Chapter 5.20: Capri

Chapter 5.20 Capri

A/N: Hello! I’m back again! I’m also a little frustrated because my initial goal was to have Generation 5 completed by the time classes started up again and here I am with grad school having started on Monday and 3-4 more chapters left to write. Gah 😦 It can’t be helped though, so I’ll just need to do my best to keep up with this. If I can post an update every 3 weeks or so like I’ve been doing I’ll be ecstatic, but last time I was only able to post during Spring Break and I’m ALREADY drowning in homework so we’ll see :/

Anyway, the song for this chapter is “Capri” by Colbie Caillat, but because it’s short it admittedly isn’t as prominently featured as my previous song selections have been. I hope that’s okay.

As always, comments are highly welcomed and greatly appreciated, especially as I wrap up the generation since I’d really like to know what my readers are thinking going into the end. Don’t be a stranger…I’ve been told that I’m nice (づ。◕‿‿◕。)づ Hahaha XD In all seriousness though, I can’t tell you all enough how much I appreciate both your patience and readership ❤

Happy reading ^_^

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JoanneandGabrielCh5.20DS

I’m in a beautiful place. There are sprawling viridian hills speckled with tufts of fragrant wildflowers in white, pink, and blue. The sun is wonderfully warm and it caresses my face as I pause before a glimmering river. I’m happy, and Gabriel is happy, and our hands intertwine as they rest on my growing belly. It’s a beautiful life and I’m in a beautiful place.

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Not here.

Not where dreams seem to fade like treasured memories lost to time. Not where I spend hours crying into my husband’s chest—a man who has no comforting words because he will not lie. Not where life grabs us by the backs of our necks and shoves us roughly to the ground. Not where we’re kept down by that heavy, leaden anchor called, “Bitter Disappointment.”

Not here, in our reality.

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“We’ll figure it out,” Gabriel whispered. “I promise.”

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“You shouldn’t make promises that you can’t keep.”

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“I don’t, Joanne. I don’t.

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* * * * *

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Christmas was only a week away and yet instead of ringing in the season with tinsel, lights, and hot cocoa, we were sitting in a waiting room that felt devoid of joy.

No matter what efforts doctors took to ensure that their premises were as calmingly and as inoffensively decorated as possible, I always found them to feel foreboding and austere. The smiling people on the fronts of the stacks of magazines always seemed to be saying, “That thing you’re fearing you have? You have it” and the desperate effort to not accidentally make eye contact with the receptionist was enough to make a bead of sweat form on my brow. Even the various potted plants felt like verdant sentinels stationed in every corner of the unduly quiet room.

I shifted uncomfortably in my seat, wincing when the old armchair creaked. Gabriel looked over at me from his book. I lowered my gaze, pulling out my phone and glancing down at the dimly glowing screen. There were no calls or messages to answer, but I didn’t know what to say and even if I did the slightest noise felt intrusive in this place.

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Closing his book and setting it down in his lap, Gabriel slipped his hand beneath my hair and began to rub my neck. I hesitated and then scooted nearer to him, leaning against his shoulder and closing my eyes when I felt his arm move to cradle my head and hold me close.

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“Joanne?”

I jumped, causing the armchair to let out another squeak of protest. Gabriel let his hand fall. A young nurse holding a clipboard at her side looked in my direction and then smiled. I tried to return the greeting, but I knew it didn’t quite reach my eyes as I grabbed my husband’s hand and got to my feet. There was no way in hell I was going in there alone.

He stood up, squeezing my hand, and then we both followed the nurse down the hallway, my legs feeling like rubbery stilts.

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After being weighed and measured, giving a urine sample, having my blood pressure taken, changing into a hospital gown, and being asked a hundred questions, I already felt like walking out and never returning.

Instead, I sat on the examination chair with my head in my hands and tried to focus on breathing. I’d never experienced a full blown panic attack before, but I felt like I was right on the cusp of having one now. My chest had never felt quite so tight.

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There was a sharp rap on the door and then Dr. Rivera walked in. She was a tall, middle-aged woman with olive skin, heavy eyebrows, and graying hair that she’d pulled back in a chignon high on the back of her head. Her eyes reminded me of a cat’s—golden and focused as she looked in our direction. She introduced herself with a smile and then took a seat before her computer.

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Like the nurse, Dr. Rivera asked a slew of questions as she looked through my information and added some of her own. Many of the questions overlapped, which had me wondering why I’d bothered to answer them for the nurse in the first place.

“When was the date of your last period?”

“October 15th,” I replied once again. “I sort of got it mid-November, but not really. It was barely anything and only lasted about two days…and then I haven’t gotten it this month at all.”

“Alright,” Dr. Rivera said, tapping away on her keyboard. “And have you taken a pregnancy test?”

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My mouth went dry as my mind recalled the memory for the hundredth time. I nodded, averting my gaze. By now the image of that insidious result had been stamped to the very insides of my eyelids: Not Pregnant. I felt Gabriel’s hand running across my shoulder and to the back of my neck again.

“It was negative,” I heard him say, and I realized that the doctor must not have seen my nod and thus must have been looking at me expectantly.

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“I see.” Dr. Rivera leaned forward to see her computer screen better as she rapidly scrolled down the page with the wheel of her mouse, seeming to be looking for something. Gabriel was rubbing small circles between my shoulder blades. I felt like I should tell him that I was fine and that he could stop, but I found the gesture to be too much of a comfort to actually voice the thought.

Dr. Rivera abruptly chuckled and my head snapped up to look at her incredulously. There was trying to remain positive, and there was flat-out insolence. I felt my husband tense up beside me. He, like me, seemed to feel that laughing was a response that resided firmly in the camp of “unacceptable.”

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“I’m sorry,” she said then, swiveling around to face us. “It’s just—this is a bit funny, considering. In a good way.”

Gabriel and I stared at her and although the mirror was angled such that I couldn’t see our reflections I was certain that our faces held identical expressions of un-amusement. Dr. Rivera’s golden eyes gleamed as an unabashed smile spread across her tanned face.

“Mrs. Winters….You are pregnant.”

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Although Gabriel was usually quick to assist me if I was having trouble formulating a response, this time we were both caught in a net of silence, continuing to stare at Dr. Rivera as wave after wave of emotions battered us into a state of blind confusion. I hugged my stomach with trembling arms. What?

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“As per protocol,” the doctor began to patiently explain, “we ran a pregnancy test on the urine sample you submitted upon your arrival and it says here on your file that it came out positive.”

“But…the test we took.…” I responded faintly.

“Although such instances are rare, Mrs. Winters, it is not impossible that it was a false negative.”

