pain is not getting better. But honey, we have four good reasons to be happy, to continue on. Danae, I love you. I promise it will get better, though I can’t promise you a timeframe. Just trust me. We will find a way to get through it.” He took her hand and kissed it.

“Just be here with me and our children. That is all I will ever need.”

“Forever and always, my love.”

*****

Andy and Danae were both waiting for the kids to get home from school. They were excited to tell them the news and they hoped the kids would share their enthusiasm. It meant a brother and sister for each of them.

At 3:30, they waited out by the gate for the bus, and when it arrived and the kids saw them, they ran to them with hugs and kisses. “Hey sport,” Andy greeted Eamon. “How was school?”

“Okay I guess,” he replied.

“We have some news for both of you,” Danae said. “Come inside and let’s sit and talk.” She took Eamon’s hand, and Elyse grabbed Andy’s hand. All four of them walked into the house together.

The kids joined them as they sat on the sofa. “So, we went to Aunt Darcey’s doctor appointment this morning. Do you want to know if you’re going to have brothers or sisters?” Danae’s eyes sparkled with excitement.

Elyse’s face lit up. “You know already?”

“Yes, we do!” Andy put her into his lap, and Danae wrapped Eamon into her arms. “What do you want, Eamon? A brother or sister?” Andy asked his son.

“A brother,” he said without hesitation.

“How about you, Lysie?” Danae asked her.

“A sister. I already have a brother.”

Danae smiled and nodded at Andy. It was his good news to tell. “You are both getting what you want. We’re having a boy and a girl!”

Elyse squealed with delight, and Eamon wore his signature ear-to-ear grin. Their happiness was apparent. Danae and Andy were joyful to see their children so happy. They had also lived the worst year of their lives when their brother died.

“What are their names, Daddy?” Eamon asked. “Can we help pick out names?”

“Well, son, your baby sister’s name will be Tessa. Did you know that was my mama’s name?” He pointed to the portrait of his parents that hung in the stairwell. “Your Papa’s name was Emmitt, and your Grammy’s name was Tessa. That’s where your sister will get her name, and that’s where Emmitt got his name, too.”

Elyse had seen the picture as far back as she could remember, and she knew who they were, though she had no memory of her Papa. “What about the boy? What’s his name, Daddy?”

Andy looked at Danae. “I don’t think we have a name picked out for him yet, sweet pea.” He had an idea but he thought maybe Danae wanted a different name.

“Not yet,” Danae concurred. “We have some time to think about it.” If Eamon’s middle name hadn’t been Travis, it was a name she really loved for the baby. But in her opinion, it was Andy’s choice and she would be happy with whatever he wanted.

“I have an idea,” Andy said with a smile. “Why don’t we go out for dinner tonight? Nothing fancy, just to celebrate our family and the twins. What do you say, kids?”

Eamon and Elyse looked at one another and nodded. “As long as Poppy can come, too!” Elyse chirped.

Danae chuckled at them. “Of course Poppy can come, too!”

Andy slipped his hand into hers, lifted it to his face and kissed it. “Thank you, Nae,” he whispered to her.

“What for?”

“Everything. You, the kids, this house, my job. Baby, you’ve made every dream come true for me, and I couldn’t thank you enough.”

She kissed him tenderly. “I will love you forever. And you’re welcome.”


Darcey technically still had six weeks until her due date, but she walked around the house, miserable. Her back was aching, her feet swollen, and she was grumpy. “I feel awful, boo,” she told Clint. “If I don’t have these babies soon, I’m going to scream.”

He chuckled at her. “I was going to remind you that this was your idea, kitten. But that look on your face tells me I should keep my trap shut.”

She sighed deeply and sat on the bed. “I know. And I’ve been fine up until last week. One of them is sitting on my bladder and if he kicks me again, I will wet myself.”

“How do you know it’s the boy kicking you? It could be Tessy.”

“Well, if this is Tess kicking me, she’s going to be a football player someday, mark my words. Oof!” She got back on her feet. “It hurts to sit, it hurts to stand. But you know, the way my back aches makes me think I haven’t got much longer.”

“I hope not for your sake, kitten. Would you like a foot rub?”

“Oh, would I ever!” she exclaimed.

Darcey fell asleep on the couch, her feet in Clint’s lap when she was jolted awake. “Ouch!” She doubled over, holding her belly.

“Are you okay, Darce?”

“I think that was a contraction. Call Nae and Andy. They need to be on standby.”

“You got it, honey.” Clint walked into the bedroom to grab his cell phone, dialed Danae’s number and waited for her to answer it.

“Hello?” came the sleepy greeting.

“Nae, it’s Clint. Darce thinks she is having contractions. She wanted me to let you know.”

She sat up straight in bed and slipped her feet into her shoes. “Are you sure, Clint?”

“Well, she said to be on standby, Nae. I’ll let you know if things get real here.”

“Thanks! I’ll wake Andy.” She hung up the call and looked at her watch. It was almost two in the morning.

“Who was that, baby?”

“Clint. Darcey thinks she’s having contractions.”

“Well, that’s not good,” Andy yawned. “Should we stay up, Nae? What did her doctor say about early delivery?”

“Well, six weeks early is technically premature but our babies will be fine. Don’t worry, my love.” She snuggled up to him and kissed him. “I guess I should call Janelle?”

“It wouldn’t be a bad idea if we’re on standby.”

“I’m on it, babe.” She dialed Janelle’s number but got her voice mail.

Janelle, this is Danae Murphy. My sister may be in labor. If you get this message before three o’clock, call me. Thanks.

“She’s not home?”

“I guess not. I hate to call Trixie. But I suppose if we need to, we could drop them off on the way to the hospital if we have no other choice.” Danae tapped her fingers on the dresser. “I wish I knew for sure if she was in labor or not. This is killing me.”

Ten minutes later, Danae’s phone rang. “Nae?”

“Darcey?”

“It’s time. Meet us there.”

“Be safe. We’ll see you soon. Love you, Darce.”

She heard a groan of pain on the other end of the phone. “Love you… Nae…” she barely got out before she hung up the phone.

“Andy, we have a problem. Janelle hasn’t called us, and we have no one to watch the kids.”

“Let me call Aaron. I’m sure they won’t mind, baby. The kids will just sleep anyway. Go ahead and get them ready, my sweet. We’ll drop them off on the way.”

“Andy?” The call woke him from a sound sleep. “What’s up, buddy?”

“Darcey is in labor. Can we drop Elyse and Eamon off? They won’t be a problem, and I’ll get them afterward. I’m going to call them into school today.”

“Of course. Trixie is up with Stephanie. She’s colicky.”

“Thanks, Aaron. We owe you big time.”

He chuckled. “Yes, you do! Let me know how the babies are. I know they’re early.”

“Will do. Thanks again.”

Danae already had the kids up and ready, a small bag packed and their blankets and dolls. “Come on kids, we need to go.”

The family piled into the car and drove the short distance to the Hall home. Danae got out with them and walked them to the door, where Trixie greeted them. “Good luck, Nae! And don’t worry about your babies. Let us know.”

“You bet! Thanks again, Trix.”

When they arrived at the hospital, Darcey was in a room, still dressed as she was when she went in. Her water hadn’t broken, but since she was early they didn’t want to just send her home, either. So she walked around the room just as miserable as she was at home. But now she didn’t have the comforts of home.

“How are you feeling, honey?” Danae asked her. Darcey bent over the exam table as a contraction hit her.

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“Peachy. Remind me again why I let your husband impregnate me?” Darcey scowled. Andy thought it was hilarious, but Danae shot him a look.

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“We’ll get through this together, Darce. Breathe.” She kissed her sister’s forehead and walked to Andy. “Please, no more laughing. She’s in pain, babe.” She caressed his cheek, her eyes begged him.

“I’m sorry, Darce. I didn’t mean anything by it. You know you’re my hero.” Andy crossed the room and hugged her.

“It’s okay. Clint keeps reminding me this was my idea. When it’s over and you’re holding your baby son and daughter, all of this will be worth it.” She kissed Andy’s cheek.

Danae paced with Darcey, hanging onto her for dear life. Andy paced on the other side of the room, and Clint sat, knowing better than to engage his wife in conversation when she was this miserable. Having Danae there calmed her, and he was thankful she and Andy were there with them.

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Two hours later, her water broke. Danae ran to the nurse’s station to inform them, but when she got back, Darcey was crying. “I need drugs, Nae. Please, help me.”

“I’m on it, Darce.” Danae searched for her obstetrician, who was standing at the station getting information on the case.

“Hi, Danae,” he greeted her. “How’s your —”

“She needs help, doc. She’s in a lot of pain. Please, give her something so she can be comfortable?”

The doctor whispered something to the nurse and she nodded. “We’ll get her all taken care of, you have my word.” He patted Danae on the shoulder, so she went back to the room.

Fifteen minutes later, Darcey had an epidural and was feeling better. “How are you feeling, Darcey?” the doctor asked her.

“Better now, thank you so much.”

“It won’t be much longer before they’re ready. You can start pushing as soon as you’re dilated. You’re at nine centimeters right now.”

“Thank you,” Darcey whispered.

Two hours later Theresa Elizabeth Murphy was born.

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Despite being early, she was only a pound underweight. The nurses swaddled her and placed her into Andy’s arms while Danae sat with Darcey, coaching her. Minutes later, her brother Theodore Rowan Murphy entered the world almost at ideal weight. Both were healthy and perfect.

Andy wept, holding his newborn son while Danae cuddled their daughter. “Pinch me, Danae,” Andy cried, deliriously happy. “Am I really holding our brand new baby boy?”

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Danae sniffled. “You are, my Andy.”


The twins were scheduled for discharge a few days out. One of them was a little jaundiced so the doctor kept them an additional day for observation. Danae and Andy were camped out in a hospital room with them. Her hormone therapy had paid off and her milk supply was abundant. The time in the hospital afforded them quality bonding time, and they were thankful for it.

Darcey was discharged from the hospital two days after giving birth, one day before the twins were scheduled to go home. And though she was happy for Danae and Andy, she felt empty inside. Clint never once left her side, and when it was time to go home he tended to her lovingly.

“Did you even get to hold them, Darce?” he asked softly, helping her with her shoes.

“The doctor said it would be better if I didn’t, at least not yet. Nae and Andy need some bonding time with them. And her milk is ready for them…” Her voice trailed off. “Boo, this is harder than I anticipated. I mean, I carried them for nine months. I love those babies.”

“I knew it would be hard for you regardless of who got them, sweetheart. But know I’m always here for you when you need me. And Noel and Shan, too. Honey, we all love you, and I’m so proud of you. You gave your sister and Andy the greatest gift.”

“I’m happy I could do it. But I might need some help with postpartum depression this time around.” Darcey sighed. She longed to hold the babies just once, but she knew she couldn’t. Not yet.

“There’s no shame in admitting you need help, Darce. Never forget you have a family at home who can’t wait for their mama to come home.” Clint kissed her forehead tenderly. “I couldn’t love you more than I do right this minute.”

“I love you so much, Boo. Thank you for letting me do this for them. They deserved this chance to be happy and whole again.”

Clint smiled. “Yes, they did.”

“Then why do I hurt so much?” Darcey wept in his arms.

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“Shh, kitten, you’re okay.” He kissed her tenderly and held her. “You are amazing. And time will heal your heart. Besides, honey, they’re not gone for good. You know Danae is a wonderful mother. You done good, Darcey.”

She snuggled in closer in his embrace. “Thank you for loving me, Clint.”

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“Oh Kitten, you’re so welcome.”

Her homecoming was met with balloons and streamers and two happy little boys, though she supposed Noel wasn’t a little boy anymore. And that realization depressed her more. But she kneeled down and opened her arms for them, and they both ran to her and embraced her. Both of them understood the sacrifice she had made for their Aunt Danae.

“Welcome home, Mama,” Noel greeted her with a kiss and a bouquet of flowers. “We missed you.”

“Oh sweetie pie, I missed you both so much!” She snuggled both boys into her arms and covered them in kisses.

Shan put his hand on her belly. “Aunt Danae and Uncle Andy have them now?” he asked, smiling.

Darcey kissed his forehead and smiled. “Yes, honey, they do. You’ll get to meet your cousins very soon, I promise.”

“Awesome!” he replied and snuggled closer to his mother. Shan was a mama’s boy, and he was quite happy no little brother and sister were taking his place.

“Let your mama rest, boys,” Clint said to them. “Remember, she is just coming home from the hospital.”

“Anything you need, Mama, just ask,” Noel said. “I’ll get it right away.”

“Thank you, baby boy,” she replied. Normally, being called ‘baby boy’ would have made Noel cringe, but today he didn’t mind it so much. He was just happy she was home.

Clint helped her upstairs to their bedroom. “I should call Nae,” she said quietly. “To see how they are.”

“Why don’t you do that tomorrow, when they go home?” Clint suggested. “Get some rest, love.” He helped her into her pajamas and tucked her into bed. “If you need me, I’m downstairs with the boys. I’m proud of you, Darce, and I love you.”

Sleep was coming quickly, and she laid her head on her pillow. “I love you…”


The next morning, the twins were approved to go home with their new parents. So far, Danae was bonding with them well. Andy had the next eight weeks off for paternity leave while she settled into a new routine with the twins. Kirby sent the limousine to pick up the family from the hospital, and waiting at home for them were Lysie and Eamon, with Aaron, Trixie, and Stephanie.

“Welcome home!” Trixie cheered as they walked through the front gate. Elyse ran out first and wrapped herself around Andy, and he chuckled. Eamon sprinted for Danae, chattering about the babies.

“Thanks, Trix!” Danae chirped. “I know these two munchkins want to meet their new brother and sister. Let’s all go inside. I need to nurse one of them.”

Aaron was waiting in the house, Stephanie in his arms. But he found a way to shake Andy’s hand. “Congratulations, man!”

Andy pulled the blanket away from the baby’s face and showed him. “Meet my son, Teddy. It’s a family name.”

“Oh Murph, he’s beautiful,” Aaron said, cooing at the baby. “He looks like you.”

“Thanks, Aaron. That means a lot coming from you.” Andy beamed at the infant in his arms.

“Hey, take the compliment when you can, Murph. I don’t hand them out that often.” Aaron laughed.

Andy laughed with him. “You got that right.”

Danae sat down in the rocking chair with Tessa to let both kids see her better. Elyse walked right up to her and stared. “Mama, she is so tiny!”

“You weren’t much bigger than Tessa when you were born, Lysie. Hard to believe you were ever this little.” Tessa was starting to fuss, so Danae prepared to nurse her.

Eamon was fascinated by the baby in Andy’s arms. He approached them slowly, creeping up to where Andy sat with Teddy. He reached to touch the baby, but just as he did, Teddy cried and Eamon backed away.

“He won’t hurt you, son,” Andy laughed. “Babies cry. It will be a familiar sound soon enough.”

Elyse curled up on the sofa with Andy and Eamon, not taking her eyes from her infant brother. “Can I touch him, Daddy?” she asked.

“Just be gentle, sweet pea.” She reached for his hand, and the baby grasped her finger. She giggled madly, in love with the baby her father held in his arms.

“They’re both so cute,” she said.

“Remember we told you, kids, that babies are a lot of work, and two of them are twice the attention,” Andy told his two oldest. “Also remember we are always here for both of you. Anything you need, don’t be afraid to ask us. We don’t mean to ignore you guys.”

“Lysie, would it be okay for me to ask you to help me once in a while?” Danae sat Tessa over her shoulder to burp her and gently patted her back. “You’re old enough to help me and Daddy. Eamon, you too!” Danae wanted the kids to feel connected to their new siblings, and having them help, she hoped, would accomplish that.

“Can I really, Mama?” Elyse’s eyes lit up. “Whatever you want, Mama, I’ll help!”

“Andy, I need Teddy. Let’s switch, babe.” He stood and reached for Tessa, and handed Teddy to her. She settled him into her arms to nurse. Oh, how she missed having babies in the house, and it felt so good to hold a newborn again. “I’ll let you know when you can help, sweet pea.”

*****

The children were tucked into bed, though getting Elyse to settle down was difficult. The babies were fed, warm and loved, tucked into their cribs and sleeping. And as they did every evening, Danae and Andy sat by the pool cuddled together, Andy sipping a glass of wine and Danae enjoying a glass of sweet nectar. He caressed her cheek gently and she nuzzled her face into his hand.

“A penny for your thoughts, Nae?”

“I’m just thinking about Darcey. We should have them over very soon for dinner. She seemed different when I talked to her earlier today.”

“She never even held them. That surprised me.” He kissed her fingers.

“That was part of the plan to allow us to bond with the babies. But I feel bad, babe. I know that woman better than I know myself. She is hurting.”

“Well, as soon as she’s feeling better let’s have them over for dinner. Besides, the boys should meet their new cousins.”

Danae chuckled. “Technically, they are siblings, just like they are with Lysie and Eamon. Clint and I are the only ones that have no skin in this.”

“Oh honey, you have plenty of skin in the game. You have my skin. And the two shall become one. Remember? Together, we are Mama and Daddy.”

“Let’s have them over for dinner next week after we’ve gotten into a routine with the babies. I don’t want to wait longer than that. She deserves to see them.”

“We will make it happen, my sweet.” Andy was about to speak again when a cry sounded over the monitor. “I guess you have a hungry baby.”

“Just as well, I was going to wake them one at a time to eat before I went to sleep anyway.” She stood up and took his hand. “If you help me, I’ll let you snuggle with me.”

“What an offer!” he purred. “Let’s go.”

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Up Next: Chapter Thirty-Four, Generation Five


If you or someone you know struggles with postpartum depression or other depression issues, please get help. Visit SAMHSA at https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline or call 800-662-HELP (4357)

The Suicide Prevention Hotline phone number is 1-800-273-8255 Don’t suffer in silence.


Pose Credits:

Poses By Bee

InkWisteria – Ultrasound Poses
Spladoum – Bundle of Joy
Sea – Warm Hugs
Blams – Young Romance

Custom Content:

ClioSims Hairbrush Accessory
Around The Sims 3 Sims 4 to 3 Conversion Stool and “Poppy”
Elyse’s Dress Altea’s Little Angel
Hekate999’s Hospital Items
Elyse’s Room Decor Nursery Cubes
Severinka Bunny

I know there are items I have left out, but it’s getting almost as long as my story to credit everyone! So my blanket disclaimer: I have produced none (except Murphy family portraits) of the CC used in this chapter. If someone has gone uncredited, it was not intentional, and I am truly sorry! I take no credit for any CC used, except where noted.

G5 Chapter Thirty Two – Darcey Plans A Gift

Four months later…

“Do you need help with that?” Aaron yelled up the stairs of the Murphy home. 

“No, I think I have it,” Trixie yelled back. “This is the last box anyway.” She carried it to the top step, placed it on the stairway and let gravity take care of the moving. 

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Andy chuckled. “I hope there were no family heirlooms in that box, or they are toast.”

Aaron shrugged. “She said it was clothes and a blanket her mother crocheted. I’m assuming it’s pretty impossible to break that.”

Danae was happy for her friend, but she would miss Trixie’s company every morning. Since their engagement three months prior, Danae had unsuccessfully been looking for a new nanny. And now that Aaron and Trixie were expecting their first baby, she was moving to his house. The baby would arrive shortly before Aaron’s 42nd birthday, and three months after Trixie’s 30th.

“Uh oh,” came a distress call followed by quick footsteps and retching. Aaron took the steps two at a time, rushing to her aid.

“Are you alright, Beanie?” he asked.

She looked at him, feeling nauseated. “Not really. But it will pass in a couple of months.” She was barely six weeks pregnant. 

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“I guess we need to plan the wedding we’ve been putting off. And I suppose I should call my mother. Dad would have loved a grandchild.” Aaron’s father died shortly before they found out about the baby. His mother was no younger and in poor health. It was likely she wouldn’t see the baby born. 

“It doesn’t have to be a big wedding. In fact, we can get married at Town Hall if you want. I don’t care, Coach, as long as we are together.”

Andy carried the last of Trixie’s belongings to Aaron’s car while she and Danae tidied up the suite. Wyatt and Raisa’s baby was due in just a month, and now Aaron and Trixie were starting a family. 

The four of them stood in the yard. Danae got emotional, even though Trixie was only moving down the street. “I’m going to miss you!” she wept.

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“I’ll miss you and the kids,” Trixie cried. 

“You’re welcome to come by any time, you know. Don’t be a stranger.” 

“Of course, Nae. You’re my best friend.” Aaron looked at her funny. “Besides you, Coach.” 

Andy hugged Aaron. “Treat her well, or I will hurt you,” he joked. 

“Try it,” Aaron laughed. “I might be older, but I’m in better shape and I’m faster!” 

Andy belly laughed. “I believe you!”

Danae and Andy watched as their friends got into Aaron’s car. They both waved as he drove away, and Danae began to cry.

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“Oh honey, she isn’t that far away,” Andy said softly. 

“I know,” she sniffled. “Everything is changing. Wyatt and Raisa are expecting. Aaron and Trixie are expecting…” her voice trailed off. He knew she was thinking of Emmitt.

“Baby, shh, it’s okay.” Andy held her tightly. “What we have is awesome. Don’t worry, honey. We are alright.” 

Danae sighed. “Change is good, right?”

“It can be, yes.” 

“I love you, Andy. Thank you for being my constant.”

“Always my pleasure, my sweet.” 


Two months later…

Trixie tried to hide the growing bump that was their baby under a simple dress. The wedding took no time to plan and would be held in the little chapel that overlooked the ocean, the only one on the island. It was more for Aaron than it was for her, though it was the first marriage for both of them.

The party only included their closest friends: Wyatt, Danae and Andy, Darcey and Clint, and Kirby and Rae. Wyatt’s wife Raisa, who was caring for their newborn daughter Keely Maria, could not attend the wedding. Andy’s two children would be ring bearer and flower girl, Andy would act as Aaron’s best man, and Danae the matron of honor.

“How is this?” Trixie asked. Her hair was adorable, and she wore a simple veil in it. 

“Trixie, you’re beautiful,” Danae assured her. “Aaron is going to love it.” 

“He’s been so excited about this, Nae. I have been, too. I’m glad we’re doing this before I get much bigger. Pretty dresses are hard to find when you’re sporting a big baby belly.” 

Danae hugged her best friend. “Andy and I are so happy for you two. I don’t know why I never thought to introduce you guys sooner.” 

Trixie smiled. “The timing was never right. We met exactly when we were supposed to. I was single and ready. I needed to date Steve to realize I was ready for a man like Aaron.” Steve was the man she was dating when Danae and Andy left on their anniversary trip. “He was the biggest jerk of them all, and he made me realize I was ready for someone different. In some ways, I’m thankful for him. I might have never given Aaron a second look if not for that wake-up call.”

Andy knocked on the door of the bride’s room. “Baby, Aaron’s ready. It’s go time.” 

“This is it!” Trixie said. “I’m glad we planned a little wedding instead of going to the courthouse. Thank you for all your help.”

“Anything for you, Trix. I love both of you like family.” Danae gave her one last hug before she joined Andy in the vestibule.

The kids were dressed in the same outfits they wore to the vow renewal, Eamon walked down first carrying the pillow with rings tied to it. Elyse followed him carrying a small basket of flowers. Danae and Andy watched their children walking down the aisle and he squeezed her hand. “Are you ready, sweetie?” 

“You bet,” she replied, and together they walked behind Elyse. 

When they were at the front, the music changed, and Trixie appeared at the back of the chapel.

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Aaron’s eyes got wide when he saw her, and he lost it. Andy squeezed his shoulder and whispered into his ear. “Your bride is beautiful, my friend.” 

He shook his head. “How do I deserve her?” Andy smiled at the groom, his best friend. 

“You just do, buddy. Congratulations, man.” 

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Trixie reached the altar, and Aaron took her hands. “Wow, Beanie, you look gorgeous.” 

She smiled bashfully. “You look amazing, Coach.” 

Aaron took her hands in his, looked into her hazel eyes and smiled. “Trixie, when we met, I wasn’t looking for you, and I certainly wasn’t thinking I could ever love you. But you made it easy to fall for you, easy to love you. And I couldn’t imagine loving you more than I do right now.” He placed his hand on her belly and smiled. “Both of you.” He took her hand and slipped a simple gold band onto her finger. “Trixie, I love you.”

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Trixie reached to touch his cheek and smiled. “Aaron, I didn’t know when we met how much I could love you. But I knew there was something special about you from the first moment we touched, and my love for you has only grown.” She placed her hand on the growing baby, and tears pooled in her eyes. “Our love has created this little one, half me, half you, completely loved.” She slipped a diamond and gold band onto his finger. “Aaron, I love you.” 

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After the pastor pronounced them man and wife Aaron kissed her tenderly. “We did it!” 

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“Yes we did, Coach!” He wrapped his arm around her waist and they turned to the small group of friends that witnessed the ceremony. The reception followed immediately after in the adjoining social hall. It wasn’t a big deal, just dancing with music, some nectar for her and champagne for the guests to do a toast, and hors d’oeuvres. 

A few hours later, the party had wound down and friends wished the bride and groom well before they left. When it was just the four of them, Andy, Danae, Trixie, and Aaron, the bride and groom hugged their friends and thanked them. Aaron and Trixie took a limousine to the Grand Tower resort for their wedding night, and Danae and Andy took the kids and went home.


Later that year… 

Snowflake Day… a time for families and friends all over Simville. This particular holiday was no different, though it was the Murphy family’s first holiday without Emmitt. Wyatt and Raisa would be rejoining them, along with Darcey and her family, and Aaron and Trixie, to celebrate together. 

Keely, Wyatt’s daughter, sat in Raisa’s lap and cooed happily. She was born about five months before the holidays, and the new parents wore the telltale signs of a baby. Aaron and Trixie were eight months pregnant. 

Danae looked around at her extended family. Noel was a bit over ten, Shan and Elyse would be nine in the spring, and Eamon just a bit over seven years old. The children were all growing so fast, she had to pinch herself to know it was real. And it wouldn’t be long before Elyse was grown and going to college. Just yesterday, it seemed, she was a toddler learning to say ‘Daddy’. 

The guys all congregated outside where there was room to talk and do so loudly. Darcey’s kids were in the pool, so Andy was on lifeguard duty. Wyatt gushed about fatherhood, and how much he loved it. 

“When’s the next one due, Searce?” Andy teased. 

“Well,” he drawled, “we are havin’ all the fun tryin’ for another young’un.” Wyatt was the second oldest in the bunch of friends, five years older than Andy. “I’m not gettin’ any younger.” 

“When we got pregnant with Eamon, we weren’t planning on him being so close to Elyse. But, I have to admit it has worked out pretty good. They’re very close, especially now.” Andy sipped on a glass of wine. “And our two with Clint’s two, they’re all right around the same age. They know their cousins very well.”

Aaron was now the only one among them who did not have a child, at least not yet. His baby would arrive within the next month. So he listened intently, gleaning advice and wisdom from his two best friends.

Inside, the women sat around and chatted, listening half-heartedly to entertainment news out of Starlight Shores and Bridgeport. And it was all going unnoticed until Darcey heard Devin’s name. 

“Nae, did you hear that? Someone mentioned Devin.” 

She shook her head and took the remote from the coffee table. “I’ll rewind it.” She went backward on the broadcast about a minute, and when the story was rebroadcast, the sisters looked at one another in shock.

Maribeth Woods, former longtime sweetheart of soccer superstar Devin Jones, filed suit yesterday in Starlight Shores for child support. Miss Woods alleges Jones is the biological father of her unborn child. Their relationship ended abruptly seven months ago amid speculation that he was with Shores socialite and heiress Margo Oberly. Could this new revelation be the real reason behind the star couple’s split? Story at eleven.” 

Danae chuckled. “Speculation? There’s not a doubt in my mind he had other women on the side. Poor Maribeth. Daddy always liked her.” 

“Don’t feel too sorry for her, Nae,” Darcey rebutted. “She put up with it willingly. She knew what Devin was.”

“True.” She thought for a moment and realized something. “Darce, this means we are going to be aunts again. But this time, the kids won’t know their cousin.” 

Keely cried in Raisa’s arms as they spoke. “I’m sorry,” she blushed. “The baby, she is hungry.” 

“Make yourself comfortable, Raisa,” Danae said. “Our home is your home. If you’d rather nurse her privately, you can use our bedroom and close the door.” 

Still shy and reserved around the other ladies, Raisa excused herself to the master suite to nurse Keely in seclusion.

“She’s a sweet girl,” Darcey commented. “She’s been very good for Wyatt.” Raisa’s family disapproved of him, saying he was much too old for her. She was in her late 20s, and Wyatt was 40. But he was devoted to her and they loved each other tremendously. The fact that Wyatt was rich didn’t hurt, either. He was able to give her everything she needed and wanted. But she loved him long before she knew about the money. The financial security was a bonus for her and Keely. 

“She truly is a sweet girl. What do you think of her, Trix?” Danae asked.

She blushed. “I know the guys are all best friends, but that hasn’t translated to me and Raisa yet. I don’t know her that well.” 

“None of us do. I’m glad they’re spending the holiday with us this year, so we can get to know her better.” Danae’s attention went back to the television as she heard Maribeth’s familiar voice.

“Daddy told him not to make a child he wasn’t going to love and raise,” Darcey said, returning to their previous topic. “I don’t miss the drama he brought around in the Shores.” 

“Amen to that, sissy,” Danae laughed. “He’s been a thorn in Andy’s side for years. Someday, I’m afraid he will really hurt Andy, left to his own devices. Who is to say he wouldn’t?”

Darcey shook her head. “I don’t know, Nae. Valid question and Andy has reason to fear him.” 

“Oh,” Danae shrugged, “Andy isn’t afraid of him. He is afraid of nothing, and he would do absolutely anything to protect the three of us, even to the point of forfeiting his own life. I would do the same, too.” 

“Dinner smells good, ladies,” Andy quipped as he came inside for another round of beer for the guys. Danae gave him the stink eye as she eyed the bottles in his hand, but he kissed her cheek. “I’m not having one, baby. No worries, okay?” 

Danae nodded. “I have some news for you later. You won’t believe it.” His eyebrow raised as he looked at her. She laughed. “Later. When we’re all inside.” 

“Oh,” he looked disappointed. “So it’s nothing saucy?” She laughed and swatted him as he walked toward the backyard.

Trixie snickered. “It’s good to see some things don’t change. Andy is still fresh.” 

Danae blushed deep red. “Yes, and oh my gosh, Trixie, I’m sorry that you even know that!”

Trixie laughed harder. “I lived here for two years, Nae. I’d have to be living under a rock not to notice it.” 

Darcey rolled her eyes. “She got that from Daddy.” 

“Hush, you!” Danae teased her sister. 

After dinner, they all gathered around the tree and exchanged gifts. Though Andy and Danae stopped exchanging gifts years ago, he had something special for her. When she opened it, she had a confused look on her face. Andy chuckled. 

“You don’t know what that is, do you baby?” 

She shook her head. “Well, it’s a necklace, but… no, I don’t. A… I give up, Andy. What is it?” 

“It’s a phoenix. Baby, you’ve had the worst year of your life, but you’ve managed to make the best of it. Like a phoenix, you’ve risen from the ashes of tragedy and you’ve been strong and steadfast, taking care of our family.” As he explained it, tears filled her eyes. “That’s not all, baby. Look on the back.” 

She turned the pendant over and wept openly as she read aloud the inscription etched on the back:

In loving memory of our son, Emmitt Theodore Murphy. 

“Do you like it, honey?” he asked, smiling.

“Oh babe, it’s… I’m speechless.” She set the box on the sofa where she sat and stood up. Andy met her and embraced her, allowing her to cry in his arms. “I love you so much, Andy,” she whispered into his ear.

“I crazy love you, Danae. You are a fantastic mama, honey.” He kissed her tenderly. When they looked at the faces of their friends and family, there was not a dry eye around the tree. 

*****

That evening…

“Clint, can I talk to you a moment?” Darcey sat on the bench at the end of their bed while Clint finished in the bathroom. 

“Of course, kitten. What’s on your mind?” 

“I want to do something special for Nae and Andy, and I’ve been considering this for a while now. But we need to be on the same page for this to happen. And I just don’t know how you’re going to feel about it, Boo.” 

“Well, tell me what you want to do, and I’ll tell you how I feel about it. Easy, right?” He turned out the light in the bathroom and walked to her.

She shook her head. “This isn’t really that easy. First, I want to say that this is my idea and mine alone. No one asked me to consider it. In fact, she doesn’t know I want to do this for her.”

“It must be big, Darce.” Clint sat down beside her. “What is it?”

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“I want to help them have another baby. Danae has been wanting one since they came back from Dragon Valley a couple of years ago. Emmitt has been gone almost a year, and now would be a good time to do this.”

Clint leaned back on his hands and looked at her like she was on drugs. “How exactly are you going to help them?”

“Well, Andy would donate sperm, and I’d donate a couple of my eggs. We are identical genetically, so there wouldn’t be much difference between mine and hers, if she had them to donate, that is.”

“So… in vitro? Or are you wanting a night of passion with her husband?” He was half-joking with her.

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“Don’t be daft, Clint. Of course in vitro. We would fertilize a couple and implant two or three, see if any of them take. I mean, nothing is a guarantee. But she wants this so badly. It breaks my heart to see her in this much emotional agony when I can help her. So, now that I’ve laid it on the table, what do you think?” 

Clint shook his head. “I don’t know, Darce. This is a huge deal. Do you need a decision right this minute?” 

She snickered at him. “Of course not, silly. I haven’t even told her. But I have a chance to give her this incredible gift, Boo. If the shoe was on the other foot, she wouldn’t hesitate.”

“Would you be able to give a baby away that you carried for nine months?” 

“I wouldn’t be giving it to just anyone, Boo. I’d be giving it to my twin sister and her husband.”

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“Let me sleep on it, Kitten. This is a big decision, and I’m not sure I want my wife to carry someone else’s baby.” 

“Not just someone else, Boobear. My identical twin sister. Remember, she is the one who made us millionaires.” 

“What, so you owe her now?” He started getting defensive.

“No. Of course not. Clint, please, think long and hard about it. It would mean the world to me to do this for them.”

“You’re sure she didn’t put you up to this, Darce?” 

“If you asked her about it, she would have no clue what you’re talking about.” 

“Is it really that important to you, Kitten?” He took her hand and looked into her violet eyes.

“It is, Clint. More than you truly realize.” She caressed his cheek. “She and Andy have given us so much. I mean, aside from the money, they’re the reason we live here, away from the city. They adore our boys. Haven’t you seen the way she looks when the discussion goes to Raisa or Trix? Or the way she hurts when Emmitt enters the conversation? Don’t forget, Clint, Emmitt is the second child they have lost. Her pain is palpable. It doesn’t have to be, Clint. I can help her. We… we can help her.” 

His expression softened. “You’re right. If this is what you want to do, I’m behind you completely.”

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“Thank you, honey.” She kissed him passionately. “Let me show you how thankful I really am.” 


The next morning…

“Hey Darce, what’s cookin’?” Danae answered her cell, in a good mood. 

“Hey sweetie,” Darcey greeted her. “Clint and I would like to take you and Andy to By The Sea tonight, our treat. We have something to tell you.” 

Darcey Danae Phone

Danae was taken aback. “It must be important if you’re doing it up big. You’re not moving away, are you?”

Darcey laughed. “Of course not. I couldn’t get Clint away from here if I tried. I’m not going to give any hints, so don’t try to pull it out of me. You’ll find out tonight.” 

“I’ll call him and tell him. Maybe Trixie and Aaron will watch our kids tonight.” Danae was excited. Darcey and Clint almost never invited them to go anywhere, so whatever she had in mind had to be significant.

After they hung up, Danae called Andy’s cell. 

“This is Murphy.”  

“Babe? Are you busy?” 

“No, but you caught me on my way to Kirby’s office. What’s up, my sweet?” 

“Darcey and Clint want to bring us to Kirby’s place tonight, their treat. She said they have news. I’m almost worried.” 

“What time, baby? I’ll make sure I’m out of here in time.” 

“Six. I need to call Trix and see if they’ll take our kids tonight.”

“Did she give any clue what it’s about?”

“No, she just told me not to try and pull it out of her. I know it’s big, I just hope it’s nothing serious, Andy. They can’t leave here.”

“I’m sure they aren’t going anywhere. Relax, baby. I’ll make this happen. I can’t wait now, sweetie. I love you!”

“I love you, Andy. I’ll see you soon.” 

Danae had one more call to make. “Trix?” 

“Hi Nae!” she chirped. “You sound happy.”

“Kinda. My sister wants to take Andy and me to By The Sea tonight. Would you and Aaron take the kids for a while? I’d call my other sitter, but I still don’t have one.”

“Of course we will. I think Aaron has to work late anyway. I’ll even feed them if you want.” 

“You’re a lifesaver, Trix. I’ll get a new sitter soon, I promise. It’s been tough trying to find one we trust.”

“I’ll watch them whenever I can. I have to give you my key anyway. I forgot it was on my keyring.” 

“Keep it, Trix. Until you have your baby, anyway. I’m not worried about it.” 

“I’ll see you tonight, then! I can’t wait to see the kids. I miss them.” 

“They miss you, too. Thanks again, Trixie. I owe you one.” Danae hung up the phone. 

*****

“Would you zip this, babe?” Danae asked Andy as she wiggled into her dress. “How do I look?” 

“Baby, you look incredible.” He kissed her neck as he zipped the dress. “How about your new necklace? Do you want help with it?” 

“If you’re offering, sure!” she said. Carefully, he fastened the delicate gold chain around her neck.

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“Let me look at you,” he said and spun her around. “My beautiful princess,” he cooed at her. “Are you ready, my sweet?” 

“I am,” she nodded. 

Trixie was in their living room playing a game with both kids. “Thanks again for watching them tonight,” Andy said. “We shouldn’t be late.” 

“Take your time and enjoy your family.”

Andy drove them to the restaurant and valet parked his car. Together they walked inside, Darcey and Clint awaited them. They both stood as Danae and Andy approached them. “Hi, sweetie!” Darcey chirped and hugged her sister. “Andy,” she kissed his cheek and hugged him. Clint shook Andy’s hand and hugged Danae. 

They were all seated and there was an awkward silence. “What is everyone drinking?” Clint asked.

“Danae and I will have white wine, semi-sweet, thank you.” She looked at him funny and he chuckled. 

The waiter appeared and Clint ordered from the bar for the table. The suspense was killing Danae and she shifted uncomfortably in her chair. Darcey smiled at her sister.

“The reason we wanted you here tonight—” Darcey was interrupted by the waiter, who returned very quickly with their order. Clint made their dinner order, doing as Andy had done numerous times when they had dined together, and the waiter left them alone. 

“As I was saying,” Darcey continued, “the reason we wanted you here with us tonight, Clint and I have a proposition for you. And before your knee-jerk reaction says no, please give this some thought.” She took a deep breath and Clint took her hand. “Danae, Andy… we want to help you to expand your family.”

Danae was stunned. “What do you mean, Darce?” 

“Well, I want to carry another child for you. We want this for you.”

Andy shook his head, confused. “How exactly would this happen?” 

“Well, most of the preparation would be mine. I’d have a few eggs harvested, and together with Andy’s sperm, we’d make a baby via in vitro, and implant the embryos. Whatever implants will become a baby that I’d carry for you, and when he or she is born, it is your baby.” 

Danae’s eyes welled up with tears. “Darce… I…” she couldn’t speak. “I couldn’t let you do this for me. It’s too much to ask.” 

“You’re not asking me. I’m offering it. Do you think I don’t see the pain on your face when the conversation turns to Raisa and Trixie? Since you came back from Dragon Valley with Andy, I’ve known how badly you want another baby.” 

Andy was speechless and blinked back tears. “Guys, this is too much.”

“Please,” Darcey pleaded with them, “please let me do this for you guys. Tell me, Danae. Tell me you wouldn’t turn yourself inside out to help me if you had the ability to.” 

“You know I would, Bug,” Danae said softly. 

“You have the biggest heart, the kindest soul I’ve known since Mama, and you’ve caught more than your share of rough breaks. The miscarriage. Your hysterectomy. Emmitt’s death. Nae, you guys didn’t deserve any of that heartbreak, but you accepted it graciously.”

