Author Note: This is the last chapter of From Riverview, With Love. I really hope you enjoyed Gage’s journey from summer until winter. This is a bittersweet moment for me as Gage has grown to be a very special character of mine. I am sad to finish, but it is time, and I’m ready to move onto additional Sim story projects that need completion. Without further adieu, the final chapter.
As the taxi zigzagged through Riverview,Gage struggled to gain control over his emotions. He had just lost his best friend, probably for good, because he just couldn’t bring himself to hug her. He knew she was devastated. At least, she wanted to be his friend. Gage wasn’t sure he could do that. If he couldn’t be with her, he didn’t want to be in her life. It was too painful.
The music played from the stereo, and Gage found the lyrics ironic.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on, our troubles will be miles away
“I wish,” Gage grumbled.
“I’m sorry, sir, what did you say?” the driver inquired, with a thick Championne accent.
“Nothing,” Gage replied.
I could’ve flown to Champs les Sims for the new year with Kassiopeia instead of being in Riverview to get that phone call. Gage bopped himself in the head. You idiot! Be real! He knew he had to face the consequences of his actions. The driver had to back up and try and get around another route when they ran into the new year’s day parade in downtown Riverview.
“Sorry sir,” he mumbled with a thick Championne accent.
“No worries,” Gage folded his arms over his chest and slouched.
He didn’t have to be at the Simcago Metropolitan Airport until three p.m., but he didn’t want to wait around the house after the way he had left things with Kass. He figured it was best he left immediately. She didn’t love him anyway.
Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more
Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
So hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now
“Oh pull over,” he grunted to the driver.
“Sure, right away, sir,” the driver mumbled, turning the wheel to the side and pulling along the side of the curb outside the Riverwalk Park. “Do you want me to wait?”
“Do what you want!” Gage snipped, throwing the guy a twenty Simoleon note and slamming the car door.
“But sir!” the man called, but Gage didn’t bother to wait.
He had to get out of the confined space. He had to think and clear his head. He had to get away from the words, “have yourself a merry little Christmas…” repeating over and over again.
“Gah!” Gage yelled as he kicked a black metal trash receptacle out of frustration.
Everything had been so perfect. He leaned his head back, and closed his eyes, feeling soft snowflakes fall on his face. He lifted his arms, opening himself to the universe. Why? he cried internally. Why, damnit! Why! Somehow he knew why. He knew the logistics of the matter. Boy meets girl. Boy is drunk. Girl is drunk. Boy and girl sleep together. Boy and girl make a baby. But what he didn’t understand was how his heart kept getting trampled. There was only so much he could manage to bear.
Gage plopped onto a frozen winter bench, spotting the taxi along the curb. The guy hadn’t driven away, and he figured it was because Gage’s luggage was in the trunk. It’s just stuff, he shrugged. It didn’t matter. Stuff was replaceable. Family? Love? That wasn’t. Living in foster care for as long as he did, growing up in the system, Gage knew that at a moments notice, he might have to move and so he had let go of stuff for the most part… until recently. With Anita, he had the promise of a lover, a potential future wife, and a home, but she had to go to Simspania and he didn’t resent her for leaving. Kass, on the other hand, nothing was ever for sure with her. It was part of what made her exciting, Gage figured as he wiggled his feet, his legs buried in snow up to his mid shin. She was here one day, in the moment, and then gone the next, as if she couldn’t make up her mind about him. He knew exactly how he felt about Kassiopeia, but he knew, somehow he knew, deep in his heart, she didn’t know and she didn’t feel the same way.
Natalya didn’t want him. Lakshmi wasn’t an option. Soléi didn’t want him. Heather didn’t want him. Cerise wasn’t an option. Nalea didn’t want him. Anita did want him, but he didn’t want her in the same way. It was as if the universe was paying him back ten-fold for his mistakes, and for his inability to commit to a single woman, even though he had desperately wanted to.
He could hear her voice, but his face was focused upon the snow-covered plants before his eyes. He was wishing he could melt right into the ground as if he had never existed.
He heard his name repeated, and he choked back a cry.
“Oh, I’m delusional,” he rubbed the back of his head.
“I seriously hope not,” came the reply. “Or I’ll have to drive you to the emergency room.”
Gage looked up at Constance, his face flushing a thousand shades of red.
“Oh…er…uh…sorry… I was in my head,” he stammered.
“Aren’t we all?” she teased lightly. “But I know what you mean.”
“Leaving town?” she inquired.
Gage snapped his eyes to Constance as she sat on the bench, his hands raising slightly on his legs. How does she do that? Like read my mind?
“How did you know?” he asked.
