Chapter 3.9: Then be a father

Screenshot-175It was still early when I got out of the house to be picked up by the department carpool. The babysitter practically lived at our place because I worked so much. It wasn’t something I was prepared to change either. I had come to the conclusion that my job wasn’t just a good way to charm men but also something I really enjoyed doing. Besides, I really needed the money.

Since Plum and Canary had Hyacinth they seemed to have less time for me, which meant I put even more time in to my job.

Screenshot-176There was an excitement even to the dull days at the department. You could be casually keeping the truck or the alarms in shape, or relaxing on the upper floor with your co-workers, or working out in the yard and still there was this feeling inside you. You knew that the alarm could sound any second at it kept you on your toes. It was exciting.

Besides, my closest boss was my brother Blizzard, who was not just a good fireman but also a darn good boss.

Screenshot-177The treadmill made a familiar mechanical and steady sound. I remembered how I used to frown upon that sound when we still lived at home and Blizzard had pretty much been obsessed with working out. Maybe we weren’t so different after all?

I liked the feeling when the muscles in my legs burned from being challenged but I was also careful to not overstrain them because I knew there could be a big fire and the need to carry a heavy man three stairs down just seconds later. It was a balance everyone at the department had learned to control the hard way. We had all been to at least one alarm where our forces were barely enough. I was getting quite good at it, actually.

Screenshot-178On one of my vacant days I decided to bring Taxus with me to the Spring residence. It was nice going there because of how crowded the place was. I could just put Taxus down on the floor and someone would entertain him, letting me focus on catching up with my two best friends.

Screenshot-179“He stinks, doesn’t he?” I asked Canary who met us with a displeasing look on her face. It wasn’t until I saw her face that I realized there was a rather pungent smell coming from my son and that I hadn’t changed his diaper since waking up. Truth be told, I tried to change it as rarely as I could because it was pretty disgusting.

“Give him to me” Canary said and took him from my arms before I could reply or do something. She didn’t even invite me in, but I followed her anyway and watched her descend up the stairs with my boy without another word. It was a relief to see him disappear from my sight.

Screenshot-188When they came down again Taxus was dressed in shorts and a sweater instead of the pajamas he had been wearing when we came. He frowned when he looked at me.

“You have to get a grip about this” Canary said and shook her head. I knew she looked down on me for how I handled my parenting, but I never asked for a kid and I didn’t know how to be a mother. I wasn’t cut for it like she was.

Screenshot-183“It’s easy for you to say” I said to defend myself. “You actually had a mother to teach you!”

Because really, how could I know how to be a mother when no-one had been there to show me how to? It wasn’t my fault.

Screenshot-180“Then be a father” Canary’s father – Mithos – stepped up in front of me and said, clearly agreeing with his daughter in that I needed to step up my game. “You had a great father, learn from him.”

I shook my head. Did they really think I didn’t try? “I’m supposed to be a mother, not a father” I protested.

“There’s not really a difference in those two jobs” Mithos said and glanced back at our kids who were playing at the little table. Taxus was chewing on a red block while Hyacinth talked with adorable one-word-sentences and told her friend what the names of the different shapes were. She was two years younger than Taxus and still talked a lot better than him.

“I’m giving him everything he needs” I said when the realization hit me. I was a failure as a mother.

Screenshot-182“It’s not just about toys” Mithos said and walked towards Barley who had wondered something about different political ideologies for his school work. Good for him to have an expert father in the matter.

Canary stepped closer to me and out her hand on my shoulder. It actually did feel comforting, just as I suspect she wanted it to. “You know that we will help you, right?”

I hugged her. What would I do without my friends?

“But really, you need to invest in him. Emotionally. He needs love.”

I nodded slowly, trying to understand what I was doing wrong. I spoiled him, which was a way of showing love. Wasn’t it?

Screenshot-184We stood in silence just watching the two kids play for a while. The rest of the Spring family left the room which resulted in a rather peaceful atmosphere. Taxus and Hyacinth were good friends and played nicely together. Hyacinth was a real sweetheart, just like her two mothers. After a few moments of silence Canary turned towards me, “I’m probably a bit too pushy here, but…” she blushed a bit. “Are you pregnant again?”

“What?”

“Well, you have that look in your eyes. The same as with Taxus. They get a certain glow which makes you look both happy and terrified at the same time.”

Screenshot-185“I’m not pregnant!” I protested and waved my hands in front of me. I couldn’t be, right?

“Are you sure?” Canary asked and a small smile played on her lips. “Because it’s there now. It’s kind of glassy.”

“I… I don’t know” I stammered. I mean, I hadn’t been very careful with Lychee because there hadn’t really been time for careful, but I couldn’t be pregnant again, could I?

“I knew it!” Canary exclaimed, sounding much too happy than what was fitting for this situation. I pressed my fingers against my temples, trying to push away the headache that was now creeping upon me. I had barely had time to get on my feet after having Taxus and it would be incredibly bad if I was pregnant again.

“Look at it as another chance” Canary tried and hugged me. It felt weird. Just shortly afterwards I excused myself and headed back home.

Screenshot-189“Pregnant” I muttered to myself, feeling completely bummed out by the whole thing. Canary had been right, I was pregnant. And with Lychee Button’s kid of all possible men. It didn’t even matter that he was a famous record company owner, I didn’t want to birth his kid. Besides, I hated how they had pulled me off work again and now I was stuck at home, with my son and a baby on the way.

It’s safe to say that this was not how I wanted my life to be.

Screenshot-199Plum still came over pretty much every day. Sometimes she brought Canary and Hyacinth with her and sometimes she came alone. She was practically in love with my son. Way more than I was. But then again, she didn’t need to keep a constant look on him like I did. She could simply enjoy the good moments with him without the need for any deeper responsibility. I wanted to have it that way too.

And Taxus seemed to love his aunt Plum. He was laughing and giggling while in her arms. He rarely ever smiled at me.

Screenshot-198“So you’re going to be a big brother are you Taxus?” Plum’s voice transformed in to a lighter, more playful one which was more suited to get Taxus’ attention. I couldn’t understand how every single berry could be so easily transformed if you just put a baby in their arms. Didn’t people care about their own identities? That was what made me different. No baby could change who I was.

Screenshot-193The full moon was shining bright over my little house. I had always been a night owl and this particular night was no exception. It had been hours since Taxus fell in to his deep slumber and as I was fiddling with the kitchen sink, trying to come up with a way to prevent it from ever breaking, I could hear the faint sounds of baby whimpers from his nursery. It wasn’t easy, but I had to admit to myself that there was something cute and love-able about that sound. He seemed pleased.

Taxus whimpering and the metallic sound of my wrench against the kitchen sink was the only thing heard through the house. It was calm and peaceful and even outside the house it seemed quiet. I wasn’t much of a loner, but this silence was rather soothing anyway.

Screenshot-192A sharp pain in the lower parts of my belly made me drop the wrench with a CLANG down in the kitchen sink. I knew this pain, I had been through it before.

I wanted to scream but I was afraid to wake Taxus up so instead I just clutched my hands against my stomach and focused on breathing. In through the nose and out through the mouth.

The baby was coming. 

Now.

Screenshot-194It was a couple of weeks early and I wasn’t prepared. There was no nursery prepared in the house because I still had time. At least, I had thought there was more time. A quick glance at the clock on my wall told me it was 3.15 am. The middle of the night. I couldn’t call anyone simply to ask for help at this hour so I did what I had done with Taxus:

I gathered some towels and then sat down on the floor in the kitchen, spread my legs apart and continued to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. The body works in mysterious ways and even though you think the pain is too much you manage to keep fighting. I pushed when my body so demanded and tried to stay away from pushing otherwise. I don’t know why, it just seemed like the right thing to do and had worked just fine with Taxus.

Screenshot-195The clock showed 4.30 when the sound of a baby’s first scream caught my eyes and I started crying by pure exhaustion. I had made it. I had a daughter now.

Her crying woke Taxus up and he too started crying. I couldn’t go to him though because the little girl in my arms needed me more.

Screenshot-196She was so beautiful. Surprisingly, I felt rather happy about her presence and when I curled her up in my arms and snuggled her close I realized exactly what it meant to feel happiness after a birth. “I’m going to call you Coral” I whispered, still keeping the tiny baby close to my chin. I was proud of myself.

And then I realized I had nowhere to put her. Instead I just walked in to Taxus room and stroke his chin with one hand while still clutching on to my little baby girl with the other. He stopped crying once he realized he wasn’t alone.

That night I slept in the rocking chair i Taxus room with Coral in my arms and it was the first time I felt any happiness about being a mother.

Screenshot-197Plum came over the very next day and forced me to go get some sleep while she looked after the two kids. I didn’t object, I was exhausted. “She’s so adorable” Plum said before I walked out of the room and to my bedroom. I couldn’t find the energy to even respond.

“Hello Coral, I’m your aunt Plum”  she whispered and took the girl in her arms. Taxus was on the floor playing with his toy blocks but he kept throwing glances towards the little baby. It had to be confusing to him.

They had to share crib until I had bought another one, which was on top of my to-do-list. After some rest.

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Chapter 3.2: That would be your uncle

Screenshot-1082“Did you hear that dad’s going away on some sort of convention for patrolling cops?” Blizzard was literally jumping on the spot while telling me the news.

“You look like a girl when you do that” I said and nodded towards him. He snorted but stopped jumping.

“It’s great news!” He stated and I gave him a questioning look.

“How’s that?”

Screenshot-1083“We’re having a party!”

“We are?” I wanted to keep my mocking tone, because really – he looked incredibly silly when he was that excited, but once the idea settled in my head I was caught in the same excitement. A party without grownups around, that could only be fantastic!

Screenshot-1081Mithos and Cherry’s daughter Canary was my second best friend after Plum. She wasn’t as wild and crazy as Plum, but she was a sweet girl with a heart of gold. She was a reason for me to come with my father whenever he visited their family, which was a win-win situation since it both granted me goodwill and meant I could hang out with a friend.

Naturally, she thought it was an excellent idea to host a party in my father’s abscense and promised to not tell her parents. We were already making up plans for the night and we both knew it would be amazing.

Screenshot-1085On the night of the party Plum came over extra early to help us with the music and preparations. We helped each other getting even more excited for the party and once we were dressed and waited on our guests we just had to dance. Our bodies demanded it. It was impossible to be still.

Loquat kept coming in to the room to lower the music. It would be an understatement to say that he wasn’t as excited as me and Blizzard about this whole party idea and he worried that the neighbours would call the cops, or even worse: call dad.

He hid in his room when the guests first arrived but his best friend (I suppose girlfriend) Carrot Tops dragged him out of there, forcing him to join the fun. And it sure was fun!

Screenshot-1088“I can’t believe you invited Lychee” Plum said and almost folded herself double of laughter.

“He’s convenient” I defended myself. “I haven’t done any math homeworks in weeks, and neither have you!”

“But still, inviting him to a party?! I bet he’s never even been on a party before.”

“There’s a first for everything” I smiled. In a way I felt sorry for Lychee. How could he not see that I was just playing with him? Eventually I would toss him away like a used toy. Or maybe he knew, and just played along while it lasted. It did give him some status, I suppose. Even if it was nerd-status.

Screenshot-1094“What do I earn if I ask him to dance?” I dared and pointed to where he was standing all dull and lonely just watching as the party went on in front of him. He wasn’t actually taking part in the fun.

“Eeew!” Plum stuck her fingers in to her mouth and pretended to throw up on our kitchen floor. “You wanna get that close to him?”

“What do I get?”

She deliberated with herself for a moment and then said, “Well, if you dance with him, and kiss him… I’ll let you take Fandango to prom.”