“We didn’t have much choice, Darce. Everything happens for a reason, right?” 

“Sometimes I can’t accept that as the final word, Nae. I have the opportunity to give you your most desired gift. I know you cry over it. I know how badly you want it, Danae. Please let me help you.” 

Andy took a deep breath. “This is certainly a lot to consider. If we do this, Danae and I will cover all your medical expenses, and I’m not taking no for an answer on it. This is non-negotiable.”

Clint nodded. “I’ll agree to that. Darcey?” 

She nodded. “I’d do it without that stipulation, but if it makes you feel better about it, we can do that.” 

“Babe, you’re not really considering this, are you?” Danae asked, shocked.

“Honey, this is the answer to everything we’ve ever wanted. Possibly our second daughter, maybe a third son.” She looked at him oddly. “Just because Emmitt is gone doesn’t make him any less our child.” He squeezed her hand and caressed her cheek. “My Tessa…” His caramel-brown eyes almost begged with hers. 

Hearing him say her name made Danae choke up with emotion. She knew he desired another daughter more than anything else, and for that exact reason. “Darcey, you are absolutely sure about this?”

“Nae, I’ve never been more sure of anything else in my life, except for Clint. This feels right.” Darcey reached for her sister’s hand and squeezed it. “In fact, I have an appointment next week with a fertility specialist so we can go over the particulars. I’d love it if you came with me.” 

She looked at Andy with tears in her eyes, and he returned her gaze, tears pooled in his. “Do you even want to discuss this, or go for it?” She whispered into his ear as she pulled close to him. 

“Let’s do it. I know there are no guarantees, but let’s try for that second baby girl. And if we have another boy, I will adore him, too.” 

She looked at Darcey, then Clint, and back to Andy. “I think we’d love to do this! I can’t believe it! Thank you both so much for this. It is something I will never forget.” 


Six weeks later…

Darcey had gone through treatments, medications, injections, and procedures that led up to this moment as two anxious families sat. “Mrs. Scroggins?” the orderly called her. Andy stood up and swallowed hard. 

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“This is it, baby,” he said nervously. His contribution would be simple. Darcey’s ordeal would be a bit more involved. He kissed Danae and joined his sister-in-law back in the procedure room. 

Clint and Darcey knew the risks. She willingly took the treatments, endured the ultrasounds, until the doctors knew for certain they had what they needed. And when the time was right, this day, she would take the next crucial step toward surrogacy.

Darcey was given a light sedative for the procedure, mostly to calm her. She had a relatively high pain tolerance but the procedure itself was delicate. She wasn’t nervous at all but excited as Andy kissed her cheek before he walked to his room.

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“Good luck, Darce,” he said and waved to her.

“You too, Daddy,” she smiled back. 

About an hour later, both of them had accomplished their objective. Darcey was feeling a little sore, but nothing she hadn’t experienced before. She knew what to expect. Now, they waited to find out how many viable embryos they had. 

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Danae leaned to kiss Darcey’s cheek. “You’re my hero,” she whispered into her ear. Clint stood behind the wheelchair and smiled at the sisters. He was so proud of his wife.

“You’ve always been mine,” Darcey whispered back. 

Clint drove Darcey home to spoil and care for her, while Andy and Danae returned home to their children. They hadn’t said anything to the kids yet, not wanting them to have high hopes for something that wasn’t a guarantee. But at the conclusion, they were optimistic.

As they did every evening after the children were in bed, they sat out by the pool with their glass of wine and talked. “How did it really go in there today, Andy?” 

“My job was easy. Almost too easy, really. All I had to do was think of you.” He blushed slightly. “Darcey seemed to be doing okay when we all left, don’t you think?” 

“Yeah, she’s in good hands. Clint will spoil her, and she deserves it. My sister is my hero, sorry babe. You’ve been dethroned.”

Andy chuckled. “I completely understand, my sweet. She’s mine, too.”

“The specialist mentioned something about maybe being able to breastfeed.” Danae twirled Andy’s hair around her finger.

He sat up a bit and looked at her. “Don’t tease me, Danae.” 

She belly laughed. “I’m not teasing! Apparently, I’d need to do some hormone replacement therapy to trick my body into thinking I’m pregnant. But it’s not only possible, it could be likely this could happen. There have been instances where a sibling carried a baby for her sister, and the sister ended up producing so much milk, she was able to donate.”

Andy smiled impishly. “You’d never have enough to donate, baby. I’m just saying.”

“You’re awful,” she laughed. “But I’m excited about this! I mean, Darcey could give the baby the first milk, and then maybe pump for a few weeks until I get established, but this could happen.” 

“You should have let me keep your milk up, Nae.”

Danae belly laughed. “You do realize how long it’s been. Emmitt would have been five and a half. That’s a long time to lactate, babe.” 

“Oh, but I would have loved it,” Andy smiled. He truly meant it, too. 

“You’re incorrigible, my Andy.” She kissed him tenderly.

“You’re beautiful,” he replied. “You know, I don’t have to worry about saving myself anymore, not that I did anyway.”

“What are you saying, my love?” 

He looked at her, faking exasperation. “If I have to spell it out—”

She kissed him, interrupting him. “I’m picking up what you’re putting down. Let’s go.”


“Babe, Darcey is here. I’m going with her to the doctor today. Are you okay here at home?”

“No worries, honey. Tell her I said good luck!” he called to her. He was elbow deep in homework with the kids.

“I will! I’ll be right home afterward.”

She ran to Darcey’s car and got in the passenger’s seat. “Are you excited, Nae?” Darcey greeted her.

“So excited!” she chirped back. Darcey was going to have the embryos implanted, three of them, in the hopes that one of them would implant and become a pregnancy. It was a simple procedure but she wanted Danae with her. Darcey wanted her sister with her as much as possible, to help her feel connected to the baby she hoped she would carry and birth. 

At the doctor’s office, the sisters walked back to the exam room, where most everything was set up and ready to go. “Mrs. Scroggins, just undress from the waist down and put this drape over you. The doctor will be in shortly.” 

“This is it, Nae,” Darcey said. “In a couple of weeks, we’ll know if we’re going to have a baby.” Danae took her sister’s hand and squeezed it.

About five minutes later, the doctor entered the room with an assistant. With them, they carried the equipment to do the procedure. Darcey smiled. “Doc, this is my twin sister, Danae. She will be the baby’s mother should this materialize.” 

The doctor held his hand to shake. “Pleased to meet you, Danae,” he said respectfully. “That’s an unusual name, but I’ve heard it before.” 

Danae blushed. “My husband is Andy Murphy,” she replied. 

The doctor nodded in recognition. “I’m so sorry about your son. I was shocked to hear of it when it happened.” He smiled and patted her shoulder. The twins were famous, and he was honored. “Well, back to why you’re here, Darcey. We have three embryos that looked great, three that were good, and well, the rest weren’t viable. Out of the ten eggs we harvested, we have enough for another implantation if none of these take. They will be frozen for use at a later time if we need to. But you’re young and you’ve had two other successful pregnancies. I don’t see why this wouldn’t work.” The doctor was optimistic, and it gave the sisters great hope.

“What would happen if all three of them take, doc?” Danae asked. “I mean, what are the odds of that?” 

“Well, we can always terminate one to make it twins, or if you want all three babies, Darcey would likely carry them to 30 weeks and have them prematurely. Triplets seldom to go term without complications.” Danae shook her head, but the doctor spoke. “We will cross that bridge if we get there. Don’t worry.” 

“I would never agree to terminate one,” Darcey said. “I know the risks and I’ve agreed, but you won’t take one of these babies. Danae and Andy have already suffered enough loss.” 

The doctor nodded. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we? Are you ready, Darcey? This will only take a moment. We’ll do a follow up in two weeks for preliminary testing and if we get good results there, an ultrasound two weeks after that.” 

“Let’s do this,” Darcey said confidently. She reached for Danae’s hand and squeezed it. “Andy’s going to be a daddy again, Danae, and you’ll be a mama again. Mark my words.” 

“I’ve prayed for this since you proposed it, Darce. Let it be so.” Danae closed her eyes, a smile on her face.

When the procedure was over, the sisters headed home. Darcey had two appointments scheduled, one for two weeks out, and one for four weeks out. By that time, they would know for certain if another Murphy baby was due.


Two weeks later…

Danae and Andy sat in the exam room with Darcey for the results of her blood test, done the day prior. The three of them were nervous but excited. None of them spoke while they waited, but Danae felt good about it. 

The doctor walked into the room with Darcey’s chart and stopped short when he saw Andy sitting with the twins. “Mr. Murphy!” he said, starstruck. “What an honor.” 

Andy blushed. “Thank you.”

“The Sharks haven’t been the same team since you took over, and I mean that in a good way. Huge fan.” He patted Darcey on the knee and smiled. “The preliminary bloodwork shows a possible pregnancy, so we’ll repeat the blood testing and the ultrasound at your follow up.” He turned to Danae and Andy and shook their hands. “The staff is hoping for this to happen for you two.” The anniversary of Emmitt’s death was upon them, and getting this good news would soften the pain.

Danae wiped tears from her eyes and smiled at Andy. “Thank you, Doctor.” 

On their way home, Danae was quiet. “What are you thinking about, honey?” he asked her.

“Emmitt. He’s been on my mind as the day approaches. It’s unreal he’s been gone a year already, Andy.” 

He nodded. “I think of him every day. I wonder how big he would be by now. How he would be doing in school. He was so smart, just like his mama.” 

“Let’s do something special for Emm, babe. Mama and Daddy planted a tree in the yard for my older sibling. Let’s do something just as special for him and our other angel baby. What do you think?” Her eyes sparkled at the thought.

“Here’s a thought. Your folks did a memorial scholarship once. Why don’t we do something like that at the kids’ school? Once a year, we offer a tuition scholarship to one deserving family. Goodness knows there are plenty of disadvantaged kids on the island.”

Danae smiled. “I like where we are going with this. It’s a great tribute to him, and it gives us a chance to give back to the community that has given us so much.”

Andy took her hand and squeezed it. “Baby, you are your mother’s daughter. You have her sweet, giving heart.” 

*****

Now that Darcey’s pregnancy was more likely, Danae had an appointment of her own to consult about preparing for breastfeeding. If it was possible, she wanted to explore it. It was one of her favorite parts of having a baby. Nursing helped her to bond with the kids when they were little, and since she was starting at a disadvantage with this baby, Danae believed it would help considerably. 

They tucked the kids into bed and they retired to the patio to watch the fireflies on the far end of the yard, to listen to the frogs that lived in the creek on the neighboring property, and to talk about their day. Andy handed her a glass of wine, and they snuggled together on the lounge chair.

“So, I guess it looks like we’re going to have another baby,” Andy said. His tone was happy and peaceful. “Your sister is something else, Nae. Never in my wildest dreams did I think she would ever propose such a thing. And yet, she did it selflessly. I wasn’t kidding when I said she is my hero.”

Danae smiled at him and took a sip of wine. “She is so much my hero, Andy. She has wanted me, wanted us, involved in every stage of the process. She wants me to be her birth coach. She wants me to be the first person to hold our baby son or daughter. Well, your son or daughter.”

Andy shook his head. “Ours, baby. Just because she is carrying it doesn’t make the baby any less yours. Besides, you two are nearly identical. Shan looks a lot like you, just like he looks like Darcey. You could easily pass for his mother, baby.”

“I know. But the baby will be biologically yours, not mine.”

“Honey, it doesn’t matter. He or she will still be our child. Your heart wants this. Your heart makes the child yours, not biology, not carrying it.” He kissed her tenderly. “Maybe this will be our Tessa.”

“I hope for your sake we have a girl, babe. I know how badly you want another daughter.” She snuggled into his arms. 

“It truly doesn’t matter what we have, sweetie, as long as the baby is healthy. I will adore another Murphy munchkin just as much as I love the two we have right now. And our two angel babies. And most of all, their mama.”

Danae kissed his chin and nuzzled into his neck. “I love you, Andy. I can’t wait to find out in two weeks for certain. Are you sure this was what you wanted, babe? Another baby?”

“Aren’t you sure? Nae, honey, I know you want to have another baby. I know Stephanie has given you the baby blues, and she’s so darned cute. A little blonde baby girl who looks like Trixie. I know you want that, too.”

“You’re right. This isn’t the time to have cold feet, not when she’s pregnant. I guess I’m worried that all three embryos are implanted. Triplets, Andy. I’m not ready for triplets.” 

“What’s the procedure for that, if all three took?” 

“Darcey has made it clear she will not terminate any of them, so we would have triplets. And I wouldn’t want that, either. They’re your babies if there are three, and I will love them. But be prepared, I will need help with three infants, babe.”

“If we have three, then we prepare for it. And if not, we love the one she gives us.”

“Oh, speaking of which, I see a specialist in two weeks about breastfeeding. I’ll need to get started soon if I’m serious about it. And you know what I think about it.” 

Andy snickered. “You know what I think about it, too.” She swatted him playfully. “Hey! You can’t fault a man for loving his wife.” 

She shook her head and laughed. “So, what I heard was, you want to love your wife. When, exactly?” 

Now Andy was laughing. “You talk about me!” He kissed her neck and caressed her cheek. “How about now?” he whispered.

“Sold, Mr. Murphy,” she flirted.


Two weeks later…

Danae felt queasy as she waited for Darcey’s name to be called. All four of them sat in the waiting room at her four week follow up. This was the day both families discovered how their lives would change, and to what extent. Andy held her close, and Darcey’s foot tapped nervously on the floor. 

“Kitten, you’re making me anxious,” Clint stated. 

“I’m wound up enough for all of us,” Andy laughed, trying to break the tension. “Are you alright, Nae?” 

She nodded and reached for a peppermint candy. “I’m just a little nauseated is all. I’m fine.” 

Darcey laughed. “I’m the pregnant one, and she gets morning sickness.” 

“Darcey?” The nurse called, and all four of them stood. They were led to a small board room and were seated, waiting for the doctor. Much depended upon the results of her blood work. If she was definitely pregnant, she would have an ultrasound immediately following. And if not, two disappointed and two devastated people would leave the office. 

Minutes later, the door opened and the doctor entered the room, Darcey’s chart in his hands and a smile on his face. He greeted all four of them and sat at the head of the table. 

“I am pleased to announce that you are indeed pregnant, Darcey. The levels rose exponentially over the past two weeks. Officially, the baby is five weeks’ gestation, since it was approximately five days old at the time of implant. Today, we will find out how many embryos are implanted, and you can discuss options together as a family. Ladies, follow me, and the guys can wait in the lobby.” 

Danae shook her head. “The baby is Andy’s. He should be allowed to see the ultrasound. I mean, if it’s okay with Darcey.” 

Darcey nodded. “I know the test will be more invasive, but I’m okay with it. She is right. He is the father.”

Andy smiled at her. “Aren’t you going to see, honey? It’s our baby, remember?” 

“If there is room, yes.” 

“I won’t have it any other way,” Darcey stated. “They’re both welcome to be with me.” 

“I guess I’ll show myself to the waiting room,” Clint said. He kissed Darcey and wished her luck. 

During the ultrasound, the sonographer found the baby easily. And nearby, a second one had implanted. “So far, we have two!” she chirped happily. Andy’s face lit up with excitement. At the end of the exam, only the two were discovered, and it was exactly what they had hoped for, what they had dreamed about. Their family would be complete and whole with four children. Both Danae and Andy were ecstatic.

The three of them walked to the waiting room together, and Clint rose to his feet when he saw their smiles. “How did it go?” 

Darcey held up two fingers. “We have twins!” He picked her up and kissed her, and she giggled like a schoolgirl. “Two miracle babies for my sister! Oh Clint, thank you for this. I’m so incredibly happy today.” 

“It looks like my girl needs to be spoiled a bit,” Clint announced. “We’ll do dinner very soon,” he said. “Come on, kitten.”

Danae and Andy were flying on their own cloud, joyful. “Twins, Andy. We’re going to have two beautiful babies!” 

“I guess we need to tell Lysie and Eamon about it now,” he said. “Baby, let’s do this right. Let’s do something special for them. But what?” 

Surrogacy was a complicated topic for children of ten and eight to understand. But Danae had an idea. “By The Sea. Let’s take them to By The Sea, Andy. Let’s do the chef’s table with them, so we’re by ourselves, and surprise them with a special gift for each of them.”

They had never taken the kids anywhere for a meal away from home, nevermind a five-star restaurant. But they were good kids, well behaved and had good table manners. It could work. 

“Let’s do it, baby! We’ll take them when I know Kirby is cooking. Oh, Nae, this is incredible, and I can’t wait to tell them. I crazy love you, Danae,” Andy said and stroked her cheek. 

“I love you with all my heart, Andy,” she replied and kissed him tenderly. For the first time since Emmitt’s passing, both Andy and Danae felt complete. 

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Up Next: Chapter Thirty-Three, Generation Five


Pose Credits:

Poses By Bee

Kiddo’s Dreams

Sea

Spladoum

Clover

Lenina90

Stars

Custom Content:

The Sims Resource

Mod The Sims

Sims By Severinka

BEO Creations

Fresh Prince Creations

Lorandia Sims 3

Around The Sims 3

I know there are items I have left out, but it’s getting almost as long as my story to credit everyone! So my blanket disclaimer: I have produced none (except Murphy/Jones family portraits) of the CC used in this chapter. If someone has gone uncredited, it was not intentional, and I am truly sorry! I take no credit for any CC used, except where noted. 

G5 Chapter Thirty One – The Accident

Author’s note: With the writing of this chapter, my timeline and events that have already occurred in the story will be skewed. This is the price I pay for pre-writing a storyline beyond what I have played in the game. This is the second time in two generations the game has thrown a curveball, and the first time it has happened to an active family. Despite desperate attempts to stop this event from happening in the game, I couldn’t prevent it. Therefore, this chapter was necessary, though heart-wrenching to write. 

Reader discretion is advised.


It was a late winter morning, if you could even call it winter in Isla Paradiso. The kids were still sleeping, and Danae was up before dawn. Andy’s alarm went off earlier than usual for a breakfast meeting with Kirby and Aaron. So she got up and started the coffee pot, eager for the first cup. Andy was in the shower and she thought seriously about joining him, but she knew Emmitt would be up soon on his own. That little boy loved school almost as much as he loved swimming with his daddy every afternoon. 

She tiptoed into the boys’ bedroom to watch them sleep. My little men, she thought. Eamon was growing up way too fast, and Emmitt was right behind him. He must have felt her presence in the doorway because she heard him giggle softly and those two beautiful caramel brown eyes looked at her. They were just like Andy’s eyes, and she adored them. 

“Hi Mama!” he whispered and ran for her. She kneeled down like she did every morning and wrapped him in a mama bear hug.

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“Good morning, baby boy,” she whispered in his ear. “Are you ready for breakfast, Emm?” 

He smiled so big. “Yeah, I am! Pancakes and milk?” 

“Made to order, squirt,” she chirped at him and brushed the hair out of his eyes. She sure loved that little boy.

Emmitt was a mama’s boy through and through, in much the same way that Lysie was a daddy’s girl. Danae loved her children equally. But Emmitt, well, he was her baby. Their miracle. His happy disposition spread warmth and laughter through the Murphy home every morning and every evening. Neither Danae nor Andy could remember a time when he wasn’t part of the family.

Andy walked out of their bedroom looking like a million dollars and he smelled even better. Funny, even after ten years, he still wears the cologne I bought for him for our wedding day, she thought. And like he did every morning, he walked up behind her, wrapped his arms around her and kissed her tenderly. This morning, he added a subtle tease, out of the view of little eyes, and Danae bit her lip. 

“You look so handsome, babe,” she said as he poured his usual cup of morning brew. 

“Oh, my sweet, what I’d give to be able to stay home with you this morning.” But he couldn’t. The championship was upon them, and the morning meeting was a strategy session for the big game. Danae finished up the pancake batter and tested the griddle. It was sizzling hot, so she poured the first two for Andy. He had to leave first. 

“It’s okay, babe. Trixie and I have a house to clean anyway.” She took a sip from her coffee mug and set it on the counter. “Breakfast is almost ready. I know you have to go soon.” 

Elyse walked into the living room from her bedroom, rubbing her eyes. “Mama? Do I have ballet after school today?” 

She gave the calendar a quick check. “Tomorrow, sweet pea. You and Eamon have after school stuff tomorrow. Come home with your brothers on the bus today.” It meant she didn’t have to pick Emmitt up after school.  

She didn’t say anything but a mumble, and Danae chuckled. Elyse’s new alarm clock, which she had to have, had been snoozed at least three times that morning. But it gave Eamon a chance to shower with a little warm water for a change. 

Andy was done with breakfast before she got the next two cakes off the griddle. “In a hurry babe?” 

“Yeah, Kirby wants us at the restaurant this morning by 8:30 and I’m running a little late.” Another set of cakes came off the griddle, and she poured two more. 

Danae walked him to the front door, out of view of the kids. “I love you, Andy,” she whispered in his ear. “And I’ll deal with that tease later, after the munchkins are in bed. You naughty man.” She kissed him passionately.

He gave her his usual impish smile, the one that made her heart flutter. “I love you, baby. I’ll be thinking of you all day.” One last kiss and he was out the door. 

The kids finished breakfast right around the time Trixie appeared in the stairwell. “Good morning, twerp!” she said to Eamon and tousled his hair. He loved that nickname. “Hey, Nae.”

“Hi, Trix!” Danae greeted her happily. There was nothing like having your best friend living in the same house, she thought. If things worked out with Aaron, she would miss her morning company. But they were such a cute couple, Danae was really pulling for them. “I’m still cooking pancakes if you’d like to grab a plate.” 

“Thanks,” Trixie replied. “I have some errands to run in town today if that’s okay with you?” 

Danae nodded. “Not a problem. I only have cleaning on the agenda for the day.” 

The school bus was right on time, and she walked them out to the gate like she did every morning. And like he did every morning since he began school a few weeks back, Emmitt waited for her to kneel down to him. He gave her nose kisses, and he gave them in abundance.

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His happy giggles rang in her ears as all three of them skipped to the bus. “Have a good day, kids!” she yelled to them. Lysie just turned briefly and waved. Eamon grinned ear to ear, but Emmitt, that boy blew her kisses until she couldn’t make out his face in the back window anymore. 

After Trixie left for the morning, Danae settled into her usual cleaning routine, dancing around to her favorite music. By noon, the housework was finished, and she showered and changed her clothes. While she waited for the kids to come home, she relaxed in front of the television.

The bus arrived back home at three-thirty, and she met them like she did every day. Eamon and Elyse ran right past her and into the house, ready to busy themselves with homework, while Emmitt ran to her open arms. “How was school today, squirt?” she asked him as she covered his face in kisses.

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“Real good, Mama! We’re going on a field trip tomorrow. Can I go?” 

“Where are you going, honey?” she asked him. Lysie and Eamon had just been to the theater, and they loved it.

“We’re going to the stadium. I get to see where Daddy works!” He chirped happily as he tried to squirm from her grasp. “Can I go, Mama?” 

“Of course, baby boy.” She planted one last wet kiss on his cheek, which he promptly wiped off and giggled madly as he did. 

“Yuck, Mama. That was juicy.” His giggles made her heart sing.

“I know! That’s why I did it.” She hugged him close. “I love you, Emmitt, my sweet baby boy.” She stood up and took his hand, and together, they walked into the house. “Do you have homework, sweetheart?” 

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“No, Mama. Can I play in the sandbox?” 

She nodded her head. “Just stay away from the pool, okay? I’ll be out in a few minutes.” The front door opened and Trixie walked through it. “Hey, Trix. Did you get your errands finished?” 

“Yep. By the way, there is a storm coming. The sky is black off to the east.”

Danae looked out the back door at the sky. “Hmm, that’s odd. The sun is out brightly here.” Elyse and Eamon were doing their homework together, working on a joint project. “Are you kids okay in here with your work?”

Eamon nodded and smiled. “Yes. If I need help, I’ll let you know.” He said it so matter-of-factly and seriously, she chuckled. 

“I’ll be outside with your brother,” Danae told them. 

She walked out onto the patio, but Emmitt wasn’t outside. “Emm?” she called into the breeze that was starting to pick up. She looked around the yard and stuck her head into the garage. “Emmitt?”

She walked back to the house and peeked her head into the door. “Trix, is Emmitt in here?” 

“I haven’t seen him.” 

“Emmitt!” Danae called him again, with no answer.

She ran back outside and what she saw took her breath away. Emmitt floated at the edge of the pool. “EMMITT!” she screamed and dove in.

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Frantically, she grabbed him and surfaced and dragged him from the water. He wasn’t breathing, and his body was limp. She kneeled on the ground, cradling him, sobbing. Trixie came from the house.

“Did you find—” she began, and her heart sank when she saw Danae, Emmitt’s lifeless body in her arms.

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“Trix, call emergency!” Danae sobbed. She laid him on the ground and tried to perform CPR on him, but he didn’t respond. 

Trixie dialed emergency, and then she dialed Andy’s cell phone. He was surprised to hear her frantic voice.

“Trix?”

“Andy!” she cried. “Come home. Danae needs you now!” 

“What’s wrong?” Her tone startled him.

“Just… come home. Please, Andy. Bring Aaron with you. You’ll need him.” She hung up the phone and waited out front for the ambulance. 

*****

Andy was shaking when he ran to Aaron’s office. “Aaron! Come with me. Something’s happened at home, and I don’t know what.” He quickly ran the fifty or so feet to Kirby’s office and stuck his head in. “Kirby, Aaron and I are leaving. Something’s happened at home, and Danae needs me.” 

Kirby saw the panic on Andy’s face and stood, alarmed. “What’s going on, Andy?” 

“I don’t know. Trixie didn’t tell me. But I have to go.” Andy’s hands shook and his voice trembled. He feared something had happened to Danae. 

“Let me know, Andy.” And he nodded as he joined Aaron in the hallway. 

Aaron drove them back to the Murphy house, and they were greeted by emergency vehicles. Ambulance, deputies, fire department. And when they followed the chaos, Andy was slammed by the awful reality. 

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When Danae saw him, she ran to him. “Andy!” she sobbed. “My baby!” They both watched in horror as paramedics tried to revive him. But it was too late. Emmitt was already gone.

The deputies’ investigation was quick and his death was deemed an accident. Emmitt had been outside by himself for less than five minutes, something that Danae had done many times before. But a couple of bee stings on his arm gave the investigator the impression the boy had panicked trying to get away from them. Emmitt simply got too close to the pool and fell in. Andy had been teaching him to swim, but the water where he fell was much too deep, and he couldn’t reach the ladder a mere two feet from where he fell. 

The lead detective gave Andy the paperwork with the case file number and their preliminary findings. But he kneeled on the ground, not really aware of what was going on around him. “We are very sorry,” he told Andy and Danae as they clung to one another. Emmitt’s body was removed from the property as the investigation wrapped up. Within an hour of the accident, the devastated family was alone, minus one little boy.

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Elyse and Eamon had been watching the circus from inside the house, not realizing what had happened. Danae and Andy had the unhappy task of telling them their little brother had died, drowned in the pool where they played with their dad almost every day. It was the most difficult thing either of them had ever done. All four of them were shattered beyond words, their lives forever changed.


“Punkin,” the voice called her. “Danae…” 

She looked around. No one called her ‘Punkin’ except her daddy. “Who’s there?” 

“It’s me, sweetheart,” he said to her. And she rubbed her eyes. Could it really be him?

“Daddy?” 

“Yes, honey, it’s me. Your mama, Tessa, and Emmitt are here, too.”

She looked beyond where Travis stood and saw her mother and in-laws. Travis and Charlotte looked like they did when she was a child, Emmitt was youthful and slender, and Tessa looked just like she did in the photographs that hung in their bedroom. “Mama? I have to be dreaming this…” 

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Travis nodded. “You are, honey.” A little boy walked out from behind him. Emmitt. “Punkin, I wanted to let you know that your baby boy is here with us, and he’s safe. We all just adore him.” 

“C-can I talk to him a second? I need to tell him something,” she begged Travis. “Please, Daddy.”

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Emmitt approached her, just out of reach. “Hi Mama,” he smiled at her. “I miss you.” 

“Oh my baby boy, I’m so sorry I wasn’t there for you. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you. Daddy and Lysie, and Eamon and I will always love you. And we miss you already.”

“Pop Pop is teaching me to play football, Mama! But he’s silly and calls it something different. And Memaw reads to me all the time.” He held his arms to her, reaching for her. “Mama, I want you, but I can’t reach you…” 

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“I’m trying, Emm… I can’t get to you! Emmitt…” she cried out for him. “I’m sorry I failed you, baby boy… I’m so sorry…”

*****

A sob choked her awake and it shook her. Andy wasn’t really sleeping, but it startled him. “Baby? Are you okay?” It was 1:17 am.

“It was so real… Andy, he was right there, but I couldn’t reach him.” Danae sobbed in his arms. “Daddy had him, and Mama and your mom and dad were there, too.” The pain was crushing, and it felt like it might kill her. 

“Who was there, honey?” He hugged her tightly to him, weeping into her hair.

“Emmitt. I wanted to tell him I was sorry. It’s my fault, Andy. He’s gone because of me.” 

“Oh, sweetie, you can’t do this to yourself. It was an accident, baby.” He rocked her in his arms. 

She shook her head violently. “No, I was careless. I left him alone. It should have been me, Andy. I should be gone, not my baby boy. I should be dead…” her voice trailed off in ragged, heartbroken sobs. 

“I can’t lose you too, honey. Please, don’t talk like that.” Her pain was eating him alive, and he prayed for just a little respite. “Baby, you have two kids that need their mama desperately. You have to hold it together for them.” He kissed her forehead and wiped her tears away. 

“But—”

“No, Danae, you can’t torture yourself like this. The detective said it was an accident. Bees chased him into the water, baby.” Inside, he was numb, almost not recognizing what had happened. But the cruel reality was there. Emmitt had been gone for less than twelve hours, and the pain was raw, and it was real. Andy didn’t have any answers. He was just as broken as Danae, but she needed him. 

Elyse heard them talking and walked into their bedroom, crying. “Daddy, I can’t sleep,” she wept. “I’m too sad to sleep.” He patted the spot on the bed near his knees and she climbed into bed with them. 

“Lysie, give Mama kisses. She needs you and Eamon right now. She needs to know how much you two love her.” 

Elyse crawled over Andy’s legs and snuggled up next to Danae. “I love you, Mama,” she cried. Danae wrapped her daughter in a hug and covered her face in kisses. 

“My sweet little girl,” Danae cried. “I love you so much, Lysie.” Eamon peeked his head inside the door and began to cry.

“Daddy,” he sniffled. “I can’t sleep.” 

Andy held his arms open for Eamon and called to him. “Join the club, sport.” He ran to Andy and jumped into his arms. “There’s plenty of room for all of us tonight.” 

Danae had Elyse, and Andy had Eamon, and the four of them snuggled and cried together until sleep mercifully took them.

*****

Trixie had stayed the night with Aaron in his spare bedroom, wanting to give her friends space and time. But she promised she would be back that morning so Danae and Andy could make arrangements for Emmitt. Instinctively, she checked on the kids before she went to make coffee, but wasn’t surprised to see them not in their beds. Quietly, she opened the master suite door and peeked inside. The family was all wrapped up together, soundly sleeping. Trixie figured it would be the last time today there would be any peace at all.

Eamon shifted and kicked Andy accidentally, and the sharp pain in his knee was not the awakening he needed. He got up anyway, leaving Danae to snuggle with her babies. He shambled into the kitchen and was greeted by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, Trixie sat at the dining room table staring at the newspaper. 

“What’s the good word, Trix?” Andy greeted her. He looked awful and felt worse. 

“Oh, hi Andy. I wasn’t expecting you up yet.” 

“Eamon kicked my bad knee in his sleep. He has a powerful kick. I’m just glad he didn’t kick higher up if you catch me.” Trixie blushed but nodded.

“That would have been terrible,” she agreed. “The press is about seven deep outside the house this morning. I’m not letting the kids near the front gate today.”

Andy groaned. “Just what Danae needs is press and Paparazzi.” He sat down beside Trixie with a hot cup of coffee. “If I have to, I’ll threaten the whole lot of them with my trusty baseball bat. I’ve never seen a press critter think so much of himself that he’d risk a beatdown with a Louisville Slugger.”

Trixie skimmed the cover story on the front page. “At least they are correctly reporting it was an accident, and that no charges are pending.” 

Andy shook his head. “They don’t want to try me on that angle, either. Danae is very fragile right now, and I will protect her with my life. She doesn’t need any garbage from anyone, especially the press.”

Trixie looked at him. “How are you holding up?” She rubbed his shoulder.

He sighed deeply. “It depends on the moment. I know I have to be strong for Nae. Mostly, I’m just numb. But she had a dream last night that choked me up. She dreamed our parents had Emmitt…” his voice trailed off. “My dad, my mom… her folks.”

She reached for his hand and patted it. “I know it’s going to take a while, but the pain will lessen. It won’t ever go away, but eventually, breathing won’t hurt as bad.”

“Thanks, Trix. This is way worse than the miscarriage, I can tell you that.”

She nodded. “What you and Nae are enduring right now is a pain no parent should ever feel. And I’m so sorry.” Trixie blinked back tears and got up from the table. “I need more caffeine for this nonsense today, and my only job is to take care of Lysie and Eamon.” But Trixie knew there would be nothing ordinary about this day. “Do you want me to call them in sick, or do you want the honor?” 

Andy sighed. Chances were the administration already knew, but it was a formality. “I’ll call. I will do anything so Danae doesn’t have to.” He took his phone from his pocket and dialed the school.

“This is Andy Murphy—” he began when the school secretary cut him off.

“Oh, Mr. Murphy, we are so sorry.” He heard her voice crack with emotion. 

“Thank you. Eamon and Lysie won’t be in until further notice. I’m expecting a week or more. Please have their teachers forward their assignments to my stadium email address.” 

“I’m pretty sure they’ll be excused from schoolwork, Mr. Murphy. But I’ll let you know if there is any change to that.” 

“I appreciate that. Oh, and a quick favor? Please contact me instead of my wife. She is fragile. It’s been a difficult night.” 

“I’ll make a note. Again, please extend our condolences to your family.”

Andy wiped tears from his eyes. Yesterday morning, the house was filled with laughter and joy. What a difference a day makes, he thought. 

“What time are you headed to the funeral home?” asked Trixie. She poured her third cup of coffee and prepared a new pot. 

“Our appointment is at ten. I need to wake Danae, but I want to just let her sleep.” 

He walked into the bedroom and smiled weakly. She was resting, Elyse wrapped around one side, and Eamon around the other. He touched her shoulder gently and kissed her cheek. “Baby, it’s time to get up.” 

She roused and seeing the kids nearby, she smiled. Danae snuggled Eamon into her arms and he stirred. She just held him as he awakened fully. 

“Hi Mama,” he said quietly. “Do we have to go to school today?” 

“No, honey, you don’t. Trixie is going to stay with you this morning. Daddy and I have things to do in town.” She kissed his cheek and sighed. “I love you, Eamon Travis. Please don’t ever forget, okay?” 

He tried to smile at her. “I won’t forget, Mama.” 

She woke Elyse in the same manner, with snuggles and kisses. So far, so good, Andy thought as he watched her with the children. But it was inevitable she would fall apart. The question was when.

*****

At ten o’clock sharp, Andy held the door for his wife as they entered the funeral home in downtown Isla Paradiso. Danae was still holding herself together, though Andy wasn’t sure how long it would last. The director walked to meet them and brought them back to his office. 

“First, let me express my condolences,” he told them. “My name is Gorham. Terrance Gorham.” Andy opened his mouth to speak, but Terrance beat him to the punch. “I certainly know your family, Mr. Murphy.” He folded his hands on the desk and looked at them, the silence awkward and uncomfortable. It had been a long time since he had to arrange a child’s funeral, and this one was high profile. Every detail needed to be perfect.

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“So,” Andy began, “you have our son Emmitt?” Danae reached for his hand, and he felt her tremble. 

“Yes, so here’s what will happen. The medical examiner will perform an autopsy, which is mandatory for this type of accident, and we’ll have him back in a day or two. When are you thinking about having the ceremony?” 

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“Well, as soon as possible. We have two surviving children who need some closure, not to mention family and close friends. Today is Friday, so when is the earliest we can plan this?” Andy was calm on the outside but in reality, he wanted to hide in a closet and cry. Danae needed him to be strong and collected. She had barely spoken since they left the house.

“I think the earliest would be Tuesday next week, Mr. Murphy. Town ordinance prohibits open casket viewing of a minor child, so that solves one issue. Do you wish to have a service at the chapel? Or just a visitation with a graveside service? The details are up to you.” 

Andy hadn’t discussed anything with Danae before their appointment, so he whispered in her ear. “Baby, do you have a preference for this? Or do you want me to just take care of it?”

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He saw tears well in her eyes and she swallowed hard, trying to consume the lump of emotion that resided in her throat. “Just take care of it,” she whispered back. “I trust you.” She reached for a tissue from the box that sat on Terrance’s desk and dabbed her eyes. 

“Let’s do a visitation at the chapel, and then the graveside service,” Andy confirmed. He picked out everything, from flowers to the headstone. Danae sat silently next to him, weeping. Every once in awhile, he would kiss her forehead and squeeze her hand. He was so proud of her for holding herself together because he knew how heart-wrenchingly difficult it was for her.

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Ninety minutes later, Andy stood and shook Terrance’s hand and thanked him, wrapped an arm around Danae and together they left the funeral home. Every detail had been planned. It was the first time he had truly done anything like it. 

He held the car door for Danae, and she got inside. Any minute now, he thought. Andy got into the seat next to hers and leaned to his right to kiss her. “Are you okay, my sweet?”

She shook her head and sighed, a tear rolled down her cheek as she buckled her seatbelt. 

“No, I’m not okay, but I need to be strong for those babies. They need me, and I need them.” 

“It’s okay to cry, honey. You don’t have to be strong for me. I know you’re hurting, because I am, too.” He kissed her hand tenderly.

“Andy, tell me that wasn’t real in there. Tell me our sweet little miracle baby is home safe, and this is only a nightmare. Please, tell me.” Her bottom lip quivered, the grief gnawed at her soul. 

“I want so badly to tell you that, my beautiful princess.” A sob built up in his chest, and it escaped his body loudly, “He’s gone, baby,” Andy cried shamelessly. 

“No… no…” she wept and clung to him. “He can’t be gone, Andy. It’s not fair…” 

They sat in the parking lot of the funeral home for an hour and sobbed in each others’ arms.


Four Days Later…

Danae stood in front of the mirror in their bathroom fussing with her hair. She had a small hat with a flower and black veil that would cover her face, and her usual hairstyle didn’t work with it. She stood back and admired the finished product. “Does this look okay, my Andy?” 

“You look beautiful,” he told her. He finished tying his tie and straightened out his slacks. “I think I’m ready. I’ll check on Eamon.” 

She continued to pin her hair until she was satisfied. “I guess this will have to do,” she said, though Andy had already left the room. She smoothed the fabric of her dress beneath her hands. It was nothing fancy, but she hated this style in black. It looked frumpy, she told Andy when they bought it. But it was appropriate for the occasion. She sincerely hoped she would never have to wear it again.

Andy helped Eamon with his tie and fastened a flower to his lapel. “You look so grown up, sport,” he complimented his son. Andy ran a comb through Eamon’s short hair. “What a handsome little man you are.” 

“Thanks, Daddy. I’m ready.” Together, father and son walked to the living room. Trixie was a nervous wreck, flitting about the house doing nothing of importance. But when she saw Eamon, she smiled.

“You’re looking good, twerp,” she said with a smile. “You need a hug?”

Eamon nodded and walked to her. She kissed his cheek, being careful not to leave a lip print on his skin. “I love you, Trixie,” he said softly. 

She rocked him in her arms and hugged him tightly. “Ooh, I love you too, twerp.”

