** Dear Reader: Just a reminder as I stated in Jilly! Oh Jilly! (which I know was a while ago-sorry) Jade is looking back and recalling events that happened a year ago.
In retrospect, if my mind had been clearer or my emotions less toiled, I never would have continued on down the path that began the day the computer “dinged” and Alex came into my life. I would have grieved for Jilly and moved on, instead of placing blame as I did; towards Jin and his unreasonable fears that kept me a prisoner, but also on myself for Jilly’s death. A feeling that was definitely substantiated by Leo’s crisp words of blame over the phone that day.
As I mentioned before, I had a clear laid out plan of how I needed the next seven months of my life to go. I had written it all down to the smallest detail, taking great consideration for what I was leaving behind, as well as what I was running towards. Angry and hurt as I was, I really didn’t want to leave on completely bad terms. This would have been my plan say…four months previous when everything was all still so raw, but I did love my family and I felt bad for hurting them the way I was going to do. It didn’t alter my plans at all, but at least I could say I wasn’t a completely terrible sim deep down.
The main goal on my list, was to complete all the needed skills which would provide a chance for a secure life in the real world. Skills would allow me to find a job and provide a living for Alex and I both. He planned to get a job as well, skipping university so we could be together from the moment I was ready to leave the island. I had thought the skills program would be simple to get through and I would have it done in the seven months I had allocated to complete the diploma. Yet once I started, I realized the skills weren’t that easy to master and I struggled to get past even the lowest levels.
Equally as bad, were the daily Simlish lessons with Jin
and if you doubt that at all, the look on Sun’s face says it all really! I begged Sun to be my teacher before the lessons began, but she was adamant that Jin was the better choice; being he was a published writer who was educated by a famous writer. I was really angry that she took this particular stance, especially considering she knew how it would turn out in the end. I cultivated that anger into fuel for my determination to get off the island and it served me so very well. By the end of Fall, I had completed my skills to these levels:
I was pretty proud of my accomplishments, till Jin took a look at the report and in particular saw the writing at level 4. When I pointed out to him that Sun suggested I take the skills a few at a time so I didn’t get overwhelmed, it did nothing to change his mind.
“We are a family of writers Jade! This skill should come naturally to you and flow out of you with ease!”
“Family of writers, please! Dad was the writer Jin and a great one at that! You are still struggling to write your masterpiece. I don’t want to write! Why can’t you get that through your thick head?”
“You haven’t even tried, but you will. In fact, that will be your next assignment. Practice writing an actual book. Longer than your longest essay, shorter than a fiction book.”
Oh how I struggled:
But no matter how hard I tried or how long I sat at the computer, everything I wrote was pure junk and certainly would not impress Jin in the least. I pleaded to be let out of the assignment:
which fell on Jin’s stubborn, deaf ears. Out of desperation, and a real need to be released from the obligation, I wrote a children’s book titled Goodnight Gnome. Finished it off overnight, sleepy with fluttering eyelashes to stay awake till the very last word.
Later that day, Jin brought the copy I had left at his bedroom door, and dropped it on the couch beside me where I was reading the second book on handiness skills.
“Nice try. Cute, but nice try. Not exactly what I was expecting to see though and so you will try again.”
“But why? It met the requirements you set out for the assignment! Please Jin, I can’t do this again. Please let it go?”
“No, and you will do it again. This time, children’s book is not a genre I will expect to see.”
I stared at my computer screen and cried. I wished I was a writer, but this particular skill didn’t “flow” out of me as Jin suggested it should. I paced my bedroom floor, then opened my pictures of Alex just willing to hear the ding of his coming on-line to chat. I fantasized how great it would be when we finally came together and then, an idea hit me. The writing did flow out of me then, keeping Alex in my mind and my childish teenage hormones at the forefront of my brain. I wrote honestly and with the greatest desire to shock my brother as he read every single word. In the end and two days of writing, I finished a fantastic trashy novel entitled: So Wrong, Yet Oh So Right. With the greatest pleasure, I dropped the copy on the table beside Jin stating, “There you go. Enjoy!” and as I walked away, I fought to hide the most smug self-satisfied smile.
I waited and wondered, but not a word was said to me about the assignment and I was never asked to write another practice book again. I call that a win.
After that I ignored all work on getting my Simlish credit and decided to work on my cooking skill, which was difficult to do when Sun kept getting in my way.
“I’m sorry Jade, but the todds need food. You can cook supper tonight.” But supper became breakfast, then lunch, and finally to “why don’t you try to bake a pie?” I got so frustrated, I dropped the cooking skill for a while and moved on to the dreaded logic.
