The Jenkins (Bendett) Family
Ben Jenkins and his father Darren moved into the neighbourhood, when James and Mary Simmon bought a bigger house and sold the old one to Darren. Ben had grown up without his mother for most of his life, but Darren had been a good father and Ben had turned into a happy person.
Darren was a family man and while Ben meant a lot to him, he missed having a wife. It wasn't easy for a single man with a child, and when Ben was small he didn't really have the opportunity to go out and meet somebody new.
Although Brandi was not the greatest looking woman in the neighbourhood and had three children already, she had an appeal on the sim men which was hard to explain. She was one of the first people Darren met after moving there and he developed a crush on her very quickly. He even dared to kiss her one day (and she didn't reject the kiss), but later he found out that she and Maurice Layton were a couple and he didn't want to interfere with their relationship. He still fancied Brandi, but he didn't try to start a romance.
It became easier not to think about her when he met Marisa Bendett, a woman living a bit further away. They immediately got on with each other and Darren invited her on a date soon after meeting her walking past his house one day.
They had dinner in a downtown diner and when she looked at him with her beautiful eyes he fell in love with her.
Marisa felt the same about him and when the night turned towards the morning they were already kissing passionately.
When Darren went home that night he had the strong feeling that he and Marisa had a future.
Meanwhile Ben had a similar problem like his father had with Brandi. He thought that both, Angela and Lilith Pleasant, were attractive girls (like his father he had a preference for red hair), but Lilith he liked better than her sister.
First she had been a bit rude, and it was quite obvious that until then it had been a lot easier for Angela to find friends. But when Ben got to know her better, he thought that she was good fun to be with. He had a crush on her and was almost sure that she felt similar for him, so he would have liked to ask her out on a date.
The problem was that Lilith was already going steady with Dirk Dreamer. Dirk was one of Ben's best friends and surely wouldn't like Ben to have a date with his girlfriend. Ben could have done it behind his back, but he wasn't that type of person.
He did know enough girls, but some of them - like Charlene - already had boyfriends or he didn't really fancy them to be more than friends. Ben had very similar values to his father and he was really a rather romantic boy.
He had never seriously kissed a girl and was longing for it, but he wanted to find the right one first.
Lauren was a girl he knew from school. He had met her briefly once and after that he only saw her standing with her friends in the school yard. She didn't seem to pay any attention to him, but Ben thought that she looked really nice and managed to get her telephone number from a friend.
It took him some courage to ring her up and she was surprised to be called by him at first. On the other hand she was probably impressed that he had done so (without trying she was a popular girl), and they got into chatting to each other quick.
They still didn't talk much in school, although Lauren took more notice of him now, but they talked on the phone and met a couple of times after school. Eventually Ben asked her out on a date. Before, he still wasn't sure how he felt about her, but the date developed so well that he had a crush on her before their dinner was over. She looked even nicer being close.
They danced, they laughed about that old woman acting the party girl and they became very romantic.
Ben did not want to kiss her on their first date (it was really a very special thing for him), but he hugged her or held her hands as often as he could and she looked quite happy about it.
Their date was like a dream and lasted the whole Saturday. Ben wanted to kiss her very much, but he restrained himself and only caressed her face instead. Eventually it was time to go home and Lauren told him that this had been one of the best days she ever had. They had already turned away from each other, when she suddenly pulled him close and kissed him.
Ben was only a teenager after all and he forgot all about his plans regarding his first kiss and just enjoyed feeling her lips on his.
When he came back he was in a state of euphoria and had to tell some of his best friends about his date immediately after getting up the next day.
Being distracted by his happy feelings, he did not notice that Lauren came to his house later and secretly put some flowers on his doorstep. Otherwise he would have known why she wasn't at home when he called her.
Darren was seeing Marisa whenever he had the chance now and they had become very passionate about each other. The feeling that Marisa belonged to him was getting stronger in Darren all the time and when he was with her, his happiness was making his face glow.
Some days it was already early in the morning when Marisa left, but she didn't sleep over in his house yet.
Who knows what makes a moment special. Marisa came round one sunny weekend afternoon bringing a teen friend along with her, who she wanted to introduce to Ben. Darren came out of the house to greet them, when all of a sudden looking into each other's eyes such a strong feeling overcame both that they forgot all about the teen, who stared curiously at these two sims being totally immersed with each other.
When they finally took notice of the world around them again, they looked at the boys (Dirk had come to see Ben as well). 'Don't you think it is time that I talk to Ben about you moving in?', Darren asked.
In the evening they were hanging out on the bed like they had many times in the last couple of weeks.
But this time Marisa didn't go home.
Of course the growing love between Darren and Marisa did not go unnoticed with Ben or he would have been a very dumb boy. When Marisa came out of Darren's bedroom that Monday morning, Ben knew exactly what had been going on.
He didn't know Marisa very well yet, because Darren had either met her downtown or Ben had been out when she came to visit. But he could see how happy she made his father and this already raised his opinion of her. And when they talked a bit more he liked her better still, because she was a very nice and friendly person.
Darren hadn't expected Ben to dislike Marisa but he was glad they got on with each other. Otherwise he would have had to reconsider his plans.
He had been thinking about her the whole morning. In the afternoon he worked twice as hard as usual, trying not to think about her so much. As a result he finished early and going into a corner shop to buy a newspaper, got the idea to buy a lottery ticket. He didn't win a massively big prize, but it was still a nice amount of money and added to the funds that he had saved up since moving to Pleasantview. All this was going round in his head when he arrived home.
He also remembered how he had felt looking at Marisa last night. What a lovely woman she was!
He called her as soon as he was in the house - and had asked Ben's opinion - and talked to her.
'Look Marisa, I've been thinking about this the whole day, why wait? You told me, you didn't have a long term lease, what do you think about moving in immediately?'
Marisa didn't have to think long.
'Darren, I can pack my stuff right now, I'll be with you in the evening.'
And so it happened. She only brought very few things with her, which she placed in Darren's room.
Ben had prepared some salad and they spent the evening sitting at the dinner table talking. Each of them enjoyed this first evening as a preview to what their life would be like from now on.
The thought that he would be close to Marisa like this every night now, made Darren extremly happy. They would not be sleeping in the same room much more though. Marisa had saved up some money as well - not as much as Darren, but some 10,000 simoleons - and they had already decided to move into a new house. While the property was situated nicely right opposite the public park, it was small and there was an unspoken rule in the community that it should be made available for poorer families wanting to move to Pleasantview. Darren had profited from it when the Simmons had moved out and now he was going to buy a bigger home for his new family.
Darren did not have to search much. Most properties in Pleasantview were either too expensive or as small as the old house. But there was one that was just right and would make a nice and cosy family home.
Ben liked the new house a lot and congratulated his father on making such a good choice. As long as he could remember, he had known him only to be working or spending time with him. He was glad that his father was getting a life again.
Marisa was too glad to say much. She was aware that everything happened a bit too quick, but she strongly believed that she had made the right choice with Darren.
Soon after they had moved, Darren asked Marisa on a night out. She could see in his face that he was planning something special and chose to dress up for the evening. Darren did the same and after admiring each other they called for a taxi and headed downtown.