Danae was helping Elyse with her hair. She looked adorable in a jumper with a white blouse under it. Danae couldn’t believe how grown she was and hoped that this tragedy wouldn’t age her too quickly. “Are you doing okay, sweet pea?” she asked Elyse.

She shook her head, but said, “Yeah, I’m okay Mama. For now.” 

Danae hugged her daughter. “I’m so proud of you, Lysie. You’re acting so grown up and being such a good big sister to Eamon.” She kissed Elyse’s cheek. “I love you Elyse Charlotte.”

Elyse hugged her mother tightly. “I love you, Mama. I’m ready.” Danae took her hand and they walked into the living room together. 

They were going to meet Aaron at the chapel, along with Darcey and Clint and their closest friends. Neither Noel nor Shan wanted to go to the funeral, so Darcey sent them to school for the day, figuring the distraction might be welcomed. 

Andy took Danae’s hand as they climbed the steps that led to the chapel’s front door, Elyse and Eamon right behind them. He held the door and they let the kids walk in first, then Danae and Andy brought up the rear. The last time they were in the chapel it was a happy occasion, and it was less than four months earlier. It all still seemed so unreal to Danae. But the moment of reckoning was upon all four of them.

In the front of the chapel sat a dark wood coffin. On top was Emmitt’s most recent photo and two floral arrangements. The Murphys were the first ones there, and when Andy opened the door to the sanctuary, everything got very real, very quickly. He took a deep breath and held his hand for Danae, and together they walked down to the front of the room. 

Five paces from the coffin, Danae collapsed on the floor of the sanctuary, completely overwhelmed.

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Pain engulfed her as the reality of the situation hit her and she sobbed, her face contorted in emotional agony. Andy kneeled down and wrapped himself around her, comforting her the best he could. 

“I’m sorry, Emm, my baby boy. I’m so sorry,” she sobbed. 

Andy kissed her face repeatedly. “Baby, this wasn’t your fault. Please don’t blame yourself anymore.” 

Elyse and Eamon approached the casket together, hand in hand. She began to cry, and Eamon hugged her. “Don’t cry, Lysie,” he whispered into her ear. “I love you…” 

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“I love you, Eamon,” she replied. He held tightly to her, and they both wept. And when Danae saw her children in their tender embrace, she cried harder. This was something they shouldn’t have to endure, and she hated it for them.

Darcey and Clint were the first ones to the visitation, and her heart broke when she saw Danae crumpled in a heap on the floor. She walked to her sister and placed a hand on her shoulder. Danae looked up to see her, and she wanted to get up, so Andy helped her. 

“Oh Nae,” Darcey said, weeping. “We’re just devastated for you guys.” She took her sister into a hug. “Emmitt was such a little love, every time we watched him, he just laughed all the time.” 

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“I still can’t believe it, Darce. One minute he’s alive and excited about a field trip, and the next…” she couldn’t finish the sentence. “It was my fault…”

“I saw the reports, Nae. It was accidental. Don’t you blame yourself for this, sweetie.” Darcey kissed her cheek. Clint joined her as she approached the casket.

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It was all a little too surreal for her, too. He held her as she cried, wishing she had a magic wand that would bring him back and into her sister’s loving arms. 

Aaron was next into the chapel with Trixie on his arm. Danae was sitting down, still shaky with emotion. Andy approached them. “How is she?” Aaron asked.

“Not good today,” he replied. “You missed the breakdown. I’m sure she isn’t through, either. This is just too horrible to comprehend.” 

“How are you holding up, buddy?” Aaron asked.

“I know I have to hold it together for Danae. But inside, I feel like a part of me died with him. I can’t wait until the ceremony is over and our poor baby boy to be laid to rest. Then there won’t be any more acting, no more pretending that we’re okay. Because Aaron, we are broken.” Andy wiped a tear from his cheek. 

“How are the kids?” 

“Lysie has been a trooper, watching out for Eamon constantly. Neither one of them wants to go back into the pool. Eamon is afraid of the water now, and I suspect Lysie might be, too. And to be honest, I might have it filled in and just put a playground in for the kids instead. I should have done that years ago…” His thoughts drifted off. The kids loved the pool. It was the highlight of their day and precious bonding time with him. 

“Well, I understand the fear. But don’t do anything rash. You and the kids might change your minds on it.” 

“How can I swim there again, Aaron? My baby died in that pool. Danae doesn’t even want to stay in the house. Too many memories of Emmitt there for her.” 

Aaron hugged his best friend. “I’m so sorry Andy. I wish I knew how to make it better. You don’t deserve this agony.” Trixie hugged Andy, and together, she and Aaron approached the casket. Trixie adored the Murphy children, and Emmitt’s sudden, tragic death was affecting her, too. Aaron held her tightly as she wept. 

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Kirby and Rae, Avery and Dina and Wyatt and Raisa all showed up to support their friends. Rae Kemp adored Danae and Andy’s kids, and she was devastated by the tragedy. For almost the entire time the Kemps knew Danae and Andy, Emmitt was a part of the family. Raisa wept bitterly and clung to Wyatt as they both mourned the loss. Dina sat with Danae and hugged her.

At the end of the two-hour visitation, the Murphy family approached the casket together as a family.

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Danae laid her hand on the wood box and gazed at Emmitt’s photograph. Tears ran down her face as she traced the carving on the side of the casket with her fingers.

“Andy, I don’t feel so…” she said before she passed out cold. Andy picked her up and carried her to the car, the children still standing at the casket.

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“Kids, come on. We need to go,” he called to them. They both ran to catch up and followed him closely. One half of the day was done. The hardest part remained.

*****

By the time they arrived at the cemetery, Danae was feeling a little better. Andy was impressed that the children were on their best behavior, but he figured they were too upset to misbehave. As they pulled up at the cemetery, Danae sighed deeply, trying to stay strong for her little ones. 

“It’s almost over, baby,” Andy said softly, reaching to caress her cheek. “We can grieve at our own pace after this is done.” He hugged her and kissed her tenderly. “I love you, Danae.” 

“You and those babies are the only thing making me want to hang on right now. Please don’t leave my side, Andy. I need you so desperately.” She sniffled and dabbed her eyes with a tissue. “I’m not ready for this.”

“None of us are ready, honey. We just have to say goodbye today. We can come back here as often as you want.” 

“I’m sorry I got sick at the chapel. I should be doing better than this.” 

He lifted her face to his and looked into her eyes. “Nae, no one is expecting you to be at your best today. We have suffered a tremendous loss, and everyone understands that. They feel it with us. They love you, honey. They love all of us, and that is why they are here today. Our friends, not just mine.”

She forced a smile and kissed him. “I love you, Andy. If you’re nearby, I will be okay.” 

He smiled and caressed her cheek again. “That’s my girl.” 

The service would begin as soon as the casket was brought and set up under the canopy. There were chairs set up on either side, and the flowers were brought from the chapel and set up around the gravesite.

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A larger photograph of Emmitt was displayed instead of the small portrait that sat in the chapel. Aaron, Wyatt, Kirby, and Avery carried the casket from the hearse as the women followed the family. Everyone was in attendance, and the pastor started with some words of encouragement for the family. 

Eamon sat on Darcey’s lap, and Elyse stood with Trixie and Aaron. Andy held tightly onto Danae as she cried.

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He had ordered two red roses, one for Elyse and one for Eamon, for them to lay on Emmitt’s casket. Elyse approached it first and she gently placed the flower on the casket. With tears in her eyes, she whispered, “I love you, Emmitt.” She walked back to Trixie and got a hug. 

“You’re a good kid, Lysie,” Trixie said to her. “I love you.” Elyse just sniffled and wrapped her arms around Trixie’s waist.

Eamon got up from Darcey’s lap, took his rose and placed it on the casket. “I miss you,” he said and tried hard not to cry. Darcey picked him up and sat him in her lap, snuggled up with him and kissed his head. 

“It’s okay to cry, Eamon,” she whispered into his ear. He wrapped himself around his aunt Darcey and cried in her arms.

The rest of the service was short. Emotions ran high as the pastor blessed the grieving parents. And without much other ceremony, it was over. Danae and Andy watched as Emmitt’s body was laid to rest, and she turned around in his arms, buried her face into his chest and sobbed. One by one, their friends comforted her and Andy, giving them hugs and offers of help whenever they needed it. And one by one, everyone left the cemetery, leaving the family there. Only Aaron and Trixie remained with them. 

“Andy, are you okay to drive home, bud?” Aaron asked him. Andy shook his head. 

“I’m truly not,” he replied. “I hate to ask—”

“Hey, it’s why I’m here.” He held out his hand for Andy’s keys. 

“Kids, Nae, Aaron is going to take us home.” Trixie would drive Aaron’s car and follow them. “Are you ready, my sweet?” 

Danae was sitting graveside just looking at the hole in the ground. Andy touched her shoulder, and she reached for his hand. “I think so,” she said. She took his hand and he helped her up, the four of them walked to Andy’s car for the last time that day. Danae sat in the back with the kids, Andy rode shotgun up in front while Aaron drove the short distance back to the Murphy home, Trixie right behind them. 

Andy held to Danae as they walked to the house together, Eamon and Elyse right behind them. “Are you staying here tonight, Trix?” Aaron asked her. 

She nodded. “I need to be here for them. Danae will need help with the kids for a while.”

Aaron gave her a hug and a kiss. “If you need me, Beanie, you know where I am. I love you.” 

“I love you too, Coach,” she said. “Pray for them, Aaron. I’m worried about Danae.” 

“We all are, my heart,” Aaron answered. “I’ll drop by tomorrow after work.” Aaron gave Trixie one last hug and a tender kiss. “Remember, I’m five minutes away if you guys need me.” 

She nodded her head and walked into the house. 

*****

After the kids were in bed, Danae sat in the backyard, the first time she had been out since the accident. Andy walked to her, their customary glasses of wine in his hands. He handed her one and took the lounge chair beside hers. 

“Do you think he can see us, babe?” she asked out of the blue.

“Who?” 

“Emmitt. There hasn’t been a minute today that I haven’t missed him. That I haven’t thought of him. Andy, he should be here, sleeping in the bottom bunk of Eamon’s bed. Our family doesn’t feel whole anymore.” She sniffled and wiped tears away. 

“I haven’t thought of much else today, my love. But you know, baby, I think of the dream you had the night he died. And in some ways, it brings me comfort.”

“How so?” she asked, sipping her glass of wine. 

“Your dad said Emmitt was there with them, and he’s safe. My dad and mom were with him, too. She finally got to meet one of her grandkids, in the dream anyway.” He sighed and reached for her hand to hold. “Do you think they really are together, Nae? I mean, wherever they are.” 

“I think so,” she sniffled. “If they are, Emmitt will keep them smiling. He was very good at that.” 

“That he was, baby. That he was.” He took her hand and squeezed it gently. 

“Andy, I’m exhausted, and this wine just doesn’t taste very good tonight.”

“I’m tired too, honey. Let’s go snuggle in bed and talk until we fall asleep,” he suggested. 

“Do you mind if we get the kids and put them in our bed tonight? It will make me feel better to know they’re close.” 

Andy smiled. Whatever made her happy, he was willing to do. “I’ll get Eamon.” He kissed her tenderly. “Please never forget, Danae, how much we all love you. We’re going to get through this if we stick together as a family. I promise you that.” 

She snuggled into his embrace. “I love you, Andy, and I need you now more than ever. You and our babies are my lifeline.”

“Let’s go get them and snuggle together,” Andy said as he walked to Eamon’s room and Danae to Elyse’s room. Neither of the kids had fallen asleep. It was inevitable they would both end up in bed with Danae and Andy by morning anyway. The four of them snuggled and cried together, and by the time sleep finally overtook them, they had made it through the worst day of their lives. 

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 Up Next: Chapter Thirty-Two, Generation Five


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A huge thank you to every artist that made this chapter come alive for me and helped to make my screenshots a huge part of it. I know there are items I have left out, but it’s getting almost as long as my story to credit everyone! So my blanket disclaimer: I have produced none (except Emmitt’s portraits) of the CC used in this chapter. If someone has gone uncredited, it was not intentional, and I am truly sorry! I take no credit for any CC used, except where noted. 

G5 Chapter Thirty – Danae’s Big Break

A week after the new year, the children returned to classes. Emmitt was excited to go to preschool for the first time. Danae’s attitude was slightly more reserved. Emm was her baby, the last of the “Murphy Munchkins,” and her feelings were mixed.

She stood in the doorway watching her boys sleep just another minute before she woke Eamon. Emmitt had a bath the evening before and even went to bed early all by himself. If only Eamon was that simple, she thought with a smile. Emmitt was already awake, well-rested and ready to get up. 

“Mama,” he said quietly with a huge smile. “Good morning!”

“Oh, my baby boy,” she sighed. “Good morning sweetheart.” She knelt down to hug him, and he ran to her from the bottom bunk. “Let me wake Eamon, and I’ll get you some breakfast. Sound good?” 

“Yeah!” he said happily. 

Elyse had gotten up with the help of her brand new alarm clock, for which she had begged her parents, and Andy was up and making coffee in the kitchen. Emmitt ran from behind her and squealed with excitement, Danae right behind him. “Good morning, beautiful,” Andy greeted her. 

She walked to him and kissed him. “Good morning, my handsome prince. Thank you for starting the coffee. What’s for breakfast this morning? Shall I make pancakes?” 

Emmitt squealed and giggled. “Yes please!” 

Danae busied herself making batter while Andy kept the kids on schedule for school. She would drive them that morning since it was Emmitt’s first day. It wasn’t because he was scared or didn’t want to go. Seeing him off to classes was more for her. She didn’t anticipate it would be without emotion, either.

At 8:30, the kids and Danae piled into her SUV and they drove to the school. In a way, she was ready for them to go back, but at the same time, she would miss Emmitt and all the fun they had together playing and learning. It was a big moment for both of them.

Danae parked out in front of the school and Elyse blew a kiss as she ran for the door, eager to greet her friends. Eamon lagged behind a bit, curious to see what would happen with Emmitt. Danae walked him to the front door, his little hand in hers. 

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“I’m so excited, Mama!” he chirped, Eamon a few steps ahead of them. “I can’t wait!”

Danae knelt down at the bottom of the steps, turned him toward her and looked into his eyes. “You’re going to make all kinds of new friends, and learn a bunch of good stuff here.” She rubbed noses with him. “Lysie and Eamon will come home with you on the school bus, okay?” 

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“Yes, Mama,” he nodded. “I’mma miss you.” 

Danae blinked back tears. “Oh, I’m going to miss you, too, baby boy.” 

She stood and waved as Emmitt walked toward the door, Eamon waiting for him just inside. “Bye Mama!” he waved as she watched him disappear. 

The significance of the morning’s events finally hit her and she walked to a bench near the front door, unable to contain the tears any longer, and she cried. 

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“You were gone a while,” Andy commented when she returned home. “Was everything okay, my sweet?” 

She breathed a heavy sigh. “Yes, I was just not ready to let him go. They all grew up so fast. If I blink, tomorrow they’ll be teenagers. Where did it go, Andy?”

“Aww, baby,” he said and hugged her. “It’s an inevitable fact of life. Kids grow up, we grow older.” A smile of mischief crossed his face. “We do, however, have the house all to ourselves until after three. Hows about you and me take advantage of the sitch?” 

She shook her head, laughing. “You wouldn’t be my Andy if you didn’t suggest it, babe. But I think it’s a great idea.” 

*****

The crowd chanted her name as she stood nervously backstage. The emcee stood front and center, mic in hand. “She’s the hottest name in music. Let’s give an Isla Paradiso welcome to Nae!”

Hearing her intro, she walked on rubbery legs to the stage. Andy was seated at the piano, ready to play, and he smiled at her when she approached him. A wink and a blown kiss was all she needed, and she seated herself in front of Andy’s piano. He began to play a hit made famous by Danae’s great grandmother, and she settled down, ready to sing. 

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The first note that left her lips started the crowd cheering and cameras flashing. No longer nervous, she settled into the song and belted out the notes perfectly…

“Nae?” Andy whispered quietly into her ear as she sang in her sleep. “Nae, baby.” 

“Huh?” She stirred and looked at him, sleep heavy in her eyes. “What?”

Andy chuckled. “You must have been having a good dream, honey. You were singing.” 

“Yeah,” she stretched and rubbed her eyes. “I dreamed I was on stage at this huge venue, playing to a packed house. You were on the piano behind me, and I was singing Nana Destiny’s big hit.” 

That old guilty feeling snuck up on Andy and bit him. “See? I shouldn’t have encouraged you to quit singing.” 

“Babe, it was just a dream.” She snuggled back into his arms. “Don’t read anything into it.” 

“But I still feel guilty for letting you quit. I was so selfish—”

She looked him in the eyes. “Shh. You weren’t selfish at all. Look at my face and tell me I have one regret about staying home to raise our kids.”

“I know, but it kills me when I think of what you could have been, honey. That’s all.” He kissed her nose and pulled her close. 

“I would never trade what could have been for what I have. Ever. Andy, I love you so much. I just want to be your wife and mama to those three babies.”

“Oh honey, I just crazy love you when you say that.” He snuggled her and kissed her. “How much longer until the bus comes, love?” 

“About half an hour. I can’t wait to hear how his first day of school was. I’m glad you were home today. I would have cried all morning without this beautiful distraction.” She kissed him one last time. “I do have to get dressed, however. I think the bus driver would protest me retrieving the kids in the buff.”

Andy belly laughed. “I think the kids would protest that!”

Danae snorted. “That, too.”

Danae and Andy both waited out by the gate for the bus to arrive, and when it did Elyse was the first off. She ran to Andy and wrapped her arms around his waist. Eamon had Emmitt by the hand, and the two boys walked from the bus together until Emm saw Danae. 

“Mama!” he squealed and ran to her. She kneeled down and opened her arms, wrapped him up and covered his face in kisses. And then she saw Eamon looking at both of them from behind the palm tree, hurt that neither of them had attention for him. 

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She gave Emmitt a kiss on the cheek and Andy took his hand, the three of them walked to the house together. Eamon stood staring at Danae, tears in his eyes. “Come here, sweetheart,” she called to him, her arms opened and ready.

Eamon shook his head. “I’m okay, Mama.” 

“I’m not,” she replied. “I need some baby boy lovin’.” She motioned him to her and he finally approached her. She wrapped him in her embrace and covered him in kisses. “Ooh, Eamon, you are my special boy, you know that?” 

He sniffled and wiped a tear from his cheek. “I am?” 

“Of course!” she chirped. “You’re my first son. You have had my heart since I first saw your beautiful eyes. They’re just like mine, you know.” 

“They are?” 

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“Yep! See?” She opened her eyes wide and looked at him, making a funny face. “Yours are just like mine. Not everyone can say they have purple eyes.” She wiggled her fingers, threatening a tickle, and Eamon erupted in a fit of giggles. Andy was standing on the front porch, watching them. 

“You didn’t even have to touch him!” he laughed. “I’ll remember that.” 

Danae looked at the black-haired, violet-eyed little boy in her arms and kissed his cheek. “I love you, Eamon Travis Murphy. Please never forget how much. Okay, sweetheart?”

“Yeah, Mama.” She released him from her grasp, and as he ran toward the house, she swatted his bottom gently. He turned around and smiled at her. 

Andy walked to where she still kneeled and sat beside her. “Baby, you are the best mama to those kids. What happened out here?”

“Eamon saw me giving all the attention to Emm, and Elyse was wrapped around your waist and had your attention. He felt left out.”

He nodded. “It’s a good reminder to me, too, not to dedicate so much time to Lysie. I do have two sons that you so graciously gave me.” 

Danae chuckled. “Well, you helped.”

He looked at her and raised his eyebrow. “Yeah I did,” he laughed. “I can help again later, too, if you catch my drift.” 

She rolled her eyes. “You’re insatiable, my Andy.” 

“Yeah, well, you made me this way, my sweet.” They walked back into the house hand in hand. Trixie was sitting at the table with Elyse helping her with a difficult math problem. 

“Don’t you have a date tonight, Trix?” Danae asked. 

“Oh, no. Aaron had to cancel at the last minute,” she replied. She fiddled with the necklace he had given her for Snowflake Day and smiled. “It’s okay.”

“We have playoffs coming up, Trix. He’s under a lot of pressure.” Andy placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “He really didn’t want to cancel.”

“Do you mind if I ask you a question about Aaron?” Trixie turned to Andy. 

“Not at all. Shoot.” 

“Has he said anything about me? I’m so insecure after what happened.” 

Andy sat down with her, took her hands and looked her in the eyes. “Trixie, you don’t have to worry about Aaron. That man adores you. I’ve never seen him like this, and I’ve known him for a long time. You’re good.”

“Hey Trix, I have an idea,” Danae suggested. “He’s working late at the stadium. Why don’t you pack a dinner and go to him? I bet he’d appreciate it, and you’ll still get to see him.” 

Andy nodded. “Fantastic idea, my sweet. I know he loves that Spanish place by the resort. Go grab a couple of meals and surprise him. He never eats dinner when he’s alone.” 

Trixie’s smiled brightened. “You don’t need me tonight?” 

Danae shook her head. “No. Go on and be with Aaron. Their homework is almost done, and I just need to get dinner on the table. Have fun.” She hugged her friend and smiled as Trixie left the house, giddy.

*****

The sun was down over the western horizon, and the kids were in bed, though she doubted that Elyse or Eamon were asleep. Trixie was still not home from the stadium. Andy walked to the patio, two glasses of wine in his hand, and sat down beside Danae.

“For you, my sweet.” She took the glass from his hand and just held it for a moment. The stars floated in the early evening sky and they caught her gaze. “Is something wrong, Danae?”

She took a sip of wine and shook her head. “No, babe. I was just remembering my dream. It was so real. The stars reminded me of the flashing lights in the crowd. I couldn’t believe so many people were there just to see me.” 

He reached for her hand. “You’re extremely talented, baby. Why wouldn’t people flock to your concert?” 

“Because no one knows my name. I’m a literal nobody in the music industry. I’m known simply because I’m a Jones and a Murphy. I did nothing to earn that fame except that I was born into the right family and married the right guy. I’ve earned none of it.” 

“Sometimes, I’m glad you’re not known. Most times, I feel guilty.” Andy kissed her fingers.

Danae shrugged. “Sometimes, I feel the itch and I want to sing again. And then something happens like today with Eamon, and I remember why I gave it up in the first place. I love those babies with everything I have, and I love you even more.”

“Do you remember what I told you that night we were walking home from Darcey’s after Noel was born?”

“Which part, babe?” 

“I told you that if you wanted a career, I want that for you. And if you wanted to stay home and raise our family, I want that for you. I still believe that, honey. Whatever you want to do, I want it for you.” 

Danae snuggled up to Andy in his lounge chair and kissed him. “Just when I don’t think I can love you more, you go and say something sweet, and you sweep me off my feet all over again.” 

“It’s my specialty, my love.” He motioned for her to get up, and he stood up behind her. “Let’s go make some beautiful music together, baby.” 


A new coffeehouse opened on one of the minor islands in the county, and the talk around the town was that it would be THE place for live music. The newspaper reviewed it favorably, and the article reported that the owners were looking for fresh talent. Andy read the article with great interest. 

He dialed the phone number listed in the paper and waited for an answer. In the background, the noise of a bustling store echoed as a hard-working barista picked up his call.

“Java Joe’s, how can I help you?” 

“I have a quick question,” Andy said, not identifying himself. “What is the audition process for live music? I am a singer, and I’m curious.” 

“The owner is here every day after four, and he’s available for auditions.” 

“Do I need an appointment, or can I just walk in?” Andy asked, ready to take notes.

“Either works.”

“Thank you. I’ll be in soon,” Andy said and ended the call. His smile was ear to ear as he walked to the media room to set up the upcoming press conference. Aaron was setting up his spot with a bottle of water and his notes and caught Andy deep in thought.

“A penny for your thoughts, Murph. You look preoccupied.” 

“That new coffeehouse on the small island. They’re doing auditions, and I thought I’d arrange one for Nae. She’s been feeling the itch.” 

“Don’t you think you should ask her first?” 

“Well, yeah, of course I would. But she’s been having dreams about it. She gets that starry look in her eyes. I know she misses it. And now that Emm is in school full time, she has the time. Though you’re taking our nanny away from us.”

Aaron laughed. “Sorry, not sorry about Trix. She surprised me last night with dinner. She actually had some good input for me on the plays, and we worked pretty well together. I have it bad with her, Murph. I’m sunk.”

“I’m happy for you,” Andy said and patted his friend on the back. “You deserve it.”

He had about an hour before the press conference was due to air, and he walked quickly to his office to grab his notes. The newspaper was still on his desk, and he folded it into his briefcase. 

*****

Danae was in the kitchen preparing veggies for dinner when Andy opened the front door. “I’m home, baby,” he called into the house.

“In here!” she called back. He dropped his briefcase into his office, but not before taking the newspaper from it. He tucked it under his arm and walked into the kitchen, the paper opened to the review of the coffeehouse. “What’s this?” 

“There’s a new coffeehouse on the small island. They’re looking for talent for their live music venue. I, um, thought maybe you might be interested.” 

She wiped her hands on a towel and took the paper from him. “What kind of talent?”

“I think bands mostly. But I’m sure they’d love a singer/songwriter with the voice of a legend.” 

She poured a glass of wine for him and shook her head. “Oh, I don’t know. It’s a big commitment. Who will care for the kids during a gig? What happens if they actually want me? I have never done my original stuff before. I rode Nana Destiny’s coattails in the Shores.” 

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“Baby, if you really want to sing again, this is your shot. Here, you can do as much or as little as you want. You are in control.” He sat at the island on a stool and fingered the paper. “You know I’ll support you no matter what you want to do.” 

“I know, and I love you for it. I have been wanting to try my hand in it again. Away from the city, maybe it would be better, you know?” Her mind raced, trying to remember where her guitar was, where her music journals were packed. 

“I thought maybe now that the kids are a little older, you might want the chance. Think about it, my sweet. Maybe the kids would even want to see their mama sing? Who knows.” 

“Dang it Andy, now I’m excited about this! When can I audition?” 

“The owner is there after four every day.” He watched as her smile faded.

“I can’t be there after four. The kids need me in the afternoon.” 

“What about Trixie? Can’t she take the kids while you audition, baby?”

“I don’t know how much longer we’re going to have her living here, Andy. If things work out with Aaron, she will move in with him, sooner than later.” 

“She isn’t gone yet. Nae, take this chance. What do you have to lose?”

“Maybe you’re right. I’ll look for my guitar, and my notebooks are in storage, I think. I’ll go there tomorrow and rifle through the boxes.” An uneasy smile settled on her lips. “I’m really going to do this!”

He smiled sweetly at her. “That’s my girl.” 


The next day after the school bus left with all three children aboard, Danae drove to the storage unit to look through the boxes of stuff for which they simply had no room at the house. The books were packed in with her college memories, songs she had written during her lonely, pre-Andy days. She closed up the box and left the building, a renewed sense of purpose building within her.

“Trix, I’m home,” she called as she walked through the back door. Trixie was watching television, her work done for the morning. 

“Did you find what you needed, Nae?” 

“I did. Hey, could you cover me this afternoon? I have an errand to run around three, I might be gone for an hour or ninety minutes. Andy wants me to do something on the small island.” 

Trixie’s curiosity was piqued. “What do you have in mind?” 

“Don’t tell the kids yet, but I’m going to audition at the new coffeehouse. I’ve been getting the itch to sing again, now that Emmitt is in school. Andy is encouraging me.” 

“Oh, Nae!” Trixie squealed. “That would be fantastic!”

Danae smiled. “This time, I’m going to sing my own stuff. I don’t want a free ride with my Nana’s music. If I stay relatively unknown except locally, I’ll still be living my dream. Both of them.” 

Trixie hugged Danae tightly. “I’m so excited for you!”

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The day felt like it was moving in slow motion for Danae as she picked through her notebooks, trying to remember the tunes that went with the lyrics. For the audition, she thought to herself, maybe one Destiny Hill song wouldn’t hurt. Those she knew by heart, and she knew exactly which one she would sing.

At three o’clock, when the bus was getting ready to arrive at the house, Danae pulled out of the driveway headed for the dock. From there, she would ride the water taxi to the small island and then walk to the coffee shop. Though she was sure of her skills, her self-confidence was next to nil, and she wished Andy had come with her for moral support. But he was busy with a home game and couldn’t make it.

She opened the door to the shop and the aroma of roasting coffee tantalized her nose. Considering the hour, the place was dead, save for a few people working on their laptops. Danae figured it was the football game that was affecting business. The owner of the shop stood behind the counter helping the barista with something. He recognized her immediately, but not because of talent. He knew she was Danae Jones, daughter of football legend Travis Jones. 

“Miss Jones,” he greeted her. “Such an honor to have you in our shop today. What can I get for you?” 

Danae blushed fiercely. “I am actually here for an audition. I’d like to sing for you, if I may. And you may call me Danae.” 

“Hmm,” he contemplated. “Well, let’s see what you’ve got.” 

She had a prop microphone she used to practice, and though she felt stupid, just having it in her hand was more natural than having nothing at all. She cleared her throat and sang the first verse of Nana Destiny’s biggest hit, and she did it acapella. Her pitch was flawless and she knew in her heart she was doing her nana proud. 

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When she had finished the chorus, she bowed her head and lowered the mic to her side. The owner stood, leaned against the coffee bar, thunderstruck.

“That’s a pretty impressive set of pipes you have there, Miss Danae,” the owner said. “My name is Christopher.” He led her to a table where they sat. “Your voice is hauntingly like Destiny Hill’s, Miss Danae. I really don’t have room for a singer with no band, but I want to sign you anyway.”

“My husband can play keyboard, and I usually sing with my guitar. But I didn’t want to lug it on the water taxi. It will be different when Andy can pilot our boat. I’m not a natural sailor,” she said, turning a warm tone of pink. 

Christopher nodded. “We can supply some instruments, like a drum set or keyboards. If your husband wants to accompany you on stage, that’s fine. But an acoustic set would be classic coffeehouse music.” He stood to shake her hand and gave her his business card. “Give me a call tomorrow, and I’ll schedule your first show. The weekends are already pretty booked, but maybe we could start you on a Sunday afternoon? If you bring in some business, we’ll look at a better time slot.” 

Danae was shaking with excitement, her hands trembled as she reached for Christopher’s card. “I will call you tomorrow for certain. Thank you so much for the opportunity.” On wobbly legs, she walked to the door and stopped just outside of the shop. I did it! She thought excitedly.

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She ran to the dock to wait for the next taxi, wanting so badly to call Andy. But she wanted to see his face when she told him. It was all because of him. His encouragement, his love, his nudging. And she was so thankful for him.

*****

Trixie had the kids fed and homework done by the time Danae finally walked through the back door. Andy was watching the game day results on the big screen, and as soon as she entered the house, he sensed something good. 

“There’s my songbird,” he said happily. He got up from the couch and walked to her, the grin on her face gave her away. “So? How did it go?” 

“I’m supposed to call the owner tomorrow,” she said, trying to build the suspense. “I’m looking at a possible Sunday show. Maybe even this week!” 

He hugged her tightly and lifted her from the ground. “Oh baby, I’m SO proud of you!” He spun her around once and kissed her tenderly. Into her ear, he whispered, “I knew you could do it!”

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When he put her down, she clung to him, needing his embrace. “Sunday is an away game, isn’t it?” 

She felt him sigh. “It is, my sweet. But don’t you worry! I’m going to see your show, even if it isn’t the first one. Season is almost over, and with our record, we have home-field advantage for the championship. Traveling is almost done, honey.”

“I’m not sure I want to do this until you can be there for me. I need you in that audience the first time. I wouldn’t even mind if you played keyboard for me. It’s allowed.”

Andy cringed. “Baby, you know I’m not made for music. I mean, I can play, but I’m not that good at it.”

“I know,” she replied. “You don’t have to. It was just a suggestion. Besides, Christopher said the acoustic guitar and vocals are just what he needs for that ‘classic coffeehouse’ sound, whatever that means.”

“You’re going to sing your own stuff?” 

Danae nodded. “I’m going to try, if I can remember how to play the songs I wrote all those years ago. Some of them are sappy love songs, but most of them are about being lonely. I wrote all of them before I met you.” 

“Lonely, love songs. That sounds like coffeehouse music to me. Oh, honey, you’re going to be wonderful! I can’t wait to see you on stage again.”

“It will feel weird to stand in front of people and sing again. But I think it will feel awesome, too. I’m very excited!”

“I am so proud of you, Nae. I crazy love you.” 

“Always and forever I love you.”


“This is Collins,” Christopher answered his cell. 

“Christopher?” Danae asked timidly, thinking she had misdialed the number.

“Yes, who is this?” 

“Danae Murphy… I mean Jones. We spoke yesterday about a show, and you wanted me to touch base today.” 

“Oh yes, Miss Danae!” His voice was peppy as he recalled their conversation. “So, this Sunday we have an opening for a two-hour set. If you are interested, it’s yours.”

She cringed. “That sounds fantastic, but—” 

“There is always a but.” He sounded annoyed.

Danae was instantly sorry. “I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. It’s just that my husband will be out of town this weekend, and I would really like for him to be there.”

“You’re rather new at this to be making demands, are you not, Miss Jones?” Christopher asked. 

“I suppose I am. If your kind offer still stands, I’d be honored to play on Sunday, Andy or no Andy.” 

Christopher was silent on the other end of the phone. “Andy… is your husband Andy Murphy?”

She swallowed hard. This could either backfire or be an advantage. “Yes…”

“You should have said so! I’m a huge Sharks fan. When we first met, I never made the connection. I just remembered your maiden name was Jones.”

Danae breathed a huge sigh of relief. “You see, this singing thing was his idea, his encouragement. When we were first married, I had a career in singing that I gave up to raise our family. We lived in Starlight Shores then. He’s always felt guilty for taking me from it, no matter how much I reassured him. It’s really important to me that he’s there for me.”

Danae… Nae… He knew it sounded familiar. “Your stage name was Nae, right?” 

“How did you know? I don’t recall telling you that.” She was amazed. 

“I remember hearing about you. The name stuck out because Nae is so unusual. I should have connected the dots when you sang a Destiny Hill piece yesterday. You, my dear, are a living legend.” 

She blushed red hot. “I’m not sure I’d say legend, Christopher. My nana was, and my daddy was. I’m nowhere near what they were, with all due respect.”

“Well, let’s see what you can do at a gig. When you have a crowd overflowing onto the sidewalk, I’ll decide how legendary you truly are.” 

“I appreciate the kind compliments. I’ll see you on Sunday?” Danae sighed. 

“The following Sunday, Miss Jones. For Andy.” Christopher said. “Four to six. Your show will be well advertised.” 

“I just have one favor to ask, Christopher, if you please. I rode my nana’s reputation in Starlight Shores. If I make it here, I want it to be with my own stuff, my own merit.” 

“Got it. I will leave it all up to your name recognition. Your reach was larger than you perceived it, Nae. I expect great things from you.” 

Danae thanked him and hung up the phone. 

*****

It was a long afternoon waiting for Andy to come from work. The kids were itching to get into the pool with him since it was a warmer day, and if he agreed she knew he’d be occupied with the three of them until dinnertime. Preparing it was a distraction, albeit a poor one. 

At his normal time, Andy opened the front door, his hand full of mail. “Baby, I’m home!” he called into the house as he set his briefcase in his office. He walked to the kitchen and set the mail down, loosened his tie and sat. “Long damned day.” 

“You have no idea,” she sighed. 

“Daddy!” Elyse called from her bedroom, already in her bathing suit. “Would you take us swimming? Please?”

“Oh, sweet pea, not right now,” he called back to her. “I need to just relax for a few minutes.” A disappointed whine came followed by tears. “It’s not going to work today, Lysie. Daddy’s tired.” 

“Fine!” she screamed and slammed her bedroom door.

“Ooh, she’s getting a little attitude,” Andy said. “If she doesn’t drop that, she won’t go swimming until summer. I’m in no mood for that today.” He buried his face in his hands and sighed. “The away game is in the Shores this weekend. I am dreading it.” 

Danae grabbed a wine glass and filled it. Gently, she set it down in front of him. “We’ll get started early on the silliness. I have some news, too.”

“I hope your news is better than mine, baby. I could use a lift.” 

“I have my first show scheduled.” She smiled at him. “It turns out, the owner is a big Sharks fan, and he scheduled me for the Sunday after this one coming. He called me a living legend.” 

“Really? He must have figured out who you are.”

“Well, he knew I’m a Jones, despite the red hair. And then when I mentioned that I had been a singer in Starlight Shores, that was when he remembered me and my stage name. I hardly deserve the legendary status, babe.”

“You’re going to have a great show, honey. I’m so proud of you.” She sat beside him with her own glass of wine. “We should go to celebrate tonight. I could use a dinner at Kirby’s. Just you and me, what do you say, baby?”

“I’m all over it, Andy. Let’s go get ready. Trixie is home.” She stood and walked to the bedroom, Andy on her heels.


A week of practicing songs and getting the music perfect and Danae was ready for her show at the coffeehouse. She planned to do her own original songs and maybe do one Destiny Hill song toward the end of her set. Andy thought all her tunes were fantastic and couldn’t wait to hear them performed. 

Her guitar was in its case and Andy packed it into the boat. He hitched the trailer to Danae’s SUV,  and they were almost ready to go. Trixie was home with the kids, and Aaron would sit with her.

“You’re going to have a great show, Nae,” she said. “Tell me all about it when you get home! Break a leg!”

“Thanks, Trix,” Danae replied. 

They arrived at the coffeehouse and other than the barista, the building was empty. Danae looked at Andy, a worried expression on her face. “I hope it gets busier in here, or it’s going to be a long two hours, babe.” 

“I’m sure you’re going to draw a crowd, honey. There’s no way you couldn’t.” He kissed her forehead tenderly. 

“You must be Nae?” the barista approached Danae. “Chris wanted to be here, but he had a problem at home. I’m supposed to tell you the lights and power are on the side of the stage behind the curtain.”

“Thanks,” Danae replied. She walked to the stage and took her guitar from its case. She flipped the power and tested the mic. When she was satisfied everything was working, she approached the mic and introduced herself to Andy, who was the only person in the audience.

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Danae sang, strummed her guitar and poured her heart and soul into her first song, a ballad about love gone wrong.

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Andy wondered quietly if it was about Dave, but in truth, it didn’t matter. The song was brilliant and he loved it.

For her next song, she sat on a stool and sang acapella. This one was another ballad, a beautifully written melodic song.

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It was obviously touching a memory as she sang it, her voice cracked with emotion as the words left her mouth. Andy stood and cheered for her, wishing the rest of Isla Paradiso could hear her. And they could if only they would stop by the shop. 

An hour into the set, and Andy remained the only person in the coffeehouse, and he felt terrible for her. And she was such a good sport, singing just for him and pouring everything she had into the performance. She picked up her guitar and sang a faster song. She belted out the notes and sounded perfect. 

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At the end of the two hours, with Andy sitting at a table alone, she quietly walked to the curtain, flipped the switches and gathered her guitar. He saw emotion rising up in her, and he knew she would need him. 

Danae stepped off the stage and the tears welled in her eyes. He walked over to her, her face buried into her hands, and she wept.

Screenshot-3400 “This was a disaster,” she cried as he held her.

“Oh honey, I’m so sorry. But you were fabulous.” 

“The show was the worst thing ever. I’m done singing.” 

“Whatever you want to do, baby. You know you’re always more than enough for me, exactly how you are.” He kissed her, took her hand and they sat together on the loveseat.

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“I’m going to get an espresso. Would you like a coffee, honey?” She only nodded her head.

When he returned with their drinks, he set them down on the coffee table and sat beside her. “I just want to go back to being your wife and our babies’ mama, Andy. I’m done with the fantasy. This is proof that I never had it on my own. Any recognition I ever had, it was from Nana, and that’s it.”

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“You know that isn’t true, Danae. You sang everything perfectly. Your pitch, your tone, the inflection of your voice. Honey, it was beautiful. You are so talented. But if you’re truly done, I understand.” 

“I want to go home,” she sighed. They stood, and he embraced her once again. 

