A/N: I may or may not have gone a little photo happy this chapter because it was pretty much the first wedding I’ve had in the Sims that didn’t go horribly wrong (i.e. no one shows up, lag, fire, death, etc.)….>.>… SO I REGRET NOTHING. Also, I didn’t personally write James and Candice’s vows—I only mildly edited some that already exist. Anyway, enjoy! 😀
Our wedding day came about as fast as the blizzard that accompanied it. Snow piled up at least a foot and school was cancelled across the district. Luckily, our wedding venue, given the frigid temperatures, was an indoor one.
Now, I know the blizzard might have seemed an ominous sign to most, but not to us. After all, we were Winters, were we not? And besides that, I had proposed to Candice while it was snowing, so it only seemed fitting that it would be snowing on the day of our wedding. Even more fitting was the fact that it was Snowflake Day.
A Winters getting married in the winter, during a snow storm, on Snowflake Day? What could be more perfect?
Only, perhaps, my stunning fiancée.
Candice was truly, devastatingly beautiful on our wedding day. So beautiful, that I was absolutely certain that no woman more beautiful had ever, or would ever, exist.
Everyone noticed. That is, everyone noticed except Candice herself, who, beyond all logical reasoning, had her focus solely on, well….
Despite my initial wishes to have a small wedding, our ceremony was anything but. There were so many people, in fact, that if it weren’t for Candice, I probably would have had a panic attack. As it was, I had to force myself to focus on only a few people at a time, because if I did take in the fact that there were loads of people I felt all uneasy and sick to my stomach.
So who were all these people?
Well, first off, Wang and Liu, my half-siblings (who were pretty emotional, let me tell you); my little sister, Amelia; my older sister, Kira; my dear Aunt Catherine; our good friend, Mitch Doran…
…Chris, actually showing some kind of expression on his face (which was a bit alarming); my beautiful mother, Tamara Winters; some damn paparazzo that I immediately kicked out (and who was later replaced with others, unfortunately)…..
My father, Jiang Winters….
My NIECE, Ruth, daughter of Nolan and Kira Meyers…..
And last, but far from least, our beautiful daughter, Joanne, clad in a dress that her and Candice had picked out especially for this occasion.
That is, our long awaited wedding.
“As I stand here before you, my eyes looking so deeply into yours, I see all of the things I fell in love with.”
“As I stand here before you, my heart beating loudly in my ears, I find myself lost for the right words to say.”
“As I stand here before you, this ring in my hand, it makes me remember how complete you make my life.”
“With every smile, every embrace, every tear that you’ve ever wiped from my face, it makes me remember how blessed I really am.”
“It makes me remember every laugh we’ve ever shared, every hard time we made it through together, and every beautiful moment that is to come.”
“James Winters, I give you this ring, my heart, my soul. I give you everything I am today as I stand before you. I promise to love you, protect you, be with you forever, and cherish every moment as if it were the last moment on earth.”
“Candice Price, I love you. With this ring, let it be known, that over every other person in the world I could be with, I chose you. Let it be known, that with this ring, I’m promising to be here with you for all eternity, ‘til death do us part.”
James and Candice Winters.
It was safe to say that our wintry wedding day was the happiest day of my life.
Not only because it was the day that the most beautiful, most determined, most perfect woman in the world became my wife….
…but also because it was the day that Joanne, Candice, and I officially became our own little family…
…within our much, much bigger one!
Unfortunately, Candice and I didn’t catch much of a break after the wedding because we made the extraordinarily brilliant plan of scheduling a flight to China for our honeymoon that very night. I suppose our original reasoning was that it was a red eye flight and we would be able to sleep on the plane, but that was a MISTAKE.
You cannot sleep on a goddamn plane, no matter how tired you are, and don’t you dare point to those people on the plane who did fall asleep because I swear they must have taken drugs to do so, which is CHEATING.
“Why did we choose China again?” I groaned after hour TWELVE of being in the plane.
“Because you’re literally half Chinese and yet have never seen the place. Plus, it was the place where your parents met and fell in love. We figured it was romantic.”