Fandango was hot. Both I and Plum had been in love with him since we first saw him entering our simlish class. I couldn’t believe she would let me have him so easily, I had been prepared to argue bloody about that. Well well, her loss.

Screenshot-1092Dancing with Lychee wasn’t so bad. And I had kissed him before, even if Plum didn’t know about it. I don’t know why I hadn’t told her, it wasn’t like I was ashamed of it, but it just didn’t happen. It was the only secret I had.

“Nice party” Lychee said and smiled. He swung his hips from one side to the other, looking very silly as he did. He wasn’t exactly a dancer, I thought to myself.

Screenshot-1091Plum watched us from the other side of the room and she couldn’t even contain her amusement. And truth be told, it was quite ironic. I was so out of Lychee’s league, and yet here I was dancing with him. Surely pigs would start to fly soon as well.

Screenshot-1090We danced for two songs until we were interrupted by the sound of Lychee’s phone. Plum had been watching us the entire time, and to not lose the bet I leaned in to kiss Lychee before he took a few steps to the side to answer his phone. When he did, I emerged back to Plum and was greeted by a tight hug and her amused laughter.

“I can’t believe you did it!” She said and put her arm around my shoulder. Best friends forever, no doubt.

Screenshot-1097Lychee came back to his safe spot in the kitchen just minutes later and was instantly attacked by Spray, who apparantly had heard his phone call and were now far from pleased.

“You told your mom that Sundance is out of town?” she shouted. We all froze at the spot. Could he really have done that? Broken the one rule our secret party had? I realized exactly what would happen now: Lychee’s mom would call our dad and he would come rushing home and we would be in so much trouble.

Screenshot-1096Blizzard seemed to thinnk just like me because he started waving his hands above his head and shouted for everyone to hurry out of the house. We needed to clean the place up before dad came, it was the only chance we had to lower our punishments.

People started leaving the house in an instant and I stopped Lychee in the door on his way out. “That was the stupidest thing you could possibly do. I didn’t even think you could do such a thing. Whatever pathetic kind of relationship you thought we had is now over. OVER! Get out!”

He started to say something in protest but I shoved him out the door before he could say anything. It wasn’t even worth new earrings or getting the homework done if he acted like such a fool. I was done with him, he had played his part now.

When dad finally stepped through the door we had managed to clean the place up decently and were all tucked down in our beds, faking sleep. It seemed like dad bought it.

Screenshot-1103Luckily, dad never seemed to find out about our little party. If he had, he surely would have cancelled the park gathering he had planned himself. All of our family and friends were invited and everyone had been looking forward to it very much.

When the day of the party came, the weather was perfect. It was sunny, but not too warm. Pretty much everyone who was invited showed up, too. Plum had only met Cinnamon a few times before but they seemed to get along really well. I have to admit it made me a bit jealous seeing Plum whispering tasty gossip with someone else than me. She was my best friend, after all.

Screenshot-1104Dad brought a gnubb set and put it up in the middle of the park. It was an instant success and we played for hours. Don’t ask me why it was so funny to toss sticks across the grass trying to hit some wooden gnubbs, but it was. Sometimes, fun isn’t very logical.

Screenshot-1106I played in the same team as dad and Cinnamon, facing Cherry, Loquat and Plum. Our voices blended together, creating a sound mixed of cheers, laughs and joking insults. “You’ll have to keep your arm further away from your body unless you want to hit the baby!” Cinnamon shouted as Cherry prepared to throw her stick. She stuck her tongue out and threw the stick, which hit one of our gnubbs with a loud knock.

“And that’s how it done” Cherry smiled and placed a hand on her hip in a cocky pose.

Screenshot-1109Who would have guessed the pregnant woman would be such a natural gnubb player?

It wasn’t looking too bright for my team and as I picked the sticks up I realized we would have no shot at the victory unless we hit at least two gnubbs in this round. I focused hard before throwing my sticks and watched them land miles from the gnubbs I had aimed at. Bummer!

Screenshot-1107Another round passed and Cherry knocked a few more gnubbs down. They were definitely winning this game.

Plum was the one to knock the king down and after doing so she raised her arms in the air and let out a happy cry, which told everyone in the park that she had been in the winning team. “Fudging yes!” She screamed.

Screenshot-1108“Did you win honey?” Mithos stepped closer to Cherry and winked. It was a bit disgusting watching them two grownups flirting and acting like lovesick teenagers. They should have grown out of it, shouldn’t they?

“I sure did” Cherry answered with a big smile on her face.

“I knew you would” Mithos said and placed his arms around her neck, pulling her in for a gentle kiss.

Screenshot-1110Luckily, I was saved by the vibrations on my phone and I turned around to answer. ‘Lychee’ the screen read. I sighed but hit the green button, “Hey Lychee.”

“Hi gorgeous” he said in a voice that probably meant to sound sweet but which sounded incredibly dorky.

“‘What do you want?” I sighed, not even bothering to hide the irritation over his sudden interference in my life.

“I wondered if you wanted to go on a date with me? Tomorrow?”

“How many times do I have to tell you no?! I don’t want to date you Lychee. I don’t even like you. In fact, don’t even call me anymore. Okay?”

“But I thought…”

I didn’t care to listen to whatever it was he thought and hung up the phone before he could finish his sentence. The phone vibrated again before I even had time to put it away but I just clicked it, not wanting to talk to him at all.

Screenshot-1114I turned around with a loud sigh, remarkably annoyed over the fact that Lychee had dared taking my time on a weekend. Those thoughts soon left my mind though, as I saw my father sharing some very heated words with a berry just a short distance from my position. I had never seen my father argue with anyone before, and I had never seen the ‘bow he now argued wildly with before.

Screenshot-1111“I don’t want any trouble” the teal man said and raised his hands before him.

Dad was gritting his teeth and clenching his fists along the side of his body. “Then why are you here, Tiber?” He practically spat the name out and even from where I was standing I could sense the hatred that filled his every word.

“Im on permission, good behavior” Tiber said with a smile, still keeping his hands in front of him, as if trying to guard himself or at least calm my father down. It didn’t seem as he would calm down, though. A vein in his right temple pounded and his face was as red as Cherry’s hair. I had never, ever, seen my father look so angry.

Screenshot-1112Yet, he managed to surprise me another time. Without as much as a blink he took a leap and dove right on top of Tiber and they both fell to the ground in a loud thump. Dad was swearing as never before and Tiber seemed to do his best to stay out of the way of daddy’s waving fists.

” No wonder Oceana left you!” Tiber suddenly cried out, which seemed to surprise my father because his hands suddenly stopped in the middle of a motion. Tiber took the opportunity to land a few hits himself before dad snapped back to reality and continued to slam his fists against Tiber’s face and body.

Screenshot-1113“She left because of you!” Dad yelled with fury. “It’s your fault. YOU broke this family!”

I shifted my weight from the right foot to the left, not knowing whether I should try to stay out of the way or pull my father back. The whole situation made me uncomfortable. Nobody else seemed to notice that there was even a fight going on, they were still enjoying that gnubb set in the other end of the park.

Screenshot-1116“Because of me?” Tiber laughed between the moaning caused by my father’s fists. If it hadn’t been for the different colors of their clothes, it would have been impossible to make out which leg or fist belonged to which fighter. It was a cloud of white, yellow and teal mixed with dust, leaves and pebbles. It looked painful, more painful than any fight I had ever seen at school.

It looked as it was bloody serious and for a moment I wondered if one of them would end up dead. It certainly seemed as a possibility.

Screenshot-1117Just as I had decided I would interfere and try to pull dad out of the fight he stood up, brushed some dust of his pants and put his foot on top of Tiber’s chest. It was a sign of victory, more serious than Plum’s arms shooting through the air when she won a game of gnubb. This seemed to be the result of some grudge going way back.

Dad pressed his foot against Tiber’s chest with a little more pressure and snarled through gritted teeth, “If I ever see you close to my family again, I will kill you. And that’s a promise.”

Screenshot-1118As soon as he was released from dad’s boot, Tiber laboriously stood up and ran away. Dad chuckled by the sight of it. He didn’t seem hurt and I was surprised to realize he was quite the fighter. Who would have known?

Screenshot-1120“Dad, what was that?” I asked once dad had stopped laughing. He turned around startles, almost surprised to see me. I bet he didn’t know I had seen the fight.

“Uh…” Dad scratched his head, searching for the right words. “That would be your uncle.”

Chapter 2.13: Getting accustomed

Screenshot-933It wasn’t easy adjusting to not having Oceana around, and it certainly wasn’t easy adjusting to being a father of triplets. And for most of the time, I was also taking care of my old man, as he seemed to get older and more confused for each day that passed by.

I was usually completely drained once the kids were asleep and dad put to bed in the evenings and I would just curl up to a small, piteous ball on the couch. Was it really fair? Even when colorless sims had the same rights as any ‘bow, my life was a misery. Okay, exagerration, at least I had the kids. But still, I felt lonely and sorry for myself.

Screenshot-937There was lots to be done with three toddlers in the house. Constantly a mouth to fill or a diaper to change and I had not been completely ready for it. I wasn’t prepared for doing it all by myself. I did my best, but some days it seemed like the kids didn’t get as much attention or care as they deserved, despite my tries. It was a wonder mom and dad had managed raising me and my siblings in the district where the standards had been… low.

Screenshot-944 Screenshot-955My friends all came over occasionally to help me with the kids, which I was indescribably happy about as it gave me a chance to get some well-needed rest. They all had different opinions on Oceana leaving me. Some thought it had been for the better and some were furious with Oceana for letting me do all the hard work on my own. I myself didn’t really blame Oceana, I just missed her. She had been my first, and only, love. Maybe the feelings hadn’t been as mutual as I had thought, since she so easily could leave me.

Bluebell took Oceana’s side, as did my brother. They said that since they too were parents they could imagine what it would be like having to worry about your kids safety when there’s an easy fix. According to them they would do the same thing if they had to, and they seemed sure I would have to, if it had been the other way around. Maybe I would, but I would have considered my options because I didn’t like being without Oceana.

Screenshot-954Mithos was the one to come over most frequently, and also the one to help me the most with the kids. In fact, he came over pretty much just to spend time with them. I imagine it was sort of training for him, as he was also about to be a father any day. He was a really caring and supportive uncle to my triplets and I honestly don’t know if I would have managed without his help. To think that he still had time for these little things with me and my kids even with his role as the mayor of town was fantastic. It made me feel… important.

Screenshot-942 Screenshot-941He and Cherry hadn’t even been an official couple for a year when Cherry suddenly ended up pregnant. It was a big surprise to all of us, and maybe most of all for Cherry and Mithos themselves, but they took it for what it was and prepared themselves in the ways they could. I was happy for them, Cherry was a nice girl and someone who could deserve my dear hero friend. I was eager to meet their little one, but I hoped it would wait until my own kids were a bit older. It would simply be more convenient if some of the kids could take care of themselves while we fussed over a new little baby.

Screenshot-960Cherry did pop before the triplets birthday, but fortunately it was only a few days before so there wasn’t really that many days for me to get it to work with the kids all by myself. It was hectic, but I managed. I even managed to squeaze in a visit to the new parents and their lovely little Canary.

Screenshot-965For the triplets birthday I invited Cinnamon and Mithos and my siblings and their families over to celebrate. Quite a big party for a loner like me, but I needed their support now that Oceana had left me. I was scared for my kids growing up and for time passing, because I feared that with time I would forget about Oceana or at least get over her, and I didn’t want to. I suppose I was also scared that she would forget about me. Maybe even forget about her own opinions and go back to agreeing with her family. The simple thought of her feeling disgust of her own kids was enough to make me cry. Those babies were perfect, why couldn’t she see that?!