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“I want you to know, Nae, that you are beautiful, you are enough for all of us just as you are, and you are still all mine.” He kissed her forehead, wrapped his arm around her and escorted her from the coffeehouse. “Let’s go home, my love.”

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*****

“Hello?” Danae answered her cell as she and Andy sat by the pool and watched the kids as they swam.

“Nae, it’s Christopher. How was your show?”

“It was a trainwreck,” she said, trying to hide her disappointment. “Andy was the only one in the audience for the whole show. I won’t be coming back.” 

He took a few moments to gather his thoughts. “I advertised your show. I don’t understand.” 

“Oh, it’s okay, Christopher. I had my last hurrah, and I’m satisfied I made the right decision all those years ago. I’ll always be a wife and mother first. But I thank you for the opportunity to try my dream one last time.”

“I can’t entice you to come back and give it another chance, Nae?”

“Oh, no, I’m good, but thank you.” 

“If you change your mind, Nae, you know where I am.” Christopher hated to see her show fail, especially when he knew she had great talent. 

“Thank you again,” Danae said quietly and ended the call. 

“You ended it, huh?” Andy whispered to her. He snuggled her close and kissed her. “Remember, whatever you want, I want it for you, too.”

“Yeah…” her voice trailed off. In a way, she was happy there was no more wondering what could have been. No more wondering if she had made the correct decision. No more wondering if she could still make a comeback. The question had been answered, once and for all.

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Up Next: Chapter Thirty-One, Generation Five


Pose Credits:

Singing #3 and Singing #4 by Kiddo at Kiddo’s Dreams
Warm Hugs and Don’t Let Me Down by Sea at Sims Modeli
Best Friends Forever by Clover at Sims3Lover
Are You Sick Kiddo? By Spladoum at Mod The Sims
Comfort Poses, Don’t Die Daddy!, Emotions, First Day of School, Lost – Children, Meeting at the Bar, Meeting At The Park, and That’s My Girl by Bee at Poses By Bee

Custom Content:

Coffee Bean Hipster’s Loft set from the Sims 3 store
Kiddo’s Concert Stage from Kiddo’s Dreams
Grand Piano and Microphone accessory by Severinka
Kitchen clutter and stage props from Around The Sims 3
Drums and stage props from D&M Creations
Guitar accessory by Modern Lover (Comes with Guitar Pose Pack)
Coffee Cup by spacesims at The Sims Resource
Danae’s hair by PeggyZone #66

As usual, if I have missed something, or you have a question about a specific item featured in the screenshots, just ask! I’ll do my best to provide you with a link.

G5 Chapter Twenty Nine – The Courtship of Trixie and Aaron

Author’s Note: This chapter is another Farmer Legacy first in that this chapter focuses on several secondary characters and very little on Danae and Andy. I have been excited to bring this extra to you, so without further ado, I present… The Courtship of Trixie and Aaron!

This chapter contains adult themes and sexual situations. Reader discretion is advised.


Trixie awakened feeling different that morning. The sun still rose in the eastern sky, the children had school that Monday morning, their last week before the Snowflake Day holiday and the new year. Danae had told her to stay in bed, that she would care for the children. But she was bursting with nervous energy and got up anyway. She walked down the steps to the kitchen where Danae sat, already sipping her second cup of coffee.

“Good morning, Trix,” Danae greeted her. “You’re up early for someone who is supposed to be sleeping in.”

“Yeah, here’s a funny thing. I’m so nervous that I can’t sit still. Is this normal? I’m not usually this scattered.”

Danae chuckled a bit. “You remind me a lot of myself when Andy and I got together. I was a wreck for the first week or so. Relax, Trix. Aaron is one of the easiest guys I know. You’ve got this.”

“What if he doesn’t call? What if I dreamed this whole past weekend, and he doesn’t really even know who I am? I mean, it wouldn’t be that weird, would it?”

Danae belly laughed. “You don’t even need coffee today. You’re wound tighter than a drum. Why don’t you go get prettied up at the salon? Maybe it would make you feel better. We can do your dress when you get back home.”

Trixie continued on, completely disregarding Danae. “I’m overthinking this whole thing, Nae. But I know why. I feel different with Aaron than I have with any other guy I’ve dated. I feel like there is more at stake.”

“I know exactly how you feel. Like I’ve said, my life before Andy was a mess. Meeting him was my game changer. Like how you think of Aaron right now.”

“Thanks, Nae. It helps to know what I’m going through is normal. Let me grab some breakfast and we can play dress up.”

“Oh good! This is the fun part!” Danae squealed. “Come on, Emm, get some pancakes, honey.”

“Coming, Mama!”

*****

Andy’s first day back from vacation was rough. His desk was piled high with public relations inquiries, he had pressers to schedule and one last away game to book before the end of the day. Aaron knocked on his door the first chance he had.

“Murph, how’s your first day back?”

“Rough.” Andy pointed to the stack of faxes and mail. “How was your non-date with Trixie last night?”

“I have a good feeling about her. We have… would you call it chemistry? I’m not sure. I do know she’s different than any other woman I’ve dated. She isn’t interested in the money.”

“Can I tell you a secret, Aaron?”

“Please do,” he replied.

“Trixie is a sweet, sensitive woman who has had way too many men dump on her. And I think you are exactly what she needs. And she is what you need, too. I know you miss Wyatt. Shoot, I do too. But this is a chance for you to settle down with someone who doesn’t have four paws and fur. You know what I mean, buddy?”

“Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking with that stupid puppy. Maybe I’ll give it to a young kid for Snowflake Day. Maybe your young kids.”

“You’d better check with Nae before you saddle her with a dog. I know when the Icky saga happened we were considering a dog, but that time has passed, and Icky is a memory.” Andy wouldn’t actually mind a puppy for the kids. But he knew Danae would need to handle the lion’s share of the work.

“Well, I didn’t come here to talk about the pup. I need Trixie’s cell number. I told her I’d get it from you.” Aaron had a slip of paper at the ready.

“So you must really like her if you’re taking her to Kirby’s tonight. Flashy place like that is meant to impress her. You usually take them to that Spanish place by the resort to start.”

“Yeah, I like her. Do you have her number, or do I have to bother Danae for it?” Aaron had much to do and no time to waste with Andy’s back and forth.

“Just a sec,” Andy opened his phone and jotted her cell number on Aaron’s slip of paper. “I hope your sour attitude goes away before your date.”

“Sorry, man. I’m just busy and quite frankly a bit nervous. I haven’t felt this way about a woman in years.” Aaron took the slip of paper from Andy and tucked it into his pocket.

“Don’t lose that, Hall. I’ll charge you for the second time,” Andy chuckled. “We doing lunch with Searce today?”

“I’m not sure. He said Raisa has been sick. He might not even be here today. He’s been taking care of her since Saturday night. She’s been throwing up almost constantly since the party.”

“Well, that’s too bad. I hope Kirby didn’t poison the poor thing.” Andy picked up another fax off his machine. “You and I will do lunch then. We can grab a burrito off the truck that parks out front every day. I hear it’s killer stuff.”

Aaron gave him a thumbs up and walked out of Andy’s office. He had one task he needed to do before he did one other thing. He took the piece of paper from his pocket and entered it into his phone as a contact. And then he sat and stared at his phone, too nervous to call her. So instead, he opened his texting app and wrote a brief message.

Hey beautiful. I’m off work today at four, and I’ll pick you up at five-thirty for a six o’clock reservation. I’m sorry for the text. I’m a little nervous, but I can’t wait to see you tonight.

The next thing Aaron did was to reserve a table for just the two of them. As he hung up the phone, he considered Andy’s observation. You must really like her if you’re taking her to Kirby’s. “Yeah, I guess I really do like her,” he said out loud to himself.

An hour later, Aaron’s phone buzzed. A message from Trixie.

I will be ready when you arrive tonight. I’m looking forward to spending time with you. PS… I’m nervous, too!

Aaron simply smiled and went about his day. With the last away game of the year looming, he had some plays to develop and teach to his team, a long day by anyone’s standard. But his mind was elsewhere.

At lunchtime, Andy appeared at Aaron’s door. “I have some news from Wyatt. Let’s go grab a burrito and make it a working lunch.”

“I have gotten next to nothing done, Murph. I can’t concentrate. What’s Wyatt’s news?”

“Nope, you have to come eat before I spill the beans. I don’t have much time, either, so it won’t be a full hour. Come on, Hall. My treat.”

Reluctantly, Aaron got up and grabbed his keys. “This had better be good.”

They stood in line at the food truck and Andy bought each of them a burrito and chips. They sat down, and Aaron unwrapped his, took a bite and settled down. It was the first thing he had eaten since before the game yesterday.

“Okay, what’s Searcy’s news?”

“I’m glad you’re sitting down. Wyatt is going to be a father. Raisa is pregnant!”

“Wow. I was not expecting that. I’ll have to call him later.” Now Wyatt will really be scarce, Aaron thought to himself.

“Oh, he’ll be here now that he knows she’s okay.”

They finished up lunch and walked back into the stadium together. “If I don’t see you beforehand, Aaron, good luck on your date with Trix. She’s very excited.”

“Thanks, Murph. I’ll talk to you later.”

At one o’clock, Kirby rang Aaron’s phone. “Can I see you a moment, Aaron?”

Aaron’s heart sank. This can’t be good, was his first thought. But when he got to Kirby’s office, he sat behind the desk, an ear to ear grin on the boss’ face.

“What can I do for you, Kirby?” Aaron asked meekly.

“Aaron, have a seat. Last night’s game clinched our fifth division title and the playoffs.” Kirby’s hand was closed around a small object. “As a token of my deep appreciation, Aaron, Rae and I would like you to accept this.” He handed Aaron the object he held.

“A key, Kirby?”

“Aaron, your new car sits in the parking lot. It’s a brand new Aston Vanquish. Your amazing work on this team has helped boost us to the top of the league. This is just my way of saying ‘Thank you’.”

“I-I don’t know what to say. I’m stunned.”

“Well, you deserve it. I’ve been upgrading those who truly deserve recognition. I know your annual review is coming after the season ends. Your new contract will also reflect your worth to the team. If you ever have an issue, Aaron, I’d hope you would come to me before you go looking elsewhere. You are extremely valuable to me, to the team. There is little I wouldn’t do to keep you on staff.”

“Thank you, Kirby. I don’t anticipate wanting to move. My family is here. My friends are here. But I have to tell you, I’m overwhelmed by the car. I was content with the old one.”

“Like I said, just my way of saying ‘Thank you.’ And that I appreciate you.” Kirby stood and shook Aaron’s hand. “Congratulations on another winning season, Mr. Hall.”

“Likewise, Mr. Kemp.” Aaron smiled and left the office, nearly running to the parking lot. It was black, shiny and beautiful. He ran his hand down the back fender and shook his head. It was his dream car, and in his hand, he held the key. It was easily the highlight of his adult life, and he couldn’t wait to tell Trixie.

Four o’clock came before Aaron was truly ready for the workday to end, and if he didn’t have plans, he would have pulled some overtime. But he walked to the parking lot and got into his brand new car and drove home. The puppy, named Dusty, was waiting for him at the front door.

“Hey Dusty,” he said. “I suppose you need to go for a walk. Make it quick.”

A quick shower, shave and a half hour later, Aaron was ready for his date with Trixie. Butterflies swarmed in his stomach as he waited for the time to pass…

*****

“How do I look?” Trixie asked Danae. She wore a gold cocktail dress, a gift from her dad before he passed away years ago. “I mean, is it too trashy looking for a five-star place?”

“Oh Trixie, that is gorgeous!” Danae chirped. With her platinum blonde hair and her suntan, it looked fabulous on her. “You don’t need anything from my closet after all. If Aaron doesn’t fall for you in that outfit, there is something wrong with him.”

Trixie blushed a deep red. “I am still having a hard time believing I am going on a date with Aaron Hall.”

“Well, you are. Andy tells me he’s pretty excited about it, too.” Danae admired her friend. She was truly beautiful in the gold dress. “Here, let me do your makeup for you. He’s going to flip out when he sees you, Trix.”

Danae put the finishing touches on her blush and handed a warm-toned lipstick to her. “Use this brush. It’s clean and much more precise than just applying it.” Gingerly, Trixie painted her lips with the coral colored lip tint. “It’s such a beautiful color.”

“Ooh, I love this!” she exclaimed. Trixie looked at her watch. It was almost five-thirty. “I just need my heels and I’m ready.” Downstairs, Andy and Aaron chatted, a look of horror crossed her face. “When did he get here, Nae? I didn’t even hear him!”

“Just a minute or two ago. Relax, Trix. Breathe!” Danae gave her a hug. “Are you ready?”

Trixie took a deep breath and nodded. “I think so.”

Danae went downstairs first, carrying her makeup box, waving to Aaron on her way by. “She’ll be down very soon.”

Aaron straightened his bowtie. “Is this okay, Murph? I mean, I only wore it days ago.”

“You’re fine,” Andy chuckled. They both turned their heads when they heard Trixie’s soft footsteps padding downstairs. Aaron’s jaw dropped open, and Trixie blushed.

“You look stunning,” Aaron finally choked out.

“Thank you, Aaron. You look so handsome in your tux.” She smiled sweetly at him.

“Shall we?”

Trixie nodded. “Yes.”

Danae and Andy waved as Aaron escorted her from the house.

*****

“Is this new?” Trixie asked Aaron as they approached his car.

Aaron nodded. “Yes, I got it this afternoon. I guess the boss thinks I’m worth a new car.” He shrugged.

“I’m proud of you,” she smiled as he held the door for her. Aaron looked a little embarrassed.

“Thanks. I don’t hear that from anyone. Ever.”

“That’s too bad. I’ll always tell you when I’m proud of you.” Her sweet smile melted his heart.

“I believe you.”

The drive to the restaurant was quiet and awkward. When they arrived, Aaron valet parked the car and escorted her inside. “Hall for six o’clock,” he announced.

“Yes, Mr. Hall. This way.” The host led them to a small table near the water, set for two. An antique jukebox played soft jazz music, setting the mood for romance. Aaron held the chair for Trixie to sit, and he seated himself across from her.

In all his 41 years, he had never met anyone quite like Trixie. She was beautiful but modest, spunky but shy, independent but didn’t mind being spoiled, either. He couldn’t wait to find out more about her.

The waiter introduced himself and offered a menu to Aaron. “Can I get you something from the bar?”

“I’ll have a glass of wine. Trix? What would you like?”

“The same, please, what he’s having.” She reached for his hand, and he took it.

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“A penny for your thoughts?” he said softly.

“I can’t believe I’m here with Aaron Hall. I’m still a little starstruck, you know.” She broke eye contact with him.

Aaron chuckled. “I’m really not that big of a deal. It isn’t like I’m a star player.”

“You’re a champion, Aaron. That makes you someone special.”

He caressed her cheek softly. “You are being too sweet.”

“I’m just being me,” she replied.

“What would you like for dinner?” he asked. “I haven’t even shown you the menu.”

“Choose something you like. We can share it together.”

“What if you don’t like what I choose?”

“I will. I’m not that difficult to please,” she smiled.

When the waiter returned with their wine, Aaron ordered two different entrees. It was a stab in the dark. He knew nothing of her tastes, what she liked. This could be a winner or a complete disaster. He wiped his sweaty palms on his pants leg, hoping she wouldn’t notice.

“Would you like to dance?” he asked. The jukebox was closeby, but since Kirby’s huge remodel, dancing space severely lacked.

“Sure,” she smiled at him. He held her close, breathing in her sweet, musky perfume.

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“Trixie, you’re so beautiful,” he complimented her.

She blushed fiercely. “You’re not too bad yourself, Coach.” Kiss me, she thought.

They danced closely, swaying to the music together. When the song ended, he spun her into a dip and kissed her tenderly.

“Where have you been all my life?” Aaron whispered into her ear.

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“I mean, all I want to do is kiss you. I’ve never felt this before. Am I crazy, Trix?”

She was melting into his arms. “No,” she whispered back. “You’re not crazy. I feel it, too.” She nuzzled her face into his neck. No, she thought. It’s way too soon to feel like this, Trixie.

He pulled away from her. “Here, let’s sit awhile.” He pulled her chair out for her again, and she sat. She took a sip of wine and ran her finger around the rim.

“Tell me about yourself, Aaron. I know you’re a coach. What do you like to do for fun?”

“Like I told you before, I’m married to my job, not necessarily because I want to be, either. It takes a lot of my time and energy. The fun I used to have included Andy and Wyatt, going for a beer or two after work. But Andy promised Nae he wouldn’t drink anymore, and Wyatt is married and going to be a dad in a bit. Now, it’s just me and Dusty.” Aaron sighed. He didn’t realize how pathetic his life sounded until he spoke it, and it depressed him. “What about you, Trixiebean? What makes you, you?”

She took his hand in hers. “Well, I’m an only child, raised in Twinbrook, I came here when I was eighteen. I actually followed a guy here. He abandoned me here and he went back to Twinbrook. Not long afterward, I joined a temp agency. That’s how I met Andy and Nae. I started off just watching their kids once in a while, and then over time, it turned into a live-in position. I love to dance, though I’m not good at it. I like it here, but I miss the snow. And someday, I want a family of my own to raise. I won’t say I’m tired of my job, but the Murphy kids will grow up, and I won’t be needed anymore. That wouldn’t happen with my own kids. You know what I mean?”

“I do know what you mean. I never thought I’d still be single in my mid 30s, no kids. Are your parents still living?” Aaron took a sip of wine.

Trixie shook her head. “My folks are gone. They were older when I was born. They died when I was only nineteen. After I left home, I never saw them again.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” Aaron said. “I’ll probably not see mine again, either. To be honest, we aren’t that close. They thought I could do better with my life than a degree in physical education. I think my dad wanted me to be an engineer like him. I just don’t think like an engineer. The buzz around the league seems to suggest I’m on target for the hall of fame someday.” Aaron shrugged. “I don’t see it.”

“I’m proud of you,” she said softly. “I mean that, too. I saw you in action yesterday. There is still a lot I don’t understand, but even I could tell the other team was lost. Andy was right. It’s fun to watch in person.”

Aaron blushed. “Thank you. That’s twice in one night. I’m going to get all conceited.”

Trixie belly laughed. “From what I see, there is absolutely no danger of that!”

Their dinner arrived minutes later, and they spent time discussing their backgrounds, hopes, and dreams for the future that didn’t actually revolve around their careers. “What are you doing for the holiday, Aaron?”

“I usually spend it with Danae and Andy. They are really my only family these days. She has Darcey and her family over. Sometimes, I bring my photography stuff over and do family photos. It’s a fun hobby, but I don’t do it much anymore. How about you?”

“This year, I have no plans. I usually have a boyfriend to visit or spend time with on the holiday. But this year, I don’t.”

“What if I were to change that for you? What if I was your boyfriend? Would you be interested in exclusivity?” Aaron asked, hopeful.

“Really?” She nearly squealed. “I’d love that! I want to tell you something, but I’m afraid I’ll scare you away.”

“Well, I promise not to run away screaming,” he chuckled.

“Okay. Here goes nothing,” Trixie said and took a deep breath. “You are the only man I’ve been out with that I’ve ever felt this way about, Aaron. There is something special about you.”

“When we kissed for the first time, I felt this chemistry. And I’ve never felt this way before, either. But I didn’t want to be too forward, I don’t want you to feel threatened or pressured.”

“I’m not usually the one who feels pressured,” she snickered. “I’m usually the one who falls too fast, gets in too deep. I’m the one who gets broken, heartsick, while he can’t get away fast enough.” She shook her head. “I’m saying too much.”

“No, you’re not at all. This is the stuff I want to know about you. This is what has made you who you are, Trixiebean.”

“All I know is that I don’t want to mess this up. I don’t want this to be over before we have a chance to start.” As long as she had her heart on her sleeve, she tucked one more confession into it. “I really, really like you, Aaron. I could easily fall for you.” She bit her tongue as soon as it left her lips.

“It has been a long time, years really, since I have felt anything close to love. And yes, I think I could easily fall for you, too. I won’t say I am there yet. But who knows? Unless I find out you’re secretly a mass murderer,” he teased.

She nudged him and laughed.

*****

After dinner, neither of them wanted the evening to end, so Aaron invited her to his place for a drink and to talk for a while. He pulled into the driveway and opened her door for her. She stepped out of the car and stared at the house.

You live in this beautiful home? I always wondered.”

He kicked a pebble and smiled. “Yeah, it’s a bit extravagant for my needs, but when Dusty gets bigger, maybe it will suit me better. Come on in, I’ll pour us a glass of wine and light the fireplace.”

He opened the door and she stepped inside. The front door opened up into a huge great room, a theater room to the left, the kitchen and attached formal dining room, and two huge bedrooms. The fireplace was gas and lit with the touch of a button, and Aaron went into the kitchen to pour two glasses of wine.

“Make yourself at home,” he told her. A small black and white puppy came running from the kitchen and greeted Trixie.

“Thanks. This must be Dusty? He’s really cute!” The puppy slathered her in licks and affection and she giggled.

Aaron walked from the kitchen, two glasses of wine in his hand. He settled himself next to her on the sofa and set the wine on the coffee table. “Dusty, go lay down somewhere,” he told the puppy. “I should take him out, but he’s already made a mess in the kitchen I had to clean. I’m too late once again.” Aaron bent over to pet Dusty. “I really have no business owning a dog.”

“I get why you do,” she said softly. “Loneliness is consuming…”

Aaron leaned to her and kissed her tenderly. “You taste amazing, Trix,” he groaned, breathless.

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“Don’t stop, Aaron,” she whispered. “This feels so right.”

They continued to kiss, and when they pulled away, Aaron stood. He held his hand to her and lifted her, carrying her to his bedroom.

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He set her down on the floor and they kissed again. “Trixie…”

“Shh,” she said, snuggled into his arms. “Aaron, I need you.”

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He pulled away from her, conflicted. “Trixiebean, I’m not sure about this.” He walked to his bed and sat on the edge.

She walked to him and embraced him. “Don’t you like me?”

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“Of course I do. And yes, it feels right. But I—”

She interrupted him with a kiss. “Please, Aaron. I need you.”

She coaxed him to lay down on his bed, and she snuggled up to him. She wrapped herself around him, kissing him.

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He was almost ready to give in to her, but he couldn’t.

“Trix, I-I can’t.” He sat up and pushed her away gently. “I want you so bad, but I can’t… not now, not like this.”

Her eyes filled with tears. “I’m sorry, Aaron,” she cried. She walked out to the living room and grabbed her evening bag. “I have to go.” And she ran from the house, Aaron watched her as she fled, intensely sorry he let himself get into that position with her to begin with.

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“I’m sorry, Trixiebean,” Aaron whispered to himself, his face pressed against the door, he stared into the night. He turned the fireplace off, blew out the candles and dialed the phone of his best friend.

*****

Once Trixie cleared the house, her pace slowed and she sobbed on the side of the road. “I’ve never been more humiliated in my life,” she said aloud. A few minutes later, she collected herself and finished the walk home. Somehow, this rejection hurt more than anything else she had ever experienced.

She opened the gate and saw a light on in the house. Uh oh, she thought. Danae is up waiting. Slowly, she walked to the front door and swallowed a huge lump in her throat. But Danae saw the heartbreak on her face.

“Oh Trixie, what happened?” Danae stood to hug her, and Trixie sobbed in her arms.

“It was my fault. I humiliated myself. Now it’s perfectly clear why I’m alone. I’m a total slut, Nae. I give myself too fast. Except Aaron was too much of a gentleman, and he rejected my advances. I can’t face him. I’m so ashamed.”

“Oh honey, I’m sorry. And you’re absolutely not a slut, Trix.” In the bedroom, Andy was on the phone. Aaron’s call woke them and Danae knew Trixie would need her. “Let’s go outside and sit. I’ll get a glass of wine for us. Let’s chat awhile.”

In the bedroom, Andy consoled a very distraught Aaron. “Andy, I blew it with Trixie. I thought I was being a gentleman, but it turns out I’m just a killjoy. A prude. She left my house in tears. I guess it wasn’t meant to be.” Andy heard Aaron’s overly sad sigh. “I guess I’m doomed to live my life with this damned dog after all.”

“Aaron, do you like her?” Andy asked.

“It’s worse, Murph. I think I might be falling in love with her. She’s amazing, but I failed her. I’m done. I can’t handle any more heartbreak. I’d rather be alone than have this pain.” Aaron choked back his emotion.

“Don’t let her get away, Aaron. You don’t realize it, but you’re perfect for one another. Trust me on this.”

“I’d be willing to bet she won’t even talk to me. I’ll never forget the look on her face, Andy. She was broken. I’m so stupid, just the latest guy to dump on her and break her heart.”

“Aaron, you’re anything but stupid. Nae is outside with her. Do you want to see if she’ll talk to you?”

Aaron was going to say no, but against his better judgment, he said, “Yeah. What do I have to lose?”

Andy walked to the patio where Trixie still sobbed in Danae’s arms. “Trix, this call is for you.”

She looked at her friend, tears stained her face. “I-I can’t face him. I’m an awful person.”

“Trix, don’t waste this chance. I’m here for you if it all goes south, but take the call.” Danae encouraged her. She sniffled and took the phone from Andy.

“Hello?”

“Trixiebean, I’m so sorry,” Aaron said to her. “I never meant for our evening to end like this. Would you be willing to talk, face to face? Please, Trix.”

She sighed deeply. “Aaron, I’m so humiliated. I’m sorry I acted like a cat in heat. I had no regard for you. I had no respect for myself.”

“Sweetheart, please don’t feel that way. Trixie, I don’t want to talk on the phone. Please, let me pick you up and come back here with me. Let’s sit and talk through this.”

She looked at Danae. “Should I go?” she whispered. Danae nodded and smiled. “Yeah, I’ll be outside at the gate. But I need to change clothes. Give me a few minutes, okay?”

“I’ll be there in five minutes. Is that okay?”

She nodded. “Yes. I’ll see you in a few.” They disconnected the call, and Trixie looked at Danae. “We’re going to work this out.”

Danae hugged her. “Go get changed. Don’t keep him waiting, Trix.”

Five minutes later, Trixie waited by the gate for Aaron and was surprised to see him on foot. “I thought it would give us more time to chat if we walked,” he said quietly. “Thanks for talking with me. This was the last thing I wanted to do. Trixie, I never intended to hurt you.”

“No, Aaron, it’s my fault. I need to learn some restraint. It’s no wonder men don’t bother with me. I give too much of myself too soon, and there’s nothing left. No mystery. No surprises.” She sighed deeply.

He took her hand as they walked. “I want to tell you something, but you don’t have to respond. You don’t even have to acknowledge it if you don’t want to. But Trixie, I’m falling for you, and I’m falling hard. You’re making it so easy. But I don’t want to be one of those guys who is only after one thing. You deserve so much more than that.”

Trixie smiled. The moonlight reflected off his blue eyes, and she melted. “I really do respect you, Aaron, which makes my behavior even worse. Since our first kiss, I’ve felt love stirring in my heart. I can never wait for our next kiss. When we’re together, I feel amazing, like I never have before.” She stopped and stroked his face. “And I know when the time is right, we’ll have our first time together. Thank you for not giving up on me.”

He led her to a small grassy area just off the Murphy property. They sat cuddled together and looked out over the water.

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The sun was on the edge of the eastern sky, nearly ready to signal the beginning of the day. “You’re still beautiful, you know that. Right?”

She blushed. “You’re still handsome, Mr. Hall. I’m so very sor—”

“Shh, don’t,” Aaron interrupted her. “You have nothing to be sorry for. You don’t know what kind of restraint it took to say no, Trixiebean.” He kissed the top of her head and caressed her cheek. “I never should have let it get where we took it. I’m just as guilty.”

“It’s okay,” she whispered. “Aaron? Please kiss me.”

He knew it was dangerous, but they were in public. “It would be my pleasure.” She got on all fours and kissed him.

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“The pleasure is all mine,” she whispered into his ear.


Four months later…

Trixie wore a brand new red dress and fiddled with her hair. “I feel like this is too much, Nae. What if I’m overdressed?”

“Trix, you look gorgeous,” Danae said. “That shade of red is so pretty on you. Aaron is going to love this. Are you ready?”

“I’m more than ready.” Love Day was coming, and Aaron invited her for a weekend of romance at the resort Kirby owned. “I know he loves me, but what if I screw this up, Nae? I’ll be worse than broken if he leaves me now…”

“You know that won’t happen, but I understand the fear. I had the same insecurities before Andy and I were married. I was convinced he would leave me for someone else, even after our wedding. Relax, Trix. Let him spoil you, and enjoy each other. We’ll be here when you come home on Sunday.”

“I’m nervous about his expectations. What if he wants to get intimate? We haven’t yet. What do I do? Do I say yes? I mean, I’m ready, but I remember what happened the last time, and it wasn’t pretty.”

“Things are different now, Trix. You have a relationship now. You have love between you. Sex is a natural next step. Let him initiate it, that way you know he wants you, too. You will be okay.”

“I don’t know what I’d do without you, Danae. You’re my best friend.” Trixie hugged her.

“He will be here in a few minutes. Let’s head downstairs.”

Aaron let himself into the gate and knocked on the front door. Danae answered it. “She is gorgeous, Aaron. Spoil her rotten. She deserves it.” She kissed him on the cheek.

Trixie hit the bottom step just as Aaron opened his eyes, and she took his breath away. “Oh my,” he exclaimed. “Trixiebean, you are delightful.”

Trixie blushed a deep, hot red. “Is that a new tux, Aaron?” Her heart skipped a beat when she saw him.

He nodded. “Our reservations await us. Are you ready, Beanie?”

She smiled sweetly at him. “I’m ready, Coach.”

He walked her to his Aston Martin and opened the door. She got in, and he walked to the driver’s side, got in and kissed her. “I’ve been waiting all day for some sugar,” he cooed at her. “No overnight bag?” he asked, noticing she only carried an evening bag.

It wasn’t until his question that she felt self-conscious. “Danae is going to leave it for me. Is that a problem?”

“Not at all.”

They drove to the Grand Tower resort and the concierge greeted them. Aaron was recognized immediately. “Mr. Aaron!” Marcela greeted him. “Welcome! Is this your lovely wife?”

Not yet. “No, we are having dinner tonight and spending some time together for the holiday. If Miss Danae stops by, please allow her access to our suite. She is bringing a bag for my sweetheart.”

“Not a problem, Mr. Aaron. Enjoy your dinner and weekend together.”

Hand in hand, they walked to the restaurant, and Aaron checked them in. “Hall, six o’clock.”

“Your table is ready, Mr. Hall. Please, follow me.” Arm in arm, they followed the Maître D’ to their table, tucked into a corner. The dining room had recently been redecorated, but it was not an especially eye-pleasing color. Everything was in gold tones, reminiscent of a bygone era. Even so, the ambiance was elegant and refined, much different than By The Sea.

Aaron ordered a bottle of champagne and the waiter poured two glasses almost on the spot. “Can I recommend anything for you, Monsieur?” he asked Aaron.

“Not yet. If I have any questions, I’ll ask when you return.” Aaron was not entirely comfortable in such a fancy place. A millionaire in his own right, he lived modestly and dined out infrequently, except at lunch with Andy and Wyatt. It was truly the only decent meal he would eat in a day. He set the menu down and took Trixie’s hands in his. “You are stunning in that dress. Simply sophisticated and beautiful.”

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“You are being sweet again,” she smiled at him.

“Any requests for dinner tonight, my heart?”

“You choose, Aaron. You haven’t disappointed me yet.”

He nodded and placed the menu face down. He saw what he wanted, and he knew she liked it, too. After the waiter took their order, Aaron topped off their glasses of champagne.

“How was work today, Coach?”

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“Slow. The off-season is more Andy’s thing. He’s trying to negotiate for new players. I’m still working through some new plays for next season. I hope they’ll be as effective as I think.”

“I’m sure they will be.”

Aaron looked at her, and couldn’t wait any longer. “Trix, I hope you know how I feel about you. That I adore you. That you have been so good for me. I hope I’ve been as good for you.”

“Oh Aaron, you know you have. I love you.”

“I love you, too. I’m pretty sure I’m going to love you until the day I die. And I can’t bear the thought of you being away from me.” He pulled a small box from his jacket pocket, and on one knee, he opened it. “Trixie, will you marry me?”

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Trixie stood, tears in her eyes and a look of total shock on her face. “Of course I’ll marry you!”

They embraced, and he whispered into her ear, “Thank you for making me so happy, Beanie. I love you.”

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Aaron took the ring from the box and slipped it onto her finger. Her eyes sparkled as she beheld the ring. The stone was huge, almost as big as the diamond Danae wore on her hand.

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“Thank you for my gorgeous ring, Aaron. It’s breathtaking!”

“It’s nowhere near as pretty as the one who wears it,” he purred. “Now we just need to decide if we’re going to elope or do it up big.” Mischief danced in his expression. He knew she would want a big ceremony with her friends.

“I’ll let you know when the shock wears off. I am engaged to Aaron Hall!” Every now and then, she was still starstruck by him.

Aaron chuckled. “Yes, yes you are. And Aaron Hall loves you more than anything.”

*****

After dinner, they walked hand in hand to the VIP section of the resort, past the main part of the property. The suite was the smallest of the three available, but it was all they needed. A bedroom, a small living room, a bathroom with a spa tub and kitchenette, everything decorated with fine linens, expensive fixtures, and furniture. Trixie was in awe of the accommodations, having never seen such a beautiful suite.

Aaron opened his bag, which he had left in the suite earlier, and pulled out more comfortable clothing. “If you’d like to get comfortable feel free, Beanie. I’m going to get out of this tux.”

Trixie nodded. She had two different nighttime outfits with her, and she was unsure of which to wear. She certainly wasn’t going to make the same mistake she made on their first date and make assumptions. So she chose the one that was modest, a pair of boy shorts and a shirt. She excused herself and went into the bathroom to change.

Aaron was taking care of his tux, already dressed in a pair of boxers and a robe, when Trixie emerged from the bathroom, her makeup off. She looked adorable, and Aaron adjusted his robe, covering himself.

He had a bottle of her favorite wine and two glasses from the kitchenette. “Can I interest you in a nightcap?”

She nodded shyly, and she couldn’t help but notice him as he worked the cork from the bottle. Strong, muscular, distinct six-pack abs, light blond hair covered his chest. Aaron did not have an ounce of body fat, and his muscle definition was remarkable.

She took a glass from him and they sat together in the living room area of the suite. “A toast,” he offered. “To you and me. To our new lives together.”

Trixie smiled. “Cheers!” she said and sipped from her glass. She felt awkward and shy, and though she knew what she wanted, she wasn’t willing to put herself forward, to take the chance. No, the next move would be Aaron’s and his alone.

He set his glass on the coffee table and snuggled up to her. “Trixiebean, you are beautiful, and I can’t believe you’re mine.”

“You could have had any woman you wanted—” she began, but he cut her off.

“You are the one I want. Tonight.”

She swallowed hard. “Tonight?”

He nodded. “Is that okay with you?”

“Oh coach, it’s more than okay.” She considered changing to her sexy outfit, but he embraced her in a kiss.

“I’ve never made love with someone before, Trixie.” He kissed her neck, relishing her sighs of pleasure.

She pulled away reluctantly. “Aaron, we don’t have to. I had no idea you were a virgin.”

He chuckled. “I didn’t say I was a virgin. I said I’ve never made love before. There’s a stark difference between sex and making love.”

She considered his words. “You know, this is my first time, too. To make love, I mean.” She realized he knew she had a questionable, almost promiscuous past. She needed him to know one big thing. “For the record, I’ve never had unprotected sex, Aaron.”

“I haven’t either. And it’s been a very long time for me, so I might not be on top of my game. A friendly disclaimer.”

She snickered. “A disclaimer?”

He blushed slightly. “Yeah. I promise, though, we’ll work on compatibility. Whatever doesn’t work now, we’ll improve as we go.”

“I have a few condoms with me in my purse. You can choose whichever—”

He kissed her, interrupting her. “We don’t need it, Beanie. We’re in a committed relationship. We are engaged to be married. And if we make a baby tonight, so be it.”

“But Aaron, are you ready for that?”

“Yes, I am. I know you are. Didn’t you tell me you wanted a family of your own to raise? I wouldn’t mind if we started now. I’m not getting any younger, Beanie. You would be a fantastic mother. And I love you, so very much.”

“I have a different nightie. Let me change into it,” she offered.

“You’re sexy just how you are.” Aaron picked her up and brought her to the bed. “Let me make love to you, Trixie.”

He laid her down on the bed, and they made love with each other into the night, and when sleep finally took them, they were satisfied and spent, very much in love.

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Up Next: Chapter Thirty, Generation Five


Pose Credits:

Aside from my normally used pose artists, the following artists and poses have been utilized in this chapter:

Wedding Pt 3, by Kiddo at Kiddo’s Dreams
Kiss Me (Like A Movie Star) by Vågen at Mod The Sims
Moondance by Lenina90 at The Sims 3 Planet

Custom Content:

Trixie’s adorable hair from The Sims 3 Store
Trixie’s red dress from BEO Creations
Aaron’s Tux 1 from The Sims 3 Store
Aaron’s Tux 2 from Lady Dane The Sims Resource
Kirby’s By The Sea from Aya20 at Mod The Sims
Gold Five Star Restaurant Set from Around The Sims 3
Aaron’s engagement ring from Mensure at The Sims Resource
Christmas/Snowflake Day decor from Severinka at The Sims Resource

If you see an item that I have not included, and you’d like to know where I got it, just contact me and I’ll do my best to provide a working link.

G5 Chapter Twenty Eight, Part Three – The Last Surprise

A little turbulence awakened Andy with thirty minutes left until they landed in Isla Paradiso. Next to him, Danae slept soundly, so he ventured out into the cabin, hoping coffee was available and fresh.

“Good morning, Andy,” Victor greeted him. The first thing he noticed was that the sun was already up, and the day looked well underway. 

“What time is it?” 

“It’s seven-thirty, local time. We had a bit of a delay in Hidden Springs during our refueling stop, or we would have been home already.” 

Andy nodded. “Is there a remote chance coffee is available?” 

Victor shook his head. “Nothing is fresh, I’m afraid. It’s over 12 hours old, and it’s lukewarm.” 

He smiled. “It’s okay. I was hoping to wake my lovely bride with a cup.” 

Victor chuckled. “You guys must have had a great time. You look very relaxed and peaceful.”

“We had the best time. We didn’t get a chance to go diving, and it was something Danae really wanted to do. But the area was way over her skill level, and I didn’t feel comfortable bringing her,” Andy said. “Better safe than sorry.” 

“Indeed,” Victor agreed. 

“I’m going to wake her, so she doesn’t feel rushed when we land. I’ll be back.” He walked back to the sleeping quarters and snuggled up next to her in the bed. He felt her move closer, and she stretched. 

“Good morning, my Andy,” she cooed. “Are we home yet?”

“Victor says we’re about half an hour out. We were delayed in Hidden Springs during our refuel stop, I guess.” Andy shrugged. “Are you ready to get up, sweetie?”

She groaned. “Yeah, I suppose so. I’m not ready for this to be over. Going back to reality will be difficult after such a beautiful vacation.” 

“Remember, my love, it’s not over, not yet. I still have one big trick up my sleeve, and you’ll never guess what it is.” He kissed her tenderly.

“You spoil me way too much, sir,” she said and returned his kisses. “I guess I’m up.” She looked in the mirror that hung behind the door, fixed her hair, and together they walked out to the cabin.

“Good morning, Miss Danae,” Victor greeted her. “I’m sorry to say, we have no coffee on board.”

“It’s okay, we’ll be home soon, and I’ll make some there.” They sat together at the table where they had eaten dinner almost twelve hours earlier and buckled their belts. 

A little more than thirty minutes later, they were taxiing off the runway back to Kirby’s hangar, the limo awaited their arrival. The drive back to the house was quiet and when they arrived home, Eamon and Elyse had already left for school. Trixie had done a fantastic job decorating the house with the kids for the Snowflake Day holiday, and the mood was immediately festive.

Emmitt was playing in his bedroom when he heard Danae call his name. 

“Mama?” He squealed and ran to the living room.

