Welcome to Generation Six! (Or at least, the prelude that will lead us into Gen 6 😉 )
I have a couple of important things I want to get out of the way first 🙂
First off, I have (finally!) updated the Rosebrook Family Tree (both the image version and the version on PlumTree… which also links to Hope’s family tree, so be sure to check it out!)
Secondly, you guys are amazing and I already have more than enough sims for my casting call! If you already started making a sim but haven’t gotten to submit them yet, I am willing to accept a couple more up until Midnight EST tonight. Then the casting call is over. 🙂
Also, you will notice a change this gen (which I alluded to previously) which is that Interludes will now be numbered like my other chapters, but will also still have”interlude” in the title, so that they are still differentiated from journals. This will make for some very long titles, but I hope this will make it easier to keep track of what chapter you are on without losing your place (especially when we have multiple interludes in a row)!
And finally, I wanted to give a huge thank you to Cement, who custom made a pose for me for this chapter. It came out PERFECTLY! So thank you to her!
Thank you all!
Enjoy the chapter. 🙂
When Zayne and Hope returned to his grandparents’ house that night, they found Jocelyne exactly where they expected she would be.
She sat alone in the dim light of the living room, reading a thick book whose cover was worn with age. Zayne was unsure of its title, but he recognized it as one of his grandfather’s old favorites that he’d seen him read many times throughout the years. Even from the other side of the glass, Zayne could tell that his aunt was weeping. Now that the rest of the party guests had returned home and her parents were asleep, Jocelyne had allowed her calm mask to fade. He could hear her sniffling and sobbing quietly to herself as she flipped through the yellowed pages.
Despite how upsetting the sight was, Zayne could almost hear his grandfather’s deep, soothing voice teasing her about ruining the pages with her tears. A strange, strangled sound between a sob and chuckle escaped his lips at the thought.
Hope reached out to him then, taking one of his hands in hers and giving it a small squeeze. “It might be nice for you two to have some time alone.” She said softly. “Are you sure you don’t want me to head home?”
Zayne shook his head. “Tante Joce wanted to you to come.” He assured her. “I think she’s looking forward to an excuse to gush over the baby again… She really needs that right now.”
“Yeah.” His wife agreed. “Well… I know my way around the kitchen pretty well. Why don’t I go work on popcorn and give you guys a few minutes?”
“Thank you.” He pressed his lips against Hope’s cheek, and placed one of his hands on the curve of her baby bump, giving it a gentle rub.
She smiled warmly at him, but said nothing before turning and heading toward the kitchen.
Zayne hesitated for just a moment more, then gently pushed open the living room door, making his presence known at last.
As he expected, his aunt closed her book and quickly began wiping away her tears at his approach. “Hey, honey.” Jocelyne’s voice shook slightly. “Is it movie time already?”
Her nephew nodded as he closed the distance between them and took a seat beside her on the couch. “You wanted us back at 11:30, right? After we all had time for a nap?” Zayne smiled tentatively at her.
Jocelyne tried her best to return the gesture. “I didn’t get much sleeping done.” She confessed. “I just…”
“I know.” He assured her. “And… We don’t have to do the movie if you’re not feeling up to it. I totally get it.” Zayne’s voice was suddenly thick. He swallowed hard against the wave of sadness that had begun welling up inside him.
The older woman shook her head. “I want to. It’s what he would have wanted… We’re doing this for him now too.” She said softly.
Zayne blinked back a few tears, nodding. “Remember what he always used to say? That Papa and Mama are watching with us? I guess now he is too.”
Jocelyne let out something between a sob and a laugh, just as he had earlier. “Probably the only way he would have been able to watch with us again anyway, with that darn bedtime of his…”
It felt so good to be able to laugh with his aunt again. Mark had been gone for about five months now, but only recently had Jocelyne truly begun to smile or joke or seem anything like her old self again.
As painful as it had been, Zayne was so grateful that the timing with Hope’s pregnancy had worked out the way it did. Jocelyne needed something to look forward to now. They all did. And now, after the first several months of uncertainty had passed, it finally felt like they could all breathe a sigh of relief and look toward the future.