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“Then how do you know this isn’t a false positive?” Gabriel asked with a raise of an eyebrow, his tone heavily guarded.

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“Well,” Dr. Rivera began cautiously, “false positive tests are much rarer than false negatives, but let’s check things out to be sure, shall we?” She turned to look at me and I nodded in cautious assent as I leaned back in my seat and once again, dared to hope.

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* * * * *

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The first snow of winter had not yet started, but it was cold enough that our breaths hung in the air as we walked up the cobblestone pathway to our home. I could taste the salt on the wind that blew in from the ocean.

Gabriel unlocked the door and we both stepped inside, warmth from the heated interior enveloping us like a soft, fleece blanket.

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She’s got a baby inside

The door shut behind us and then we were in each other’s arms, Gabriel kissing the top of my head, and then my nose, my cheeks, and finally my lips as his hands came to rest upon my stomach. Happy tears slid down my face.

I was nine weeks pregnant. Nine! The exhaustion, the nausea, the missed months, and the throwing up—it was all because I had been pregnant. A false negative….I’d thought that I’d cried out all my shock and joy back in Dr. Rivera’s office, but here I was breaking down again.

Nine weeks pregnant. We were having a baby…a baby! He or she was currently the size of a grape and forming tiny fingers and toes and their little heart was beating like a hummingbird’s wings—I knew because we’re heard it ourselves, so strong and so certain, and the doctor had said that everything looked completely normal and—

I let out another sob, digging my fingers into Gabriel’s shirt as he held me close. “I’m pregnant. We’re going to have a baby!”

“We’re going to have a baby,” he echoed, closing his eyes and pressing his forehead to mine.

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“Are you happy?” I asked in a hushed voice.

“More than I can put into words,” he replied, and then cupped my face and kissed me as wintery light shone in through the window and our incandescent joy gleamed outward from our hearts.

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* * * * *

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The holidays passed in a flurry of exultant congratulations and embraces as Gabriel and I cautiously revealed to our families and our friends that I was pregnant. After trying and failing so many times, the knowledge that it had finally happened felt surreal even after we’d heard the staccato sounds of our baby’s heartbeat.

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Moments of awareness would hit me at the most random times. I would be walking down the stairs and BAM: There’s a tiny being inside of you, Jo! I’d be eating a sandwich and BAM AGAIN: You’re not the only one you’re eating for! I would sneeze and then: Oh god you better not be getting sick because that wouldn’t be good for the BABY that you’re carrying!

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And holds her belly tight, all through the night

Other less random reminders of my pregnancy were my continuing nausea and severe exhaustion. There were concerning, miserable days where I could barely keep anything down, and days where I was hardly awake for more than a few hours before I’d curl up in a ball and fall right back to sleep. On those days, when I didn’t want to get out of bed because I was too tired, too sick, or both, I would often wake up only to find myself nestled within Gabriel’s embrace, his warm body pressed to mine and one of his arms draped protectively across my stomach.

The first time I’d discovered this I’d started crying out of a mixture of hormones and overwhelming love and he’d woken up quite concerned that something terrible had happened. I’d kissed him hard though, tearfully assuring him that everything was perfect and always would be perfect so long as he was in my life. He’d murmured the same and then returned my fervent kisses until we were wholly lost to one another, and that….Oh, that had been perfect too.

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Just so she knows, she’s sleeping so
Safely to keep her growing

To prepare for the both exhilarating and nerve-wracking reality that my husband and I were going to be parents, I went to the library and checked out dozens of books on pregnancy and child-rearing, frequently bringing up what I’d learned to Gabriel and sometimes simply handing a book over to him and requesting that he read it from cover to cover.

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I honestly wasn’t sure if he would at first, but then I’d catch him sitting at the kitchen table, his hair wet from taking a shower after his early morning jog and one of the books opened before him as he drank his coffee and I’d realize: Of course he’d read them.

He would read them because Gabriel, like me, wanted nothing more than to be the best parent he could possibly be. He would read them because he would do whatever it took to ensure this hope.

He would read them because he loved me, and for all of this, I fell ever more deeply in love with him too.

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* * * * *

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And oh, when she’ll open her eyes
There will be no surprise
That she’ll grow to be so beautifully
Just like her mother, that’s carryin’

“Baby wants ice cream and spaghetti for dinner!” I announced happily, hopping in place. “Vanilla ice cream—with rainbow sprinkles, kiwi slices, and peanuts!”

Gabriel frowned as he looked over the decidedly sparse contents of our fridge. “So basically Baby wants me to run to the store?”

“Yes, she does,” I confirmed shamelessly. “Baby also wants pickles, but don’t worry, I’ll go with you! You know, just in case Baby needs anything else.”

A smile spread across my husband’s face. “Okay,” he said, closing the refrigerator door and turning to me. “Before we go on this most important quest though, may I ask you something?”

“Of course.”

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“How do you know Baby is a girl when we agreed to keep it a surprise? You always say ‘she.’”

My face reddened in embarrassment. “I…I don’t. I just…feel like she is,” I answered, placing my hands over my small baby bump. “I keep dreaming of a girl—chubby-cheeked with big brown eyes and jet-black hair. She looks like you and she’s just…beautiful.”

Gabriel fell quiet, but the expression on his face was pensive, as if he were trying to picture her too. My heart warmed with the thought, providing me with the courage to admit, albeit in a very small voice, “I’ve even started calling her by name.”

His gaze went back to mine, looking surprised. “Oh? And what name is that?”

“Do you promise not to laugh?”

Gabriel stepped forward and wrapped his arm around my shoulder, taking my hand in his as he seriously said, “I would never laugh at our potential daughter’s name.”

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Oh Capri, she’s beauty
Baby inside she’s loving

“Well,” I began tentatively, holding my belly, “I’ve um, I’ve been calling her…Capri.”

“Capri?”

“Yes,” I confirmed, biting my lip. “Capri Anna.”

“Capri Anna,” he repeated quietly, testing the name out. “Capri Anna Winters.”

I nodded, finding the name even lovelier after hearing it spoken in Gabriel’s hushed, lilting tones. “Do you like it?”

He murmured the name once more, so softly that I could barely hear him, and then an odd expression took form on his face. It made my heart briefly sink, but then he slowly replied, “Yes, I do. It…actually reminds me a little of my mother’s name.”

Christiana….Capri Anna. The two names did bear a phonetic resemblance, but it hadn’t been on purpose. “I didn’t realize,” I confessed, my cheeks growing rosy, “but it makes me like the name even more.”

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Oh, Capri, she’s beauty
There is an angel growin’ peacefully

“Me too,” he said, and then moved behind me to wrap his arms around my waist, his hands coming to rest on my swelling stomach. I leaned into his chest, placing my hands over his as he pressed a kiss to my neck. “And what if Baby is a boy?”