“There’s my baby boy!” Danae cried. She kneeled down, her arms open, ready to embrace her youngest son. She covered his face in kisses and tickled him, his happy giggles filled every room in the house.

Andy stood and watched the reunion, waiting for Emmitt to notice him, too. And when the word ‘Daddy’ left his lips, Andy did what Danae had done, covering the boy’s face with kisses and tickles. 

“What did you bring me?” Emmitt asked expectantly. 

“When your sister and brother get home, you’ll get your presents,” Danae announced. She held Emmitt in her arms, his giggles filled her heart to overflowing. As good as it was to get away, coming home was even better. 

“Daddy, would you take me swimming?” Emmitt asked Andy. Like his sister, he had a love of the water, and swimming with Andy was a favorite activity. 

“Give me about ten minutes, little cub, and I would love to swim with you! I’m going to help Mama with the laundry.”

Andy carried the luggage to the garage and emptied the dirty clothes into hampers that were already overflowing with unwashed clothes. He considered another set of washers and dryers to help Danae and Trixie keep up with the laundry. The washer was empty, so he started a load before he left the garage.

Danae and Trixie were already gabbing at the dining room table, sipping on coffee. 

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“How’s the west coast, Nae?” 

“It is so different, but beautiful. The palm trees have coconuts hanging from them, the water is azure blue, the beaches have white sand! If you ever get the opportunity, you should really go!”

“If I could get a guy to stay with me long enough, maybe.” Trixie sighed. 

“What happened?”

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“We were in different places. I was committed, and he wasn’t. Better to find out now, I guess.”

Danae felt bad for Trixie. She was a beautiful woman, had a heart of gold and extremely family-oriented. For the right guy, she would be a catch. 


On Saturday morning, Darcey called Danae’s phone. “Nae, I’m going to the salon for some pampering. I need a fill on my manicure and a trim. Come with me? I miss you.” 

“Let me check with Andy.” He was in the living room with the kids, playing on the game console with them. “Babe, Darcey wants me to go with her to the salon. Is that okay with you?”

“Sure! Trixie and I have the kids taken care of. Go have fun with Darcey. Tell her all about our vacation!” He stood and kissed her. “I love you, baby.” 

“Thanks! I love you, too.” she chirped. Excitedly, she returned to the phone call. “He’s playing with the kids, so I’m free.” 

“I’ll pick you up in ten minutes,” Darcey replied. They hung up the phone, and Danae went to change her clothes. 

Darcey texted Andy a quick message.

It’s a go.

Andy smiled, and Elyse asked a whispered question. He nodded at his daughter, and she smiled.

As promised, Darcey arrived on time to pick Danae up. “I’m going, babe. I’ll see you later!” she called to Andy.

“Have a good time, my sweet!” he called back to her. As soon as Danae and Darcey were clear of the house, Andy whipped into action. “Trix, grab the dresses for Nae and Darce, and I’ll grab the kids’ and my clothes. We only have two hours to get everything ready. Let’s move, kids!”

In twenty minutes, everyone was in the car. The clothes, shoes, jewelry, and toys were packed, and they were on their way to meet all of their friends and family for the final part of Danae’s anniversary surprise. 

When they arrived, Clint was finishing up with the florist, who had delivered a bouquet for Danae, arrangements for the church, a basket of flowers for Lysie, and a single white rose for Darcey. Andy shook his hand and thanked him while Trixie brought the dresses to the bride’s room. Little by little, guests began to arrive and mingle. Everything was decorated beautifully. Andy took the boys to the men’s room to get dressed while Trixie and Elyse got ready in the ladies’ room. 

Everyone was there and only waiting for ten minutes when Darcey texted Andy. 

Five minutes out. We’ll be there soon.

Andy beamed and made an announcement. “Friends and family, I want to thank you all for coming to our celebration today. In a few minutes, Danae will learn of the last part of our tenth anniversary celebration. Please join me in the vestibule to welcome her and her sister, Darcey.”

*****

“Darce, are you lost? Why are you going this way home?” Danae asked Darcey as she drove to the chapel. 

“I have to make a quick stop on the way,” Darcey fibbed. “It won’t take but a moment. You don’t mind, do you?” 

“No, I was just wondering.” Danae watched out the window, rain clouds moved in off the western coast. “Looks like rain,” she commented.

“Yeah, it sure does.”

“Darce? What’s going on here?” Danae asked. Andy’s car sat parked in front of the chapel. 

“Come with me, sissy,” Darcey said, a huge grin on her face. 

Cautiously, Danae got out of the car and the sisters walked up the steps. Darcey opened the door, and Danae was greeted with the happy smiles of every person in Isla Paradiso that she loved. The Kemps, the Tillmans, Wyatt and Raisa, Aaron, Darcey’s family and her own. Andy stepped out from behind the crowd, a smile on his face. 

“Happy anniversary, my sweet,” he greeted her. “You’re probably wondering what is going on. Today, you and I will renew our wedding vows in the presence of all our loved ones. This is the last part of my surprise to you. Danae, I love you. Darcey will help you get ready.”

Danae’s eyes welled with tears. “I-I can’t believe this! I’m so excited!” Darcey took her hand and led her to the bride’s room, where their nearly identical dresses awaited them. The sisters got dressed and Darcey affixed her white gold tiara atop her head, touched up her makeup and handed her the bouquet of roses that she would carry. 

“Thanks, Darce,” Danae wept. “I know you had a hand in all this. The clothes, the planning. Thank you. I will never forget this as long as I live.” She kissed her sister’s cheek. 

“You have a treasure in Andy. He adores you, and I know you adore him. You both deserve everything you have and each other.” Darcey hugged her sister. “Elyse is your flower girl, and Emmitt wanted so badly to carry a pillow, so I bought him one, even though you won’t be exchanging rings today. He’s just too cute, Nae.” She peeked her head out of the door, and Clint was waiting for her. “It’s time, Nae. I love you.” 

“I love you, Darce.” 

In the front of the chapel, Andy stood waiting as Aaron adjusted his tie.

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“I need to get to the back,” he told Andy. “Your lovely bride awaits.” Andy nodded and wiped a tear from his eye.

The sisters both stepped out from the bride’s room, and Danae saw Elyse dressed in a cute gown that matched hers in color. “Aww, sweet pea! You look so beautiful!” 

“Thank you, Mama, you do, too!” Elyse said. Danae kissed her cheek and watched her walk down the aisle through the windows on the door leading into the sanctuary.

Emmitt was all dressed in a tuxedo, as was Eamon, but he carried a small ring pillow. “Look, Mama!” he chirped. 

“I see, Emm! You’re both so handsome,” Danae wept. All three of her children looked so grown up.  Eamon walked down with Trixie and was seated with her, and Darcey stood with Clint at the ready. 

“You’re next,” she told Danae and Aaron appeared to escort her down the aisle to Andy’s waiting arms. She watched Clint and Darcey follow Emmitt when Aaron approached her.

“This is my honor, Miss Danae. I love you like the sister I never had, and Andy like the brother I never had. You two deserve every happiness.” Aaron kissed her cheek and held his arm for her. 

“Oh Aaron, we love you, too!” She grabbed a tissue from the box that sat on the table in the vestibule and dabbed her eyes. “I’m ready.” 

Cody Kemp, Kirby and Rae’s son, played the organ in front of the chapel as Aaron escorted Danae down the aisle. Andy stood at the front and watched his best friend and his wife as they approached. Aaron gave him Danae’s hand, and she joined him under the arch. Aaron walked to the other side and stood, ready to officiate the ceremony.

“Friends, family, welcome to the vow renewal ceremony of Anduin Rowan Murphy and Danae Elizabeth Murphy, in celebration of their tenth wedding anniversary. It is my distinct honor to officiate their special day.”

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He offered a quick word of encouragement and love, a passage from the book that sat in front of the chapel. And then Andy spoke.

“Danae, I know there will never be words enough to tell you how I feel about you. You are my wife, my lover, the mother of my three beautiful children, my helpmate, my extreme better half, and my best friend. The past ten years with you have been so wonderful, so packed with love, adventure, some tears, an abundance of joy… I look forward to many, many more with you by my side. Thank you, darling, for loving me so well.”

Danae had nothing prepared, nothing rehearsed, but she spoke from her heart.

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“Andy, I wasn’t prepared for the outpouring of love you’ve shown me today and for the past two weeks in celebration of our anniversary. But you have demonstrated, not only by your words but by your deeds how much you love me. I look around me and see everything you have blessed me with. Our family, our love, our friends, our beautiful home, our lives together.”

“Andy, it would never be enough to just say that I love you. You are the air I breathe, the nourishment for my soul, the calm and peace that lives within me. The father of my babies, my husband, my lover, my everything.” She felt herself losing her emotions and she began to weep. “I will spend the rest of my life showing you how much I love you, my Andy. Thank you, for everything.” 

Aaron offered up a final blessing on Danae and Andy and then congratulated them. “Andy,  you may kiss your beautiful bride.” 

Andy took her face in his hands and looked into her crystal violet eyes. “I love you, Danae,” he whispered before he pressed his lips to hers in a sweet, tender kiss.

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“I love you, Andy,” she whispered back after they broke their kiss. Her heart swelled with love for him. 

After the ceremony, the party moved into the reception area, an adjoining common area that Andy had decorated with photos of their vacation. In addition to a full buffet, dancing, and a wedding cake, Aaron had arranged to take photos of every family in attendance, a loveseat and other props arranged for the occasion. And one by one, families posed and Aaron took beautiful photos. 

Afterward, while Wyatt and Andy moved some of the photo props off the dance floor, Trixie sat alone on the loveseat, lost in the romance of the afternoon. So Aaron walked to her and rested his arms on the back of the loveseat and introduced himself.

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“I don’t remember seeing you around before. I’m Aaron.”

Trixie blushed. “Well, I know who you are. I’ve been working for Andy and Danae for a couple of years taking care of the kids. I’m Trixie.” 

“So you’re the infamous Trixie,” Aaron smiled. “I’ve heard lots about you, all good. I’m happy to finally meet you.” He walked around to the other side and joined her on the sofa. “I had no idea you were so beautiful.” 

Now Trixie really blushed. “You’re too kind.”

Wyatt came back with Andy to move the loveseat. “Awright,” he said in his country drawl, “move or help, Hall.” 

“Alright, I’m moving,” Aaron snickered. “Can’t you see I’m busy, Searcy?” 

“I know what I see,” Wyatt sneered. “I see you’re making a move on this pretty young lady.” 

“Don’t you have a loveseat to move, Wyatt?” 

“Yeah, I’m gettin’,” he laughed as Andy observed Aaron. 

As they were putting the loveseat back where it belonged, Andy asked Wyatt, “What was Aaron doing with Trix?” 

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he’s gettin’ to know ‘er,” Wyatt replied. “You better keep an eye on your nanny, or she might end up workin’ for Hall, if you know what I mean.” 

Andy smiled. “I have no problem with her and Aaron. He would be good for her, actually. She needs a good man.” 

*****

Aaron took a glass of champagne and handed one to Trixie. “Here, let’s toast,” he offered. “To a new friendship, and wherever it may lead.” She blushed fiercely, and he felt bad. “I’m sorry. I’m not usually this forward.”

“I don’t mind, Aaron. It’s just that, I can’t believe a star like you is talking to me.” She batted her eyelashes at him. 

“Meh, I don’t consider myself that big a star.” He kissed her hand tenderly. “Trixie, can I ask you a question?” 

“Sure,” she replied. 

“Are you seeing someone? I don’t want to step on any toes if you are. I feel a connection with you.”

“No, I’m not seeing anyone. I haven’t had the best luck with guys. I’m always in a different place.” She blushed again. “I’m sorry, Aaron. I’m sure you don’t want my romantic history.” 

“Would you care to dance?” 

“You want to dance with me?” She could hardly believe her ears.

“You are the lady I’m talking to, so yes. I would like to dance with you.” He held his hand for her to take.

“I’d love to!” Trixie couldn’t help but be a little starstruck by Aaron. And she wondered how she had never met him before now. 

He led her onto the dance floor and they joined the other couples already dancing.

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Danae noticed and nudged Andy. 

“Have you seen this?” she asked, motioning toward Aaron and Trixie.

“Yeah, apparently, he’s taken a liking to her. Wyatt warned me we need to keep an eye on our nanny. I think it’s a good match if they end up together.”

Danae had to admit she never thought to pair Aaron with Trixie before, but then again, she wasn’t much of a matchmaker. “Hmm, they’re cute together. They’d have little blonde babies.” 

“You’re not forward thinking this at all, are you?” Andy teased. 

“Nope.” Danae snickered. 

Toward the end of the evening, when the party was beginning to wind down, Aaron walked to his car, Trixie right behind him.

“I’d like to take you out sometime,” Aaron said. “When are you free?” 

“I’m only really working when Danae and Andy have plans. I have a pretty cushy job,” she blushed. 

“How about I bring you for dinner to Kirby’s By The Sea? We have a home game tomorrow, but I’m free Monday night.”

“I’d really love that, Aaron.” Trixie blushed, and then she took a leap of faith. She stepped close to him and kissed his cheek as they stood by Aaron’s car. 

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“I can’t wait until Monday night now,” Aaron said. “I’ll call you.” 

“But I didn’t give you my number,” she replied. 

“I’ll get it from Andy,” he said. “Count on a phone call tomorrow.” He opened his car door and got in, pulled out of the parking spot and waved as he drove away.

Trixie walked back inside the reception hall, a dreamy look on her face. 

Danae noticed and approached her. “What’s up with you, Trix?” 

“I have a date with the most eligible bachelor on Isla Paradiso, Nae. And I can’t believe it. He likes me!”

“Why wouldn’t he? Trixie, you’re a good soul. So is Aaron. He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.”

“All I want is a good man, someone who will stick around. Not someone flighty, like every other imbecile I’ve dated.”

Danae smiled. She knew Aaron was exactly the kind of guy Trixie needed. “Stick with Aaron. He won’t let you down.” 

Everyone piled into Andy’s car and they all left the party together. He had one last trick up his sleeve, and when he got to the house, only Trixie and the kids were getting out. “Stay here, Nae,” he told her. “Say goodnight, kids.” 

All three of them blew kisses to both Andy and Danae and went to the house with Trixie. Danae shook her head. “I thought the ceremony was the end of it?” 

“What kind of vow renewal ceremony would it be if it didn’t include a honeymoon suite, my love?” He smiled sweetly at her. “We have the VIP suite at the resort tonight, baby. I’m going to rock your world like you rock mine every single day.” 

“You already have, my Andy.”


The next day, the Sharks were hosting their last home game of the year against the Jaguars from Monte Vista. Andy wasn’t required to attend since he was still on vacation until the following day. They woke up in familiar surroundings, wrapped around each other. 

“Mmm, good morning my Andy,” she purred. “I still can’t believe yesterday. Babe, how did I not know about everything you did to plan for that? I mean, I was clueless.”

“It wasn’t easy, my sweet,” he said as he kissed her shoulders. “Everyone was in on it, too. I didn’t send invitations, it was all word of mouth so I didn’t have a paper trail. Darcey and Trixie shopped for the dresses, organized the flowers. I ‘borrowed’ your memory stick from the camera and uploaded all the pictures you took to Darcey and she ordered prints from the best ones. Kirby catered the buffet, Rae and Dina did the decor.”

“Everything was so perfect. I had no idea you were actually the romantic in this relationship, my Andy.” 

“It comes naturally when I’m thinking of you, my darling Danae. You say my name, you give me that look, and I’m putty in your hands.” He nuzzled his face into her hair. “My goodness, baby, how I love you.” 

“You can keep doing that all day if you want,” she sighed deeply. She snuggled closer to him and chuckled. “You know, if I get any closer, we’ll be one person.” 

“I could handle that,” he purred, pulling the covers over their heads.

They returned home early in the afternoon from the resort to give Trixie a break, and to let her go to the game if she wanted. With Andy’s VIP credentials, she could get seats right behind the team. If she was there, Andy thought maybe Aaron might bring her out for coffee or a drink after the game.

“Trix, take my credentials and go to the game today. Aaron would love to see you there, cheering him on. He is a brilliant coach.” 

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“Are you sure, Andy? I don’t want to get you in trouble.”

“Trix, that’s one of the perks I get to enjoy. I don’t have a problem letting you go in my place. Go. Have a good time. Football games are more fun in person.” 

She smiled and kissed Andy’s cheek.

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“Thanks!” She ran quickly up the stairs to her suite and started getting ready. While she was upstairs, Andy arranged his limo to pick her up and bring her to the game. She would love it.

Danae saw him making arrangements for her and smiled. “You’re a good man, Andy. Never change.” 

“I have a feeling Aaron would like to see her. And if she doesn’t drive, he has a good excuse to bring her home.”

“Good thinking,” Danae agreed. “Give her the option of taking the limo home, though. Just in case.” 

Trixie reappeared twenty minutes later, ready to go to the game. Dressed in a shirt and a pair of shorts, she was charming. 

“How do I look?” She asked Danae.

“You’re adorable, Trix. Andy arranged a ride to the stadium for you. They’re waiting outside.” 

Her jaw dropped open. “A limo? You have to be kidding.” 

“Not at all. If you need the return ride, just call this number.” Danae handed her a business card. 

“You guys are something else. Thank you.” Andy gave her the information she would need at the Will Call box at the stadium, and sent her on her way. 

“Have fun!” Andy called to her as she left. 

“Aaron will love this,” Danae said. 

“I know,” Andy agreed. 

*****

Trixie sat in the back of the limo, shocked at the luxury that her employers were accustomed to, and she took it in. She was delivered to Kemp Memorial Stadium at the entrance and went directly to the ticket window, picked up her credentials and found her seat directly behind the team on the field level, where Andy could sit if he so chose. The stadium looked huge from ground level, and when Aaron and Wyatt led the team out, Aaron was pleasantly surprised to see her there.

Before the game began, he walked to where she sat. “Hi, Trix,” he greeted her. “Andy must have given you his seat?” 

She nodded. “This was all his idea. I’ve never been to a game before now. I’m always working during the games.” 

“Well, Trixiebean, you have the best seat in the house.” He winked at her. “Enjoy the show!”

Trixiebean? He has a nickname for me already? Trixie smiled and her heart fluttered in her chest. 

Wyatt noticed Trixie sitting in the VIP team area and chuckled. “You got it bad, Hall,” he teased.

“That wasn’t me, wiseguy. Murphy gave her his credentials to sit there. I don’t mind it, though. In fact, it’s rather nice having someone here to cheer for me for a change.”

“Yeah well, keep your eyes on the plays, not her. This game is crucial for the playoffs.” 

“You do your job, and I’ll do mine, thank you. Get out of here.” Aaron shooed Wyatt out onto the field.

Trixie watched the game with great amazement. She knew very little about the sport, only that Aaron was the head coach of the team and that they had a good record. Everything else was foreign to her. When it was halftime, Aaron followed the team into the locker room, but his mind was on the young lady behind the sidelines on the field. His pep talk was short, sweet and to the point, and he excused himself early and went back out to talk to Trixie.

“Hi Aaron,” she greeted him. “You’re doing a great job out there.”

Aaron kicked the ground and looked bashfully away from her. “That’s all the team. They are good at what they do.” 

“I don’t know much about the game, but I do know the coach is integral. Without you—”

“Nah, don’t believe a thing Andy tells you about that. I’m not as big a deal as you’d think.” 

“Now you’re just being modest,” she flirted. 

“Not really,” Aaron insisted. “I mean, I design the plays, but the real talent is out there making them work.”

“Yeah well, I think what you do is pretty awesome,” Trixie said, and then immediately blushed. 

Aaron was so taken with Trixie he didn’t notice the team had emerged from the locker room for the start of the second half. Avery walked to him. 

“Hey boss, it’s go time.” 

“Did Searcy send you over here?” 

“No, it really is the start of the game. We need you,” Avery said. 

“I guess that’s my cue. I’ll see you after the game, beautiful.” Aaron blew her a kiss and turned his attention to the game.

Trixie felt dizzy and awesome at the same time. He thinks I’m beautiful! He blew me a kiss! Suddenly, football was her new favorite thing.

At the end of the game, which the Sharks won handily, Aaron met Trixie right where she watched the game. She was still in awe of the whole experience, and then being with Aaron made it seem all the more incredible. He put his arm around her as they walked from the stadium. 

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“Did you want to meet some of the guys? I know you already know Wyatt and Avery from yesterday. But Zach couldn’t make it, and Troy wasn’t there, either. Most of the other guys have already split.” 

“No, that’s okay. Not this time,” Trixie politely declined. 

“Do you have a ride home? You’re kinda on the way if you need a ride. I won’t mind at all.” 

“I can call for a ride, but I’ll take you up if you were serious about it,” she said shyly. 

Aaron smiled at her. “I really did mean it when I said you’re on the way. I’m only a few doors down from Danae and Andy.”

“Hmm,” Trixie thought. “I thought I knew all of the neighbors. I guess I missed one.”

“It’s because I’m married to my job,” Aaron confessed. “I have nothing to go home to these days except my puppy. I’m not even sure the puppy was a great idea, considering how much we travel.” 

Trixie was familiar with the concept of being married to one’s job. She was there herself. “I know the pain. A career is a lonely life partner when you long for personal touch.” 

“Well, I’ve had more than my share of broken relationships. After a while, I figured out that most of them were after my money. I don’t have time for gold diggers, Trixiebean. I don’t see you being such.” 

“I am self-sufficient right now. I have a cushy job, no rent, no real expenses, and no debt. Working for Danae and Andy has been rewarding.” But someday I want to raise my own family instead of someone else’s, she thought. Aaron stopped at his car door, opened it and helped her in. 

“I’m glad we see eye to eye on that, Trix. Money is a big obstacle in some relationships. I’m happy to see it won’t be in ours.”

She swallowed hard. “Ours?” 

“Our relationship, whatever that turns out to be. Trixie, I want to get to know you better. I’m kinda hoping you want the same of me, too.” 

“Aaron, I do. I just… I’ve never had anything work out that has gone quickly. I’m usually the first one to get attached, and then I just get the silent treatment. My track record is awful.” 

“I find you intriguing, Trixie. And I don’t believe your ‘awful track record’ has as much to say about you as it does the men who can’t be bothered to invest time and effort. I will be honest and upfront with you if I believe this isn’t worth pursuing. I wouldn’t want to be strung along, either, so I promise I won’t do that to you.” He took her hand and patted it. “I don’t see that being much of a problem, however. At least, not right now.”  

“Thanks, Aaron. I’ll promise you the same.”

Aaron parked his car just a few steps from the Murphy home and turned the engine off. They sat in awkward silence until Aaron spoke. “Are we still on for dinner tomorrow evening?”

Trixie nodded. “I would really like that, Aaron.” He reached for her to kiss her, and they both felt the chemistry between them. It was strong and undeniable. They pulled away from one another, breathless.

“I’ll call or text you with details for tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to our date, Trixie.” He caressed her cheek softly, took her hand and kissed it. 

“Good night, Aaron,” Trixie almost whispered, wishing that he would kiss her again. She opened the door, got out and leaned into the car. “I’ll be waiting for your call.” She blew him a kiss and turned from him, opened the gate and waved to him before he drove away.

She danced into the house, giddy and happy. The kids were sleeping and Danae and Andy were outside by the pool with their nightly glass of wine. She slipped out of her shoes, poured herself a glass of dry white wine and joined them on the patio.

“How was the game, Trix?” Andy asked. “Better yet, how were the seats?”

“Everything was amazing, thank you, Andy!” She wore the expression of new love, and it looked good on her.

Andy chuckled. “It was my pleasure. I’m trusting Aaron is treating you well? Let me know if he doesn’t, and I’ll straighten him up for you.”

“How have I never met him before now? I mean, I know who he is and all, but I don’t get it. You guys are best friends.” 

“I guess the timing has never been right before now,” Danae said. “He’s ripe for the picking. Since Wyatt and Raisa got married, he’s lost his buddy. Aaron needs someone in his life, and you danced into it at the perfect moment.” 

“He’s taking me to By The Sea tomorrow night. That’s a pretty fancy place, isn’t it?” Trixie asked.

“It is a five-star restaurant,” Andy answered. “He must really like you to take you there on a first date.”

Danae saw the look of uncertainty on Trixie’s face. “Don’t worry. I’m sure I have something that will fit you in my closet. My mama and nana had fantastic taste in dresses. I haven’t needed to buy new clothes in a long time.” She smiled at Andy. “And thanks to this guy, I won’t for a long time to come. You know everything he packed on that trip was brand new, save one outfit.”

“We can do that tomorrow. Should I go get a makeover? My hair styled? I’m so nervous!”

“You don’t have to worry about Aaron, Trix. Just be yourself. That’s all he’s interested in with you. Trust me.” Andy tried to set her mind at ease. “Now, if you ladies will excuse me, I have to work in the morning. Vacation is officially over.”

Danae looked at him longingly. “I’ll be in soon. Don’t fall asleep without me.” 

Trixie noticed the glaringly suggestive glances they exchanged and excused herself for the night. Andy stood and waited for Danae to finish her glass of wine, took her hand and led his beautiful wife to their bedroom, locking the door behind them.

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Up Next: Chapter Twenty Nine, Generation Five


Pose Credits:

Various poses by Bee at Poses By Bee
Various poses by Spladoum at Mod The Sims
Wedding 1,2 &3 by Kiddo at Kiddo’s Dreams
Moondance by Lenina90 at The Sims 3 Planet

If you would like links to specific poses, drop me a note, and I’ll be happy to provide the links.

Custom Content:

Around The Sims 3 for the lovely chapel items, wedding decor, and sports tickets
Severinka at The Sims Resource for the Christmas decor
Danae’s hair by Peggy (link unavailable)
Andy’s hair available via The Sims 3 Store
Danae, Darcey and Trixie’s dresses available from The Sims Resource
Andy’s tux from The Sims Resource
Menswear from The Sims 3 Store
Photos at the wedding venue are mine, available for download here.

Again, if you see something specific in screenshots and you’d like to know where I got it, I’ll be happy to provide links.

If you haven’t had the chance to see it, take a look at the Generation Five feature video on the Facebook page

G5 Chapter Twenty Eight, Part Two – Happy Anniversary Danae & Andy

This is it, he thought. The day this whole vacation was planned around, the one most looked forward to, and the day with the most meaning of them all. For it was this day ten years earlier that Andy took Danae to be his wife, and she took him to be her husband. With barely a fight between them, three beautiful children and years of wonderful memories, Andy endeavored to another forty years with his beloved. 

He had planned for a morning of pampering at the on-location spa. A couple’s massage, sauna treatment, and some leisure time would get them ready for the evening he had planned. They had dinner reservations at the five-star restaurant in town, and she would be beautiful in the pastel yellow gown he bought for her. Yes, she would look like the fairytale princess he believed her to be, and he would look like her prince. 

Danae was still curled up sound asleep. Hopefully, she is okay, he thought. Andy still felt guilty for getting her drunk. Never again would he stray from her favorite glass of wine. 

Her skin was cool, but she was comfortable. Andy didn’t envy the headache she would likely have. Nevertheless, he needed to wake her to make their appointment for a couple’s massage. He curled up behind her and kissed her neck and shoulders. “Danae? It’s time to get up, my precious.” 

She shifted and groaned loudly. “Oh, my word, why do I feel so awful? My head is killing me.” 

“That’s my fault, baby. How much do you remember from last night?” 

“I remember a rainbow-layered drink, and you with a beer at the club. That’s pretty much it. How long did we stay and dance?”

“You were done after the drink, my sweet. Then you fertilized the bushes outside the door downstairs and threw up a couple of times up here in the bathroom. You only had one drink, but I guess it was the strongest one they had on the menu. Baby, if I’d known, I would have never gotten it for you.” His arms pulled her closer to him, and he kissed her neck.

“It’s okay,” she grunted. “What’s planned for today?” 

“Do you remember what today is, sweetheart?” 

“Of course I do,” she smiled. “Happy anniversary, my Andy.” 

“Oh, baby, happy anniversary. I can promise you, tonight will be a night you won’t ever forget.” 

Danae felt extremely guilty. “Babe,” she sniffled, “I never got the chance to get you something for our anniversary.”

“All I will ever need is right here in my arms,” he said. “You are the best gift I will ever have.” 

“Do you have something for me?” she asked.

“I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of a gift,” he laughed.  

She shook her head. “You’re such a nerd.” 

Andy was taken aback. “I am not a nerd. I’m a jock. Big difference, little missy.” 

“Nerdy jock?” she giggled.

“Yeah, I’ll take that,” he smiled and kissed her. “Let’s get some coffee and breakfast in the suite, and we have an appointment this morning for some pampering.

“Pampering? What are you up to again?” 

“You’ll see, precious. You’ll see.” 

After breakfast, they walked together to the on-site spa, and Andy checked them in. “Murphy, couple’s massage and two hour room time.”

“Oh yes, Mr. Murphy,” the clerk confirmed. “Please have a seat, and we’ll be with you shortly.” 

“You know, babe,” she whispered, “these massages are done naked.” 

Andy laughed. “I’m well aware, honey. Is there a problem with that?”

“Not on my end,” she snickered. “But you’re unpredictable in that department sometimes.” He nudged her gently and they both laughed.

A clerk called to Danae and Andy and brought them to a huge, private room overlooking the beach, equipped with two massage tables, a sauna room, a spa tub, and chilled champagne with fresh strawberries. “You’re welcome to use the robes after you remove your clothing. Please make yourselves at home. The therapists will be in before your massage to introduce themselves. You’ll be allowed sufficient time to get comfortable and cover up before they return. The robes are available for purchase, and so are the oils and fragrances we use in the spa. Do you have any questions for me?”

Andy shook his head. “No, I think we are good so far,” he said, and the clerk left. He undressed and wrapped the plush robe around him and sat on the sofa, watching families playing on the beach. “I hope these windows are one-way, or these people will get an eyeful out there,” he chuckled. 

“Oh brother,” Danae laughed. She was in the process of tying her robe when a knock sounded on the door. “Come in,” she called.

Two women entered the room and introduced themselves. “I’m Selena, and this is my colleague, Kristen. We will be your therapists this morning. Have you had a chance to choose your oils?” 

“We haven’t. What scents do you have?” Andy asked. 

“We have a nice sensual musk or a cedar/sandalwood blend for you, sir. And for the lady, a lightly scented plumeria or a vanilla lavender oil would be lovely. Most ladies prefer the musk for their husbands, and the vanilla lavender is a favorite for the men.” 

“I’m not sure about the sandalwood,” Danae said. “Babe?” 

Andy nodded in agreement. “Let’s go with the musk, then. And the vanilla lavender for my darling princess.” Danae smiled sweetly and nodded her head. 

“We’ll give you five minutes to get settled and covered, and we’ll be back. Your massage will last approximately an hour, and you’re free to use the room however you please for two hours after. The spa tub is cleaned and sanitized after every use, and the sauna is popular after a long massage. Please feel free to take advantage of any amenity available in the room, as it’s all included with this package. Any questions for us?”

“I think we’re good,” Andy spoke. “We’ll be ready when you return.”

Andy helped her onto the table and covered her, then situated himself on the neighboring table, covered up and took her hand. 

When the massage was finished, they settled into the sauna, sitting on a towel with nothing on but a smile. The steam felt so good on their sore, overworked muscles, but their stay within was short. They spent the remainder of their two hours wrapped in their robes, cuddling and being romantic with each other while they sipped on chilled champagne and nibbled on strawberries. At noon, when their time was up, they walked hand in hand back to their suite feeling relaxed and happy.

The reservation at the restaurant was at seven, so they napped back in the suite until four. They both needed to bathe and Danae needed some time to primp before he brought out the gown. Andy showered first so Danae could take all the time she needed. He dressed in his tuxedo shirt and pants and watched her work her magic, though she didn’t need makeup. Her natural beauty amazed him.  

“How do I look?” she asked, her red hair up in her usual, favorite style, her makeup applied perfectly, wearing only her lingerie. “I hope there is something for me to wear, or it will be a very short dinner.” She snorted at the idea. 

“Danae, you look gorgeous even in your unmentionables. I have been dying to show you this since I bought it. Sit on the bed and close your eyes, baby.” 

She sat on the edge of the bed, her eyes squeezed shut. “Tell me when I can look.” The anticipation was exhilarating.

Andy brought the gown from the closet and fluffed it out. It was on a satin hanger, and he held it for her to admire. “Okay, honey. Open your eyes.” 

Danae looked at the dress he held, and it took her breath away. “Oh Andy, this is so elegant! A ball gown!” 

“Do you like it, my sweet?” 

“I love it, and I can’t wait to wear it.” She dabbed tears from her eyes, hoping she wouldn’t ruin her makeup. “Help me into it?”

“It would be my honor, Princess Danae.” 

The gown was a perfect fit, and she admired herself in the full-length mirror. “Oh, Andy, I can’t believe it. I feel like royalty!” she exclaimed as Andy clasped her heart necklace around her slender neck.

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“You are my princess. But you are missing one key thing. Just a second.” Andy stepped away from her and dug in his suitcase. In his hand, he held a box, wrapped with precision. Her gift. “Happy anniversary, my darling Danae.” 

She took the gift from him, emotional. Carefully, she unwrapped it and slid her finger under the flap of the box. When she saw it, she lost her cool. 

“Oh my, Andy…” her voice trailed off in tears of joy. “This is exquisite! I-I don’t know what to say!”

“Well, I do.” Gently, he took the gift from her, and placed it atop her head. It was a white gold and diamond tiara, and it completed the fairy tale princess look. The ensemble was now complete. He kissed her tenderly. “You are my beautiful princess, Danae. Observe how lovely you are.” 

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She stared at the reflection in the mirror, her mouth fell open. The tiara was beautiful, and it looked perfect in the hairstyle she always wore. She wiped tears from her eyes and laughed. 

“Well, my makeup needs to be touched up. Darn you, Andy!” she teased. He walked up behind her and kissed her shoulder, and she snuggled into his loving embrace. “I love you, Anduin Rowan Murphy, with all my heart and soul.” 

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Andy cringed, but he smiled anyway. “I love you, Danae Elizabeth Murphy, with all my heart and soul. Are you almost ready, my darling? We will need to leave soon to make our reservation.”

“I just need to touch up my makeup, and I’m good.” She hustled into the bathroom, reapplied some lipstick and eyeliner, and walked back to Andy. “I’m ready when you are, my love.” 

He escorted her down the stairs, and together they walked outside to the car. Andy held the door for her and helped her in, then went around to his side. He drove them to the restaurant and valet parked just outside the door, where a line of people waited to be seated. This place, called Al Fresco, was just as exclusive as The Tower was back in Starlight Shores. They were shown immediately to their table in the main dining room. 

Danae looked around in wonder, her violet eyes sparkled in the dim candlelight. Andy just sat and admired her. The diamonds in the tiara sparkled. She was perfection, and he was quite pleased with himself. He took her hand and kissed it.

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“What’s on your mind, honey?” Andy asked her. 

“I’m just so overwhelmed by this whole night. The gown and beautiful tiara, the restaurant is magnificent, and it’s all decorated for Snowflake Day so pretty. It’s been so warm here, and I’ve been so wrapped up in us, I forgot the holiday is coming! But Andy, you are amazing. You’ve done everything so perfectly this whole vacation, and I am just overwhelmed.” She was emotional and so in love with him.

“Don’t you realize now how much I love you? How I see you, Danae? You are my precious, my beloved, the mother of my babies. Everything I do for you is because I adore you. Baby, you’re my everything. I will never love anything or anyone as much as I love you.”

Their sweet exchange was regrettably interrupted by the waiter, who introduced himself and offered a menu to Andy to peruse. “May I get something from the bar for you?”

Andy looked at Danae, but she shook her head. “A glass of dry wine for me, and a semi-sweet nectar for my lovely wife,” he requested. “I’ll have our dinner order when you return.” 

“Very well,” the waiter replied and walked away. 

“Thank you for checking before you ordered, Andy. I’m still not feeling that great from last night. I couldn’t drink tonight, not even a glass of wine. The champagne earlier only intensified my headache. I’m sorry, babe.” 

“It’s not a problem, my sweet. If you don’t want it, that’s good enough for me. What would you like for dinner tonight?”

“Ten years and you ask now?” she chuckled. “I trust you, my Andy. We will share like always.” 

He nodded and looked through the selections, chose two he thought she would enjoy, and placed the menu face down on the table. The waiter returned a few minutes later, his wine and her nectar in his hand. “Have you decided, sir?” 

Andy nodded and pointed at the menu, keeping his selections secret from her. She was accustomed to his surprises and simply smiled at him.  

“Very well, sir,” the waiter said, took the menu from Andy and left the table. 

Andy just watched Danae’s face as she took in the surroundings. Not far from where they were, a grand piano stood and beside it, an antique radio softly played classical music. 

“Dance with me, Princess,” he said, holding his hand for her as he stood. 

“I would love to, my Andy,” she replied as she took his hand. He led her to the dance floor in the middle of the dining room, and he held her close to him. 

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They swayed to the music together for a song or two, and Andy looked into her eyes. “Are you having a good time, my sweet?”

“I am having the best time of my life, Andy. You have totally spoiled me, and I don’t deserve any of it.”

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“What makes you say that? My darling Danae, you deserve so much more than I can give you.”

“I was totally unprepared for our anniversary, even if we would have stayed home. I had no idea what to get for you, what to do for you. I know you better than I know myself, and yet I couldn’t think of one thing for you. Some hopeless romantic I turned out to be,” she huffed in frustration.

“Nae, don’t let that bother you. Let me spoil you, okay? Not because you deserve it, but because I love you.” He caressed her cheek and smiled at her.

Danae gazed into his caramel brown eyes and smiled. “Okay.” She tucked some hair behind his ear and kissed him. “I love you, Andy. Please never forget how much?” 

“Never, my sweet. I’ll never forget it.” They walked back to their table and rested. 

They shared their meals together, feeding one another and laughing, talking about the kids and their plans for the future. 

“What is your favorite memory of us, love?” Andy asked her in between bites. “I can’t wait to tell you mine.” Candlelight sparkled in his eyes.

Danae thought for a moment. “Hmm,” she pondered, “it’s hard to pick just one. But I think I have it. Hands down, it was when we found out we were expecting Emmitt. Andy, the smile on your face was magic once we found out I was okay. The excitement was real, especially after losing the baby, and I loved seeing you so happy. And it was even better when I told you I wanted to name him after your Dad. I think that’s my favorite memory.” 

Andy smiled. “Finding out about Emmitt was the best, my sweet. He came to us against all odds, our rainbow baby. He’s smart as a whip, just like his Mama.” 

“He has been such a blessing, and I can’t imagine our lives without him now. I will be sad when he starts school in a few weeks. My baby boy.” Andy stroked her cheek and wiped a tear from her eyes.

He took her hands in his, his eyes danced with excitement. “I’ll tell you my favorite memory. I’ll never forget it. I had only just started working at the stadium for my dad. I remember being stressed out, because I was organizing my first presser with the new team dynamic, and it needed to be perfect. So imagine my surprise when he tells me we’re going home with Travis for dinner. It was the last thing I felt like doing, and I dreaded the end of work that day.  I just wanted to go home, put my feet up and unwind in front of the fire with a glass of wine. So, I brought my car that night because I was planning on skipping out after dinner. But then I walked into the house and smelled the meal you had cooked.”

“Your family was so sweet. I remember meeting Darcey and Clint. And when I reached to shake your hand, that was it. Danae, it was as though my soul came alive that night. I’d never felt anything like it, but it was just as my dad had described it. And I knew I could never take no as an answer from you. I had to see you. I had to take you out. I had to kiss you. Danae, I loved you from the first moment we touched. I didn’t believe in love at first sight until that moment. And it was such a surprise to me, because I never expected it. The experience blew me away, my sweet. I wasn’t looking for love, I wasn’t looking for you, but I sure enough found you.”  

“Wait, you loved me the first night? I-I don’t know what to say, Andy. I had no idea.” 

“Well, you dazzled me right from the start. I felt it. I knew you did, too, even though you didn’t know what to make of it. I mean, this big dude you barely knew was taking you in his car to a bar, away from the safety of your family, your home. I didn’t blame you for being a little scared at first. But when I kissed you? Man, that was the best moment of my life up to that point.”

