The families here are grouped under "Bluewater", not so much because they live there - which they do - but to indicate that they arrived in the neighbourhood at a later date.
The Delarosa Family
When Florence left her family home in Bluewater to go to college she did not expect ever to return. Her parents were prosperous and always concerned about her well being. She loved them dearly but Bluewater was after all only a village and her active mind was burning to see and learn about the world.
But it was not to be. Only a few semesters later she returned. Both her parents were already a bit older when Florence was born and after she had gone to college her father became very ill. When he died her mother lost all joy in life and soon followed her husband. Florence had hoped to complete college and manage the family business at the same time, but it was too complicated and in the end she had to quit her studies and return home.
It did not bother Florence too much. Making small bouquets in her father's flower shop had been fun to her when she was a teenager and she still enjoyed this creative work.
The shop was part of the house she had inherited and after sorting out the paper work she was ready to pick up her father's business.
The garden had always been his pride and she could not bring herself to remove any plants although they required a lot of care, which she didn't have the time for.
The shop soon became popular and Florence got a lot of customers. She did not expect that running it would be so hard. When she closed in the evening she was so tired she could hardly stand up and often she worked non-stop for ten hours or more without ever taking a break to have lunch or sit down for a moment.
Gilbert Jaquet was a friend who had offered to work for her although he had a cafe on his own. She was in desperate need for help and it was nice having Gilbert in the shop whom she liked very much. But he was really very lazy and in the evenings he would usually get grouchy, which in turn affected the mood of her customers.
Although she was glad when everybody was gone and she could finally have a rest, her evenings were also a bit lonely. Too tired to clean up she normally had quick dinner among the dirty plates her customers had left and then went to sleep.
When she met the Strattons and became friends with Jennifer, talking to her Florence soon realised that in present times a shop at home was not going to survive in the long run. The shop was busy all the time but when she counted her income in the evening it was disappointing. Customers were leaving without paying for the goods and she needed more employees which she couldn't afford. After thinking it over for some nights Florence decided to close the home business and buy a shop in the community.
It was strange walking through the empty shop which was now only used to make bouquets, but Florence was looking forward to a new beginning. She was also glad that she had her home to herself now.
The profits from selling the inventory and goods of the home business were meagre and just enough to get a tiny shop on Bluewaters main street. It was bright and friendly but Florence did not like it much. In comparison to the old business it looked very cheap.
Her customers had preferred the old shop as well and in the beginning business was slow. Curiously enough she was making the same profit although she had less sims coming in. But in the small shop she could spend more time on each of them and they bought more (and paid for it). The customers appreciated her efforts and her business ranking increased despite a negative review which she got in the local newspaper. The reporter had tried to chat her up and when she rejected his advances he became very nasty and critised almost everything about the shop. Florence had not used her name for it because she had never intended to keep it for long and so she just ignored the negative publicity.
Although the Strattons had told her how easy it was to make a profit with a community business Florence was still surprised about the amount of money she received when she sold the small shop again. It was enough to open a new business of the size she had in mind to keep long term and there would still be some money left to keep as savings.
Le Belle Fleur was a middle sized shop next to the furniture shop of the Strattons. This time she used the old shelves she still had at home. Florence thought that the shop was very cosy and much better than the previous one. There was room for more goods than she was offering but for the moment she intended to keep it that way. After the experience with Gilbert she thought twice before she hired an employee and she would not be able to run the shop on her own if lots of customers started streaming in. Keeping her offer small would prevent this.
The former sales room at home was now even emptier than before, but apart from that her life had not changed much. She was less exhausted (now that she was running her business in the community she felt she had almost twice the time she had before) but most of the evenings she still spent on her own.
She was not too unhappy to pass the evening preparing bouquets for the shop, practising chess or painting a picture. It was when she looked into the mirror before she went to bed and realised that a good share of her adult life had passed already that she became afraid that she would wake up one day finding herself old and lonely. She had thought that a romance between her and Gilbert would develop until she found out that he already fancied a girl that worked in his café.
When she met people in the shop there usually was not enough time to really get to know them and Florence thought that it was time to have a look at the downtown area of Pleasantview. Lately she had become a bit depressed and worried, although financially she was more secure than before. She wondered if she really got what she wanted in life and the feeling that it passed her by increased.