“Baby isn’t a boy,” I teased.

He chuckled lightly. “Alright, then humor me.”

I looked down at my little bump, thinking for a moment, but when it came to boy names my brain seemed to draw a blank. The bright-eyed baby girl had appeared in my dreams so many times that it was difficult to imagine Baby as anything but, though I knew I wouldn’t be upset if ‘she’ actually was a ‘he.’ Boy or girl, I already loved this baby with every particle of my existence.

“I honestly don’t know,” I finally admitted.

“Hmm.”

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An idea popped into my head and I turned in my husband’s arms, looking up at him seriously as I said, “You should name him.”

“What?”

“If we have a little boy, I want you to name him.”

Gabriel’s eyebrows knitted, causing him to appear both apprehensive and contemplative as he asked, “Is that really what you want?”

I smiled and nodded in affirmation. “That’s really what I want. It’s only fair, after all.”

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“It’s fine either way,” he started with a slight shake of his head, “but…I mean….Well, do you…do you want me to at least run the name by you, or….?”

“No,” I answered, still smiling brightly. “I will love whatever name you choose. And besides…it’s a girl,” I finished cheekily.

“Mmm,” he hummed cryptically, and then directed his gaze out the frost-covered window, where sleet was steadily falling. It marked the slow coming of warmer weather, which I knew Gabriel would appreciate, but I also knew that he probably wasn’t thinking about that.

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Oh, Capri
Sweet baby

“Baby loves you, you know,” I told him quietly, wrapping my arms around his waist and leaning my head against his shoulder.

Gabriel glanced at me. “What makes you say that?”

“Whenever Baby hears your voice, I feel her move, or if she seems agitated, she calms. Like right now, with you so close to me, I know it doesn’t make much logical sense and it’s probably all in my head, but Baby seems…happy.”

I watched as Gabriel’s face softened, his lips parting slightly and a faint crease appearing between his brows. The sight filled me with renewed love and joy, but what really touched me were the five simple words that he spoke in response.

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Baby makes me happy too.”

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* * * * *

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Things will be hard at times

Snow fell softly outside the paneled window as the bite of sandwich I’d taken seemed to turn to sawdust on my tongue. I choked, coughing and then hastily taking a sip of my water. I felt as if I’d suddenly been caught in a whirlpool swirling down the drain.

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“You’re what?” I asked, aghast.

I caught only a glimpse of the pained expression on Dad’s face before he looked down at his half-eaten soup and mumbled, “We made the decision before we knew.”

I bit my lip so hard that a coppery taste filled my mouth while the room continued to revolve. My nails dug into my thigh as I struggled to breathe. “But you can’t,” I insisted, hot tears burning my eyes. “The baby—me—you can’t. I need you.”

He adjusted his glasses with a slightly trembling hand. “Well we’d visit, of course. All the time.”

“Then why move at all!?” I snapped, my voice breaking, and then covered my mouth to try and suppress my cries because other patrons in the restaurant were casting curious glances our way. I bowed my head, allowing my long hair to fall across my cheeks and hide my face. My shoulders shook. Hidden Springs was five hours away­—five. That was no fleeting trip.

How could he do this, and now of all times?

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“Your mother and I have—have been discussing this for—for a long time now and when we made the decision we didn’t know—didn’t know you were pregnant. After we found out we nearly changed our minds, but…Jo, we’ve wanted to live there for so long and the—the timing is…is about as right as it’ll ever be, but…but if you—if you really—”

“Don’t,” I interjected miserably. “Please don’t do that. I’m sorry. Um—hormones, you know?” I asked with a weak laugh, hating how uneasy and worried he sounded right now and willing to say anything to take that away. “I…I know you’ve always wanted to live someplace quieter. I know that and I realize that…that the fame you’ve attracted here must…must make a move feel long…long overdue.”

My throat closed up again, more tears escaping my eyes. I reached up to wipe them with the backs of my hands.

“We really would visit,” he whispered, “and we would still be here for—for at least another year. I just—wanted you to know now and not…not have it…sprung up…on you.”

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I briefly glanced at him and then winced upon seeing the concerned expression on his face. Oh, I was making him worry and I hated myself so much for it. I took a breath, trying desperately to steady myself. “Why so—why so long?” I asked casually, though my voice wavered and I could not quite meet his eyes.

Dad cleared his throat and then drew in a lungful of air before explaining, “Well, Tobias would be okay because he’ll be starting college come August, but Thomas will be entering eighth grade and I’d hate to—to all of a sudden enroll him in a new middle school. It makes more sense for him if we wait. Plus, we haven’t even found a place yet, so this gives us ample time to look and possibly have a house built if there aren’t any properties we like.”

“I see, so…so you might be around for the baby’s first birthday,” I remarked hopefully.

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“Er, well, it—it might be a little—little before then because Tobias and Thomas will be done that June, but—but maybe we’ll be there for July,” he added hastily, seeing the expression on my face. “It all depends. I don’t want to make any promises either way, but we’d keep you updated and of course even if we’d moved by then we’d for sure make the trip for that.”

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“Right,” I mumbled, and then turned my gaze back outside the window, not feeling particularly hungry anymore. Baby shifted, as if she too felt uncomfortable and upset. I placed my hand reassuringly on my bump, trying not to think about the fact that Baby’s grandparents might not be around as much as I’d originally hoped. I suddenly wanted nothing more than to return home and cry my heart out in my husband’s arms, but Ryan was in town so I doubted that he’d be home anytime soon. He was going to ask him to be our baby’s godfather and then I was sure that they would celebrate, especially since they’d both be dads soon.

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“Jo?”

I hesitated and then forced myself to look at my father, a lump rising in my throat as soon as my eyes reached his familiar, comforting face.

“I will still always be there for you whenever you need it. That will never change. You know that, right?”

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But I’ve learned to try
Just listening, patiently

“Yes,” I answered softly, “and—and even though I know you prefer to—to deal with things on your own, or—or with Mom, I’m…I’m always here for you too—whenever you need it.”

“I know, Jo. I know.”

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* * * * *

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Despite the fact that I understood and the fact that I wouldn’t have to worry about it for quite some time, my parents’ announcement that they were planning to move to Hidden Springs stuck with me like a burr to a dog.

Even after sharing my thoughts and feelings with Gabriel, the sadness that seemed to be leaking into my heart did not let up. My family meant the world to me, and as such I couldn’t imagine a day where I wouldn’t be able to take a quick trip across town to visit them, or an evening where we couldn’t spontaneously meet up for ice cream, or a holiday where we had to work out complicated travel plans just to be together. The awareness that this would become my reality made me feel miserable, which then stressed me out too because I knew the mood that I was slipping into was in no way good for the baby. So I tried not to think about it, but like a boomerang it would always come back.