The triplets aged up beautifully. Perfectly, actually. They probably got that from their mother, the perfect part.

Screenshot-957 Screenshot-959Spindle was already a teenager and his best friend was aunt Sweet Corn. They laughed and teased each other to no end. It was clear that friendship wasn’t limited by any boundaries of age. “Do you have any girlfriend yet, Spindle?” Sweet Corn teased while they were stuffing themselves full with cake.

Spindle stuck his tongue out, “Naha, do you have any boyfriend yet?”

I knew it was a sore toe for Sweets, but she just couldn’t find the right one. Ironically, I had found the right one for me but she had left me. I suppose we were in similar positions. Maybe one day she would find someone, or would it be impossible now that she was used to loneliness? In a way it suited her and it did leave her with enough energy to be the perfect aunt and my kids would certainly need that. A grownup girl in their lives.

Screenshot-958Pixie had a hard time dealing with losing friend after friend. It was understandable, of course, and I really felt for her. At least she was still putting on a brave smile and tagged along whenever we had a gathering. She was as much family as any of the guests of this party. It was comforting being with her too, as she reminded me so much about my own mother. They had been the best of friends, closer than I had ever been to any of my own friends. It had to be about as tough losing such a close friend as it had been for me to lose my mother.

Screenshot-956Cinnamon was, to my great joy, also pregnant. Even if it would be quite a few years between our kids (and Mithos’ little girl) it was a joy to share parenting with close friends. I mean, it was only natural that my priorities had changed after the triplets came in to my life and having my two best friends doing the very same journey by my side was probably the best thing to it. I knew I would love their babies with every part of my heart that was left after loving my own family.

My friends had all brought some gifts for them and we all worked hard to stuff it in to the tiny rooms in our house. I realized I would probably have to re-build the nursery either to another bedroom or some kind of playroom. It wasn’t like we would need a nursery again, anyway.

There was just one problem about re-building and that was that now that mom’s retirement money had stopped coming we weren’t exactly swimming in cash. And for Berry’s sake, I had three kids to provide! I would have to get a job. And so the next problem occurred; What would I do for a living? I wasn’t exactly good at anything.

Screenshot-964“Easy” Sweets said when I asked her and I narrowed my eyebrows, trying to form them in to a question mark. “You’re joining the police force, of course! You’re the best investigator in town, after all.”

As surprising as it may sound, the police force seemed to agree. Or at least they offered me a job. I suspect the investigations regarding Affair’s murder played a part, but the bigger part was probably the fact that they needed to hire more colorless’, ‘for a diversity in staff’.

Screenshot-987When Blizzard, Loquat and Soda Pop went for their first day in school, I went for my first day to work. I’m not sure who was the most nervous, but it was most likely me. At least they had each other to rely on while I was all by myself.

With the kids being older, life got easier for me. It was a relief realizing they could mostly care for themselves as long as I provided the essential food and love. And homework guidance, of course. I even found myself with a bit of spare time, which I hadn’t had since before they were born. Since I could spend it with Oceana, I thought to myself.

Screenshot-970I went to her house a couple of times. I rung the bell and waited for someone to open the door. I just wanted to see her, hear her voice. Tell her that the kids were beautiful. But she did the same thing as she had done to my phonecalls ever since she walked out of my house – she ignored it. The door remained shut no matter how much I wished for it to swing open. She had made her choice, and I was clearly not a part of it.

Screenshot-972 Screenshot-973Only one single time as I went there the door opened but it wasn’t Oceana who stood in the doorway, it was some blue ‘bow who hissed at me, something about Oceana not wanting anything to do with me. When I refused to leave he gave me a lesson. It had been many years since that had last happened, but it seemed the loathe of colorless wouldn’t budge easily.

Screenshot-974Two days later I found a note in the mail, “Remember Sundance, survival is most important! X” It didn’t matter that it wasn’t signed, I knew it was from Oceana anyway and it was just another way for her to tell me to forget about her and move on with my life.

Dad kept getting worse and there was nothing I could do about it. I had known for a long time that he was having trouble getting things straight, but when he mixed Loquat and Blizzard up, I realized just how bad it was. It seemed like not even the kids could slow his ageing and fading down anymore. I needed to prepare myself for losing him. Not that I had the slightest idea about how to do such a thing. I didn’t want to be left alone with the triplets, I couldn’t do it.

Screenshot-953But dad did pass away. He did leave me alone with the triplets. I would never be able to forgive him.

Screenshot-951 Screenshot-950 Screenshot-949We were all devastated.

Screenshot-977“Are both your mom and dad dead now?” Soda Pop asked one day a couple of weeks later and tears welled up my eyes. It hurt to think about them being gone and no matter how much time that passed, I still missed them.

“Yes they are” I replied, trying to remain strong in front of my child.

“What happens when you die?”

“You go to the place you wish to go to” I replied, aware that it was an abstract explanation. Soda Pop seemed pleased, though, and she skipped off, interrupting her brothers in some game. They did leave her out of their games occasionally, saying whatever they were playing wasn’t for girls. That was one of the few times I interfered in their games because it was probably not easy for her to be the only girl. I could only imagine what it would be like once she needed a girl-talk. Who would help her with that? Sweets or Cinnamon, perhaps?

Screenshot-975“Dad?” Soda Pop was standing right before me again, her innocent eyes looking straight at me. “Don’t we have a mom?”

I had known the question would come eventually but it felt like it was too soon. Although, wasn’t every part of your kids progression too soon? I didn’t know what to answer, Oceana had never told me how she wanted the story to be. I took a deep breath to earn myself some time, hoping the right answer would suddenly just appeared. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Even after two deep breaths I didn’t know what I was supposed to tell her. She was starting to look impatient, obviously expecting an answer. I decided to just take the bull by the horns. “Boys! Come here. I need to talk to you all about something.”

Screenshot-979The boys complained over having to interrupt their current game, but came to our side. “Everyone has a mother” I started once they were all close and listening. “You have the best mother of them all. I wish you could meet her. She looks a bit like all of you. Blizzard, you have the same skin as her and Soda, you have the exact same hair color. Loquat, you look mostly like me, but you have so much of her personality. Her name is Oceana and she is very brave.” I took a pause to gather myself, the part of her abandoning them, us, was still tough to me. I wasn’t even sure if I had accepted it myself and now I would have to get my kids to believe in it.

Screenshot-978“Sometimes, when you really love someone, you will have to make tough choices just to protect those you love. Your mother did that. Because her parents and her siblings are bad persons, she had to leave us to keep us safe. Her family hurt both me and her a couple of times before because they didn’t like berries without color. That was a common thing, actually. Oceana wasn’t like that and her family didn’t like that she turned her back on them. We were in love and they couldn’t accept it. When you were born, she left to keep us safe. Your mother loves you all very much, and that is why she isn’t with us anymore. Do you understand?”

I looked at my kids who had been listening close to the story and they all nodded insecure. They understood. It wasn’t until that moment I realized that I too understood. She had really left us to keep us safe. And ever since she did return to her family, I hadn’t been harassed a single time. And my kids were as safe as any kid. “I still love  her” I said, not particulary for the kids to hear but since they were the only ones around they did.

Screenshot-983“There is a boy at our school who says his parents say we are freaks because we are colorless” Loquat said quietly.

Screenshot-981“It’s good mom is protecting us” Blizzard said and Loquat and Soda Pop nodded in agreement.

Screenshot-969Time passed by. Days became weeks and weeks became months. I wasn’t as tired anymore, even though I worked fulltime at the police now. Even though it was hard to accept, dad’s death had been a relief in a way. No more embarrassing mix-ups for his sake, and no more caring for him for my sake. He had finally found peace, and was finally with mom again. I don’t think he had ever managed to leave her side and had probably had one foot on the other side ever since she passed. Maybe he just stuck around long enough to see that I was doing okay with the kids. Would have been typically him, actually.

What I loved the most about my life was the goodnight stories. The triplets were all tucked down in their beds and the only light came from the lamp by Soda’s bed. There was excitement in the air and I remembered how much I had enjoyed reading when I was younger. Sharing that one passion with my kids was a fantastic thing. It usually didn’t take more than a few pages until the kids were all asleep and I could take a round, kissing them all on their foreheads. I didn’t know if it was the actual reading or the kissing part I liked the most, but I loved the nightly routine no matter.

Screenshot-984“I love you daddy” Loquat said during one of those nightly routines and the expression “my heart melted” suddenly became so real. I loved these little ones with all my heart and I would do whatever I had to in order to keep them safe. Oceana, Bluebell and Quince had all been right. Whatever I had to.


Sundance’s Misc. Fun and Generational Goal was Fighter / Social Bunny. I kind of combined them, making him get attacked every time he went out to do something with his friends.

Chapter 2.12: And then there were three

I was so proud of myself since I knew it was now only a matter of time until Tiber’s punishment was raised with a couple of years and Heliotrope would join his cousin in jail. The investigation me and Cinnamon had done would lead to exactly that, the police had promised us. Since we had a recording of Heliotrope admitting the murder of Affair, it would be impossible for any lawyer to get him to walk free. Justice, at last. I was eager to tell Oceana the great news and I hurried home, hoping she would be there.

Screenshot-806I found her in the bathroom, door unlocked. She looked sad, almost depressed. “Is everything alright?” I wondered, wanting to make sure nothing had happened in my abscense. The good news could wait another moment.

“No, it’s not alright” she replied and turned to look at me. A pearl of sweat was rolling down her forehead.

Screenshot-837“Anything particular?” I asked, thinking it could possibly be the same worry she had been plagued with for the last months. She shook her head, a sign she didn’t want to talk about it. I put my hand on her upperarm and smiled, “Okay, but listen, I have great news!”

A slight smile formed on her face, “What’s that?”

“We finally found a way to tie Tiber and Heliotrope to the murder of Affair. It’s waterproof, they’ll both be convicted for it!” I could barely contain my excitement, but the reaction from Oceana was far from what I had expected:

Screenshot-805*Blllerrrrgh*

I looked away to not embarrass her and once she stood up again she looked at me, “You did what?”

I wasn’t sure if she was happy, angry or just modest, but I tried to transfer some of my own excitement through encouraging words, “It’s true! Your safe! They’ll both get long punishments and you’ll be free. They won’t be able to hurt you!”

I told her the complete story of what had happened this very day and once I was done she turned her back on me and covered her face in her hands, it almost looked like she was crying, but she couldn’t be, right? “I can’t believe you did such a thing” she eventually said and it hurt. After everything I did for her, she thanked me like that?

“Don’t you get it Sunny? It doesn’t matter if they’re in prison or not. There’s always someone else to do their work. If we fight them, it’ll only get worse. Don’t you understand? They’re powerful. Mighty powerful.”

Screenshot-838“B-but they’ll be behind bars” I stammered. If this wasn’t enough for her to feel safe, I had no idea what was. What else could I do?

“And that’ll make them hate you, us, even more. I can’t believe you did this…” she was definitely crying now and I felt my own anger rising. Way to be thankful! I didn’t know what to say, so I left her in the bathroom. Tears was welling up in my own eyes, why couldn’t she just be thankful? Didn’t she know I had risked my life for her?

Screenshot-833I hid in the nursery, not knowing whether I should be angry or sad, or keep being happy for the success in the Affair-case. It was confusing, that was what it was.

Screenshot-836After some time, mom came in and sat down on the toy box in front of me, “Don’t be so hard on her” she said and looked at me. “Or on yourself. You did what you thought was right, and I’m glad Affair finally could have some justice. But Oceana, she… She has reasons to worry. You should talk to her instead of hiding.”