Her trip downtown did not help her feeling better. There was a guy called Reed Haggerty who she found rather attractive and first she had the impression that he liked her. They chatted for a while but when Florence asked him if he would like to sit down for a cup of coffee he rejected her in a very unfriendly manner. Rejection was the last thing she needed right now, and even if she met other people and did have enough fun later that night she kept feeling low, although the others assured her that Reed most likely only had a bad day.
The days that followed there was relatively little to do in the new shop, while it still made good profit. Florence could close up early and use the free time for her interests. She still wasn't in a splendid mood but at least the sudden worries which had popped up in her head had disappeared.
After she had closed the home business there was a lot of space for just one sim and Florence had put an offer for a room in the Pleasantview newspaper. Reed Haggerty, who she had met on her night out, had a brother called Ryan, who she had also met briefly before. She remained curious if Reed really disliked her or had only been in a bad mood that night and so she gave him a call hoping to find out that way. Reed was not in and Ryan answered the phone instead. They talked and when she mentioned that she was going to lease part of her house he told her that he was looking for a place. Some more phone calls followed and then Florence invited him over to discuss this in detail.
Ryan came over with a friend and after showing them around outside they all sat in the living room. Already in their phone calls Florence had noticed that she found it much easier to talk to him than his brother and she had looked forward to meeting him. But when he arrived Florence was surprised that he looked so completely different from what she remembered. In fact he looked much better and that made the encounter even more pleasant. Right from the beginning she felt very comfortable with him. Like outside giving him the backrub when he mentioned he had a sore back, which was something she usually wouldn't do in the first half hour after meeting someone who, after all, she only knew from talking on the phone.
In the living room they were soon engaged in a lively conversation and the idea that Ryan might move in as a housemate was becoming more and more attractive to Florence.
In the end they stood up and Ryan said: 'I hope you are not fed up with me yet. I have talked the whole time and we have not even come to the point of me being here. I take it we are talking about the front room? I would want to paint it and I have to bring the furniture, but I do like it here and it would be nice if you would give me some time to think it over since I can not accept the offer straight away.'
Slowly it began to dawn on Florence that Ryan moving in with her could become a reality and this insight hit her like a rock. She attempted a charming reply that was not exactly well delivered, but Ryan thought that it was rather cute because of it. Actually he thought that Florence was rather cute alltogether and it was the fact that he already had a crush on her that made him wonder if it was a good idea to share a house.
Ryan's friend Wendy had not said much during the visit, but she was nevertheless a very pleasant guest. She absolutely loved gardening work and could be not be stopped from trimming the hedges and do all the work the gardener had left the other day.
Florence had a few things to do and when she returned in the living room she joined Ryan and Wendy, who sat on the living room floor chatting. It was a bit strange to Florence in the beginning because they were sitting in her former family home and subconsciously she was acting to some extent as if her parents were still present (who would have never hung out on the floor), but then she just enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere.
After watching Ryan and Florence together Wendy felt they would like to be alone for a while and said goodbye. Florence had already told Ryan that she was not in a rush and had agreed to give him some time to think about the lease, so they had nothing to discuss in that respect anymore. But neither of them thought that this was necessarly a reason to end the visit. They always found another topic and kept talking for a long time. After Wendy had left Ryan said to Florence: 'I hope you don't get the wrong idea about me.. I still need time to think about the room, but would you mind if I give you a call these days anyway?' He smiled shyly. 'I don't often try to chat up women; I don't think I am very good at it.. but ..I think you are a lovely sim, Florence Delarosa, I would really like to see you again.' Needless to say that Florence had no objections.
Over the years Florence had been busy with other things and so far there had not been much romance in her life. The deep look and the broad smile she received from Ryan made her heart beat very fast. She could hardly believe that she had not paid attention to those eyes and the man who owned them when they met the first time.
Even if she still did not know him well, Florence would have almost liked to ask him to move in straight away since it seemed out of the question to rent the room to anybody else now. The way Ryan looked at her and from what he said there was no doubt that he had an interest in her, he was definitely flirting and trying to date her, but she was still a bit afraid that he might change his mind. She did not think of herself as being beautiful and Ryan was not only good looking but also quite a bit younger.