At first Marisa was astonished, when he took her only to the Diner, because she had expected a more posh restaurant. But then she understood that he had chosen it for being the place of their first date. During the dinner he was very excited and finished eating much quicker than she did. Then, while she was still enjoying her food he looked at her expectantly as if he was waiting for something.
Eventually the tension became too much for Darren and he pulled out the engagement ring. 'What do you say?', he asked her.
Marisa had expected a special evening, but the engagement still came as a surprise to her.
Even Darren had not planned to propose engagement originally. He had bought the ring but was thinking about living with Marisa for a longer time before asking her the question. On the other hand he had carried the ring in his pocket ever since he bought it, and when they were having dinner it kept him thinking about getting engaged to Marisa the whole time.
Now he could hardly sit still. He reminded Marisa of a little boy and it would have been hard to refuse him even if she had wanted to.
After she had accepted his proposal Darren calmed down a bit and they had a great and very romantic evening.
After he had split up with Ben's mother, Darren never really had a girlfriend. Sex had not mattered to him very much. Now with Marisa he wanted to woohoo with her all the time. Their relationship wasn't based on it, but they had only started living together and this and being engaged now further increased their desire. Luckily, they were both in a euphoric mood and instead of being totally exhausted in the morning they felt great.
Marisa started work very early in the morning, but Darren always tried to get up with her to give her a last embrace before she had to leave. Their relationship was going really well and sometimes they found it hard to separate.
Meanwhile Ben was doing very well in school and when he finished homework he still had plenty of time to meet his friends.
But more than being with them he liked being with Lauren, with whom he had seriously fallen in love by now.
Ben was very happy to go out with Lauren and even if they were still very good friends, he did not have a crush on Lilith anymore. Or so he thought.
Lilith still liked Ben a lot, but did not want to hurt Dirk either. For a while being just friends had worked and maybe it had made them both careless about the way they behaved towards each other. Then one day, during the birthday party for Lilith's little brother David, they danced and chatted the whole afternoon and both noticed that they had a funny feeling in their stomach looking at each other.
Even if they didn't do much to enforce it, there was a strong tie that pulled them towards the other and the feelings for each other were strong as well, although they tried to hide them.
Very shortly after, the destiny of father and son was taking a similar path once again. After work Darren usually returned home and spend the evening with Marisa and Ben (when he was in). He often talked to Brandi on the phone and would have liked her and Marisa to be friends, but subconsciously he avoided seeing her. When he met her one evening when he was out shopping for clothes, he thought that she looked more attractive than ever. His friend Darren Dreamer was in the shop as well and he noticed that he was giving him curious looks. It was generally agreed between the men in Pleasantview that Brandi was hot, although they tried not to talk about it when Maurice was around.
It was almost a shock meeting Brandi, and Darren's feelings became totally mixed up. Brandi looked very embarrassed as well and after talking for a short time, she turned away and was about to leave the shop.
What happened then, Darren found very hard to explain and it left him with a terrible guilt feeling towards Marisa. Instead of just letting Brandi leave, he came after her and the next moment they were involved in a passionate kiss. Brandi didn't resist and appeared to enjoy it as much as him, but Darren knew very well that he had been the one who initiated it.
He did not love Marisa less or wished to hurt her in any way. How could he tell her that this incident had nothing to do with his feelings for her and that he had simply found Brandi irresistible? On his way home he decided that he would try not to think back to what had happened and concentrate on Marisa instead.
Ben was doing more or less the same. He did not want to loose Lauren and made a big effort to show her how much he cared.
He was a very honest boy and so he did admit to Lauren that he had fancied Lilith at one time and that he still liked her a lot. Lauren liked him even more for telling her. On the outside really not much had happened between him and Lilith, but Ben remembered his emotions on that afternoon at her house and when Lauren hugged him and said that she completely trusted him, he felt like a liar. His true feelings for Lilith would have to remain a secret and he didn't like that.
He feel comfortable again after being with Lauren for a while and it was actually that very afternoon that he asked her to go steady.
Overall their family life did not suffer much from these confusions. Darren and Marisa were a happy couple (he had not said a thing) and looked it to their friends.
Ben got on very well with his father and Marisa he liked more and more. It was as if she had always lived with them.
He was hoping that she and his father would get married soon.
Seeing that his son and Marisa were getting on so well, Darren did indeed want to get married as quickly as possible and they were already making preparations for the wedding, which was to take place among a small circle of friends.
Darren had not talked to Marisa, but when Mary Simmon came round one evening while Marisa was at work, he did talk to her about his recent encounter with Brandi. Mary was a friend of Brandi and he respected her opinion. After listening to him for a while, Mary was convinced that Darren truly loved his fiancee and she told him not to worry about it too much, especially since Brandi was planning for Maurice to move in with her and the children as soon as Dustin and Charlene were going to college.
Darren felt better afterwards. It was a relief to talk about it and helped him to put things in perspective.
He still thought about Brandi at times, but mostly his thoughts centred on Marisa. The preparations for the wedding went ahead and he was looking forward to make her his wife.
But it was not to be, not yet anyway.
Even if Darren and Marisa had very different work schedules, they still found time for romance and had a very passionate relationship. But there was one night when their lovemaking had a special feel to it, not only because it lasted for so long, but also because they felt a closer bond than ever before.
Marisa was lying awake for a long time afterwards, looking at Darren and thinking about their future. She was a woman who people considered intelligent and pleasant to be with, but generally not very emotional. Being able to express that part of her was one thing she loved about being with him.
She moved up closer to Darren, who was still awake too. It was the last thing he noticed before he dozed off and he fell asleep with a smile on his face.
A few days later when Marisa took a shower in the morning, she suddenly felt extremly sick and had to throw up. She had no reason to believe that she was ill, so it didn't take much thinking before she realised that she might be pregnant.
That special night immediately sprang up in her mind. Although they had not planned for a child they had not been careful on a couple of occasions, but she was sure that if she was pregnant it had happened then.
She looked as lovely and was as cheerful as always when she sat down for breakfast, but Darren noticed that there was something on her mind and after chatting to her for a while, he asked her what was up.
With some hesitation she told him that she had been sick in the morning and what might be the explanation for it.
Of course Darren was aware that they had not always used contraceptives (and yes, maybe he had been trying - or hoping - for it), but it still came as a surprise to him.
Marisa stared into her cereal. She wasn't sure what to feel and she also didn't know what it meant to Darren, having been left to bring up a child on his own before.
To get married while she was pregnant was out of the question for her. She did not want to stand under the wedding arch with a big belly.
After he had overcome his initial surprise, Darren was slowly taking in the news. For a moment fear was creeping up on him, fear that Marisa - like Ben's mother - did not want a child and would regret him making her pregnant. He would also have liked to get married before they had children (only thinking differently about it when he got carried away making love to her). But it passed quickly and he assured her that from his side at least this was good news.
His positive attitude cheered Marisa up. She was not sure yet if she really was pregnant, but she knew that she could count on Darren whatever happened.
A few weeks later there was no doubt about it anymore. Marisa had not thought much about having children and although she did not suffer much from exhaustion or discomfort, she was not sure if this was what she wanted.
Darren made her forget her doubts. He was after all a family man and you could see how happy he was about her pregnancy, even if they had not planned it.