I watched my mother leave the room again. Always so wise. I couldn’t imagine that there would eventually be a day when she was no longer around. She was my guiding star and had always been.

Screenshot-722“Sunny!” Oceana looked happier when I got out in the livingroom again and I wondered if maybe mom had talked to her as well. I walked up in front of her, waiting for her to explain herself. She surprised me again, “I’m pregnant.” The first syllables were said in a happy tone but the last ones were more like a deep sigh. I think her actual uttering explained exactly how she felt about the entire situation.

“Pregnant?” I asked, even though I was certain I had heard the last time. Oceana nodded.

She. Was. Pregnant.

“I’m becoming a father?” The question was silly because I obviously were, but it was still hard to wrap my brain around it.

Screenshot-721No one bothered to answer my question and mom came swooping Oceana under her wings, turning her back against me. It was obvious that they wanted to bond like women, and that I had no place in their little conversation. “Look, here’s Sundance as a little baby. Look at those chubby cheeks!” Mom pulled out the baby pictures and within an instant she and Oceana was wrapped up in a conversation about babies, diapers and well… me. I felt extremely left out and went to do what I always did when I needed to think, I cooked.

Screenshot-719Screenshot-720I heard them babble on behind my back and I tried to not feel too left out. Ater all, there were things in a pregnancy that I couldn’t know a squat about. And to be honest, it seemed to brighten Oceana’s mood up, and that was probably for the better.

They were truly bonding, and I was happy for that. Mom had been wishing for more grandchildren ever since Spindle was born and I knew it was like a dream coming true for her knowing that Oceana was pregnant.

Screenshot-817Oceana herself had more mixed thoughts about the whole thing, I could tell. She put on a happy face in front of my mother, but I knew since before that she was scared of having kids. Not because she would become a mother, but because she was constantly worried that someone should harm her or me, and having to worry for a kid on top of that would simply be too much.

“It’ll be fine” I promised and smiled. I myself was happy as a clam. I would have a baby. A baby.

Screenshot-816“It’s not fine!” Oceana snorted. Stop saying it’s fine when it isn’t!”

Moodswings. I had read about them but it didn’t mean they were easy to tackle. “I think it will be fine” I said again.

“In that case you’re stupid” Oceana muttered and turned her eyes towards the TV, avoiding my face.

Screenshot-814“Well, you certainly seem happy around my mother. Maybe you two should raise the kids then!” I suddenly snapped. I don’t know where it came from, but I had finally had it!

Oceana softened up and looked at me, “Because she doesn’t know me like you do. It’s her dream, Sunny! But you know I can’t do it. I can be myself with you. No pretending, just plain old me.”

Oh, wasn’t she one with the words in her mouth.

Screenshot-819

Screenshot-840It was a grey and cold evening when the new election was taking place. The raindrops bounced off the asphalt like bouncy balls and only the bravest berry would ever dare to leave the comfort of their house. Now, the supporters of Spectrum were obviously among those brave ones since we all defied the weather and gathered at The Blank Slate to hold our election night watch party. We had never been as close to a victory as we were this particular night. There was a hopeful atmosphere vibrating at the place.

Screenshot-839My friends were all walking around with happy, yet anxious, smiles on their faces. Oceana was huge, looking as if she was about to pop any day now. Mithos was the happiest of us all, the proud smile was pretty much glued to his face as he mingled around, making sure everyone was having a nice time.

“You ready to rule the town then?” I asked Mithos when he came up to me.

“Don’t jinx it!” He replied in a serious tone, although his eyes were still smiling. I had a good feeling about this election.

Screenshot-842We all knew the first hour of counted votes wouldn’t make or break anything so to ease our nerves we danced. It made time fly, and we sure needed that. We were all so anxious about the results. If we didn’t win this time, we would never win. The circumstances couldn’t possibly be any better than they were at this very moment.

Screenshot-841Dad was trying to do some maths in his head. Somehow he was sure that he could calculate the final scores if he just thought hard enough. It was a hard thing to accept, but he was getting older and older and with that, more and more confused. Poor thing.

Screenshot-844When the votes were closing in to be all counted, we had a 4 percent lead on Mayor Bloom’s replacement assistance. It was a good lead, but nothing was secured yet. Quince decided to lower the music and raise the volume of the big screen hanging in the middle of the room. Everybody in the pub when silent and held their thumbs so hard that their knuckles turned white.

It was nerv-wrecking, really.

Our lead grew to 6 percent.

Shrunk to 5 again.

And then suddenly took a leap up to 7.

Screenshot-847That was when the pub exploded in a unison HOORAY. We had done it, we had finally conquered over the racism. Spectrum would from this day on, rule the town for a couple of years. The music pumped on and everyone started hugging each other and sharing high-fives. It was the most fantastic experience I had ever had.

Screenshot-850Mithos, was of course, the happiest of us all. Mayor Spring.

The party continued for several hours and it was  f a n t a s t i c.

Screenshot-821When the party finally ended over at The Blank Slate we were extremely excited about the sudden success that sleep would be impossible. Me and Oceana sat down outside our house, just staring up at the stars in the sky. I loved being close to her. Loved the possibilities that had opened up before us this very evening. Things would never be the same again, I knew that for sure.

Yet, Oceana managed to surprise me, by ruling out just how much things would change.

Screenshot-823“Sunny” her voice was weak and shaky, which I thought was weird a night like this. “My family won’t like these turnouts…”

“They don’t have much choice now. With Mithos as mayor their money won’t be able to buy them advantages anymore” I promised.

Oceana sighed, “You just don’t get it, do you?”

I didn’t say anything because I didn’t feel like fighting with her this night. She was the one who didn’t get it! She was safe, I had made sure of that. It was getting tiresome listening to her worries day and night.

Screenshot-824“They won’t ever leave me. Or you” she continued. “I know them Sunny. They won’t care if they’re punished for it, if they get a chance to avenge my betrayal they will take it. They’re so many, even if Tiber and Heliotrope are locked up there will always be someone else to go after me, or you. Or the baby.”

“But I’ll protect you!” I protested.

“Can’t you just listen, please?” Tears rolled down her cheeks. “You could try, but it’s no guarantee for our safety, or the baby’s safety. There’s only one thing that can keep you and the baby safe, and I’ve decided to do it.”

“And what’s that?”

“I’ll go back to them.”

“GO BACK?!” I stood up, and felt furios. Out of everything she could have thought of, this was her idea? “You’re leaving me?”

She cried even more, it was getting hysterical. “I do it for you Sunny. Once the baby is here I’ll leave it with you and I’ll crawl back to them. If they think I’ve reconsidered, they’ll leave you alone. And you can raise the baby. It’s the only way. If anything happened to this little one I could never forgive myself. I love you, Sundance. I love you.”

Screenshot-851I couldn’t just simply accept the fact that Oceana would disappear out of my life, even if her reason was to protect me and the baby. It didn’t make any sense. There had to be some other way? I complained over at Quince’s place, hoping that he would have any advice on what I could do.

“She says it’s the only way. That the baby will be safe if she just goes back there. But there has to be another way, right?”

Screenshot-852“She’s going back?!” Quince seemed as upset as I had been over Oceana’s idea. No wonder, I suppose… Her plan was actually to go back to the family who had haunted us for years, who had killed Affair.

“I don’t know what to do” I admitted, feeling more and more depressed over the thought. Here I stood, thinking I had known Oceana, that she had been different, and yet she was willing to go back to her old, horrible family, just like that. “I can’t lose her. I can’t raise a baby on my own!”

Screenshot-853Quince scratched the back of his head in thoughts and mumbled a bit for himself. “Well, maybe…”

“Maybe what?”

“Maybe it’s not a bad plan… I mean, those berryholes went after her even with our protection. You can’t imagine what it’s like to have a kid Sunny. Not until you actually have one. You’ll do anything to keep it safe.”

“Even abandon it?”

“If that’s what it takes. If I had to abandon Spindle to make sure he was safe, I’d do it. It wouldn’t be easy, but I’d do it.”

It felt as if Quince was letting me down. It made me angry thinking that everyone backed her decision up. Cinnamon had been upset over it at first, but she also agreed it would keep the baby safe in the end and that it therefore would be worth it. I hoped sincerely that she would change her mind once the baby was here.

Screenshot-834It became a long and almost unbearable fall. The simple thought of Oceana leaving me was depressing. I really tried to talk her out of it, but it seemed impossible. On top of the problem with Oceana, dad seemed to get worse and worse for each day. He would go out in the garden to rake leaves for hours. It was almost as if he forgot about everything around him. All he could care of was that rake and the thought of getting the leaves gathered in a neat pile.

A simple little puff of air had the leaves whirl around, causing a mess on our lawn again, which had him start all over. I think he missed most of the pregnancy all together and I wasn’t even sure if he was aware of the fact that he would be a grandfather again around winter.

I was excited to meet the baby, but the constant worry of Oceana actually keeping her promise and leaving us gave me mixed feelings. I wanted the little one to be born, but I didn’t want to lose Oceana. Time became a funny thing, it seemed to move both too fast and too slow.

Screenshot-796 Screenshot-795Mom had been looking forward to the birth since she first found out and it was nice to see her care for Oceana, giving tips on how to raise kids or how to ease the pregnancy aches. I had been looking forward to see her with my kid and that made it even more sad when she passed away with winter around the corner. She practically stumbled at the finish line and she would never get to feel the smell of a newborn baby.

It was almost impossible to accept the fact that she wouldn’t be around.

Screenshot-848Just a few weeks after mom’s death, it was time. Pixie came around to handle the delivery and Oceana surprised us by giving birth to not one, not two, but three healthy little babies. Triplets! Mom would have been thrilled!

I was happy to see the perfect little ones, but the fear of Oceana possible leave clouded the happiness. For the first few weeks I thought she had changed her mind, but once the kids were old enough to be fed through the bottle she packed her bags and waved us goodbye. “I love you Sundance, and I love our kids. Please remember to tell them that. I leave because I love them, nothing else, okay?”

I cried for a full day after that. In just a few weeks I had lost two of the most important girls in my life. Would I ever be able to survive that?

Dad snapped out of his confusion whenever he was with the babies, which was lucky because I couldn’t have managed on my own. But he was there, like a father should and helped me get through the initial sorrow.

Screenshot-857And as time passed, I learned to be happy for what I had. Soda Pop, Loquat and Blizzard were the cutest, most adorable and fantastic babies I had ever seen. Even though it was hard to get by without Oceana’s support, they gave me happiness and comfort. It made me feel a bit better, thinking a bit of Oceana lived in these kids.

Chapter 2.11: Home

Screenshot-793“Look at it!” Mom was shining with joy as she pointed at a small white house with a broken fence surrounding it. “Home, it’s our home!”

It was weird entering a place that should be filled with emotions and memories, but which was blank to me. I had no memories from this place, neither did it feel like home. For as long as I could remember my home had been in the district. I tried my best to act as happy as I was supposed to and entered the house. It was dusty and it smelled trapped but I had to admit it still looked nicer than the shack in the district. It surprised me that there was still an old computer and an old TV after all these years.

Mom and dad was swirling around in a hug, laughter escaping their mouths. This had to be about the happiest day of their life and in the confusion I felt, that was something I could be genuinely happy about. ‘I’ll get used to it’ I thought and did a tour in the small house, in my new home.

Screenshot-704I took a walkabout in the house, trying to find something I remembered, something that could remind me of a life outside the district. I found nothing. I sat down in a rocking chair in one of the nurseries. It had to be Quince’s because there was only one crib while there were two in the other. So, this was it. My new home. My new life.