The fact of the matter was that I had always regretted the fact that I hadn’t known my grandparents better and the last thing I wanted was for any child of mine to grow up feeling the same. In the end I knew it wouldn’t harm them, but still that heaviness weighed upon my chest. Even with frequent visits, I would miss them so much.

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Oh Capri

“Joanne?”

“Hmm?” I asked absently, turning my head away from the television set we’d bought for our bedroom since the couch had been too uncomfortable to sit on as of late.

Gabriel ran his hand across my ever growing belly before he remarked, “You know that we could move there too, right?”

I let out a breath, feeling my heart clench. The thought had admittedly occurred to me more than once, but it seemed like such a brash decision. Although I’d technically been born in Neverglade, Starlight Shores was the only home I knew and I liked it very much. The palm trees made me think of a tropical paradise and the ocean was only ever a few steps away. There was always something going on too, whether it be a festival, a concert, or even a magic show. It was a lively city bustling with both established and aspiring entertainers and as such I felt like we fit in well here.

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Without my family though, would I feel so favorable toward it? What made it feel like home was the fact that they were here. Without them, what did we have? Gabriel’s grandmother lived in Bridgeport and so did all our friends, and soon my family would be in Hidden Springs, including the twins, who though they had not yet decided where they would settle after graduating, had at least declined my father’s offer of the house because they would rather spend their summers with them.

Of course, the fact that the twins weren’t going to take the house and Tobias was actually looking forward to living in Hidden Springs (more natural wildlife), meant that if I so accepted, that massive house on the edge of Starlight Shores could be entirely ours to raise our family in. It was a tempting offer, and certainly needed because we currently lived in a one-bedroom split-level which was not easily altered, but could I bring myself to do it? Could I live there without seeing my family members gathered around the fireplace in the evening, or without hearing their voices no matter where I was?

I honestly wasn’t sure, and that made all of this all the more complicated.

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“I do know,” I finally responded. “It’s just—a big decision, isn’t it? I mean, would you actually be okay with leaving Starlight Shores?”

Gabriel shrugged. “I’ve never held any particular attachment to this place. It was just the closest city to Bridgeport that I could be in and still feel far away.”

“Hidden Springs is closer to Bridgeport,” I mumbled. “Straight up into the northern mountains.”

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“That’s true—a fair bit closer actually, but I no longer feel the need to be all that far away.”

“It almost sounds like you’re trying to convince me that we should move there.”

“Close….” he acceded, his hand sliding over mine, “I’m trying to convince you to consider the option, especially if that’s what will make you happy.”

“But will it make you happy?” I asked in concern.

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Gabriel startled me by grasping my hips and pulling me down on the bed. He moved on top of me, being careful to place most of his weight on my legs as he looked down at me and asked, “Will you be with me?”

“Obviously.”

“Then there’s your answer.”

I chewed on my lower lip. Could it really be that simple? Could I make an entirely new place feel like home when I’d never known any other? Could I even live in such a quiet place? I was used to a lively city. What would it be like living in a small, lakeside town in the middle of the mountains? Would it feel claustrophobic, or would it feel freeing? Then again, what would a continued life be like in Starlight Shores without my family near?

“What do you think, Baby?” Gabriel abruptly asked, scooting down to my stomach and laying his ear upon it.

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Sweet baby

He looked back up at me. “Baby says whatever makes us happy will make him or her happy. What a cop out. Definitely our child.”

I giggled softly. “What did I do to deserve such a perfect man as you?” Gabriel made a slight face and I reached down to run my hand through his hair. “I love you so much,” I murmured softly.

“I love you too,” he said, and then scooted up to kiss me. My heart skipped a beat as I kissed him back, and then I laughed because the baby gave a rather strong kick. Gabriel smiled, for he’d felt it as well.

“Baby feels left out,” I noted.

“Ah, well, we certainly can’t have that.”

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* * * * *

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Oh Capri, she’s beauty

Winter gave way to spring, at first hesitantly as the snow slowly melted and then rapidly once the temperature spiked, bringing with it an efflorescent transformation. Sprinklings of wildflowers popped up wherever they could, and then Easter brought out bright pastels and the ever strengthening light of the sun.

The passage of time also brought along the marked expansion of my waistline, a phenomenon which engendered some difficulties of its own….

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“GABRIEL!!!” I shouted.

There was a loud crash and a vicious curse, followed by hurried footsteps on the stairs as my husband rushed down to me, which made me feel a little bad considering why I’d called him.

“What happened?” he asked in a rush, his normally tanned face pale.

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I flushed in embarrassment. “I err…seem to be in a losing battle against gravity. I’m having difficulties getting up.”

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Gabriel crooked one of his eyebrows high.

“I’m serious!” I wailed, wiggling in place on the sofa. “I’ve been trying to get up for like the past fifteen minutes, but I’m stuck and I have to pee SO badly and OH MY GOD DON’T LAUGH AT ME.”

“I’m not,” he said with a cough that sounded suspiciously like a chuckle. “I mean this is clearly an emergency situation. Would you like me to call the fire department?”

“What!? No, you ass!”

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Gabriel laughed and then walked over to me, holding his hands out. I took them gratefully and he helped lift me out of the demonic pit of doom that was our new sofa. Evidently its enticing comfort disguised the true evil that lay within its plush cushions.

“Thank you,” I breathed in relief, hurrying over to the stairs and cursing the fact that there wasn’t a bathroom on this floor. “What were you doing anyway?” I asked halfway up. “I heard a crash.”

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“At first? Reading. But after you nearly gave me a heart attack? Learning how to use a book as a projectile missile. On that note, you might be short one vase now.”

“GABRIEL! Those vases were handmade in Portugal!”

“But I just saved your life….”

I fought back the smile that tried to make its way to my lips. “When I’m done peeing, I’m going to slowly make my way back down the stairs, waddle over to you, and then hit you upside the head.”

“Ah,” he said and then, just as I’d reached the top of the stairs: “I’ll forge myself some protective headgear while I wait!”

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“ASS!”

