November 1st. The eve of Scarlett’s birthday, Alfie and Kim were taking her out for a fancy dinner at Vacello’s Bistro tomorrow and with Harmony at her friend’s house and Wyatt fast asleep, she was enjoying spending time stood at her easel. She’d never been an amazing painter, but it was one of the things she found the most relaxing. However, she found herself stuck. Maybe she’d carry this on tomorrow. It was meant to be a portrait of her parents, but she couldn’t get it just right.
Scarlett had gotten into the terrible habit of falling asleep fully clothes on top of her covers, it was never intentional – but it was often after a bottle of Rioja. However, a ringing sound snapped Scarlett out of her stupor.
“Who the hell?” She muttered as she clambered off the bed and realised that the ringing sound was in fact; the doorbell.
It was past midnight, and Scarlett was wary of opening the door to somebody she wasn’t expecting, especially with Wyatt asleep upstairs. However, her mystery guest wasn’t threatening at all.
“Jonny?! What the hell are you doing here, it’s so late!” Scarlett gasped, opening the door to her colleague and friend.
“Who cares! It’s your birthday!” Jonny laughed, pulling Scarlett into a tight hug.
“Oh, I guess it is haha, but still Jonny you shouldn’t have -”
“Oh Scarlett shut up! Nobody wants to spend their thirtieth alone do they? I did, and I know it sucks.”
Scarlett smiled. There was no other feeling in the world than knowing that somebody cares, and cares enough to come and visit your house at midnight for even the smallest of reasons.
It was only a flying visit, and Jonny was there to watch and celebrate Scarlett’s transition into adulthood, but as Scarlett celebrated with him – she realised just what she had been missing in her life. Companionship. That was the feeling that a bottle of wine had often been replacing.
“Oh Jonny, thanks so much for this – you don’t know what it means.”
“Oh, honestly, Scarlett it’s nothing – you’d do the same for me.”
Scarlett smiled, but felt her cheeks flush red – would she have done?
It was now 2:30am, and Jonny could read Scarlett’s subconscious hints that she wanted him to leave. She was lead on her sofa, yawning and rubbing her eyes. Jonny thought that she looked beautiful. Innocent and fragile, and so so beautiful.
As Jonny stood at the door, he kissed Scarlett’s cheek.
“We should do this again, maybe, errm, perhaps… sometime?” Jonny smiled at Scarlett.
“Sure, Jonny. It’s always nice… to spend time with such a great friend.”
Jonny’s heart sank.
Why had he thought any different? Scarlett was this sexy, mysterious girl who had been popular in high school and had managed to ride of the back of that popularity ever since. He was Jonny. Overweight, underperforming and a loser in general. It was one of his traits.
He wouldn’t let it get him down though. Scarlett was a good friend if nothing else, and besides – she’d let him copy her homework last week. If that wasn’t friendship, he didn’t know what was.
“And so that’s it, the evil man was gone forever – and the Princess was returned to her Mummy and Daddy.”
Scarlett laughed through a heavy sigh, she was knackered.
“No, honey. Come on you must have heard this story a million times already.”
“But it’s my favourite, and it’s Harmony’s favourite too.”
“Well I guess you’ll have to wait until tomorrow, huh? Get to sleep honey, you’ve got school in the morning and then Uncle Jonny is coming over for dinner.”
“Yay! I love Uncle Jonny. I wish he was my daddy.” Wyatt beamed, turning over and nestling down under his cover.
Scarlett’s smile drooped slightly, that familiar feeling of guilt swept over her once more. She walked over to the bookshelf, patted the front cover of the leather-bound book and placed it back.
The Baby in the Snow.
By C. Frio
The next six months seem to slip by so fast that Scarlett felt like she was on a merry-go-round, and she wished that she could get off and savour the sights. In mid-April, Donte and Willow returned with the news that they had married secretly in Vegas. Shocked, Scarlett expressed her upset to Willow that she and Alfie hadn’t been in attendance, but Willow protested that it was what the pair wanted.
“Honestly, Scar, it was just what we wanted. Just us two.”
Scarlett took Willow’s hand and gave it a tight squeeze, she and Donte were staying in Donte’s aunt’s old house on the other side of town, but apparently it was only a flying visit as Willow had to get back to DC in order to help begin her new job on the campaign team for a Vice Presidential candidate. As Scarlett’s eyes wandered the room, she noticed Willow’s passport lying on the table.
“Watkins?! You’ve taken his name?”
“Yeah! Why not?! Willow Watkins, I like it!”
“It’s just, you know me and Mum, we kept our names.”
“You were Scarlett Black from what I recall.”
“Well, let’s just hope you’re Willow Watkins for longer than I was Scarlett Black.” Scarlett smiled, her sister always had an answer for everything.
“Well you made it to your honeymoon so I guess you’re halfway there, honey.”
Willow laughed, and the pair descended into fits of giggles. It was only when Willow had to sit down, clutching her stomach that Scarlett raised an eyebrow.
“Will, you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine, honestly, I’m…”
“No. No freakin’ way…”
Scarlett stared at her sister, she wondered why she had been wearing that ugly top.
“You’re pregnant, aren’t you?”
“No… where the hell you get that idea from?!” Willow swerved.
“Liar.” Scarlett said.
“Oh, crap. Is it that obvious?”
“Babe, I’d never be seen dead in that top – I’m guessing it’s the only thing that fits?
“Shit. Don’t get me wrong me and Donte, we’re so happy. It’s just a little, sooner than planned. And work doesn’t know either…”
“You can’t hide it forever, Willow! How far along are you?”
“About seven months?”
“Christ,” Scarlett said, eyeing up Willow’s neat little bump, “you’re lucky I looked like a bloated whale when I was having Wyatt.”
“Well, anything you need – you know I’m here. And you know that the house is always gonna be yours as well, right? If you ever need it – I mean, your flat in DC isn’t the best place for a baby.”
A few days later, Scarlett, Alfie and Willow were sat by Scarlett’s pool – soaking up the beginnings of the summer sun and suggesting horrendous baby names for Willow. Talk soon turned serious however, and Willow revealed that the baby was a boy. She told Scarlett that she had thought about Connor, but felt it too weird knowing that this would be the first grandson Connor and Pippa would never meet.