It had been a good start, I had to admit that much. Oceana had been released from the hospital after two days of observation when the doctors were sure her breathing was stabilized and functioning as normal. Quince and Sweets had been released from custody the day after the rebellion, along with the rest of our friends, with no punishments. We all suspected they would be held under close observation by the police for a while, though. Mayor Bloom had been forced to step down from his post as Mayor, and were simply Mr. Bloom by now. His assistant had taken the vacant spot, while a new election was being planned. I had never heard of an election during a term, but with the ruling circumstances there really was no other choice. Yes, things were looking brighter than ever and now I had a real home.

Screenshot-798Mom decided we would throw a homecoming party. We all agreed that it was a good idea since we had finally managed to succeed in our political plan. We were no longer secluded because of our color. It was a giant step in the right direction. It would also be the first party in many, many years that we could host in a real home instead of at the pub. That alone was worth celebrating.

To my big surprise, the stereo still worked after all the years it had not been used. I shifted through mom and dad’s old record collection and came up with a mix of Indie, Rock, Jazz and RnB that would suit pretty much everyone. I can’t say I was a master when it came to music, but I was quite sure I was better than mom and dad.

While I prepared the music, mom was swirling around in front of a mirror, trying some of her old clothes on. She had been doing that regularly the last few days. I was a bit jealous because I couldn’t feel the same homecoming feeling as her and dad. I wanted to be happy in the same way as they were. It wasn’t like I could try my old clothes on to remember past days either, since they were all baby clothes. Oh well…

Screenshot-799Pretty much all of our friends came for the party and it was a good night. Quince mixed a few drinks and placed them on the dining table so that everyone could just help themselves. “I want to raise a toast” Cinnamon suddenly exclaimed and threw her arm around Oceana’s body in a friendly gesture. Someone lowered the volume of the stereo while Cinnamon got to speak, “This girl, my friends, is the bravest girl I know. I want to raise a toast for her, for putting her berryhole brother in prison – where he belongs! To Oceana!”

The party cheered and emptied their glasses for Oceana’s sake. I did the same, even though I could see it was hard for Oceana. She hated her brother alright, but reporting him and getting him arrested had put another nail in the coffin between her and her family. I knew it was hard, because even if she despised them, they were her family and now they hated her. The world might have become a better place for colorless berries, but because of the latest happenings it was a lot more dangerous to Oceana. Still, she smiled as Cinnamon talked and when the rest of us drank what we had in our glasses, she did so too.

Screenshot-800Screenshot-803Later that evening it was Flax’s turn to raise a toast. He cleared his throat and started speaking once everyone was quiet. He had quite the power in our little circuit because he was the leader of our party and all. “I’m proud of you all for getting us here” he said.

Mithos, who stood next to him, rocked back and forth on his heels. After a short rhetorical pause, Flax continued, “I’m not as young as I used to be. I know you can see it, but I can certainly feel it. Berry, my joints are stiff as a lollipop in the mornings and I do all kind of morging gymnastics to even get out of bed. Because of this, it’s time for me to hand the leadership over. It hasn’t been an easy choice, but the guy who will be taking over is a fantastic young boy with just the right amount of fighting spirit. We deliberated together, and have decided to re-name the party as well. Whites stood for the justice of colorless, but with how far we have come now, we want to focus on equality for every ‘bow regardless of color instead. Hence, the new name of the party is Spectrum. And now my friends, please all all raise your glasses in a toast for Mithos Spring, the perfect new leader for our politics!”

Screenshot-802It came as a surprise to most of us, but Mithos just smiled proudly and emptied his glass. Not that he wasn’t a perfect leader because I sure couldn’t imagine anyone better suited, but because it was hard to accept that Flax (and hence my parents) were getting to the point where they needed to hand responsibilities over. Shouldn’t they be around forever?

No wonder, it was an epic party that night. There was just so much to celebrate. We kept going the whole night.


Screenshot-705 Screenshot-706Having a real home had it’s advantages, I realized quickly. Not only did it mean a higher portion of safety and feeling of belonging but it also meant I could invite friends over. And the friend I most enjoyed being with, was Oceana. I think she needed me as much as I needed her. And we had great fun! It almost felt as though we were normal ‘bows now, living free in the world, having friends.

Although, Oceana was still scared. Putting her brother in prison had most likely been that final straw that broke the camel’s back. She just knew her family was after her now. She had betrayed them and in their eyes, she was the one belonging in jail, not Tiber.

“He only got nine months” she told me and the fear and worry made her eyes wander back and forth, as if she was keeping a lookout. Not that she wasn’t safe in our home, but I guess she must have felt constantly scared now. “What will happen after those months, Sunny?” I promised her it would be fine, but deep down inside I wasn’t so sure.

Screenshot-707Although, there were moments when the fear lifted its grip around her and she could be goofy, happy and playsome. It didn’t matter which Oceana she showed, I loved her anyway. I have to admit though, it was easier hanging out with the happy Oceana than the constantly scared one.

Screenshot-708Since she was scared of being at her own house, and alone, she spent a great deal of time at our place. It was almost as if she was a part of our family, although we were still no official couple, so calling her family would be a bit over the top. But it was nice, eating dinner together and talking about unessential things.

Screenshot-712“So, are you two ever going to bring us any grandchildren?”

Screenshot-711I pretty much choked on my hot dog. Sometimes I hated my mother, but that was just her way. She didn’t do cotton candy wrapped words.

Screenshot-710“I think that would be rather unfair” Oceana replied, without looking the slightest offended. “To them, I mean. With my family, those poor kids would be pretty much haunted. I couldn’t do that.”

It was as if a rock collapsed on my shoulders. Sure, I knew she was scared her family would come after her and I had never really considered having a family with her, but getting it put so straight wasn’t fair. I mean, there was still the possibility, right? I knew from that moment that if Oceana were to ever have a proper future, where she wouldn’t have to be constantly afraid, I would have to do something. I would create a world where she could be safe.

Screenshot-807The only thing that came to my mind, was trying to talk some sense in to her family. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but if there was even the slightest chance that Oceana would feel safer afterwards, it was worth a try. So, I gathered enough courage to visit the Sourz residence again. It was the first time I went there since we egged the place, and it brought back a few memories. This time I came with good intentions though.

Screenshot-825I pressed the door bell and it wasn’t until then I realized what a stupid idea this was, if I got hurt it certainly wouldn’t get any better for Oceana. Although, it was too late to back out now. Heliotrope opened the door and the disgust that flooded to his eyes when he saw me was impossible to miss. He snarled, “You!”

“I just wanted to ask you to leave Oceana alone, she’s had it hard enough” I stuttered. I really tried to be polite and friendly but with a man in front of you with such a clear hate for you, it’s hard to not tremble a bit.

“Scram, vanilla freak!” He slammed the door shut. Well, that didn’t go as planned but at least I didn’t get hurt in the process.

Screenshot-827With no other idea to how I could make the world a better place foe the girl I had fallen in love with, I went back to the Sourz residence the next day. Since I hadn’t been hurt the day before, I had found new courage and this time around, I wasn’t as scared when I pressed the door bell. Once again, Heliotrope opened the door and looked furious by the plain sight of me. “I told you to leave us be” he sputtered.

“And I want you to promise to leave Oceana alone” I answered, just stammering a bit.

Heliotrope stared at me deadly and it almost felt as if his eyes made burn marks on my body. “I just wish Tiber would have killed her, like he killed your purple friend” Heliotrope hissed slowly between gritted teeth and took a step out on the porch, closing the door behind him, In a matter of seconds, he had pushed me backwards so that I was lying defenseless on their porch. He jumped me and started to beat me up, angry words escaping his mouth in the process. “I just wish he would have killed her” he whispered again once he stood up and gave me some room to breathe. “She’s a disgrace to this family.” With those final words, he left me on the porch and walked back in to the house.

Screenshot-832I cleaned myself up at the gym on my way home, not wanting anyone to see that I had been beaten up. Least of all Oceana, who I suspected was at our house as usual.

It seemed like my little washup at the gym had done wonders because not once that evening did Oceana hint anything about a possible fight. In fact, she seemed to be a bit out of her game, which had me wonder if anything had happened to her this specific day. When I asked, she just waved it away though, saying she was just being tired.

We went to bed early that night and Oceana fell asleep fast while I myself tossed from one side to the other, sleep not willing to catch me at all. I presumed it had to do with my worries for Oceana. It couldn’t be easy on the poor thing walking around with constant worry. And what if Heliotrope finally got to her? What if he actually put any action in to the words he had tossed after me today? What if he actually wanted her dead? I couldn’t keep a constant lookout around Oceana and if Heliotrope really wanted to kill her, what would stop him?

I had an uneasy sleep that night. Nightmare after nightmare haunted me, each and everyone including me losing Oceana from my life. When I woke up I had to look at her twice, and actually touch her once, before I was certain that she was in fact still here.

I needed to do something.

Screenshot-828It was Cinnamon, of course it was Cinnamon, who came up with the final idea. It was stupid, but it could possibly work. After much deliberation I had decided to tell her about my worries and about my encounters with Heliotrope. It was too tough carrying it all by myself and the fact that I couldn’t come up with anything to keep Oceana real safe troubled me. Once I had shared it with Cinnamon, it felt a bit better.

She offered to help me, and I was grateful. So it happened that I rang the door bell at the Sourz residence for the third time in a very short time. With Cinnamon by my side it felt a teeny bit safer, and without her there, I probably never would have dared. While waiting for the door to open I gently touched the contents of my pocket, making sure it was all in place. The purple, fury, eyes that stared at me when the door opened gave me the chills but Cinnamon tackled me gently to make me speak. “You have one last chance. Promise to not harm Oceana, to leave her alone.”

Screenshot-826Heliotrope sneered, “I’m pretty sure I’ve already stated my opinion in this matter.”

“You can’t kill her for thinking differently” I stated.

Heliotrope laughed. It was a mean, evil and menacing laugh, “Ha! We can’t? Well, we managed with that purple waster, didn’t we?”

Cinnamon took my hand and squeazed it gently. I knew it meant I had to press on, “She’s your sister, Heliotrope!”

“I don’t give a damn about ‘bows showing any sympathy for freaks! They deserve to die and if I can help cleanse this town from their filthy existense, I’ll gladly do it again. What was his name, Affair?, he deserved to die. And so do you and everyone who cares for you. YOU ARE FREAKS!”

Screenshot-830Cinnamon kicked his chins before he had time to attack us and as he bent down in pain we ran. We ran as fast as we could, as far away as possible and when we finally stopped we looked at each other and smiled wide before embracing each other in a hug. It had succeeded, he had walked straight in to the trap!

Screenshot-831I pulled out the phone from my pocket and pressed Stop, to stop the recording.

I clenched the phone in my hands when we walked towards the police station, knowing that it held the future of my life, and foremost – Oceana’s life. Not even the stupid police force of Fondant Fields could resist a recognition. Heliotrope would soon be joining his brother where they both belonged and they wouldn’t get out anytime soon.

Chapter 2.9: The background

Screenshot-457 “Are you a couple now, or what?” Cinnamon looked at me with suspicious eyes and even though I had got that question several times during the last few weeks, I still didn’t know what to respond. I just shook my head.

Couple? No, no, surely you would know if you were a couple with someone, right? I did meet Oceana a lot, but I met Cinnamon, Sweets, Quince and Mithos a lot too, and I were no couple with either of them. Besides, Oceana would let go of my hand and take a step to the side as soon as someone appeared further ahead on the boardwalk, almost as if she was embarrassed by my company. No, we were not a couple, even if we kissed and cuddled now and then.

Screenshot-458“You don’t know if you’re a couple?” Cinnamon raised her eyebrows and it made me feel like an idiot. How could I not know for sure?