“Our first kiss was magical, if a little awkward,” she admitted. “I fell in love with you quickly, Andy. But I was fresh off a bad romance. I didn’t want to admit to myself I fell that fast, and that hard. Remember when I told you? I almost didn’t.” 

Andy chuckled. “Yes, my sweet, I remember. I had to say it first. I knew you wouldn’t admit it otherwise.” 

“I was a complete mess before you, Andy. Your love gave me confidence I was sorely lacking to step out and take charge of my career. That’s why everything fell into place after we got together.” 

Andy immediately got a guilty look on his face. “I want to tell you something, Danae. I don’t know how you’ll take it, but I need to tell you.”

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“It can’t be that bad. Go ahead.” 

“The talent agency wasn’t taking new clients, and they had no intention of signing any more new singers.”

Danae nodded. “I remember. I was so disappointed.” 

“But on our first date, when I realized how talented you were, I started recording you while you were singing karaoke. At first, I recorded it for my ears only, but I found I had some connections with the talent agency through the stadium. The owner was a season ticket holder. So I called in a favor and played your performance for him over the phone. And baby, he was so impressed, he promised me he would sign you immediately.” He watched her face, trying to read her. 

“You did that for me, Andy?” Her eyes filled with tears. “But you barely knew me then.” 

“I know. You just needed that break, your foot in the door. I knew you were destined for greatness, and I was hoping you would ride it all the way to the top. But I ruined it for you when I asked you to raise our family. Sometimes, I feel like I robbed you of your destiny, and the world of your talent.” He stroked her cheek and brushed a lock of hair from her face. “Danae, you are a treasure, but I was selfish and stole you away from your calling. I did it with no regrets, with no consideration for you and what you wanted or desired. Until now. Baby, I shouldn’t have taken you from your career.”

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“My Andy,” she sighed, “I don’t regret anything. I love my life, our lives together. Motherhood, not singing, was my life’s calling and you made that my reality. I don’t tell you enough how much I appreciate all your hard work, my love. Your sacrifice makes it possible to live my dream.” 

He gave her a funny look. “My sacrifice? Baby, I have my dream job. I have made no sacrifice, not like you have.” 

“Andy, I have my dream job, too. You know, maybe someday I’ll try singing again, once Emmitt is in school full time. But for now, I’m so good being your wife, the mother of your three beautiful babies, and our angel baby.” 

He smiled. She didn’t often acknowledge the baby they had lost, but he or she was just as loved as the others. He leaned toward her, stroked her cheek and kissed her. “Princess Danae, I love you, so very much.” 

“I love you too, Prince Andy.” 

*****

It was late when they left the restaurant, neither of them wanted the evening to end. So Andy drove them to the beach on one of the eastern sandbars, waiting for the sun to rise. Danae took her shoes off and they walked around in the cool, damp sand. 

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“Let’s watch the stars, baby,” Andy suggested, and together they sat in a grassy area adjacent to the beach. The stars were plentiful and brilliant despite a full moon which sat just over the horizon. Danae had never seen a bigger moon, and it was romantic. 

“Kiss me, Andy. The moon is so beautiful, and I’m in the mood for romance.” 

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“You don’t have to ask me twice, princess,” he cooed back at her. He stood and lifted her, pressed his lips to hers in a sweet kiss, and she melted. “Isn’t this romantic, honey?” he asked, nuzzling his face into her neck.

She beamed at him. “So romantic.”

They sat on the beach in lounge chairs, held hands and watched over the horizon for the first hint of the sunrise. The sky began to lighten, a pink hue shone over the water. “Andy, it’s starting!”

“Come here, baby,” Andy beckoned her to his chair. She got up and joined him on his chair, and together they cuddled. “Let’s watch the sunrise together, my sweet.” The pink gave way to orange and the sun finally peeked over the horizon as it said good morning to another glorious new day.

“This was a beautiful ending to a perfect night, Andy. Thank you, for all of it.” Danae yawned. 

“My pleasure, baby.” Andy yawned after she did. “Are you tired, Nae? Are you ready to go back and take a nap?”

She nodded. He kissed her gently and she stood up and allowed him to stand. He took her hand, and together they walked back to the car. They were both quiet on the drive back to the resort, and when he parked in the driveway outside their suite, he walked to Danae’s door and helped her up.

“You look wiped out, baby,” he said. “Come here.” He picked her up and carried her to the master bedroom inside the suite. 

“Thank you, Andy,” she said and yawned. He helped her to remove the gown and the tiara from her hair. 

“How about we just snuggle until we fall asleep, honey?”

“I would love nothing more right now,” she agreed. 

They climbed into bed, tired but happy, and snuggled together. Sleep was coming fast, but Andy wrapped around her, kissed her cheek and whispered into her ear, “I adore you, my princess. Sweet dreams.” 

*****

The whole day after the anniversary was lost, but to the lovebirds, it didn’t matter. They spent some time outside at the pool, napping on and off under the protection of the covered porch. Later in the afternoon, a thunderstorm rolled through town, and they watched the rain from their bedroom, snuggled together. 

“Is there something you’d like to do tonight, baby?” Andy asked her as the storm crashed outside. 

“I’m still pretty sleepy,” Danae yawned. “I’m not used to staying up all night anymore.”

“Yeah, me neither,” he agreed. “How about tomorrow, we head to the equestrian center and borrow a horse and ride on the beach, see some of the parks in town and take it easy.” 

She sat up and looked at him. “You know how to ride?”

He chuckled. “You saw Dragon Valley, honey. Of course, I know how to ride.”

“It sounds romantic.” She kissed his chin and laid back down. 

“Anything with you is romantic, Nae. It’s just who you are.” 

“Maybe we can make a picnic lunch and carry it with us.”

“That sounds like the best day, honey. I’ll make the arrangements at the center by phone. Tomorrow, we ride.” 

“That still leaves us with tonight,” she purred, a crash of thunder sounded very close to the suite. “Thunderstorms and love go together, you know.” 

“Mmm, that they do. Let’s love each other until we fall asleep. We’ll be refreshed tomorrow after a good night’s rest.” He kissed her tenderly.

“That sounds like the best idea yet.”


The next morning, Andy awakened first, stretched and wrapped his arms around her. His kisses on her skin woke her up, and she snuggled into his embrace. 

“Good morning, my Andy,” she purred. 

“Good morning, darling,” he said. He nuzzled into her hair and kissed her neck. “How are you feeling, baby?”

“Never better, my love. But we could stay here all day, and I wouldn’t care. You feel so good right here with me.” 

“Are you up to a little horseback riding on the beach, and the picnic we talked about yesterday? Or would you like another day to relax? We have been pretty busy.” 

“I wouldn’t mind going for a ride. And then we can go horseback riding on the beach.” She gave him a sly smile and kissed him. 

“You naughty girl,” he smiled and pulled the covers over their heads.

A couple of hours later, Andy and Danae were on their way to the equestrian center. He had reserved a friendly, gentle trail horse for them to ride together. She was being groomed as they arrived to get her. 

“Do you prefer a western or English saddle, Mr. Murphy?” the stable hand asked Andy.

“Actually, I prefer bareback, if she’s accustomed to it.”

“Misty is a well-trained horse. She should be fine with bareback.”

“That sounds good,” Andy nodded. 

Danae admired the young mare. “She is beautiful,” she said as she reached to rub the horse’s nose. 

“Thank you,” the stable hand answered. “She’s our most popular horse. Steady on her feet, good-tempered, not easily spooked.” He rubbed Misty’s neck and gave her an apple. “Yep, she’s a good girl.” 

Andy took her lead and brought her from the stall. “Need a hand up, my love?” he asked Danae. 

“I think so,” she chuckled. “I’ve never ridden bareback before.”

“Just hang onto me, baby. You’ll be fine.” Andy gave her a boost up, and Danae slid toward the back, giving Andy room to mount her. He made it look so simple as he climbed up and took her reins in his hand. “Shall we, my sweet?” 

“Whenever you’re ready, my Andy.” She wrapped her arms around him and laid her head on his back.  

The stables were close to the beach, and directly across from the gondola venue they visited on their first day, so Andy took Misty for a ride along the water in the firm sand at the edge. Danae was amazed at how smooth her gait was, but she held onto Andy tightly anyway. About a mile from their starting point, he let Misty rest for a few minutes, and they sat on her back, enjoying the view. 

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“How are you doing back there, honey?” Andy asked. He patted Misty’s neck and she nickered at him.

“She has an amazingly smooth gait. I’m doing well,” Danae said. 

“I was wondering, because you have a death grip on me. Not that I mind, of course.” 

“That’s more because I want to hang on tight,” she made a kissy noise and laughed. 

“I figured.” Andy chuckled as he nudged Misty forward. “How about visiting the winter festival here, my love?”

“Lead the way.” 

The festival grounds were about five miles off the beach where they rested, so Andy guided Misty towards their destination. Even with traffic passing on the roads, the mare never spooked. He was impressed.

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By the time they arrived at the festival, Danae needed a break from sitting on Misty’s back. Andy tied her at the hitching post in front of the grounds. There, she would be able to drink and re-energize with some fresh hay. Andy helped Danae down, and they walked hand in hand into the festival.

“Ooh! A skating rink!” Danae chirped. “Andy, let’s skate a while?” 

“Whatever you want, my darling.” 

They both rented a pair of skates and hit the roller rink. Andy was in the center before long, spinning like a pro. Danae snorted when she saw him.

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“What?” he asked as she skated to him.

“Another thing you excel at, my Andy. Must you outdo me at everything?” she teased.

“I bet you’re better at spinning than I am,” he countered. “You’re much more flexible than I am, and a whole lot more beautiful.” 

“Well, let’s spin together,” she offered. “That way, neither of us will be better.” 

“You’re on,” he agreed. 

They joined hands and began to spin together in a circle. And for a moment, they had great momentum. But suddenly, their front wheels bumped together, and they both scrambled to catch themselves. There was no saving face for either of them. Danae’s feet came out from beneath her completely, and it was though she was suspended in the air for a split second before she landed hard on her backside.

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Andy fell forward, doing his best Superman imitation before he fell on the wood floor, knee first. 

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“Oww,” Danae groaned, in that odd place between pain and laughter. “I’m going to feel this tomorrow.” 

Andy laid prone on the rink and grumbled. “I haven’t hurt this bad since that one time in band camp,” he joked, trying to make light of the situation. “You fall better than I do, Nae. You looked so graceful, bent in half seconds before your rump hit the floor. I just looked like a klutz.”

“So you spin better, and I fall better?” She couldn’t help but laugh, but Andy looked like he was hurting. 

“I’m getting too old for this mess,” Andy grumbled, holding his sore knee. “Baby, help me up please?” Danae got to her feet and held her hand for him. They limped off the rink together and sat on a nearby bench. When hiked his pant leg up, his knee was already swollen.

“Oh Andy, I’m so sorry. This is my fault. I should have kept my mouth shut.”

He kissed her hand. “No, it’s on me. I’m the clumsy one,” he laughed. “But I really do need to get some ice on this soon.”

“Can you ride Misty back to the center?” 

Andy thought a moment. “If I can get on, I can ride. Getting on a bareback horse might be a challenge with a bad knee.” 

“I’ve never ridden bareback, or I’d ride her back and pick up the car.”

“Everything is fine, Nae. We’ll figure this out and get back. But I think my acrobatics might have ended our picnic plans. I’m sorry, my sweet.” 

“Do you think Misty can scale the stairs? Is there another way down here? You could stand on a bench and that might give you some leverage.” 

“Wait, I think there’s a bench near the hitching post, by the photo booth. Right?”

“I’ll go check. Wait here.” Danae kissed his cheek and walked up the steps. Andy laughed as she walked away. Where am I going to go?

She returned a few minutes later with a decided spring in her step. “There’s a bench on either side, so you should be okay. Let’s hope Misty is okay with it now.” 

“She’s a pretty good horse, so this should work well, my sweet.” With her arm around his waist, she walked with Andy up the steps, steadying him. Danae untied Misty from the post and patted her neck, led her to where Andy stood and she nickered at him. 

“Good girl, Misty,” Andy praised her. “Just let me help you up, Nae, and I’ll get up here last.” Andy held his hand for Danae and gave her the boost she needed.

Their plan worked, and with no incident, both were safely atop Misty’s back. He started toward the equestrian center, taking the beach paths when possible. Just because he was hurt didn’t mean they couldn’t enjoy the ride back. But when they finally got to the stables, Andy could hardly bear weight on his knee. 

A different stable hand was working when they brought Misty back. “How was our favorite girl? Was she good for you?” 

Andy nodded. “She’s a great horse. In fact, she makes me miss riding. But I tore up my knee at the festival showing off on the skating rink, so I cut our day short, unfortunately.” 

“Oh, sorry to hear,” he said. “You’re welcome to come back anytime and take her again.” 

“We only have a few days left,” Danae said. “Otherwise, I’d love to come back and ride again.” 

“If you really want to, Nae, we can. I don’t have much planned until we leave.” Andy took her hand and kissed it. 

“If we have a chance, I’d love it. If not, that’s okay, too.” They both thanked the stable hand as he began to groom Misty. She helped him walk to the car, and he was limping badly. 

When they returned to the resort Danae packed a bag of ice for Andy and carefully set it on his knee. She sat by him on the lounge chair by the pool while he relaxed, and they cuddled together. 

“I’m sorry, Andy, about your knee,” she said. “I didn’t count on that happening.” 

“Baby, don’t worry about it. After the ice, I’ll be feeling better. Maybe we could walk down to the beach and swim in the ocean for a while. The saltwater will be good for it. Soothing, even. What do you say, my sweet?” 

“You are way too forgiving. But the beach sounds good. I’ll wear my one piece, so I don’t have to worry about losing my top in the water.” She winked at him.

“It’s settled then. Honey, please don’t worry about my knee anymore. I’m okay.” He stroked her cheek and she pressed her face to his chest, content.


A few days later, Danae was gathering items up for packing. Neither of them could believe their ten days were up already, and they had a red-eye flight back to Isla Paradiso that left at eight o’clock that night. It was the vacation of a lifetime, and she hated to see it end. But her camera was full of beautiful photographs that she couldn’t wait to have framed. As she packed all her new clothes into their suitcase, a tear fell from her eye, and she sniffled.

“What’s wrong, Nae?” Andy asked as he packed up the garment bag.

“I don’t want to go home yet,” she said. “I mean, I miss the kids, but we’ve had such a great time. I’ve fallen for you all over again.”

He walked over to where she stood and wrapped his arms around her.

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“I’m glad you had a good time, baby. We’ll have to do this again for another anniversary sometime.” He kissed her cheek and rocked her in his arms. “I fell in love with you all over again, too.”

“Is there anything downstairs, or do we have everything up here?” she asked. 

“I’ll go check,” he replied, and walked down the steps. A few minutes later, he came back with a bag he had found by the front door. “If we forget this stuff, we will have three angry kiddos,” he chuckled. 

“Oh my!” she exclaimed. “Thank you for the save. Daddy for the win!” she laughed. Inside were three adorable dolls, each one different, that she had found at the winter festival. Each was handmade and unique, and they were positive the kids would adore them. 

“You’re welcome, baby.” 

With everything packed and ready to go, they had just an hour before their limo would arrive to bring them to the airport, so they walked out onto the back deck one last time to watch the sun settle over the horizon and dip into the waters way beyond where their eyes could see. When it was dark, and the sun had said its final goodbye, they walked back into the suite and toward the office to check out. 

The limo arrived shortly afterward and brought them to the airport. The driver accessed a restricted gate, as it had in Isla Paradiso, and brought them directly to Kirby’s jet, which was nearly ready for departure. Victor, as he had done each time they had flown, greeted them as they boarded. 

“Hello, Andy, Miss Danae. I trust your vacation was pleasant?” Victor said as they approached.

Danae smiled. “This man treats me like a princess, Victor. I will never deserve all he did for me this trip.” Andy gave Victor a sly smile. 

“Yes, she deserves it,” Andy chuckled and nudged Victor’s arm. 

“Welcome aboard,” Victor officially welcomed them. “Dinner will be served as soon as we are in flight, and we will be stopping for fuel at some point, likely near Hidden Springs. I trust you’ll be napping in the sleeping quarters?”

Andy nodded. “Most likely.”

They settled down into their seats at a table, Danae’s carry on bag beneath her, and Andy across from her. She sighed heavily as she fastened her belt across her lap and Andy looked at her.

“What’s on your mind, honey?” 

She smiled at him and took his hand. “In case I didn’t tell you already, thank you for our time together. I had the best time. I just wish it wasn’t over yet.” 

He pondered for a moment. “You know, baby, this isn’t the end of what I have planned for our anniversary.”

Her jaw dropped open. “What now?”

“You’ll see. I’m not ready to reveal it just yet. But it’s coming, and soon.” He kissed her hand as the jet taxied to the runway for departure. 

“I don’t know what you are doing, but it must be big.” She smiled. “I can’t wait.” 

“Baby, you will love it. I promise,” he said as the jet roared down the runway, and Sunlit Tides disappeared beneath them into the darkness.

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Up Next: Chapter Twenty Eight, Part Three, Generation Five


Pose Credits:

Love and Horses by Kaleeko at Mod The Sims
Stay Together and Embrace by Spladoum at Mod The Sims
Engagement Poses, Wedding Poses, Conversation Poses, Meeting in the Bar, Adult Emotions,  by Bee at Poses By Bee

Moondance by Lenina90 at The Sims 3 Planet
Romantic Dinner 2 by Zhippidy at Zhippidy’s Custom Poses

Custom Content:

I take no credit for the custom content used in this chapter. I cannot possibly credit each individual, or I’ll be another five pages! See acknowledgments for frequently used sources, or message me on the Contact Page, and I’ll do my best to find the link for you.

G5 Chapter Twenty Eight – Ten Years Together, Part One

Andy was out of town on business to negotiate for a new star player, and Danae was lonely. He had been gone nearly a week in Appaloosa Plains and he was due home the following day. Danae stood and admired herself in the full-length mirror at the salon. I hope he likes this, she thought as she gazed upon newly-colored flaming red locks. 

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Since their trip to Starlight Shores two years prior, Danae had been aching to color her hair red. Maybe it was because she felt a new connection to her great grandmother Destiny Hill. Maybe it was just because she wanted her hair to match her freckles. Whatever the reason, she took the plunge and finally did it. Ironically, the red hair didn’t make her resemble Destiny and made her feel less like a Jones. 

On her way home, she stopped at the Scroggins house. Darcey was unpleasantly surprised when she saw it. “Nae, what were you thinking?!” Darcey chided her.

“I wasn’t thinking, I guess. Do you think Andy will hate it?”

“You just don’t look like you. Maybe Andy will like it, but I’m willing to bet he won’t. He didn’t fall in love with a redhead, Danae. I hope you can color it back.”

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“Thanks for your support,” she snapped, her tone bitingly cold. “I’m the only one who has to like it, by the way.” 

“I’m sorry, Nae. It’s just going to take some getting used to. You know I love you no matter the color of your hair.” 

“Well, I think I look like Nana Bella, and you know how I adored her,” Danae said confidently. 

“Well, you sure don’t look like Mama anymore. I wonder what Daddy would say.” Darcey shook her head.  

“Well, it will be a surprise. But Andy loves me for who I am, not what I look like.” Danae picked up her car keys. “I have to run. We need to do dinner soon! Love you, Bug.” 

“Love you, Nae,” Darcey called to her as Danae almost ran from the house.

She drove home sputtering but filled with doubt. Will he like it? If he hates it, will he be angry? So many questions fluttered around in her brain, and no one but Andy could answer them. She was almost dreading his return.

It was after nine when he finally called her that evening. She was itching to tell him but wanted more to surprise him. So she bit her tongue when he asked what was new.

“Nothing,” she fibbed. “I got my hair trimmed today and a new manicure. And a few other things done while I was at the spa, if you catch my drift.” 

Andy cleared his throat. “You’re making the wait difficult, you know that little missy?” 

“I meant to.” She had to get him looking forward to something, anything that would soften the blow of being married to a redhead. “I can’t wait for you to come home. I’ve been miserable all week missing you.” 

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“I hate to say this, but the week has been a giant waste of my time. The player wasn’t really interested in leaving the Plains. What is it about this place that makes people want to stay? It’s just a little hick town.” 

“Hey!” Danae feigned insult. “I have Plains blood running through my veins!”

“And Dragon Valley, and Pleasantview and Monte Vista,” he teased. “You’re so far removed from Appaloosa Plains now.”

Except for my flaming red hair, she thought. “Well, just the same, I’m no hick!” she laughed. 

“I know you’re not. You’re way too sassy to be a Plains girl. You’re born and raised Starlight Shores. I never noticed it until I came here.” 

“I don’t know whether to be insulted or flattered,” she snorted. 

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“Take it as a compliment, my sweet.” She heard his heavy sigh. “My goodness, Danae, I miss you so much, and I can’t wait to come home.”

“I will be waiting for your limo to pull up outside the house. And I will not leave you alone for days once you get here.”

Andy belly laughed. “And that’s different from usual how, exactly?” 

“Alright,” she snickered. “That’s enough. I miss you, babe. Come home safely to me.”

“I will, honey. Oh, I love you so much.” 

“I love you, too. See you tomorrow.” 

She felt better after she talked to Andy. He loves me no matter what, she convinced herself. She undressed and climbed into bed, dreaming of tomorrow.

*****

Today could not have gone any slower if it tried, Danae thought as she finished washing dinner dishes. It was almost seven, and Andy’s plane was due into Isla Paradiso at 8:30. Ugh! Two more hours. 

“Lysie, Eamon, is your homework finished?” she called to the kids. Emmitt was ready for pre-school and would be starting after the Snowflake Day holiday for spring classes. Luckily, the holiday was still six weeks away. Emmitt could stay her baby for just a little while longer. 

“Yes, Mama,” they yelled back in unison. “We’re playing charades.” 

Danae smiled. I haven’t played that since I was their age, she thought. She and Darcey played it sometimes after dinner between homework and bedtime. Darcey, however, was much better at it than she was. But it was still fun teaching the kids how to play. 

“Okay. Just a half-hour longer, and I need you to brush your teeth and get ready for bed.” Emmitt was in the living room watching television. “Not going to play with your brother and sister, Emm?” 

“No, Mama,” he sighed. “They don’t want me.” 

She snuggled her youngest into her lap. “I’m sure that’s not it, baby boy, but charades might be a little old for you. Maybe when Daddy gets home, you can play a game with him?” 

“I’d like that, Mama,” Emmitt said happily. “When do I start school again? I can’t wait!” 

“After Father Winter comes this year. Do you remember when he comes?” 

He counted on his fingers. “One, two, three, four, five… six! Six weeks, right?” 

“Good boy!” she praised him. “You’re getting that down really good, honey.” She kissed his forehead. “Do you want me to read to you tonight?” 

He nodded his head. “Yes please!”

“You got it,” she smiled. “You pick the book, and we’ll read together. How’s that?” 

“You’ll help me with the words I don’t know, right, Mama?” he asked, excited to learn.

“You bet I will. Go get your teeth brushed for Mama, and I’ll be in to read and tuck you in soon.” She kissed the top of his head and gave him a gentle swat on his rear end, and he turned around with the biggest smile. She sure did love that little boy.

An hour later, all three kids were in bed and hopefully on their way to sleep, though Elyse was allowed to read for twenty minutes a night. There wasn’t a peep in the house, and Trixie was on a date, so Danae curled up on the sofa with a blanket throw and the television, waiting for Andy to come home.

The limo arrived at 9:30 and dropped Andy out front at the gate, and he half expected Danae to be there. But when he opened the front door, he noticed the flicker of the television, and Danae’s familiar soft snores emanated from the living room. He put his bags into his office and padded to the living room. At first, he didn’t recognize her, but as he gazed upon her, he smiled. Quietly, he tiptoed to where she laid down, knelt by her head and kissed her. 

“Okay, who is the sexy redhead and what did she do with my smokin’ hot wife?” He teased quietly. 

His kiss roused her and she laughed. “Hey babe,” she said and yawned. 

“Wow, Danae, you look so different!” 

“Is different good, or bad?” she asked, uneasy.

He looked at her in the dim light of the television and nodded. “I think I love it!”

She heaved a sigh of relief. “Thank goodness! Darcey hated it and said I made a huge mistake.” 

“How do you like it, baby?” 

“I love it, though I probably won’t do it again once it grows out. I don’t feel much like me.” 

“So, I get to make love with a redhead tonight, and I’m not even cheating on my wife. Hot dog!” Andy chuckled. 

“Yes you do,” she purred. “When do you want to do that, specifically?” 

“Name it,” he said.

“Yesterday.” 

“Uh oh,” he laughed. “Looks like I need to make up for some lost time.” 

“Yup, a whole week’s worth,” she growled and led him to the bedroom.


Ten days later…

It was the first day of a two-week vacation, and Andy wanted so badly to sleep in. But they had a flight to catch and Danae had no clue. His plan was flawless and he couldn’t wait for it to come to fruition. Five months in the planning and it was finally here. He couldn’t believe it.

It wasn’t an easy task to choose a destination for their tenth anniversary. Where exactly do you vacation when you live in paradise? He pondered. But Aaron’s recommendation for Sunlit Tides sold him. Beautiful, white sand beaches. Scuba diving. West coast atmosphere and sun. Plenty of fun and romantic things to do. 

He booked a room at the most exclusive resort, right on the beach, a five-star establishment. Known for its spa, Andy couldn’t wait to partake in a couple’s massage and pampering with her. In his opinion, she more than deserved it. Kirby gifted them the use of his private jet and catered the flights to and from Sunlit Tides. Everything was in place and ready to go. 

With Darcey’s assistance, Andy bought Danae a whole new wardrobe for the vacation, his favorite was a beautiful ball gown that would make her look like a fairytale princess. He had three different gowns and dresses and a weeks’ worth of brand new clothing packed away and hidden upstairs in Trixie’s bedroom, along with new clothing for himself. He had much invested in the vacation before he even booked a room, but he didn’t care about the expense. 

Trixie was in on everything and, together with Darcey, helped plan and coordinate every detail with Andy. Even the kids knew and promised to keep his secret. Danae was kept completely in the dark for months. And when they returned from Sunlit Tides, he had another surprise planned she would absolutely adore. It would be a vacation Danae would never forget. 

With just hours until their flight, she slept soundly, wrapped in his arms, comfortable and happy. Andy was dying to wake her but just watched her for a few more moments. The alarm on his watch buzzed, notifying him it was time. This is it, he thought, more excited than he’d ever been. 

“Nae, baby,” he kissed her shoulders and whispered in her ear. “Honey, I love you.” 

Danae purred at the sensation of his kisses and opened her eyes. “Mmm, good morning, my handsome Andy.” 

“Good morning, precious,” he purred back. “It’s time to wake up.” 

“No,” she protested. “Trixie is helping the kids today. I don’t have to be up.” 

“I know, my sweet. But we still need to get up. I have a huge surprise for you.” 

Her eyes popped open and she was fully awake. She loved his surprises. “Oh?” 

“I’m not telling you details. You’ll just have to trust me.” 

Danae chuckled. “I get it. I surprised you, and now it’s payback time. It took you long enough.” 

He nuzzled his face into her hair and breathed in. “You smell amazing, my love.” 

“I just woke up, babe. I can’t smell that good.” 

“It’s that vanilla. It smells delicious on you.” He would have loved to stay in bed with her all day, but they had three hours to get to the airport. “Come on, love. Up and at ‘em.” 

“I need to shower. Is coffee made yet?” 

“I’ll start it, and then I’ll join you, so take your sweet time in there.” He blew her a kiss.

Thirty minutes later they were enjoying a cup of coffee and a light breakfast together. Trixie had gotten the children ready for school, and they waited for hugs and kisses. It would be a while before they saw their parents again. 

Andy snuck upstairs and brought down three pieces of luggage and put them into his office. Danae was playing with Emmitt in the boys’ room, counting with him. It was almost time to go. 

“Baby, come with me a sec?” he asked her, bursting at the seams.

“I’ll be right back, Emm,” she told him, got up and walked to Andy. “What’s up?” 

“Take a look.” He gestured toward the bags. 

“Andy! What did you do?” She squealed, giddy with excitement. 

“I’ll just say we’re going away for a while. I’m not telling you where or how long. But our flight leaves in ninety minutes. We need to get going, baby.” 

“Andy, you never cease to amaze me. I love you.” She kissed him tenderly. 

“I love you with everything I have, Danae. You deserve this time away, and I’m going to show you the time of your life.” The limo driver rang the call box, signaling he had arrived. “It’s time. Let’s give Emm one more kiss and we have to go.” 

Ten minutes later, they were on their way, a small bottle of champagne waited for them. He opened it and poured two small glasses, which was all it held. He smiled sweetly at her and raised his glass.

“To you, Danae. The mother of my children. The love of my life. The rocker of my world. To the vacation of a lifetime.” 

“Cheers!” Danae chirped and sipped on her glass. “You got semi-sweet?” 

“Just for you, my love,” he said.

The ride to the airport wasn’t very long, and as it had before, the limo accessed a restricted gate. After verification, it was allowed to pass and they drove to Kirby’s hangar. The same jet they had taken on its maiden flight awaited them with the same waiter onboard. 

“Welcome Andy, Miss Danae,” Victor greeted them. “Don’t tell me. One of you doesn’t know where we are headed. Am I right?” He grinned ear to ear.

Andy laughed. “You are correct. Miss Danae is being treated to a special anniversary trip, destination undisclosed. But she will love it.” 

Victor nodded. “If you and Mr. Kemp planned it, I have no doubt it will be most pleasurable. Welcome aboard. We are on time for a 10:30 departure.” 

“Thank you, Victor.” Andy took Danae’s hand and escorted her to their seats at a table. Their luggage would be loaded beneath in the hold, and as soon as the pilot had clearance, they would be on their way. 

“A penny for your thoughts, my love,” he said. Danae was peaceful and relaxed. 

“I’m just wondering what you’re up to, Andy. I can’t wait to find out.” She reached for his cheek and caressed it, and he nuzzled into her hand. 

“We won’t be on the ground at our destination for quite a few hours, and I’m sure we will need to stop and refuel once. I promise it’s not Dragon Valley again.” Andy rolled his eyes at the memory. He was not going to repeat that mistake.

“Then I guess all we need to do is sit back and enjoy the flight.” She fastened her seat belt and put her feet up on the seat directly across from her. 

“You know, this is the plane with the sleeping area, honey.” 

“I figured as much. But this isn’t an overnight flight.” 

“So? Nothing says we can’t nap on the way. It’s a long trip.” The copper highlights in her hair shone in the sunlight that peeked through the window. “You sure make a beautiful redhead, honey. I love it.” 

She blushed. “I’m glad you do. I still don’t feel quite like myself with this color hair, though.” 

Victor walked from the front of the airplane and announced their departure. “Lunch will be served in approximately ninety minutes, a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Kemp which comes with a message.” He took a note from his pocket, unfolded it and read it aloud:

Dear Andy and Danae,

Rae, the kids and I wish you all the best on your tenth wedding anniversary trip. We wanted you to travel in luxury and comfort, and we provided your flight, expenses covered and your in-flight meal. Enjoy it and each other during your vacation. We will see you when you return.

All our love,
Kirby, Rae, Cody, and Corrie Kemp.

Danae wiped a happy tear from her eyes. “I can’t believe you did all this without me knowing, Andy.” 

“Oh honey, this is only the tip of the iceberg.”

*****

Hours later, the plane landed in Sunlit Tides. Andy and Danae had been napping since lunch in the sleeping quarters and Victor rapped on the door. 

“Andy? Miss Danae? We’ve arrived at our final destination.” 

Andy checked his watch. It was four o’clock local time. “Thanks, Victor. We’ll be out in a few minutes.” He touched her shoulder and kissed her cheek. “Nae? We’re here, baby.” 

“Mmm,” she purred as she roused from her nap. “I really must have been asleep. Did we stop for fuel?” 

“Yeah, about two hours ago. I felt us touch down, but that was it.” He took a comb from Danae’s purse and ran it through his hair. “Come on, sweetie, they’re waiting on us.” 

They gathered their belongings and walked into the cabin of the plane. Victor was waiting for them. “Enjoy your stay here. We’re headed back home tonight.”

“Thank you, Victor. Have a safe flight back. We’ll see you in about ten days.”

Danae’s mouth fell open. “T-ten days?” 

Andy just smiled and took her hand. “Are you ready, my sweet?” 

The limo was waiting to take them to their resort. Danae looked around at her surroundings, trying to figure out where she was. Andy chuckled at her bewilderment.

“Still don’t know, do you, love?” 

She shook her head. “No. It doesn’t look like home, yet I know it’s tropical.” 

“We’re in Sunlit Tides, honey,” Andy smiled as he watched the excitement build within her. 

“Andy! I’ve never been this far away from home before!” She snuggled up next to him, taking the scenery in. The town itself was disconnected from the mainland, but the island had been mostly connected by small bridges and causeways, unlike Isla Paradiso. The foliage was so much different, prettier, and she noticed coconuts hanging from the trees. “We don’t have coconut palms at home!” Every little thing animated her. This was the woman he fell in love with almost eleven years ago.

“I knew you would love it here.” He kissed her tenderly. “Happy Anniversary week my precious.” 

The resort was not like any other she had ever been to before. Instead of small, stuffy rooms, they had a huge 3 bedroom suite, fully equipped with a kitchen, formal dining room and living room, much bigger than the VIP suite at Kirby’s resort. It had every amenity they needed and wanted, and then some. 

“What do you think, Nae? Isn’t this beautiful?” Their bedroom opened to a deck overlooking the most scenic beach in the area. The air was balmy and only slightly humid, and the sun was getting lower on the horizon. 

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“Oh Andy, this is simply elegant. We can watch the sunset from here!” She walked onto the deck and took a deep breath. “Dare I say this is more beautiful than home. How did Aaron and Avery leave here?” 

“Zachery, too. I suppose if you’re born here, it could get a little monotonous.” He walked up behind her and held her. “It sure is beautiful out here. Are you hungry, my sweet? I think I saw a bistro within walking distance, or the resort has room service. Whatever you want to do, baby, we’ll do.” 

“Maybe in a little while,” she said dreamily. “I think I want to watch the sunset with a glass of wine and you wrapped around me.” 

Andy smiled impishly. “I can deliver both of those things, my sweet.”

After dinner, the night was already dark, but fireflies dotted the evening as they walked hand in hand around the grounds of the resort. They passed one of two huge resort-style pools, not counting the one that was adjacent to their suite, and Danae stopped to stick her toes in. 

“Andy, it’s like bathwater,” she said, amazed. Even at home, their pool always ran on the cool side. 

“Good for skinny dippin’,” he said. He squeezed her hand as they continued their stroll. 

“If we had our own private pool, you bet I’d be all over that,” she purred.

Andy wondered how long it would take for her to realize their suite was the only one with access to the adjoining pool. When they walked back through the gate that surrounded their suite building, she finally noticed it.

“Wait,” she said, looking around. “We do have our own pool.” 

“So, armed with that new information, beautiful, what would you like to do tonight?” 

“What do you think?” 

Andy smiled at her. “Oh, baby, I’m all over that.” 


The next morning, Andy surprised Danae with a bouquet of fragrant, velvety red roses on her nightstand. Two days to go until their anniversary, and he could barely wait. He ordered room service for coffee and breakfast and woke her gently. 

He snuggled up behind her and kissed her shoulders. “Good morning, my precious princess,” he purred into her ear. “I love you, baby.” 

Danae smiled and yawned. “Good morning, my Andy,” she purred back. “What are you doing up so early?” 

Andy chuckled. “It’s nine-twenty in the morning. This is hardly early, honey.” 

“Really? It looks earlier than that outside.” 

“It’s a little overcast, but it is supposed to be sunny and mild today. I have something in mind for today, my sweet. I know you’ll love it.” 

She rolled over in his arms and kissed him. “As long as I’m in your arms, I don’t care what we do or don’t do. I’d be just as happy staying right here in bed with you all day.” 

“Well, breakfast is here, and we should get up and eat before it gets cold,” he said. “I got a little something extra. I’m surprised you didn’t notice, baby.” 

“Where?” and then she smelled the roses. “Oh, Andy, those roses are exquisite. Thank you.” She kissed him tenderly.

“You’re welcome, honey.”

Andy ordered quiche for breakfast, and they sat and ate together. After a shower, they were ready to get started for the day. 

He had rented a beautiful car for them to use while they were in Sunlit Tides. It had been delivered to the suite that morning, a bright red Tesla. They got into the car, and he set the GPS for a venue Aaron had told him about, a romantic place with a gondola ride and a wedding chapel. Danae admired the scenery as Andy drove the car, and when he pulled up and parked by the venue, she melted. 

“Oh Andy, this is so adorable!” she chirped. The lot was a miniature recreation of a European village. The architecture was beautiful, and Danae fell in love with it.

“Let’s stroll around, my love.” He slipped his hand into hers and together they began to take in the sights.  

They strolled around slowly, enjoying the atmosphere and each other. They found a small, flowered garden on the far end of the property and sat to rest their feet. Andy stretched out on the ground, his head in her lap. Danae stroked his cheek and gazed into his eyes.

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“How do you like this place so far, my sweet?” Andy asked her as he relaxed on the ground. 

“Andy, this is so romantic!” Her heart was bursting with love for him. 

“I’m glad you think so, baby. I knew you’d love this. The way Aaron described it, I knew we had to visit here.” 

She moved out from beneath him and climbed onto his lap, straddling him. Her sweet, soft kisses melted him, and he held her close. “I love you, Andy, so much. This scored you some big brownie points today.” 

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Andy chuckled. “I would have brought you here even without the brownie points.”

Danae got up and excused herself for a few moments to freshen up and stretch. While she was gone, Andy stood and propped against a tree, brushed the grass and dirt from his pants, and waited for her return.

She walked back a few moments later and he wasn’t where she’d left him. “Psst!” he called to her. 

Danae smiled and approached him, took his hand and leaned against the tree with him. “Is this spot taken, handsome?” she flirted madly.

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“It is now, beautiful.” She noticed the gondola floated by empty, and she squeezed his hand. “Do you want to take a ride on that, honey?” 

“I would love to,” she chirped. Hand in hand, they walked back toward the loading zone. “I’ve never done this before,” she said happily. 

Andy stepped into the boat first and held his hand for Danae to help her. They settled into the seat and held hands. The surroundings looked very different from inside the boat, and she pointed excitedly at the hanging wisteria that draped over the canal. Andy loved watching her so fascinated with everything.

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“Are you having fun?” Andy whispered into her ear.

“So much fun,” she whispered back, caressed his cheek and kissed him. The gondolier smiled. 

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The sun was setting during their ride, and by the time the gondola returned to the loading dock, it was dark outside, the air a bit chilly.

“I had a lovely time today, Andy. Thank you so much.” Danae slipped her hand into his as they walked toward the car. 

“I’m so glad you did, baby. I knew I had to bring you here. Are you just wanting to go get some dinner and head back, or do something else?” 

“I’m thinking maybe just having some dinner, getting a bottle of wine and sitting by the pool with you.”

“Now that sounds like the perfect end to a beautiful day, my sweet.” 

“I love you, my Andy. Thank you for today.” 

“I love you, my beautiful, precious princess.” 


One day until our anniversary. Andy woke with it on his mind, and he thought the wait might kill him. He had nothing really planned but beach time for the day and couldn’t wait for Danae to wear the bikini he bought for her. It was still dark when he got up to use the bathroom and laid back down with her. 

Danae woke some hours later, surprised Andy was still asleep. But he was, still curled around her, his soft breath tickled her shoulder. She traced his fingers with hers, hoping the delicate touch would awaken him. But he smiled and chuckled in his sleep, and tightened his grasp on her. She kissed his fingers and snuggled into his arms. That did it.

“Good morning, precious,” he smiled at her. “How is the most beautiful woman in the world this morning?” 

She smiled and thought about being snarky, but the moment was far too tender, too loving. “She loves the sexiest man alive more than he knows.” 