As soon as he left Florence began to wonder when she would see him again.
When he was gone she went to the bathroom and had a good look at herself. Only at college she had paid attention to her appearance and her make up had been unused for a long time. She put some on and was pleased to see how it enhanced her looks. Afterwards she sat down with a cup of coffee and let the day pass before her eyes. Even if she told herself one hundred times it was still hard to believe that Ryan might become her housemate.
The make up was not the only change Florence made to herself. Looking at her clothes she decided that they made her look much older than she was and that it was time to go shopping.
She bought a dress downtown, but when she came home she didn't like it so much anymore. In the end she found another one in the new shop the Caliente sisters had opened recently. Gilbert, who was there as well thought that Florence had lately become a lot more beautiful.
Florence soon had the chance to put on her new dress, because a few days later Ryan called and they arranged to meet downtown. She was a bit nervous when she left home. Even if they didn't mention the word they were obviously having their first date.
Her nervousness quickly passed after the taxi picked up Ryan and they began talking. When they arrived at the restaurant and got out Ryan gave her an appreciating look and said: 'I already told you how lovely you are, but you look even nicer today.'
Compliments always embarrassed Florence but like most others she still liked to hear them.
Just when they came in a very good song started playing on the jukebox and Ryan asked her if she wanted to dance.
Soon he pulled her closer and Florence was glad that his arms were around her because the way he looked at her made her feel very faint. She was much too engaged with Ryan to notice that she was being watched by one of the guests. Florence would have been surprised how many male sims in the neighbourhood thought that she was an attractive woman and there were some who would have liked to date her.
With Ryan it was easy to switch from romance to simply having fun. Florence liked that about him because it relieved her from any pressure she might have felt otherwise.
It was just as easy to switch back to romance. Florence sensed that Ryan usually wasn't so forthright and nor was she, but she was very much attracted to him by now and after they had been dancing and talking for a while he made sure that she could not overlook his romantic intentions.
Meanwhile Christopher Stratton wished he could take his eyes off the couple because he didn't like watching them at all. He wondered if Florence would have accepted a date with him if he had asked her before. We will never know.
Florence would have been unable to tell if Christopher Stratton or anyone else apart from her and Ryan were in the room. After another deep look Ryan had pulled her close and they were engaged in their first kiss, which felt so good that it was followed by many more.
There had been some dates when she was at university and once she had been going out with a man for a few months but this passion between her and Ryan was a new experience for Florence that quite overwhelmed her.
She had not expected that their relationship would develop so quickly but she had no intention to slow it down.
'Let's have dinner', she said when they were unentangled again.
She was very happy and extremely cheerful. She didn't care that the waitress was not in the mood to share her happiness and ignored the miserable reproachful stare she earned as a reply to her joke.
They kept on flirting with each other over lunch (what it really was, since it was still early) and afterwards.
After they had paid the bill and moved from their seats, Ryan looked at her more serious than before and then said: ' 'I love you' is most likely the most stupid thing to say on a first date, but it's true. I have never met a woman like you before.'
Florence was too happy to say much, but her smile was an equal reply.
With Ryan chance had brought a man into her life who seemed to embody everything she ever dreamed of. He was good looking, witty, interesting and intelligent - her love for him had grown as fast as his.
To have this man look at her as if she was the most wonderful woman that ever existed made it easy to forget the world around her and their kissing was playful in the beginning, but then quickly became so passionate that Reed, who happened to be around, thought that it was necessary to remind his younger brother that he was in a public place.
Ryan laughed. 'I didn't know that you had a new job as Ms Crumplebottom. We're just happy, we're not a public disturbance.'
Florence was more embarrassed because of Reed's remark and after he had walked away she said: 'He's right, we should go somewhere else. Shall we go back to my place?'
She didn't have to ask twice and when they walked out to call a taxi Ryan looked into the faces of two of his friends who were grinning from one ear to the other. 'Lucky with the girls, Tiger?', one of them shouted and Adrian asked: 'I guess you don't mind if we come with you and have a party?'
'You talk to me again when you have truly fallen in love', Ryan answered. He would have liked to tell the entire world what he felt for Florence.