Some evenings they cuddled up on the bed and he told her about the time when Ben was younger. Soon Marisa was looking forward to the child as much as he did.
If Darren was not in there was always Ben, who would cheer her up again when she was low.
The pregnancy progressed and in Marisa's opinion her belly had already swollen into massive proportions.
It did not decrease her attraction to Darren though, who appeared to find her even more lovely now.
They still continued making love when she was pregnant and becoming a father did not stop him from being her lover.
Marisa was working night shifts but she was on maternity leave now and had adapted her day to get up with Darren in the morning (like he had done when she was working early), if only to exchange one last passionate kiss with him before he left.
Still being seen as attractive gave her a more positive attitude about her body and she started to wear her big belly with pride.
Darren was a down-to-earth type of guy and not very interested in esoterics and exotic philosophies. Yoga he had practised for many years though and it was where he gained his energy from. Ben wanted to practise it too and had already learned the basics of meditation from his father. Still, it made him laugh sometimes to find his father in positions he thought weren't physically possible when he returned home from school.
'I think we don't have to wait much longer now. You are some nice round woman, my dear.' Darren had just finished saying that when he looked up to Marisa and noticed the painful expression in her face.
'You're right, Darren, I think the baby's coming right now', she mumbled with her teeth clenched.
Darren was overcome with a variety of feelings, but there was no time to linger. Marisa's pregnancy was without complications and she was in very good shape, so they had opted for her to give birth at home.
After a short time in labour Marisa gave birth to a son, who they named Patrick. He was the most perfect little creature and when she looked at him, Marisa was filled with pride and love.
She passed the baby to Darren, who had been eagerly waiting to hold his son.
Marisa might not have planned to become a mother, but she was a very good one.
Although she returned to work very soon, her energy seemed unlimited and she spent a lot of time with her son when she was at home.
Soon the baby was holding his arms up to her and smiled when she lifted him up.
Little Patrick was extremly cute and easy to handle. He became the joy of the entire family.
Darren looked after Patrick at night when Marisa was working and he could stand at the crib watching him for hours on end.
As said before Patrick was very easy to manage. Ben was willing to help, but it was really not necessary and he could concentrate on becoming friends with his baby brother instead.
'See how he looks at you?'
Marisa smiled. Ben looked at Patrick, who was indeed glancing at him curiously. He played a lot with the baby and Patrick had learned to recognise him as a source of diversion.
The other two family members loved Patrick, but Darren was in raptures. He had recently been promoted and become detective, but it hardly mattered to him. When he finished work he rushed home, hoping to find the baby awake and be able to hold him. To him, his newborn son appeared to be a marvel which he still found hard to believe even when he had him in his arms (if she had known him when Ben was born, Marisa could have predicted that he would be like that).
With so much love and care around him, Patrick already carried a big smile on his face as a baby most of the time.
Marisa was glad that she had saved all her holidays when Patrick was a baby. This way she could spend more time with him when he grew into a toddler.
He learned remarkably quick and was able to talk much earlier than other children. Marisa thought that it was because they had talked to him so much right from when he was born.
Ben had painted a bright picture for his little brother and he also enjoyed telling him stories and playing with him. He had reached an age now, where college wasn't too far ahead and while he was still living at home he tried to spend a lot of time with Patrick.
Darren and Marisa had put the marriage on hold for the time being and agreed that they would wait until Patrick was a bit older. But now Marisa was wondering if they shouldn't get married soon. There was not the slightest doubt in her that Darren was the right sim and she also was thinking about Ben moving to college. She loved him as much as if he would have been her own son as well and wanted him to be able to attend their wedding.
It did not take much to convince Darren of this idea. He had wanted to marry her before, but now that she was the mother of his child, he had even more reason for it. They had done much of the planning before Marisa got pregnant and before long the guests were invited and the celebration began.
Patrick, who was admired by all the guests for being such a cute and friendly child, watched the whole event with curiousity. He was not old enough to understand what was happening and just enjoyed all these people, who were new and exciting to him. Lauren smiled, because Ben was paying her compliments by talking to his baby brother about her. 'Look Patrick, this is my girlfriend', he said 'look at her in that dress, isn't she gorgeous?'. Lauren thought once again that Ben was the cutest guy in the neighbourhood.
Marisa looked happy and lovely too.
Darren had forgotten all about Brandi. His heart was beating up to his throat because he was to marry the woman of his dreams.
'Go ahead!' their guests cheered them.
Darren Dreamer, being Darren's best man, then gave them the rings.
Each of them had prepared a little speech and as they exchanged the rings the vowed to remain together for the rest of their life.
It was a small wedding but it was perfect, not least because of the happiness of the two main participants.
After the ceremony Ben remained in the garden with Lauren. He thought that she did look very nice in that dress and on top of that the wedding made him feel very romantic.
Most of the time they were just kissing, but they talked about college too and Ben said that he hoped they would both be accepted at university.
In the evening when the party was over and the guests were leaving, a limousine arrived and took them on a ride.
It was huge and inside there was a bottle of champagne waiting for them.
Ben had promised to look after Patrick in the meantime. The little one was completely exhausted from all the excitement and there was not much Ben had to do apart from putting him into his crib. Some people at the party had remarked how similar they looked sometimes despite having different mothers.
He was already in bed when he heard the limousine driving up to the house and Marisa and Darren returned. They were far from tired and settled on the couch because they did not want to disturb the toddler.
Because of the wedding they were very emotional and between their passionate kisses they stopped just to look at each other.
They both wanted to make love to each other badly and after they had checked that Patrick was fast asleep they retreated into the bedroom.
It wasn't long before Marisa felt sick in the morning again. Patrick was sitting on the potty and tried without much success to look around the shower to see why his mother was making these funny noises.
Marisa had only sat down for breakfast when she was sick again. She was more or less sure that she was expecting another child. Before she had Patrick, she did not know if she wanted one.
After he was born, she learned that she got a lot of enjoyment from being with him and when she married Darren she was already looking forward to having more children.
They made love often and she had not cared much about contraception, although she would have liked to wait until Patrick had grown into a school child, in case she could not give him the attention he needed if she was pregnant.
She tried to teach him while she still had the energy for it and passed most of the days in the company of her son.
Of course there was time for playing too and not just learning, but her efforts paid and Patrick picked up quickly.
She had the support of Darren, who not only liked playing with his child but being in the company of Marisa as well.
Contrary to what she had believed, she had more time for her son because before she had used up her holidays, she was on maternity leave again and Patrick got really used to having his mother at home and being with him.
Or generally used to have someone to pay attention to him at any time. Ben would always be there for him too.
So it wasn't often that you could see Patrick with an unhappy face like this.
Unless his father was getting ready to go to work.
And Patrick, trying to follow him, sadly had to accept that the steps leading up to the front door where still an unconquerable obstacle.
Marisa usually had to pick him up from the landing and carry him back in, telling him that his daddy would be back soon. Her pregnancy had progressed and her belly grown.
To see her was a constant reminder to Ben that not much time was left before he would move to college. There were only a few tasks left.
Willow was a good friend to both him and Charlene. Once when she was out with Charlene she told her that she was still waiting for her first kiss. After thinking it over for a while, she decided to pass this secret on to Ben, hinting that even if he was going steady with Lauren it would be more like a deed of friendship if he was the one. Charlene wasn't often scheming but in this case she really felt that her friend should not start her adult life unkissed and Ben was such a nice guy.
