G2 Chapter Ten – It Is Finished

In the weeks that followed Arthur’s death, Destiny just existed. She was listless and slept a good amount of her day away. And when she wasn’t sleeping, she rocked in his chair, staring out of the window. Bella secretly worried that her mother might not live long enough to see Bianca graduate from high school, which was mere months away. And as much as she tried, Bella could not get Destiny to leave the house for any reason. Bree was having nightmares, and had been for the past few years after an accident, and they were getting worse. After the last one, Bree left her position at the fire station and prepared to move to Appaloosa Plains. Bianca was planning on going with her sister to the small town, so Bree had to wait until Bianca had graduated.

Time passed, and it was finally Bianca’s turn to graduate. Her cap and gown, which had been decorated for months, finally got the chance to be worn. She was recognized during graduation for being the youngest artist to be showcased at the city museum, and her artistic talent won her many accolades during the ceremony. And like her sisters before her, she was one of the first to receive her diploma in her class. When the ceremony was over, and all the graduates threw their caps, Bianca’s was the only cap that stayed in place, on her head.  She spent much time and talent on it, and she wanted to keep it.

The ceremony was the first place Destiny had gone willingly since Arthur’s funeral. Her doctors made house calls, and the girls ran errands for her as she needed. But she insisted, even if she couldn’t walk very far or stand for long, that she go to Bianca’s graduation. Bella was just happy that Desi agreed to go out, it didn’t matter to her where she went.

Bella offered to take Bianca for lunch after the ceremony, but she was not interested in the fanfare of the fancy restaurant and the celebration. Instead, they went home where Bella cooked on the grill, and they all went swimming while Destiny watched.

A few days later, Bree and Bianca were due to leave town and drive to Appaloosa Plains. Bella helped Bree pick and choose the furniture and keepsakes that would go with them, and loaded them onto the moving van. Then Bella helped Bianca pack her clothes and art supplies that she would need on the trip, made sure Bee had some extra memory sticks for her camera, and some homemade snacks for the car. Bella helped Destiny out to the car, where they all stood and talked before Bree and Bee left. Destiny wasn’t able to stand long without assistance, so Bella stood with her as they leaned on the fender of Bree’s car.

Bella and Bree went through checklists of things Bree didn’t want to forget, and things that were important while they chatted. Bianca, who was excited to go, didn’t really say much but listened to the chatter among the others. Just as the sun was getting low in the sky, Bree looked at Bianca.

“Well, kiddo,” Bree said. “I think it’s time.”

Destiny’s eyes immediately filled with tears as she held her arms open for hugs. But this time, the tears were mostly happy, because her girls were going to fulfill childhood dreams, just the way she had when she was Bianca’s age. Destiny hugged Bree and told her, “Take good care of my baby.”

“I will, Mama. I promise.” Bree kissed her cheek, and Desi gave her one last hug and kissed her forehead, the way that Arthur used to when they were little.

“I’ll miss you Mom,” Bianca said as she hugged Destiny. Desi leaned forward and kissed her forehead.

“I will miss you, Bee. Be good for your sister, okay?”

“I will, Mom.”

“I love you to the moon and back,” Destiny spoke one last time, and wiped tears from her eyes.

In unison, the girls both said, “I love you too, Mama.”

“Bella, keep me updated on Mama. Please call me… you know.” Bree hugged her sister one last time.

“You have my word.” Bella hugged both her sisters one last time. “I’m going to miss you both.”

Bree and Bianca both got into the car and rolled the windows down. Bella was holding onto Destiny as the girls waved from the car as it drove away.

“I’m tired, Bella,” Desi said, nearly falling. “I need to go inside.”

“Hold on, Mama. We’ll get there.” Bella helped her mother inside and sat her down in the family room.


“Bella, would you bring me some tea?” Destiny called for her daughter.

“Sure thing, Mama,” Bella answered. She took the antique cup from the cabinet, placed a Darjeeling bag and covered it in hot water. “Honey or sugar?”

“Honey, please.”

Bella squeezed a bit of fresh honey from the bottle into the teacup and stirred it. Grabbing the saucer, she carried the tea to Destiny and set it on the side table. “Be careful, Mama, it’s very hot.”

“Thank you, love.” Destiny picked up the cup and sniffed in the warm vapor. “It smells good.”

“You’re welcome, Mama.” Bella was on her way out to the garage. “I’ll be right back.” She returned some 10 minutes later with Destiny’s easel and a stool that Bianca used.

“What are you going to do with that?” Destiny asked.

“Well, it’s going in your room, Mama. Wouldn’t it be nice to do something again, besides sit and watch it snow?”