A week after Donte and Willow returned to DC, Scarlett found herself stood in the kitchen of her cousin Mayra’s townhouse. An impromptu invitation had meant that Scarlett had been rushing around town all day in order to find herself a fancy dress outfit for Mayra’s husband; Christopher’s 60th birthday party. Mayra was nearly ten years older than Scarlett, and being in her early forties – the age gap between her and Christopher had began to show it’s signs of strain. Scarlett stood downstairs awkwardly with their youngest son; Roman as she heard the pair bickering upstairs.
Alfie, Kim and the kids had already made their excuses and left – whilst Scarlett’s Uncle Jared was feeling too ill to attend, and her other cousin Charlie. Well, Mayra had never really been accepting of her delinquent half-brother, even if sometimes he did remind Scarlett fondly of her Aunt Zelda. This meant that Scarlett found herself comforting a teary Christopher in his bathroom.
“Look, Chris. It’ll pass, I’m sure. I think Mayra’s just going through a really hard time at the moment. What with Star preparing to go to university and Rashawn and Roman giving you so much grief.”
“Oh please, Scarlett. Stop trying to act like you’re mother of the year all of a sudden.”
Christopher’s words hit Scarlett like a speeding bullet.
“I’m sorry?” Scarlett said, putting on her best fake smile. She didn’t really know Christopher that well, she had only come to this ridiculous party out of courtesy.
“Don’t give me advice on how to be with my wife and kids. I don’t see you with a husband, and your Wyatt is always running riot in school according to Roman!”
“Don’t you dare talk about my son like that, Christopher – I’m only trying to help!”
“Well, maybe if he had a bit of fatherly influence he might not have to act out so much for attention.”
Scarlett knew what she was doing before she could think. Her hand cracked Christopher’s left cheek with such force that it was left red and stinging for what seemed like an eternity.
Scarlett realised just how ridiculous she looked. Alone, in the pouring rain, with her own tears merging with the rain droplets on her face, in a pink babygrow and full bunny facepaint. She took out her phone and rang the first person she could think of.
“Can you come and pick me up? I need you.”
The sight of Jonny is his stupid floral shirt made Scarlett warm up almost instantly. Not your conventional knight in shining armour, but right now she didn’t care – she just wanted somebody to trust, somebody who would tell her that she wasn’t a terrible mother, someone that she wouldn’t feel inferior towards.
“You sounded so upset on the phone, I hope I got here in time. Are your hurt? What happened?” Jonny whispered as he pulled a crying Scarlett into a hug.
“Oh god, I feel so stupid now. It was just my cousin-in-law saying some shitty things about me. Shit, I feel like an idiot. Shit, I should stop swearing I’m embarrassing myself.” Flustered, Scarlett attempted to wipe the facepaint that was now running off her face and onto Jonny’s shoulder.
“Don’t apologise, Scar. It’s not like I was doing anything important.”
“He was going on about Wyatt, and how he doesn’t know his father and I just… I just flipped.”
“It’s fine, honey, come on… you’re only human.”
Scarlett became aware that the pair had now been stood embracing in the rain for longer than was probably socially acceptable. However, Scarlett found herself not wanting to let go. Jonny was a good friend, her best friend, but as she stood there, his big arms wrapped around her, she found herself wanting to bury her head into his shoulder and shut the world out. If only for a short amount of time.
Surely she wasn’t… no?
Jonny felt wonderful. It had been so long since he had felt such warmth in his arms, but he couldn’t help but feel he was taking advantage of Scarlett. Although, she had called him – desperate to see him and for him to comfort her. But Jonny had to keep reminding himself that she was way out of his league. This was real life, not some Hollywood movie – good guys didn’t always get the happy endings they probably deserved and Jonny was certain that his simple dreams of being loved, and having a family had been dashed. He was approaching his mid-thirties now, time to be realistic.
However, his whole philosophy on life seemed to change with one simple sentence. A sentence he didn’t expect at all. Nothing too meaningful, but one that carried just enough meaning to make Jonny hope, and hope was the most important feeling of all.
“Fancy going for some dinner?”
A/N: That chapter turned out to be a lot longer than expected, but I felt like I should stop when the story felt like it not due to length.
I hope people aren’t finding it too slow! Also, with Willow’s marriage and pregnancy – if I still had control over her, she would definitely have had the career first waaaaay before she and Donte married or had kids, but StoryProgression took over and she married and pregnant pretty much instantaneously – perhaps it’s just fate?
Next chapter will be here soon guys, hope you’re enjoying 🙂
Scarlett was flat out asleep in bed. She’d spent the evening entertaining Andy and Jennifer – two of her old school friends. After being wined and dined, talk had turned to something that was pressing on Scarlett’s mind. Turning thirty. Andy had celebrated his thirtieth a month ago, yet Jennifer still had six months until her’s. As well as this, Scarlett had sat politely and listened to Andy detail his work within his advertising company, and how Jennifer was hoping for yet another promotion at her estate agency. Scarlett knew it was just conversational etiquette, but she couldn’t help but feel embarrassed that she hadn’t worked in nearly five years.
However, Scarlett did have a plan. She hadn’t confided in anybody about it – even in her daily phone calls to little sister; Willow, who was loving working in Washington DC.
It was a sunny morning, Scarlett had packed Harmony off to school and Wyatt to nursery when Willow rang.
“Hey honey, everything okay? Aren’t you in work?” Scarlett smiled, as she sat on the edge of the bath in her bra and knickers.
“Yeah, I am but Scar… I just HAD to tell you – Donte has asked me to marry him, and I’ve said yes!”
“Oh… wow, that’s… that’s great Willow, but isn’t it… aren’t you…”
“A little young?” Willow quipped at the other end of the phone.
“Well, I mean you’re barely eighteen…”
“Look, Scarlett. You’re about to hit thirty, you’ve got no job, single, with two kids by two different dads – so don’t start judging me on my life, I thought you would be happy for me!”
The phone call ended badly, and less than an hour later Scarlett was crying into Kimberly’s shoulder.
“Oh come on honey, you’ve got to remember that Willow is her own woman now!”
Scarlett still found it funny how her sister-in-law had become her best friend. She was envious of Kim and Alfie’s life, Kim’s work for NASA never seemed to stress her out, especially with Riley, Devon and their newborn daughter; Kirsten at home.
“I know, just… she’s right isn’t she – she’s got her life in order and mine is still a mess.”