Winter turned out to be a very stressful time for all of us with a flurry of activity within the household. Busy as I was, Alex was never far from my thoughts. We had been able to talk a lot more, as his father was working longer days trying to finish all his work before the end of the year. We spent much of that time finalizing plans and talking about our new life together. We shared a lot of pics back and forth, well me more than him. I got a few, but he always had some excuse why he couldn’t get me more than he had. I sent him this one photo where I thought I looked super sexy and while he liked it, all he really focused on was my hair.
“Your Chinese roots are showing,” he had said thinking he was so clever and adding a bunch of LOL’s. I coloured my hair that same night to a very, very light blond. So light, that in some lights it almost looked white. And that is when trouble really started.
A few days after I dyed my hair, Sun came into my room wanting to “talk” to me.
“Jade, I wanted to talk to you about, about this whole new look of yours.”
“What about it?” I replied.
“Well it’s just, such a dramatic change and I wondered if there was anything you wanted to talk about….maybe?”
I got up and looked at myself in the mirror.
“Talk about what? I like how I look. What’s wrong with it?”
“Nothing,” Sun stammered. “I mean, I’m happy you like your look. I was just wondering if there is anything underneath all the drastic changes? You never wear purple anymore which has always been your favourite colour since you were a little girl.”
“I changed my mind. I liked purple because my mother liked purple. Now I like orange. Am I not allowed to change my mind?”
“Of course you are,” she said nervously. “But it’s not just the colour Jade, or the fact that you’ve made everything that colour, your room included. You’re so thin. Are you eating enough? Are you trying to lose weight?”
I laughed at her. “Sun if you saw all the sugar I eat at night, you wouldn’t even think to ask me that question. And it’s not like I’m out running a 5K and working out! I barely have time to think about things like that with looking after the todds, completing my skills, cleaning house etcetera etcetera! I’m on my feet from the time I get up till I go to bed!”
Sun looked at me thoughtfully. “You’re right. Maybe you are doing too much. Maybe you should take some time off from working on your skills for a bit?”
“NO! No, really Sun. I’m fine and you don’t have to worry about me.”
“But the blond hair Jade. I’m just….worried is all. Are you sure you don’t have anything you need to talk about?”
“Look it Sun,” I started to say and I know this is another time I will always be disappointed in myself. But at the moment, I just had to do something to get Sun’s focus off of myself before she derailed all my plans. “Are you sure it’s really my look that is bothering you so much? I mean, I see you looking in the mirror at yourself when you think no one is looking. Are you sure you aren’t suffering from a little mid-life crisis, wondering where the years have gone when you look at those wrinkles on your face?”
I walked out of my room feeling incredibly guilty deep down, leaving Sun staring at her reflection in the mirror.
You see, I didn’t pull that out of thin air. I knew something was up with Sun. I had heard discussions between her and Jin that sometimes led to led to fairly loud conversations.
They usually started like this:
“Easy for you to say,” Sun would say. “You still look like you did when you were a teen!”
Then Jin would say just the right thing
Sun’s icy demeanor would melt
Then the fireworks would commence
Next thing I knew, they were sneaking off to the bedroom to do…..well I don’t even want to think about what they were doing. Hopefully not making even more reasons to be exhausted that was sure. Especially since I wasn’t going to be around to help them out.
(note to reader: all that was autonomous! This happened many times over days of game play.)
Thankfully my fears stayed at bay but not long after this I found out it wasn’t out of the realm of possibilities. For Jin had decided he wanted more, hounded Sun to be exact.
I will never forget that look of hopeful eagerness on his face as he waited for Sun to get over the shock to answer.
“You want….MORE?! More kids? Are you out of your mind Jin? We are barely keeping our heads above water now,” she firmly told him.
“Yes, but think how great it would be and it’s not like we can’t afford them,” Jin replied.
“No! Absolutely not! Not even if they found a way for you to have them. And until you get that through your thick head, no more bedroom activity for you.”
“It doesn’t have to be the bedroom you know,” he jokingly flirted with her.
(Jin seriously wants more kids – Bee says no way Jin and keeps shutting him down)
Anyway I wanted to make my harsh attitude up to Sun and I planned this great Christmas gift for her. The monsters kind of co-operated, sitting mostly still while I took a pic of them to use as a reference. When I gave it to her on Christmas morning, she was so touched she actually cried.I didn’t think it was that good, but I was pleased she like it as much as she did.
I also created a cute little painting for the nursery.
Lastly I snapped a portrait with the monsters.It’s pretty difficult I’m telling you, to pick a day, then time of day when ALL the toddlers will be in a good mood to do this. On my third try, I managed to get this one.Alex was feeling pretty goofy that day and wouldn’t sit with me. Yet I think it added to the picture, showed who he really was. I put it in a nice frame and gave it to Sun. I know it’s kinda silly, but I wanted the quads to know I was here. To have something to look back upon and say that is our aunt Jade. She lived with us for a while and took care of us too. She loved us…………….