Screenshot-581Later that day, when mom had come home to the district, I decided to ask her for advice. She usually had the answers to all my questions, she was old and wise.

“How you know if you’re a couple?” Mom scratched her head and repeated the question to herself a few times. After a moment she chuckled, “Oh, you’ll have to ask her I’m afraid, dear.”

“Ask her?” My heart started beating in ultra rapid speed and I thought for a moment that I might pass out. I couldn’t possibly ask Oceana if we were a couple! I mean, if I did, that meant I kind of thought we were, right? And if her answer to the question would be no, I would be forever embarrassed. Nope, I couldn’t do it.

Screenshot-584“Who is this lucky berry, son?” Mom asked and I could tell she was excited by the thought of a potential love interest of mine. Ever since Spindle was born, she had been bugging me and Sweets about how we needed to also find someone, so that she could have more of those joyful little bundles of love. The thing was that I was too shy to dare take any initiative to romantic actions (unless Quince ‘poisoned’ me with his mixology magic) and Sweets couldn’t settle for one single boy. She was constantly seen with a new berry on her arm.

“Oh” I twisted my body back and forth, trying to guard myself from the question.

“Is it Cinnamon?” Mom pressed on and smiled. “She’s real cute.”

“Cinnamon?!” Had I been drinking something at that moment I would have spit it all out over the table. Cinnamon? “It’s not Cinnamon” I promised, which made mom even more curious.

Screenshot-585“Her name’s Oceana” Sweet Corn announced just as she came through the front door. Without another word, she walked through the livingroom and in to our shared bedroom. Sometimes, I hated her. Who was she to reveal my secrets? Not that I would ever confront her about it, though.

“I can pretend I never heard that” mom smiled. It was a true mother-smile, one that held pride, love, care and respect.

“Please do” I sighed. “I don’t know what we are, and until I do for sure, it’s nothing. Okay. No hopes?”

Screenshot-586“No hopes” Mom turned around to start working on the dishes and I prepared to make my leave. “Good luck with Oceana” mom said jokingly before I was out of hearing reach and I think I blushed from my toes and to my forehead. I hurried in to my bedroom before mom would say anything else that could embarrass me.

Screenshot-592 “Look, Sunny” Sweets started before I had time to say anything. “You’re going to see Oceana tonight, right?”

“I don’t know. What’s it to you?”

Screenshot-593“Well, I kinda hoped you would… I need the whole family out of here tonight, because… Well, because.”

“Surprises?” I asked hopeful. You were never too old for surprises.

“You could say that” Sweets answered and looked smug. “I’ve booked mom and dad a night at the spa. Bluebell’s working alone tonight. And they deserve it, after everything they’ve done. They’ll be the first colorless visiting the spa in 25 years. Quite cool.”

Even if I hated my sister from time to time, I still loved her to pieces most of the time. You would probably think she was selfish, but she was the complete opposite. She would do pretty much anything for her friends or family, at least if she gained something from it. And sometimes, she  was a bit blunt and fast forward, still she meant well most of the times. “I got it!” She exclaimed and interrupted my thoughts. “You’re going to take Oceana out for dinner tonight and I’m paying!”

Screenshot-589I hesitated for a moment, this wasn’t like Sweets. Usually when she was being this kind and generous, she gained something out of it. Only this time I couldn’t see what that could be. “Okay, but I don’t owe you anything for it, okay?”

“Nope, I’m just trying to be nice and show my family some love” her face lit up in a big smile and even though I didn’t know why, it felt like I had been lured in to a trap.

“Oh, and you can’t take her to the pub ’cause Quincie closes it tonight. Y’know, he has to take care of Spindle when Bluebell works and neither Mithos or Thunderbird could fill in for him tonight. You could go to the Flyin’ Burrito. I’m sure Oceana would love their karaoke machine.”

Screenshot-587They were closing The Blank Slate tonight? There was definitely something up, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around what it was. And truth be told, I was just happy to spend more time with Oceana, so I didn’t think about it too much.

Screenshot-610The Flyin’ Burrito was a decent place. It was small and somewhat cozy, and the owners didn’t hate us colorless. Except for the Blank Slate, it was one of the very few places we could go to without too much worry. It was a better place to go for dinner than The Blank Slate too and their (surprise!) burritos were pretty much famous. My favorite was the vegetarian one. It had the perfect mix of vegetables and the perfect amount of sauce – it wasn’t too dry, neither too smeary.

Oceana went there every night she didn’t come to our pub, because of their karaoke machine. She had a secret dream of one day becoming a famous singer but she never told anyone about that dream. I think one part of her were ashamed of it, because she wasn’t the typical fame-seeking girl. I knew only because I asked her once, after one of our duets at The Blank Slate. She admitted with flushing red cheeks that she was indeed hoping to break through one day. She has a fitting name for it, Oceana Reef. It’s quite catchy, right?

We enjoyed a nice meal while listening to a few talented, and some more not-so-talented, karaoke singers. I hoped that Oceana wouldn’t want me to sing with her because doing it at The Blank Slate among friends and family was one thing and doing it at the Flyin’ Burrito among strangers a completely different thing. She would most likely sing but she was talented and I wasn’t. And hearing all the not-so-talented singers during our meal had me realize it was a bit embarrassing, especially those ones who really thought they did have talent. At least I wouldn’t count to that category.

Screenshot-601The question about what we were, laid like a leaf on my tongue. I wanted to let it out, but it also scared me. I knew I had to do it, though, because walking around and not knowing was pretty much driving me crazy. Once the waitress had removed our plates from the table I decided to finally do it. “So, Oceana, there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you…”

“Mhm?” Her emerald eyes smiled at me and stirred up an inferno of butterflies at the pit of my stomach.

“Are we.. I mean, are you… What are…” There were so many ways to say it, and neither seemed to fit. I cleared my throat and went with the next thing that came to my mind, “Are we a couple?”

Screenshot-599The smile in Oceana’s eyes disappeared and she looked down while scratching the back of her head, “Oh, that…” It felt as if my heart was shattered in to a million little pieces, but what had I expected? That she would want to be with me? I only brought bad luck to those I cared for, or those who cared for me. “Sunny, there’s something I haven’t told you.”

My head started to spin. There was something she hadn’t told me. I had no clue what it could be, but I figured it couldn’t be good. “What is it?” I whispered, not even sure I wanted to hear the answer.

Screenshot-598Oceana stood up, and I just followed her lead and stood up too. She looked me straight in the eyes and it seemed as there was sadness in her eyes, or maybe my eyes betrayed me. I was nervously waiting for her to speak and when she finally did I let out my breath. I wasn’t even aware that I had been holding it. “My name hasn’t always been Oceana Reef” she started and looked at me, searching for some reaction in my face. I don’t know how I looked, I just wanted to hear more.

Screenshot-613“I was born in to a rich and powerful family. I had a good childhood with lots of love and lots of toys. I thought that was how life was supposed to be. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I was starting to doubt my family’s politics. There was nothing wrong with treating others bad if they didn’t have your standards or live by your rules, according to my family. Were you born in to a family that lacked money, power or… color, you were simply less valuable to the community. The more you earn, the more taxes the town earns from you and therefore you have a greater value. It was important to them to keep a good bloodline, to respect what had been in our blood for generations. And that was always color. I lived by that until I was old enough to question it, and whenever I raised the question they tried to shut me down. I couldn’t see how a ‘bow could be of less value just because they lacked color.”

Screenshot-612She took a short pause, looking at me with an apologetically face. I didn’t say anything, I wanted to hear the rest of the story. She continued, “It took a couple of years of arguments and disagreements until I had enough. I moved out of the house, cut the loose bonds that were left and changed my surname. That was when I went from being Oceana Sourz, to becoming Oceana Reef. I still hear from my family sometimes, and I think they still care for me. I’ve been making a deal with my brother, who you know as Tiber. He has promised to not hurt me or my friends if I leave him be. We have lived by that word since then, but I’m not sure he would approve of your… lack of color. In their eyes, I’m still a Sourz, and they wouldn’t look to lightly on me if I ‘infested’ the bloodline. It’s not that I don’t like you, I do, I really do! But Sunny, they’re dangerous berries. I couldn’t do that to you. It’s one thing to be friends, a whole other thing to be a couple. They just wouldn’t allow and we would both get in trouble. I’m sorry, it just can’t happen.”

She cried once she was done and I waited a moment or two before doing anything, still not quite sure what her story meant. It just didn’t make sense that this wonderful girl could have anything to do with the berryhole Tiber and yet she stood right before me, telling me that he was her brother.

Screenshot-614“But, I think I’m in love with you.” It was the first thing that came out of my mouth and I was surprised myself. Not because it wasn’t true because that I was sure of, but because it didn’t make any sense to say that now. Oceana’s right hand wiped a tear out of the corner of her eye and she looked at me. She looked so hurt, so damaged. I couldn’t help but think it was my fault. I had done it again, brought bad luck to a berry I cared for.

I didn’t know what to do, I had never been in a situation like this before, so I did the first thing that came to my mind: I embraced her in a hug. “The worst thing is that I think I’m in love with you two” she whispered. My shirt got wet of tears and we probably stood there for several minutes, just finding comfort in each other’s arms.

Screenshot-625When we finally pulled out of the hug, I think we both felt a bit better. Oceana guided me out of the place and through a nearby park while keeping a constant lookout. I suspect of her brother or his friends. She stopped in front a small house and took my hand, “They might not approve of you, but that doesn’t mean I can’t sneak you in to my house, does it?”

Saying I had never thought about sex with Oceana would be a lie, because she was probably the prettiest and sexiest girl I had ever seen. But that it should be like it was, I could never have imagined that. In my dreams it had been after the marriage, in a romantic setting with lit candles and rose petals around the bed. What really happened was that it was quick and dirty. And I still didn’t know whether we were a couple or not. I did know that her brother hated me with a burning fury, though.


Meanwhile at District 0:

Screenshot-616 Screenshot-618 Screenshot-620What Sweet Corn hadn’t told Sundance, was that she did indeed have a motive for wanting her family out from the district this very night. Along with the growth of Cinnamon’s blog, more and more berries joined the rebellion and more and more berries fought for colorless’ rights. It had all started as a rumour, but when it reached Sweet Corn’s eyes she had decided within an instant that if there was ever a hint of truth the rumour, she wouldn’t miss it for her life. It had been a few days of long wait, but when the day was finally here, Sweet Corn and her friends were ready for the fight. After making sure her family (Quince not included) were safe, she armed herself with bricks from the inside of the district and met up with the rest of the rebellion. They went together and didn’t stop until they were right outside the walls of District 0.

This was it, the district was going down. Bricks were thrown, fists, nails and kicks were used until they bled. The atmosphere was vibrating with power, never had the rebellions been this openly hostile, and never had it been closer. When the first few bricks in the walls caved in the group of berries were empowered and new power was added to their cause. As more and more rebellions joined the definite uprising, the walls slowly caved in for the violence and the district seemed less and less fenced.

People stormed over the collapsed walls, getting more aid from within the district and with the combined forces of colorless and their every supporter, the walls finally went down. The district was finally a part of Fondant Fields again and the symbolic value they had presented had been torn apart. It was the first step of many to come.

The uprisings didn’t go by unnoticed and as the rebellious berries celebrated their victory, antagonists were gathering their forces to push them back. It would evolve in to a bloody dispute and both sides knew that the outcome of this night would set the bars for the future.

