The Gardener Family
Lilian and Andrew Gardener were what people generally considered the perfect couple.
They had known each other since school and while other teenagers dated somebody different and had a new flame once a week Andrew and Lilian never thought about going out with anybody else. Already when they were teens they dreamed to have a family and when Lilian got pregnant with their son Ben - being still very young at that time - they got married straight away.
Their feelings for each other did not change and they loved each other just as much although they had been together for a long time and Ben was a teenager by now.
They also got involved in politics very early and were both members of the Environmental Party. After moving to Pleasantview they started working for the party and became full time politicians.
Since they were popular as well as good in decision making they climbed the political ladder quickly; their career just like everything else in their life was going great.
Ben, who had never experienced anything else but a positive and loving atmosphere at home turned out as well as one would expect and he was very fond of his parents. He looked very much like his father and was aiming to get into politics one day too.
Like his parents he was also very popular and soon found a lot of friends in Pleasantview.
He and Charlene, a girl who had moved to the neighbourhood with her father, turned into social magnets until eventually all teenagers who lived nearby became one big circle of friends.
Ben fancied Charlene, but she had soon started to go out with Dustin Broke and they were inseparable.
Although they had waited for some time after Ben was born, Lilian and Andrew never stopped dreaming about a large family. When Lilian finally became pregnant again, they were both extremly happy.
Lilian's pregnancy was the hardest time they had known so far. The first one with Ben had been easy but this time it took everything out of her. She even passed out once or twice and Andrew worried so much about her that he almost wished that they would not have chosen to have another child.
But of course all this was forgotten when the baby - another boy which they named Cary - was born. Andrew was going to look after him at night so that Lilian would be getting the sleep she needed so much. She soon recovered and they both took an equal share in the care for the baby from then on.
After Lilian, his children mattered more than anything else to Andrew. He was working on his career but he would have never chosen a job that required him to spend more time at work than with his family. Fortunately being in the local goverment was not demanding that and he loved being at home playing with the baby.
Quickly, like Sim children are known to, Cary grew into a toddler and the whole family could not get enough of him because he was so cute.
Just as quickly Cary turned into a child and even if bringing up a toddler demanded much time and attention they regretted that this period in a sim's life was over so soon. But their efforts had paid off and like their son Ben, Cary was a quick learner who was very good at school.
They had started trying for another baby when Cary was still a toddler and not long after he had grown into a schoolchild Lilian got pregnant again.
This time she felt a lot better during her pregnancy. Cary was very curious about it but looked forward to another family member. To Ben it did not matter much, but he was happy about the rest of his family being happy.
Lilian would have liked to have a little baby girl this time, but somehow she knew that it would be another boy and so it was. They named him Alistair.
Around this time Ben started to get closer to Angela Pleasant. She was not the girl of his dreams and first he only felt sorry for her, because Dustin had broken up with her to go steady with Charlene. He knew that she liked him, even if she pretended to be more interested in others in the beginning.
She used to be much more popular in the neighbourhood once and he could understand that it was hard to cope with the fact that she had been pushed into the background when others moved to Pleasantview and the town grew. It did not stop her from being a likeable girl and spending more time together they soon became friends.
One day he asked her out on a date and they fell in love. Ben had never been too concerned about it, he liked nothing better than to hang out with a group of friends, but he had to admit that it was a nice feeling.
There was more than a crush, but no feeling as strong as between some of the other teenage couples. Ben was surprised when he found out that Angela had never really kissed a boy before not even Dustin with whom she had been going steady for a while. He had no reason to be astonished though because he had not kissed a girl yet either.
They both felt it was time to change this. Kissing Angela felt good and even if Ben was clever enough to understand that their relationship did not compare to the one his parents had at this age, he was happy to have Angela as a girlfriend.
Some of Angela's feelings stemmed from the fact that Ben was so popular. Initially she did not profit from it though, because he preferred to see her alone (even if he usually liked being with his friends there were things you could do with your girlfriend, where it was better when they were not around). She and Dustin weren't enemies and neither did she hate Charlene, but it still was a bit strange if all three of them were together. Since Dustin and Charlene often were invited when everyone went out (or Charlene was the one who invited everyone), Angela had mixed less with the other teens. Dustin only had eyes for Charlene and the way he rejected her friendly approaches would have hurt her, even though she wasn't in love with him anymore. But now she had someone to turn to and enjoyed it when Ben included her in group activities.