“But I like watching it snow!” Destiny huffed, but thought, maybe it would be good to paint again. Many of her old pieces of art were ruined when the garage at her first house flooded, and there was no better time than the present to start a whole new collection.

Bella had the easel and chair set up in no time, then she helped Desi upstairs to try it out. “I’ll be right back!” Bella ran down to her car and retrieved the bags of paint, brushes, and canvases to replace the ones that Bianca took with her. When she appeared in the bedroom door, Destiny laughed out loud. “Well, it looks like you’ve been busy!”

“Yeah, well,” Bella replied, “You gave Bee all your paints and pastels. So, I’m just replacing what she took!” Destiny smiled with gratitude at Bella.

“Thank you, sweet pea.” Destiny sat down, chose her brush and squeezed out a blob of paint onto the palette.

“If you need me, I’ll be downstairs.”

A few hours later, Destiny called for Bella. “It’s finished! I’m so happy with this!”

“Happy with what, Mama?” Bella called as she ascended the flight of stairs.

“This!” Destiny turned the easel slightly so it faced the doorway. It was a portrait of Bella that Destiny had painted from memory, and it was gorgeous.

“Oh, Mama!” Bella exclaimed. “You did a fabulous job!” She got closer and took a better look at the portrait. “Now, see? Isn’t this better than watching snowfall?”

“Well, you got me a nice set up here. I can’t complain.” It was the first time Bella had seen her mother really smile in months.

A few weeks later, and Destiny was still painting up a storm. The portrait she had completed was now dry and ready to be framed, but she had at least two others that were still drying. Where the rocking chair and snowfall had been her entertainment since Arthur’s passing, she found renewed purpose in her rediscovered hobby. Bella had gotten a gig at Verde Park following the passing of Arthur’s friend, Phil. Too many of us old geezers are dying, she thought morosely. Bella had made a lunch for Destiny of cherry crepes, with cherries from the trees in the greenhouse, and got her settled in for an afternoon of painting.

“I wish I could go with you,” Destiny chimed in. “It has been too long since I’ve been at the park, and I haven’t seen you perform in a very long time.”

“I wish you could, too Mama,” Bella replied. “It’s just too cold out there yet.” She helped Destiny sit down, and set a brand new canvas on the easel and clamped it in nice and sturdy.

“It’s okay, I’ll just sit here and paint. I want to paint another portrait of you, with your hair done the way you always wear it.” Destiny steadied herself on the chair and opened a tube of oil paint.

“That would be good, Mama. I look too much like you in that last one. If I wasn’t paying attention, I’d think it was you!” Bella laughed. “Is there anything you need before I go?”

“No, I think I’m okay up here. Wait,” Destiny paused. “Is the phone here?”

“I was just getting it for you, Mama.” Bella set the handset on the table next to the easel.  “I’ll be home right after my show tonight, but if you need me, I’m just a call away.”

“I’ll be okay, love. Break a leg!” Destiny blew her a kiss.

“I love you, Mama,” Bella said as she kissed Desi’s forehead. “I’ll see you tonight.”

Destiny settled in and began painting the outlines of her newest masterpiece. For the first time since she took up painting again, she thought of Arthur. I’m starting to forget him, she thought. She wiped a tear from her cheek and refocused her energy on her work. She got an odd feeling, as though something brushed by her chair, but when she looked, no one was around.

“Who is there?” She called into the house, but no one answered. Shrugging her shoulders, she resumed painting.

Destiny, my love.” She heard it that time. Who was that? Could it be Arthur? She looked around and still saw nothing, but felt a cold chill down her spine. She reached for the paintbrush and started to fill it with oil when she heard his voice again. “Destiny, come to me.” She broke out in a cold sweat, and turned her head in time to see Arthur standing in the doorway, the light glowed around him as though he was in front of a bright light. She blinked her eyes, and he was gone. A third time, she heard him call to her, “Destiny, come be with me forever.” He appeared to her once again, this time he moved towards her, and in one instant, the vapor enveloped her. She dropped her paintbrush on the floor as she recognized the being that stood in Arthur’s place… The Reaper! But there was no one home to plead for her life. The Reaper once again took Arthur’s form and embraced her as she went willingly to him. In her place sat a beautiful golden urn, and the same tracks that Destiny found by Fran’s urn so many years ago, marked the carpet where he stood. It was said that the Reaper only left those tracks when he had a feeling of emotion for the departed, and he was so touched by Arthur’s love for Destiny, that he couldn’t help but leave them.

“Welcome home, my love,” Arthur said one last time to his bride.

“There is nowhere else I’d rather be,” Destiny answered, her spirit merging with his as they left the house together.

