**To the reader, life has been incredibly stuffed and so this is just a quickly written chapter to get going on the story and advance Jade’s age to teen. I hope you enjoy it!
Jin always says that time is the most efficient magician. It shows us the trick of illusion, and while we are so focused on mastering the trick, we don’t realize the real trick, is the deception. For while time can be easily heard by the clicks of a clock, our understanding is never truly grasped. I think, Jin is just trying to sound clever and doesn’t quite “grasp” the explanation he is trying to give, or the lesson he is attempting to teach.
Sun usually just shakes her head and walks away when he does things like this. I’m not sure why time seems to be such a concern for him, for to me, it seems I have plenty of days ahead before I need to make all those grown up decisions. Yet Jin, often sits me down to talk about what I am going to do with my life, or sneaks it into general conversations, steering the topic to make some unimaginable point relevant to me. I understand Jin wants me to do something “great” with my life, and in particular it’s his greatest desire that I follow him into the writing career. But c’mon! I’m still just a kid, or until my transition in two days, where I leave childhood behind to become a teenager. What normal kid spends so much of their time thinking about and working towards an unknown goal? I mean seriously, what is wrong with this picture?
**staring off into the distance tapping my fingers on the desk.
Where was I going with all this time nonsense? Oh, right. Now that my transition is stalking me like a shadow, I’ve been thinking back to all my child hood years. Time has passed quite quickly, and yet it seemed forever since that summer when our whole life went through so many new changes. Wasn’t I just five, like, yesterday? And as I said in the beginning, Jin would say that was a perfect example of time’s deception.
In those years, so many things have happened that have shaped our family to what we are now. Like Sophie’s death, for example. Losing Sophie was incredibly devastating to the whole family and to be honest, it’s been seven years and I still sometimes cry when I think about how much I miss her. Every once in a while, I forget she is no longer with us and will start to go looking for her, before stopping dead in my tracks as the memory smacks me into the present. I’ve had moments where I thought I saw her off in the distance as well, and I would run after the vision, only to be sad once again.
Her loss created a monumental change to the dynamic of our household and her absence was felt during many important events. After her death, I at least had Biscuit to focus my attention on and he had become so special to me in his own sweet way. But Jin? Jin’s focus was all on me. Just …….yay, and I mean that sarcastically in case you didn’t understand. Actually, Jin’s focus was on time and me, like the two went hand in hand becoming essentially the same. There never seemed to be enough time for him and I had never learned enough. Was that a midlife crisis thing? Anyway, I can tell you though, that I’ve done enough studying and homework for three kids in all this time! When I’m not doing that, it’s painting, which I have grown to love more than I did that summer at camp. Actually, I did sell my first painting when I was still young that made a pretty penny. Well, at least I thought so at the age of 7.
Jin had taken me out after dark one evening, so I could learn to capture how the differences in light………….. I honestly don’t remember. But as I always do, I became very focused on the project and by the time I got to bed, it was quite late. Like, wee hours of the morning late. I slept till eleven that morning and after a discussion between Sun and Jin, I finished that painting during the daylight hours. I was told by Sun, to use my memory and my imagination to finish it. I figure Jin must have gotten in really big trouble for that. I did however earn three hundred and forty two simoleons for it, which seemed like such a fortune at the time.
Just after I turned 8, Mama received a call from Grand-mere telling her Mama Manon had passed away. Mama was understandably distraught for weeks until Jin convinced her to invite Margot to visit for the summer.She arrived about three days later and never left. She still lives with us today. Jin built her a lovely suite in the basement with her own sitting room as well. She seems quite happy to be with us, loves the island, and I am enjoying the time I have with her.
That same summer, we were robbed!
Jin woke up to the sound of this guy removing the tv off the wall that adjoins the master bedroom, but wasn’t quick enough to catch him. The guy tore off in a boat, but thanks to Jin we only lost the tv. Mama called the police the moment Jin realized what was happening, but no officers came to help us.
Mama was so freaked by the incident, she wouldn’t let up on Jin until he installed a security system to deter any more intrusions. Jin was seriously annoyed at the “insane cost” of the system, and after so many nights of very little sleep, he blew his top at me over Biscuit’s incompetence.
“If Sophie had been here, that guy wouldn’t have made it through the door. What a useless guard dog he turned out to be! We should all feel so safe with him in the house,” he snarked.
“That is not fair! Biscuit was sleeping in my room with the door closed. How was he supposed to hear anything? Besides, didn’t you used to be a cop?”
Jin turned to Sun and gave her this look that I think meant, how does she know that? But before he could say anything else, Grand-mere stepped in and said, “Okay, everyone is upset and there is no use blaming anyone but that thieving scoundrel. Jade let’s go outside and cool down.”