When Alistair grew into a toddler he looked so similar to Cary that it was hard to decide which one of them had been cuter at that age. He received the same care and attention as his brothers before him and his childhood was as happy as theirs if not better. With each child Lilian and Andrew had learned more about bringing up small children and Alistair profited from their experience. Like he had done with Cary, Andrew potty trained him and taught him to talk, walking they both learned from Lilian.
On his birthday before he was about to go to school they threw a big party for him. A lot of Ben's friends came too and the house was filled with guests.
The party was a huge success and everyone praised Lilian, who had organised it.
Lilian had kept her job in the goverment and when she returned after her maternity breaks she was promoted to the same position as Andrew. Some people were surprised that she and Andrew never argued or seemed to get fed up with each other even now when they were working side by side. But for Lilian and Andrew it was the life they had dreamed of.
In the beginning Alistair had problems in school and his parents were warned about his grades. It was mainly because he had missed school shortly after his birthday and the children had been tested that very day. But Andrew taught him to study and with the support of his family he soon started doing better.
Ben was still going out with Angela. They didn't see each other every day because Ben had so many friends that they kept him quite busy, but they enjoyed being together and Angela was very happy when Ben asked her out on a date one night.
They were almost old enough to go to college now and were kissing and hugging a lot more.
When they moved to Pleasantview they had tried to get the largest house available for the amount of money they had, since they already knew that they wanted a large family. It had served them for some time but when Alistair grew older all three boys had to share a bedroom and slowly the house became cramped.
Although Ben would go to college in a short while they would need more space. Their friends James and Mary had recently become parents of twins and seeing the little ones made them think about having another child.
People wondered afterwards if it would not have been cheaper to buy a new home, because they completely reconstructed the house and put it on a foundation. When it was finished it looked like it had always been there, a solid family residence.
The boys were particularly happy about the new house. Although they still shared a bedroom, Ben got his own room and so they had more space now.
The only downturn was the burglar the very night after they had celebrated the completion of the house. Amin Bear had recently robbed the Simmons and was caught. The Gardeners were surprised that he was not in prison and even more surprised when he managed to get away after landing a good punch on the police man who had arrived after the alarm went off.
The police arrived early and the burglar did not get the chance to steal anything. They were angry because it had frightened the children, but eventually they forgot about the burglar and returned to their happy life. When they were sitting together for dinner in the evening the topic often turned to growing up now.
Since he arrived in Pleasantview Ben's main concern had been to gain friends. He never had to work hard for good grades and did not need to study at home to achieve them.
He looked forward to go to college, but it didn't appeal to Ben that he had to prepare for it and would have less time for his friends. He did not have to worry about scholarships, however, he knew that certain skills would be expected, and it would make it a lot easier if he studied to gain them now.
Although he regretted it, he spent more time at home and left socialising to his younger brothers. One day when he was working out he watched Cary with Alice Simmon and it made him smile.
'Soon they will follow into our footsteps', he thought to himself.
It made him sad that he would already been gone, when his brothers turned into teens. When he promised that he would visit them often, he said it just as much to himself.
The last weeks passed quick and with the end of school the beginning of college was approaching. Two days before he was about to leave, his mother invited her friend Cassandra over to dinner. Lilian was very happy to finally be able to introduce her to her husband. They had seen each other before, but never really talked.
When they all sat down to eat Andrew was making a little speech telling Ben how proud he and the entire family was of him. Cassandra was very impressed how close this family was.
Ben returned the praise jokingly and seeing his energy and confidence as he was sitting at the table talking to his father, she had no doubt that he would pass college with the same ease as he finished school with excellent grades.
But after Cassandra had left Ben went outside and sat on the swing wondering what the future had in store for him. Lilian saw him when she looked out of the window and went out to talk to him. In the end she did not say much. Ben knew that while his mother was happy about him going to college she was also sad and so was he at the thought of leaving his family. He used to have a great time as a teenager and it was something else he had to leave behind.
After Ben had left, the house felt very empty. One evening, when Mary Simmon came to visit, they talked about Mary and James' wedding party, where Lilian and Andrew had been guests and this in turn led them to the subject of birthday parties. They could hardly believe that Cary was going to grow up soon.
After that evening Lilian was thinking about it a lot more and tried to spend as much time with Cary as possible.
Since Alistair was not that much younger than him he would follow him soon. Both parents tried to memorise all those special little moments with their children, because before long this period would pass.
Giving them so much attention paid off. Alistair was finally getting the same good grades as his brothers.