Up Next: Bree-Ann Atwood

G2 Chapter Three – Moving On To Starlight Shores

Destiny arrived home in Appaloosa Plains to an empty shell of a house. The furniture had been sitting, covered with sheets like it had been when her aunt Jenny helped her to close it just 18 months earlier. Without even unpacking her suitcase, she began the process of packing up precious family keepsakes: Charlie’s dance trophy, Fran’s endless boxes of photos, every certificate earned from the county fair for Fran’s perfect produce, Desi’s homecoming crown. She wanted it all, even if she had to store it in the attic or basement of a new house. Jenny and Paul helped Desi with the task of cleaning and selling the old family home, which was sold to the county. The government of Appaloosa Plains was odd. Any homes that could not be sold privately could be sold to the town for the asking price. Desi was thankful for that arrangement, so she didn’t have to stick around longer than necessary.

After the van was packed and Destiny was ready to say her final goodbyes to her past and what remained of her family, Paul and Jenny drove her to the municipal airport to catch the plane that would take her to Starlight Shores. Grateful for their help, she hugged both of them and gave them a check for ten thousand simoleons as a thank you for all of their priceless help.  It was the least she could do, and she knew they could use it. She didn’t imagine her aunt and uncle would be around much longer, and she wanted Paul and Jenny to take that vacation that her own parents never got to take. Desi blew kisses to her only remaining family as they waved from the car.

Starlight Shores was brightly lit as though it was early morning, when in fact it was closer to 10 at night. The flashy glitz of the starry city was enthralling for a young girl from a small town, and admittedly Desi was a little overwhelmed. Her taxi dropped her at the small hotel that she had booked to stay for a few days while she found a new home. She didn’t sleep very well that first night. Desi was used to dark nights dotted with fireflies and filled with the sound of crickets and frogs that lived in the creek behind the old house. Instead, the bright lights of a city that never seemed to sleep, and the clatter of traffic outside the main street hotel disrupted her sleep. One thing was for certain: She needed to find a home off the beaten path, but still close enough to be accessible for work.

Within a day or two of arriving in Starlight Shores, Destiny had found a modest home that needed only minimal work, and a job singing for a Sing-A-Gram service in town. It wasn’t much, but it was a start. Instead of earning an hourly rate, she was paid a stipend by the company and tips from the customers if they were happy with her work. She not only had to keep her own hours and book her own clients, she had to be good at what she was going to do. This was the first big test of her skills. Either she had it, or she didn’t.

The moving van arrived with all of her family treasures right on time, and the movers took no time at all to empty the truck and fill her new house. She had a one-car garage, two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a roomy kitchen, a formal living room and a family room on the second floor. Every wall was decorated with at least one item from Appaloosa Plains, sometimes the entire wall had several photos arranged into collages. Outside in the yard, Destiny placed memorial markers for her grandmother Penny, and her parents, Charlie and Fran. In a small garden spot nearby the markers, and under a maple tree, Destiny planted some of the seeds she had kept from Fran’s garden; each one would eventually grow into a prized plant producing perfect produce. If nothing else worked out, she had her degree and a garden that would help fill her time.

Desi settled into her new job, sometimes doing 15 singing telegrams a day. Once the word began to spread of her talent, she became one of her company’s most requested singers. The work was tedious at times, but she made sure she gave each client her business card at the end of every job. Someday, she might make that crucial connection to an agent or talent scout that would change her life.

Meanwhile, she attended the SimFests when they happened, dreaming with each act that someday, she would be on the stage, too. She got her chance at one such SimFest performance, but it wasn’t what she had envisioned. A magician requested a volunteer from the audience for a trick. When no one wanted to participate, the magician chose Desi to help her up on stage. She was put into a box and was able to see that the magician had several long, very sharp looking knives to stick into the box. Knowing the knives weren’t what they seemed, she decided to have some fun with the magician and yelped in pain with every “jab” of the sword. Mortified, the magician stopped the act early and Desi couldn’t help but chuckle as she was escorted off the stage by the proprietor. Afterward, she apologized to the performer and the proprietor because she felt bad about ruining the trick.

Life in the big city wasn’t as glamorous as Destiny imagined. Day in, day out she sang for the city’s residents, but other than her job, no one in town knew her name. On her first anniversary on the job, her boss gave her a promotion and a nice raise to her stipend. But she was growing restless, even though she was making enough to survive, this wasn’t why she moved to the city.

Desi was at what seemed like the tenth SimFest that year when she decided to speak with the proprietor at the park where the contest was taking place. Dressed to impress, she gave her all and sang her heart out, hoping for the chance to headline her own three-hour show. However, her hope turned to despair when he told her he remembered she had ruined the magician’s show, and that she would never sing at his park so long as he ran it. She drove home in tears, wondering for the first time if she had made a mistake in moving to the city. She missed work for the next two days.