Who knows what might have happened if they both had returned to Florence's place straight away, but in the taxi Ryan remembered that he still had a job and that they liked him to show up every once in a while. 'Look, I won't be long, I come round to your place later, alright?', he said when he got out of the taxi. And so a few hours later he did.
Back at her house he told her that he had been at home after work and discussed everything with his brother. 'If you still want me, I am ready to become your housemate. I can move in straight away.'
'Yes, I do, but housemate? Do you think that will work?', Florence asked.
'I don't know. I thought it might be better for us if we don't see it as us moving together as a couple. Our relationship is just starting and maybe we should take it step by step.'
'Ok then, HOUSEMATE, welcome in your new home.' Then she laughed. 'I'm sorry, I am so happy, but I feel I don't really show it. I think I have to see you with stubble and in your pyjamas in the morning before I believe you moved in. It's really wonderful news.'
As if the day wasn't good enough already she also learned how to make that really complicated flower arrangement, something she had been practising for the last months.
She prepared a few more flowers to take into the shop the next day and then went to bed where Ryan was already sleeping. He had decided to leave most of the furniture to his brother and it was the only bed in the house.
Florence slipped underneath the cover and then moved towards him. 'Are you asleep?', she whispered. She was longing to touch him, but she didn't want to disturb him because it was already late and they both had to work the next day.
'Yes, almost', he whispered back with a sleepy voice, taking her arm and pulling her closer towards him at the same time. 'Tomorrow I buy a bed and get my room ready.'
'Yes, you do that', Florence replied before she rested her head on his shoulder and fell asleep.
The separate bed was never bought of course and at least in that respect the distinction of being housemates instead of lovers was purely theoretical.
But maybe in other ways it helped to make their life together less complicated. Ryan insisted on paying her rent, but helped her with the house too if something needed to be done.
The Stratton Family
There were still plenty of houses available in Pleasantview, but when the Stratton family left their home town, they decided to move to the neighbouring Bluewater instead. Although Pleasantview wasn't very far it seemed more convenient, because the Strattons were going to open a small business in the Bluewater shopping district.
They had always dreamed of opening a shop for furniture and decorations, but their first home was so bare it would have made any furniture shopowner cry. They didn't have a large financial backup and wanted to keep at least some of their savings to support their business if it would need it.
It had not been love at first sight between Peter Stratton and his wife Jennifer. They had grown up in the same town and after finishing school Jennifer had moved away wishing to see new places and meet new people. When she was living in the city she went out with a few men but in the end neither turned out to be the right one and going to a new place was not as exciting as she had imagined it either.
When she returned to her home town Peter was still there. They used to go out with each other when they were teenagers and after coming back she started to see him again after they had met by chance one day. She had often felt lonely and isolated during her life in the city and had learned to appreciate the solidity and security a man like Peter had to offer.
Once they started dating again it wasn't long before Peter asked her to marry him and soon after she got pregnant with Melanie. In the years that followed their love grew stronger, although it lacked the strong compatibility and physical attraction some other couples shared, which was the only disappointment in an otherwise happy marriage.
Jennifer always liked it when she received appreciating looks from her husband and sometimes waited before she dressed in the morning, knowing that Peter had a preference for underwear.
In the beginning they had no time to think about romance. Peter had bought a small shop in the community where they sold lamps, vases and other interior decor and they soon realised that they would have to work hard for success. Peter had been employed in his father's company before but running his own business was a different task altogether.
Melanie was one reason for the happiness of their marriage. Both parents were very proud of their beautiful daughter, who was nice and kind although a bit shy. Even if Peter and Jennifer were very tired in the evening they always had time for her and the relationship between Melanie and her parents was very good.
Peter was not a very educated man, but he tried to improve his own knowledge to help Melanie with her homework, so she would do well in school.
Actually it was the fact that he would never hesitate to admit when he didn't know something that made his teaching successful. Sometimes it was Melanie who had to explain and thereby recall what she had learned in school.
With the support of her parents it took her only a few weeks in the new school before she received her first A+.
She was so excited that she didn't pay attention to the fact that her father was more or less asleep when she told him the news, because he had spend the whole morning restocking the shop. 'That's great sweety, I am very..', he mumbled before he dozed off again.