“C’mon Scar, it isn’t. You just need a bit of motivation, go down to the job centre, sign yourself up for online dating! Start a pottery class! Anything! I know you’re proud of this house, and god if this was my place I’d spend as much time in it as possible – but I think it’s time you head back out into the wider world.”
“I’m just sick of everybody asking ‘how I am’ after Mum and Dad and everything… I mean it’s been so much time yet people still-”
Kim interrupted Scarlett. She was a firm believer in tough love, and she often felt Scarlett had never had enough of it.
“Do you not think that Alfie gets asked the same thing? But he carries on for us. You’ve got to, for the kids.”
Scarlett opened her mouth to retort but words failed her. Kim let out a wry smile, she knew she’d won this one.
“Come on, I’ll take Harmony and Wyatt for their tea if you want – you get to work.”
“You do remember what that is, right?” Kimberly smiled as she strided out of Scarlett’s bedroom.
Scarlett gave a quiet laugh, it was time to follow through with her plan.
The next few weeks consisted of applications, interviews, disappointment and then elation. And as Scarlett sat behind the wheel of her new Fiat 500, she was excited at the prospect of what this job could bring. It wasn’t just a job either, it was a career, and something that she now felt was close to her heart.
She was training to be a nurse. Sure, she felt slightly embarassed – the pay was low and it was a lot of work, she had practically gone back to being a student again, but after what had happened to her mother – Scarlett felt that in many ways, this was her calling. She wanted to help people like her Mum, and with Alfie a rising sports star and Willow worming her way into Congress – Scarlett felt like this would bring her the fulfillment she had been craving since her parent’s deaths.
The first few weeks were tough. There was more to nursing than Scarlett originally thought, and it didn’t help that her fellow students were a bunch of fresh-faced eighteen year olds. Aside from one.
“I forgot to read them notes on haemophilia, Scarlett – can I copy yours?!”
Scarlett smiled, “Honestly Jonny it’s like we’re back at school!”
“Can I though?! You’d be a lifesaver!”
Jonny was two years older than Scarlett, and at thirty-two the oldest on their course. However, Scarlett still thought he looked like a bumbling schoolboy. He was overweight, with terrible dress sense but Scarlett was glad she had found a friend. He made Scarlett laugh and together, they acted less mature than many of their younger peers. Jonny made the course not just a job, but an enjoyable passtime – and Scarlett had truly forgotten what it was like to share things with people outside of her family.
She was beginning to feel a sense of inclusion that had been lacking for so much time, she enjoyed introducing herself as a trainee nurse – people seem impressed, she had status, respect. It was with this new found positivity that Scarlett began organising Wyatt’s fourth birthday party.
Scarlett flourished with all the family around her. Alfie, Kim and the kids made an appearance – as well as her Uncle Jared and cousin Mayra and her children. Scarlett oversaw a game of pass the parcel, and then had to prise Harmony away from Mayra’s daughter Star who had “stolen her thunder” after she had performed better cartwheels than her. Scarlett smiled, she liked the fact that her family were still present in Sunset Valley, and that Harmony and Wyatt were growing up with their cousins and second cousins around them.
Scarlett was also delighted when unannounced, Donte and Willow arrived laden with presents.
“We couldn’t miss my favourite nephew’s birthday could we?” Willow smiled as Scarlett let her in.
“Don’t let Riley or Devon hear you say that.” Scarlett smiled.
The sisters exchanged a meaningful glance, and Scarlett pulled Willow into a tight hug.
“I’m sorry.” Scarlett said, “I’m so happy for you both – honestly. This family deserves all the happiness in the world.”
Willow buried her head into her sister’s shoulder.
After playing games, exchanging gossip and enjoying some of Scarlett’s home-cooked food (with the recipes taken from Pippa’s diary) it was time for the little man to make his transition into a child.
Wyatt was a gorgeous little boy. Everybody said so, his dark skin complemented by his wavy dark hair – Scarlett knew she had been there for him throughout his first years. However, Scarlett knew that soon Wyatt would start asking questions surrounding his paternity, and growing up with the neurotic trait – Scarlett worried that once again, her choices and mistakes had shaped her children’s lives in ways which she wished they wouldn’t.
Later that evening, after all the guests had dissipated – Scarlett found herself tackling the mountain of dishes with the help of Kim.
“It’s been a great day, Scar – you did the kids proud.”
“Thanks Kim, but god am I tired now.”
“It’s great news about Donte and Willow isn’t it?” Kim smiled.
“Yeah it is, they’ve set the date as well you know.”
“I know – six months time.”
“Crazy isn’t it? You best get looking for a date then sweetie!” Kim chuckled, washing the last of the dishes, putting a warm hand on Scarlett’s shoulder and leaving the kitchen.
Scarlett stood there at the sink, thinking about what Kim had said. She guessed that she was right.
Scarlett felt perverse sat here on this site. The kids were long in bed, and Scarlett sat in her office, a glass of white wine next to the mouse, scrolling through Sunset Valley’s “most eligible gentleman”. That was the overstatement of the century.
Perhaps online dating wasn’t for her. She had always been a more ‘in your face’ person – and she just couldn’t get used to making a judgement of a guy through a computer screen. Scarlett sighed, and proceeded to close down the computer. Sitting back in her chair, she took another swig of wine.
Maybe I’ll just end up alone.
It was Scarlett’s thirtieth birthday in two weeks time, it would be nice to have somebody to spoil her. But then again, where could she find a decent guy in Sunset Valley? It wasn’t the largest of places. As she clambered up the stairs to bed, Scarlett yawned.
“I guess Bridget Jones found somebody in the end.”
With that thought, Scarlett got into her covers, and drifted off to sleep.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed that chapter guys! I like writing Scarlett in this new direction, and the next few chapters are going to really give her a new lease of life!
Thankyou all for reading!
The year following their parent’s deaths saw the King siblings take very different paths. They were grown ups now, mature and capable of looking after themselves, Willow had noticed this change in her eldest sister the most prominently. Scarlett insisted on having Alfie and Willow round for a roast every Sunday, and when Pippa and Connor’s will came through the siblings were surprised at the amount they would receive.