On the third morning, she was in the garden watering her plants and out of the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of Fran’s memorial stone. She walked over to it, fell to her knees and wept. “Mama,” she said out loud, wishing Fran could hear her. “I am failing here in the city. I don’t know what to do, or where to go next. I wish you were here to give me some advice….” Her voice trailed off, choking back sobs. “I need you, Mama.” Just then, her cell rang, and it was her boss. There was a big job to do and the client wanted their best singer. Desi went inside to clean up and get ready for work, but her heart wasn’t in it.

On her way to her client’s home, she passed a huge crowd gathered around in the park, police cars and fire trucks strewn around the large park green. She stopped long enough to ascertain that the proprietor of the park had died during the scheduled SimFest. While she was sad to hear of his death, she knew that a new proprietor could possibly give her the break she had been waiting for.

A few days later, Destiny read in the newspaper that the new proprietor had been hired at the park, a young woman who was new to Starlight Shores but came with an impressive resume and an eye for fresh talent. I’ve been stagnant long enough, Desi thought to herself. Today is the day I take that leap of faith! She showered and dressed in a brand new dress that she saved to buy, one that she had bought specifically for auditions, with some new shoes she had never worn. She put her hair up in a loose up-do, and touched up her makeup, grabbed her car keys and left her house with a fresh attitude and hope for a better future.

At the park, she introduced herself to the new manager and gave her the best audition she could give. Destiny sang her heart out and poured every bit of emotion into the song she sang. The proprietor was moved and gave her the break that Desi had been seeking… her own three-hour show! She didn’t have much time to prepare her set, because her show was scheduled for the following evening.

Excitedly, she raced home to tell someone, but she realized that there was no one there. She couldn’t even call her Aunt Jenny, as she had passed away earlier that year. Instead, she fixed her favorite meal, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and plugged in her old karaoke machine in the garage. She practiced until the wee hours of the morning, until she was so tired she had to sleep.

 

Up Next: Chapter Four, Generation Two

G2 Chapter Two – Sim State

The trip to Sim State was uneventful, as she watched the familiar scenery turn to new and fascinating. The trees and even the wildlife seemed so very different on campus. No wild horses ran freely, no deer and no raccoons scampered about.  She also noticed immediately the lack of lightning bugs. She shrugged and closed her eyes for the remainder of the trip.

At her dormitory, she was assigned the largest room, which had a double bed and a fireplace. Cozy, she thought.  This will be nice during the winter. She lugged her heavy suitcase up two flights of stairs and was visibly winded after the trek. A roommate, named Jacob, chuckled at her heavy breathing. She glared at him, and thought to herself, I could have used help, but thanks anyway.

She felt so very out of place in her western jeans and sweater and big old cowboy boots. Taking a deep breath, she unlocked her dorm door and unpacked her suitcase. On the mantle of the fireplace, she placed a recent photo of her family, and beside the lamp on her dresser, she placed the only photo that remained of Penny, her maternal grandmother.

She needed to report to the Student Union when she arrived on campus for a meet and greet, so she grabbed a half sandwich from the refrigerator and pedaled down the street on a bicycle that had her name on it. Where it came from, she did not know, but it sure did beat walking.  The campus was much bigger than she could have imagined, and the bike was welcome.

The Student Union was set up to welcome incoming freshmen, and a boy dressed as a llama, the school’s mascot, was on hand to answer any questions. Despite the odd costume, Destiny sensed some chemistry between the two of them, and before they knew it, they had been talking for the duration of the meet and greet. The boy’s name was Dave Bean, and he was local to the Sim State campus area.

Later that evening, a party for all incoming freshmen was held at the local fraternity. Though she wasn’t the partying type, Desi decided to go and check out campus life and get to know some of her classmates. The party was formal, so she put on her brand new, non-western styled dress and took a taxi from the Student Union.

Ever the introvert, the party didn’t go exactly as she had hoped.  To her dismay, cliques had already started to form, and she didn’t feel as though she fit into any of them. So to break the ice, she did what she knew best: play her guitar. It wasn’t long before other classmates who played instruments began to join her.  Before the party ended, she had made a couple of friends with similar interests.  Mission accomplished!

The next morning began her class schedule, and it was grueling. Three classes, each two hours long with two hours in between, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Her day started at 8am and ended at 6pm. But, it wasn’t anything she hadn’t done before, and she was up to the challenge. It didn’t take Destiny long to adjust to campus life, though the first party was her last for the first term. She was much too busy maintaining her Dean’s List status to waste her time playing beer pong or doing keg parties like her peers.