“Mmm, baby, you sure know how to start the day off right,” he purred. “Let me love you, Danae.” 

She turned over in his arms and kissed him. “Love me, Andy,” she whispered. 

A couple of hours later, they were showered and ready for breakfast, albeit a bit late. “What’s on the schedule for today, my love?” she asked.

“I was thinking of going to the beach out back behind the resort here, my sweet. I know you want to work on your tan, and I have a new bikini for you. I can’t wait to see you in it.”

She laughed. “Always an ulterior motive.” 

“Not true!” he snickered. “Well, maybe. But the water is so crystal clear, I want to stick my feet in the ocean on this coast, listen to the waves, and admire you. Then tonight, I was thinking we could go to that exclusive dance club down the street from the place we visited yesterday. What do you think?”

“I think it sounds like a lot of fun, babe.” She took his hand and kissed his nose. “So, where is this bikini?”

“Back in the bedroom.” He cleaned up the dishes from breakfast, placing them into the dishwasher, and led her back upstairs. 

“I had one like this once upon a time,” Danae said, admiring the bikini. “Mine was green with orange flowers, but I have to admit I love the black with red. Let me see your new suit, my Andy.” 

“Nope, not until I put it on,” he teased, “which I’m going to do right now.” He walked into the bathroom and closed the door behind him, leaving her to change in the bedroom. He was done first, so when he walked back into the room, she was fussing with the clasp on the back of her top, but he stopped in his tracks. 

“What?” she asked, still fumbling.

“You… holy cow, Danae, you look amazing in that bikini.” She spun around and spotted him in a pair of very short, skin-tight shorts, black with a red stripe on either side. He looked so good, she dropped her bathing suit top. He laughed as it landed at his feet. “You, um, dropped something, my sweet.” 

She blushed. “I guess I did.” He handed it to her and offered his fastening services. With it secured around her, she turned around for his inspection.

“Perfection, baby. You are drop-dead gorgeous.” They took beach towels he had in the suitcase and headed for the beach, hand in hand. 

The temperature was mild, in the high 70s, beautiful for sunbathing and perfect for a little swimming when the sun got warm. They spread their towels on the sand, and Danae laid down on hers. Andy watched every move she made as she settled in and got comfortable. 

“Is there a problem, sir?” she teased, one eye half-open as she noticed him watching her.

“Not a single one,” he chuckled. “I’m just making sure you’re covered. No one else gets to see you but me.” 

She clicked her tongue and rolled her eyes. “No one wants to see that but you, babe. Relax.” 

“You’d be surprised, Nae.” He reached for her hand and took it into his, and they sunbathed together. 

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At four-thirty, Andy felt a bit warm, and since the water was right there, he ran toward the ocean and dove into the surf. Danae heard his heavy footsteps running from her, and looked up in time to see him make a splash. A huge smile crossed her lips as he walked back toward her, shaking water from his ears. 

“Do you feel better now, honey?” she asked. He sprinkled water from his hair onto her skin, and it was chilly. “Eee!” she squealed. “That’s cold!”

“I do feel much better, and you’re welcome,” he laughed. “Let’s go clean up and go dancing, my sweet. You got yourself a beautiful tan, baby. I can’t wait to see your dancing outfit.” 

“Andy! Did you get me a new club outfit, too?” 

“No, baby, I packed the one you brought to Dragon Valley. Turns out, I couldn’t find its match anywhere.” He held his hand to her, and she stood up easily. Andy picked her towel up and slung it over his arm with his towel, and they walked back to the suite hand in hand.

An hour later, after a shower and a quick bite to eat, they got into the car and he drove them to the club. The bouncer stood outside the door, guarding the entrance, but Andy whispered to her, and she opened the ropes, allowing both of them access. 

“What did you tell her?” she asked Andy.

“I told her you were Travis Jones’ daughter.”

“Why did you do that?” Danae was confused.

“Because here, you’re a bigger star than I am baby.” Andy was so matter-of-fact about it. “Apparently, they’re still a little salty about losing Avery and especially Zach to the Sharks.” 

She nodded. “Well, whatever gets us in. I’m ready to dance, I don’t know about you.” 

They danced for about an hour when Danae wanted to sit, so they took a seat by the bar, and Andy bought a bottle of beer for himself, and a mixed drink for her. 

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“What’s this?” she asked, stirring the ice with her finger.

“It’s called ‘Passion-ade.’ I thought you might like it.” He took a swig of his beer and winked at her.

“Are you going to get me drunk and take advantage of me, Mr. Murphy?” she teased. 

He laughed. “I don’t have to get you drunk for that, my love.” She took a sip from the glass and licked her lips. “Is it good, Nae?” 

“It’s sweet, fruity, a little spicy. I like it!” They sat and sipped their drinks until they were gone, and he led her back onto the floor. 

A few minutes later, she was feeling no pain at all. “What was in that drink, Andy? I’m… not feeling so good.” Her head swam, and the flashing lights were not helping.

“Just fruit juice and some spirits, I think.” She never drank hard liquor, and it was affecting her more harshly than just wine. “Are you okay?” 

“Yeah, I’m just a little tipsy.” She wrapped her arms around him and kissed him. “Let’s go find a quiet corner and make out,” she suggested. 

Andy grinned. “Now you’re talking, baby.” He helped her to the second floor, which was mostly video arcade games and seating. He found a quiet, out of the way corner and they sat together. He sat beside her, and she was all over him as soon as he hit the seat. “Wow, baby. I guess when they called it ‘passion-ade’ they meant it.” 

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“I can’t help it,” she purred. “You’re just too handsome tonight.” 

A few minutes later, and she was nearly passed out.

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“Whatever they put in that drink did you in,” he said as he sat and held her. He couldn’t leave her upstairs alone, but he needed to find out what was in the drink, so he carefully carried her down the steps and to the bar. 

“What is in the drink called, ‘Passion-ade’?” Andy asked the woman tending bar.

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She named off six different hard liquors, and then a splash of passionfruit juice. “Is there a reason why, darlin’?” 

Andy looked at her, incredulous. “Are you kidding me? My wife is nearly knocked out from it. Had I known, I wouldn’t have gotten it for her.” 

“I thought it was for you, handsome,” she flirted with Andy. “I never thought to warn you. It’s the strongest drink we have on the menu.” 

“Thanks a bunch,” he spat sarcastically. This wasn’t how he intended their night to end, at all. He carried her outside to the car and sat her in the passenger side, buckled her in and drove back to the resort. 

He was helping her into the house when she groaned. “Andy,” she said. “I think I’m gonna be sick.” 

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“Just a second, baby,” he replied, but he realized he wouldn’t make it to the master suite upstairs. He set her down on the front porch, and she immediately retched, throwing up six different liquors and a splash of juice into the bushes. Quickly, he picked her up and ran up the stairs, into the master bathroom and placed her on the floor by the toilet. 

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“I don’t feel so go—” was all she managed to say before she vomited again. Suddenly, Andy had an appreciation for her distaste of his overindulgence. But hers was quite by accident and very avoidable had he known what he was giving her. He knelt down beside her and rubbed her back. 

“I’m right here, sweetie,” he comforted her. Inside, he was ticked, not at Danae but the bartender. What did she mean she thought it was for him? 

“I don’t feel good,” she cried. “I haven’t been this sick since I was pregnant with Emm. Wait, am I pregnant, Andy?” 

He sighed. Wishful thinking. “No, baby, you’re just a little drunk but it wasn’t your fault.” He helped her to her feet, but she looked like she would collapse if he let her go. So he lifted her and carried her into the bedroom.

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“Why is the room spinning?” she asked as he laid her into bed.

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“Baby,” he kissed her head, “I’m so sorry. This is my fault.” 

“This is weird,” she laughed. “You’re usually the drunk one…” her voice trailed off as sleep took her. He couldn’t even wiggle her clothes from her. He changed into his favorite flannel pants and laid down beside her, not sure how much, if any, he would sleep. 

“I’m so sorry, my precious Danae,” he whispered into her ear and wrapped around her. “Tomorrow will be better. I promise.”

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Up Next: Chapter Twenty Eight, Part Two. Generation Five


Pose Credits:

Poses By Bee:  I’m Dizzy, Getting Sick, Couple’s Poses, Adult Emotions, Engagement Portraits, Meeting At The Bar.
Spladoum: Mine, Embrace
Nay101: Marry Me
Lenina90: Telephone Calls

 Assorted CC from TSR, Around The Sims 3 and MTS.

As always, I take zero credit for any poses/custom content featured in this chapter. A fond “thank you” to the dedicated artists for their hours of love and hard work. 

G5 Chapter Twenty Seven – Trouble For Andy

What a difference a day makes, Andy thought as he drove home from work. Though he was looking forward to introducing Eamon and Elyse to the whelp, the meeting would be bittersweet. And he absolutely could not believe the change in Danae. Last evening, she feared it to the point of almost making herself sick. Today, she didn’t want to give it up. He was the one who wanted to keep the whelp, and he would be the one ripping it away from the family who wanted it. The irony was not lost on him. Life really sucked sometimes.

He parked in the driveway, unsure of the whelp’s whereabouts, and got out of his car. Andy wasn’t sure he was prepared for the storm that loomed. Eamon’s questions the night before tore him up. He opened the back door and Danae ran to him from the kitchen, tears in her eyes.

“Andy! You’re not really taking the whelp away tomorrow! Please tell me it’s not true!” Danae cried.

“I’m sorry, honey. The plans have been set in motion. At this time tomorrow, he’ll be on a flight back to Dragon Valley with Nigel.” Andy sighed deeply. He wished she could have had this revelation a day sooner.

“Daddy!” Eamon greeted him as he came from the bedroom, a piece of the broken eggshell in his hands. “I want to see Icky.” 

“What’s an icky?” Andy replied, confused. 

“The dragon baby, Daddy!” Eamon said, exasperated. “How could you not know his name? Duh!”

“Oh. OH…” This wasn’t good. It has a name? “I’ll get changed and take you and Lysie out to see him.” 

He walked to Danae and whispered to her. “Did you name it?” 

She shook her head. “Eamon named it Icky because of the stinky mess it left in the shell. It was pretty disgusting.”

Andy walked to their bedroom and closed the door. First things first, he thought. When he was done in the bathroom, he washed his hands and got undressed. He slipped into his flannel pants and put a sleeveless shirt on top. After strapping a pair of sandals on his feet, he was ready to take the kids to see ‘Icky.’

Eamon and Elyse were at the ready, waiting by the back door patiently for him to take them to the garage. “Come on, kiddos,” he called them and opened the door. Like little ducklings in a row, they followed him and Andy stopped before he unlocked the garage.

“I want you to know how to handle Icky before you see him, okay? He’s just a baby so you need to be careful. Don’t get near his face, and move slowly so you don’t surprise him. Do you understand?” 

Both nodded and squealed with excitement. Andy opened the door and whistled, and the whelp flew right to his arm. “Oh wow!” Eamon exclaimed. “This is awesome! Can I pet him?” 

Andy nodded. “Be careful, and don’t get near his head. Let him come to you.” 

Eamon held his hand for Icky to sniff, and he nuzzled his head into Eamon’s hand. He was surprised at how Icky felt. He was cool to the touch with soft scales on his head. “Daddy, I want to keep him!” he cried.

“We can’t, Eamon. Someone is coming to get him tomorrow.” His quiet weeping broke Andy’s heart. 

Elyse watched from a safe distance, nervous. “Lysie, do you want to pet him?” Andy asked her.

She shook her head but her gaze never left the small creature. She watched every move Icky made. 

“This is your only chance, sweet pea. If you want to pet him, this is it.” He walked toward her with the whelp on his arm, and she backed away. “Lysie, it won’t hurt you. Hold out your hand for him to sniff.”

She held her hand as Andy directed, and nearly screamed when Icky got close to her. But when he licked her fingers, she giggled. “That was cool!” she squealed with obvious delight. 

“See? He doesn’t want to hurt you. Just be gentle.” Andy encouraged her as she reached to pet him again. 

“He feels funny!” she laughed. “Icky, you’re so cute!” she chirped. “Can I feed him?” 

“You and Eamon can both feed him.” Andy had a banana in the waistband of his pants, and he snorted when he reached for it. Yes, he had a banana in his pants. It struck him as funny, and he started to laugh.

“What’s so funny, Daddy?” Elyse asked him. 

He cleared his throat and stopped laughing. “It’s nothing, honey.” He peeled the banana and gave half to each of them. “Break it into little pieces and hold it in the palm of your hand, so he can take it.” 

The kids did as Andy instructed them, and they giggled as Icky ate the banana pieces from their hands. They were absolutely mesmerized by him, and he by them. 

Suddenly, Icky jumped into the air and flapped his wings, hovering in place. Magically an uncut gemstone appeared at Andy’s feet. Afterward, he resumed his position on Andy’s shoulder and nuzzled into his neck.

“That’s a nifty little trick you have there, Icky,” Andy laughed. “Eamon, since you don’t get to keep the egg and Icky, that gemstone is yours.” 

“No thanks, Daddy,” he said sadly. “I want to keep Icky.” 

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Andy knelt down to Eamon’s height. “I wish we could, believe me. But he’s going back home with people who can take care of him the right way. He won’t survive down here without proper care, and he’s a pretty big deal. Besides, Eamon, he won’t stay little forever. He’s going to grow into a big dragon, almost the size of this house.” Andy dried his tears. “I’ll tell you what. I’ll get Mama to take some pictures of Icky tonight, and you’ll always be able to see him when you want.” It wasn’t perfect, but it was all he could offer in the circumstances.

Eamon began to cry. “I want Icky, Daddy.” Oh, how he hated this.

“I know, sport, but we can’t.” Andy hugged him again and dried his tears.

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“I hate you!” Eamon screamed at him and ran from the garage. Elyse followed, saying nothing to Andy as she ran away. He sat back on his heels and buried his face in his hands, heartbroken.

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He settled Icky into his makeshift bed for the night and left some banana chunks on the floor for him to nibble on, turned and closed the garage door for the night. Andy fought back tears as he walked from the yard to the house. When he opened the door, he heard the cries of two sorrowful children who desperately wanted that little dragon. Danae and Trixie were both helping to calm them down. Andy walked to the bedroom and flopped on the bed, defeated.

An hour later, the crying and whining was finished. Danae crept into the bedroom, at a loss with the kids, and fighting tears. She didn’t want the whelp to go anywhere, either. Seeing Andy on the bed asleep, she tiptoed around the room to keep quiet. When she got into bed beside him, she rolled over to kiss him. 

“Goodnight, my Andy,” she whispered. When she touched him, she felt his shoulders heave. “What’s wrong?”

“Eamon… Lysie… they both despise me,” he sniffled. 

“No they don’t,” she reassured him. “They’re just upset about the dragon. They’ll get over it.” 

“Eamon gave me the most hateful look I’ve ever seen on a child. I will never forget it.” 

Danae got out from under the covers and wrapped around him. “Babe, he’s just a little boy. He doesn’t really know what he’s saying.” 

Andy shook his head. “Yes, he does. That look, Danae, it broke my heart. I love that child, my firstborn son, and he hates me.” 

“What did he do when you said I didn’t want Icky here?” 

“You want him here, baby.” 

“But I didn’t at first. You must have said something to him. He was inconsolable.” 

“I didn’t tell him, Danae. I took this burden. It’s all on me.” He sighed. 

“Why did you do that?” 

“Because it’s my fault that Icky is going away. Because I’m the one who arranged it. Because I remembered how it broke you when Elyse hated you. I couldn’t let you endure that again.” 

“Oh Andy, you should have told them it was me.” She snuggled close to him. “You shouldn’t suffer this alone.” 

“What purpose would that serve? Getting them angry with both of us? No, let it fall on me. I’ll get over it.” 

“You don’t have to play the martyr, Andy. Let me tell Eamon I didn’t want Icky here.” 

“Danae, if you do that, I’m cutting you off for a month.”

She laughed. “You couldn’t go that long.” 

“Don’t try me, Danae. I went years before I met you. A month is nothing.” 

She read his expression. “My goodness, Andy. You’re not joking.”

“I never joke about loving you. But you don’t want to try me on this, because I am dead serious.”

She was tempted to play with him because she didn’t want him to be the sole target of the kids’ wrath. At the same time, she couldn’t chance it, either. “If you really mean it, I will leave it alone.” 

“You know, at first I wanted to keep him. But he’s brought nothing but heartache to our family. Look what has happened. You and I have been at each other’s throats. The kids resent me. For what? A flying rat. You were right, Danae.”

“Oh Andy,” she sighed. “I’m sorry for my role in this mess. I knew how excited you were and I was awful. Tomorrow he’ll be gone and it’s my fault. But you… you let the children believe it was all you. I don’t deserve you, Andy, not one bit.” She kissed his shoulder again, hot tears dripped onto his shirt. 

“Baby, there’s no reason to cry. Once it’s out of our lives, we can pretend it never happened.” 

“You know there’s no going back. Icky will be a fond memory for all of us.” 

“Not for me,” he said sadly. “Icky has brought me nothing but grief. I can’t wait until he’s gone.” 

Danae felt guilty. “What can I do to make this better for you, Andy? Tell me, and I’ll do it.” 

He shook his head. “There isn’t anything. I don’t want you to feel this, to suffer it, because it feels awful.” He turned to face her. “Tomorrow morning, I will meet with Nigel and hand Icky over to him. I was assured he won’t be harmed. It was my condition, that they don’t harm him. I just wish the kids could understand what he truly means, but they’re too young to grasp it. They’re too far removed from the Valley to know.” 

“Why don’t we take the kids to Dragon Valley someday, when they’re old enough to appreciate it? You can take them to the science facility and show them where Icky lives. Maybe the Renaissance Faire will be in town. They’d love it there, Andy.” 

“That’s a few years down the road, baby. That does nothing to calm the hurt of right now. It might actually open old wounds that are long healed if we do go. I don’t see an upside to it.” 

She sighed. “Maybe you’re right. Now I understand why Daddy was so critical of the Valley. He said it sucked the life out of people.”

Andy nodded. “I get that. I never saw it until we brought that egg home, and now I see the destruction.”

She sniffled. “This is all my fault, babe. I’m so sorry.”

“I will get over it, Danae. I’m an adult. I won’t treat the kids any differently than I always have. I will still love them unconditionally. I will still do fun things with them as long as they want to.” He sighed deeply. “I just want this to be over, and for life to return to normal.”

“Me too,” Danae agreed. “Andy, I love you.” 

“I love you too, precious. But I’m too sad for time together. Please forgive me.” 

“What if I just snuggle with you?”

“Now that I’d love, honey.” 

They both snuggled under the covers together, holding one another until sleep overtook them.


When Andy awakened the next morning and shuffled to the kitchen for his morning coffee, there was no happy greeting from the children. Eamon refused to look at him, and Elyse never acknowledged that he was there. He prepared his coffee and sat in front of the television, checking scores from the previous evening’s games. The next evening, he would leave for an away game in Moonlight Falls, but his heart wasn’t in it.

Danae was unusually quiet that morning, but tended to the kids before school. It was almost time for the bus, and she had their lunches packed and backpacks ready for them. 

“Come on kids, kiss your daddy before you leave,” she told them. But Eamon walked right past Andy. Elyse walked to him and gave him a perfunctory kiss on the cheek, but no words were exchanged. 

“Have a good day at school, guys,” Andy said to them, but it went unanswered. He sighed deeply and got up from the sofa. “I need to shower before work, Nae. You know where I’ll be.” 

Danae wasn’t happy. On their way to the gate, she spun Eamon around and scowled at him. “Why are you mad at Daddy, Eamon?”

One word left his lips. “Icky.” 

“We’re going to have a little talk about this when you two get home from school today. Do you understand me?” Danae was firm. 

“Yes, Mama,” Eamon sighed. 

“Lysie?” Danae said.

“Yes, Mama,” she replied. 

She hugged them both and gave them kisses. “You two have no reason to be sad. I love you both. Have a good day.” She watched as they boarded the school bus, and the driver waved. 

Andy was already dressed and ready for work when she went back inside. He was at the mirror in the bathroom adjusting his tie when she walked up behind him and wrapped her arms around him.

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“I’m going to make this right with the kids, Andy. You will not leave on a trip with them angry at you. I promise.” She kissed his shoulder, and he rested his hands on the vanity.

“Remember my promise, Danae. A whole month. I mean it.” 

“I won’t give your secret away. But this has to stop.” 

“Leave it, Danae. They will outgrow it. And if they don’t, I’ll learn to deal with it.” He turned around in her arms and kissed her fingers. 

“But babe, I have to fix this. It’s my fault.”

“Danae, please drop it. I need to take Icky to work. Do you want to say goodbye?” 

She nodded. “I do.” 

He took her hand and together they walked to the garage, where Icky waited for his breakfast and a cuddle or two. Andy whistled and he flew up to his shoulder and snuggled against his neck. Danae choked up with tears. 

“He really loves you, Andy.” 

“He’s imprinted on me. It isn’t really love in the traditional sense. He thinks I’m his mother.” He peeled the banana he carried in his hand, broke it into pieces and fed it to him. “Here,” he handed Danae the last little piece. “You feed him this. Just hold it in your palm, and he’ll take it from you.” 

She placed the last morsel of food in her hand, and Icky jumped to her shoulder. Gently, he took the banana from her and licked her face. “He really is friendly. You weren’t joking when you said he was.” 

“I have to go, baby.” He held his arm for Icky to perch on, and the whelp jumped to him. Andy kissed her. “I love you, my precious. Don’t be too hard on the kids. They’re just being kids.” 

She wiped a tear from her eyes. “I love you, Andy. And I’m so sorry about all of this.” She patted Icky on the head one last time and he cooed at her, making the same funny noise. 

“I’ll see you tonight, my sweet.” He settled Icky into the back of his car and pulled out of the driveway, through the gate and waved as he drove away.

*****

When Andy got to work, Aaron and Kirby were waiting for him outside his office. 

“What?” Andy asked, suddenly nervous.

“Nothing. We just wanted to see the whelp one last time before Nigel brings him back to Dragon Valley,” Kirby said. 

Andy was visibly relieved. “The kids named him Icky. Which reminds me, they both hate me now. I wish Danae would have decided she liked him before I called Nigel yesterday morning because now she wants to keep him, too.” 

Aaron chuckled. “Icky, eh? Where did they get that name?” 

“I guess the shell it hatched from stunk up his room, so Eamon named it Icky. Danae said it was pretty disgusting.” 

“When is Nigel due?” Kirby asked.

“Anytime, I guess. I am assuming he’s on schedule since I haven’t heard otherwise.”

Aaron patted Icky one last time and started walking toward his office. “I have much to do before practice tonight, so please excuse me. It was nice to meet you, Icky.” 

“See ya later, Aaron,” Andy called as he left. 

“Come get me when Nigel arrives,” Kirby said. “I’ll be in my office.” Andy nodded.

He got the whelp settled onto his shoulder and went about his business, preparing for the trip to Moonlight Falls when a knock sounded on his door. 

“Come in,” he called.

“Mr. Murphy?” Nigel asked. 

“Yes. You must be Nigel.” He resembled everyone else from Dragon Valley: Dark-skinned, black-haired, short and pudgy. “I’m Andy, and this is Icky.”

Nigel stared at the whelp sitting on Andy’s shoulder. “He is magnificent.”

“My children fell in love with him last night. My son named him Icky. Telling that little boy I was taking his baby dragon away was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.” The memory of it grieved him.

“You’re doing the right thing by him, Andy. The facility is equipped to care for him properly.”

Andy nodded. “He is very fond of bananas. Take good care of him, Nigel. My entire family is angry with me for arranging this. Please make it worth my sacrifice.” 

“Your whelp is in good hands, Andy.”

“I’ll take you to meet with Kirby. He is awaiting your arrival.” Andy set Icky on his desk and led Nigel down the long corridor to Kirby’s office. He gently rapped on the door.

“Come in,” he called.

“Hey Kirby,” Andy said. “This is Nigel from Dragon Valley. Nigel, your benefactor, my boss, and owner of the Isla Paradiso Sharks, Kirby Kemp.” 

“I’m pleased to meet you, Mr. Kemp, and so very thankful for this opportunity. The historical significance of this is profound, and we are grateful.” 

“It was my pleasure. Andy and his sweet family are special to me. It was no problem at all.” Kirby stood to shake his hand. “I trust your flight was comfortable?” 

“Extremely, Mr. Kemp. I’ve never flown on a private jet before. It was exquisite.” 

“Well, let’s get ol’ Icky ready for his trip home. I have a carrier for him, which you can keep.” Andy turned to Kirby. “Thank you again for this. It means so much to me to know he will be safe, and that he will survive.” 

“You know how I feel, Andy. By the way, I’ll need you to stop by around 1:00 pm if that’s okay?” Andy nodded and shook Kirby’s hand and led Nigel back to his office.

“Come on, Ick,” Andy said, holding his arm for him to perch upon. “Time to go home.” Andy had placed towels inside the carrier he had in the box back at the house. The scent would be familiar and would help reduce stress he‘d likely suffer on the trip. Gently, he placed Icky into the carrier and secured the door. “I’ll carry him to the limousine, Nigel.”

The two men walked outside, and Andy placed the carrier in the back seat. “Let me know when you get him settled. As hard as I tried to avoid it, I got attached to him. I care about his well being, and I appreciate what you’re doing.” 

“I will keep you updated, Andy. Thank you again for allowing my archaeological foundation this opportunity. He will provide much knowledge, much understanding, in the event the other eggs begin to hatch. The villagers of Dragon Valley are forever in your debt.” 

Andy simply nodded, choked with emotion. He shook Nigel’s hand and watched as they drove away.

*****

At the one o’clock meeting with Kirby, he surprised Andy with a brand new car as a congratulatory bonus. The team clinched another division title and was heading into the playoffs. The car was a cherry red, fully equipped Aston Martin Vanquish, and it was as beautiful a piece of machinery as Andy had ever seen. He nearly passed out when Kirby handed him the keys. 

“Kirby, I-I don’t know what to say,” Andy stuttered. “This must have cost a bundle.” 

“Well, revenue on the team has exceeded over ten times what it was before you came on board and worked your management magic. This was the least I could do. Enjoy it, Andy. You deserve it.” 

“Thank you, Kirby.” He removed the keys for the old car from his keychain and left them on Kirby’s desk. 

His drive from work was lonely, knowing what awaited him when he got home. Danae was helping Eamon with his homework when his car pulled into the driveway. She hadn’t talked to them yet, though she knew she needed to do it, and soon. Andy walked through the front door not expecting a warm welcome, and he was not disappointed. 

“Hi baby,” he greeted Danae and walked into the bedroom. He reappeared several minutes later in his swimsuit. “I’m going to go for a swim. I need to decompress, and I don’t feel like running.” 

“Okay, Andy,” she said. 

Danae saw the conflict on Elyse’s face. On the one hand, she really wanted to swim with her dad. On the other hand, she was still angry with him for taking Icky away. 

“What’s on your mind, Lysie?” Danae asked her.

She shook her head. “Nothing, Mama.” 

“Okay you two, I need your attention. Eamon, pencil down, please.” She sat both of them down in front of her. “I need to know something from you two.” She thought about how she was going to ask and chose her words carefully. “Do you love your daddy, Eamon?”

Eamon squirmed in his seat, not wanting to answer the question. Instead of words, he mumbled, trying to stall her, hoping to not answer. 

“I didn’t hear you, Eamon. Do you love your daddy, because I can tell you that man outside in the pool loves you with his whole heart and soul, little boy.” 

Eamon sniffled. “I’m mad at him, Mama.” 

“Why did you say you hate him? You broke his heart.” Danae noticed Elyse wipe a tear away and heard her sniffle.

“He took my dragon away from me, Mama.”

“I see. So you loved Icky?” 

“Yes,” he said sadly. “I didn’t want him to take Icky.” 

“Do you love Icky more than your Daddy, Eamon?” 

“No, Mama.” 

“I see. So, do you think you could forgive your daddy, honey?”

Eamon nodded his head. “I still want Icky back.” 

Danae embraced him. “Sweetie, I know you don’t understand why Icky had to go away, but someday you will. Daddy loved Icky, too, and he wanted what was best for him, even if it meant giving him up.”

“Why couldn’t Daddy take care of him?” Eamon’s soft cries tore at her heart.

“Honey, Icky is a dragon, and this isn’t his home. He needs care we can’t give him here. Icky is the only living dragon in the whole world, Eamon. He is a pretty important little dude.”

Elyse spoke up. “Really, Mama? He’s the only one?” 

“Really, sweet pea. Everyone thought dragons died out years ago and would never come back. So when Icky hatched, he made history. You and Eamon are part of history, just like Daddy is, too.”

“That’s cool, Mama,” Elyse said.

“Did you take pictures of Icky last night, Mama? Daddy said you would,” Eamon asked. This was the first Danae had heard it.

“Oh honey, Daddy never told me you wanted pictures of him.” As soon as she said it, she wished she hadn’t. 

Eamon sat and his face contorted, ready to cry. “He lied to me.” 

“Oh no, Eamon, this is my fault! Sweetie pie, I should have known to take pictures of him without you even asking. I’m so sorry.”  She threw Andy under the bus and didn’t think twice about it. Not only did she feel like a terrible mother, but now she felt like the world’s worst wife, too. 

Eamon’s sobs echoed through the house. “Daddy lied to me!” 

“No no, sweetie, he didn’t lie to you.” She hugged Eamon into her embrace. “Oh Eamon, I’m so sorry I messed this up for you.” Danae got emotional with their son sobbing in her arms. Elyse didn’t know what to think, because her father had never lied before. She didn’t want to believe it.

“Lysie, sweet pea, why don’t you go swimming with your dad? I know you want to,” Danae suggested as she rocked Eamon in her arms. 

She thought a moment, but shook her head. “I don’t feel like it.”

“Then go play for a while, Lysie. I’ll talk to you later.”

Elyse sighed, not really wanting to leave her brother. They were in this together, unified with the same desire. But she realized Icky was gone forever, and her daddy was to blame. To a seven-year-old, it was almost unforgivable. 

“Do I have to, Mama?”

“Please, sweet pea, like a good girl.”

“Okay,” she finally agreed. 

With Elyse occupied, she could concentrate on Eamon. And she was nearly ready to confess everything to him, consequences be damned. The guilt of what she had done to Andy and the kids was almost unbearable. 

Just as she was about to confess, Andy walked through the back door. 

“I need to go pack for my trip tomorrow night. I leave from work, so morning is it,” he announced. Danae looked at him, wearing so much guilt on her face she couldn’t hide it. “One month, Danae. Keep it close,” he reminded her.

Eamon was still sobbing in her arms, and she wept with him, ashamed of herself. 

Trixie returned from the library and heard the crying. In her bag, she had a book she hoped might solve the problem with Icky. She approached Danae and touched her shoulder. 

“Nae, you look like you could use a break. Why don’t you and Andy go for dinner somewhere tonight, and I’ll take the kids.”

“Are you sure, Trix? The kids’ emotions are running high. It won’t be easy with Eamon crying and carrying on like this.” 

“I’m sure. Go, rest together and have some fun before his trip. We’ll be fine here. I promise.” 

Danae hugged Trixie and thanked her before she walked back to their bedroom to clean up.  “Trixie offered to take the kids tonight so we could be together,” she announced before she sat down on the bed.

 “Did you spill the beans?” He asked quietly.

She shook her head. “No, but I made it worse.”

“How could it possibly get worse?”

“Eamon asked me if I took pictures of Icky last night, and I threw you under the bus. It was a mistake, I swear! As soon as I said it, I knew I flubbed it.”

“It’s okay, Danae. You know, I’m not supposed to be their friend. I’m their father, and sometimes I have to make difficult decisions. Let it fall on me. But I decided I will not force my love on them. If they don’t want to be around me, I will comply. Maybe they will miss me on their own and come around.”

Danae wept bitterly. “Babe, I’m so sorry. This is so unfair to you. It’s killing me.” 

“Let’s just go out for dinner since Trix has the kids and simply relax, forget about the whelp, and plan for the future. Let’s enjoy each other before I have to go away, honey. I need some time to unwind.” 

Danae washed her face. “Where are we going?”

“That depends. Where would you like to go? Kirby’s, or that little Spanish place by the resort?” 

“I don’t deserve to go to Kirby’s place, babe.”

Andy sat on the bed and pulled her to him.

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“Danae, listen to me. This is not your fault. I could have defied you and kept Icky here, despite what you wanted. Realistically, he wasn’t going to stay a baby forever. Those dragons get huge, bigger than this house. What would we do with him then? It was much better this way. If the kids can’t deal with it, that’s not on you, my sweet.”

“But—”

“No buts, baby. Get dressed up all pretty in something that will knock my socks off, and we’ll go to Kirby’s tonight. And then when we come home, we’ll spend the night loving each other before I have to go away. Plan?” 

Danae smiled. “Plan.”

She put her hair up in a different style, dressed in a pretty peach and red ombre dress, slipped into some pumps that matched, and the pearl necklace Andy bought for her at El Sabor de la Isla. Andy dressed in a pair of tan dress slacks, a tan vest with a tie and boots. They both looked like a million dollars, and Trixie noticed. 

“Danae, that dress is gorgeous. And Andy, you look like a movie star.” 

“Thank you, Trix. And thank you for taking care of the kids for us tonight,” Danae replied. 

“As always, my pleasure.” She motioned Andy to her and whispered. “Andy, I found an old book at the library today about the Dragon Valley dragons. I don’t know how much is lore or truth, but I thought it might be helpful with the Icky situation. Would it be okay with you for me to read it with them?”

“It couldn’t make things worse, Trix. You have my blessing. And thank you.” Andy forced a smile. “Are you ready, my precious?

Danae nodded. “We shouldn’t be very long, Trix. A few hours or so.”

“Take your time. You deserve it.” 

They walked to Andy’s brand new car, and he opened the door for her, helped her in, and walked around to the other side. She settled into the soft leather seat and fastened the belt around her. 

“How do you like the car, baby?” 

“It’s beautiful. When did you get this?” 

“Kirby surprised me with it earlier today and spared no expense with it. He said it was a bonus for the team’s success. It’s an Aston Martin.” 

“I love it, Andy. Congratulations!”

He drove the familiar streets to Kirby’s place and valet parked the car. Together, they walked in, and the Maitre D’ recognized him immediately. 

“Mr. and Mrs. Murphy, such a pleasure to see you. This way, please.” Andy had a permanent reservation, an exclusive table only for Danae and him. 

They were seated immediately. Andy held the chair for her as she sat, and he took his place at her right side. Though he had seen her dress before, he was still amazed by her. 

“Danae, how is it you get more beautiful every time I see you?” 

“Oh Andy, you’re just being nice.” She blushed as he took her hand to kiss it. 

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“Baby, I am never dishonest with you. So believe me when I say I love you more now than I did when I married you.”

“How can you say that Andy, when I have messed everything up?” 

“Nae, Icky could have never stayed as long as we wanted him to stay. He will grow into a big dragon. Even though he is friendly now, who knows what he would be like when he’s the size of a car? Or our house? And what would we feed him when he’s that big? Trixie found a book on the dragons, and she asked my permission to read it to them. I told her it couldn’t hurt. Maybe this will help them realize what Icky really is.” 

“I hope the book helps, and the kids realize the truth,” Danae replied.

“Me too, my sweet.” He stared into her eyes. “Oh Danae, I almost don’t want to stick around for dinner.”

“I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry. We will have plenty of time.” 

Andy nodded. “As you wish, my precious.” 

After they ordered, he stood and took her hand. “Dance with me?” 

“I’d love to,” she answered. Since the remodel of the restaurant, there wasn’t as much room to dance, so they just stayed by their table and swayed to the music. 

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“You are the picture of perfection, my love,” Andy purred at her as they took their seats again. “I love how you still wear that pearl necklace. I should get you one with a big diamond on it.”

She shook her head. “No, Andy. I love this necklace. You gave it to me while we were on vacation here.”

He breathed in her vanilla perfume. “You are still my hopeless romantic.” 

“I try. Sometimes I fail miserably, but I try.” 

“When I get home from Moonlight Falls, let’s see if we can find a puppy for the kids. I know it’s not Icky, but maybe it would help a little.” 

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“Babe, it’s a great idea, and you should be the one to bring it home.” 

“I wonder how Trixie is doing with the kids and the book,” Andy said as the waiter brought their meals. 

*****

Back at the house…

Trixie was finished feeding the kids and put Emmitt to bed. She gathered the oldest two and sat them down. 

“I have a special book I’d like to read with you about dragons like Icky. Would you like to hear about them?”

Eamon’s eyes widened. “Yes please!” he said excitedly.

“How about you, Lysie?” Trixie asked.

“Yes please!” she squealed. 

Trixie sat with them and read to them. They listened with great interest until she got to a section that explained that dragons of all colors had great potential to be dangerous. 

“Even green dragons, Trixie?” Eamon asked timidly.

“That’s what it says, twerp,” she nodded. She tousled his hair. 

“What does it say they can do?” 

“Well, all dragons need to eat. And this says they eat animals like cows, sheep, cats, dogs, even horses. I’d imagine they could eat people, too if they got hungry enough.” She patted his head. “You have to remember, sweetie pie, dragons are wild animals. According to this book, no one has ever tamed one.” Trixie noticed the tears in his eyes as she spoke. “It looks like your daddy did the right thing, huh?”

Elyse sniffled. “I need to tell Daddy I’m sorry.” 

Eamon nodded. “Me too.” 

Trixie hugged them both. “That is a great idea, and I know for a fact he would love that.” She looked at her watch. “However, you two have school in the morning, and you need to get to bed. I’ll have him come tuck you in when he and your mama get home. Okay?” 

Both children nodded. “Thank you for reading that book to us,” Eamon said. “I don’t want a pet dragon anymore.” 

Trixie chuckled. “Me neither, twerp.” She kissed both of them and tucked them in. 

*****

Danae and Andy returned home about an hour after the kids went to sleep, and quietly stepped into the house. Trixie was awake and downstairs watching television, and she was genuinely happy to see them.

“I have some good news for you, Andy,” she said. “The kids understand about the dragons, and they told me they are ready to apologize.” 

“Trixie, I could kiss you,” he replied, relief in his voice. 

“I told them you would tuck them in when you got home. They both wanted to see you.” 

Danae kissed his cheek. “I’m going to get ready for bed. Don’t be too long, babe.” 

Andy walked to Eamon’s bedroom and watched him sleep for a moment before kissing his forehead. His eyes opened and he smiled when he saw Andy standing there.

“Hi Daddy!” he whispered. “I’m sorry I said I hate you. I don’t want Icky to eat us.” 

Andy chuckled and knelt beside his bed. “It’s okay, son. Icky is a long way from here now, and we’re safe. Eamon, I love you very much.” 

Eamon smiled. “I love you, Daddy. I’ll miss you when you go away tomorrow.” 

“I will definitely miss you, too.” He kissed the boy’s cheek. “Let me tuck you in, snug as a bug in a rug!” 

Eamon wrapped his arms around Andy’s neck. “Goodnight, Daddy.” 

“Goodnight, Eamon. I’ll see you in the morning.” Andy blew him one more kiss and left his bedroom. 

He tiptoed into Elyse’s room and watched her sleep. He loved that little girl more than could comprehend like he did his boys. But Elyse was his baby girl, his firstborn, and they had a special bond. He walked to her bed and knelt beside it, and kissed her forehead. 

“Hi Daddy,” she smiled when she saw him. “I have something I want to tell you.” 

“What’s that, sweet pea?” 

“I’m sorry. I will never love Icky as much as I love you. Do you love me, Daddy?” 

“Oh sweetheart, of course, I love you. You kids are my life.” He hugged her close, tears in his eyes. “You will always be my special little girl, Lysie. Never forget it.” 

“Tuck me in?” she asked. 

“As you wish, my little princess.” He kissed her forehead again. “I’ll see you in the morning. Sweet dreams, Lysie.” 

“Night night, Daddy.” 

Andy walked to their bedroom, happy for the first time since Icky made his first appearance in their lives. Danae was waiting for him. 

“You look happy, babe,” she purred at him. 

