Seth never doubted Mizuki was pregnant. Certainly, she wouldn’t ‘fake’ it, since she had already made it clear marrying him wasn’t on her mind. In fact, she turned him down when he did ask. That smarted. At least she didn’t give him the heave-ho. Clearly, she found him interesting and a little exciting, too. Enough to remain living under his roof, for now. Finally, her baby bump made an appearance and he relaxed. Having an heir was his ‘job’.
Up early, he was laying on top of the bed, thinking. Mornings were his best time for such endeavors. He heard his parents rustling about. Heard someone go down the stairs, hopefully to make breakfast. While contemplating just what he should do for a living, and if he should ask Mizuki to marry him again, given their circumstances, the unthinkable happened. His mother passed away. His father in typical Trenton style, wasn’t in their room when his mother keeled over in death. No, the Loner was outside grilling burgers — he could smell them wafting in on the breeze. Seth, Betsy, Hannah, Gramps and another of their other ghostly ancestors gathered around to mourn Tiana. Seth was unsure his father was even aware of her sudden demise.
Being the new Patriarch, he deemed it his responsibility to tell him.
“Betsy, call an ambulance,” he said, once he could still his sobs.
“Right, right,” she said, taking out her phone, and clearing her throat a few times. “Yes, I need an ambulance, please. Our mother has died.”
Finding his father out back, Seth took in another deep breath. He was wholly inexperienced with this sort of thing. How does one go about telling others their loved-one just passed away? By being direct, he decided.
“Dad,” he said. Trenton was lost to himself, focused solely on the burgers he was grilling. Seth cleared his throat to try again. This time he waited until Trenton, platter of burgers in hand, place them on the side table. “Dad,” he said again.
“Yes, Seth, I heard you. What is it?” Just then the ambulance could be heard out front. “Is something wrong? Why is there an ambulance pulling up out front?”
Seth took his father by the shoulders, getting the elderly Sim to look at him. “Dad, it’s Mom.”
“Is she sick? She was fine an hour ago …”
“Dad, Dad, please. Mom’s gone. She slipped away from us. We found her on the bedroom floor. Grimmie standing over her. She’s gone. I’m sorry.”
“Gone? Now, I truly am alone …” Seth watched as a cloud seemed to pass over his father’s face.
“No, you’ve still got us. The girls, Mizuki and me and pretty soon a grandchild. We’re all right here.”
Tiana was old and getting older by the day. To be sure, she was well-advanced in days. Last count, she was 115. Seth’s best guess, since she clung to life for so long, was she was far closer to 125 at her passing. There was no way to tell. The only thing he could think of that might have kept her going this far, was seeing her grandchild. Seth felt badly there had been no wedding. He knew Tiana would have loved being the Mother of the Groom. Some things just aren’t meant to be. He sighed. At least they no longer had to feel they were on ‘death-watch’. While there was some relief in that, it didn’t make him feel any better. He was just so very sad.
Just then, Seth’s cell went off. He had an incoming message, he judged by the ring-tone. Taking his phone out of his pocket, his first thought, in response to a text was, not again.
The other annoying thing was Darling Walsh kept calling or texting. First, she invited him out to dinner at the Old Alcove, which puzzled him. They had so very little in common. Of course, being with someone else, he turned her down. When that didn’t work, she began her assault on Mizuki. Seth didn’t even realize they knew each other. First, Darling wanted to come over and ‘hang out’ with Mizuki. When that failed, she texted to have Mizuki come to her place to ‘hang out’. Again, Mizuki turned her down.
Seth only heard about it because Mizuki got annoyed over it.
“Who is this Darling Walsh sim and why does she keep wanting to come over — or for me to go to her place? Is she a jealous old girlfriend of yours? She gives me the creeps. And while I’m not overjoyed about being pregnant, I worry for the little guy all the same,” she ran a hand over her belly. “Do you think she means either of us harm?”
“Mizuki,” Seth said, taking her by the shoulders. “Darling is who she is. An enigma. And yes, I did go out with her once. But, it never went any farther than that one meal. For the record, she invited me to dinner recently, too. I don’t know what’s up with her. But, I’ll have a talk with her, if you want me to. I’ll make her stop bothering you.”
“Yes, that would be optimal.”
“Optimal. Look at you with the big words,” he laughed.
“I plan on being a writer some day.”
“Okay, okay, don’t get defensive.”
Mizuki was suddenly standing with them on the patio. Her arms held tightly over her chest. “Let me guess, it’s your little friend calling again. I do hope it was a message of condolence, and not another invitation to go out.”
“If anybody’s jealous, it’s you,” Seth said. He grinned inwardly. Perhaps, Mizuki wasn’t so Non-committal anymore. Perhaps, there was still hope.
Once Tiana’s body had been removed and the officials gone, the family took their seats around the patio table to dine on the now cold grilled burgers. For the longest time Trenton said nothing. He just stared off into the distance. Seth worried his father was in shock.