Interlude: Not Gone

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“Aw, you won again!” River smiled brightly at Zayne as she spoke. She rose to her feet, leaving the Void Critter game behind. “You’re soooo good at this!”

Her brother nodded in agreement. “Do you wanna play again?” Remi asked kindly.

The younger boy shook his head. “We already played a whole buncha’ times. I think Bruce is bored.”

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Zayne used his imaginary friend as an excuse, but in all honesty, he was the one who was bored. And they’ll pro’lly just let me win again… Though he appreciated that Remi and River were tyring to be nice, winning every time was starting to get old.

“Okay.” The little girl smiled happily. “What does Bruce wanna do now?”

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“I dunno.” Zayne shrugged. He fell silent for a moment, thinking. But he wasn’t thinking about what to do next. “Do you think Tante Joce’s kids like playin’ Void Critters too?” He sat down on the couch as he spoke.

Zayne had only met his cousins a small handful of times in his life – even since the Bad Thing, he’d only gotten to see them once. And the language barrier made playing together nearly impossible. Zayne wanted to know them better, especially if they would really be moving to Windenburg, like everyone kept saying. But it was so hard.

Remi nodded enthusiastically at Zayne’s question. “Yup! Me ‘n Riv traded some cards with them a couple weeks ago when they came to visit with Tante Jossy.”

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“You did?!” Zayne asked, surprised. “How? They don’t know how to talk right. They talk English.

A small laugh escaped River’s lips. “Uh-huh! But Mama taught me ‘n Remi how to say some English stuff.” She explained. “And I think Tante Jossy told them how to say some stuff in German too. They were tryin’ really hard. We could tell. It was kinda tricky to figure out what they were saying. But fun too! They’re nice!”

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“Tony acted like she was a little scared of talkin’ German though.” Remi added. “And Alex was gettin’ kinda mad when she didn’t know what we were saying… But yeah. They’re still nice! Tante Jossy is too.”

“Yeah, Tante Joce was really nice t’me the las’ time she came.” Zayne replied. “An’ I’m happy her kids are nice too… An’ like Void Critters.” He only wished he knew how to talk to them. “Do y’think it’s true? Are they really gonna come live here?”

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The other little boy nodded. “That’s what Mama and Papa told us. And I’ve heard Mama on the phone with Tante Jossy too. Talkin’ about movin’ and stuff.”

“And I guess she really has to come here, right?” River chimed in. “I mean… she’s kinda gonna be your new Mama now.”

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Zayne’s eyes widened at the girl’s words. “New Mama?!” He shook his head. “But I don’t need a new Mama! I already have a Mama!”

“I know you have a Mama, but…” River’s voice was pained. She turned toward her twin as though searching for help.

Remus took a deep breath. “Your Mama’s gone now. She died. So you need a new one to take care of you.”

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“No I don’t!”

“Yes you do.” River insisted. “Everyone needs a Mama!”

All the color drained form his face. Zayne clenched his fists at his sides, his entire body trembling. “Shut up! You’re a LIAR! I already HAVE a Mama! I don’t NEED a new one!” He shrieked. “My Mama’s comin’ HOME! She’s NOT GONE! YOU’RE LYING!”

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“Hey, hey! What’s going on in here?” Florian emerged from the basement just as Clara rushed in from the kitchen.

“Everything okay?” The woman’s brow furrowed as she spoke.

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River shook her head. “Zayne’s being mean!”

“Yeah! All we did was tell him Tante Jossy’s gonna be his new Mama!” Remi whined. “And he started yellin’ at us!”

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Clara held her face in her hand for a moment. “Oh God…” She exchanged a glance with her husband, who quickly rushed to Zayne’s side.

The tall blonde man reached down and gently took the little boy by the shoulder, guiding him to the other side of the couch while Clara began speaking to the twins in hushed tones.

As soon as they were not in the line of sight of the others, Florian bent forward, reaching a comforting hand toward Zayne’s shoulder. “They didn’t mean it.” He said softly. “Remi and River love you. You know that. Right, buddy?”

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Zayne simply shrugged. “I just don’t like everyone sayin’ Mama and Papa are gone. They’re comin’ back.” He whispered. “An’ I don’t need a new Mama. I already got one.”

Florian seemed to hesitate before replying. “You’re right.” He said at last. “You don’t need a new Mama. You already have a Mama who loves you more than anything. And a Papa who loves you just as much.” Florian’s voice cracked. He paused, clearing his throat and blinking his eyes a few times before he continued. “But they had to go away, remember? They can’t take care of you anymore, so Tante Joce is gonna help you. That’s what Mama and Papa wanted her to do. And she’s gonna do a great job taking care of you. But that doesn’t mean she’s your new Mama, okay? I promise.”

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“Okay.” Zayne replied softly. He tried to smile. “Thanks Onkel Florian.”

“Zayne?” River stepped around the couch uncertainly. “Me ‘n Remi are really sorry we made you mad. We didn’t mean to.”