I turned to go with Grand-mere but called for Biscuit to follow me. There was no way I was letting him turn his grumpiness on my friend! As I walked out of the house, I heard Sun said “Jin, it’s just a t.v for goodness-sakes.”
“It’s not about the tv!-” But that was all I heard as Margot pulled me across the deck. After a little while sitting on the beach, Grand-mere said to me, “You know, you and Jin are very much alike. You both have very hot tempers and you are extremely protective of the things you love. But try seeing it from his perspective. Jin is your father-“
“He is NOT my father,” I said a little too forcefully and loudly, which Margot indicated by that look she gives me when I am being disrespectful.
“Sorry,” I mumbled.
“Jade, you are not so little anymore that you can’t be made to see the way things really are in this family. It’s time you stepped out of your shoes and saw things through other people’s glasses.” Then she gave me a hug. I had no idea what she meant and I figured she was messing up sim sayings again, translating them in her head from French to English. However, out of respect for her, I would try.
“Oh dear,” Margot said looking in the direction of Sun approaching. “I believe I’m about to have a talking to by Sun.”
“Well, you see. I wasn’t supposed to tell you that your brother had once been a police officer. You better run along, so I can make my sorries to your Mama.”
“Apologies Grand-mere, not sorries and good luck. Biscuit, let’s go for a walk.”
Later that day, Jin asked me to play frisbie with him. That’s the funny thing with Jin. He doesn’t often say sorry, but he does try to make amends when things go wrong. Funny, how I would never be allowed to get away with that kind of behaviour!
One good thing did actually come out of the robbery though. Jin was so intensely angry, that after nights of pacing the house to make sure no one came back for a second try, he got a brilliant idea for a book. He worked feraciously on that book, almost writing non-stop till it was all done and when he submitted it to the publisher, they LOVED it. He mean really loved it! His first book success since he started writing. His phone started ringing off the hook day and night and while he was proud of his work, I think he almost dreaded it as well. The main issue centered around the arrangement of a book tour and Jin just didn’t want to go.
“My father refused to do book tours and his books are still well known to this day. So why should I go?”
“Because your father’s success was partly due to the book tours he did in the beginning of his career. If you want to prove your success is your own and not, as you say riding your father’s coat tails, you must be visible.”
In the end, it was Sun who talked him into it.
“Your publisher is right you know. Just go, have a good time and be that charming handsome man I know you to be for all the fans. But not too charming.”
“I can’t leave you alone here. Not with the robbery and all.”
“We will be fine. I promise to keep the doors locked up tight, Jade can sleep with me and Biscuit will keep us safe. Mama and I will take good care of things while you are gone.”
However, I had my own ideas. “Can we all just come with you? Please Jin, I’m dying to get off this island! Maybe see some of my friends while you are working?”
But as you can guess the answer was no. From both of them actually. Couldn’t even get Mama on my side. I just didn’t understand why it was so important that we stay on the island out of site ALL the time. No explanations came and over time, my frustrations with this issue grew.
Two more years passed and things continued on as they had always done; studying painting and playing with Biscuit. Mama Sun and Grand-mere worked in the garden. Jin continued to write and paint. Oh, but I should mention that Jin received an award for reaching some sort of athletic achievement.
When the “parents” weren’t forcing me to sit and learn something new, I spent whatever time I could chatting online with Jilly via messaging.Her life was so fascinating and completely different from my own. I was envious of the freedom she had to go places and do things with sims other than her family. Her descriptions of the interactions with her family members were both comical and frustrating for me to read. Jilly’s words brought out emotions that I didn’t know I was ignoring; like loneliness and a longing for that connection with a sibling as she had with her twin brother. I asked her to describe in detail what it was like, but she said she had never known anything else. It just was she said, but she did feel bad for me, living on an island with no other children to grow up with.
I started dropping hints to both Jin and Sun about how nice it would be to have a sibling. Sun would just smile and Jin would appear sad. Then I decided I needed a more direct approach. Sitting at the breakfast table with everyone one morning, I blurted out, “Jin, Mama, I think it’s time you had a kid.”
Sun nearly spit out the juice she was drinking and Jin dropped his fork to his plate as if frozen in place. I looked to Grand-mere, to see a surprised look on her face. After clearing her throat, she stood up and excused herself from the table.
“Well?” I asked.
“Jade,” Sun sighed. “I know what it is like to grow up being the only child in a household and how lonely it can be sometimes. But there are good things about being an only child as well.” Then she went back to eating.
