Sunday, January 31, 2016

Vanderbuilt 2 - Round 4

AJ lifted Toni into his arms to carry her across the threshold of their new home. 

She giggled when he struggled with the doorknob. "Put me down before you drop me!" she laughed.

"I'm supposed to carry you across the threshold!" AJ protested, managing to get the door open and then carrying her up the stairs.
 AJ tossed Toni on the bed, quickly scrambling on it next to her. 

Curling up against him, Toni playfully told him, "You're supposed to carry your bride over the threshold, not your fiance!"

AJ nuzzled  her neck. "Close enough!"
"Now come here and quit complaining," he added.

AJ was excited that Melissa dropped by to see his new place.  "Toni's napping right now, but do you want a tour?" he asked, leading her through the empty rooms downstairs and telling her how he planned to arrange everything.
Melissa was complaining about her little brother when Toni walked in. 

Toni sighed.  She trusted Melissa and AJ 100% - but she still didn't like seeing them hanging out without her.
She kissed him a little more forcefully than called for, smiling when Melissa delicately cleared her throat and turned to look away.

"I'll let you get back to your story," she apologized. "I'll just go get breakfast started!"
 She pulled out three bowls from the cabinet and started pouring the cereal.
"So, what have you been up to, Toni?" Melissa asked.  "I've complained enough about Teddy!"

Toni smiled and took a bite of her cereal.  "Well, just trying to get this place organized and..." Toni's stomach flipped uncomfortably.  She hastily stood up. "Excuse me," she managed to spit out before running to the bathroom.
After throwing up, Toni shakily brushed her teeth and washed her face.  I wonder what came over me, she thought to herself.

She came back in the room and found AJ and Melissa had moved to the living room.

"Are you okay?" Melissa asked.

Toni brushed it off, "Oh yeah, it must've been something I ate." She started to tell Melissa about how she was looking for a dance studio to join in town, but had been unable to find anything.

"Perhaps at the gym?" Melissa suggested.

"Maybe we could go together!" Toni said excitedly. 

Melissa made a face. "Maybe," she hedged.  "So?! When's the wedding planned?" she asked, changing the subject completely.

AJ and Toni both groaned. "Who knows," AJ said. "Trying to get everyone in my family to be somewhere at the same time is really difficult!"

"I'm hoping we might elope," Toni added jokingly.

"AJ?" Toni asked worriedly a short time later.  "We need to talk..."
AJ glanced up at her and closed his book, setting it to the side.  "What is it? Is everything okay?" he asked worriedly.  Toni sounded close to tears.
"I don't know what happened. This wasn't supposed to happen so soon! I was going to join the dancing company and make it big before we had any children..." she rambled emotionally.

"I know, you've been looking... wait... children?" he paused, feeling a little light-headed.  "You're pregnant?"

Toni sniffled and nodded.  "We haven't even planned the wedding! This wasn't supposed to happen like this!" she wailed.

"You're pregnant?!" AJ repeated happily.  "Really?"

She nodded.  "I took 3 pregnancy tests hoping they were wrong!"
AJ gently put his hands on her stomach and looked up at her grinning.  "We're pregnant, Toni! I can't wait!"

"Mom, Dad! Thanks for coming over!" AJ met his parents outside, almost bursting with his good news.  "Come inside! There's something we want to discuss with you!"
Andrew and Kathleen followed AJ inside and took a seat. 

"So? What was it you wanted to discuss?" Kathleen asked when she was comfortable.

He looked over towards Toni and sent a reassuring smile.
"We're pregnant!" he said without preamble.

Kathleen blinked.  "But you're not married yet," she told him.  She'd been expecting to discuss cakes and dresses and venues for the wedding - not a pregnancy!

"I know, Mom. We'll just have to bump the wedding up," he said reasonably.

"How will this look if you decide to go into politics sometime down the road! Your running mates would mock you for your family values!"

AJ chuckled, "I don't think it's quite as dire as that, Mom." He paused. "Are you happy for us, though?"

Kathleen blinked again. "Of course I'm happy for you! I just wish you had planned this a little better!"
"It sounds like your Mother has had a shock," Andrew cut in smoothly.  "It's her pregnancy hormones," he added.  "Let me get her home and we'll talk soon."  He gave his son a big hug.  "Congratulations. I can't believe it! Our first grandson!"