About six months into her first year of college, Desi was in her first class of the day when her phone rang. Embarrassed, she quickly silenced it and slipped it back into her bag. The professor gave her a stern glance, and pointed at the “No Cell Phone” sign at the front of the lecture hall. Normally she obeyed the rules, but that morning she was running late and forgot to silence her phone. The icing on the humiliation cake was the professor’s snide comment about the interruption. Destiny slumped down in her chair, trying to hide from any more ridicule. She definitely wasn’t in Appaloosa Plains anymore.

After class, she was digging in her bag for her water bottle when she remembered the phone call. Curious, she checked the phone and the call was not a solicitor at all, but her mother, Fran. A sense of dread washed over her. She knew something was wrong. Quickly, she redialed her mother’s phone, but there was no answer. Now she was really worried. She quickly dialed her Aunt Grace, and she got the voice mail, and then Aunt Jenny. Her uncle, Paul, answered the call.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Uncle Paul,” Desi said, clear panic in her voice. “I got a call from my mother about an hour ago, and I can’t reach her. It sounded urgent.” She swallowed back a growing lump in her throat. “I’m away at Sim State, and I can’t get there to check on them. Would you go?”

“Sure,” Paul answered. “Your aunt has the car, but I’ll call her and see if she’ll swing by your folks’ place.”

“Thank you so much, Uncle Paul.” It wasn’t going to happen fast enough, but she would feel better once Aunt Jenny stopped by. She left her phone turned on despite the rules.  It was important and she needed to know.

An hour passed, and she still hadn’t heard from Jenny. She knew her aunt was no spring chicken, but she was the only one still in Appaloosa Plains. Her time was not the same as the world’s time, and she got to stuff when she got to it. Overcome with worry, she headed back to her dorm. Classes will have to wait, she thought, until I can concentrate.  When she got to the dorm, however, two police cars were outside. Destiny felt sick but walked into the building. The resident assistant was frantically looking for her. “Destiny!” The RA exclaimed. “Where have you been?”

Desi began shaking her head as the officers turned in her direction. “No… No… No…”

“Are you Destiny Farmer, Miss?” the one officer asked.

With a shaky voice and quivering lip, she answered, “Yes…” She was on the verge of a sob. She already knew what they were going to say, so she thought.

“Miss Farmer, we regret to inform you that your parents were found dead in their home about 30 minutes ago.” The second officer removed his hat and held it over his heart.

Not fully understanding what was said, she asked, “Which one? Which one is gone?”

“Miss, they are both gone. We believed they passed away within an hour of each other.” The first officer also removed his hat and looked at his feet. “Please accept our condolences on behalf of the Sim State Police and Appaloosa Plains Police departments.”

She opened her mouth to scream, but nothing came out. She wobbled as though she was drunk, and tried to get to a chair, but she fell down prostrate on the floor. Destiny could not believe what she was hearing. At the very moment she fell, her phone rang. The officer retrieved it from her backpack. “It’s your Aunt Jenny.”

He handed her the phone, and she answered it, or tried to. On the other end of the phone was an equally distraught Jenny. She had arrived at the Farmer home to a swarm of police and rescue trucks. She learned that the time between Charlie’s and Fran’s death was about 15 minutes, and the authorities did not suspect foul play.

“Destiny, honey, if you need anything, your Uncle Paul and I are here. Just call us.” Jenny told her.

“I will.” Desi had no more words to say, but she knew she had to return home, and soon, before the end of the semester. She managed a meek goodbye to Jenny and hung up the phone. By this time, there was a crowd around Desi, and the police officers kindly shooed everyone away. And there she sat in stunned disbelief, feeling like she had made the biggest mistake of her life by leaving them. She booked a flight back to Appaloosa Plains that afternoon and was home the next day.


Destiny’s homecoming to Appaloosa Plains was nothing like she had expected when she left home six months prior. She could still see Fran sobbing into Charlie’s shirt as the taxi drove away. She turned her key into the empty house and was immediately drawn to the huge picture frame over the fireplace in the living room, filled with family photos. On the floor next to Charlie’s rocking chair sat two untouched urns, right where the Reaper had left them. Black trails of what looked like soot stained the carpet where the Reaper had traveled. She had heard of this phenomenon before, and it only happened when the Reaper had any emotional reaction. She reached down and touched the marks, which smelled how she imagined death would smell. Next to Fran’s urn was her cell phone, which remained untouched. Destiny glanced at the screen to find her phone number was the last one called. Overcome with emotion, she collapsed into her dad’s easy chair and sobbed.