I waited for her to continue, but when it became obvious she wasn’t going to say anything else, I pressed forward.
“Like?” I asked.
“Hmmmm?” Sun said, and looked across the room.
“Good things like what?”
Jade looked at Jin and down to me. “Well, like having all of our individual attention.” Then she tickled my side. “So much better than sharing.”
I laughed and looked at Jin. He was just looking at his plate, fork in hand poking at his food.
“Yeah, that is kinda nice. But I think having another kid around would be so much better. And I would like a sister because after all I’ve heard from Jilly, brothers are a real pain in the butt-“
“Jade!” Sun looked shocked.
“What? I want a sister! So can I have one?”
Sun threw up her hands and looked to Jin for help.
“Well first of all kiddo, it doesn’t really work that way. You get what you get, girl or boy. No special orders when it comes to babies. Secondly, any baby technically would be a niece or nephew, not a sister or brother.”
“Oh, I never thought of that,” I said. “Well, it doesn’t really matter, cause she would be like a sister. Wouldn’t she?”
“Yes Jade. If we were going to have a baby, it would feel like a sister,” Jin said. “But Sun and I don’t have any plans for children. It’s just what we decided on.”
Jin got up and left the table then and Sun asked me to help clear the dishes; a clear indication this conversation was over.
Later that night not long after I had fallen asleep, I was woken by raised voices coming from the other side of the house. Jin and Sun were clearly having another one of their fights, but it wasn’t loud enough for me to hear the whole thing. I heard a word here and there and it became very clear to me, they were talking about babies. Sun was angry that was sure and Jin was trying that soothing voice on her, but she wasn’t having it at all. I felt really bad, for I worried this fight was all my fault. Babies were obviously a very sensitive topic. I easily understood that at the breakfast table. I vowed then I wouldn’t ever bring it up again.
I spent all my time, playing with Biscuit, teaching Biscuit and giving all the love I would give to a friend, to him. He was my best friend and I was so happy to have him with me.
But I still wasn’t entirely happy, Yes I had an island to roam but to me, it was no different than being stuck in a room with four walls. Each side of the island led me to water, my own virtual wall and I was beginning to go completely stir crazy. Sometimes I would sit alone by the pond and try to remember what my friends voices from camp sounded like. I had long forgotten most of them. I thought I remembered Jilly’s and I struggled to remember Violet’s. What kind of life was it, living alone like this? I couldn’t wait to grow up so I could make my own decisions and leave this place once and for all.
Oh I should also mention, that I have made real friends with all the deer. Where ever I am, there they are, like my own personal body guards. They aren’t too sure about Biscuit, and they still hate Jin. It’s the funniest thing.
Jin promised me that when I transitioned to teen, he would finally buy me a camera so I could talk to Jilly over the computer. Her parents had already bought her one and she had been patiently waiting. She is about 9 months older than I am and I just can’t wait to see what she looks like as a teen in real life. She had sent me pics of her and Leo already, but I was just so excited that I was finally going to talk to her with my voice, instead of digital words on a screen!
Jin had been gone for about three weeks taking care of business and he promised he would be back the day of my birthday. That morning he called to say he would be home just after lunch and we eagerly watched the water for any signs of his arrival. We heard the boat before we even saw it and Mama and I raced to the dock to meet him. He had beat us there! He came walking down the dock, but he wasn’t alone.
“Uh, what is-” Sun began to say, but Jin had run down the stairs and grabbed Sun into his arms. Cautiously, I walked up onto the deck to meet the two dogs. .
“This is Josey and Jack,” Jin said. “You will never believe how I found them. I went into a store on the main island and there was this guy just giving them away. He said he and his wife had bought them to be show dogs, but now that was all ruined and he didn’t care who took them. The guy’s attitude was just terrible, and he obviously didn’t care who wanted them, so I took them on the spot. Especially since…..”
“She looks so much like Sophie, I know. Not quite the right colours but still. I don’t understand, what did he mean by ruined?”
“Okay, don’t be mad. But Josey, is pregnant.”
“JIN! We can’t take this on right now! Especially now. Are you crazy?”
“I couldn’t just leave them! Who knows what would have happened to them! They are really well behaved dogs and so love-able. Can’t we just keep them? I really want to keep them.”
Sun sighed, “Fine. But this is all you! Do you understand?”
Jin nodded and I yelled “Hurray!”
After all the celebrations were over, I sat down at the computer giddy with excitement and logged in to Simchat
Jilly, are you there?
Margot and Jade’s pose on the beach, by me and coming soon to be downloaded HERE
Jade’s pose with the dogs and Margot’s pose in the family photo by Deb found HERE