Screenshot-621Screenshot-624 Screenshot-623 Screenshot-622 The antagonists managed to get to the district and the violent disorder quickly and the whole scene turned in to a battlefield. Sweet Corn was jumped by a young pink boy and she cackled hysterically while waving her fists in front of her. The pink boy cried in pain as the fists landed on his cheeks, nose and eyes. He hadn’t expected that she would be such a fighter. Cinnamon in her turn took a leap towards Tiber and wrestled him down while spitting him in the face and delivering punch after punch to his face and abdomen. Mithos was jumped by Heliotrope and the two of them rolled around in the dust for what seemed like ages, cries escaping their mouths in the process.

Dust swirled around the scene, making it hard to see what was really going on. The local TV-station stood on the opposite side of the road, reporting live from the events and the police force came as quick as they could, trying to calm the place down. The rebellions were really on a streak this evening though, and wouldn’t let themselves calm down.

“I think Fondant Fields finally had enough. I bet District 0 will be settled tonight” the reporter said and looked with serious eyes to the TV audience. “Mayor Bloom will be in big trouble if he tries to continue as before after this big dispute. How many fighters can it be? It’s at least a hundreds of them. It’s hard to say which side is bigger, but from where I stand it seems it’s the rebellions. Fondant Fields, remember where you heard it first. This was Caramel Honey, reporting for Rainbow News from District 0. Or should we say, former District 0?”

The police managed to dissociate the fighters eventually and they were all placed in vans and driven to custody, where they all got to spend the night. As for the residents in the district, a new future awaited them.

Chapter 2.8: A blooming relationship

Screenshot-449“You have to be more careful!” Mithos’ voice was filled with worry and care but I had heard the words too many times for them to actually mean anything. Besides, he had been the one to inspire me in to this fight in the first place. I knew he was proud behind the worrying facade.

“I am careful!” I protested and Mithos smiled and pulled me closer to ruffle my hair, like he had done when I was just a little kid.

“I know you are, champ.”

Screenshot-447“Although…” I started a bit more quiet once he had let me go. “If it weren’t for Oceana they would have beat me up quite bad, I think.”

“She’s a good girl” Mithos agreed and another smile spread in his face. I loved it when he smiled, he was one of my best friends and I treasured every lonely minute I got with him. Unfortunately, they weren’t very common. It seemed like everyone wanted a piece of him. I was happy for what he could spare, though.

Screenshot-446“She said they weren’t allowed to hurt her friends… What does it mean?” I wondered and scratched my head. That part of the evening had confused me ever since it happened. Both because of the word friends, and because she could forbid the antagonists to do anything. What gave her that power?

“Oh, that…” Mithos paused for a second. “You’d be surprised if you knew everything about her background. I mean, I probably don’t know it all, and I’m surprised. She has to be about the strongest girl in Fondant Fields. Don’t tell Sweet Corn I said so, though.”

We both laughed at that last sentence. Sweets wouldn’t be happy to know we considered someone else to be the strongest girl in town. She desperately craved that title for herself, and in all honesty, she was most likely a good competitor.

Screenshot-448“Background?” I was intrigued.

“I’m not the one to tell her your story. You’ll have to ask her yourself.” Mithos shielded himself and I decided to let it be. If Oceana wanted to me know, she would tell me. Mithos grinned, “You’re quite in to her, aren’t you?”

I felt my cheeks turn red. “I don’t know… She’s fun and I like being with her.”

“Oh big surprise!” Mithos teased. “You’ve practically been inseparable since that night!”

Screenshot-427He was right, I had been hanging out with Oceana a lot since she saved me from being beaten up by Oil and Flirt. She was fun to hang out with and she made me do things I never would have done with anyone else by my side. I don’t know exactly what it was, but for some reason I actually enjoyed socializing for my own sake, and not just for acting normal.

There was just something special about Oceana that managed to pull me out from some kind of shell. Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t owe her anything. I could be with her because I actually wanted to without the pressure to make up for anything. I had never really understood that such was the case until she came in to my life, but it was absolutely true: I had to make up for putting my family in District 0. Mithos and Thunderbird had lost their best friend because of me. Cinnamon recklessly threw herself in to an investigation which was needed because of an event that I had caused. They all deserved my company and protection and if anything was ever to happen to them, I would be there to take the blame.

Screenshot-423But Oceana on the other hand, she had come to my rescue because she actually wanted to and none of my earlier actions had forced neither me or her in to the relation. She was the first friend I had actually chosen, and the first who had chosen me.

“Sunny, you have to sing Endless Love with me tonight!” Oceana laughed and I was smitten. We had sung that very song numerous times. It was her favourite song and she forced me to put on my most loveable face every time because we needed to put on a show, as she liked to put it.

Screenshot-430She was quite the performer, while I was… not. I tried my best, though, because even if I didn’t have the best singing voice or the best performance skills, it was fun. Oceana looked me deep in to the eyes and flapped her eyelashes while singing a set of perfect tunes:

“Oh, love
I’ll be a fool
For you,
I’m sure
You know I don’t mind
Oh, you know I don’t mind”

Screenshot-429We finished the song and stroke a perfect finishing pose and our friends in the pub clapped their hands like crazy. I actually enjoyed being the center of attention, which was probably weird both for me and everyone else who knew me from before.

Screenshot-441“Cheers for my duet partner!” Oceana exclaimed later and slammed her glass in to mine with such force that I thought the glasses would break.

“Cheers for friendship” I said and swept the drink in my glass.

Screenshot-442The drink warmed my body from within. It tasted good, too. Quince was getting better and better behind the bar and I knew he could pretty much perform magical things with the drinks he mixed. I never thought he would use that kind of magic on me, though.

But, there’s no other explanation to why I would ask Oceana to dance with me. Slow-dance. Unfortunately, she said yes.

Screenshot-435 Screenshot-437 I say unfortunately, but I didn’t mean it.

I liked dancing with Oceana and I didn’t care that people stared at us or that we were the only ones on the dancefloor. All I could think of was that she was cute, and that she smelled nice. And that she had a nice smile. And that her eyes sparkled like emerald. And that her lips looked like they would taste like raspberries.

Screenshot-438I was no longer in control of my own body and feelings and I was getting certain that Quince was behind it. He had certainly worked some kind of mixologist magic on me. I was empowered.

Screenshot-454I wasn’t even ashamed when I leaned in and placed my lips on Oceana’s sweet pink ones. They didn’t taste like raspberries, they tasted much, much better. I can’t even find a word for it. The pub exploded in cheers and applauds again and it was probably the finishing pose they had all waited for after the duet. I liked it.

Chapter 2.3: An important fight

Sweet Corn had been going over her encounter with Cinnamon several times during the last few days. It did nothing to ease her mind, though. She wasn’t used to being shot down or ignored within our circuit and it had really been hard on her confidence. And there was I, always by her side because we shared a room and went to school together. So I was the one who had to listen to her complains and try to come up with some kind of supportive words. Berry shall know I did my best, even though I never asked to be a part of any of it.

“Why does she even go there if she doesn’t want to speak to anyone?”

It was about the hundred time I heard that question and I sighed, “I don’t know. Maybe she can’t work on it at home, maybe her parents are with the antagonists. Or something?”

“It still doesn’t make any sense! What if I knew something?!”

“But you don’t, you were passed out many hours before the shooting. I think most of us know that already.”

“But still! I want to help!”

“And if she wanted help, you could have helped her. But she doesn’t. Sweets, we have to accept that. She’ll do her best, I promise.”

“And how can you be so sure?” Sweet Corn pouted and crossed her arms. It didn’t matter that I tried, she just wouldn’t listen. Not as long as my opinion differed from hers.

Whenever we saw Cinnamon at The Blank Slate, Sweets would shoot angry glances at her. That poor orange girl had gotten herself a nemesis by hushing my sister to be silent. I didn’t know which side to choose, should I ever need to.

“You go over to her” Sweet Corn said and turned to me. “You try!”

I didn’t like the idea, I thought that Cinnamon had already made clear that she didn’t want our interference. “Nah, she was quite clear with wanting to do this on her own” I replied. I had no trouble saying no to my sister, I had learnt that I needed to or she would just push me around.

“Actually, it’s not a bad idea” Mithos added and walked over to me to put a hand on my shoulder. “You’re not the type to be in the centre like Sweet Corn, it might work better because you are staying out of the spotlight.”

While I had no trouble saying no to my sister, there was no way I could say no to Mithos. After all, he was my hero and most inspirational person in the world. And after everything he had done for us, I owed him my life. So, I went up to Cinnamon, hoping for the best.

“Hi” I said nervously and glanced over my shoulder to where my friends were sitting. Mithos did a thumps up and Sweet Corn watched me with excitement.

Cinnamon looked at me and in an instant there was a fire lit in her eyes. “What are you doing here? I thought I made it clear to your sister that I don’t want your help.”

“Mm, I guess” I mumbled and looked down. “Just thought I’d say hi, you know?”

“And you did, now tag along. I have work to do.”

“Are you getting anywhere?” I wondered, curiosity catching me.

She sighed and gave me a deadly stare, “Just. Leave.” I needed no more convincing and turned on my heel and stumbled off. That girl looked menacing and maybe Sweet Corn had been right the entire time. Maybe she was strange and evil and stupid. And why did she come here if she wanted to be on her own. It made no sense.

“Woow, that didn’t go very well” Mithos whispered and gave me a comforting look. “Sorry, thought she would warm up to you…”

“That’s fine” I muttered and sat down. From that moment, I swore to never be involved in any of the uprisings again. Sure, I didn’t like the way we were treated, but if we just stayed out of trouble it wasn’t too bad. There was enough of us to make our own sub-society and if troubles like these was what was coming for us if we did anything to stop it, I was happy to just let it be.

The only problem was that none of my friends agreed with me and they all did everything in their power to get equality for colorless. I had never had anything against being on my own, but they seemed to mind. So, they dragged me along on every little mission they went for.

They meant well, I know they did. They didn’t want me to feel left our or lonely and they probably thought I considered myself as nothing more than an adjunct, which they were determined to convince me I was not. In their eyes, it was important that I was also being a part of their plans. It never occurred to me that I could complain, instead I just tagged along and tried to stay in the back of everything we (they) did. It worked out okay.

There were rare times when I managed to stay invicible until they had all left District 0, which meant I could spend the time at home, with my parents instead. It had come clear to me that normal teenagers weren’t supposed to enjoy hanging out with their parents but I guess I wasn’t a normal teenager then. My family was my everything.

It came clear to me that even my own mother thought it was weird that I preferred staying at home with them. “Why didn’t you tag along to The Blank Slate tonight Sunny?”

“Nah, I’d rather be at home. All they ever do is plot uprisings and drink juice and dance. I like being at home, too.”

“But you are a part of the uprisings, aren’t you?”

“I guess… I mean, I’m with them most of the times. But I’m quite happy here too…”

Mom stared at me with her eyes filled with strength and when she spoke, she did it with a slow, powerful and serious voice. “Sundance Twist, don’t you ever think you are happy with this” she waved in front of her with her arms and looked around. “Just because we are white, it doesn’t mean we shall be satisfied with the district. We deserve a lot more. And if you don’t think that’s worth fighting for, then I don’t know what I did wrong in raising you. These uprisings are the most important task we have in life.”

“But what can I do?”

“You could help that girl find Affair’s killers. They should get their rightful punishment for what they did!”

“But she doesn’t want our help. We tried!”

“Then start your own research. You’ll cross paths eventually and then she will realize that it’s better for you to work together. But don’t just sit here and think that this is a decent life because that would make me very disappointed.”

She was right. Of course she was. After everything she and dad had been through, and I still thought this was enough. And the district existed because of me, after all. And Affair died because of me. Therefor, it was my responsibility to find solutions.

Generation 1 finale: The Blank Slate

By the time the twins were about to celebrate their birthday we were ready to open The Blank Slate. With Thunderbird and Quince in the lead, we had worked with the opening of the pub parallel with the uprising.