Peter had liked the little shop right from the beginning and it soon became popular with the customers. They didn't make much money even if they didn't have such a problem with shoplifting as some others but they received a positive review and climbed in the ranks of the Sim Business Review, a newspaper issued by the Sim Chamber of Commerce, which published a list of successful businesses that was decisive in the economic world.
Peter was a nice man and the customers liked his cheerful and charming attitude. He had a talent for sales and quickly learned the little tricks to convince a potential buyer.
They grew fond of their little shop, but it being little posed a problem. There already wasn't much space to display home decorations, but it was definitely not designed to sell larger pieces of furniture. So after running it for a short time and gaining experience from it they made the decision to sell. Both Jennifer and Peter were a bit sad when they closed up on the last day.
Their mood quickly changed when Peter received a phone call from his agent. He turned round to his family. 'You won't believe what we sold the shop for', he said with a big grin on his face.
Peter was a very happy man. He had expected a profit, but that the shop sold for more than double the price he had paid still came as a surprise to him. On top of that they had received some prizes from various business organisations, so that with the money they had accumulated it would be no problem to open a larger business now.
Everything would have been perfect, if Peter would not have been slightly confused by a customer who had come to the shop a couple of times. When he saw Marisa Bendett for the first time it paused his breath for a moment. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and the impression she made on him filled him with guilt towards his wife.
He did not behave inappropriate in any way, but some nights he dreamed about that beautiful woman and her gorgeous smile.
Deep at heart Peter was such a family man though that he did not even betray his wife in his dreams. Still, it made his sleep restless some nights.
When he sat at the breakfast table with his family in the morning after one of those nights he promised himself that he would pay more attention to the relationship with his wife, even if the new shop would take up most of his time.
It was not that Jennifer was unhappy at that time. Working in the shop kept them both busy and when they were at home she was trying to gain friends in their new neighbourhood.
She also was used to the fact that her marriage was harmonious but not very exciting.
Until they moved away Peter had worked in his father's business, while she worked part time in an office. At home there was Melanie and after having dinner and maybe reading or playing a bit the evening had passed and they would go to sleep. Like this most of their days went, a life they shared with many other families.
She had begun to think more about her husband though. To her Peter was a kind, simple man, good looking but not smashing. It surprised her at first that so many women who came to the shop seemed to find him very attractive. Eventually, maybe, it started to affect her, because she was seeing new qualities in Peter. He had worked hard on his skills since they moved to Bluewater and when she watched him in the shop moving between the customers, confident and with a few words or a joke for everyone, she asked herself if she had for a long time not seen beyond the quiet and shy guy she had known as a teenager.
The new shop was going well and more and more customers came. While Peter had not forgotten his intention to improve his marriage he was kept from it at first because he simply was too tired in the evenings. He usually went to the shop earlier than Jennifer, who followed him around lunchtime. Nevertheless she felt not much different when they returned home in the evening.
But then he realised that the day had mornings too and when Melanie had left for school and before he would open the shop he began to strife for some 'quality time' with his wife. He tried to compliment her more often and realising how much he enjoyed it, slowly became more romantic. One morning when Jennifer was making the bed, instead of kissing her on the cheek as he usually did when he was about to leave he walked up behind her and gently kissed her shoulder and she looked at him with a surprised smile. A moment later they had somehow ended up on the bed making out with each other.
Peter became aware that it had been such an incredibly long time since he and Jennifer had actually done this. He did not regret how they had lived in the past years since Melanie was born, but bringing more romance into their life had been one of his better ideas.
While she had not chosen him for his sexual appeal Peter had always found his wife attractive. Their relationship, however, was build on a different foundation and after they got married everyday life and daily routine had taken over. He had almost forgotten how it felt to be in that mood. The kiss had aroused him and he wished he could lie there with Jennifer for longer, but he had to open the shop since it was already near lunch time and he was not even dressed.
This morning remained on his mind and thinking about it he came to the conclusion that it would be really good to have an evening alone with her.
Jennifer had of course noticed the attention she received from her husband lately. She did not mention it to him not wanting to question something she liked. When he asked her out she gladly agreed. It would be a lot of fun. Jennifer was a rather serious and introverted person, yet she liked being among people and found it inspiring.
