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Cacey was working harder than ever had before. She wasn’t working for a promotion, and she wasn’t scheming to get a hot date every weekend. Instead, Cacey was now the sole guardian of her orphaned niece, Delaney Tesla. And she was working to see her grow up happy and successful.
But hot-headed Cacey had never felt so defeated in her life. How could Delaney grow up happy, when she’d lost her high-society mother, her doting father, her loving grandparents, and her home?
Those first few months, Cacey didn’t know how either of them made it through the day.
Cacey didn’t know how to comfort Delaney. She didn’t even know how to be parent.
It seemed like the more she tried, the worse Delaney felt.
Delaney didn’t know what to do either. She had always loved her Aunt Cacey, but she didn’t know how to tell her, nothing could make things better. Delaney missed her granddad showing her stars and making star pictures for her walls, she missed her dad, she missed her funny grandma Beatrice mixing drinks all hours of the day and night, and setting the house on fire.
Delaney even missed her mom, who rarely looked at her or spoke to her. She had wished for Cacey to be her mom, and now she was, sort of.
Thank goodness Uncle Barnaby was still around. He lived right next door, and he came to see Delaney and Cacey every day. Delaney found out he was easy to talk to.
Even though he missed everybody too, he could find a smile for Delaney.
Sometimes, though, even Uncle Barnaby couldn’t talk to Delaney, and only Uni would do. After all, Uncle Barnaby had lost sweet Aunt Hermione and Delaney’s second cousin, Claire. Uni was a lucky, magical unicorn who had never lost anyone and Uni and Delaney had a make-believe place that was happy.
It had been almost four years. Cacey and Delaney were doing great by all appearances, in fact, Delaney was now ten years old, and a straight A student. Cacey had become a lead detective.
Cacey had learned to cook; not like Beatrice, but well enough. Oh, how she missed her mother’s gourmet cooking though. Cacey would see an idea on TV, try it, but it just wouldn’t be the same as her mom’s.
Overall, though, grief had retreated into the lonely dark hours, the strange off-guard moments, and Cacey and Delaney had found a new normal.
Delaney had made friends.
Her first best friend was Ryleigh. Ryleigh was a perfectionist, who seemed to just fit perfectly with Delaney’s fastidiousness.
And Ryleigh was willing to go along with Delaney’s flights of fancy.
Even if she wasn’t always sure which switch controlled the particle accelerator.
Ryleigh loyally stuck by Delaney, and understood, when Delaney would rage over comments no one else seemed to have a problem with, usually comments like how much kids hated their parents.
Or how bad Delaney’s latest chemistry concoction smelled.
Her other best friend was Alexander Goth, total nerd and legendary chess opponent.
But still beatable.
Delaney spent some time over at Uncle Barnaby’s, when Cacey had to work nights, or when she went on a date, which was becoming more frequent. Uncle Barnaby had put in a small pool on his deck and it was fun to go swimming, splash, and chat with Uncle Barnaby.
As for Cacey, even though she went out regularly, and had dated several guys over the years, sometimes she felt like dressing up and going out was not worth the trouble. Even her favorite lounge in Oasis Springs seemed to be devoid of intelligent or viable life (Cacey made a mental note that she needed to better guard against Delaney’s nerdiness rubbing off on her).
The rest of Delaney’s childhood years went without incident, pretty much this way.
One evening Cacey was at the lounge and a red-head at the end of the bar kept looking her way.
Then he moved down next to her, but he didn’t say anything.
After a while, he turned, like he just saw Cacey, and said, “hi,” but with a charming giddiness.
Cacey asked if he wanted to find a quieter spot, and he said yes. But other than saying his name, Gavin, he just sat there.
Or checked his messages.
Eventually, he looked over at Cacey again.
It was awkward, but kind of funny, the way he kept looking at her.
That weekend, Gavin and Cacey went out dancing.
At the door that night, Cacey waited to see if he would kiss her goodnight.
Even though he seemed interested, and he looked into her eyes with a look that made her feel fluttery, he didn’t lean in.
It was just as well. Cacey had a lot on her mind as Delaney’s 13th birthday loomed. The school counselor had screened Delaney for gifted eligibility, and Delaney had qualified and entered the gifted program in fifth grade. Delaney’s science teachers said Delaney should enter the amateur rocketry competition, but she didn’t know how in the world to pay for it. Cacey just knew she was going to find a way.
One night, Cacey was celebrating her latest promotion with her friends. Cacey’s best friend, Alexander’s mom, Bella Goth, was there for girls’ night. Cacey let slip how upset she was about letting her dad and grandmother down, by not funding Delaney for the rocket competition. Bella immediately started to reason with Cacey.
Bella told Cacey to sit down and listen. She proceeded to detail all the ways Cacey had provided opportunities for Delaney.
Cacey couldn’t argue with her. Bella was charming and convincing, and when she turned her eyes on you, you just couldn’t keep on being unreasonable.
But the next day, Cacey was at Bella’s house, feeling like she might be about to lose her friendship. She had decided to ask Bella and Mortimer to loan her the money to fund Delaney for the rocketry competition.
She asked Bella to listen before making a decision.
She tried to explain how her grandmother’s dream had been for one of her children or grandchildren to be an astronaut. And Delaney had the talent and brains. And no one after Cacey would remember Maddi Tesla, so it had to be Delaney.
Cacey asked Bella to loan her the money.
Bella didn’t see what the big deal was. She was happy to loan Cacey the money; she just didn’t feel that this particular opportunity was as essential as Cacey thought it was. She told Cacey not to worry about the money, or the repayment. As her friend, Bella was glad to help.
Delaney’s 13th birthday was the next day. Cacey looked at the cake batter and thought she shouldn’t have added any salt because she couldn’t stop crying into it, remembering her mom’s black and white cakes, and all the birthday parties, over the years.
Somehow, she got through the baking and decorating, but memories of Beatrice flooded back. She had to get herself together, to get everything ready for Delaney’s party.
Grief lasted more than 3 days for Cacey and Delaney; it was tough to play through.
Cacey finished her serial romantic aspiration (dating 8 different sims), but I didn’t think she would bring guys home with Delaney there.
When Delaney (a genius), earned a B, she “breezed” through her homework. And once she earned an A, she “dominated” her homework.
One advantage of starting over, is the Goth family is still about (they were long dead in my game). When Alexander walked by, it was so much fun to see him and Delaney together, they are such a cute pair of nerds. Ryleigh is also a cutie and good friend to Delaney.
Thanks for reading!