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* * * * *

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In all seriousness, Gabriel wasn’t an ass. On the contrary, he was my saving grace; taking late night trips to the store whenever I had an insatiable craving (clementines were my current kick); massaging my back whenever I felt like my spine was going to give way; and putting up with my intense emotional swings, the worst of which was probably when I saw a commercial for the SimSPCA in which there were all these little starving kittens and hurt puppies and why weren’t we helping them?! Why was the world so awful!? I wanted to save all the animals, but there were so many and not enough people were helping and I didn’t know what to do! My house wasn’t big enough to save them all and it made me so SAD that I couldn’t cuddle them close and promise everything was going to be okay because I wasn’t sure that it would be and oh my god I needed to—

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“Joanne….You’re not writing about that commercial in your journal, are you?”

“No,” I answered quaveringly, and then promptly burst into tears once more.

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* * * * *

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Baby inside, she’s loving

It was a warm afternoon in the height of spring and the air was thick with the scent of blossoming flowers as Gabriel and I took a much needed stroll. Our pace was unhurried and our hands were interlocked with one another’s as we talked about our last concert and how well our new single had been received by the crowd. It was a bit bittersweet because although I knew I was alright for now, soon Convergence would need to go on a necessary hiatus. On the bright side, if we could manage it, we could use the off-time to continue work on our second album.

“Though we’ll probably want to use any extra time we have to sleep,” I realized with a laugh.

Gabriel smiled in agreement. “Yeah, probably.”

A soft breeze blew a strand of hair into my face. I reached up with my free hand to move it, and then halted in my steps as I’d suddenly felt my abdomen tighten uncomfortably.

“What is it?”

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“I don’t know,” I mumbled, holding my belly. “Just felt…weird for a second there.”

“Weird?” Gabriel inquired, his brows furrowing. “Should we head back?”

Standing perfectly still, I waited another moment to see if it would happen again, but besides some vague stirrings from the baby, everything felt normal. “No, I…I think I’m fine.”

We continued walking, this time Gabriel with his arm around my waist, but a few minutes later it happened again. I froze, feeling my heart rate increase and my throat tighten as fear began a hostile takeover of my mind. “It’s too early,” I whimpered.

“I’m sure it’s nothing,” he hastened to reassure me, seeming to be thinking quickly. “The books….The books mentioned the possibility of something like this, right? I forgot what the hell they called it…started with a ‘B,’…maybe?”

“Braxton Hicks contractions,” I answered in a whisper. “I suppose this could be that.”

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“Hey,” Gabriel continued softly, noting the tears already falling down my face and cupping my cheek. “It’ll be alright. We’ll…we’ll head back and call Dr. Rivera, okay?”

I sniffled and then nodded tightly as my husband pressed his lips to my forehead. “It’ll be alright,” he repeated, but I couldn’t help but notice that the words seemed intended to comfort me as much as himself.

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Back at the house we called Dr. Rivera and she agreed that it was most likely Braxton Hicks contractions, but if they grew stronger and closer together I should head to the hospital immediately. The terse warning had me feeling rather like panicking, but Dr. Rivera had also recommended drinking some fluids and trying my best to relax, so I struggled to take her advice as I sipped at water and finally settled on nestling in Gabriel’s arms on the couch, taking deep breaths and occasionally sniffling.

I did feel a few more contractions, but they didn’t seem to be getting any worse, or any more frequent. Then again, they didn’t seem to be letting up either.

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Oh Capri

“You’re not ready, Baby,” I whispered, placing one hand on my stomach as I clasped the other to my chest. “Relax…relax, please.”

Gabriel placed one of his hands on my stomach too, the other resting on my hand as he quietly echoed, “Relax.”

Another contraction hit and I winced in fear, trying to decide whether it’d been stronger, or comparable to the ones previous. I was fairly certain it was the latter, but still I could feel my anxiety crawling across my every nerve ending. I needed to calm down.

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“Painted…wide,” I began to sing shakily, “with the moon, in your eyes.”

Gabriel took in a breath, recognizing the tranquil song—“Pi” by Big Deal. He held me a little closer and then to my relief, quietly continued: “Safe from harm…in the clouds, in your arms.”

“No fog….No fate, no words conceal.”

“You’re magic and you’re…real.”

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There was another tightening, but it was subtle. Gabriel squeezed my hand and then we sang together, a little stronger, “Holy wounds and holy ones….We can let it slide. Meet me under cartoon skies, and we’ll float for a while.”

“You heal me with a smile,” I sang.

“Send shivers down my spine.”

“Is it true? Could you be…mine?”

I leaned my head back against Gabriel’s chest, breathing slowly and deeply, and then we finished, “Lights out….I finally see you clear. So cool, so calm…so near. No fate, no words conceal. You’re magic and you’re real.”

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Gradually, so gradually, the contractions subsided. Gabriel and I laid down, both of us with a hand on my rounded belly as we silently prayed that everything would be alright now. I didn’t think sleep would have been a possibility, but the last memory I had before drifting off was my husband pressing a soft kiss to my shoulder, and then my eyelids fluttered shut.

* * * * *

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Unfortunately, that day wasn’t the only instance that I experienced contractions, but the doctor assured me that it was normal and that I may get them every now and then as I drew closer to my due date. They were a little scary, but knowing that it didn’t mean the baby was coming early helped me to stay more relaxed when it happened.

It made me feel silly that I’d gotten so worried in the first place, but I honestly hadn’t been able to help it. I loved this baby so very, very much, and even the idea of losing him or her made me feel as if I’d lost the ability to breathe.

Thus, I found myself trying to be as careful as possible: exercising lightly, drinking plenty of water, and trying to get as much rest as I could even though every sleeping position was steadily becoming horribly uncomfortable. Convergence also officially went on hiatus, which admittedly made me feel as if a void had opened in my heart even though I knew that it was for the best.

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The weeks did pass more calmly though….until one early morning before the sun had even risen when Ryan woke us up with a frenzy of phone calls to let us know that his girlfriend Shanta had gone into labor.

I had to hand it to Gabriel, because while I was still processing this information he was already on the phone calling his friend back even though it was 4:05 AM.

After my brain got over its initial annoyance that I was awake, I began to feel excited and we went downstairs to have breakfast as we exchanged texts with Ryan who kept us updated on the situation.

Basically nothing whatsoever happened for the majority of the day, until around 6:00 PM when I was snoozing on the couch and Ryan blew up both our cells with one text repeated about a hundred times: “IT’S A GIRL.”

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We congratulated them both on video chat later that night and already made plans to visit them as soon as they’d settled. Of course, pictures were an immediate necessity, so we spent the rest of that evening looking at the adorable photos that Ryan sent of his beautiful baby girl: Audrey McCloud-Fitch. She had dark skin like Ryan, Shanta’s button-nose, and the biggest and brightest eyes that I had ever seen on an infant.

She was incredibly precious and her arrival made us happier than ever that soon enough, we’d be announcing the birth of our little one too.

