To Face Unafraid
This is the first Hodson Family update / Next Hodson family update
Winter sashayed into Clark County at it’s leisure, and after the trees had dropped their leaves, some of the younger trees complained that they’d been scammed, and should have held onto their bright colors a while longer. The wise old trees whispered, though, that colder air was on its way.
Aston Hodson had been begging his dad to take him to the playground for days, and one Sunday morning in early December, there just weren’t any reasons left to say no.
The store was closed until noon, Raine was caught up on his managerial correspondence course, and it was a beautiful day. The park was right next to the house, but Aston wasn’t allowed to go by himself.
When Aston tired of being pushed on the swing, and ran to the merry-go-round, Raine was able to return to the thoughts weighing on his mind.
Raine had a lot to think about, because things seemed to be happening faster than he liked. Late in the summer, he’d met Lexie Hsu. She’d come in to the Hodson General Store to do a review for the state marketing materials, about scenic spots. “Visit Scenic Clark County,” was the name of the brochure, available at the rest stops along the interstate. Raine’s family’s store was practically a historic site, since it had been around for over a hundred years, and was the last stop for gas on the way to Three Lakes. On top of that, he’d restored the old fixtures and was selling fresh local produce when he could get it. He was aiming for a nostalgic feel. However, he’d been taken by surprise when the store caught the attention of a tourist guidebook, even if it was sponsored by the state.
What had surprised him even more, was being noticed by a woman. And being interested in one.
Raine’s wife, Brie, had died giving birth to Aston, and up until now, he’d just as soon never dated again.
Lexie wasn’t shy about letting Raine know that she liked his store, and she liked him. She asked him what other places he could show her in Falls Bridge, too.
With mixed feelings, thinking he was going to regret this, Raine asked Lexie out to the Highway 76 Diner for later that week. She seemed enchanted with the diner, and enchanted with him.
The evening was not the disaster that Raine had anticipated. It was actually fun. After a couple more dates, Lexie came over for dinner.
When he was with Lexie, Raine felt relaxed, and happy.
One night at dinner, Raine explained to Aston that he and Lexie were dating.
“Dating is when two grown-ups spend time finding out if they get along well,” he said.
Lexie got up to go to the kitchen, and get some more tea. Raine stood up and gave her a peck on the cheek.
“It seems like you get along already,” Aston said. “You kiss goodbye when you aren’t leaving.”
It turned out, Laksmi, the sitter who kept Aston after school didn’t mind coming in the evenings, and Raine saw more and more of Lexie.
Aston really wanted to be friends with Ms. Laksmi, but she was much sterner and more serious than his dad.
He asked Ms. Laksmi if he could paint.
“Dad lets me,” he said. “He wants me to develop my creativity.”
Laksmi didn’t budge an inch. But when Raine came home, he found Aston in Raine’s room instead of his own.
Raine asked Aston about Laksmi the next day, and hearing Aston wanted a playmate, he decided to invite Karina Radcliff’s little boy over.
Oz came over, and he and Aston hit it off pretty quickly. Oz was a couple years older than Aston, and felt that he had a captive audience to show off his air guitar.
Tiring of that, he said, “Let’s play tag, you’re it!” and sprinted off.
Aston wasn’t sure what to do, because Oz ran into the street, and into the parking lot of the Seed & Feed. Aston wasn’t allowed to cross the street by himself.
“They sell dogs there?!” Oz exclaimed. Oz wanted a dog, and he hoped his granddad, who also wanted one, would get one for them soon. Aston told him, he wanted a puppy, and had hoped to get one for Christmas. “But my dad says he doesn’t have time for a dog.”
And, that he wasn’t allowed to be in the street.
The boys ran back along the sidewalk and, to Aston’s relief, back to his side of the street. They played late into the evening, until Karina came and picked up Oz so he’d be able to get enough sleep on a school night.
Things were going well at the store, except that Raine needed to hire a mechanic.
“Can someone please take a look at my VW?” a customer asked, as he entered the store after letting Erle open one morning. “We’ve been waiting an hour already.”
Raine apologized. “We don’t have a mechanic right now,” he said. “What’s the matter with your car?”
After finding out that the car would run, but was losing power on the hills, Raine apologized again and said they hoped they’d find a mechanic soon.
With the winter holidays, the old trees’ prediction came true. The weather changed, and with the first snow, came a sense of wonder.
Raine, feeling uncharacteristically playful, decided to make a snowman, while Aston made snow angels.
Raine felt light-hearted. He had made up his mind, to ask Lexie to marry him, when she came over today. His only worry was, would she say no? But he knew she was also interested in marriage, so he felt that things were going to work out well.
Lexie came over that afternoon and spent some time with Aston in his room, as he showed her his toys. She had always expected to be married, and have children, by the age of 36, in fact, she really wanted to raise a whole bunch of kids, maybe even five or six kids. But in her youth, Lexie was painfully shy, and rather than engage in the dating game as a young woman, she had thrown herself into her journalism, and been surprisingly successful and single-minded at it. Until now.
She heard Raine call her downstairs. He wanted her to see the mistletoe he’d just hung.
Then he dropped to one knee. Lexie couldn’t help smiling. They’d discussed marriage, and she knew Raine would ask eventually. She was pleasantly surprised that he had chosen the holidays to propose.
“Yes, yes!” she said, so excited about merging their lives together in 2018.
Raine set up the camera and a timer on the tripod, called Aston downstairs, and they took a picture to commemorate the occasion.
“Does this mean you’re done dating?” Aston asked. “And can I have a dog, now?”
- The wedding is set for June 2018!
- Lexie is a family sim, and not surprisingly, rolled a marriage want on their second date. Raine rolled an engagement want on that date, as well, which I locked. Things wouldn’t usually move so quickly, I guess, but this ‘hood needs babies! Also, I rolled whether Lexie would be older or younger than Raine, who is 35, and she is older, so she only has so much time to have children. That is especially disappointing after I moved Lexie in to get her ready for their wedding (in June 2018), I saw that her lifetime goal is marry off six children. Maybe she could have three sets of twins in that time? (I don’t think I’d go that far to help fulfill her want!)
- The nanny, Laksmi, cracked me up. She wasn’t charmed by Aston. But he does want to be friends with her. At least she does clean!
- Aston wants a dog, too, but Raine didn’t have time to deal with training a dog this round, and Aston is too little to take on that responsibility. Oz also wants a dog, but he’ll probably get one sooner since his granddad, Erle Radcliff, also rolled a dog want and lives with Oz.
- When I went back to the Hodson’s to get through the last hours of winter, change the season, and get everyone ready for the June wedding, Aston befriended a cute giant terrier stray, Lulu. But Lulu hasn’t been back to the house in a day so I’m not sure if Aston will get to force his dad’s hand into letting her stay. I thought Raine might be swayed by the deep snow and take pity on Lulu.
- Please forgive the continuity issues! Oz came over in the fall, but I wanted to use the pictures a little later in the timeline, so the leaves are still on the trees. Also, the swingset was moved between pictures, which were separate visits to the playground.