Word spread quickly around town that the Farmers had both passed away, and people that Desi didn’t even know came by to show their respects to the family. Fran was well known for her produce, everyone knew Charlie was a veteran, and the townspeople knew of Penny’s racehorses, and their owners brought Marne’s last racing trophy for Desi to keep. Desi was overwhelmed with support, for which she was extremely thankful. But she had an empty house filled with memories that she either needed to sell or come back and live a life she was not interested in living. Right now, she was not interested in doing either. Aunt Jenny helped her throw plastic over the furniture, and they closed up the house while Destiny returned to school.

Once Desi had returned to Sim State, she buried herself in her school work to keep her mind off what she had waiting for her at home. The sadness almost crushed her, and the more-than-friendship she had begun with Dave no longer held her interest. But a young man in her art classes noticed her and pursued her. After classes, he would walk her home. During class, he sat with her. And on the weekends, they would go bowling together or study. Admittedly, she did have much more in common with him than with Dave. Jeffery was tall, dark and very handsome, and soon they became inseparable.

JeffreyDesi

Running short on funds during her second year of school, Desi decided to stop in at the financial aid office to apply for a scholarship for her last years of her degree. Much to her surprise, she was not only eligible, but all of her pre-paid tuition was refunded completely. The icing on her cake was the shocking news that she would have enough credits to graduate at the end of her second year, thanks to the skill and experience credit she received at the start of her freshman year. Two fewer years of her life would need to be spent on campus. Now there was no reason to stay in Appaloosa Plains beyond getting the house sold. Things were starting to line up for Desi’s future, and she was getting legitimately excited, despite her tremendous sense of loss.

Before she knew it, final exams were upon her, and everything she had done for her two years on campus came down to six hours and three exams. She was ready as she was going to be for each one, and took her time, checking her work twice and three times before handing in the tests. She took a breath of relief as she turned in her last exam, feeling confident. Dodging the raindrops of a chilly spring night, she rode the bicycle to her dorm, arriving soaking wet and chilled. No matter, she thought. This is MY night to unwind and celebrate. After changing into dry clothing, she called Jeff, who was throwing an end of year bonfire party that night. He drove over to pick her up. They danced into the evening, sharing memories of class, bowling and all of their non-date “dates.” It was well past 3 am when he drove her home. They shared a sweet kiss, their first, at the front door to her dorm. Jeffery wasn’t graduating with her in the morning. He was a year behind her in studies and would be remaining on campus for at least another year. In any case, she invited him to her graduation.

The next morning, she showered, ate breakfast and dressed in her cap and gown. The day was bittersweet to her. On the one hand, she was more than ready to start her life and career in Starlight Shores. On the other hand, she knew she had to return home to Appaloosa Plains to settle her parents’ estate, sell the house and pack all of the keepsakes she wanted to bring with her. She desperately wished Charlie and Fran were alive to see her graduate with her Fine Arts degree. Desi graduated at the top of her class and was on the Dean’s List for her entire college career. And besides her parents, the one person missing from attending the ceremony was Jeffery. Her phone calls and texts went unanswered, and when she stopped by the frat house, he was not at home. Despite her best efforts to connect with Jeff before her flight back home, she was not able to contact him. Her heart was heavy when she watched Sim State disappear in the rear window of her taxi, and she missed Jeffery already. She knew their paths would likely never cross again.

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Up Next: Chapter Three, Generation Two

G2 Chapter One – New Beginnings

“Turn that music down!” Fran yelled from the bottom of the stairs. “You’ll be deaf by the time you’re 18!” Destiny Farmer crinkled her nose and reluctantly turned her karaoke machine down to a more reasonable level.

“I sound better with it loud, Mama!” She yelled back. Desi picked up the microphone and was just about to start another song when she heard Fran yell back to her.

”You sound good either way, sweet pea. But your Dad is trying to sleep down here.  He isn’t feeling well today.” Fran glanced at Charlie, who was napping in his easy chair. Since the spring had come, Charlie had been sick with hay fever, sneezing and feeling miserable. He needed the rest, and Fran was going to make sure he had what he needed.

Desi, upon hearing her father wasn’t feeling well, decided to do a quieter activity instead of sing. It was almost time for her carpool to get her for work, so she picked up her sketch pad and started doodling until she heard the honking of the horn. She grabbed her sweater, for it was still cool outside, and skipped down the stairs. “Bye, Mama!” She whispered as she waved.  Fran blew her a kiss.


Destiny wiped down her last table for the shift and collected her tips from the jar. Hmm, she thought. Only 30 simoleans today. No matter, though. Destiny was in good shape saving for college. Plus, she had a sizable advantage with credits, so she wouldn’t need so many classes overall. That would be a good savings, and she really needed every penny she could squirrel away. “I’m leaving, Ken,” she yelled to her boss. “Do you need anything before I go?”

