Chapter 4.13 – Alive

Grandpa David’s death had come as a shock to everybody.
 
Hope had missed school the Friday following her birthday party, and had also slept through the small birthday celebration for both Mary and Elizabeth. He died that night before going to bed, soon after Elizabeth moved out.  Hope felt terrible. Not only had she lied to her grandfather, but she took advantage of his trust during the party. It is something she will never be able to apologize for. The weekend that follows seems like one of the worst of her life. She wants to talk to her mother about the party, but she and Dara are both beside themselves with grief. Nothing good will come from talking about it until after the shock of Grandpa’s death has faded.
 
When Monday morning comes, Hope manages her problem in the same manner she has handled most other problems in her past. She behaves as though there isn’t one. She shrugs off the rumors at school, and uses her infectious smile to disarm some of the nastier kids who would love nothing more that to see Hope Barimen crash and burn. If socializing were an art form, Hope would resemble a master artist painting on her easel. Before the day is finished, every rumor has been squelched, and Hope’s indelible reputation remains unblemished. Michael Nava seems very annoyed by all of this. It is clear that only he wants one thing from her, but Hope manages the situation expertly. She treats him like she always has, dragging him along to see some friend or another, and talking incessantly about nothing in particular.
 
But her work is not yet finished. When Hope gets home, she goes directly to find her mother, who is working silently at her computer. The intensity of her typing seems to increase as Hope comes closer. For the first time ever, Hope understands that no words are necessary. Sometimes it is the simple gestures that carry the most meaning. So she says nothing and simply hugs her mother. Mei’s anxiety doesn’t stand a chance, and it melts away in the matter of seconds.
 
Mother and daughter spend quality time together that afternoon. Their first stop is the bistro, where Hope makes good on her promise to have a long talk with Mei. Hope is a good kid. Mei knows this, and she tells her daughter as much. But being good is definitely not easy. Temptation often comes wrapped in some very pretty packaging, and it can be very difficult to resist. Their conversation goes on throughout supper. All the while, Mei is dreading having to discipline her daughter. Finally, after the meal is finished and the conversation has stalled, Mei gently tells her Hope that Michael is forbidden from visiting the house again.
 
When Hope fails to flinch or argue the point, it occurs to Mei that she has never actually enforced any rule as a parent. Mei tries to think of a single instance where she stood firm, but she cannot. She had always backed down and allowed her lovable daughters to go unpunished. The night of Hope’s party is a perfect example. David saw the warning signs, but she refused to acknowledge them, in fear of upsetting Hope on her birthday.
 
Mei has too much of her grandfather in her to allow it to continue any longer. For Jiang Xi, everything about life came down to the concept of balance. She thinks back to the time she asked her grandfather how to achieve perfect balance. The only response he had ever given her was a single word – practice. Perhaps he was right. She has been far too lax in her parenting of both girls.
 
After two more hours visiting the salon, they finish the evening at a quaint clothing shop on the edge of town. Mei’s intention is to get new clothes for Hope. The girl has been growing like a weed, and no longer fits into anything hanging in her closet. But Hope, being the kind of kid she is, insists that both Dara and Mei also be treated to something new for themselves. Nearly a thousand simoleons later, Mei and Hope emerge happy, pampered, and weighted down with bags containing their new wardrobes. Both Mei and Hope are spent from the evening, and are ready for bed.
 
 —
It is fairly late when they begin to drive home. Their bonding had done much to heal the issues surrounding Hope’s birthday. But the teen still does not feel that every wrong has been righted. There is still one more apology to make. Hope sheepishly makes a request that Mei cannot refuse. They will have to go completely across town to get there, and they will be home very late as a result of the detour. But Mei knows that in the bigger picture, the inconvenience is infinitesimal.
 
It is late at night before they get home. Mei’s phone rings as Hope makes her way upstairs to check on Dara and let Mary know they are home. But she stops abruptly upon hearing Mei’s sharp cry, as the phone drops to the tile floor. Her unreadable expression is frozen as if she had been chiseled in stone. Hope rushes to her mother’s side to find out what has happened. Whatever was said on that phone call, has effected her mother deeply. Hope reminds Mei to breathe. Mei nods, her face flush, as she tries to speak through her spastic breathing. She manages to eek out the words as she gulps for air and fights to maintain her composure.
 
They found him, and he is alive.
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7 thoughts on “Chapter 4.13 – Alive

  1. FortA says:

    Audio’s right! Great chapter, though! I’m glad that Mei and Hope’s relationship is on the mend. Also, from what I could see, they both look great after the makeover!

    Great job!

    FortA

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  2. FortA says:

    Hey zoxell. I have a question for you – did you ever play the McCallister legacy (with Julian’s mother), or did you simply create Julian then use that as his “background story?”

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    • The McCallister legacy is backstory only, but there are a number of characters from it who will become rather important as the Barimen Legacy evolves. So technically, no, I never played them as an offical legacy… though it sometimes feels like I have 😉
      Thanks for asking!

      Like

  3. A lovely chapter of righting the wrong that was done.
    Im so happy that Mark is coming home! Eeps! Makes me so excited! Also a little sad at everything that had happened in his absence here and where he was.

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  4. Slowly catching up with your chapters! Is very glad that Mark is coming back and I can’t wait to see what he’ll add to the story 🙂 Once again .. why do you have to be so good at cliffhangers? I mean .. that was pretty intense! ahahha XD

    xcin100x
    So, I’ve got this new chapter posted up on my legacy and i’d love it if you can check it out! Thanks. http://xcin100x.wordpress.com/

    Like

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