“And why did we leave behind Joanne again?” I asked, beginning to feel anxious already about being away from her for so long.
“We didn’t want to originally—your mom kidnapped her.”
“Oh, right,” I said.
It was true. My mother had all but insisted that Joanne come to Neverglade for the week while we were in China, wisely pointing out that we’d probably enjoy the alone time, which was true, but really, she just wanted to finally get to know her granddaughter after being separated from her for so long. Since this was understandable, in the end, we let Joanne stay, but still, it wasn’t easy.
“JAMES, LOOK!” Candice suddenly said excitedly, pointing out the window.
I leaned forward to glance out the window and immediately felt a smile pull at my lips.
Perhaps this was going to be worth it after all….
I won’t lie—the first couple days that Candice and I spent in China were not spent exploring China, although we did gain a very deep appreciation for the intricate architecture and design of our hotel.
Not that that was an issue. At home we were often busy, or Joanne would be up and awake, or we’d just be too tired, but here, now, when we had all the time in the world to do whatever we wanted to do? Well, let’s just say we took advantage of that.
After those first couple days, we did manage to do some sightseeing though—after all, we were in China, so we made sure we were going to take advantage of that fact as well.
One day we even decided to explore an ancient Chinese tomb, working in tandem to break the puzzles and find our way through. We even managed to pick up some neat gold coins and other trinkets—items that I recognized from the multitudes of display cases we’d had in our basement in Neverglade.
It was fun for a while, but by the time we escaped, we were dirty, tired, hungry, and cranky as all hell. It was decided then that maybe we’d leave tomb raiding to the professionals.
So we did other things as well, like visiting the local Martial Arts Academy and giving the old practice dummies a whack. We were terrible at it—ending up sore and battered by the end of the day, but beating the crap out of things was pretty fun and by the end of our trip we did manage to pick up at least a couple belts.
“You know, my mom has a black belt in Sim Fu,” I mused, giving the dummy another smack. I hit my hand awkwardly and then paused, frowning. “Ouch…”
“And I see she never taught you!” Candice remarked with a laugh. “But man, that’s so cool. Do you think she’d train me!?”
“Without a doubt,” I answered. “I think my mom was always a bit disappointed that none of her children ended up with her penchant for athletics….”
“Yeah, they all ended up artistic dweebs who use the word ‘penchant,’” she teased.
Although I liked sightseeing in China, I kind of liked keeping to our hotel room more, and not just for the obvious reasons, but also because I was often, well, recognized. Not that I wasn’t in Starlight Shores, but I wasn’t out and about very often there, and being out in the open in China reminded me exactly why.
“Oooh!!!! You are…James Winters?”
“Can you sign…?!”
“Xiè xiè! You are an amazing writer!”
I flushed, handing her back her notepad with my signature. “Uh…nǎlǐ, nǎlǐ,” I stammered out, stumbling over the VERY little Chinese I did know.
“Nǐ hěn kě ài!” she squealed and then danced away, leaving me mortified.
“What did she just say?” Candice asked, frowning after her. “And since when do you know Chinese!?!”
“I only know a few random phrases from my Dad. He never really taught me…but if I recall correctly, she just called me cute,” I said, turning even redder. Candice giggled.
“Well, you are,” she grinned. “James Winters—amazing writer! So cute!”
“Oh, hush you!”
“Only if you kiss me.”
Candice and I had such an enjoyable time on our honeymoon that the days just honestly melted by, and soon enough, we were spending our last day in China.
Of course, we made sure we put our last day to good use….
“Mmmm?” I hummed softly, my eyes closed as I drifted in the space between sleep and wakefulness. After an entire day of sightseeing within our hotel room, I was ready for a long night’s sleep before we took another 13 hour flight back to Starlight Shores.
“Before we go home, I wanted to talk to you about something….”
“What is it?” I mumbled, my eyes still closed. I tightened my grip on Candice, holding her close.
“Well,” she said, her head still resting on my chest, “before I tell you, I just want to state, clearly, that there is absolutely no pressure and that I would completely understand if you weren’t open to the idea.”