“So, we get this.. each?!” Willow whispered, exasperated staring at their family lawyer with an incredulous look in her eyes. No amount of money could ever plaster over the pain that they all still felt, but it was reassuring to know that their parents had left them a sizeable amount to begin their own journeys and follow their own dreams. It was receiving this money that led Willow to be sat in Donte’s car, on the way to Los Angeles International. In a few hours time they would be touching down in Washington Dulles airport, to begin their new lives working in the nation’s capital. It had been a long time coming, Willow thought; nearly two years after she and Donte had first approached their families with the news, so much had changed since.
Following Connor and Pippa’s deaths, Scarlett could still feel their presence in the house. She tried initially by re-wallpapering, but she soon realised that she felt the ghosts of them in everything, not just the furnishings. It was Alfie’s idea initially, with her section of the money left she had the house knocked clean to the ground and built it back up – her way.
It had been a long process, but Scarlett felt extremely happy with the results. The six months she had spent living in Alfie’s house had been enjoyable, yet cramped – especially with the news that Kimberly was expecting again. She’d always decorated her bedroom, but designing a house – she didn’t know if she had the creative capabilities, but everybody agreed – they were amazed at the results.
Every detail Scarlett had fine-tuned, it might not have been to everybody’s taste but that was what Scarlett wanted. It was her’s, not her mother’s, just her’s.
The only room Scarlett had kept similar was her office. It wasn’t far off the design of her father’s old office, the same wooden panelling and her father’s book collection. It was larger however, and Scarlett had bought a new computer. If she was going to have to continue documenting her life events, she thought she would at least do it on a decent machine. She found the similarities to her father’s office inspiring, as she sat down late at night she often felt that it was her father who was really typing out the words on the screen. Her writing abilities had come on leaps and bounds since Connor’s death, and she had strived to improve them – as words were an extremely menial way to talk about her parents. No words could really convey the love, support and happiness that they had brought Scarlett.
Scarlett’s design for the greatly-expanded living room was one of her favourites. Willow had helped her with this room in particular, and Scarlett had wanted the living room to have more of a central role in her house than it had previously. The tiny little alcove that Connor and Pippa had called the “lounge” had been rarely used by any of their family due to the fact it was such a claustrophobic space – Scarlett hoped that this room would see many memories of her and her children in the years to come.
The kitchen was one of her greatest feats. A huge open space, decorated in gawdy blue wallpaper – Scarlett hoped to improve her cooking skills and channel that of her mother. Their kitchen had always been filled with the most delectable smells, and Scarlett wanted Harmony and Wyatt to grow up with those warm feelings that she, Alfie and Willow had. Scarlett had laughed when Alfie first saw the kitchen, it was a little ‘in your face’ for his liking – what with the electric blue wallpaper and the leopard print rug, but he agreed that Pippa would’ve been proud to cook in such a beautiful kitchen.
Upstairs had a different feel. Scarlett’s master bedroom was far larger than any of the other bedrooms that the house had had previously, and she had created it so it could be her personal space. A break away from Harmony’s tantrums and Wyatt’s cries. Everything was brand new, aside from one item. Scarlett’s cow-print guitar – she had had that for so many years she couldn’t bring herself to throw it away. She barely even played it these days, she’d found singing and playing too hard since her parents had died and her lack of career had meant that it wasn’t necessary anymore. Scarlett realised that she couldn’t keep up this unemployed life forever, and she didn’t want to waste the rest of her inheritance – she felt confident to start something new.
As well as wanting to start a fresh with her career, Scarlett had reflected on the past decade as she had been renovating the house. She was approaching thirty, and with Harmony and Wyatt seemingly growing at an accelerated rate – she always thought of Peter and Victor… even Youseff. Her pathetic attempt at marriage the first time round was enough to put Scarlett off ever doing it again, but with Willow now in DC, Alfie with his own life, and their parents gone – cold winter nights alone in her bed made her wish there was somebody by her side.
Despite entering her ‘tween’ years, Harmony still enjoyed being treated like a princess – and Scarlett gave her a bedroom that would reflect that. Scarlett had underestimated the effect that Connor and Pippa’s deaths had had on Harmony. She still bid them goodnight and prayed for them, along with her daddy. Despite there being nothing she could do for either of her parents, Scarlett couldn’t help but feel guilty whenever she heard Harmony whispering in her room late at night. She hoped that Harmony would grow up to make more of herself than Scarlett had.
It wouldn’t be long before Wyatt was a child, yet Scarlett was desperately trying to cling onto his infant years – she felt like she had been a much more pro-active and caring mother to Wyatt at this age than she had been with Harmony, and in many ways she was overcompensating. She was so much more mature than she was when she had had Harmony nearly eleven years ago, and that had definitely shown in her parenting.
The garden however, was Scarlett’s most daring design. Hiring the best landscapers in California, she had extended the pool, built a small rockery and planted varying flowers and shrubs, as well as designing a mini playpark – complete with treehouse. Scarlett was filled with so much satisfaction when Alfie would bring the kids round and Harmony, Wyatt, Riley and Devon would spend hours playing pirates, or aliens, or cyborgs or whatever crazy game they thought up next whilst she and Alfie sat on the loungers, watching them play and enjoying a well-earned drink. Scarlett was going to be much happier in this new house. It still held fond memories of her childhood, but was enough of a blank canvas for Scarlett to start again.
The final touch to the house was the addition of her memorial garden. Alfie said it was a ‘graveyard’ but Scarlett refused to call it so. Pippa’s grave stood tall and mighty, with Connor’s headstone by her side. Behind was a pond with fountain – a reminder of her parent’s eternal spirit. A few feet away also lay the graves of Zelda and more controversially; Miles.
Yes. This was definitely somewhere that Scarlett could envisage living for the rest of her life, now all she needed to do – was carry on living, a prospect that didn’t seem as scary as it had done previously.
A/N: Well, this chapter turned into an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which I didn’t plan – but I hope I didn’t bore you to sleep at least – the new house is something I’m quite proud of, as althought I’ve loved the Sims for over a decade, I’ve always been more of a player than a builder. I’m aware as well that I’m nearly twenty chapters in and we are a way of the next generation, but I think Scarlett’s gen is going to stretch a little longer than Pippa’s, there is just so much more to tell with her.
Hope you enjoyed it guys! Would love to hear your feedback as always :-)!
Hi guys, I’ve not dissapeared again… but some of you may notice that The Sims 3 forum has undergone some serious changes, and I’m now unable to log in to that forum as I don’t think I have an Origin account?! Ehh, I’m at a bit of a loss here… somebody help?
