A/N: Sorry for the delay on this. Holidays of course have been a bit nuts. But now that the festivities are mostly over, things should go back to a relative level of normal, so hopefully not only will I be updating this fairly regularly, but also my Sims 4 legacy, maybe even my Sims 3 legacy as well. We can keep our fingers crossed anyway XD Thanks for reading.
As Azura had promised, as soon as Bella and her husband had released the funds, construction on their new home was begun. All of them, even Azura, were a bit surprised with how quickly it was accomplished. The Goths had had some say in the designs, of course, but it had mostly been Azura’s brain-child.
It was done in a classical style and consisted of two main living floors.
Once one walked through one of the three arches at the entrance:
They would walk through one of the three front doors and two more archways would greet them. Behind those was a pool.
Off to the right of the pool was the dining room, complete with bar.
Next to the dining room was any chef’s dream kitchen with lots of space and a small dining table for a more intimate seating.
To the left of the entrance, was a large open space for a combination family/living room.
The bath on the main floor was luxurious and fairly open.
On either side of the pool was either a shower/sink combo (which also connected to the exercise room) or a tub/toilet combo (next to the kitchen).
The second floor housed 8 bedrooms (one a large master bedroom with ensuite) with an adjoining bath for each room as well as what would be the nursery.
There had been a bit of discussion between Bella and Azura about the master bedroom situation. Azura had been adamant that Mortimer and Bella take the master bedroom, since it was their money that would be funding this whole project. But Bella had just smiled and calmly told her that she and Mortimer would be fine in another of the rooms. After all, none of them were small. And so, after Bella just kept smiling sweetly, Azura gave in and took the master bedroom.
Bella let out a loud groan. “Ugh, that feels great, my love!”
“You’re very tense, my heart,” Mortimer murmured as he dug his fingers into his wife’s shoulders. There was a few very stubborn knots that he was trying to work out. She always carried her stress right between her shoulder blades.
“What’s wrong, Bella?” he asked when she let out another sigh.
She sidled away from him and looked to the side for a moment. He waited patiently for her to talk to him. He was always so patient. “Did I do the right thing, Morty? I trust Azura and I believe in what she’s doing. But am I doing the right thing for you? For the kids?”
He smiled softly at her. “My love, I think you are worrying too much. You and I talked this out, didn’t we?”
“I know,” she murmured. “I know. I just… Azura’s my friend. But you and the kids… you’re my life.”
Mortimer kissed her cheek. “I know that. The kids are happy. They seem to really like Azura and she them. In fact, just yesterday they were all having a rather lively discussion at the dining room table.”
He grinned. “Not sure I understood all the video game talk. Guess I’m just getting old. But Azura seemed able to follow it fairly well. Alex and Cassie love it here, Bella. Cassie is very interested in writing and is constantly asking Azura pointers over breakfast.”
“And I’m pretty sure that our little boy is a bit infatuated with Azura. He’s been asking her to read her series of children’s books to him. She’s only too happy to oblige.”
Bella chuckled. “Yes, I have noticed that. You’re right. You’re right.” She leaned against him and let out a soft sigh. “Azura was my best friend growing up. After her father died, she and her mother had a rough time. Then her mother died… I was devastated when she left. Seeing her again… it was like we were kids again. My heart went out to her. After I started thinking about it though, after the house was built, I was afraid that- what if I had made a terrible decision for us? Just because I remember what we once were to each other?”
Mortimer pulled her closer and kissed her softly.
When they parted, he said softly, “Besides, I get to be here much more often. Not having to work has done wonders for my own stress. I finally get to focus on fishing which is a very relaxing pastime.”
“And your garden is coming along splendidly,” he reminded her.
Bella nodded. “You have a point. Nancy came to see us the other day and she was flabbergasted by the fact that I was enjoying digging around in the dirt. But she was equally as impressed with how it was coming along.”
Mortimer laughed. “Sounds like Nancy alright. She was quite impressed with the landscaping you did out front as well. When she first came in, she asked who we had paid to do it. You should have seen the look on her face when I told her that it was you that had planned, planted, and cared for it.”
Bella joined him in his laughter and cuddled against him. “Maybe I’m worrying about nothing,” she murmured. “This is so important to Azura. I want to help her, I just don’t want it to be at the expense of our family.”