I opened my eyes, raising an eyebrow as I glanced down at Candice. She was purposefully avoiding my gaze, drawing vague designs onto my chest now with her pointer finger. It was so unlike Candice to be anything other than direct and to the point that I began to get nervous. “Is everything okay?” I asked, my heartbeat quickening under her touch.
“Yes, of course,” Candice assured me. She pushed herself up and I leaned up too, but she put her hands on me to stop me, willing me to relax. Unfortunately, it wasn’t working—in fact, the gesture kind of made me even more anxious.
“What is it?” I managed to ask, praying that our bubble of happiness wasn’t about to pop. Not here, not now, on the last night of our honeymoon.
“I want a baby!” Candice suddenly rushed out and then winced, literally shutting her eyes tightly and bracing herself for my response. Well, there was the quick and direct Candice that I was used to.
I opened my mouth to say something, but then closed it…and then opened it again…only to close it once more.
It wasn’t the worst thought, and yet I could feel a deep anxiety begin to gnaw its way through my chest and up my throat as I considered it. My breathing even became more difficult, and it must have been noticeable, because Candice finally opened her eyes again, her face concerned.
“I’m sorry,” she quickly said. “Relax, babe. I didn’t- I mean-…I brought it up too fast,” she finished quietly, biting her lip.
I sat up, finding it difficult to breathe in my current position. Candice shifted herself on the bed and I closed my eyes, taking in a slow breath, counting to five, and then slowly letting it out. It was a soothing exercise that my therapist had taught me long ago for managing my anxiety. I hadn’t used it in a while, and Candice must have known that too, because when I finally opened my eyes again, she looked completely devastated.
“I’m not…against the idea,” I finally managed to say, my heart pounding. “I just—” I trailed off, memories of Maddie being pregnant rising unbidden to the forefront of my mind. How stressful of a time it was, how she would react if I even mentioned the baby, how awful the delivery was….how she hadn’t even wanted to see Joanne after she was born.
“I know,” Candice said quietly, looking down at the bed sheets. “I’m not forcing you, but….it would be different this time,” she reminded me gently.
I took another slow breath and then nodded some. “I know,” I admitted, and yet I could still feel my skin crawling with hesitation…and fear. “Could you…” I paused to lick my lips and then met Candice’s gaze, feeling ill at ease. “Could you give me some time…with the idea?” I finally asked.
“Of course,” she said quietly, biting her lip.
I sighed and then leaned back, stretching out my legs toward the edge of the bed. Candice crawled around me, curling into a ball by my head like a cat and then resting her head on my chest. She kissed me softly, and I kissed her back, my hand resting gently on her head, but I was honestly completed distracted now.
I did like kids—I really did. Joanne was probably one of the best things that had ever happened to me, however unexpected she may have been, but having her, ironically, was also one of the worst experiences in my life and it was difficult to reconcile the two.
Candice, however, was right. This wouldn’t be like last time. This time, it would be planned. This time, I would be a married man. This time, I would have my own home, with two sets of regular income. This time, we would both want it—and yet….
I slowly got up and out of bed, running my hand through my hair anxiously. “I’m gonna take a shower,” I mumbled. Candice, to her credit, just nodded, trying to keep her face encouraging and happy, but I could tell she was worried.
I didn’t want her to worry. I wanted to give her everything that she wanted and more…and yet, I wondered now, for the first time, whether I would truly be able to.
To Candice’s credit, she really did just give me time with the idea, not bringing it up once. I had expected her to mention it during breakfast the morning we left, but she didn’t. So then, I expected her to bring it up while on the plane for thirteen hours, but still she didn’t. Finally, I just expected her to mention it when we were finally safely back at home, but still she didn’t.
Finally, I realized that she wasn’t going to bring it up unless I did, which did, at least, help me to relax some as we fell into a normal rhythm of life as husband and wife.
While Candice poured herself into her job, I got really deeply into painting, spending hours in front of my easel. By the end of those days my knees, my elbows, and my back would ache fiercely, but still the idea was never far from my mind.