The next year passed with mixed feelings for the King family. The positives were that Scarlett had taken to being a full-time mother, and bonded with Wyatt exactly how she had hoped. Her relationship with Harmony had also improved dramatically, and as Wyatt’s first birthday approached – she even confided to Kim that she was ready to begin dating again. As well as this, the family watched as Willow grew into a young adult – despite only being sixteen, her transition was long-awaited. Scarlett thought that she was far more mature than she ever had been at sixteen – hell, she was more mature than she was now.
The family were also shocked to meet Donte Watkins; Willow’s boyfriend that she had been keeping secret from them for over a year now. He was slightly older than she was, and after Connor’s initial reservations he had been given the seal of approval. He was an aspiring lawyer, and together – the family thought that Donte and Willow would soon be on the cover of Forbes. Willow had been offered the opportunity to move to Washington DC for a year, and shadow a Congressman in order for her to build on her political interests and aspirations. Willow attempted to dispose of the letter, but after Pippa found it in the bin – she insisted that she grasp the opportunity with both hands.
It was only after Willow told her family that Donte had been offered a similar opportunity working at the Supreme Court that they put two and two together, and realised that despite their age, it would be the trip of a lifetime for them both.
Sarcastic, smart and undeniably infatuated with Willow – Donte instantly had the gratification of her family, and at nineteen, Connor felt assured that he could protect her if they took their offers in DC. He had family living in Georgetown and had assured Connor and Pippa that Willow would be able to protect herself – and him for that manner. As the family gathered for Willow’s celebration, Donte reaffirmed his love for Willow in front of them all.
Donte was surprised at Connor and Pippa’s acceptance of him, and the fact that he and Willow were planning to move away that September – but Donte knew that Pippa’s illness had changed things in the household.
Willow’s birthday came complete with a new look. She wasn’t the “sexy” sister like Scarlett was – and she didn’t want to be. She loved her sister to bits, but she knew that she had been born with the brains, and Scarlett with the breasts. Jeans and a fancy top would do her just fine. She’d never be considered as a serious candidate for Junior Congress if she began flashing her tits at every given moment.
However, her professional conservatism was left firmly at work… and had no place in her private relations with Donte.
Despite her family’s constant worry, Pippa had been taking one day at a time. A year’s worth of chemotherapy and radiotherapy had taken it’s toll on her, and as summer began she soon realised that it could be her last. She refused to discuss the possibility of her death with anybody, despite knowing that it was more a reality than an ever. Her fatigue, the thinning of her hair, her fake smile it had been wearing Pippa down day by day and Scarlett noticed that she was spending an ever increasing amount of time visiting Zelda’s grave. Maybe she just felt that a non-repliant ear would be better than one that would constantly be fussing over her.
“Is Nana okay, Auntie Willow?” Harmony asked, she had taken to sleeping in her grandmother’s bed on those nights that Pippa suffered from insomnia, and the family took it in turns to read her to sleep.
Willow looked at her niece with a sorrowful smile. At eight years old, Willow remembered herself as much more intuitive than Harmony was… but Willow was in many ways glad that Harmony was naive towards Pippa’s cancer.
“She’s a little worse, sweetheart. You know that she might be going to visit your Daddy in heaven soon don’t you?”
“Yeah, she told me that. I’d rather her stay here with me though.”
Willow felt a lump rise in her throat. She did too.
One person who was still happily oblivious to his grandmother’s condition, was Wyatt. Scarlett still found the resemblance to his father undeniable, and she dreaded the day when Wyatt would start to ask question about his paternity. His skin colour meant that it was obvious he wasn’t like the rest of his family, and Scarlett felt that she owed him that explanation. Perhaps a trip back to Al Simhara? But not now, her mother needed her here – and she wanted to spend as much time with her as possible.
It was a dreary September morning when it finally happened. After nearly two years, Pippa lost her battle with cancer and her family gathered round to bid their final farewells.
“Scarlett,” Pippa croaked, ushering her eldest daughter towards her, “take care of them. All of them. Your father, Alfie, Will-” Pippa paused to cough, “you’ll be brilliant. This is your time now, my darling.”
Consumed with fear, Scarlett merely smiled at her mother, her own tears splashing onto her mother’s cheek and fusing with her own. Pippa’s eyes, eternally filled with love and warmth became cold and glassy. She was dead.
As Pippa slipped slowly into the afterlife, Scarlett hurried over to console her daughter. Scarlett had never met any of her grandparents, but she knew what an incredible and important impact that Pippa had had on her grandchildren, Harmony especially.
“Thankyou, Mum.” She whispered as the last trace of Pippa’s being was whisped away.
Grief had consumed the King family many a time, but nothing… nothing compared to this.
Pippa was buried at home, a marble headstone erected on Connor’s request.
Pippa Danielle King
Wife, Mother, Grandmother
A friend to all, and a stranger to none
Scarlett’s main worry was for her father. Connor, who was withdrawn at the best of times, had now become a complete recluse in the week following Pippa’s death. He had only been coaxed out of his and Pippa’s bedroom once, and that was by a screaming Wyatt demanding cuddles from his granddad.
Connor refused to be a part of any of the funeral arrangements, saying that it was up to Scarlett, Alfie and Willow to decide. Scarlett felt like it was her responsibility to make sure that it was as perfect as it could be, but what was she kidding – how could saying goodbye to their mother, one of the bravest women that Sunset Valley had ever known would ever be classed as a perfect moment? Just when one of the family dared to think that they had endured a brief happy moment, or a slight relief in their misery – grief was swept over them again like a tidal wave, drowning everything in it’s path. Connor didn’t think he would ever smile again. The night before Pippa’s funeral, Scarlett spotted him standing in front of Pippa’s grave – talking. It had begun to rain, and her father was stood out there in nothing but his pyjamas.
“Do you think we should go and get him?” She asked Alfie, who had stayed every night since their mother’s death. Scarlett felt for Kim, she had insisted that she was fine looking after Riley and Devon, and even demanded that Wyatt and Harmony stay whilst Scarlett sorted Pippa’s funeral. She was probably the most tired of them all, but she wouldn’t let her fascade crack – it was the King siblings that were grieving right now.
