Brianna was pretty upset. Just this morning things had been going so great, and now it seemed it’d all gone to plum. She felt guilty for being present for this deeply private, horrible moment when Cooper’s family wasn’t – and freaked out for seeing someone die right there in front of her. And this poor guy who was here when she got home – he obviously was someone that cared about the woman, and he looked so lost and sad now. She didn’t know what she was supposed to do about any of it.
“Hey, lets get you inside, ok?” she said.
Landon wordlessly entered the house, with a very concerned Brianna in tow.
When Landon went into the room, he couldn’t help but feel happy for a moment. He had so many good memories associated with the Wolffs’ house. Even though it had been remodeled, a lot of the colors and furniture were the same as when they were all growing up together. So many days spent roughhousing with Elder, and eyeballing (and, for a very brief period in their teens, fooling around with) Ede. But then he returned to the present. They weren’t kids anymore. Elder was gone with a family of his own, Dia and Coop were dead, and Ede married the plumming mailman. He had to go sit down.
“I’ll try to get ahold of someone,” Brianna offered.
“Edelweiss isn’t answering her phone, but I’m sure she’ll be home soon,” Brianna said. “Can I get you anything?”
. . .
Forsythia and Fennel had gone to school on very little sleep. Since it was their final day of childhood, they’d both stayed up late trying to milk the last of their kidville aspiration points, so they were in a sorry state when they got home.
Fennel went right to bed. There could’ve been a herd of elephants in the living room and he wouldn’t have noticed or cared. He was gonna pass out any second.
Forsythia, having finally imbibed the darn z-juice she had queued up and was supposed to drink this morning before hopping on the bus, went straight for the shower. While she was in there, she calmed down a bit and was able to pick up on the feeling that something was going on in the house.
It was Forsy that went out and collected Cooper’s urn. She was the only one who could. For some reason, it wouldn’t budge from the sidewalk – I couldn’t drag it, or move it in build/buy mode. But she could add it to her inventory.
Strangely, when she looked in her inventory afterward, there were two of them.
Being the inquisitive, independent child she is, she went straight to the internet for answers.
. . .
When Ede finally got off work and walked into the house, Brianna let it all out.
“Oh my god, I’m so sorry! I couldn’t do anything!”
“Take a breath and start from the beginning,” Ede said.
“Your mom,” Brianna said, “She.. I was right there! and I couldn’t do anything!”
Brianna couldn’t handle it any more – tears started to flow.
“Hey,” Ede comforted, “It’s not your fault. It was gonna happen soon no matter what anyone did.”
“You’re not upset?” Brianna asked, sniffling.
Ede paused. Am I?
“It’s not your fault, Bri. I’m sorry you had to go through that alone.”
“I’m not alone,” she said. “Some other guy is here, too.”
. . .
Malcolm had already found Landon.
“Look,” said Malcolm, “I know we’re not exactly pals, but I’m truly sorry for your loss, man. You’ve known Cooper for a lot longer than I have. That’s got to be hard.”
“Yeah,” said Landon sadly. “She was a funny lady.”
Malcolm smiled. “Yes, she had a powerful sense of humor.”
Ede and Bri came to rescue Malcolm from the awkward conversation and the four of them spent some time chilling and reminiscing.
“When I met your mom,” Malcolm said to Ede, “she accused me of being in love with you and threw a drink in my face.”
Ede smiled at him. “I remember that night — oh god, that party was horrible! But you were so plumming sweet. And.. smokin’ hot.”
Malcolm was blushing a bit, but he kept his cool and smirked back at her. “I guess she might have been on to something after all.”
“She flirted with me once.. I think.” Landon interrupted. “Cooper I mean. At her birthday party. We were dancing really close — she was a great dancer. But, then she yelled at me to step off.”
“Wow,” Brianna laughed, “this family almost sounds crazier than mine!”
The mood had finally lifted a bit, and Ede suddenly remembered something important that had kind of fallen out of her head when all this stuff happened.
“Plum!” said Ede.
“It’s the twins’ birthday. We were supposed to do cake tonight.”
“We’ll still do it.” Malcolm said decisively.
“Party time?” Brianna asked, jumping right in to help.
“Hmm, it’s really late – I think we can just do it with us. Will you stay, Landon?”
“Sure,” he said.
Edelweiss and Malcolm got to cooking and cleaning, leaving Brianna and Landon with a couple minutes to properly introduce themselves to each other.
. . .
“So you’re Brianna.” He’d already heard her name a dozen times tonight, so it’s not like he could ask her what it was at this point.
She smiled. “And you’re Landon.”
“You were pretty sw–”
“It’s cool that you –”
They’d both started speaking at once, and they both stopped at once. Oops.
They both laughed.
“Long day,” said Brianna, exhausted.
“Really long,” said Landon.
. . .
Forsythia, having developed several promising theories on the mystery of the extra urn that she couldn’t wait to share with her brother, was hungry so she finally made her way downstairs only to be sent right back up by her mom.
“Go wake your brother up, hon – let’s have cake!”
Oh man. She’d kind of lost track of what day it was. Z-juice does that to you! Forsythia alerted her twin to the happenings, and then she stepped up to the cake and had a moment of stage fright.
But she pulled it together and got on with the show!
She punched her way through the glowy bits like a champ, and made it to the other side with the Self-Assured trait like her momma, and an aspiration to become a Joke Star, like her grandma Coop had.
Fennel took a deep breath and stepped up to take his turn.
And darn it, we got another Loner. He rolled the new aspiration, though – Outdoor Enthusiast – I’m excited to try that one, since it gives me an excuse to play around with the xpack some more. (I feel like the outdoorsy/Loner combo is getting pretty old – we’ve had one or both every darn generation – but I should be grateful it’s not something worse to play.)
The grownups pooped the party pretty quick – it had been a long, emotionally draining day. Landon went home, and the others retired to their rooms.
Brianna, the only one in the house suffering the after-effects of witnessing death, went to bed pretty sad – she would have a hard time sleeping tonight.
When Ede and Malcolm were finally able to do the same, he noticed that she seemed pretty tense.
“Want to talk about it?” Malcolm asked gently.
“I don’t feel anything,” Ede said sadly. “About my mom, I mean. Am I some kind of monster?”
“Everyone processes grief differently.” Malcolm said.
“This is weird though, even for me. I’m upset that other people are upset, but when I think of mom there’s like.. nothing. That can’t be right. I loved her – I still love her.”
“Maybe you need something to help make it real for you?”
“Like a funeral or something?” she asked.
“Some kind of memorial gathering might do it, yeah. Would you like to try that?”
“That could be nice,” Ede said, “Oh plum – I still need to tell Elder and Easter too, damn it!”
“I’ll call them,” he said. “You just relax a bit.”
Damn, he’s wonderful, she thought. How did I get so lucky?
“Hurry back, ok?” Ede said. “I’d like to talk about that hot mailman some more.”