"I'm not old enough to be a grandma!" Kathleen said under her breath.  She couldn't believe this!

AJ turned to respond to his Mom, but his Dad touched his arm.  "Let us know the wedding arrangements.  We'll talk to you soon!"

 Within a few months, the burgeoning family headed to the Chapel for a hastily-thrown-together wedding.
A shot-gun wedding, Kathleen thought uncharitably.  Her son deserved more than a hurried affair with a child born 7 months after wedlock.  It made her sick to her stomach!
Andrew listened to the couple exchange their vows.
And then took his seat as they exchanged their rings. 

Back at the house, the wedding party continued.  AJ playfully shoved the cake in Toni's face after cutting a slice.
It was a nice chance for everyone to get together and remember the good times. 

Kathleen watched her new daughter-in-law joke around with AJ's ex-girlfriend.  She would never understand the younger generation!  She had hoped that AJ would come to his senses and go back to Melissa.  She was going to be a doctor!  Her daughter-in-law wanted to be a dancer.  She let out a dainty sniff. 
Toni was so glad when everyone had finally left.  She felt her mother-in-law's eyes on her the entire time... judging her... waiting for her to slip up.  It had been exhausting.  She rested her head on AJ's shoulder. 

"I love you," she told him sleepily.

"I love you, too."
Later, she slipped out of her dress and slipped into her jammies, running a hand over her belly bump.  That dress had been so tight because she'd wanted to hide her pregnancy.  She didn't want to look back at the pictures of her with a big belly! She wanted to look thin, svelte & stunning!

AJ kissed his wife's brow after adjusting his tie.  "Have a good day," he told her softly before leaving the room.
He was off to work in his mom's law office.  She'd gotten him a position as an entry-level clerk.

Toni flipped the tv on and then off again. There was nothing on.  She flipped it on and then off again. 
With a weary sigh, she threw herself down on the couch.  She was used to being active - not sitting around all day!  She didn't know how housewives did it without going out of their minds!

"Thanks for coming over, Mom. This means a lot to me... and Toni," AJ said when his Mom came home with him from work.  "We figure you've been through this so many times, you'll be a great help when she actually delivers."

Kathleen nodded tightly.  She still wasn't pleased with her son's choice of a wife, but there was her future grandchild to consider!
"Doesn't dinner smell delicious?!" AJ said, taking a big whiff.  "Toni makes the best spaghetti!"

"Mmm," Kathleen said non-committally.  "If you'll excuse me please."
As soon as her mother-in-law had left the room, Toni turned towards AJ, hissing, "I hate this. I don't want her here! She doesn't like me, AJ!"

AJ rushed to console his wife, "She likes you just fine, Toni! You're just being sensitive! Everything is going to be fine! She's done this 6... 7... times... She's a pro!"

The family sat awkwardly in the living room, making small talk.  Kathleen ignored her completely, choosing to discuss work with AJ.
 "...And Mr. Porter, you know, the defense counsel for the Akagi case," she reminded him.  "Well, he sent over a motion to exclude our expert Dr. Dingle..."

"AJ?" Toni asked quietly, interrupting.

"Wait a minute," Kathleen said, "This is important!..." She shot a glance towards her daughter-in-law to rebuke her, but stopped mid-sentence.
 "AJ! It's time!" Toni cried out in pain. 

AJ and Kathleen both jumped up and started panicking.
Toni glared at her mother-in-law.  She was supposed to be here to help her, not freak AJ out!
"It's a baby boy!" Kathleen called out happily.  "You must give him the family name!" she told AJ.  "After all, you're Andrew Vanderbuilt, Junior."
AJ reached for his son.  "Andrew Vanderbuilt, III," he whispered in a hushed tone.  "The next heir to the Vanderbuilt estate."
Toni wasn't done, though.

With another contraction, she delivered a sweet, little girl.  Before Kathleen could suggest a name, Toni quickly named her Kristi Vanderbuilt.

"With an 'i'," she said, shooting a triumphant look towards her mother-in-law.  Kathleen had told her no less than a million times how plebeian it was that her name ended with an 'i'.
 AJ was overwhelmed.  Two babies? Twins?!  How were they going to handle this?!