“Oh… I saw you stomp out of the taxi, kick the trash can, and sit your butt down on this freezing cold bench just to brood,” she replied. “I’m not judging. I’ve done it too.”
“You saw that?” he winced. “Ugh… yeah… I’m having a bad day. But I don’t know how that equates to leaving town.”
“Because I did the same thing before I left Riverview for the first time,” Constance replied.
He arched a brow. “Oh? Really?”
“Yeah… I was…brokenhearted. A guy I cared deeply about told me that he didn’t care for me in the same way and I hopped in a taxi determined to leave town before I got so frustrated about being trapped inside a vehicle that I leaped out and ran around the park for a few hours,” Constance admitted, almost humorously. Only difference is I was in the main square and I’m sure about a dozen and a half people saw my tirade against the wall adverts on the side of EverFresh Delight Supermarket and a couple kicks to the trash cans,” Constance laughed wryly. “And… I think I scared a few pigeons.”
Gage gave her a half-smile. So her circumstances weren’t all that different from his own, except for one glaring thing.
“So why are ya leaving?” she asked, interlocking her fingers behind her head.
“Your pants… they’re getting stained…” he glanced at the snow, avoiding the question.
“Aw…nuts…well, I’m used to it,” Constance leaned forward and looked before returning to a relaxed position. “I’ve got more dress pants at my house. So tell me… what’s sending you running away from Riverview?”
“I’m not running away!” he yelled. “I have to leave…” he felt a sharp stab in his heart at the pain of saying the words aloud. “I don’t have a choice.”
Constance puzzled for a moment. “You always have a choice.”
“But I don’t. I don’t, Constance, you don’t understand. I wished to know how to please women, and I got plenty of women. I wished to be irresistible and I was. I wished for a home and a family, and I got the home part, and I’m getting a family. But I didn’t realize that by wishing for that, I might actually get what I wished for, and it might not be in the way I expected,” Gage lamented. “All I wanted was to be happy and to have a place of my own and people to love me. Isn’t that what everyone wants?”
“I finally had a house. I had the love of my life. I was happy for a moment. And then I found out I’m going to be a dad. A woman I was with at the beginning of summer is pregnant,” Gage confessed. “There are consequences for everything, aren’t there, Constance?”
“Well, it depends. Do you view this as a consequence or a blessing?” she asked.
“I want to do the right thing. I need to go to her. I want to take care of this child because I know what it’s like to feel…unwanted…” he chewed his lower lip. “…but it just comes at the worst time. I finally had Kass and now I’ve lost her.”
Constance sat still, appearing to contemplate what he had said.
“I’m thinking maybe I should call every woman I ever slept with and make sure I don’t have any more surprise kids,” he chuckled wryly.
“Are you okay?” she asked, surprising him.
He had half-expected condemnation or pity, but instead she seemed genuinely concerned.
“I think so… I will be…Oh I don’t know. I’m going to be a dad. I have to go back home and face the music. What am I saying? Go back home?” he threw his hands in the air. “This is my home now, or so I thought. I haven’t been back to Sunset Valley since Simuly of last year. I so badly wanted to make this place my home and now I’m forced to leave it and everyone I love here behind. And I wanted a home so badly and a family, but not like this.”
“Home is where the heart is,” Constance said softly.
“What?” he blinked rapidly.
“Your heart…” she leaned forward and laid her palm against his chest, and he was afraid she could feel the pounding and sense every bit of his emotional distraught. “…your home is where your heart is. If your ex-girlfriend or whomever is having a baby, then your family and home are with them.”
“It’s not that simple,” he grunted.
“Yes, yes it is,” Constance stated purposefully. “The baby’s heart is beating because of you, because of an intentional decision you made, but this doesn’t have to be a negative consequence. It only is if you view it that way. A baby, a new life, is a beautiful blessing… and I know, Gage, after everything you’ve been through, you’ll be a wonderful dad.”
“You think so?” he tilted his head, a lump forming in his throat.
The taxi horn honked, drawing him back into the moment, and he realized he should probably go get in the cab or get his luggage and hail another one.
“I know so,” Constance bobbed her head up and down. “Now go. Be with your heart.”
Gage didn’t realize he was crying until he was in the taxi cab, pulling away from the curb. He resisted the urge to glance back and wave at Constance, his lovely knight in a gray-blazer-and-suit pants-armor. Some day he would have to repay her, but for now… for now…he was going away. He was going home.
Author Note: The End. For now. Gage will make appearances in future Kassiopeia stories, and possibly gain himself another spin-off because I’ve been so blessed to write his story, and he’s wiggled his way into my heart. I hope you enjoyed this bittersweet ending.
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