It was nothing special, really. But it was situated outside the district and it was a place were we could welcome colorless and supporters to actually have a relaxed and fun evening. It was located in the town’s outskirts, which was a quite deserted area that felt safe enough. It had to be a secret, of course, and only the most consecrated could be invited.

It was the first of my kids birthday’s that could be properly celebrated and we were all excited beyond words.

Mithos and Quince had worked the entire morning with decorating the pub and the stone walls were covered with streamers and behind the bar hung a big banner with the twins’ names on it. It looked amazing and I was so proud. They were only teenagers and they had already managed to do this.

The hours before the party and the grand opening Quince was nervously checking that everything was in order. He ordered the staff to clean the glasses one additional time and had them practice to mix White Feeling one last time. White Feeling was a juice drink that he and Thunderbird had come up with all be themselves. It would be The Blank Slate’s special drink.

The place was soon filled with our closest friends and their families. Pretty much every member of Whites made their way there, as well as the majority of the inhabitants of District 0.

The mood in the room was uplifting and happy. Everyone had a smile on their face.

It was the perfect birthday celebration and premiere one could ever have hoped for. Berries of all colors danced together and laughed together. This what exactly what the world could be like. I just knew that this place would become one of the greatest sanctuaries ever. It would be a place that looked beyond skin color and ruling politics. It would be a place were every color deserved happiness.

My daughter enjoyed the evening to the fullest, she made sure to constantly be the centre of attention as she swung her hips at the dance floor. “Mom, look at me now! Quincie, come dance with me!”

I looked around and all I could see was happy faces (well, apart from the grumpy lady who insisted on just standing by the edge of the dance floor, not daring to dance because it was childish – but that was her loss really). It was hard to imagine that outside these walls were different rules. It was hard to even think about the fact that this place would be shut down immediately if the government found out about its whereabouts.

It didn’t make any sense.

“What are you thinking of over there?” the bartender raised his voice and shouted to Mithos on the far side of the bar.

Mithos had a drink in his hand and he was looking both proud and a bit nervous at the same time. I knew he was thinking about the same things as I was, that The Blank Slate was already a lovely place. But it was also dangerous for everyone involved.

“Nothing special. Just what a great night this is” Mithos replied and shot off a bright smile. “Why don’t you serve the lady there a drink instead” he added after a while and nodded towards Bluebell who sat between them.

The bartender chuckled and turned towards Bluebell, “And what can I get you?”

“A white feeling, of course” she giggled and her eyes sparkled. She was one of the most precious young girls I knew. I was indescribable happy that she and Quince were still so good friends.

As the bartender got started on Bluebell’s drink, Quince joined her at the bar and smiled widely towards her. “Having a good time?” he wondered.

“This is amazing!” Bluebell exclaimed with enthusiasm. “I can’t believe you have done all this! My best friend Quincie, owning a bar. Can you believe it yourself?!”

“Dunno. It’s quite cool, I suppose. You have to promise to come here regularly. I count on you, you know?”

“I couldn’t keep away even if I tried” Bluebell replied and went over to wrap her arms around my son. “I’m so proud of you” she whispered and gave him a quick peck on the cheek which made him blush.

Bluebell then went back to her seat at the bar to wait for her drink. Quince kept staring after her, smiling widely.

“Cheers!” he shouted once Bluebell had gotten her drink and they slammed their glasses together and took a sip each.

“Come, let’s dance!” Quince pulled Bluebell with him to the dance floor and started swinging his hips back and forth to a fault. Bluebell laughed loudly and started dancing with him.

They were sweet together and the memory of me and Pixie joking about the two of them falling in love many years ago, suddenly came back to me. I couldn’t help but giggle, it seemed like it wasn’t that far away. It was certainly a possibility.

Eventually, Sweet Corn demanded to get to blow her candles and as she and Sundance did everyone cheered and sang for them.

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Twist twins
Happy Birthday to you

Sweet Corn enjoyed the attention and did a dramatic pirouette in front of everyone and ended by bowing low before her audience.

“Now I want to dance!” she shouted out after rapidly finishing a slice of the birthday cake. “Come on Sunny, it’s your day too!”

Sundance complained at first but eventually he let himself get dragged to the dance floor. It turned out that he was quite the dancer, even though he had never really tried before. At least not that we knew of. He kept true to himself by moving to a corner of the dance floor, trying to keep to himself even though he was one of the main attractions of the evening.

As the night went on Sundance seemed to gain more and more confidence and moved further and further out on the dance floor. About an hour after his first step on the black -painted floor he was standing in the centre of it with a content and thrilled smile on his lips.

“That’s right Sunny. Swing those hips!” Quince laughed and took Sundance’s hands to turn him around in a pirouette. The two of them broke out in laughter shortly after and it was contagious. The mood in the room lifted at the sight of the two boys joy.

Affair gathered enough courage to dance up towards Sweet Corn and take her hands as well. She happily agreed and just as she did Affair imitated Quince’s move with Sundance and turned her around in a pirouette. An even wider smile broke loose in her face and as she watched the young purple guy in front of her, I couldn’t help but think that there was some extra spark in her eyes.

After the jokingly pirouette, the two of them were practically glued together for the rest of the night.

It was way past midnight when the guests started to drop off and Quince, Mithos and Thunderbird could start cleaning things up behind the bar. We stuck around for support and Bluebell made sure Sundance never got to sit down. After Sweet Corn gave in for aching feet, Sundance and Bluebell were the last couple on the dance floor. They danced and laughed for another hour until it was time to go home.

All in all, the birthday party and the premiere had been everything we had hoped for. In fact, it had been more than we hoped for. The Blank Slate was exactly the new page our life story needed.

Chapter 1.13: A friend and a hero

Helping out in the uprisings was probably the best decision we had made in a very long time. First of all because it was something I enjoyed doing and I thought was important. And secondly because it kept me busy and prevented me from spending time feeling sorry for myself. And last, it meant I could once again spend time with Flax.

He had (of course) also been forced to move in to the district and ever since that TV-show there had been a barrier between us. It was as though the reactions to him bringing Sundance built a wall between us. I blamed him for making my kids go through the awful events and he did his best to stay out of my way. I guess he did feel a bit guilty about it.

With the new uprisings growing, I realized that it had never been his fault. I had simply felt the need to blame someone and he had been a good choice. Spending time with him again felt good and I knew he cared deeply for me and my children’s rights for a fair treatment in society. Besides we were quite alike each other in many other areas as well. It was a friendship meant to be, and the fact that we had tried to forget that was pretty sad. And now, it was all coming back to us.

Quince was always out on some “mission” after he had decided to join. He wanted to scout the outside and make friends among the colorfuls, he said. We let him be, he was old enough to know what he was doing. And he had color so no-one would intentionally harm him unless they realized what he was working for. And I knew they were careful.

Sweet Corn was still mad at us for forcing her to stay out of it and she longed for her birthday so that she would be old enough to also do something. I knew it killed her to just sit by when the rest of her family poured their heart and soul in to an uprising she couldn’t join. To keep her at least partly occupied Drover had brought home an easel and some canvases and paints. “Learn how colors work” he said and handed it over to her.

She probably knew it was just a distraction but she still spent her time in front of that easel. She painted her dream worlds, paintings where color and colorless worked in unison. Where it was possible to mix and match as you pleased.

Sundance kept silent as always and he stayed out of our way, minding his own business. Sometimes he sat with me and Flax and just listened to what we spoke about. Those times you could see that he gathered every word and every opinion in a compartment at the back of his head.

This was one of those times. Me and Flax was talking about the rumours Quince brought from the outside in a hushed tone while Sundance sat next to us and listened to every word. He never interrupted and never asked any questions, it was as though he understood that it was a dangerous topic and that we needed to keep it quiet.

Because of his quiet nature, it came as quite the suprise when he suddenly cried “Mithos!” and jumped up and rushed towards the young yellow boy.

“Hey there champ” Mithos said and ruffled Sundance’s usually well-combed hair. Mithos had instantly fallen in love with Sundance when he realized that was the boy who had been on the TV-show. And Sundance returned the feeling multiple times. Mithos was Sundance’s hero and one of the few ‘bows who had managed to drag him out of his shell.

“Did you bring us anything good?” Sundance wondered and almost made Mithos drop the basket he was carrying. Mithos never told him off or looked annoyed though, he just laughed and pulled a colorful wrapped chocolate bar up from the basket and handed it to Sundance, “Chocolate for the champ.”

“And now you need to talk to my mother, right?” Sundance smiled and ran off in to our home. I couldn’t help but to gasp, Mithos had a huge impact on my son. Well, in fact he had a huge impact on all of my kids, and me, but it was the most obvious when it came to Sundance.

“I brought some fruits and some bread” Mithos said once he had managed to get to us. It was brave of him, and probably a bit dumb, to cross the laws Mayor Bloom had set up and bring us food within the district. It was of course strictly forbidden. We had to our food ourself outside the district, with an increased cost of 200% because we lacked color. Since we were also forbidden to have any employment outside the district, that was pretty much impossible and we had to be happy with the small food deliveries Fondant Fields officially did to us.

Since Mithos started bringing us food, my kids looked healthier and we all felt happier and more hopeful.

“I can’t thank you enough” I said and tried to master a look matching the thankfulness within my body. I probably didn’t succeed very well.

“One has to do what he can, right?” Mithos smiled. I spent a short moment thinking about the fact that he was the second teenager to fuel the hope within me. The first was sitting next to me, all grown up. Imagine what the world could be like if every ‘bow was as naive and energetic as those teenagers. It would sure be a better place.

“Is Quince out again?” Mithos asked and brought me back to reality.

“Isn’t he always?” I nodded. “He should probably be back soon, though. He just went to say hey to Bluebell”

“Right, I’ll wait then” he said and sat down with us. He was not only Sundance’s hero and idol, he was also one of Quince’s best friends. Actually, Quince had met all of his friends except Bluebell through Mithos so it made a lot of sense.

While we waited, Mithos filled us in on the latest rumours and gossip about colorless and their rights. Apparantly, the support for Whites had been growing rapidly the past few weeks and just in the last two days we had gained 50 new members. The downside was, that for every new member we officially gained, the antagonists gained two. So even if we grew, it still wasn’t enough to put ruling thoughts and opinions to rest.

“Although, they obviously don’t know of the support we have here, within the walls” Mithos added and I felt a flicker of hope. There was still a chance.

Quince came back just a while later and by the sight of Mithos his face lit up in a big smile, which was instantly reflected. “Hey Quincie!” Mithos said and pucnhed him jokingly in the chest. The two of them were the best of friends.

I walked up to my oldest son and gave him a hug, “You look happy today”.

“I am” he said happily. “Thunderbird has the most awesome idea!”

We waited for him to continue and when he finally did I could barely believe my ears. I understood that it wouldn’t exactly be allowed and that it was something the four boys would have to work on in secret. They had to be very careful with this.

Maybe I should have said no. I probably should. But I didn’t, the possibilities it would bring for colorless was far too tempting. So instead I found myself supporting them. I promised I would help them get the pub going. It would be the perfect place for Whites and our supporters to hold meetings and plan for a better future. I was excited.

AN: Thunderbird is the red berry who came with Mithos to District 0 in the previous chapter.

So, Mallow’s generation is over. I consider the two nurseries built for the kids as the expansion to the house. While they may be minor I found it hard to do much else in this first generation. I also built the gym she’s using within the first days of game play. Her luxury roll was fulfilled with a luxury bathroom. 🙂 I’m sorry for not involving those two rolls more in the story. I’ll get better with that!

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