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Her brother nodded. “Yeah, we said everything all wrong and we’re sorry. We promise we didn’t wanna make you mad.”

The redheaded boy nodded. His anger had all but faded away already. Now he just felt sad. And lonely. He wanted his Mama and Papa.

No one spoke for a few moments.

“Hey, I know what might cheer us up.” Florian finally broke the silence, smiling softly. “Who wants to hear the new song I’ve been working on?”

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“Ooh! Me! Me!” The twins cried out in unison.

Zayne just shrugged. “Okay.”

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Clara rolled her eyes “Okay, you were totally looking for any excuse to play it for us, weren’t you?”

Florian shrugged innocently, earning a bright burst of laughter from his wife.

“Alright, alright… Let’s go downstairs and see what Papa’s been up to.”

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44 thoughts on “Interlude: Not Gone

  1. Poor Zayne. My heart goes out to him. 😥 The last picture of Clara and Zayne watching Florian play for the twins was heartbreaking. I am sure Luc used to play for him and he is really missing that. Jocelyn needs to get hurry up and get back. He needs a permanent routine to help him adjust. He seems to be looking forward to being with her and the girls. That is good.

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    1. Yeah this is so sad for him 😦 And I think you’re right, it’ll be good for him to be back in a routine once Joce moves back full time… hopefully soon!

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  2. Zayne seems to have the hot-headed trait. 🙂
    There’s one thing that I’m little confused about, so I’m going to take the risk once again and ask. In one of the previous chapters (Interlude: Pretend) Zayne is taking to his parents’ urns. In today’s chapter he keeps saying they’re coming back. So, does he believe they are in those urns or out there somewhere? Sorry for asking weird questions. 🙂

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    1. He does have the hot headed trait 🙂

      I did a lot of research about how children Zayne’s age understand (or don’t!) death before writing this gen. And from what I’ve read, one of the biggest thing is that they don’t understand that it’s permanent. So to him, everyone said Luc and Hazel went away to heaven, and also said they’re in those urns. So I imagine he thinks that the urns are like a magic portal to heaven (“the special place”) so they can hear him if he talks to the urns. He thinks it’s just temporary and that they will be coming back.

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    2. That’s a good question. I just think he is too young to understand that they are really gone forever. It seems morbid to have their urns displayed though. Did they do that for Zayne? Or is that a custom? I know a lot of people do that. Personally I don’t understand displaying them. It seems to me to be disrespectful to have your loved ones remains sitting on a shelf or mantle as a decoration. But that is just me.

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      1. I agree with you. I think it’s morbid too. My mother doesn’t.
        Not to mention it is harder to move on when you are reminded of your loss anytime you walk by those urns. My mother’s friend even has her daughter’s urn in her bedroom in a case on the wall. It just seems wrong. It’s like having a piece of cemetery in your room.

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      2. Well right now they are holding onto the urns because they haven’t decided what they want to do with the ashes — scatter them, bury them, or even just keep them. So they’re going with “keep” for now.

        And as for the urn question, I’ve never actually known anyone who kept cremated remains in their house so I can’t really say. I will however, say that I think hiding the remains in a closet or something also seems disrespectful. I think it’s customary to display an urn, though real-life urns are usually smaller and less “obvious” looking than the ones in the sims are. But alas, I don’t have options haha

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        1. Thank you for sharing that perspective. I think it’s very accurate in terms of what the Rosebrooks are going through right now. They aren’t quite ready to let go yet and aren’t quite sure what they want to do with the ashes. But to them, it’s not morbid.

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  3. Ah, Zayne… River and Remus are completely adorable too. I love how they’ve obviously been told to be nice to Zayne and are letting him win void critters. Lol. Loved seeing the whole group, and yup, Florian is still yum with all those tats. 🙂 I think he was perfect with Zayne and understood the importance of Zayne not loosing his mama. Guardian doesn’t mean mom necessarily, if we’re lucky it will come to mean mom in time.

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    1. Yup, everyone walks on eggshells around poor Zayne… including Remus and River haha. I’m glad you enjoyed Florian’s little pep talk with Zayne. 🙂 It would be lovely if Zayne can learn to see Jocelyne as a mother one day. Time will tell.

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  4. I completely forgot about the language barrier! And if he’s blowing up at River and Remus like this…. oh boy. I can’t imagine how he’ll handle the triplets. Gonna be a bumpy ride.

    I’m really wondering how effectively Joce will handle this. If she’s been told what the rest of the family knows about how to handle Zayne, then great. But… she also must be worried about making her daughters feel like how she used to feel. It was really hard for her growing up feeling like everyone put Lucas’s concerns in front of hers, I’m betting she doesn’t want to do that to her own daughters if she can help it.

