I called up the department and told them that Ember had come over to my house. They asked me if I wanted her removed and instead I politely asked to speak to the person in charge of her case. After a long talk with the woman who had been trying to get Ember adopted for the whole of her life, I told the woman that I was Ember’s birth mother and that I wanted her back. The woman had been very hesitant, but once I dropped my name and my father’s name I found that the wheels of bureaucracy managed to turn just a little bit better than they had been.
By the time I got off the phone with the woman, I had started the process to officially adopt Ember. I had the chance to do some good with her. I had he opportunity to fix the mistakes that I made and by God I was going to do it it. I was smiling to myself when I hung up the phone and immediately headed off to find my daughter. I wanted to tell her the good news myself. I found her sitting outside watching the boys playing. She had an unreadable expression on her face. It was one of longing, but at the same time one of anger and envy.
She rounded on me, her eyes were wide with fear. Her upper lip was half curled and her eyes were wild, feral.
“You’re sending me back.”
It wasn’t a question. Her eyes were accusatory, but the rest of her face was entirely impassive. As though she had experienced this very thing before.
“No…no, I’m going to adopt you. You’re home now, Ember. You’ll never have to go anywhere again.”
I reached to brush a lock of hair behind her ear. Ember’s eyes flashed and she jumped away from me and to her feet. Her face was cold, her lips curled into a snarl.
“You think you can just come along and adopt me like I’m some kind of God Damn stray puppy? You didn’t even think of asking me if I wanted to be adopted by you? I hate you! You may have given birth to me, but you’re no mother of mine. As far as I’m concerned you’re the worst thing that ever happened to me. If you adopt me, I’ll run away. I swear to God I will.”
Without stopping she turned on her feet and ran back into the house, leaving me in shock in the backyard. I gasped for air and felt a tremendous pain in my chest. My eyes felt warm and wet. Suddenly I felt something warm trickle down my cheeks. I realized with a start that I had started to cry even before it had registered with me. I gulped air again as it seemed my body had forgotten how to breathe. Savannah heard me and came running out of the house.
“Maddy? Baby, what’s wrong? Honey are you sick, talk to me, what’s happening?” she asked me, her eyes and hands frantically checking me over.
“Sh-sh-sh-she d-d-d-doesn’t w-want me to ah-ah-ah-adopt her-r-r,” I managed to gasp out in between sobs, “she s-said she’d r-r-run away f-from me.”
“Oh God,” Savannah whispered as she sat down next to me. She wrapped her arms around me and pulled me firmly against her body. My head collided with her shoulder and I felt huge sobs rack my body. She stroked my head and whispered soothing things into my ear as I calmed down. The pain in my chest felt as though it was going to rip me apart. I could barely form conscious thought beyond the pain. It felt like the ultimate rejection.
This had been the moment I had been dreaming of since I was seventeen years old. The moment when I’d finally do the right thing and adopt my daughter. When I’d finally get to be her mother…and she had completely and totally rejected me. She didn’t want me. She hated me, she even said so.
“She hates me,” I whimpered against Savannah’s throat.
“No she doesn’t.”
“She told me so.”
She scoffed, “honey, all kids say that. How many times did you tell your parents you hated them.”
“We’re not talking about me,” I huffed.
Though I couldn’t see her face, I knew Savannah was narrowing her eyes at me. She pressed her cheek against the side of my face and rocked me a little more.
“Things are going to be hard with her, Maddy. They’re going to be harder with her than they ever will be with any of our other kids.”
I sat back a little bit and looked up into her concerned face.
“But Jessica-” I began.
Savannah held up her hand, “don’t start down that path, Maddy Mason. Jessica may have lost her mother young but she’s grown up with her father and ‘Uncle’ telling wonderful stories about her. She had parents and a family. Ember didn’t have any of that. Circumstances may be similar, honey, but they’re not the same. It’s going to take time with Ember. I hate to say it, but its going to take more than just a three days at home a week.”
She leaned in and kissed the top of my head before rising and seeing to the boys. I watched her go. The overwhelming pain in my heart had lessened just a bit. Savannah was right of course. It was going to take a lot more than me adopting Ember to make things right between us. I wiped my eyes and rubbed the moisture on my hands on my jeans. I rose and headed into the house to try again with Ember.
As I entered the living room I saw a peculiar sight. It was Ember…rebellious, angry and hateful Ember and she was being held by my father. The oddest part about the whole thing was the expression on her face. Gone was all the anger, all the hate and in its place was the face of a scared, but…softer girl. Her cheeks were tear-stained and her eyes shut. However, she was hugging my father so hard I could hardly believe it. They pulled a little apart from each other.
“Okay, I’ll stay. I’ll try,” she murmured.
I knocked on the wall where I was standing. Ember looked up, stepped away from my father and eyed me.
“I’ve decided to stay,” she announced.
She hesitated, opening and closing her mouth before steeling herself and asking me:
“Do I have to call you ‘Mom’?”