Ben didn't know what to think first. Willow had never been more than a friend. But then, when she visited him one day, they fell in love - at least for the duration of the evening.
He did not act on Charlene's command; it felt right to kiss Willow then and so he did. It wasn't much of a kiss and they remained nothing but good friends afterwards.
Willow was glad though. She was also a bit grateful, knowing that Ben was in love with Lauren and somehow guessing that it had not meant much. But she liked Ben a lot and it had been a good kiss. She would have felt bad if she had to admit at college that she had never kissed anyone. She would have liked it even more if she had ever fallen in love as a teenager, but she had never really been attracted to any of the guys around (including Ben, although she was very fond of him that night).
The date for the birth of their second child was drawing close and Darren expected it to happen any moment when he looked at Marisa.
Marisa might have grown a lot, but before the birth other events were to happen. Soon Patrick would transition into a school child and around that time Ben would go to college.
He had gotten very thoughtful lately. Marisa thought that he was generally a very pensive boy and wondered what was going through his mind. Most likely not even Ben really knew himself. As long as he could remember, family and finding the right girl had been most important to him, just as it was for Darren. He loved his little brother and got on well with his father and Marisa and he felt he should have been more sad to leave the family that had begun to grow only recently. Yet it was more like it was time for him to move on.
Another thought that bothered him concerned his relationship with Lauren. After he had seen her in school he had really wanted to get to know her and she had fallen in love with him and became his steady girlfriend. They were happy together. So why had he fallen in love with Lilith as well?
He loved Lauren, did he love Lauren? He liked being with her, he liked kissing her, she was beautiful and attractive.. Did he simply expect too much from going steady with a girl? He was hoping that she would go to the same college, but he did not make a commitment to her that they would continue going out after they had turned into adults. Maybe he would know better then, in those days of their teens however, although she owned a large chunk of his heart it wasn't the whole.
Lilith and him never let anything happen after David's birthday party. They were VERY friendly with each other, yet nothing they did could have been seen as obviously romantic. Ben found her less good looking than Lauren, but with Lilith he had a lot of fun, maybe more than he had when he was with his girlfriend. They always had a great time when they were out in town together.
It was confusing and Ben did not even know for sure anymore if a solid family life did really matter as much to him as he had always believed.
All the ponderings of Ben did not stop the time and eventually it was Patrick's birthday. Marisa cuddled her son one last time - by the evening she would not be able to lift him anymore in her present state. It was hard to let him go, he had been such a cute toddler.
They all remembered the moments they had with him. Ben recalled how he had carried him to his crib one day and he had nearly fallen asleep in his arms, snuggling up to his older brother.
Darren was happy about the baby that was soon to arrive, but sad to see his toddler grow into a child. They could have stayed this age for a lot longer in his opinion.
But those memories could not stop time either and a few days later Ben was saying goodbye to his family and went to college.
'Are you sure, you don't want me to take you there?', Darren asked.
'Dad, you know that Dirk's father has hired a van, and Charlene and Orlando will be going with him too. Stop worrying.'
'If there is anything you need, don't hesitate to call me on your mobile and I'll bring it over to you.'
Darren wasn't finished yet. He knew that he had to look after Patrick, but it was hard for him to accept that his oldest son was to grow into an adult today and he would not be there to witness it. He didn't let Ben leave until he had promised several times to visit them as soon as possible.
Ben was only gone a short time when Marisa gave birth. When she got up in the morning she had still believed that the baby was not to come until maybe late at night, but it didn't want to wait that long. If he had known Darren would have stayed at home, especially because he was useless at work at the moment and too nervous to concentrate on his job.
Kaylynn the maid was the only one in the house apart from Marisa. Everything went well with the birth though and then Darren and Marisa were parents of a little daughter called Eleonor.
As happy as she was about the baby she did not forget Patrick over it and made sure he finished his homework before he could get excited about the baby.
Then finally he was allowed to see her. 'She has a lot of hair!', was his first reaction. 'Did I have that much hair when I was a baby?'. Darren smiled and explained that he had looked quite different from Eleonor. 'You both have the beautiful eyes of your mother though', he then added.
When they baby was put in the crib to sleep and they all sat down for dinner, Patrick inquired when Ben was going to see the baby and if he would come and visit soon. He was sad that Ben wasn't around now that he was a child and he missed him.
Darren wanted to introduce the new family member to Ben as well and he was invited the next weekend. Patrick ran out immediately when he spotted him on the street.
Marisa came out too and asked him what he thought of Patrick who he had hardly been able to know as a child before he had moved to college. 'It depends what you tell me about him. Does he behave?' He tried to look serious, but then they both smiled. Patrick was a good child and he did not fall for their mockery.
Then Marisa had to pick up Eleonor, who had woken up and was crying in the bedroom.
Marisa was still exhausted from the birth and after passing the baby on to Darren she had to lie down for a while. Ben had followed his brother to the kitchen, where lunch was already prepared. Darren was in the kitchen too after feeding Eleonor, who was lying in his arm now.
Ben was talking to his brother, but he could not stop looking at his father and the baby.
He couldn't explain why, it really distracted him and he found it hard to concentrate on the questions Patrick asked him about college and his friends.
'Do you like your little sister? Isn't she beautiful?' Ben grinned because it was obvious that his father would only accept one answer. His face was telling and Ben didn't know why he still would have liked to ask him if he was truly happy with his life as it was now.
Ben would have never guessed that strangely enough some of the happiest couples in the neighbourhood did have a secret as deeply buried as it might be. Darren did never forget Brandi completely. But at the moment he was only thinking about the baby, Patrick and his wife.
Marisa had first dozed and then fallen asleep and Ben was mainly playing with his brother while Darren with the baby still in his arm watched them. Ben still felt the same urge to stare at his father as earlier in the kitchen.
It was as if he was hoping to find an answer there. If anything moving to college had increased his indecision. Darren, who was seeing his son as an adult for the first time today was convinced that the girls would really fall for him. He had the pale complexion of his mother and a very handsome face.
Marisa wished she would have seen more of Ben when he visited. She agreed with her husband and was almost a bit jealous regarding Ben, not wanting to see him with someone who did not deserve him.
Soon her thoughts returned to the baby, which became fond of its parents very quickly.
Ben At College
Dustin had departed for college early in the morning; Ben, Charlene, Orlando, Willow and Dirk arrived a few hours later with Dirk's father Darren.
Charlene was the last one to get out of the car. She had hardly completed her age transition when Dirk walked up to her and kissed her. They had not become friends until late, but in the recent weeks before moving to college they had been seeing each other a lot. She found him attractive but apart from him going out with her friend Lilith she would have never been unfaithful to Dustin.
Shortly before there had been a disagreement between her and Dustin though, which led her to sharing in the dormer with her friends instead of living with him. On top of that age transition had put her in a special mood and Dirk had surprised her with the kiss. To make it short, Charlene temporarly fell in love with Dirk.
The others did not notice much. They were choosing their rooms and making their registrations. Ben had mixed feelings about the future. He was excited about the new challenges that came with adult life, but afraid of them too.