    I’m riveted. *heads off to pop enough popcorn to last Zayne’s entire childhood.*

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    1. Haha yeah it’s easy to forget because my story is written in English! 🙂

      It will be interesting to see how Joce and all the kids adjust to things! And you make a great point about her own past and feeling like her brother always came first. Hopefully it won’t be that way with Zayne! But time will tell… keep the popcorn ready haha

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  5. Chicago-Style Girl, can you get me some popcorn?
    Florian handled that situation perfectly, but I think Zayne is not going to have a great childhood. Denial and anger are part of grief though, so maybe he’ll grow out of it.
    On another note, I have a shirt that looks exactly like Clara’s 🙂

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    1. We will have to wait and see how things go for poor Zayne. He definitely has it very rough, but he also has a strong support system of family who love him. I think that will help quite a bit, hopefully!

      Also, Clara approves of your fashion choice 😛

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  6. I feel you Zayne. People trying to make someone a parent when they’re not is so uncomfortable.
    That should really be up to the kid.
    I don’t understand why some parents can’t see that.
    (I’m glad his family can.)

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  7. Better later than never! It’s very sad what is happening to Zayne..I think when he isn’t denying anymore, things will only be worse, and that will take time…he willl have to take his own time to think about this proprely…you see, If they didn’t burn the body’s they could show to Zayne, and say: ”Do the look like they are coming back for you?” Sure, he would have trauma or two, but It would not be denying…(kidding)

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  8. You know who Zayne reminds me of? Have you ever seen that episode of the Twilight Zone with the little boy who has magic powers? And everyone is afraid to cross him because he’ll “send them away to the cornfield?” Whenever he says something, right or wrong, all the adults say, “That’s good ‘Johnny.’ That’s REALLY good that you [insert bad thing kid did lol]” Not saying Zayne is doing anything bad of course, but he’s definitely got this family walking on eggshells and catering to him night and day.

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    1. LMAO I love the Twilight Zone, and know the exact episode you’re talking about hahahaha.

      That is so true — the entire family is walking on eggshells constantly. Though I feel like, at this point, I can’t blame them. He’s lost everything, and they just want him to be happy. Even if it means catering to his every whim hahaha

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  9. *sigh* I’m providing hugs for everyone in this family if they need it.

    Zayne: it’s heartbreaking to see that he still doesn’t understand his parents’ deaths. Everyone’s trying so hard to be sensitive, but when their words trigger bad memories in Zayne, I feel so bad for everyone, especially (and definitely) for Zayne. 😦

    Hopefully, we get to a happier time. ❤

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    1. Yeah, it’s so hard. They try to be extra-careful around him. They’re basically walking on eggshells. And yet he still has his outbursts of anger. Because he’s struggling to understand 😦

      I feel so bad that this section of the story is so heavy. I appreciate everyone bearing with me and sticking with it through the hard times haha thank you for reading! ❤

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  10. This just solidifies my belief Zayne would be much better off living with Florian and Clara. They’re far more similar to his parents, familiar and have the kind of lifestyle he’s used to. Florian is so good with him, he’s kind and he’s a musician just like bis dad, and I could imagine Clara being able to relate to and handle his outbursts given how she used to be when she was younger. Joce… *crickets*

    It just seems the motivations behind the custody are not quite right, feels like Luc’s last attempt to reconnect with his sister (in a weird way) and Joce is just doing this out of guilt (and dragging Elliot into all this, which i’m still not cool with). Who’s going to think about what’s best for the poor kid?

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    1. Well, on Luc’s end, we saw in a previous chapter that the decision to have Joce as the guardian was made before their falling out occurred. So I wouldn’t say that it was an attempt to reconnect with his sister. It was genuine thinking Joce was the best choice. And I don’t think she’s as bad for him as you think. We haven’t seen her as a mother much, true, but she has all the qualities of a good/effective parent. (Also, location-wise, it works out well because Zayne is living in the Rosebrook house with his grandparents and great-grandparents and Mark visiting often). So he’s in a good/positive physical environment too.

      You are correct that Clara and Florian have the “lifestyle” advantage, and I understand why it seems like they’d be better for Zayne. Maybe they would be? We’ll never know haha. But the decision has been made, so it’s not going to change at this point, even if you make some valid points 😛

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        1. Haha I’m not trying to change your mind, just point out that it’s a moot point XD If we want Zayne to be the heir, this is how it has to be. So it seems pointless to keep bringing it up since we all know it’s not gonna change 😛

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  11. I think i missed this chapter. I haven’t read it before. It’s so sad to hear Zayne talking about how his parents Are gonna Come back. I guess he still doesn’t really understand what it means to be dead :/

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  12. Aww, Zayne…he’s such a tiny child and this has got to be so hard for him.

    On a different note, River MIGHT be my favorite so far. She is so dang cute! But I think I’m just biased because I’ve liked Clara all along, so I like her descendants.

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    1. River is pretty cool! She has an interesting little background role when Zayne is older 😉

      And yes, Zayne is having a super rough time. This is so much for him to take 😦 (Also, in the story right now, Zayne just turned 30 😮 So it’s really fun to be reading your comments and thinking back to a time when he was so young and sad and innocent haha ❤ )

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      1. Whoa. I’ve got a good while to go then. Definitely good with that. I should really be planning my fantasy novel, but this is more interesting.

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