Toni decided not to use one of the downstairs rooms for the nursery until the babies were older. She wanted them to be close-by in case they needed something.
 Unfortunately, that meant that AJ's sleep was often interrupted.
"How could they possibly dirty their diapers that many times?" AJ asked grouchily.  "They hardly eat anything!"

"Go take your shower & get ready for work," Toni told him.  "I'll take care of the babies." 

AJ shot her a grateful look and hurried off to the bathroom.  Toni actually seemed to really enjoy the newborn stage.  He personally couldn't wait until they were a little older and could do more than cry, eat, sleep... and dirty diapers!

 "Have a good day!" Toni called out to AJ as he hurried from the house.

AJ stood in the kitchen, his shoulder aching from rocking the baby and tons of used, dirty bottles surrounding him.
"AJ, Andy is asleep. Go ahead and take him upstairs and get ready," Toni said, glancing up from her cuisine magazine. 

AJ blinked. "Get ready?" he asked.

"For the dinner party.  Remember? You invited your family over for dinner?"

"Oh yeah!" AJ said slowly, "I'll just go get ready."

Toni flipped the page, looking for the perfect dish to serve for the party.
She finally decided on home-made hamburgers. 
 AJ pulled out a platter of cheese and set it on the counter.
"AJ! Don't fill up on appetizers! I'm cooking dinner!" she told him. 

AJ turned around and set the small plate down.  "Sorry, sweetie," he said, abashed.
Unfortunately, they were a young couple just getting started in the world and didn't have a large enough dinner set to accommodate all of AJ's family. (Although, to be fair - there weren't a lot of families in Last Chance that would be able to accommodate AJ's family!) 

Elizabeth stood nearby, eating the chips and cheese.
 (Aw, Andrew rubbed his pregnant wife's belly.  Such a caring family man!)
Kathleen couldn't believe that Toni had served cheeseburgers for their dinner.  Something along the lines of salmon or pork tenderloin would have been more appropriate for the gathering.  The young lady had a lot to learn about being a hostess!

She picked up her granddaughter and took her downstairs for a bottle.
Toni had heard the twins crying and had been about to go take care of it when she noticed her mother-in-law and brother-in-law heading upstairs.

"I like it when your family visits," she told him, too happy at being able to rest a moment to be upset with her mother-in-law.

AJ reached her hand and squeezed. 

AJ worried about money.  They weren't planning on having kids so soon, let alone twins.  And with Toni staying home with the twins, money was tight. 

They probably shouldn't have bought this expensive house, he thought.  Hindsight is 20/20!
 What he needed was a promotion!

Toni finished reading What to Expect: The Toddler Years.  There were a lot of tips on getting toddlers to eat and sleep.  She wanted to make sure the kids had a perfect childhood!
 "Dad! Thanks for coming!" AJ hugged his Dad, then looked behind him.  "Where's Mom?"

Andrew shook his head.  "She wasn't feeling well. You know how she is during the late stages of pregnancy. Her feet swell and her hips hurt.  The doctor says that it might be worse this time because of her age."

AJ winced. "I'm sure she loved hearing that!"

Andrew smiled tightly.  "We have a new doctor now."

AJ greeted Melissa and her fiance Dominic next.  He shook Dominic's hand.  "A lot has changed since college, hasn't it?" he asked.

Dominic nodded seriously.  "That it has."
"Happy birthday dear Andrew... happy birthday to you!" everyone sang, more or less in unison.
 AJ blew the candles out.
"Happy birthday, big boy!"
Kristi aged up will a little less fan-fare. She didn't quite make it down to her cake in time.  The family was busy eating cake when Toni brought her into the room.
Toni shook her head at the silly bear costume Kristi had on and took her to the room to pick out the cutest little dress Kathleen had sent over.  Her mother-in-law had plenty of nice hand-me-downs, that was for sure!

Number of Sims in game: 35
Number of shrink visits: -2
Number of times fired: -1
Number of social bunny visits: -1
Number of children taken by social worker: -1

Number of Sims hobby plaque points: 3
Neighborhood net worth (per $100,000): 3
Number of platinum graves: 0
Number CAS elders achieving impossible want: +10
Number CAS elders achieving lifetime want: +10

Total Points: 56