For the first time in many years, a quiet calm settles over the Barimen Estate. This peaceful respite helps to smooth over the many frayed nerves and nearly broken spirits the family has suffered over the past generation.
Truth be told, the change is unprecedented. The family has been embroiled in one tragedy or another since before Julian Barimen’s return to Sunset Valley. There is hardly any resemblance remaining between those early days and what exists now, however. So it seems only fitting to carefully place these experiences aside for antiquity. For the Barimen family, Faith’s birth turns the page.
She managed to change her mother’s life just simply by existing, and this effect blossoms as she grows into a toddler and captures her grandparents hearts with little effort. How is she able to do it so easily? It could be the idea that she is a gift of grace, rewarding Hope’s victory over temptation. Perhaps. But most likely, it is nothing more than the child’s naturally generous spirit and honest nature that inspires them.
Faith possesses the same selfless charity exhibited by many descendents of the line; Bebe, David, and her grandfather, Mark. Faith seems similarly drawn to Mark in much the same way he was drawn to his own grandmother, Bebe. The significance of this is not lost on him, and he celebrates his role as “proud Papa” in fond memory of her.
Hope works hard to finish school, and barely makes the grades to graduate. She never regains the popularity she once enjoyed on campus. Dara remains her only real friend to the day she celebrates her young-adult birthday. There had been a time when a massive party seemed the only proper way to celebrate such a milestone. But she chooses, instead, to celebrate at home with her family. And she prepares an amazing meal for those lucky enough to attend.
Cooking is still her great escape, and she has found the Bistro to be her home away from home. She continues to sharpen her culinary skills by watching the chefs work tirelessly in the kitchen. She also begins to slowly learn the business end of running a restaurant. Before long, she has given herself a position running the day-to-day operations, preparing food, and inventing new dishes. Her changes are a huge success.
When Dara becomes an adult and leaves the house to live with Richard, Hope cannot help but feel some sense of loss. Dara and Richard are each the perfect fit for the other, and so she has been preparing herself for this eventuality. It is the sobering news delivered by Richard that leaves Hope feeling emotionally void. Michael Nava, Richard’s brother, had been found inside a Sim City apartment; the victim of an apparent overdose.
Before his demise, Michael had somehow acquired the deed to the Goth Manor. Upon his passing, it was reverted to Richard. Mark pays for a renovation of the property after an investigation fails to find any illegal dealings. The Goth family has seemingly vanished, and Michael has taken any knowledge about what happened to them to his grave. Regardless, Dara and Richard are married in their new home; the same “party house” where Hope had once fallen prey to Michael’s appetite.
In the years that follow, Hope continues to climb quickly up the culinary career ladder. Days, weeks, and months blur past, as they often do during the good times. When Faith blows out the candles to become a child, there is a sense of disbelief that it has gone by so quickly. She has excelled through her toddler years. Together, with their very different experiences in life, Mark and Mei work with Hope to give Faith a solid moral foundation on which to build her life. As grandparents, they enjoy the opportunity to relive their own days of parenting young children. But there is no replacement for the bond between mother and daughter; and Faith often waits for Hope to return home after a late night working at the bistro.
Despite having been little more than a child herself when she gave birth, Hope proves to be an excellent parent. She often uses the life-lessons she has learned as a moral compass to guide her, and it seems to always point back to one place in particular. Even though the going is easy and the weather is fair, she surrenders to a wisdom that is greater than hers, and lights the way for her daughter.
It is the best she can do to prepare for the tougher road that undoubtedly lies ahead.
Author’s note: Hope used lifetime reward points to purchase “Mid-Life Crisis” and dropped “Party Animal”, replacing it with “Family Oriented”. Also, the Goth family really did disappear from the game. I’m assuming they either died off or moved away from Sunset Valley. Either way, SP(story progression) evidently did not like the little shed that I put the Nava family into, and moved them to the abandoned Goth Manor. Finding them there actually drove the entire “party house” idea.
This chapter was both fun and difficult to write. I enjoyed bringing Kacey back, and unveiling some of the plotline that has been dying to be written. Hope’s story, however, is one that happens in real life, far too often. Obviously, the events were dramatized and taken to a pretty far extreme. But sadly, there are some who do not fare a well as Hope (or Faith for that matter) in the outcome. I pray for the friends who inspired Hope’s story, and wish them the best in life.