The Gardener Family pt. 2
(For Ben at college see Pleasant)
Although they concentrated on Cary and Alistair, it was around this time that they became very attracted to each other again. Their relationship was always good, but no fire can burn constantly and so there were periods when it was based on loving care rather than passion. However, the passion never ceased from their marriage completely, and Andrew could still look at his wife one day and fall in love with her all over again.
Due to the romantic mood Lilian was thinking about woohoo a lot more. The way Andrew had looked at her this morning had gone through and through.
She was still thinking about it when she left for work.
That day they went into the bedroom immediately after returning from work.
It had only been late afternoon but it was deep into the night when they stopped making love to each other. Even if they were not living a life of abstinence it still had been an extraordinary experience. They were exhausted but very happy.
It was unusual for the boys to not see their parents for several hours and they quickly gathered that whatever they were doing, they wanted to be alone. They were both at an age where they didn't need to be constantly watched anymore though, and they simply did their homework as they would every evening.
It was Friday evening and when they had finished their tasks they did not think it necessary to go to bed. When Andrew went downstairs he found the boys in the dining room eating some salad that had been stored in the fridge.
The past hours were still very much on Andrew's mind and for a second the idea of talking to his children was irritating.
He quickly recomposed himself and sat down. When he started listening to them he found out that they were actually talking about couples. Alistair had recently got sexual education in school and he was keen to pass on his knowledge to Cary, who listened patiently although he had already learned it before his brother.
Andrew liked what Alistair had to say about the subject. His younger son had always appeared more family orientated than his brothers and he thought that two people loving each other was a great thing.
When Lilian began to suffer from morning sickness, neither she or Andrew were very surprised. Ever since Ben had gone to college they had been thinking about another child and that special night had given Lilian many chances to conceive one.
Alistair had woken up from the sounds coming from the bathroom and wondered what was wrong with his mother.
Lilian felt sick all morning. The signs were pretty clear, but she still wasn't sure if she really was pregnant. As much as she wanted a child they had always needed to try for some time.
Andrew was much more convinced already.
Lilian began to feel lazy and although she always spent a part of the afternoon playing with the children it was good to lounge on the sofa.
'What are you doing there dear?', she inquired.
'I am trying to figure this out. It can't be that hard to play video games.'
Lilian smiled. Contrary to her he was terrible at them and she could see that already the controls were a mistery to him.
Then it was Cary's birthday. He was already very excited the whole morning. His mother cheered him and tried to hide the sadness. It would be nice to have a teenager in the house again and she could understand that he was looking forward to this stage of his life. Of his friends Beau Broke had already turned into a teen and some others would celebrate their birthday soon.
The first guests with Ben among them arrived at mid day. 'Hi Dad!', he waved at his father and walked towards him nearly overlooking and running over Beau, who was another early guest.
Then Ben Jenkins, who was a friend of Lilian and Ben, joined them and they all followed Cary into the kitchen where a cake was waiting for him. He had hardly blown out the candles when the age transition began
and soon after he was already chatting with Beau. Beau had not gotten the chance to ask Dustin about it and he was keen to compare the experience with Cary.
There were not many guests but they had a lot of fun and Cary thought that it had been a great birthday party.
After the party he still talked to his parents for a while. Being older now, Cary realised how supportive his parents had always been and he really appreciated it. They had never been faced with real trouble, not even when Andrew was corrupted to make a bad political decision for the first time and then donated the entire family income, partly to regain his reputation and partly because he was tortured by a terrible guilt feeling immediately afterwards. Their servants sneered at them and left, but that was more or less the only consequence of their temporary poverty. Within a week their pay cheques arrived and they had plenty to live on again.
Nevertheless Cary was sure, that if he ever had to deal with a serious problem he would be able to turn to his parents whatever it was.
Not long after Cary's birthday Lilian's pregnancy was showing. They had already hinted to their grown up son that another family member was on the way. Lilian never again suffered as much as she had when she was pregnant with Cary, but worse than most other sim women in the neighbourhood. She was very happy though and looked forward to having another baby and Andrew felt the same.
It pleased Lilian to see that Cary had a positive attitude towards her pregnancy. As much as he acknowledged the caring atmosphere at home, family life was not his prime concern. Cary had always admired Ben and his popularity and he would have liked to follow into his footsteps.
Lilian needed a lot of sleep and Andrew was always glad when they still managed to have some time together. It was not that easy because if Lilian wasn't asleep she was either very hungry or in desperate need to go to the bathroom. She enjoyed finding some rest in the arms of her husband too.
When she was ready to give birth her belly had swollen to a proportion that made them think she might have twins.