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* * * * *

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July announced its arrival through soaring thermometers, afternoon thunderstorms, and the constant whir of air-conditioners struggling to fight off the oppressive heat. Although I hated to admit it, I was also steadily growing more miserable. My hips hurt, my back constantly seemed to ache, my struggles with the sofa became worse than ever, obtaining sleep became some sort of Sisyphean task, I got heartburn for the first time in my life, and those previously only uncomfortable Braxton Hicks contractions began to grow downright painful. I also constantly seemed to need to pee. It was like my bladder had lost its ability to retain even an ounce of fluid, which meant that I spent most of my time upstairs switching up what I was doing every fifteen minutes because I could never get comfortable.

It all put me in a very touchy mood and though I admittedly wasn’t a stranger to extreme emotions, it got to the point where I felt genuinely sorry for my husband and even took to suggesting that he go visit Ryan or Sammy and Dante or his grandmother or anything really to get out of the house because I knew it had to be awful to be stuck in my company.

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“It’s not awful being with you,” Gabriel said after I’d expressed these concerns to him one evening, massaging my swollen feet.

“Now I know you’re lying,” I lamented, and then winced when the baby punched me in the rib—or at least, that’s how it felt.

“Are you okay?”

“No! I’m not okay! Nothing’s okay! I’m the most uncomfortable I’ve been in my entire life and I literally just came back from peeing and now I have to pee again and I’m the size of a small seafaring vessel and I’m trying not to let this get to me because I know it’s only because I’m pregnant and that’s wonderful and I’m really looking forward to meeting our baby, but also I feel like a fat ugly fuck and that really isn’t helping my mood in the slightest!” I cried out somewhat hysterically.

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You’re beauty
Just like your mother
That’s carryin’

Gabriel frowned slightly as he rubbed small, firm circles on the soles of my feet. He seemed to be debating his next words, but also seemed to be realizing that no matter what he said, it would probably come back to bite him in the ass.

“I’m sorry,” I groaned. “You probably want to say that soon enough, I won’t have to worry about this and that I’m actually the most beautiful you’ve ever seen me or something like that and you’ll mean it too, but I’ll still throw it back in your face, won’t I?”

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“I hope not,” he began with a slight raise of his eyebrow, “because you really are the most beautiful, most adorable, most sexy that I have ever seen you and every morning when I wake up, the first thought that crosses my mind is that I’m so damn blessed to have you in my life. Joanne….You may feel like being with you is a chore right now, but honestly…with you is exactly where I want to be.”

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Even if I hadn’t been a bundle of hormones and emotions I was certain that those words would have made me cry, and so it was that my eyes shone with tears now.

“Hey now….Come here.”

“No, I’ll crush you!”

“Jo,” my husband chided, and I sniffled and sat up as he scooted closer to me and pulled me onto his lap. I pressed my forehead against his and he held me closely, one arm around my waist and the other on my stomach. It was probably all in my head, but again, having him so near seemed to calm the baby down, or at any rate, I was no longer being kicked in the spleen.

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We were quiet for a while, and as Baby relaxed I slowly felt myself do the same until I murmured, “Gabriel?”

“Yeah?” he asked, looking up at me.

“That’s the first thought that crosses my mind too.”

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* * * * *

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Ooh…

Glass exploded on the surface of the kitchen floor, rivulets of water spreading rapidly across the polished wood. I stood doubled-over, my breaths coming out in shallow gasps and my knuckles turning white from my tight grip on the chair. The urge to panic swelled like a balloon.

That was no Braxton Hicks contraction.

The pain slowly ebbed, transforming instead into a rolling tightness that spread from my lower back and around to my abdomen.

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I shakily walked over to the kitchen counter where I’d left my cellphone, my hands trembling badly as I picked it up, dialed ‘2,’ and then held it to my ear. It rang three times, and then the sound of Gabriel’s voice sent a flood of endorphins coursing through my system, making it easier to think.

“Hello?”

“Hey,” I breathed. “Are you—are you nearly home?”

“No, not really, there was a car accident on Palm Park. Why? What happened?”

“Well uh…don’t cause another car crash, but I—I think the baby might be coming.”

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Gabriel arrived at the house so quickly that I was about 99% certain he had committed some severe traffic violations. Together, we called the hospital and Dr. Rivera, who reminded us that we should come in when the contractions got to be less than 5 minutes apart. She also recommended that since they were still about 15-20 minutes apart, I should try to take a nap, a suggestion that I was positive was impossible to enact, so we decided to watch a movie instead.

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It was all so very weird. I kept thinking of all the television shows and movies I’d watched where the woman goes into labor, immediately rushes to the hospital, and then five minutes later has a baby in her arms, but instead the reality was Gabriel and I sitting on the sofa, munching on snacks, and watching Tangled.

It was almost a normal evening, except every so often I’d be seized with a contraction and trying desperately to breathe as I squeezed Gabriel’s hand. Eventually, I couldn’t stand it and we took a slow walk up and down the block before returning to the house because even at night the temperature was stiflingly warm.

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So back to the couch it was, where I curled up in a ball with my head in Gabriel’s lap and the last thing I remembered seeing before miraculously drifting off to sleep was a thousand paper lanterns floating into an inky-blue sky.

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I wasn’t sure how long I slept, but it was ultimately Gabriel who gently woke me up because lo and behold, my water had broken. My first reaction was to apologize for messing up the couch, but my second was to laugh as my husband pointed out that it was a well-warranted revenge. That was about the last laugh I had for a while though because from there my contractions began to get so bad that I couldn’t help but start crying.

I felt sort of pathetic for it, like I should be more “stoic” or something, but the fact of the matter was that it hurt so badly I couldn’t even utter a sound during them, and so in the end I decided that I didn’t care because I felt like I was being stomped all over by a crack-addled llama and as far as I was concerned, anyone who didn’t cry in a situation like that was not a person that I wanted to trust.

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It was almost a relief once the contractions got to be less than 5 minutes apart, only because informing my family, grabbing my stuff, and heading into the hustle and bustle of the hospital were at least small distractions from my overwhelming discomfort. Plus, it reminded me that soon, Gabriel and I would be holding our baby in our arms, and that thought soothed me more than any other could.

* * * * *

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Oh, Capri

“Push!”

I fell back against the pillows of my hospital bed, gasping and covered in sweat because I’d been pushing for like thirty fucking minutes now and how was this even possible and fuck, focus, focus, focus!

“You’re doing so well, Joanne! I think we’re just about there. On your next contraction I want you to push real hard, okay?”

I’VE BEEN PUSHING REAL HARD, I wanted to scream, but Gabriel expressed the thought for me by muttering under his breath, “What the fuck do you think she’s been doing?” and that somehow made me laugh and then another contraction hit me and I was shouting instead and pushing, pushing, pushing FUCK someone get this baby out now!