I tried to smile encouragingly, though i was sure it didn’t meet my eyes.
“Only if you want to,” I replied.
* * *
I tried to make things work with Ember and with work at the same time, but nothing worked right. Every time we’d make progress on my days off, I’d go to work and Ember would shut down again.
I had even been promoted to the top spot, passing both Trevor and Scout in the hierarchy. I was now the Fire Chief, and everything seemed to be going my way except….
I felt empty.
I only felt a little bit more when I came home from work. I was conflicted. I had always thought that the purpose of my life was to fight fires and save people. I had done it too. I had saved more than I had ever wished for…more than thirty at least, but I wasn’t really counting anymore. Yet now, it didn’t seem to matter. So, I decided to take time off from work to spend at home with my kids. I had plenty of vacation time built up, due to the fact that I had never taken a single vacation day or sick day in all of my years at the department. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get buy without someone earning some money. So, Savannah decided to come out of retirement at long last.
She was thrilled. Apparently she had been wanting to go back to work for a long time. She had never dropped her workout schedule, though she hadn’t joined me at the station in a long time.
Ember had been with us for just a few months before I realized that we had actually missed her birthday. She hadn’t said anything to me about it nor had she acted like we had done something to her. It occurred to me that Ember didn’t know her real birthday. She had never been told. That was a thought that just made me want to cry all over again.
I cornered her one day and asked her about it. She told me that she’d never really had a birthday and that no one knew when it was exactly. The date on all of her paperwork was a guess, and it was off by at least a week. Apparently who ever had ever taken her when she was a baby outside of the police station hadn’t bothered to consult a calendar when they wrote down her date of birth.
So I told her the real day, and as I did there was a look on her face like none I’d ever seen. I expected her to be angry with me, for forgetting. I expected that she’d fly off the handle at me, but instead she smiled up at me through glassy eyes and thanked me.
After that day things between my daughter and I improved. We had a birthday party for her, and it seemed that becoming a teenager had really calmed her. I expected things to be worse. She was a beautiful girl, and I could see a lot of her father in her. Every time I looked at her I couldn’t help but wonder where he was. What happened to him? Did he know that he had a daughter out in the world?
As we were all celebrating Ember’s birthday, the phone rang. Dad went to go answer it, and as he listened to the caller on the other end he went ghostly white. He dropped the phone and clutched at his sweater.
“Dad?” I cried, rushing over to him.
His eyes were glassy and his face was still a horrible shade of white. I thought he was dying.
* * *
Having Kennedy back was like recovering a long memory. It was as if we had simply misplaced her and she was back again. Ember had babysat the kids for us, and promised to call Trevor if she had any trouble. Dad, Savannah and myself spent two days in Bridgeport, catching up with my sister.
It was easy to be around her again. All of the ill feelings between us had simply vanished. I wasn’t sure what my sister had been through, but I could tell that it had affected her deeply. With Kennedy, one could gauge her state of mind from her wardrobe. Before all of this, when she first moved away, she wore nothing but pinks or stylish clothing. Her hair was long and braided conservatively. As she progressed, her clothing changed until now she was wearing the dark and muted outfit before me. Her hair was loose and shorter. Her makeup was heavy. Still, I was happier than anything to have her home. I just wondered about the things she had seen and where she had been. What had kept her away from all of us, even her child?
I didn’t buy her story for a moment. I had been around enough victims to recognize that little gleam in their eye. It was a shine that their eyes took on, it said that something had happened to them. Something had come along into their lives and ripped out a piece of their soul. Their eyes said that if they were cornered again…they wouldn’t let themselves be victimized. Kennedy didn’t have amnesia, I knew that, but I figured the lie had been easier for her than the truth. If that was the case then I’d let her keep on lying, because she’s my sister and I love her. If I’m supposed to know what happened to her, she’d tell me. Maybe one day, when we’re old and grey, she will.
* * *
When we got back to Riverview, I was happy to come home to a changed household. While we were gone, Ember and Brandt had bonded. While my daughter still had her moments of anger and times where she couldn’t stand to be touched, she had come a long way. She had blossomed under our love and was a welcome member of our family from the beginning. The boys loved their big sister, and I know that she loved them back. It was innate with siblings, I realized. No matter how much time passed or how many miles were between you, you shared an unshakeable bond. You could fall into place with each other as if nothing had ever happened. Despite the fact that not all of our children were actually related to each other, it seemed as if that explanation was true.
Life seemed like it was finally working my way and I realized that I finally had everything I had ever wanted…everything I had ever dreamed of. My whole family was flourishing and every one of my wishes had been granted. Life was good. Life was complete. All that was left to do was watch my children grow up and live happily ever after with my insanely beautiful wife.
So, I’ve decided that this is the end of the line for me. Things with my daughter continue to improve every day and they will continue to improve. She’s learning to trust again, and she’s learning to open her heart to all of us. I couldn’t be happier. I sit down and think of the course of my life and I am truly amazed.