“I am,” he said, smiling ear to ear. “I have Trixie to thank for giving my children back to me.”

Danae gave him her best ‘come hither’ look. “I’m waiting for you, Andy. Come love me.” 

“You don’t have to ask me twice, baby. Make my sendoff memorable.” 

“Oh, you bet I will.”

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Up Next: Chapter Twenty Eight Part One, Generation Five


Pose Credits For This Chapter:

Comfort Poses, Lost Children, Family Fight, First Day of School, Child Bully Poses, and Wedding Poses, by Bee at Poses By Bee and Mod The Sims.
Zutara2 – Broken by Skylar Arden at Skylar’s Sanctuary.
Kid’s Stuff by k2m1too at Mod The Sims.
Embrace, and Next To You by Spladoum at Mod The Sims.
Romantic Dinner 1 and Romantic Dinner 2 by Zhippidy at Zhippidy’s Custom Poses.
Warm Hugs by Sea at Sims-Modeli

Featured CC:

Seafood Restaurant (Kirby’s place) by Aya20 at Mod The Sims

G5 Chapter Twenty Six – The Stowaway

“Babe, how much longer are you going to snooze your alarm? It’s almost nine.” Danae rolled over and tapped Andy on the shoulder. 

“Aw man,” he groaned. “I’m up.” He got right into the shower, almost an hour later than he wanted to be. It meant grabbing breakfast at the office, or on the way. 

“I’m sorry, Andy. I overslept, too. I’m glad Trixie is here.” She wrapped up in a robe and walked into the living room. Elyse was on the sofa with her blanket watching television. Emmitt was playing in her bedroom inside the toy box. Both children were fed and happy. 

“How are you feeling Lysie?” Danae asked her. She felt her forehead, and it was cool.

“I’m feeling better, Mama. Is Daddy still home?”

“Yes, sweet pea. He’s in the shower, but he’s running late. He will have time for a hug and a kiss, and he needs to go to work.” She poured a cup of coffee as Trixie walked into the house from the yard. 

“Hi Danae,” she greeted her. “How was your trip?” 

“Fantastic! Thanks for covering me this morning.” 

“You’re welcome. I assume Eamon was to go to school this morning, since you didn’t let me know otherwise?” 

“Yes, the principal issue is resolved. How long has Lysie’s fever been broken?” 

“Since Saturday. She probably could have gone to school today, but one more day won’t hurt. Besides, she really missed you.” Danae smiled. Elyse had come a long way from the days of ‘I hate you.’

Andy walked out of the bedroom, dressed to impress and ready for work. “I don’t even have time for coffee, my sweet. I have to run.” Elyse stood and wrapped herself around his waist. “Good morning, sweet pea,” he said as he patted her head. “Daddy’s late for work, honey.” He picked her up and hugged her. “I’ll see you when I get home, okay?”

Elyse nodded. “I can’t wait, Daddy.” 

“Me too, sweet pea.” He walked to Danae and kissed her. “I’ll see you tonight, baby. I love you.” 

“I love you too, Andy. Have a great day.” 

Trixie and Danae sat at the table with a cup of coffee. “You’re free to go if you’d like. And if not, you’re welcome to stay. We can talk about you moving in and working here today, if you are open to the idea. The pay will be worth your while.”

“I would love to,” Trixie quipped. “I’m here all the time anyway, so I might as well make it official, right?” 

“Exactly!” Danae replied. “Your room is already occupied, so just make yourself at home. You may come and go as you please, until we need you. I don’t anticipate it will be more often than we do now. The kids adore you, and so do Andy and I. Welcome to the family.” Danae hugged her. 

“I just need to let my roommate know I’ll be moving out. I never saw him anyway.” 

Danae choked on her coffee. “Him? Trix, are you in a relationship?” 

“Not really. Well, I am. He’s not.” She rolled her eyes. “I’m done with it.” 

“I’m sorry. Been there, done that,” Danae said with sympathy. 

Trixie laughed. “I can’t imagine you with anyone else but Andy. You’re made for each other.” 

She smiled. “Thanks, Trix. I can’t anymore, either. He and I have been together for so long now that I can’t remember life without him. Believe me, it wasn’t that good before him.” 

“That’s not what I hear,” Trixie countered. “Andy tells me you were on the path to stardom and fame.” 

Danae chuckled. “I have the fame now and wish I didn’t. I can’t let myself think about what could have been. I’m content right where I am.” 

“Contentment is good,” Trixie agreed. “So few people ever really find it. Seems no one is ever satisfied with their lives anymore. You’re refreshing, Nae.” 

“Aww! Thank you!” She stood and took her coffee cup to the kitchen. “Lysie, why don’t you rest, sweet pea? You’re technically home sick from school.” 

“But Mama,” she protested. “I feel okay.” 

“Maybe you didn’t hear me. Lysie, please go lay down awhile so I can get some housework done.” 

She was about to protest but thought the better of it. “Yes, ma’am,” Elyse said politely.

“If it’s okay with you, I’m going to head back to the apartment and grab some of my things,” Trixie said. “I shouldn’t be very long.” 

“Take your time,” Danae replied.

She had gotten most of the house cleaned and laundry started when Trixie returned from her apartment with a few bags of clothing and some personal things. 

“Well, it’s done. I’m done,” Trixie said, a little downhearted. “The sad thing is, he probably won’t notice I’m gone until the rent is due, or he wants something.” 

Danae looked at Trixie oddly. “Wants something?” 

She sighed. “Yes, the wonder of having a friend with benefits. That’s the only part I’ll miss.” 

Danae laughed. “I get that.” 

Elyse walked from her bedroom with Emmitt’s hand in hers. “Mama, we’re hungry.” 

Danae knelt down to their level. “What would you like for lunch, sweet peas?” 

“Grilled cheese, please?” Elyse asked politely. Emmitt nodded his agreement.

“Alrighty. Grilled cheese it is.” Danae began preparing lunch for the kids.

“I’m going to go get settled upstairs, Nae,” Trixie said. “I won’t be long, and if you need help with dinner, let me know.” Danae simply nodded.

*****

Andy returned home from work at his usual time and his family was happy to see him. Eamon and Elyse ran to him for hugs and kisses, and Emmitt squealed his delight. 

“Ooh, I missed you guys!” Andy said, his children wrapped around him. “We brought presents home for all of you from Dragon Valley. Did you know that’s where Daddy was born?” 

“Where is Dragon Valley?” Eamon asked. 

“It’s way north of here, about eight hours by airplane.” He opened a map on his phone and showed the kids where it was, and they marveled. 

“Wow, Daddy, that’s a long way!” Elyse remarked. “You were born there? That’s cool!” 

Andy looked at Danae. “Are we ready to give the kids their presents?” 

Danae nodded. “You are going to love this stuff.” 

Andy went to the bedroom and brought out the bags with the things they had for the kids while Danae gathered them together.

“Emmitt, this is for you, son,” Andy handed him a teddy bear they had gotten at the Renaissance Faire, and he squealed and hugged it to his face. 

“Fanks!” he took the bear by its arm and ran around the living room with it. Trixie, who was on her way down the stairs, chuckled to see him so excited. “Look!” Emmitt squealed, holding the bear for Trix to see it.

“How cute!” she told him. “What a nice bear.” 

Andy took a small package out for Elyse and held it to her. She carefully unwrapped it and found a music box with a unicorn inside it. Her eyes got huge as she wound it and watched the unicorn dance while the music played. 

“Daddy! This is awesome! Thank you!” She hopped up and kissed Andy’s cheek, and then ran to Danae. “Thank you, Mama!”

“You’re welcome, baby girl,” Danae hugged her. 

“Last but not least, Eamon,” Andy was beaming inside. “Son, I had so many of these when I was your age, so it’s only fitting you should have one, too.” Andy handed him the package that Danae had wrapped around the egg. He opened it and looked at it oddly.

“What is it, Daddy?” 

“It’s a dragon egg, sport. These things are all over the village, so I brought one home for you. It will be something none of your friends have.” 

His eyes got big when Andy said ‘dragon.’ “For reals, Daddy? A real dragon egg?” 

“Well, it’s a fossil. Whatever was inside is long gone. I used to collect them.”

“This is so cool, Daddy! Thank you!” Eamon hugged him. “Wow!”

“Do you like it?” Andy asked.

“I love it!” Eamon ran and put it on his dresser in the bedroom and sat watching it intently.

The kids dispersed, happy with their goodies and Danae returned to making dinner. Andy walked up behind her and kissed her neck. “I missed you today,” he purred into her ear.

“I missed you, too.” She reached up to his cheek and held his head near hers. He nuzzled into her neck. “You’re going to start something you’ll need to finish later,” she whispered to him.

“I can’t wait,” he whispered back. He kissed her ears and neck, and she sighed. 

“Stop, we have eyes watching us,” she chuckled, pointing at Elyse. “How are you feeling now, Lysie?”

“Okay.”

“Why don’t you go play with Eamon, sweet pea? Dinner is still an hour away.” 

“No, Mama, I’m okay here.” 

“I don’t think that was a suggestion, Lysie. Go play,” Andy told her. 

“Yes, sir,” she said almost sarcastically and went to Eamon’s bedroom.

“I’ll be outside at the pool if you need me,” Trixie said, not wanting to be a third wheel.

Danae nodded as she turned around in Andy’s embrace, and they kissed. “I can’t wait for dessert,” he growled. 

*****

After dinner, Andy, Danae, and Trixie sat by the pool sharing a glass of wine together. It would be their first night with her on the payroll, though she was more a friend than an employee. Andy swirled the wine in his glass and took a sip.

“Baby, this stuff is just the best,” he said. “Thank you for keeping it on hand for me. Nothing is more relaxing than sitting out here at the end of the day with you, my sweet.” 

“Always my pleasure. Do you like sweet or dry wine, Trix?” Danae asked.

“I tend to like wine a bit on the dry side. This is very good.” 

“The garden has a bunch of rare grapes, almost like our own vineyard. We should set up the nectar making machine my Nana brought home from France. We could make our own,” Danae suggested.

“That’s a great idea, my sweet,” Andy agreed. “The garden has plenty of fruits. I bet I could even recreate the semi-sweet one you like.” 

“I love that idea.” They took each other’s hands and sat, enjoying the evening. 

“Well, I’m going to go inside to bed.” Trixie felt like she was intruding into their private time. She knew they had a special night planned, and she didn’t want to impose. 

“You don’t need to go if you don’t want to, Trix. We don’t mean to make you uncomfortable,” Andy said.

“No, this is your house. You don’t need to tiptoe around me, or walk on eggshells.” Trixie got up. “Have a good night, you two.” 

Danae smiled. “Goodnight, Trix. You can sleep in tomorrow morning. I’ll get the kids up for school.” Trixie nodded and waved as she disappeared inside the house.

She wasted no time with Andy, moving to his lounge chair and snuggling with him. “When is the season over, babe?” she asked, kissing his chin.

“Regular season is over in a few weeks, then it’s playoffs. We’re on target for another cup, baby. Aaron is a genius.” 

She kissed him passionately. “So are you.” 

“Believe me, I’m not that smart.” 

“That’s not what I meant,” she purred. “Let’s go to bed.” 

Without another word, they both stood and walked to their bedroom and closed the door behind them.


Danae woke early to wake the kids for school. She walked to Eamon’s bedroom and woke him first. “Eamon, honey, time to get up for school,” she sang to him. His bright, happy smile warmed her heart. “Get into the shower before I wake Lysie so she doesn’t take all your hot water.” 

“Okay, Mama,” he said sleepily. She walked into the bathroom with him and got the water the correct temperature, and she left him to shower alone. 

Next, she walked to Elyse’s room. The music box was sitting on her nightstand, and it was opened as though she fell asleep listening to the music. “Lysie, sweet pea. Time to get up for school.” 

She rolled over and coughed, trying to sneak one more day off. “Good morning, Mama,” she said, and coughed again.

“You’re going to school, Lysie. You’re not sick anymore,” Danae said firmly. 

Elyse sighed. “Okay.”

She made French toast for breakfast and had just put the pan into the oven to cook when Eamon came out from the bathroom, showered and dressed for school. “There’s my big boy!” Danae praised him. “Would you like some fresh orange juice, sweetheart?” 

He nodded his head. “Yes please!”

“Lysie, do you want breakfast before your shower honey?” 

“No, I want to take a shower first,” she said, yawning.

“It’s all yours,” Danae told her. “I’ll keep breakfast hot for you, sweet pea.” 

Eamon sat at the counter with a glass of juice, waiting patiently for breakfast. Trixie walked down the steps earlier than Danae expected her.

“Good morning little twerp,” she greeted Eamon. He giggled at her nickname for him. “How’s your egg this morning?” 

“It’s awesome,” Eamon squealed. “I can’t wait to tell my friends about it.” Danae served him two slices of French toast and he dug in like he hadn’t eaten in days. “Thank you, Mama,” he said between bites.

“You’re welcome baby boy.” 

The bus came at 8:00 am, and Danae walked them both to the gate, gave them kisses and sent them on their way. She walked back inside and Trixie was wiping the counters down, cleaning up the breakfast mess. 

“You don’t have to do that, Trix. I’ll get it.” Danae loaded the dishwasher and started it. “I’m going to make beds and clean the bathrooms. Go relax. I’ve got this. But first, I need to wake Andy for work.” 

Trixie grabbed a cup of coffee and walked outside onto the patio to enjoy the morning air. She never expected she would find a job this cushy, a live-in nanny for one of the best known, richest families on the isle. On this morning, she sat and counted her blessings, every one of them had the last name ‘Murphy.’

About two hours later, after Emmitt had gone down for his morning nap, Danae was sitting in the living room watching television. Trixie had gone to the library. It felt good to get back into a routine with the kids and house, she thought as she relaxed on the sofa. She heard an odd noise coming from Eamon’s bedroom and she got up to investigate. When she got to the door, a green flurry of wings flew at her, and she shrieked. Her screech woke Emmitt, and she scooped him out of his crib and ran from the house, screaming and afraid.

Emmitt cried as she set him down on the patio and dialed Andy’s cell phone. 

“Hel—” 

“ANDY!” she screamed. “There’s something in the house!”

“Calm down, honey. What kind of something?” Andy asked. 

“I don’t know, but it flies! It scared me half to death. Please see if you can come home. It’s locked in the house!”

“Baby, call a pest guy or something. It’s probably a fruit bat.” 

“If it’s out in the daylight, isn’t it sick? Please, Andy, come home! I don’t want this thing in our house!”

Andy grumbled on the other end of the phone. “I’m on my way. I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.  Just keep the door closed and stay outside.”

Out of sick curiosity, she opened the back door to listen and heard the creature flapping around, squawking and making a racket in the living room. Emmitt was playing in the sandbox when Andy pulled into the driveway.

Danae picked up Emmitt and ran to Andy’s side, trembling. 

“Where’s the bat? I have a net to see if I can trap it myself.” Andy walked toward the house bravely. 

“The living room,” she said with a quivering voice. “It’s been squawking since I closed it in.” 

Andy stopped in his tracks. “Squawking? Bats don’t squawk.” Cautiously he opened the living room door and his mouth fell open. On the floor sat a baby dragon, green in color, just as frightened as Danae. 

“What is it?” Danae asked, almost in tears.

“It’s… it’s a baby dragon.” Andy gently fell to his knees and approached it slowly. Cautiously, he held his arm out, and it flew to him, perching itself on his forearm. “I’ve never seen an egg hatch like that. How?”

“You said it was dead!” Danae cried. “Is it dangerous?”

“There are four different colors,” Andy explained. “Of the four, green whelps are the most docile by nature. This is phenomenal! These were supposed to be extinct decades ago.” 

“They can’t be that extinct, Andy, if this thing is here. What do we do with it?!”

“I’m not sure how to even care for it. Danae, do you know what this means for Dragon Valley?” 

She shook her head. “I’m not sure I want to know.” 

“The villagers could be in grave danger, especially if some of the eggs hatch red or black whelps. Tales of their destruction are legendary throughout the Valley.”

“Get it out of our house, Andy. We have kids! We can’t afford to take chances with a wild animal like this.” Danae held Emmitt to her, protecting him.

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The whelp rubbed against Andy’s face. “We can’t just set it free, Danae. It won’t survive. This is historic. Besides, I think it likes me.” 

“Please, babe, take it somewhere and let it die. We can’t have it in the house with Emmitt.” 

“Sweetie, this is history being made right in our own house. I won’t just kill it. But I will need to bring it back to Dragon Valley. It won’t survive here. It’s too warm.” 

Danae laughed nervously. “Good luck trying to get that thing through security on an airplane.” 

“I’ll get a carrier for a dog and bring it back that way. And while I’m there, I need to warn the village government. They don’t know what’s coming if these things start to hatch.” Andy could remember seeing at least ten different eggs scattered around the village. It could be the start of something terrible.

“When are you going? I don’t think Kirby will let you go back so soon, will he?” 

“I have some vacation time coming. I’ll just book the private jet so I don’t have to go through security. I will reimburse the team for my expenses. This can’t wait, baby. I have to go back with it.” 

“How long will you be gone?” 

“Just the day. For the time being, I’ll bring it to work with me and feed it. The green ones are pretty harmless, but it’s fragile. It needs to be cared for.” 

“Andy, that’s a long, expensive trip for this thing. Can we afford it?” 

“Let me do some research on it. Maybe it will survive down here. We can’t keep it, but I don’t want to see it die, either.” He petted the whelp and it snuggled against his face. “Yeah, it’s not going to die on my watch.” He kissed her. “I need to go back to work, sweetie. I’ll see you afterward.” 

“Be careful with that flying rat, Andy. I don’t trust it.” 

He laughed. “I love you, baby,” he said as he got into the car with the whelp and drove back to the stadium.

Trixie came back about an hour later with a few books, looking relaxed. “You missed out on some excitement while you were gone, Trix.”

“Oh? What happened?” 

“Andy brought that ‘fossilized’ dragon egg home from the Valley, the one he gave to Eamon. Well, the dang thing hatched! It was flying around the house like a kamikaze pilot, dive-bombing me. It scared the daylights out of me!”

“Dragon? You mean like a fire-breathing, flying reptile?” Trixie’s face went sheet white.

“Not exactly. It was actually kind of cute, but it’s still a wild animal. We can’t take any chances with Emmitt being so little. It took a liking to Andy.” 

Trixie snorted. “Everyone likes Andy, so that’s not a big surprise.” Danae laughed and agreed.

*****

The ride back to the office with the tiny green whelp was interesting. The little creature was extremely friendly and docile, almost as if it had imprinted on Andy. He was secretly hoping the little guy would survive the warm climate, and that Danae would allow him to keep it if it could live long enough. But he still had a problem. He had knowledge that could potentially save lives, and it would be careless to do nothing.

He walked to his office with the whelp perched on his shoulder. Aaron passed him in the hallway and did a double-take.

“Now I’ve seen everything,” he said, staring at the whelp.

“We had a stowaway from Dragon Valley, I guess. I brought home an egg I thought was dead. I had no reason to believe it would hatch. Aaron, I had dozens of these things when I was a kid. They were everywhere. Danae doesn’t want it at the house, so here it is with me.”

“Will it bite or burn my face off?” Aaron laughed. He reached to touch it and it licked his fingers.

“It shouldn’t do either. Green whelps are the meekest. Just don’t stick your fingers in its face on purpose. I need to find out some information on this thing. But I won’t just let it die. It doesn’t know it’s supposed to be extinct.” 

“Extinct? So much for that theory,” Aaron joked. “Good luck with your little friend.”

“Thanks, I might need it,” Andy replied. 

Andy sat at his desk and opened his web browser. Information on the dragons from Dragon Valley was scarce since they were long considered extinct. But a historian from the Valley had a website with limited data. The gentleman had a phone number, so Andy dialed it.

“Hello?” 

“Hello. My name is Andy Murphy, and I have some news on the Dragon Valley dragons that might interest you.”

“I’m listening,” the man said.

“My wife and I were in the Valley over the weekend and brought an egg back to Isla Paradiso with us. I am from Dragon Valley and had dozens of fossilized eggs when I was a kid. When we brought this one home, I expected it to just be a keepsake I gave to my son.” Andy took a breath. “But the egg hatched this morning and scared my wife half to death. Sir, I’ve never seen a living dragon until today. I believed, like everyone else, they were extinct.”

There was silence on the other end of the phone, and then a shuffling of papers and a slammed door. “You’re telling me you have a living whelpling?” 

“I am,” Andy confirmed. “A green one. My concern is the black and red whelps. I know what lore says about them, and I don’t want to see harm come to my hometown.” 

“This is disturbing,” the man said. “By the way, my name is Nigel. Where are you now, Andy?”

“I’m still in Isla Paradiso. I have the whelp in my office at work. I’m concerned with its survival and care. I don’t know what to even feed the thing, and I don’t want it to die. This is historical, and I recognize that.” 

“I have to see this creature,” Nigel said. “The green whelps aren’t dangerous and are omnivorous, so it will eat nearly anything small enough. Fruits, vegetables, small vermin. Very handy to have around a garden.” Andy heard some tapping on a computer keyboard. “Do you mind if I come to see it? Maybe bring it back with me? There is much to learn from it, and the science facility here is equipped to examine it.”

“You have to promise me that you won’t harm it. It’s rather fond of me, and I’m getting attached to it. I don’t want to see you kill it in the name of science.” Andy was adamant. 

“We won’t harm it, trust me. We want to see what we can learn from it, observe its behavior. Understand, Mr. Murphy, that this is the first living whelpling in over 70 years. We don’t even know what to expect with it.” 

“You’re welcome to come get it, but I can’t leave the island again. My job is such that I can’t leave on such a long trip. When can I expect you?”

“I’m going to speak with the CEO of SVP and see if there is interest in this. Maybe I can get a grant to come retrieve it. If not, it will be a while. Archaeology doesn’t generate much revenue, Mr. Murphy.”

Andy sighed. If Fiona McDonald had any say in it, Nigel would not be coming down anytime soon. “Will it survive in a tropical environment, or does it need the cold?” 

“They are cold-blooded animals, Mr. Murphy. It will thrive in the tropics. That is most likely the reason this one hatched. The eggs tend to be dormant under a certain temperature threshold. Is the number you called from a good number to reach you?”

“It is,” Andy confirmed. “Thank you for the information on it. I look forward to your call.” 

A half-hour later, a soft knock came at Andy’s office door. News of the whelp spread quickly and Kirby had to see it for himself.

“Where’s the critter?” he asked Andy, curious and slightly afraid.

“It’s on my shoulder, Kirby. It’s safe to come in.” 

Kirby cautiously entered and was amused to see it perched on Andy’s shoulder as if it was a bird. “It’s kinda cute, in its own way, I guess. Does it bite?”

“I hope not, or it will be spending its time in our garage,” Andy laughed. “I gave him part of my lunch, so he should be content. It likes me.”

Kirby laughed. “Andy, everyone likes you, except maybe your brother-in-law. But he’s a generally unlikeable guy.”

Andy rolled his eyes. “I spoke with someone in Dragon Valley who wants to come get it for research and observation. These things were supposed to be extinct decades ago. It’s quite historic, but there is a real danger in the Valley if other whelps begin to hatch. The red ones are particularly nasty.”

Kirby cringed. “What do the red ones do?” 

“I’ll just say they have a hot end. In the old lore, they had been known to destroy whole villages. Black ones don’t spit out fire, but they kill people with a disease, and it can spread quickly.” 

“You lucked out, getting a green one and not a red one. We don’t need the island to burn. I’m not sure if my insurance covers dragon fire. So, when is the guy coming to get it?” 

“I’m not sure. He’s looking to see if Fiona will gift a grant to his archaeological study to get it back to the Valley. Without the funding, it might be stuck here a while.” Andy reached to pet it, and it licked his face.

“Wow, it really does like you, Andy. How are you going to part with it?” Kirby smiled, almost tempted to pet it himself.

“I don’t know, Kirby. We’ve been wanting a pet for the kids. Who says it couldn’t be an endangered green dragon, right?” Andy chuckled.

“What does Danae think of it?” 

“Oh, she will be a hard sell, I think. The kids will love it once they realize it won’t hurt them, especially Eamon. He loved the egg before it hatched. He would adore it.”

“Well, I wish you luck with it. I bet my kids would love it, too. They’ve never heard of dragons before.”

“Most people outside the Valley have never heard of them, but villagers are keenly aware of their history. Most people nowadays believe it’s myth or just lore, though. I’m lucky to have found someone who knows a little something about them.” The creature snuggled up to Andy’s neck and fell asleep. 

“If you need a ride to bring it back, you’re welcome to take the jet. I know it’s a long trip, but it needs to be where it can be looked after. Just spring for the fuel, and it’s yours.” 

“Thank you, Kirby. That’s very generous of you.” 

“It obviously likes you. I’d hate to see something happen to it.” Kirby turned to leave. “Let me know.”

“Will do.” 

*****

At the end of the workday, Andy took his briefcase and with the whelp still nestled on his shoulder, walked to his car. “Danae is going to kill me,” he talked to the creature as though it could understand him. But the drive home was peaceful, and he parked in the garage. “Come on, little guy,” he told the whelp. “You need to stay in here for a while.” He took an empty box, placed a few dirty towels in it and set him down in the box. “I’ll be back to feed you.” 

He walked to the house feeling guilty he’d brought it back home, but he couldn’t leave it at the stadium, either. Danae ran to him as he entered the back door, and greeted him with a hug and a kiss.

“How was your day, my love?” she asked. Trixie was in her room, resting.

“Interesting,” he replied. “I found someone in the Valley who is interested in the d-r-a-g-o-n,” he spelled the word out, so the kids wouldn’t understand.

“Where is the flying rat?” she asked. “I hope you left it at work.” 

Andy’s guilty face gave him away. “It’s in the garage. Baby, it’s very friendly. It spent most of its day nestled up on my shoulder. The historian said it’s handy to have around a garden. It eats small vermin and fruits. I gave him a banana earlier, and he settled right down.” 

“Friendly? Andy, it’s a wild animal.” Danae shook her head. “Just keep in the garage until you can get rid of it.” 

“I took a few old, dirty towels and lined a box, so he’d have a comfy place to sleep. The green whelps are harmless. I’ll take you out to see it later.” 

Danae backed away from him, afraid. “No you won’t either.”

“Would I purposely put you in harm’s way, honey?” Andy asked. 

“No, but… Andy, it dive-bombed me earlier.”

“It was frightened. Who knows how long the egg had been dormant? The historian told me it likely hatched because it’s warm here. They are cold-blooded, so it will thrive down here.” 

“What if it hurts one of the kids, Andy? You don’t know what that thing is capable of doing.”

“I don’t think it would, Nae. I can teach them how to handle it—”

“It isn’t staying here. Period. You have to find something to do with it.” 

He felt himself starting to get angry. “Danae, you’re being unreasonable.”

“Am I? What if it bites one of the kids and makes them sick? How will they treat it? Nothing like this exists anywhere but in our home!” She shook her head. “Andy, it needs to go.” 

He took her by the wrist and pulled her. “You’re going to see it, Danae. You’ll see it’s nothing to fear.” She resisted, trying to pull against him, but he was so much stronger. 

“No!” she cried. “Andy, you’re hurting me!” With her wrist still in his grasp, he turned and picked her up over his shoulder, continuing to walk to the garage. “Stop!” she screamed, but he wasn’t listening. 

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He reached the door and put her down. Her fear overcame her, and for a moment, he regretted doing this to her. But she had to see for herself. She fell to the ground, crying. “Please, Andy, don’t make me do this,” she sobbed. 

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“Baby, I would never put you in a place where you would be harmed. Don’t you trust me?”

She shook her head. “Please…” Tears rolled down her cheeks. 

He opened the door to the garage and whistled. The whelp flew to him and settled on his arm.

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Danae tried to scream, but nothing came out. Her face was pale, all the blood had drained from it. Slowly, the whelp approached her, and as it got closer, it looked at her. It must have decided she was okay because it sniffed her. Danae was frozen in fright until it licked her. 

“See? It likes you, too. Baby, there is nothing to be afraid of. Hold your arm out, like this.” He held his arm out and the whelp jumped from his shoulder.

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The quick motion startled her, but she followed suit. Gingerly, the whelp stepped from Andy to Danae, and she stifled a scream. “Shh, see? It’s okay, and I’m here.”

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Still scared speechless, she trembled as the whelp sat on her. Andy reached for it to pet it, and it made a funny noise but settled down on her shoulder. “Baby, breathe,” he said. “Try to pet it. Danae, it likes you.” 

She took a breath and reached her free hand to it, and it lowered its head, almost inviting her touch. She held her hand out flat, and the whelp nuzzled its head into it. At that moment, she relaxed. “This is the strangest thing I’ve ever done.” 

“It’s a little odd for me too, Nae. The green dragons are harmless unless you’re a rat or mouse. Then all bets are off.” He hugged her shoulders and watched her with the whelp. “How are you doing with it?” 

“Well, I’m not as freaked out as I was. But I’m still not sure I want it in the house. It’s still a wild animal, docile or not. And we have young children. The ‘what ifs’ torment me.”

“I don’t think there’s more danger with this than there would be with a puppy or kitten. I know you’ve been wanting a pet for the kids. Why not this?” 

“Andy, have you lost your mind? It’s a dragon, not a puppy or a kitten. It breathes fire, and who knows what diseases it could carry. Yes, it seems to be tame, but I don’t want to take a chance, not with our babies.” 

“Technically, only the red ones breathe fire, baby. The green ones have a purpose, but I don’t know what yet.”

“You know the kids are going to want to see this thing. Are you prepared for that?” The whelp still sat on her arm, still making a funny noise. Andy figured it was a happy sound, because it was peaceful.

“Eamon should know why his egg is broken open. He should be allowed to see it and so should Lysie. This is part of who they are. They are more than half Dragon Valley blood, whether you like it or not.” He was still irritated with her. 

“I don’t know, Andy.” She took a deep breath and sighed. “Maybe just Eamon and Lysie can see it. Emmitt is too little to understand, and he might scare it. I don’t want it to attack him.”

He had reached the point of being too frustrated to care anymore. “Whatever you think is best, Nae.” His tone was chilly, but she didn’t notice.

“Maybe tomorrow. I don’t want to deal with nightmares if it scares them tonight,” she suggested.

Andy shrugged his shoulders. Any excitement he felt about it Danae had managed to suck out. “Whatever you want, baby.” He peeled the banana he had in his hand and broke off a piece to feed to the whelp. It jumped onto his shoulder and gulped the banana pieces. Danae watched with wonder. He gently set the whelp into the box he had prepared for it, and closed the garage door. He walked back toward the house quickly, leaving Danae behind, saying nothing.

When he walked back into the house, Trixie was cleaning up dinner. She had served the kids and encouraged them to finish their homework. “Thanks for taking care of the kids, Trix,” Andy said, a chilly tone in his voice as he walked to their bedroom. 

“It was no problem…” she yelled to him as he slammed the door.

Danae walked into the house, dinner obviously over and cleaned up. “Were we outside that long?” she asked Trixie. “It didn’t seem so.” 

She nodded. “Yes, you were out there for almost an hour. I took the liberty of feeding the kids so they could finish their homework and get to bed. Emmitt still needs a bath, but the older two are doing homework together.”

“Thanks, Trix,” Danae said. “Is Andy in the bedroom?” She looked around the house but didn’t see him.

Trixie nodded. “He didn’t look very happy.”

“I’m going to sit outside with a glass of wine, if you’d like to join me, Trix.” Danae poured a glass of the semi-sweet wine she liked and walked outside.

She stuck her head outside. “I’ll join you after Emmitt is in bed, Nae.” And Danae waved at her. Whatever had happened between them was obviously not good.

*****

Andy was not in the mood to argue anymore about the whelp, so he undressed and got into bed early. Sleep eluded him as he tossed and turned, frustrated with the whole situation. 

Eamon knocked quietly on the bedroom door. “Daddy?”

Andy quickly put his flannel pants on and opened the door. “Hey, son. What’s on your mind?”

“Daddy, what happened to my egg? Did Elyse break it?” Tears formed in his eyes.

Andy sat on the bench at the end of their bed and patted the seat next to him. Eamon plopped down and wiped tears from his face.

Andy took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “Eamon, Lysie didn’t break your egg, sport. It, um, well, it hatched.”

“Hatched? What came out of it? A chicken?” Eamon tried hard to understand. 

Andy smiled. “No, son. A baby dragon came out of it.” 

Eamon’s eyes got huge and a smile crossed his face. “Where did it go?” 

“It’s in the garage. I know you’ll want to see it, so before Daddy takes it back to Dragon Valley, I’ll make sure you get to see it. Okay?” 

“Why are you taking it away from me? It’s mine!”

“Eamon, it’s a wild animal. We just don’t know enough about it to know if it’s safe to keep him.” Andy tried to comfort him the best he could, but in truth, he didn’t want to bring it back, either. It was grossly unfair. “I’ll take you to see it tomorrow after school. Sound good?” 

Eamon sighed and nodded his head. “I want to keep it, Daddy.” 

“Me too, sport. But we can’t.” He kissed Eamon’s forehead. “Come on, I’ll tuck you into bed.” 

Danae came to bed a few hours later feeling silly and a little amorous, having had no dinner and a glass of wine too many. She stripped naked and got into bed with Andy, curled around him and began kissing his shoulders. 

He ducked away from her and scooted toward the edge of the bed. So she moved closer to him. 

“Go away, Danae,” he muttered. 

His words stunned her. “What did I do?” 

“I’m not in the mood,” he stated simply. 

“Why? What’s wrong?” 

“What’s wrong?” Andy repeated and shook his head. “You know what, never mind.” 

“Babe, I don’t understand.” 

“You tore my heart out when you said you didn’t trust me.” 

“When did I say I didn’t trust you? Andy, you’re not making any sense.” 

“Outside by the garage. I asked if you trusted me, and you shook your head. You…” his voice trailed off. “Just never mind.” 

“Andy, you know I trust you with my life. I was frightened.”

“And I tried to show you there was nothing to fear. But don’t worry, I’m taking it back to Dragon Valley this weekend.”

“Can we afford it?” she asked. 

Her questions weren’t helping his mood. “Yes,” came his one word, snippy answer.

“Can I come with you?” 

“No. I’m going alone. Or maybe Aaron will go with me. But not you.” 

His words stung her. “Why not me?” 

“Because I don’t want you to go. Don’t worry, I’m saving you being on the same airplane with it.”

“Andy…” she sniffled and lost her battle with tears. She turned her back to him and shook with sobs. And then he felt guilty. 

He sighed deeply and turned over, facing her back. “Oh honey, I’m sorry. I didn’t want to make you cry.” 

“Why is that flying rat so important to you?” she sobbed.

“Baby, it’s the only living whelp in the world. Surely you can understand the significance of that?”

“I wish we had never brought it home,” she cried. 

He nodded his head. “I’m regretting it, too. It’s not worth fighting over. Kirby offered the private jet to bring it back. There’s a guy who is interested in it up in the Valley, but he can’t come without funding. So I’m going to take it home, where it belongs.”

“But why do you have to take it there? I need you here with me.” 

“Because it’s in my care. I brought it home. I’m responsible for it. And Danae, I refuse to let it die, despite what you want.”

“If you’re going to pay for the fuel to get it there, why don’t you pay for the guy to come get it? Isn’t that better?” 

“I hadn’t thought of that. You always have a good idea. But that still doesn’t resolve our issue.”

“Babe, I trust you. I’m sorry I shook my head. I was afraid of the whelp.”

“Did it hurt you?” 

“No, but—”

“No buts. Honey, I’m sorry I made you cry. And I’ll see how much Nigel needs to come pick up the whelp. It should be gone soon. But I’m not going to lie, Danae. I will miss having it. I feel like it’s a part of my heritage. I’m honored to have the only living one. We made history with it.” 

Danae laid quietly on the bed for a few minutes, pondering the evening. She needed to know the answer to the burning question in her mind. 

“Andy, do you still love me?” 

“That’s a silly question, Danae. You know I do.” 

“Show me? Please. I need you.” 

He smiled and curled up behind her. “Oh baby, you know I’d love to.” 


The next morning at work, Andy called Nigel. He intended to fund the archaeological society that would study the whelp. 

“Nigel, Andy Murphy. How is the grant money coming along?” 

“Actually, it’s going well. I have a private benefactor willing to fund the trip. I was going to call you this morning. I am planning to come tomorrow. My flight leaves tonight, and I’ll be in Isla Paradiso in the morning.”

Andy was shocked. “I had no idea this would happen so quickly, but I’m happy. My wife isn’t thrilled with having it in the house. We had a fight about it and frankly, this isn’t the hill I want to die on with her. I’m surprised Fiona McDonald splurged for the grant.” 

“Who? No, the grant came from out of town. SVP wasn’t interested.” 

“If you don’t mind me asking, who is funding this?” Andy had a feeling he knew.

“A gentleman named Kemp. Said he had a vested interest in this project, but I can’t imagine how.” 

Andy nodded. “Kirby Kemp is my boss. He is generous to a fault sometimes. I will thank him personally. He knows what this means to me.”

“I wouldn’t mind meeting him if it’s possible. You know, to express my appreciation personally.” 

“I will ensure it.” He took Nigel’s email address so he could send him details. “I will have the whelp at the stadium tomorrow. Our limousine will pick you up and bring you here. I guarantee Kirby will be here. Watch for my email.”

“I will, Mr. Murphy. I look forward to meeting your little friend.” 

Andy hung up from the phone call, happy. He walked to Kirby’s office and knocked on his door. 

“Come in,” he called, not looking up from his desk.

“Kirby,” Andy said, a smile in his voice. “Thank you.” 

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Kirby replied with a grin. “You’re welcome.” 

“Will you be here tomorrow morning? Nigel would like to meet with you to express his gratitude personally.”

“I’ll make sure I am, Andy. I know how important that little guy was to you. And I know it’s significant for your hometown. If I was in your shoes, I’d want to help my hometown, too.”

“I was going to offer him the money myself. That was Danae’s idea. I did an awful thing with her last night. She was frightened of it, but I forced it on her and made her cry. In the end, she ended up feeling better about it, though she still doesn’t trust it. She won’t go into the garage, so guess who does the laundry until it leaves?” 

Kirby laughed. “You?” 

“Yup!” Andy chuckled. “She will be pleased to know it’s leaving tomorrow.” 

Kirby’s phone rang, and Andy excused himself. On his way back to the office, he called Danae. 

“Baby, I have some good news for you.” 

“Oh? Well, I have some news for you, too. But you go first.” 

“Nigel, the historian from Dragon Valley, will be here in the morning to pick up the whelp. I will bring it with me to work, and it leaves from there to go home.”

“Oh.” Danae sounded disappointed. 

“Is there something wrong?” 

“No. But I found out why the dragon is good around a garden.” She stared at a pile of fruits and vegetables the whelp had harvested and placed at her feet.

“Oh? What happened?” 

“I’ll just say I didn’t need to harvest anything from the garden today. He did it for me, and I don’t know how he did it. But there is a pile of produce on the back patio. Trixie and I have been carrying it inside for the last half hour, and it’s still a pile.”

“Holy cow.” Andy almost dropped his phone. 

“I even gave him a banana as a treat. He perched on my shoulder and licked my face. Andy, I don’t want him to go.” Danae chirped happily with the whelp still sitting on her. 

“Baby, it’s too late for that. Nigel is coming in the morning.” 

“No!” she cried. “Don’t take him away from me!”

Andy was happy she had changed her mind. But it was much too late to stop the ball from rolling. Come morning, the whelp would be on its way back home, and Andy was powerless to prevent it.

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Next Up: Chapter Twenty Seven, Generation Five.


Pose Credits for this chapter:

Anger,  and Dark by Zhippidy at Zhippidy’s Custom Poses
Wedding Bell Blues by Spladoum at ModTheSims
Zutara by Skylar Arden at Skylar’s Sanctuary
Last, but certainly not least,
That’s My Girl, Getting Sick, I’m Dizzy and Money Disputes by Bee at PosesByBee

As usual, thank you so much for the hard work and dedication that brings these stories to life.

Any/all custom content in this chapter is not mine, and I take no credit for it.