Ben was visiting and his mother apologised for sitting around in her underwear. 'It is the only clothes I feel comfortable in', she explained. Andrew couldn't help making a remark that he was not opposed to see his wife like this and Lilian threw a happy smile at him.
But then she got dressed and sat with her son in the hall. Lilian was very keen to hear everything about college. It was her dream that all their children graduated. Both she and Andrew were successful, but her early pregnancy had stopped them from ever going to college and while she never regretted it, she wanted a different future for her boys.
When Ben noticed that his mother was tired again, he said goodbye and promised to visit them again soon.
The taxi that took Ben back to college had just turned around the corner when the pains began and another child was born. To their surprise - they had not dared to hope for it - it was a girl.
Andrew could hardly wait to hold his daughter, which was named Rose.
Rose was very attracted to her brother Cary and would always look at him when he was around. Sometimes Lilian greeted him outside with the baby in her arm when he returned from school.
The only thing Lilian couldn't get used to was changing diapers. She simply found it disgusting and that task was left to Andrew, who had an easier attitude towards it.
They didn't see much of their friends during Lilian's pregnancy and after the baby was born. Many other women in the neighbourhood had been pregnant at the same time and some were their friends. The only one who came round one evening was Cassandra. They had not seen each other for a while and Lilian was glad to see her friend again. Cassandra was a bit gloomy though. She had gotten over her broken engagement when she started seeing Jerome and he was about to graduate in a short time. This should have been a reason for Cassandra to be happy because he would move in with her afterwards. But it depressed her to see all her friends expecting a baby because she was thinking about children too.
Actually Lilian couldn't help thinking about another child immediately after she had Rose. She and Andrew had already decided that this was not to be, but it remained on her mind (or in her heart, because reason told her that it would not be a good idea).
As he had promised, Ben visited them again after Rose was born. Cary went outside to show their sister to him. Rose was glancing at Ben, but then as always she turned her head to look at Cary who was her definite favourite.
The birth of Rose was not the only reason for Ben's visit. Age transition had hit Pleasantview like a storm and more and more of the second borns (or third) were growing up too. So Alistair's time had come as well. It was enough for him that Ben was invited and he didn't really expect a birthday party.
As he lifted from the floor and started to swirl he was reliving some of the memories from his childhood.
He could feel his body stretching and then his feet were back on the floor.
After he had accepted the congratulations from his family Alistair sneaked into the bathroom for a minute to check himself out. His hair needed some trimming, but when he was finished with that he was not unhappy with the image in the mirror.
Unlike his brother Alistair was very family orientated. He had always left everything standing to run outside to greet his parents when they returned from work and cared very much for his brothers. He had chosen to look a bit like a rebel, but he had a big heart and was simply a very nice guy.
The only family member he wasn't close to was his little sister and he tried to change that when he was old enough to interact with her more. It was hard to tell what Rose was thinking, although it is most likely that she simply felt happy being held by Cary.
Since Alistair did not have a birthday party, his parents told him to invite some friends when Rose grew up.
Alice Simmon as well as her twin sister had become a teen as well by then. Alistair had invited Barry Broke and he thought that he might like Alice, who was a good friend of him and Cary. Barry had seen Alice once or twice before, but he didn't really know her. After Alistair used some of his influence on his friend, Barry could see the advantage to talk to her.
To Alistair one of the best things about being a teen was that he could now look after his little sister. He would always have an eye on her and be the first one to spot if she needed to be taken to the potty.
He was usually a bit quicker than anybody else to pick her up and put her in her crib when she was tired too.
The main skills Rose still learned from her parents though. She was taught to walk by Lilian and then she was potty-trained by Andrew.
It took her a bit longer to talk and even if it was Andrew who made her speak the first proper words, it had been the joint effort of her family to teach her.
Cary was popular with everyone in the neighbourhood, including the parents of his friends, who thought that he had turned out very well. He had also met a girl from Bluewater named Melanie and had a crush on her.
But the girls (which in the immediate neighbourhood consisted mainly of the Simmons) thought that Alistair was the cute one. He did not take any notice of their attempts to become friends with him in the beginning, most likely because he was not even aware of it, but when he became a teenager it did not take long before his interest in girls (apart from his little sister) grew.
Alice Simmon had been a friend of Cary first, but now he was closer to her. Close, but only a friend, he had seen her that way until that day when he made Barry talk to her. He regretted that he had encouraged him. It was weekend and Alistair was up early to take his sister to bed. She still hadn't fitted herself into the arcadian rhythm of the family and would often be wide awake in the middle of the night.
Story continues here