He had been ready to move on, but his last days as a teenager had not been very steady. He had left his father in the middle of starting a new life and would soon have another brother or sister. Then, as if being in love with Lilith wasn't enough he had fallen in love with Willow a few days before he left home (if only for a passing moment). He and Lauren had decided to move into separate dormers in the end.
He could imagine him and Lauren becoming a couple again one day, but he did not want to commit himself until he was completely sure that she was the right one. His father and Marisa were a perfect match although they had known each other only for a short time before getting together. It didn't mean there was a guarantee that it would always happen like that.
In the coming days Charlene was making an effort to be friends with Dirk without encouraging more romantic moves. The disagreement about living together at college appeared silly now and she was very glad when Dustin phoned her after a few days, because she already missed him.
As soon as they met at his house their love was as strong as before. The next day when he came over in the evening Charlene was already thinking about moving in with him; she did not want to have to invite him or visit him and decided he had been right when he wanted them to have a place on their own.
The jealous scene that resulted from Dirk being in love with her, made her regret even more that it had ever happened. When Dirk suddenly started to argue and Dustin moved away from her, Charlene got very frightened that she and Dustin would break up. She did not care what Dirk was thinking that moment, only Dustin mattered to her. The next day she moved out of the dormer.
Ben became very pensive when he moved to college. There was this feeling of indecision he could not get rid off. He had begun to question almost everything in his life. The events at home did make him think about children a lot. He had a baby sister now and his father and Marisa had sounded so happy when they told him about the birth. And yet, while he had always thought that this would be the perfect life for him - getting married and having children - he was not sure about it anymore. He also enjoyed studying and sitting on his own in a quiet room.
Orlando had no such troubles. Although he had often been around he had never found a girlfriend among their group, at the same time he had never doubted the importance love and family had for him. When he met Gretchen, a girl who had moved into one of the remaining rooms, he knew that she was the one for him.
The others laughed about him and the hypnotized stare that appeared on his face when he talked to Gretchen, but he did not care.
He did not want to pretend and although he was shy made not attempt to hide his interest in her.
His honest and simple attitude made Gretchen grow fond of him quickly.
Dirk had needed a while to overcome his anger regarding Charlene and Dustin. He had started to think about sex pretty soon and while he might have had a chance to convince Lilith to do it, it did not seem to be a good idea. Angel Hurt, a student already a bit older than him, was very good looking and when she was visiting one day he tried to flirt with her, without much success. They had fun, but when he tried to hug her or get closer, she stopped him saying that it was too early for such intimacy.
He did not give up though. Angel did seem to like him and maybe he would have to show more patience. After talking in Gretchen's bedroom some more they went downstairs to have something to eat. Everyone else was in the kitchen with the exception of Willow and they sat down with Ben, who remained Dirk's best friend.
After the meal Dirk went into the bathroom to have a shower and Ben and Angel were talking to each other. It was late and Dirk had said that he was going to bed afterwards, so Ben said goodbye to Angel in his stead. He was quite surprised when Angel pulled him close and kissed him. Dirk did not see it, but when Ben dropped a comment about it the next day, he realised that his chances were probably not as good as he thought.
Ben was confused more than before. The girls liked him, which was flattering of course, at the same time he almost wished he had less options, because they made it harder to choose. What if he was married and met someone new? Would he always be able to resist or would he make someone unhappy by being unfaithful?
To tell the truth he had been slightly shocked when he met Lauren the first time after their age transition. She had gained a lot of weight all of a sudden and her hair that had grown very long and thick was making her look even bigger. When she greeted him with a squeeze, a feeling of suffocation overcame him.
The way she talked and looked at him, he could see that her feelings for him had not changed, but he could not say the same. Even when he got used to her changed appearance after a while, he could not say that it was love he felt for her. Friendship and fondness, but not love.
It was also because of Lilith that he did not visit their dormer very often afterwards. She was still a very good friend, but the attraction between them had not ceased either and it was strange to have her and Lauren around at the same time.
Despite the fact that not everything was going the way they wished or planned, they began to settle and get used to the life at university and before they knew the first semester was over. Apart from Ben, who was unfairly accused of missing his exam, all of them got on the Dean's list. Dirk felt sorry for Ben, because he had studied more than any of them.
Orlando had not received the same support at home as the others and needed to work harder than they did. He and Gretchen were inseparable.
From the beginning he tried to spend as much time with her as possible and when they weren't at class they would usually be together.
Gretchen was quiet and shy and the others did not get to know her well. It was obvious that she felt most comfortable when she was in Orlando's company.
A strong bond developed between them and the night of their first kiss (his first kiss ever!) he was longing for her so much that he stood in front of her door for ages, wondering if he should knock.
Love simply had to develop between them. There was also very little doubt that Orlando intended to live with Gretchen after they graduated. He was the type of guy who was happy to spend the rest of his days with the same girl.
Willow was a good friend to all of them, but had never seemed to be attracted to anybody. Although she and Ben, the first one she had kissed, were very close, there was never any more than friendship between them (apart from the night of their first kiss and only for Ben).
When they saw her talking to a female student one day and showing obvious signs that she fancied her, the others mainly wondered why the possibility that Willow might be attracted to girls had not occured to them.
Spending most of his time studying and going home often, Ben kept in contact with Lauren and his other friends mainly through the phone. His relationship with Lauren remained undefined. Although her looks would have never been reason to drop her, he was glad she had lost the extra weight and changed her hair. She was more than a friend and when they met, he often felt tempted to throw all his hesitation overboard and ask her to go out with him again. He knew that one romantic gesture from him would most likely be enough to bring back the former feelings.
When she looked at Ben, Lauren could sometimes not help wondering what it would be like to live with him and have children. She had seen him with his little brother and was convinced he would make a very good father. Since she had always thought that he was the best looking guy in the neighbourhood she was also convinced that any children of him would most certainly be very beautiful.
Lauren had brought some semester work with her and while he watched her, Ben was thinking about very similar topics. They were so compatible, it made it even harder to understand why he did not reach the certainty to start a serious relationship with her. He began to guess that he simply wasn't ready for it yet, although it did not stop him from pondering.
It was like their was a scale inside his head that was constanly swinging from one side to the other. When they hugged - in a strictly friendly manner - he was getting so close to kissing her and then refrained from it in the last moment.
Maybe he was taking it all too serious, but he was sure that a simple kiss would have consequences which should not be taken lightly.
The Jenkins/Bendett Family pt. 2
As before with Patrick, Darren participated in the care for Eleonor (and did not need to be asked to do it). Marisa tried to use those breaks to spend time with Patrick, which both of them did not want to neglect. Since she also had to look after herself, it was impossible to give him the same amount of attention as before though.
Patrick didn't mind. He had many hobbies and since he had started going to school he had begun to make friends, often bringing children with him in the afternoon. Alice Simmon he liked best.
Then it was Eleonor's birthday and the whole family assembled to celebrate it with a cake.
Marisa loved teaching her children and Darren had to be quick to get hold of Eleonor. He was determined to be the one to teach his child the first steps this time.
Eleonor learned as quickly as her brother and Darren was extremly proud of her.
His relationship with Marisa was getting better all the time. She had fallen in love with him almost from the moment she met him and still loved him as much now.