Mortimer shook his head. “I know for myself- and I think I can speak for the kids as well- but we want to help her too. And we’re all going to do our best for her. She’s doing right by us, and we’ll do right by her. We’re all a family now.” He gave her a squeeze. She sighed softly and leaned against him, feeling at peace for the first time in a long time. Truth be told, Bella had been in a rut long before Azura had returned. When Bella had heard her friend’s idea, she had thought it would be a nice change. Morty was working so often and her children had been so quiet and withdrawn… Yet now, Alex was animated and getting out more. His sister had stopped wearing so much black and seemed truly happy. And seeing that Mortimer was well and truly happy; the stress lines had disappeared on his forehead. It seemed the Watcher had been smiling on them all when Azura had showed up on their doorstep.
“How’s school going?” Azura asked Cassie as they watched the newest episode of Iron SimChef.
“Good,” the young girl answered. “A bit boring, though I have a creative writing class that’s a lot of fun. The teacher told me some of the same things you did and she loved a couple other things she’d never heard of.”
“That’s great!” Azura exclaimed. “I know school can be a bit boring if you aren’t fond of the subjects, but think of it this way: as a writer, everything is an experience and can give you material for your writing.”
Cassie nodded, deep in thought even as Alex- who had been reading a book in one of the armchairs, piped up, “Even science and math can be fun if you look at it in the right light!”
Azura smiled over at the boy. “You got it, Alex!”
They fell silent as the competition on screen heated up… literally, in fact as one of the chef’s poured some wine in a pan and the flames rose up, looking as if it was going to singe some eyebrows off. It had become somewhat of a tradition for them each week to watch the show together. Once it was over, Azura got up and stretched. “I’m calling it a night early, guys. I’ll see you both in the morning. I’ll whip up some bacon and scrambled eggs for breakfast before you guys head off to school.”
They cheered and waved at the young woman as she headed up the stairs.
The next morning, Azura was as good as her word. She hadn’t quite woken up just then, but she was close enough as she added some salt and pepper to the eggs.
She set it out on the kitchen table and waited. Alex and Cassie joined her soon enough. They ate, chatting about the little things. Azura was doing some proof reading of her newest manuscript before sending it off to be published. Bella came down and joined them. She grabbed a plate of eggs and bacon and greeted her daughter first.
“Morning mom!” Cassie smiled wide at her mother.
Alex turned around. “Morning, Mama,” he murmured, grinning up at her.
Bella ruffled his hair. “Morning, baby.” She smiled at Azura. “Thanks for breakfast.”
Azura smiled. “Anytime. I enjoy cooking.”
The kids belted down their food and made sure they had their homework before school. With a cheery goodbye and lots of waving, the kids left for the day.
Bella joined Azura at the table. “Morning.”
Azura smiled at her friend and reached a hand across the table and put it over hers. “Thank you. I don’t have the words to express how much this means to me, truly.”
Bella chuckled a little. “That’s saying, for you, isn’t it?” She flipped her hand up and gave Azura’s a squeeze. “We are happy to do it. And quite frankly, I want to thank you, too. I haven’t seen my kids this… animated in a long time. It’s been good for them.”
“I’m glad to hear that. You guys… you’re my family, the only family I have left.”
Bella squeezed her hand in answer. Azura stood up, wiping the tears out of her eyes. “I should get ready for work.”
Bella nodded and watched Azura head out of the kitchen.
By the time she had to leave for work, Azura’s tears had dried up and she headed out the door with a soft smile, thinking of the people who meant the world to her.
When the kids got home, they settled at the dining room table to work on their homework.
Once they were both done (after a bit of friendly joshing around), Alex challenged his sister to a game of chest.
They were still playing when Azura came home from work. She went right to her computer in her room, sighing. Work was picking up and she was a bit behind. She’d been working for a couple hours when there was a knock on her door. “Come in,” she called absently.
The door opened and in came Alex. “Hey, ‘Zura. Did you wanna go swimming?”
It was on the tip of her tongue to beg off, but she took one look at his earnest face. She saved her document, shut down her computer and stood up. Slinging her arm around the boy’s shoulder, she said, “Yeah, let’s go swimming. We’ll talk everyone into having a game of pool tag!”
Azura realized that she couldn’t let her goals get in the way of living, of enjoying life with her family, even if that family didn’t share her blood. There was always tomorrow morning to finish up the editing she needed to do. But even as they frolicked in the pool, her next steps lurked in the back of her mind. But it could wait, until tomorrow. And the next day. After all, if things went well, she had eternity to worry about other things.