It wasn’t until I saw Candice and Joanne playing ‘Princess and the Dragon’ that I began to feel like maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
In fact, Candice was playing the dragon and chasing a screaming Joanne down when it all of a sudden just hit me, completely out of the blue. I did want another child, and more than anything, I wanted to have a child with the woman I loved more than life itself.
With this thought in mind, I put down my paints, turned around, and without any preamble blurted out, “I do want one!”
Joanne looked totally bemused, but nothing matched the look on Candice’s face as she gazed at me, mouth open and frozen in place.
“Y-y-you’re sure?” she finally managed to ask, her voice shaky and disbelieving. At first, I was surprised that Candice even knew what I was talking about, considering how I had just brought it up out of nowhere, but then I realized that even though she hadn’t said anything, it must have still been on her mind too.
“Yes,” I answered firmly, and then grunted as all the air was suddenly squeezed out of me by my wife throwing herself onto me and hugging me tighter than I ever thought possible. “Whoa!” I cried out, and then laughed as I wrapped my arms around her, holding her close.
“Thank you,” she whispered, her face buried in the crook of my neck.
“No, thank you,” I murmured, turning my head to kiss her cheek. Joanne gasped then and I looked up, worried that something had happened.
“Oh no,” she said dramatically, “the dragon has cast a spell over my father, the King! I must save him!”
Candice laughed, wiping her eyes and then turning toward Joanne and growling, “You’ll never save him!”
“Oh no, don’t hurt the dragon!” I cried, joining in on the play now. “I am completed smitten with it!”
“NO, DADDY! It’s a curse!” Joanne shouted and then shrieked when Candice lunged toward her, running off as we both chased after her.
I knew then that I had made the right decision.
Not that it made anything easier though. That night, when Candice and I were in bed, I felt nervous for the first time since I was a teenager, my fingers even clumsily struggling with her bra, which I had mastered the technique of unlatching long ago. Ugh. It shouldn’t have been such an issue either—it was the same deal as every time before, except this time, nothing would be in the way, which would honestly be fantastic and yet…UGH DAMN BRA CLASP.
As I struggled, I suddenly worried that Candice would get upset, but she only laughed softly, finally reaching behind her to help me out and then covering my body with her own. I closed my eyes as I felt every inch of her naked skin against mine, letting the warm feeling slowly relax me.
“Don’t worry. I’m…I’m honestly nervous too,” she admitted quietly. She grasped my hand and held it between her breasts. I could feel her heart pounding beneath my fingers, beating at a rhythm rather similar to my own panicking heart. I let out a soft laugh.
“Seems kind of stupid, considering how many times we’ve been in this position, right?” I asked with a bit of a smirk and an attempt at a sexy raise of my eyebrow.
Candice giggled, then leaning down to kiss me softly. As we kissed, she ran her tongue lightly across my bottom lip, causing it to fall open with a soft moan. “We know what to do,” she whispered, running her hand down my chest.
“Mmmm,” I agreed softly, and then flipped us over so I was on top, my lips on hers again and my knee gently opening Candice’s legs. “We sure do,” I murmured, and then allowed myself to remember, without any more nerves.
Not so long after we began trying, we also both became extremely busy, each with our respective jobs. I even began to write a novel for the first time since I’d gotten clean and often spent hours locked up in my office with naught but my laptop and some coffee. In fact, if it weren’t for Joanne poking her head in to remind me, I might have even forgotten to eat.
That meant that whenever Candice and I had a moment together, we were typically, well, trying, which left little time for talking.
As such, on one evening when Joanne was spending the night at a friend’s house and Candice had the rare evening off, she literally pulled me out of my office, insisting that we go out—so that’s how we ended up out for a night of dinner and dancing.
“Candice, I have something to tell you,” I said seriously as we danced to a particularly romantic song crooning out of the jukebox.
“What?” she asked, looking suddenly worried.
“I love that dress on you so much that I desperately want to tear it off you.”
“You idiot,” Candice said with a laugh. “Well, I have something to tell you too.”
“And what would that be?” I asked with a smile.