“I,” Alfie didn’t know what to say, it was the first time he had seen his father outside of his room in over a week, “perhaps this is just his way of… saying goodbye.”
The morning of Pippa’s funeral dawned, and Scarlett’s emotions were tested before breakfast when Willow emerged from her room.
“Donte will be here in a bit.” She said blankly, she was white as a sheet. Scarlett looked at her baby sister, she was finding this difficult – but Willow wasn’t even twenty, Pippa still had so much that she should’ve been here to witness.
“That’s good sweetie, you picked out something to wear?”
Willow opened her mouth to reply, but it was her eyes that reflected how she really felt. Tears began streaming from them as if her eyeducts were broken resevoirs, and before Scarlett knew it the tears were seeping into the shoulder of her dress.
“I can’t do this, Scar. I can’t. I knew that this day would come, but if I do this today then… it means that, she’ll never see me get married, she’s not coming to my graduation, she’ll never meet my kids. She’ll be gone.” Willow balled. Scarlett hadn’t spilled any tears since Pippa had died. It was as if her mother’s towering strength, that Scarlett had always believed had been passed to Willow now rested with her. But seeing her little sister, the ‘teflon-teen’ as Connor called her in such hysterics forced Scarlett to acknowledge the first chink in her armour.
Scarlett felt herself racing around her own head, trying to string together words that would comfort Willow, tell her that Pippa would be there to watch these things, but the truth was she wouldn’t be. She would never see Willow grow up like she had with Scarlett and Alfie, she would never get to be a grandmother to her children as she had been to Harmony, Riley, Devon and Wyatt.
And with that crushing thought, Scarlett wrapped her arms around Willow and joined in with her sobbing. As the sisters stood consoling one another, the enormity of the day resonated through both of their minds.
Authors Note: I cried whilst writing this, is that sad? I hated killing Pippa off, and I didn’t want to whatsoever, but I felt that the time was right, and it permitted Scarlett’s story to move on without the sense that it was still Pippa’s tenure.
The next chapter is a direct follow on from this, and in sense a ‘two-parter’, but it was never intended to be – hence the different chapter name etc.
I hope you aren’t all as cut up as I am.
Scarlett had been found by nobody other, than her cousin Charlie. He had been returning to the beach to bury his stash of ill-gotten goods that he had collected over the previous months, adding them to an already full stockpile that he had been depositing there for a number of years. Regardless, Scarlett’s kleptomaniac cousin had sounded the alarm, and before she knew it she had been rushed into Sunset Valley Hospital.
Numerous thoughts had ran through her family’s minds. Was she drunk? On drugs? Dehydrated?
“Congratulations, Mr and Mrs King. It appears that your daughter is nineteen weeks pregnant.”
The doctor’s verdict floored both Connor and Pippa.
Nineteen weeks? Kimberly was twenty-four weeks herself, and she had discovered months ago.
Upon Scarlett’s return home, she slept a lot, often with Harmony by her side, both of them drifting in and out of slumber in Scarlett’s bedroom.
It was happening again, Scarlett thought. History was repeating itself. Here she was, pregnant unexpectedly, and alone. Victor had moved out of town, and three days after Scarlett’s bombshell, she received notification that their annulment had been granted, and that their marriage was over. Her marriage had lasted twenty weeks. Twenty.
Scarlett had never been amazingly academic at school, but she had scraped a C in her Maths class, and it didn’t take her long to realise that she had last slept with Victor two weeks before the wedding. She had been “saving herself”, in reality, the thought of his hairy, sweaty body on top of her made her feel sick. This therefore meant that she had gotten pregnant the week after her wedding. Her honeymoon. Youssef.
“So there’s no way of getting in contact with this guy?” Pippa asked her daughter, she would be expecting two new grandchildren within six weeks of each other. She really was getting the big family she had once wished for, but everytime she felt Scarlett’s baby kick, or watched as Scarlett began getting out Harmony’s old baby clothes and other paraphernalia, she felt another pang of sorrow.
She still had a small glimmer of hope as she entered the hospital, and as she sat in the drearily white waiting room she cursed the fact that her consultant’s room was next to the maternity unit. The sound of crying babies brought home to Pippa that she would be welcoming two new grandchildren in the Spring, she would be here to greet them. She’d make sure of it.
“Pippa King?” The nurse called, Pippa took a deep breath and gathered her thoughts. There was only one way to answer all the questions that were running through her head. She smiled, stood up and entered the consultant’s room.
Scarlett’s call had come completely out of the blue. Victor had made a fresh start for himself in Colorado, and it had been nearly three months since his and Scarlett’s marriage had officially ended. He’d attempted to erase the disasterous last year out of his mind. Nevertheless, he stood there in the icy December wind, sheltered from the snow that was struggling to fight through the clouds. What had she summoned him here for?
Victor checked his watch, and as he pondered whether to wait or just leave now he saw her walk into view. Or rather, waddle into view.
“Scarlett,” Victor began, his mouth ajar in deep shock. Victor felt like somebody had given him a well-practised right hook right into his midriff.
“Pregnant, yup. This isn’t post-breakup weight, I can assure you that.” Scarlett smiled, she had no real reason to be nasty with Victor – after all, he had come at her request. He probably felt as uncomfortable as she did.
“No. It isn’t. I’m sure of that, it can’t be… the dates don’t add up.”
“But you look, big…” Victor was struggling to find the right words.
Scarlett raised a pencilled eyebrow.
“Victor, I promise you. It was a fling not long after we…”
“After you left me?” There was a tinge of sadness in Victor’s voice.
Scarlett felt her heart plummet. Part of her wished Victor was the father of her baby, at least then one of her children could grow up with a father figure in their lives.
“I heard you quit your job.” Victor asked, drawing his eyes away from Scarlett’s now-noticeable baby bump.
“Yeah, I’d been thinking about it for a while and it just made sense to do it now rather than take maternity. I’m going to retrain after the baby is born I think.” Scarlett replied, she hadn’t really discussed her decision with anybody yet – the rest of her family seemed too preoccupied with their own problems at the moment.
“I could help you if…”
“No, Victor. I’m fine, thanks.”
Victor’s eyes narrowed.
“So you’ve dragged me here to tell me that not only didn’t you want to marry me, you’d rather have a child with a complete stranger, rather than me? And that you don’t even want any help off of me at all? Thanks, Scarlett. I’ll be off now. Good luck. Give my best wishes to your Mum as well.”
