“Did you hear about Ali and Leon?” Cathy Tea asked.
“Yes! I’m so happy for them,” I replied. “It sounds like they’ve settled on a spring wedding.”
To be honest, I was slightly jealous. I became a mom of four almost overnight. Sometimes it was overwhelming. I was happy to be with Joseph and I loved my kiddos, but I missed some of my freedom. A spring wedding was definitely something to look forward to, but I would be hard-pressed to fit into any of my old dresses, and I kinda wished I was going on a honeymoon trip again. The kiddos demanded loads of attention, and Joseph and I rarely had time for each other, not to mention alone time. Tonight, Ali had offered to babysit so Joseph and I could go out for the evening.
It was hard to believe the Spice Festival had arrived yet again. It seemed like just yesterday when I first arrived in San Myshuno. So much had changed since then. The air was still filled with strong scents of summer savory and robust rosemary, but the colors didn’t seem quite as bright… or as magical. The city felt more challenging, larger than I imagined. I had yet to explore all of the city’s hidden corners and lovely nooks and cozy crannies. Instead, I was baby proofing the corners of furniture and finding parenting tips on my nook, and brushing crumbs in the couch. It wasn’t as romantic as I thought it would be.
I recall when Joseph said he wanted to move to the city. We weren’t even dating yet, and he asked me to pack my little black dress and come with him on his next business trip. If only I were so carefree now… He said he could see himself living in the city. Now I wasn’t so sure I wanted to stay. I hadn’t exactly shared these thoughts with him yet. I wasn’t sure how he would feel about leaving San Myshuno.
“Simterra to Lizzie!” Cathy said, shrilly. “Did you hear a word I said?”
“Oh…um…” I made a face, feeling sheepish.
“A spring wedding in Newcrest!” Cathy clasped her hands. “Isn’t it divine? I love destination weddings. We’ll get to ride a train there.”
“Yeah, sounds… nice…” I trailed off.
Last time I took a train, Joseph and I ended up in an unexpected place. Hidden Hollow was our first honeymoon, our first official vacation together as husband and wife. Of course, it wasn’t at all like we planned, not like we planned to be in a pyre hollow in the first place. Even so, I recall it was fun, in a weird way, and we bonded. We were just starting life together…
…only to be interrupted by a voracious vampire. I still couldn’t believe someone had wanted my husband so badly that he was willing to drive a wedge in our marriage. If it weren’t for the meddling obsession of an ancient vampire, I wouldn’t have lost our baby, Joseph and I wouldn’t have fought, I wouldn’t have…erm… passed on… and we probably wouldn’t have ended up where we were. We were stronger for it, but sometimes I found myself daydreaming of another life I could’ve had.
“Uh… Liz… you look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Cathy interjected. “No mind… I’ve seen plenty in my day. So many generational stories…” she appeared to drift off into her own little thought world. “So many lives loved and lost. Passing to the beyond.”
“Lizzie?” I could hear Joseph calling me.
“Uh, I should go, Cathy,” I said, quickly. “It was great catching up.”
“Anytime. You say the time, the place. I’ll be there,” Cathy said, offering me a hug. “Now where did I leave my pen? I have some notes to compile. A new story idea… maybe about ghosts!” she made a spooky ooo sound and walked away with an odd wave.
I shook my head, and smirked. Cathy was a dear friend. Never dull. Always brimming with ideas. I recalled the day we met. I was totally a fan girl because… who hasn’t read Cathy Tea’s works? And she had on that lightbulb tee shirt.
“It’s to remind me to have only one idea at a time!” Cathy had said.
She sometimes said the silliest things, but that was part of her charm.
“I prefer expressing my big ideas in little words. Like Wow! Every heard of Wow?”
“Are you ready, Liz?” Joseph inquired.
Joseph reserved a room at the Waterside Warbler in our old neighborhood. I wasn’t so sure how I felt about singing since my pipes were probably a smidge rusty, but Joseph encouraged me and said it would be fun. Still, I was filled with trepidation when I walked up to the karaoke machine to sing to the crowd. Thankfully, there were only three in the room- a woman I had never seen before, Marie Carter, dressed in a strange outfit, and of course, Joseph.
“I’m hiding from the paparazzi,” Marie claimed.
Recently, she had made some sort of major scientific breakthrough. Unfortunately, I was a little preoccupied with diapers and dinner plans for six to read the paper or watch the news lately.
When I continued to hesitate, Joseph walked up to introduce me, with a big goofy grin on his face, selecting the very first song we ever danced to and sang. That day in the coffee shop, our first date, felt like ancient history. He had been reluctant but I persuaded him through a combination of teasing and bold flirtation. The memory gave me enough confidence to try in a shy, sweet soprano.
Some day, yeah
We’ll get it together and we’ll get it all done
When your head is much lighter
Some day, yeah
We’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
When the world is much brighter
Joseph went next, because we’re partners, and he wanted to support me. Of course, he picked another song that incurred fond memories.
Oh don’t you dare look back
Just keep your eyes on me
I said you’re holding back… she said
Shut up and dance with me
I had assured him it would be fun, and we had lopped and swayed in the moonlight. We may have been close to broke then, recently spending everything we had to secure a deposit on our new place, but we knew how to enjoy ourselves.
“Are your eyes on me?” I had asked.
She took my arm
I don’t know how it happened
We took the floor and she saaaaaaaaaaid
Tonight proved that we could still have fun together. I mean, who wouldn’t chuckle or smile a little at Joseph’s warbly out-of-tune-heart-totally-into-it rendition of “Shut Up and Dance With Me?”
“Come on Lizzie, you’re conking out on me,” Joseph teased.
“Hmm? What? Uh… sorry…” I murmured, nodding my head to the rhythm.
Joseph set down the microphone. “How about I take you home and we call it a night?”
“Yeah… sounds like… a good… idea…” I yawned.
“You were pretty good tonight,” I remarked, nudging Joseph’s arm as I settled on the edge of our four poster bed.
“Aww… yeah…” Joseph puffed up his chest tonight with a smug smile before he relaxed into a softer one. “No really, you were better.”
“No, I thought your… efforts were…” I searched for a word. “…commendable.”
He grimaced. “At least you were in key.”
“But we both needed this… a night out…” I replied. “And…” I bobbed my head, my words trailing off.
“Staaaay…. right there…” I yawned, and closed my eyes, only about every other word slurred out. “…I…sleep…your shoulder. If you don’t…” I yawned, and closed my eyes.
Joseph smiled and finished my thought. “I don’t mind.”
Author Notes: Thanks for reading. Seemed like a good time for some nostalgia as I struggled to write this chapter. It wasn’t that the content wasn’t good because the characters are always great. I was just stuck in a rut creatively until I included the flashbacks. Hope you enjoyed. This chapter featured Cathy Tea’s Cathy Tea, LegacySims2017‘s Joseph Simself, and TheYayToast‘s Marie Carter.