It took me a while to decide upon a gift for Jin and actually it was one of Jin’s own paintings that inspired my own. I remembered stories Jin told me as a child, about his father and his father before him, fishing in the wee hours of the morning. So I painted from an image in my mind, a father and son fishing by the side of a pond.Jin was so touched by the painting, he hung it by his desk, which was the place he said he always felt closest to his father.
Jin had been busy painting too I noticed. I hadn’t seen any lovey-dovey stuff happening between the two of them since that day in the kitchen. I figured, and I found it super amusing, that he was needing something to keep his hands busy and his mind occupied! It did pay off though, for he painted his first masterpiece, or so his art dealer declared.He really wanted to keep the painting, but the dealer insisted the painting must join his mother’s in the gallery. So on a very cold wintry morning, the painting was shipped off.
Then he painted a portrait of what I believed to be our father. Or as close as he could remember, for I had only seen a picture of Ian as a young man a few times. I do know that Jin was unhappy with the end result, blaming his aging memory on the inability to properly remember his father. It was this painting that inspired me to create the one for him.
I also gave a gift to Margot and yes I know it’s a little petty of me and I really need to let this go.It was a book I found online, and thought to be most appropriate considering. Titled ‘It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It.’ I gave it to her in the kitchen, away from Sun’s questioning eyes. I never did tell anyone why my attitude changed towards my pseudo grandmother and I never would, although I know everyone did wonder. She liked the gift just the same, never saying anything about the title or the meaning behind the gift. I would like to add though, that considering the relationship change seemed like the elephant in the room at times, Margot never did anything to clear up the misunderstanding. That to me, spoke volumes all on its own.
It didn’t take long for me to get frustrated while working on the logic skill. My mind just doesn’t work like that, and so I moved on to finishing the handiness skill. I quickly rolled over to level 7, which meant I was able to start working on electrical. Jin however, put his foot down forbidding me to do so.
“Jin how will I finish the skill if I can’t do the work?”
“You can finish the skill without electrical. It’s very clearly written in the course outline.”
“But I want to learn electrical! Why can’t I?”
“It’s just too dangerous and that is the end of it!”
I walked off grumbling about over protective brothers and how he was taking the fun out of everything in my life. I was still so annoyed that late that night after everyone had gone to bed, I was up in the kitchen for a late night snack. I placed my dirty ice cream bowl into the dishwasher, closed the door and electrical sparks began to spit out from underneath. I knew well enough not to leave it like that for fear of a house fire. I was just turning to go wake up Jin, when the idea struck…… to fix it myself.
It was a fairly simple fix and I walked back to my room convinced that I was right and Jin was very wrong.
Funny thing was, the very next morning, Jin surprised me by saying he had given it some thought and he had decided I could upgrade some of the smaller appliances, like the microwave. But only under his supervision.
It was going well…until
You can imagine Jin’s reaction! But if you think that was bad, wait till I tell you what happened next…..
I had gotten pretty sneaky about working on things behind Jin’s back. Little things he wouldn’t notice and I was feeling pretty proud of my successes. So when the trash compactor began sparking one morning after I had tossed my garbage, I was super excited about trying out my nearly finished handiness skills. After listening at the “parents” door to make sure they were still sleeping, I grabbed a few tools and went to work on fixing the appliance. It was going well, until….
I have no idea what happened. Next thing I knew, my back was on fire and I was racing towards the shower to put myself out. Unfortunately, the fire set off the alarm….which woke up Sun and Jin then all hell broke loose from Jin.
“Jade Pearl Sun Bell! What on Sim world did you think you were doing?” Jin’s voice rose with each new word he said. “I specifically forbid you from working on electrical objects. Did you just conveniently forget that?”
“Zip it! I really don’t want to hear what you have to say. Did it ever occur to you that working on these objects could kill you?”
I began to answer but Jin just held up his hand. “Apparently not, as we have just seen. Just go to your room and we can talk about this when you are reasonable.” I looked at him kinda funny and he realized his mistake.“I mean when I feel more reasonable! Just go!” Then he walked away towards Sun.
“Unbelievable,” I heard him yell as I was closing my door.
“Yeah,” Sun replied. “And go figure, you want more kids.”
“Not now Sun. Not now,” he growled.
Thank you for waiting so patiently for this chapter to come out. My life has been a roller coaster since I last posted and sitting down to even attempt a chapter was definitely out of the question. Life stress was the cause for losing my spark for the story. I have decided to change my format, writing more from what is happening in the game than how I direct the game play. Almost everything you saw in this chapter was autonomous and written in order. I will still include some directed game play and poses, but I want to learn to enjoy the game again, and love my story as I once did.
Thank you for sticking with me! The story will be moving much faster now and in just a few chapters we will be moving on to the quads! I can’t promise you weekly chapters, however, I will do my best to get them out sooner than I have lately.