Thinking of Brandi at times did not stop Darren from considering himself the luckiest man in the world for having married Marisa. When Eleonor was a toddler it was one of the happiest times their marriage had seen so far.
When Ben visited this time he was much more relaxed. Eleonor was with Marisa and he could chat with his father for a while.
When she was a baby he had only looked at Eleonor, but now he could interact with her and she had soon walked up to him and asked for attention, maybe seeing how Patrick reacted towards Ben.
Ben thought that Eleonor looked much more similar to Marisa than his father and that she was really cute. He spent most of the evening playing with her.
The routines of toddler life were completed quickly and long before she was turning into a child Eleonor could walk, talk and was potty trained.
Talking she liked best and she could sit with the talking bunny for hours, enjoying it even more when her parents were with her.
Darren had bought one of those toy robots from Mortimer's shop and if the bunny became boring she loved playing with the robot instead. Marisa kept a watchful eye. She had lectured Patrick a few times for breaking the toy, but afterwards she always felt sorry about it. The robot was really not of good quality and when it broke you could get an electric shock from it. She was worried that Eleonor might hurt herself.
The bunny always regained its attraction though. When she was engaged in her play Darren and Marisa used the time to be with Patrick.
Eleonor grew up into a very beautiful child. Both parents were good looking and it didn't matter to which their children were more alike. Eleonor was showing signs that she would have a strong resemblance to Marisa when she grew up.
Marisa and Darren had both been promoted and although it meant that they had more time for each other because of their work schedules, they also had to hire a nanny, if only for the one hour between the time when the children finished school and their return from work. The nannies could try to bribe them with cake as much as they wanted, they were not liked much by children or parents and Patrick and Eleonor were always really glad when their parents came home.
They did not have friends over much and mainly kept in contact through the phone. After work they wanted to be with the children or with each other and even then it was often getting late.
Their relationship never ceased to be passionate (which was another reason for their happiness) and after Eleonor had grown up they were beginning to think about a third child. In comparison to Brandi's children theirs seemed to grow up a lot quicker and they could see that Patrick might turn into a teenager sooner than they had expected.
First Marisa had wanted to wait a bit longer before getting pregnant again, but then all of a sudden a real baby boom set in and it affected her too.
Everyone around saw it as a change of generations. Since Ben and his friends had moved to college not many teenagers were left in the neighbourhood. Then after a while many of the second-borns reached the age of transition. Seeing them grow up, some of their mothers wanted another child, like Brandi Broke and Lilian Gardener. Darren Dreamer just went through another honeymoon with his wife and then there was this couple who owned the furniture shop in Bluewater.
Darren and Marisa would have liked Patrick to remain a child for longer. But they could see in his face that he was growing quicker than the others and when most of his friends had turned into teens his wish to reach this life stage became very strong.
Although the pregnancy tired her Marisa tried to spend a lot of time with him. Since he was such a quick learner he was as skilled as most of his friends.
Darren also tried to be with his son. He did not play chess as much as the other family members but he liked watching them.
Marisa was reaching the last stage of her pregnancy and as before she felt most comfortable wearing only underwear. Patrick's age transition was only days away.
Marisa had not felt too bad during her pregnancy and this time she had not been sick. Instead it was Darren, who got nasty food poisoning just the day before Patrick's birthday, who had to throw up. He was in bed most of the day after getting home from work, but until late at night he was afraid he would spoil Patrick's birthday party, the first one they had arranged for him.
Having a rest cured him and in the morning he was healthy again. It was a Sunday and he had his day off. In the early afternoon Patrick's friends were invited and Ben of course. Seeing them all being much taller than him made Patrick look forward to reach their age even more.
After some talking and dancing they all assembled in the living room at six o' clock and cheered.
He blew out the candles and found himself in a swirl of multi-coloured sparkles. Then he was a teen. It took Patrick a moment to get used to his teenage body and he did not really know what to do with his limbs at first. Eleonor had not thought about the whole event much before. Now she was throwing a questioning look at her parents. They did not seem to believe that she would grow up soon, but she was after all not that much younger than Patrick.
She soon forgot about it again when her father started playing with her. Marisa who had not been able to talk to Ben as much as she would have liked during his last visits used the chance that he was standing by himself to talk to him about college. She loved him a lot, he almost made her wish that she was a bit younger. Of course she was foremost seeing him as the son of Darren and a member of the family. He and the others had just completed their freshman year and lately a lot of them had travelled home to see their younger siblings grow up. The youngest brother of Ben Gardener was at the birthday party. It was strange to see all these new and yet familiar teenagers, because the memory of that age was still fresh to the students.
It was a really good party and it might have lasted much longer if at midnight Darren would not have put an end to it. He had sat on the couch for most of the evening listening to the children and adding his own comments from time to time. Some of Patrick's friends had become Eleonor's too before they grew up and when he watched her it occured to him, that apart from some of the forever-children (that's how he called the townies to himself), there were no others of her age in the neighbourhood. He could see that she would soon wish to reach her teens as well and it saddened him. To him she had been a toddler only yesterday.
Ben was the last one to leave and before he took off he went into the garden with his brother for a minute. With all the others around they did not get to talk much during the evening and he wanted to make sure that Patrick felt alright about his age transition. His brother had to make his own experiences, but maybe his could help him to a good start.
'You can call me anytime, and if there ever is anything you feel you can not talk about with Dad or Marisa..' Unconsciously Ben had assumed a very grave and serious tone, which probably stemmed from his psychology studies and they both had to laugh. 'You know how I mean it', Ben added.
'Yes', Patrick answered, 'and actually it didn't sound stupid. It was strange when all my friends had suddenly grown up and I was the only one, who was still a child. But it's so different being a teen I have to get used to it. Did you ever get acne?'
'Ok, I see you got the point.. Look I have to leave now, you have to come and visit me at college one day, alright?'
The very next day in the late morning Christopher was born. Everyone was excited about the new baby, Patrick in particular, because he had turned into a family type of guy just like his father and Ben.
He was the last one to greet the baby, but mainly so he could have more time with it.
Darren was glad that his son was born on a Monday (his day off) and he was there during his birth.
Marisa was full of joy too. She had never imagined to have such a large family, but she liked being a mother. Her work was not that important to her and the children never stopped her from following her interest in learning and knowledge.
In the time that followed Patrick began to test the novelties of teenage life. Alice Simmon was one of his best friends and because they had often hugged before it was easy to try the first caresses.
Someone should have warned him about the dangers of doing that, because he was not prepared for the strong feelings that overcame him immediately afterwards.
Although Alice was generally less concerned about romance than most of the other teens, she was as easily affected by it as they were. They both giggled nervously, searching for something to say and trying to deal with the experience.
Ben at College pt. 2
Dirk was seeing it all with much more ease than Ben. He had hoped to have his first woohoo before he finished his freshman year, but it didn't happen. They were in their second year when he met Gabriella at his parent's wedding. Darleen introduced them and it was not without scheming. She accepted that her son had the needs of an adult and he could not hide from her what was on his mind. Gabriella on the other hand was known to have the same easygoing lifestyle as her brother and if she liked Dirk she would not try to force him into a relationship. Darleen wished that her son would find a girl he wanted to marry one day, but understood that it was not what he was seeking at the time. Gabriella did indeed like Dirk and for a while he became a regular visitor at her place. He found Gabriella very attractive and was convinced that he would soon loose his virginity to her. One day he asked her on a date downtown and then back to the campus.