I overcame so much. When it happened, I thought that Kaia’s death would be the end of me. Then, going to Bridgeport and meeting Micah. I had a baby by him, and I gave her up. She suffered at the hands of me and for what I will never forgive myself. I joined the fire department when I found my true calling. I saved my wife’s life. How many people can say that they have done that? We fell in love and today, including Ember have five children together. Life couldn’t be better, except….
“Mom, can I talk to you?”
I looked up and smiled at her. She had only just recently started to call me ‘mom’, I hadn’t made a big deal out of it for fear of scaring her and making her stop. Still, hearing the sentiment made me smile every time.
“Of course, sweetie,” I replied.
She smiled and sat down. She was a couple steps below me and she didn’t look at me, which was fine. I had learned early on with Ember that she was always more open and willing to talk when she didn’t have to actually look at me.“I was wondering…the person who found me named me Ember. But, you had a different name for me, right? You called me Elizabeth?”
“Yeah,” I acknowledged, a little confused by her questions. I picked at the lint on my jeans as I continued, “I didn’t get a chance to name you myself, unfortunately. However, every day that I thought of you I called you Elizabeth in my head and in my heart.”
“I was wondering, Mom…do you think you call me Elizabeth from now on?”
I couldn’t stop the sudden tear that slid out of my eye. I exhaled harshly, somewhere between a chuckle and a snort. I reached across the gap between us and gripped her hand in mine.
“Of course, honey. If that’s what you want. You’re my daughter, no matter what and I love you more than anything in the world.”
She smiled and looked down at the grass before lifting her eyes to the horizon. She didn’t cry, and she didn’t hug me but that was okay. We were taking everything one step at a time and man, was this a big step. Our lives weren’t going to be easy all the time, I knew that much. However, no matter what troubles we encountered we’d see our way through. After all, we’re a family and that’s what families do. We love each other, and we protect each other. Every day for the rest of our lives.
It was because of my love for her that Kennedy and I sat down and had a talk with each other. We decided together that our generation was going to be the last in the line of the legacy our ancestors had started. It’s just too much pressure to put on to our kids. Kennedy and I are both testament to that. I’ll put my journal in the deposit box tomorrow, but I’m not going to ask one of my kids to continue the line. I couldn’t do that to them. So, I guess this could be goodbye…who knows when someone will read these words again?
I’m not unhappy about it, trust me. I just want to spend every day of the rest of my life with my family.
I vowed I’d never ever waste those precious days again.
So, here we are…after long last. This, my dear dear readers and friends…was the last chapter of Generation 9. I can hardly believe that it’s finally here. I think I might truly cry. And of course, despite what Madison says, the story isn’t over yet. Just setting up the next gen. 😉
I’m not 100% satisfied with the chapter, but I believe its good enough. I plan on expanding on Ember’s story more later. I plan on telling her story, or at least parts of her story on my tumblr. 🙂
Well, as per tradition, here we have the generation objectives. I don’t play for points, but I like to see how I stacked up.
- Become a firefighter √
- Get the key to the city√
- Max Handieness skill√
- Max athletic skill√
- Marry serves sim (all of them are able to be used)
- Have a baby (as many as you’d like)√ Five of them, haha.
- Rescue 5 sims from the blaze √ (She saved at least 30, enough to satisfy her LTW)
- Put out 10 fires√
- Get hidden trait (this I do not know and forgot to check!)
Well, I think I did pretty good this time around. 🙂
Oh, before I forget. The naming theme for Maddy’s babies was very subtle, and to my knowledge only one person was able to guess. They’re all fire names. Ember, of course being obvious. Brandt means fire brand. Aiden means little fire. Conley means purifying fire. Kenneth means born of fire. 🙂
I forgot to say this when I finished Kennedy’s chapter, but of course as you may have noticed I had some vampire-y themes. First of course being the names of the children. They are all named for vampires in the TV show True Blood. The twins middle names were also names for vampires in True Blood. Jessica (to my knowledge) has no canon middle name as of right now. All of the other characters in this gen (with the exception of Jimmy) are named from various vampires movies, books…etc. So, in the band we have Selene (Underworld) and Deacon (Deacon Frost, Blade). Marcus is, contrary to popular belief not named for Twilight but rather for Underworld. Claude is for Jean-Claude from the Anita Blake series. I think that’s all the named characters. Soo yep. 🙂
Oh and of course, the pets are also named for True Blood. Sam the dog, being of course Sam Merlotte and if you know about the character you get the little joke. 😉 The cat is named Sookie after Sookie Stackhouse. 😉
I’m a True Blood/Southern Vampire Mysteries fan…can you tell? ;
Anyway, thank you all so much for being patient with me while I took forever and a half to finish this gen. I’m so happy and excited to be done. I already have the first chapter of Gen 10 written and part of the second. All that’s left is to take pictures and finish up the special thing that goes with it. Oh, and by a long shot:
Pam is the winner of the poll. So it is her GENES that will continue the family line. 🙂
Much love to all of you. ❤