“Victor, wait… I just felt like I had to tell you, it wasn’t planned, I didn’t know until a few weeks ago! Please!” Scarlett yelled after him, as she watched him brave the wind and run towards his parked car.
“Wait, my mum?” Scarlett couldn’t understand why he had mentioned Pippa – she completely understood the rest of his tirade. She had gone through their relationship focusing on the fact that Victor had been controlling, manipulative and bullying – only to realise that she had lied and hurt Victor herself. As she rubbed her temple with her hands, she sighed and walked back to her car. Why had she even bothered?
It had been six weeks since Pippa’s diagnosis, and she still hadn’t told a soul. She wished Zelda was here, she would have been her first point of contact. She wanted to tell Connor, but she didn’t want sympathy – she was still Pippa King, the strong, independent and headstrong woman that had moved to Sunset Valley all those years ago. As Pippa dressed herself, she noticed the state of her hair – in the all the stress of the past few months, she had forgotten to make her regular hair appointment with Gianno, her hairdresser of long-standing. Pippa had been aware that she was getting older, but seeing her once long golden locks short, brittle and grey really brought home the reality of what she was facing. She needed a friend, a woman her own age she could talk this through with. As Pippa made her way out of the bathroom, she avoided Connor and her daughters and made her way to the car.
It wasn’t long until Christmas, but Sunset Valley didn’t look as if it was going to get the white Christmas that many of it’s younger residents were hoping for. The rain lashed against Pippa’s umbrella as she strolled up the long driveway to Morgana’s house. She hadn’t seen her old friend in a while, and as she approached the seaside mansion – she remembered how fate had brought them together all those years ago.
Morgana’s invitation for lunch was welcomed by Pippa, and their brief conversation on the phone highlighted to Morgana that something was wrong.
It wasn’t until Morgana and Pippa had eaten lunch, taken a swim and relaxed in the sauna that Morgana asked Pippa what was wrong. The pair had been friends a long time, and although Morgana knew that Zelda had always been held pride of place to Pippa – the pair had been through enough to be open with each other.
“You know it’s such wonderful news about Scarlett and Alfie’s babies, Pippa. I can’t help but feel jealous of your brood.”
Pippa smiled, the thought of her new grandchildren filled her heart with pride. Morgana’s only daughter; Ariana was older than Scarlett, around thirty now and lived in New York with her long-term girlfriend. Morgana was extremely proud of her career-driven daughter, but Pippa knew that deep down she was dissapointed she didn’t want children. Despite Pippa’s tryst with Morgana’s husband Thornton all those years ago, both Thornton and Morgana had reunited in later life, and the pair even remarried – but Thornton had died over five years ago and Morgana was left in her huge house, alone.
Pippa gave a half-hearted smile.
“Okay, I’ll get to it. What’s up, Pip? And don’t lie, you know you can talk to me.”
Pippa thought about it, she had always had an ulterior motive by coming here, and before she knew it – the words were on her tongue before she could stop herself.
“I can’t tell them, Morgana. I don’t know how to tell them.”
“Tell them what, honey?”
“I’ve got breast cancer.”
The women didn’t notice how dark it had become outside. After the initial shock, Morgana sat and listened whilst Pippa cried, ranted and laughed. Morgana said that she needed to tell her family, as soon as possible – especially when Pippa revealed that her doctor had scheduled her in for rounds of chemotherapy after Christmas. As Pippa sat and cradled a mug of tea in Morgana’s dining room, she thought back to the first time she had set foot inside this house. It was a lifetime ago, so much had changed, and it was with this that Pippa soon realised that her time was almost up. She would fight this disease, of course she would – she has a born fighter, but it was time that her kids began to stand on their own two feet – she had always threatened to them that she wouldn’t be around forever, and she guessed that this threat was becoming a reality.
Pippa’s mind was brought rushing back into the room by the sound of her phone bleeping. She checked and saw a text from Alfie.
Kim’s scan went really well Mum, her midwife says she has around eight weeks left – she’s due on Riley’s first birthday! Oh and also… we found out the sex, I know we said we wanted a surprise but we just couldn’t wait any longer. Meet your new grandson, another boy!
As Pippa admired the blurry image of her new grandson, she heard the drip-drop of her tears, falling into her lukewarm mug of tea.
Author’s Note: Oh this was such a sad chapter to write. I’m always conscious that despite this being Scarlett’s part of the story I put a little too much of emphasis on the rest of the family, and Connor and Pippa’s involvement has been too much – therefore I decided to create this storyline as a way to mirror Scarlett’s – the second unexpected pregnancy (which many of you guessed correctly, am I that predictable?) along with Pippa’s cancer is sort of the beginning of Scarlett’s (rather delayed) adulthood.
That was my theory anyway, hope you’re all still enjoying this guys!
Upon her father’s suggestions, Frost Lincoln Law Practice was where Scarlett sought to annul her marriage to Victor. After a lengthy meeting, Scarlett was feeling more optimistic.
As Scarlett left, she watched as she saw children running around Central Park and thought of Scarlett, it was coming up her sixth birthday – and Scarlett was determined to make it special for her little girl, she felt as if she had a lot of making up to do, especially after the car crash few months she had been made her endure.
Harmony however, was more grounded than her family gave her credit for. Popular at school, consistent grades she understood that she didn’t have the conventional ‘mum/dad/siblings’ type of family that many of her friends did; but she never felt unloved. She idolised her mother, she was this beautiful, almost famous figure in Harmony’s eyes and whilst there was often drama surrounding her, Harmony’s relationships with her grandparents, uncle and aunts meant that she never wanted for anything. Harmony knew that her mother felt guilty over the six years she had already lived, but Harmony couldn’t understand why. She was happy, and her family meant everything to her.
As summer rolled on and Scarlett and Victor’s annulment grew closer to it’s final dissolution, the matter of a settlement soon arose. Scarlett refused to claim any of Victor’s money – she knew that she had no rights to it, but when she refused him access to Harmony, Victor was severely displeased.
“After all I’ve done for that girl?”
“Victor please, it’s just, she needs stability and…”
“Stability my arse. You don’t know the meaning of the word!”
And rows of a similar vain continued until long after the leaves on the trees began to turn a golden brown.