Gabriella had begun to like the idea to be the first for Dirk and when she went back to the dormer with him, they were both sure they knew what would follow. All was going into the right direction until Dirk accidently caused an interruption in the flow of events which completely changed the atmosphere and led to Gabriella leaving. He was angry with himself for deciding to get up from the bed even if it had only been to .. whatever, he did not even know anymore. He had noticed the change as well, becoming aware of his tiredness and the noises coming from outside and he did not take offense from Gabriella's departure. The right moment had passed, but he was sure another one would come soon.
He slept for two or three hours and then got up again. The first thing he saw was a nude woman who apparently had been running around the house for the last hours.
He went upstairs, where he found another girl, who he had never seen before and who was more beautiful than any other he had seen so far. He walked up to her to talk and have a closer look at the same time. 'Hi, are you new at university? I don't think I've seen you before, what's your name?'
The girl replied that her name was Emmy and that she had just moved into the unoccupied room at the dormer. 'Unoccupied room? What do you mean?'. Dirk was surprised since the dormer was full after Kent Mendoza had moved into Charlene's old room. It soon turned out that while he was on his date with Gabriella, there had been a mix up of papers and it had falsely been concluded by the campus management that Gretchen had completed university. As a result she had to leave her room at the dormer and by the time the misunderstanding had been resolved, Emmy had already been placed into the room. Instead of reversing everything it was decided that Gretchen would move to another dormer and Emmy would keep the room.
Dirk wondered if Orlando had already heard the news and how he would react to it when he did. He felt sorry for him, but at the same time he could not be unhappy about this development. When he talked to Emmy a bit longer he began to feel that there was a special bond between them.
Gabriella, who he had nearly woohoo'd with only a few hours ago was completely forgotten. He had never intended to spare himself for a special someone and now he was glad that it had not happened because of a girl he just met.
Willow was making progress with her friend Tara too. She had been prepared for a long wait before she would meet a girl to fall in love with and felt very lucky for finding Tara. The nude girl walked around the dormer, feeling slightly confused. She was used to cause a stir when she appeared, but here nobody seemed to take notice of her.
Meanwhile Dirk had completely forgotten why he had gone upstairs originally, which had been with the intention to continue his term paper. He found it hard to take his eyes off Emmy although he kept telling himself that since she was living here now, he would see her every day. He felt like destiny had put the perfect girl right into his living room.
Emmy had only just moved in when Dirk came upstairs and she had not met any of her other housemates yet. But she was as impressed as he was and thought that even if the others were horrible, living together with Dirk would make up for it.
So the only unhappy person in the house was Orlando. He spent most of the evening on the phone talking to Gretchen, unable to grasp what had happened. He had talked to Kent, who had agreed to exchange his room with Gretchen, but the college management was so relieved to have cleared up the confusion that they refused to accept any more changes.
Normally he would have been glad for Willow, who had come back into the house and was upstairs holding hands with Tara, but to see two sims flirting with each other was only making him sad now. When he returned from class he would always look for Gretchen first and hug her.
Willow and Tara fell in love with each other that night and would have rather been left alone, but the naked student had decided to claim the attention that was due to her and frequently interrupted them when they were flirting.
Ben had mainly been an observer that night. The next morning when he got up, he recaptured what happened. It was not something they talked about, but many of his friends had expected that Ben might be the first (apart from Dustin and Charlene) to start a serious relationship, make love or get engaged.
He had fallen in love with Lauren again a short while ago when he visited her one evening. She had been waiting for a signal that he wanted to be with her again and she was sad when it didn't come, but in the end she decided to take the initiative instead.
Her charms still worked on him and in a way Ben was glad that the decision whether to go out with Lauren again or not was taken out of his hands. He had intentionally restrained himself and tried not to fall in love with her, mainly because of fear that his feelings would turn out not to be strong enough and that he would hurt her in the end. But lately he had realised that not reacting in any way had hurt her too.
He was still not completely sure if there was a future for him and Lauren, but he did feel a lot more comfortable and relaxed when they got back together.
He wished he had Orlandos conviction though. To be with anyone else but Gretchen was out of the question for him.
After he got up, he called Lauren and some other friends. He had not seen much of the new girl, Emmy, yet, but it was hard to overlook that she fancied Dirk.
Dirk's attraction to her was just as obvious.
After her move-in he and Emmy were together all the time. Friends they were from the first day and no-one doubted that they would soon become lovers. They were close to complete the first semester of their second term when Willow told Dirk one evening that Lilith was there.
'Oh, really? Where is she?', Dirk asked. He still liked Lilith a lot although like Ben he did not visit his former girlfriend often and spoke to her mainly on the phone. She would always remain special to him, but this chapter was closed as far as he was concerned. They had moved into different directions.
Soon after Lilith came into the kitchen and they started talking to each other. When Ben returned from the bathroom to chat with Lilith, who he had invited, he did at first not know what to make out of the picture before him. Dirk was standing very close to Lilith and it looked like they were flirting. It surprised him, because Emmy was in the kitchen too and he did not expect Dirk to show attraction towards another girl when she was present. It looked alltogether not right and he was relieved when he realised that they were only playing around.
Maybe Ben should have worried more about himself than about Dirk. After a short period of comfort he had started to think about Lilith more, but since his relationship with Lauren was going well, he did not think that there was a risk for his feelings when he invited her. It also made him less cautious than he had been towards Lauren.
He was wrong. A simple backrub was enough to make them realise that they still cared. At the same time they became aware that the love between them was always combined with feelings of embarrassment and wrong-doing and never led to real happiness.
Just as they had done as teenagers they silently agreed that they would keep it to themselves. There were too many people involved who would probably get hurt if they ever decided to become lovers.
Lilith left soon afterwards. She needed to be alone to think about what had happened and she felt that Ben was relieved to see her go too. She was outside already when he came after her. 'We will always be good friends, Lilith, won't we?', he asked. 'Yes, I hope so. I would hate it, if we stopped being friends', she replied. She understood what he was trying to tell her and was glad that he did not want their love to interfere with the other feelings they had for each other.
Orlando, who was not burdened with such confusion, had hurried with his preparations for the exams and shortly before they were about to take them, he invited Gretchen on a date. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and they sat outside and dined. Orlando was very concerned to make it a truly great date and did not shy away from any costs.
'How do you like your lobster?', he asked. Gretchen had wanted to order something cheaper, but he had seen that she had looked at the lobster on the menu and had insisted that she ordered it.
'Oh, it tastes really good.'
'Would you like to try some of that?' He held the fork out to her and then carefully moved it into her mouth.
'Mmh, that's very good too.'
Gretchen looked so sweet in that moment that Orlando found it hard to wait until they finished eating to make his proposal.
His stomach tightened and he could not get many more bites down. As soon as Gretchen had finished her plate he jumped up from his chair and pulled her towards him.
'Oh Gretchen, I'm so happy to have found you! You can't imagine how much I miss you since you aren't living with us anymore.'
Then he said: 'Come over here, right here into the sun.' He looked at her. 'Can you guess what I want to ask you?' Her lips were bending to a smile.