“Next time, Joanne. Next time! We’re nearly there!”

Oh my god. My breaths came out in ragged pants and I didn’t think I could do this anymore. I was so incredibly exhausted and my body was trembling and I felt like I was going to start crying again. “I can’t do it,” I cried miserably. “I can’t do it. I’m not strong enough—I’m not—I’m not.”

“You’ve always been strong enough,” Gabriel countered, and then my worst contraction yet slammed into me like a speeding truck and no one had to tell me to push because my body seemed to be doing that for me and fuck the crack-addled llama had brought all its mother fuckin’ friends and I was screaming and everyone was talking all at once and JFDSKFHDFKJSHLDKFS.

“I can see the head! Keep pushing, Joanne, keep pushing! Breathe! Breathe…just one more!”

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The room erupted into wild cheers—all the nurses and Dr. Rivera especially as she joyfully announced, “It’s a boy!”

A boy. A boy! I laughed again, how I had no idea because I felt like I was falling asleep on the spot and there was a bit more of a bustle and Gabriel’s fingers were digging into my shoulder and then—finally, our son began to cry. I tried desperately to see him as they wrapped him in a blanket and then the nurse lowered the smallest little bundle onto my chest as she said, “There you go, mama! You did such a good job.”

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There are some moments in life that cannot be explained even by the most prolific writer. Moments that can only be understood by experiencing them. Moments like the one in which I first gazed down at our beautiful son’s face. He had the smallest nose and wow, he looked so much like Gabriel and his eyes were all scrunched up in distress and oh, “It’s okay, baby,” I murmured, cradling him closely and kissing his forehead as tears fell freely from my eyes. “It’s okay. Momma’s right here. She’s right here and she loves you so very, very much.”

Oh how I loved him—it overflowed from me like water over the edges of a crystalline glass—shimmering and ebullient.

“It’s okay, love,” I continued soothingly. “It’s okay.” I gingerly smoothed the sparse hairs on his head as he quieted and looked up at me with the brightest blue eyes. I wondered what color they would change into as he grew.

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“So what’s his name?” I whispered.

I looked up at Gabriel when he didn’t answer, and just like that I knew exactly what my stepmother had meant on my wedding day when she said there would be times when I’d wonder how my body could possibly ever contain the overwhelming love I had for the person at my side.

“What?” he mumbled, hastily wiping his eyes on the sleeve of his t-shirt. Our baby turned his head toward the sound of his voice and Gabriel took in a sharp breath of air.

“His name,” I repeated in a daze, for I had never once seen my husband cry. “We have a little boy.”

He cleared his throat and then quietly answered, “Milo.”

“Milo?”

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Gabriel nodded, reaching out to gingerly run his thumb over our son’s chubby cheek. “Milo, after—after my grandfather,” he managed to say as our baby’s eyes fell contentedly shut, “and James, after your father. Milo James.”

Milo James. Fresh tears welled up in my eyes. “It’s perfect,” I expressed with a tearful laugh.

“He’s perfect.”

We looked at one another and then Gabriel sat down beside me, kissing me hard, and then our perfect son, and in that brief window of time I learned that those formless abstractions called ‘love’ and ‘happiness’ had the ability to stretch on limitlessly.

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Welcome to the family, Milo James Winters.

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~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

A/N: GAHHHH I AM SO HAPPY! Milo….MILO!!!! BABYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! *runs around crazily*

*takes deep breaths* Why am I writing this? OH RIGHT, to tell you all that Generation 5’s naming theme is songs! Thus, Milo is named for his great-grandfather and grandfather yes, but also for the song “Interlude (Milo)” by Modest Mouse. It’s not too much of a song I suppose, but it features the sound of the bassist’s son cooing and it’s freaking adorable. Plus I thought it was fitting for Joanne and Gabriel who would probably totally make a song like that, so “Milo” it is! “Capri,” of course, would have been named for the song in this chapter.

Also, fun fact, Gabriel’s name also came from a song: “Gabriel” by Lamb. The song’s lyrics even went so far as to inspire the entire nature of the relationship between Joanne and Gabriel as they read, “I can fly/ But I want his wings/ I can shine even in the darkness/ But I crave the light that he brings/ Revel in the songs that he sings/ My angel, Gabriel.”

Now excuse me while I go cry because I’ve waited for this moment for so long and now I have ALL THE FEELS. Hope you all enjoyed and hope that the next time you see me won’t be Thanksgiving break *frets*

OH, lastly, I put all of my efforts into getting this chapter posted and as such I’m behind on reading! So if you’ve been like, “Hmm, why hasn’t Lily read and commented on my chapter….She usually does :/” that is why! I still love all of you and your wonderful stories and will be catching up in due time! Thanks for bearing with me—it really does mean the world ❤

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51 thoughts on “Chapter 5.20: Capri”

  1. There, I can finally comment. I read this while watching the front counter and then Bam! People showed up wanting me to work *sigh* That’s always the way of it.

    First things first, I can’t believe it’s time for your course to start up again already. Wow the summer went by fast. But that is so exciting. How are you liking your new place? I’m sad it will be awhile before your next chapter but life comes first.

    Now, to the chapter part. This was a truly amazing and beautiful chapter. When I saw the opening photo I was so excited that she was pregnant. And then the test was negative, and then it wasn’t negative at all! It was positive. WEEEEEEEE!!! I was so happy and so sad all at the same time for them in a single chapter lol.

    And then for there to be a boy. Awww!!! I love his name too. I love the fact that some men cry in the delivery room. Especially loved the fact that Gabriel is among them. But I mean, of course Gabriel would cry in the delivery room. He’s Gabriel! Mr. Perfect. Even with his flaws (Which everyone has) he is so wonderful. Now I just have to cross my fingers that by some twist of fate Milo and Ryan’s daughter will one day fall in love and keep all of those wonderful people together forever in the children they create XD. I’m thinking way too far ahead though!

    I’m still so happy for them. I love it when chapters leave me feeling happy. I’m such an emotional blubberer that I take on the emotions of others too easily sometimes and they stick with me. I’ll be skipping all day with this one.

    Awesome chapter. You can stop reading my blog any time you want to pump out a gem of a chapter like this one.

    1. Hahaha, that is truly always the way of it, but man, I know right!? The summer really did fly by. I was actually pretty bummed that I didn’t get more chapters out, but then one of my graduate school friends asked if I got much work on my blog done during break and I went back and noticed that I posted 6 chapters (including this one) over the summer and seeing as they average 10,000 words apiece, perhaps I shouldn’t be quite so bummed! lol. I’m loving my new place! The only downside is that there seems to be a ton of construction in the area so the mornings are pretty noisy, but it quiets down for the afternoon and I suspect that once winter comes it might quiet down entirely. Either way, it shouldn’t last forever…hopefully, lol.