Ken Gerhart, the new owner of the old Koffi Café, thought for a moment and hollered back, “Nope, you’re okay to leave.  Have a good night!”

”Thanks, I will!” Destiny fished her car keys from her purse and headed for her car, parked in the back of the diner. The car had been a gift from Charlie to Fran when she was pregnant with Desi, so it had seen many better days. The key in the ignition revealed the old car was still operational, but barely. It sputtered and backfired a few times before Desi put it in gear. “Come on, old car,” she coaxed. “Don’t leave me stranded out here at night!” She knew there was no money in the budget for a newer car, so she just eased that one home as best she could. Luckily for Desi, that was not the car’s final run.  She turned the ignition off and set the parking brake, put the keys in her pants pocket and went inside.

Fran greeted her at the door. “Dad’s sleeping.” Desi scowled, not because she had to be quiet, but because she was worried about her father. She knew Fran and Charlie were older than most of her friends’ parents, but it didn’t occur to her to mind until Charlie had become ill.

“How is he feeling tonight, Mama?” Genuine concern replaced her normally jovial mood.

“Well, sweet pea, he’s just okay. The doctor said the allergies will let up soon, so we have to wait this out.” Fran hated to see him feeling so awful, but she was taking very good care of him.

Just then, the sound of the women conversing had roused Charlie, who looked bleary-eyed at his daughter. “Hey Princess,” he beamed. “How was work?”

“Oh, real good, Daddy,” Desi answered.

“You know that’s where your Mama and I rekindled our relationship, right Destiny?”

”Yes, pa. You tell me every time I come home from work.” She smiled and ran her hand through her curly, flaming red hair. She walked to him and kissed him on the forehead.  “I’m sorry you’re not feeling well.”

“I’m okay, Princess,” Charlie retorted. “Just the hay fever has me whipped.” He stood, swaying back and forth before grabbing the chair for support. “I think I’m going to bed.”

”That’s a good idea, love. I’ll be up shortly.” Fran was finishing the dinner dishes in the kitchen. “Would you help him, Desi?”

Desi smiled. She would do anything for her Daddy. “Of course, Mama,” She gently took his arm and walked him, step by step, to the master bedroom. She got him settled and went back down for dinner, which Fran had left in the oven for her like she had done every night since she started her after school job. She fixed a plate and sat at the dining room table, a fork in one hand and her pencil in the other, working on homework before bed.

“Goodnight, sweet pea,” Fran told Desi from the end of the table. “Don’t stay up too late, now.”

”I won’t, Mama. In fact, as soon as this homework is done, so am I.” Graduation was just a few months away, and every homework assignment counted. She was on the honor roll, and maintaining her 4.0 average took a lot of work. She came home after school, music club and the diner completely exhausted every day. But she was thankful for the music club. Otherwise, she would never get any practicing done, and she needed to maintain her instrument skills for college and her scholarship. She finished dinner and homework just about the same time. After cleaning up after herself, she dragged her tired rear end up the stairs and off to bed.


One last answer, Desi thought to herself, and my finals are over. I’m officially graduating! She penciled in the work on the arithmetic problem and put her pencil down. Leafing through the 4 pages of the exam, she checked every answer to make sure it was correct before walking to the teacher’s desk. Her teacher motioned to her and pointed toward the door.

Once outside, the teacher complimented her on a great senior year. “Destiny, I’ve not seen an ambitious student like you in a long time. I want you to know what a pleasure it has been to be your teacher.”

Desi’s eyes welled with tears. This was one teacher she would really miss. “Thank you, Miss Bridgeton. I really loved your class. The way you taught math made sense to me.” She wiped a tear from her cheek and sniffled. “I will really miss you.”

Her teacher smiled and hugged her. She was also the head of the music club and was well aware that Desi had enormous potential. They had talked at length of Desi’s desire to move to Starlight Shores, the city where everyone who matters resides. “I’ll miss you too, kiddo.” Desi began to walk away as Miss Bridgeton started back for the classroom, then turned to wave. But Miss Bridgeton was already gone. So Desi drove herself home after school, the realization that her childhood was now officially over both excited her and gave her pause. This is where she discovered what she was made of. The thought terrified her.

The next morning, Destiny awoke earlier than usual for a day off. Graduation was at 10am. She hopped into the shower and dressed in her cap and gown. Fran and Charlie were already downstairs waiting for her when she started down the stairs. Fran began to cry. She remembered her own walk down those very stairs on her graduation day. It seemed like just yesterday. “You look beautiful, sweet pea.”