'Gretchen, you know what I'm like. I don't have big dreams, I don't want to be extremly rich, or successful or famous. All I ever wanted was a good job and more than that a family and children. I don't need anything else to be happy. And if you would choose to live this life with me, I would be the happiest man in the world. Can you imagine doing that? Will you marry me, when we finish college?'
'Of course I will!', she exclaimed and put his arms round him. He pulled her close and started kissing her. 'If only it wasn't such a long time,' she then added, 'I can't wait'.
Then Gretchen said that she had to go to the bathroom (actually, she wanted to have a closer look at the diamond ring, which Orlando had bought for her) and Orlando went to order coffee for them.
Their date was kept short because Gretchen had to prepare for her exams which were on the next day. While Orlando was waiting for the taxi he was dreaming about their future life. He would have been prepared to leave college straight away to live with her, but he knew that this was out of the question for Gretchen and it was a rather stupid idea anyway.
Meanwhile, back at the dormer, Dirk and Emmy were in Emmy's room. Lately the others only got to speak to Dirk when Emmy was at class, when she was in, they were always together.
'You're really sweet, you know that? Don't let Orlando hear this, but I am really glad you moved into this room.'
'You think so? Well, let me tell you, you are not too bad either'. Emmy smiled.
After that day, you could often find them kissing in some corner of the house.
Their exams came and were followed by the second semester of their sophomore term.
Their exams did not end until the evening, but Ben still wanted to meet Lauren and he called her as soon as he came back to the dormer. His feelings about her were still fluctuating, especially after what had happened with Lilith, but tonight he was really longing for her.
'Shall we go into my room?', he asked and noticed that his voice was hoarse. In moments like these he could not understand why he ever worried about their future happiness, because apart from being a wonderful person, Lauren was very desirable too.
Lauren followed him into his room, which was completely filled up with the bed and the dresser. The only place to sit on was the bed, so the invitation to a dormer room was quite obvious in its meaning. Lauren did know that of course, but she was looking forward to the prospect of long hours of cuddling and making out.
Ben really would have liked to make love to her that evening, but he was too determined to make it a special event to go for it.
He felt very close to her and when she about to leave, he was wondering whether he should ask her to stay. He was sure she would agree, just as she would have woohoo'd with him earlier.
She did not hide how much she loved him and he wondered if he would have less doubts, if he had needed to try harder, if she would have shown more resistance. Lauren refused to get into that type of game playing though and would have never acted in a way that did not correspond to her true feelings.
'Sometimes I think I don't deserve you', he said. 'Come, I get you a taxi'.
When Ben got up the next morning he cursed his fickleness and hesitation. It would have been so nice to find Lauren next to him when he woke up.
His thoughts about Lauren were interrupted when he came into the kitchen and found a cow mascot standing in a strategically good position to pull a prank with the sprinkler. Cow mascots were usually associated with trouble, although between themselves they agreed that they looked funnier than the llamas and were less annoying than the arrogant and stupid cheerleaders.
He started a small conversation with the cow to distract her from the sprinkler and did not think, that Mary - that was the cow's name - appeared a particularly nasty person.
Willow was in the kitchen too, but had not taken any notice of the cow mascot until she heard Ben speaking to her.
After she had cleaned up her plate she approached her and they began talking. The others were very surprised, because Willow and the cow seemed to get on extremly well. Ben remembered Jerome mentioning a cow mascot called Mary Perry and in their dormer everyone had hated her or found it at least very hard to become friendly with her.
They were hanging out on the kitchen floor for a while, but then the cow suddenly got up and left. It was hard to tell from the costume, but she looked a bit confused as if she had forgotten what had brought her to visit them in the first place.
Maybe she simply had enough decency to not want to interrupt a very romantic situation.
Orlando had called Gretchen right after he got up and had asked her to come over. They were outside, kissing and holding each other very tight; they definitely did not look as if they were in the mood for a flooded kitchen or a water balloon in the face.
The others could still see them talking outside for a while, but then they disappeared into Orlando's room. They cuddled up to each other and Orlando gently placed a kiss on the top of her head.
'Maybe I should have asked you before, but you do not think that we should wait, you know what I mean, until we are married, do you?'
'I don't think I could be patient for so long, I think about you all the time.'
She pulled Orlando down to her. 'Come here, honey, I want to find out what it will be like when we are married.'
And so Orlando was the last of their group to kiss a girl, but the first to woohoo.
Not that it mattered to him to be the front runner. Since he was such a quiet guy, he did not really tell the others how much he missed Gretchen since she had moved out, but he found it really hard to bear and was longing for her every minute of the day.
Before he left the room he threw a last glance at Gretchen, who was still sleeping. She looked very peaceful and innocent.
'Where's Gretchen?', Ben asked, when Orlando sat down at their table.
'She's sleeping.', Orlando replied and quietly smiled to himself.
'Ah', Ben glanced at Willow and they grinned. Orlando looked as if he had grown at least ten inches since they had last seen him and energetically forked into his spaghetti. It was not hard to guess what had happened.
Gretchen woke up later, but did not leave and after a quick wash she joined Kent, who was sitting upstairs 'blowing bubbles'.
Orlando had talked to Ben and Willow and when he went upstairs he half expected that Gretchen had left in the meantime (which was stupid, because she would have never done that without saying goodbye to him). She got up and turned towards him, when he approached. He admired her slim figure and realised that he could not stand the thought of not being with her tonight.
'Do you want me to call a taxi for you? Or do you want to stay?'
His voice indicated clearly which option he preferred and Gretchen rather wanted to spend the night with him anyway. They went back into the bedroom where they started kissing again.
Then they made love once more. 'I wish we could be together every night', he said afterwards.
'We will be, we just have to wait.'
'Two more terms and almost an entire semester, I don't know how I can take it. It seems so long.'
It was late and downstairs Dirk was sleeping in his room, when he suddenly woke up from a noise close to him. He opened his eyes and saw Emmy who was standing next to his bed and was staring at him.
'What's up?', he asked.
'I was bored. I came in here to ask if you would like to sit outside for a bit and then I watched you sleeping'.
'You are a strange girl.' Dirk slowly unwrapped himself from his blanket. 'Do you still want to sit outside? Just give me a moment to wake up.'
When Orlando got up to get a glass of water, he was surprised that he and Gretchen were not the only ones who were still awake. Dirk and Emmy were giggling outside. They had taken the pillows from Dirk's bed to sit on them, but had chosen to use them for a pillow fight instead.
After a while, Dirk said: 'I think I should go back to sleep now, my course starts early in the morning. But if you can't sleep another night, don't hesitate to visit me in my room again.'
Emmy was disappointed and refused to let him go until he had kissed her one more time.
By this time Orlando had already returned into his bedroom and was sleeping with his head resting on Gretchens shoulder and her body curled up to his.
When Dirk came into the bathroom the next morning, Emmy was in there having a shower. While he was brushing his teeth he could not resist trying to get a peek behind the curtain.
Ben was in the kitchen and Dirk told him about Emmy's visit at night, while they had breakfast.
'You should have seen the way she was staring at me, when I woke up. If it would have been anybody else it would have actually been quite frightening.'
Story continues here