They both dressed up and went to town. 'You look wonderful', Peter said, after they got out of the taxi and he meant it too. Jennifer looked very sexy in her low cut black dress.
While mainly a restaurant the 50's Diner was a good place to dance too and they had chosen it although they had eaten before they went out.
Peter was impressed that Jennifer was still able to do some of her more complicated dance moves. Brandi initially did not recognise the couple that owned the furniture shop. Even Peter who only wore a different suit looked very changed that night.
Apart from Brandi nobody else in the restaurant paid attention to them and they did not feel inhibited from being in a public place. Peter had only eyes for his wife and started flirting with her while they were dancing.
Romance mixed in with the fun. When he kissed her passionately again as he had the other morning Jennifer could understand much better why other women would fall for her husband.
She was used to being close to her husband every night when they slept, but feeling his arms around her and his body pressing against hers was much more exciting tonight.
They had become hungry again, so they sat down and ordered a meal. Peter could tell how much Jennifer enjoyed the evening because she was very lively and exuberant. He also noticed a difference in the way she looked at him which made him feel good about himself.
It was not that late when they returned home and Melanie still had a friend over. After saying hello they retreated into the bedroom. They were both a bit embarrassed towards their daughter, becoming aware how rarely she had seen them in such a mood, but restrained themselves from pretending to be tired.
Maybe their marriage had been exceptional insofar as they very rarely made love to each other. It can possibly best be explained by the way they were seeing each other and themselves. Peter had seen his role as a husband mainly as a provider for his family, which was his prime reason to aim for success, and Jennifer as being the mother of his child. Jennifer, though she was not aware of it, had always connected Peter with their home village. He made her feel secure, but to return home had always remained partly an admittance of her failure to make it in the city. She did think highly of her husband, but had never considered him sophisticated.
The date was some kind of breakthrough for them, although the change had in fact began to take place since they had moved to Bluewater. Before they left the restaurant Peter had become more and more distracted by the body of his wife and the shapes that were exposed rather than hidden by her dress. Now Jennifer was drawing closer and he really wanted to make love.
The walls in the house were thin and they waited until her friend Pauline had left and Melanie had gone to bed before they slept with each other. The next day Peter didn't open the shop until late and they remained in bed for most of the morning.
In the time that followed Jennifer developed more romantic feelings for her husband. Their lovemaking in the night after their date had touched her deeply.
All this improved their relationship. Marisa Bendett, who came to the shop again one day, remained the only disruption of Peter's inner peace. Seeing her approaching was like a schock, his knees went soft and his mind blank. She was one woman who could lead him to being unfaithful to his wife.
Although he could see that he appealed to Marisa too he always remained professional. After showing her some rugs he turned to Lilian, another customer. It occured to him how many pregnant women he had seen in the neighbourhood lately.
He had not dared to hope for it, but when a belly began to show on Jennifer too, he was very happy.
He made sure that Jennifer would get enough rest and didn't let her work in the shop anymore. When they were together there was no need for an employee, but without her Peter had to close earlier than usual. With the amount of customers he was getting and having to handle the cash register at the same time it was impossible to restock while the shop was open.
Melanie had not expected that her parents would have another child, but she had noticed the change in them. She would have liked to ask her mother about it if she would have known how to start.
During the day she did not think about it much. She was meeting the other teenagers in the neighbourhood and became friends with most of them.
Whether it was really Peter or her attitude towards him that was changing, it gave Jennifer much to think about.
Although she was pregnant they were making love more often now and the memory was still with her in the morning. She often missed him when he was at the shop and wanted to be close to him much more than she used to.
Their house was still poorly furnished and they had not thought it necessary to install a burglar alarm. Fortunately Peter had only dozed and woke up quickly when he heard a noise outside. He called the police and the burglar was caught. He did not give up before a fight though and Peter kept worrying that Jennifer would wake up.
Her pregnancy had progressed and she was going to give birth shortly. Peter stayed at home during that time. They had earned a lot of money already and even after they redecorated the house, they still had enough left to afford Peter a holiday.
Soon after the baby - another girl that was given the name Amy - was born.
Story continues here