“Aww, thank you, Mama.” Destiny glanced at her watch. “Are we ready?  It is time to go!”

Charlie, who had recovered nicely from the hay fever attack from hell, beamed with pride. “You bet, Princess.” He took her arm and walked her to the taxi.

The graduation ceremony was beautiful, and her graduating class was mid-sized. By unanimous decision, Destiny was named Valedictorian, which took her completely by surprise. Having no speech prepared, she spoke from the heart about her family, her support, and her ambitions that would take her away from the only home she knew. As the final name was called to receive their diploma, and the principal had congratulated the graduating class, the room filled with the flurry of caps and tassels. Flashbulbs flickered, eager and proud parents captured the moment for their graduates, saving the moment for posterity.

Exiting city hall, Desi’s carpool was already en route to her home for work, but since the diner was so close, she decided to walk. She called her co-worker to let them know. Charlie and Fran, who hadn’t eaten anything all day, walked to the nearby bistro for lunch. This would be Desi’s last full day of work at the diner before she left Appaloosa Plains for college. She was beginning in the summer term to get some of her required courses out of the way before all of the students arrived for the fall term.

Her last shift was steady but easy to manage, and she brought home a decent 50 simoleans in tips. It was a good last day. She thanked Ken for the opportunity he provided her, and he wished her all the best at college. She drove home, not with her new life on her mind, but her parents. They were all she ever knew, and she felt in some ways that she was deserting them, and at that moment she felt incredibly selfish.

As she had contemplated so many times before, she considered canceling her trip to Sim State, or at least postponing it until she knew her folks would be okay. But in her heart, she knew if she didn’t get out now, she might never get the chance to chase her dreams. As afraid as she was of losing her parents, the thought of living the rest of her life in Appaloosa Plains scared her more.


Desi sat on the overstuffed suitcase while Fran zipped it up. “Well, sweet pea, it feels like you have your whole bedroom crammed in this bag!” She helped Desi up off the bed and pulled her close to hug her.

“I think I do, Mama.” Desi laughed as she gazed at the suitcase, its seams ready to bust open from stress. She picked it up and set it on the floor near the door to her room. “It’s almost time.”

Fran bit her lip. This was the moment she had been dreading since she gave birth to the spunky redhead. But she knew that Desi had to spread her wings. Fran was determined she was not going to be the reason that Desi stayed where she no longer wished to be. “I know, honey. I-I’m just not ready to let you go yet.” She hugged her daughter again, not wanting to release her. She had always heard that letting go was the toughest part of parenthood. Never had it become more obvious than in that moment.

“Mama, you’re suffocating me!” Destiny grinned as her mother’s hold loosened. She was about to speak when she heard Charlie’s voice booming up the stairs.

“Ladies, they’re here.”

Both of the women fell eerily silent. They knew what it meant. Desi picked up her bag and started toward the door when Fran caught her shoulder. Looking her straight in the eye, she told Desi, “Always remember how much you are loved. Remember everything we taught you. And never forget where you are from.”

“Oh Mama,” Desi couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. “This isn’t goodbye. I’m only going to college.”

“I know, sweet pea. But promise me you’ll never forget your raising.” Fran seemed desperate for Destiny to assure her.

“I won’t forget, Mama.  I promise.” Desi put her bag down and hugged her mother before heading downstairs. Fran just smiled at her, wiping the tears from her own eyes.

Charlie was impatiently waiting at the door for his family to descend the steps. He’d been holding the taxi for nearly 10 minutes. He shot Fran a glare as she walked behind Desi. She should know how much he detested making people wait. That just made her tear up more. She reached into her pocket for her handkerchief and dabbed her eyes. “Sorry, love,” she apologized to Charlie. “We were having a moment.”

His gaze upon them softened. “They’re waiting, let’s go.” Charlie took the bag from his daughter and placed it back on the ground. “Oof! Do you have a ton of lead in that case?”

Desi laughed and took the bag back from him, “Yes, Daddy, I do.”

They walked together to the car waiting to take Desi to Sim State. Fran almost couldn’t bear it as she watched Charlie hug their daughter. “You’re doing the right thing, Destiny,” he told her. “Get out of here, and don’t look back.” He kissed her cheek and brushed her hair from her face. “The world is yours for the taking.  Grab it by the horns, and give ‘em hell.”

“I will, Daddy.  I love you.” Desi gave him one last hug and went to her mother.

Fran hugged her and kissed her forehead. “Remember what we talked about. I’m always a phone call away.”

“I miss you already, Mama.” Desi wept. “I love you.”

With that, she got into the car and closed the door. From the window, she could see her mother sobbing and her father holding her as they disappeared into the distance.

 

Up Next: Chapter Two, Generation Two