“I’m just so glad you could come back for the movie, sweetie.” Jocelyne’s voice called Zayne back to the present. “I don’t know if I could have handled tonight on my own.”
“Are you kidding?” He smiled warmly at her. “You know I’d never miss this, Tante Joce.”
“And you’re sure Hope didn’t mind tagging along this time? I know she’s supposed to be taking it easy…”
“She’s fine. I think she’s really excited to finally be part of the famous Rosebrook tradition.” He added with a wink.
“And everything’s still okay with her? And the baby?” Jocelyne asked almost nervously. “Everything’s fine?”
“Everything’s fine.” He assured her. “Thank God. I can’t believe we finally made it here, after so long…” Zayne shook his head. It was still so painful to remember the years of frustration and loss that had brought them to this point. “I don’t think I ever really got to thank you for everything you’ve done for us, Tante Joce. We never could have made through this whole thing without you… Or grandpa either.”
“I’m so happy for you two.” Jocelyne replied seriously. “And I know your grandfather was too. And at least he got to hear the good news before…” She cleared her throat softly, and left the thought unfinished. “I just wish he could be here to meet her.”
Zayne felt a sudden tightness in his throat. “Me too. He’d be the best grandpa ever to our little girl. I know it.” His voice was a whisper.
“Don’t you mean great-grandpa?” His aunt corrected him gently.
Zayne shook his head. “Grandpa was always more like a dad to me. I guess I always kinda saw him that way. I just… I wish I’d told him that when I had the chance.”
Jocelyne’s lips curled into a slight smile. “He knew, Zayne. Believe me.”
“I hope so.” Zayne hesitated for a moment. This was his perfect chance.”And… Tante Joce? Could I ask you something?”
“Of course. What is it?”
He took a deep breath. “I guess… Being so close to finally being a Papa… It’s kinda made me do a lot of thinking. About what it means to be a good parent. Stuff like that, y’know?”
His aunt nodded.
“And I just… I don’t think I’ve ever told you before…” He paused again. This conversation was so long overdue… But it felt so awkward to finally say it. “I think Hazel would have been a really amazing Mama. I mean, she was one for the first few years of my life. And I’m always gonna be so grateful to her for that…
But you’re an amazing Mama too, Tante Joce. And not just to the triplets… To me too.”
He waited a moment for her to reply. But Jocelyne said nothing, so he continued.
“And I was wondering how you’d feel about the baby calling you ‘Oma’?” Zayne asked at last. “I know you’re technically gonna be her Tante Joce too… But you’ve always been like a Mama to me. And I’d really love it if Harper thinks of you like that too? If… If you don’t mind?”
He felt his aunt’s entire body trembling… but he knew she was not crying out of sorrow. Zayne felt the warm wetness of his own tears running down his cheeks as she squeezed him tightly.
“I love you so much, Zayne.” Jocelyne managed to choke out. “You’ll always be a son to me. You know that, don’t you honey?”
“I do. And I love you too, Tante Joce. Happy Birthday.”
A soft sniffling from across the room suddenly reached Zayne’s ears. He and his aunt broke apart from one another, turning curiously toward the source of the sound.
Hope hastily brushed away her tears. “Popcorn, anyone?” She asked.
Zayne couldn’t help but laugh. Beside him, Jocelyne did the same.
“How long were you standing there?” He asked Hope with a smile as she crossed the room to join them.
“Long enough to get all weepy and hormonal.” She replied, laughing softly. “I promise I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop.”
“It’s fine.” Jocelyne assured her daughter-in-law as she rose to her feet. “I’m so glad you could be here tonight, honey. Both of you.” She reached forward, placing both of her hands on Hope’s belly for a moment. “Oma liebt dich.” Jocelyne whispered.
Zayne felt a warmth in his chest as both women joined him back on the sofa. “So… Have we decided on a movie yet?” He asked them.
Jocelyne shook her head, but Hope’s eyes seemed to light up.
“I was thinking maybe Moonlight Massacre?” She suggested. “For Mark?”
Jocelyne smiled. “Perfect.”