It was a chilly September evening, and Scarlett, Willow and Harmony had spent an enjoyable Saturday watching low-budget chick flicks and stuffing their faces with take-outs and chocolate. After removing their face masks, Willow turned to her big sister.
“So sis, no luck on the guy front? I thought you’d have traded Victor in for a younger model by now.” She teased.
Scarlett raised her eyebrow, her teenage sister had some cheek.
“Cheeky cow,” Scarlett laughed, “don’t think I haven’t noticed you texting that Donte from school or whatever he is called.”
Willow blushed. She had always been too busy for boys ,with her sports commitments and intense academics – she know felt that her future career lied in politics. Often coming to blows with her Uncle Jared over their differing views, Willow knew how to stand up for her beliefs and views – something Scarlett envied about her baby sister.
Days later, as Scarlett was finishing off her third helpings of dinner – she noticed her father re-reading his legacy book.
“What’re you doing, Dad?” Scarlett asked.
Willow looked up from her homework as Scarlett watched her father reading over his own written account of their lives.
“Just… just, keeps me humble in my old age. That’s all.” Connor smiled at his daughters before retiring to bed.
“Have you started your one of those?” Willow posed the question to Scarlett in a playful way, as if the subject was a sore matter.
Scarlett thought about the fifty or so mish-mashed pages she had saved on her computer. Compared to her Dad’s masterpiece, it was nothing more than a sickeningly cliche diary of her failed love life, but Scarlett hoped that the next chapter of her life would be more exciting to write about.
“Sorta, don’t even think about asking to have a look though.” Scarlett replied to Willow, despite having an older head on her shoulders – Scarlett felt there were some things that she couldn’t share with her teenage sister.
As Scarlett got her court date through the post to discuss the settlement for her annulment, the family were overjoyed when Kimberly announced she was pregnant again. Despite her joy for both Alfie and Kim, Scarlett couldn’t help but wince at their situation.
Riley was merely seven months old, and with the news that they would be expecting another new arrival shortly after Riley’s first birthday, Scarlett hoped that Alfie and Kim wouldn’t lose sight of their dreams whilst drowning in the midst of dirty nappies. As Scarlett’s court date approached, and with Alfie becoming a father for the second time. Connor and Pippa finally felt as if their roles in leading their children was coming to an end.
“They’ll be fine without us, won’t they?” Pippa asked Connor, stood in Willow’s bedroom. The house hadn’t seen a lick of paint in nearly ten years – but Pippa held off decorating, that was Scarlett’s responsibility now, and it was up to her to choose when the dated wallpaper and worn carpets became painful reminders of what once was, instead of nostalgic reminders of years gone by.
“Of course they will, Pip. You should stop worrying, they’re all doing so well. Scarlett’s getting her life back on track, Alfie and Kim look like they’re going to be giving us a soccer team of grandchildren, and Willow… well, looks like we could end up helping her campaign for President someday.”
Pippa felt a lump rise in her throat. She embraced Connor, and wandered over to Willow’s bedside table, studying the pamphlets, essays and political text she had been gathering. God, she was so proud of her, so so proud. A tear formed in her eye as she heard Harmony come bounding up the stairs. Stay strong. Her mantra from day one. Stay. Strong.
With Kimberly’s expedition into space put on hold, Scarlett offered her services as babysitter to Riley as Alfie panicked about the impending birth of his second child. Scarlett had expressed her congratulations to Kim upon the news of her pregnancy, it had come as a shock to everybody, especially Kim and she had told Scarlett that her bosses at NASA weren’t happy that after only three weeks back at work she had informed them that she was in fact pregnant again.
It was Kim’s worries about her career, and Willow’s drive to enter the world of politics that left Scarlett feeling even more lost. She loved music, and when she had begun work in the music career, she didn’t imagine that she would still be playing in the local theatre for amateur productions and travelling plays after nearly eight years there. Also, Victor’s influence on the direction of the theatre made Scarlett’s worklife extremely uncomfortable, it was definitely time for a change. As she spent one of the last warm evening’s playing her guitar on the beach, she was unaware of the other struggles her family was facing.
Kim was happy about the news of her pregnancy, but as she drifted off into a disturbed sleep – she dreamed that she was preparing for her expedition to space, only for the rocket to explode upon take-off. Would she ever get there?
It had been a long day for Pippa. A long, non-exciting day filled with the usual household chores and tasks that she had long ago realised that despite her nagging, nobody else would take it upon themselves to do. Well, perhaps, Alfie might have but her daughters or husband most definitely wouldn’t. As she began to run herself a hot bubble bath, Pippa massaged her achy limbs. As she rubbed her arm, attempting to soothe the burning that seemed to be constantly present in her bones these days, she began wrestling with her own mind. Should she check again? Maybe she had been mistaken the other day. Pippa turned, making sure that the bathroom door was definitely locked and sat down on the side of the bath. She slipped her hand underneath her nightdress, and felt her left breast. Still there. Pippa felt herself go pale and before she knew it, she had slipped off the side of the bath and was crouched on the wet floor.
She felt dirty from just touching it. She knew what it meant, the clock really was ticking now. As Pippa lay there on the bathroom floor, she thought of her children. She had probably spoiled them too much, they were all so used to her and Connor being there, and now with Harmony, Riley, and a third grandchild on the way Pippa felt guilty that she may have to force them to live independently sooner than she had wanted to.
Across town, Scarlett had become lost in an acoustic rendition of the “You and Me Song” by The Wannadies. Her eyes closed, she felt it so peaceful that all she could hear was her playing and the sound of the waves crashing into the beach. She almost didn’t notice that she was losing consciousness.
Her guitar fell from her hands as she made a crunching sound against the sand. Scarlett’s eyes flickered, the sky was a shade of shocking pink. Scarlett gave a confused smile as the pink turned darker, and darker until Scarlett couldn’t see. All was black.
Alone, both mother and daughter lay crumpled and broken. For varying reasons, life had knocked the King women down. Times were changing. And the both of them knew, that with their family’s track record – drama was always around the corner.
Authors Note: Ehh, I found this a hard chapter to write… I have numerous storylines planned, it’s just the in between parts to them I find hard to pad out. Hopefully it doesn’t seem like a forced chapter and you’re all still enjoying. Thankyou everybody for your continued loyalty, support and comments – it really does force me to sit down and write at a regular pace!
Next chapter will be here ASAP!