      Aw, thank you so much! LOL that bit of a roller coaster was definitely purposeful XD I haven’t even tagged “Milo James Winters” on the chapter yet because I wanted to keep it ambiguous, hehehe. I’ll go back and add it in a week or so though 😉 YESSSS a boy!!!! I’m so glad that you like his name ^_^ I’m sort of in love with it….It’s been planned out for months!!!! =O

      Oooh yeah, haha. You know, I’ve had that scene written for ages, but there are different versions of it, some in which Gabriel does cry and some in which he doesn’t and the ones where he did felt much more authentic. Like, I think in normal circumstances Gabriel wouldn’t have cried to be honest, but given what he’s experienced and the fact that these events made him feel as if something like this would never happen to him, he was a bit overwhelmed to say the least! Hehe, thanks–I think he’s rather wonderful too, flaws and all!

      LOL I’m not going to lie when I saw that Ryan and Shanta had an adorable little girl I was like…”*waggles eyebrows* *considers shipping possibilities*” Hahahaha. Of course, if Milo is heir and if he does end up with Audrey, that means THEIR child will start the “Criminal Generation,” which means that maybe the wonderful characteristics of those characters may not live on in this hypothetical child as you hoped o_o; Plus, I’ve got a pretty elaborate plot planned for Gen 6, so it all depends on how I work that out too. Still, for sure though they will at least be best friends just like their fathers!!!! *dies of cuteness overload*

      Eee, I’m still so happy for them too! When I was taking the hospital pictures I grinned the entire time because they just looked so damn cute and Milo is just perfect, lol. So glad that this chapter made you so happy and that you’ll be skipping all day! The Winters have had some admittedly rough times, so chapters like these are like little shining lights–such a joy to write!

      LOL, aw well, I appreciate that, but I still love your blog and would want to catch up regardless! ❤

      Thank you as always for reading and commenting!! You're so completely awesome! ^_^

  2. That was beautiful. I had to skim over a few parts because it was just a bit too realistic for me. I told my family at nine weeks also, and.. well so, skim skim skim. :/ I’m sure you understand.

    Milo James is a perfect name for him. Capri Anna would have been very pretty too. Did you choose gender by fruit or was it a surprise?

    I’ll write better comments when the subject is a little less raw. At the moment I prefer sim babies just plopping out after a few huffs and puffs and a twirl and sparkles. 😉

    I hope school isn’t killing you! 😦 Must be exciting at the same time though, isn’t it? I miss going back to school after the summer. Going back to proofreading manuals doesn’t have the same ring to it..

    1. Thank you, ixot! I do understand and in fact I admire your strength to read even some of this so soon after your own loss. It really means a lot to me, but even if you had skipped over the entire chapter and just come back for the next I would have been appreciative of that too!

      Eee, so glad that you like the names for this generation! You know, I was actually going to use fruit to influence the gender, but when I checked with MasterController it said that Joanne was having a boy so I was like well, don’t have to influence after all, lol. For plot purposes, I really wanted them to have a son XD Nice that it worked out!

      Oh no worries, I still loved your comment. Haha, you know, I think sim mothers prefer that too! 😉 Poor Joanne and those crack-addled llamas using her as a dance floor XD

      Ah well it isn’t killing me yet, but this looming stack of assignments might make a decent attempt at it. It is admittedly exciting too though, especially because this is exactly what I want to be doing in life, so everything feels super relevant and interesting. Still, 30 page research papers and reading hundreds of pages out of textbooks isn’t exactly all fun and games, so I’m definitely experiencing mixed feelings going back into this, lol. On the one hand, I’d prefer the manuals, but on the other, well, this does have a special sort of ring to it.

      Thank you as always for reading and commenting! ❤ ❤

  3. Oh god…*sniffles*…good chapter, really good chapter! Well worth the wait! ^_^ Not gonna lie, when that “negative” was announced I had to stop reading and go cry for a bit! But I came back and I’m so glad I did! “Milo James”! That’s such a cute name! I love how it honors both father-figures in their lives. “Capri Anna” was adorable as well, it kinda sounds like the name of a poet, idk >.> Did you influence the gender? Or was it a surprise?

    I hear you on the school front. I wish the summer could have lasted longer. I’ve got a relatively light semester ahead of me, but I’m studying for the GREs, regular and subject… T_T

    I really look forward to seeing this blog in my feed. You’re a very good writer and really wrench out those emotional responses. The Winters always inspire me to write better…which is good, seeing as I need to post another chapter by tomorrow >.>

    1. Awwwwww!!! *hands additional box of virtual tissues and hugs* I’m glad that you came back too and even more glad that you thought it was worth the wait! That’s always a concern of mine…like, it’s bad enough that I take about a month to write these, but what if they weren’t even worth it?! lol. Eeee, thanks! I love the name “Milo James” too–it truly is a nod to both father-figures in their lives. I like “Capri Anna” too, but “Milo James” definitely has that something special. I did not influence the gender, but if MasterController said that the odds were leaning in favor of a girl I was going to because for plot reasons I really wanted them to have a son. When I checked with MC though the odds were already in favor of a boy, so I left it alone, lol.

      Right? Summer always goes by much too fast. Oh man, GREs?! That’s a pain. I ended up gambling with that one–my school either requires a certain score on the GRE, OR requires you to pass all the core classes with at least a B, and if you get lower, you get kicked out of the program. I was the nut who decided to take the gamble instead of going through that, LOL. I did, however, get straight As luckily XD Good luck!!! I admire your efforts in tackling it head-on!

      Gahhh, again, thank you soooo much! Hearing you say that makes me feel all fuzzy and humbled and gah!!! Thank you, thank you ❤ Yours is on my list of blogs I need to catch-up with, haha. Perhaps I can use sim blogs as an incentive…."Read 10 pages of your textbook and you get to read one post!" Hahaha. I shall find a way!!!!!

      Thank you for reading and commenting!! ❤

  4. I’m so happy they had a kid! I was expecting something to go wrong until the last moment and it makes me happy that nothing did! Now I can imagine how adorable their kid looks.

    1. Eeeeeee!!! So am I!! I’ve missed having a little baby around so much and the fact that this is Joanne and Gabriel’s baby makes me even happier.

      Also, hahaha, I don’t blame you for thinking that something would go wrong 😛 The way I wrote it (plus the history of this blog) makes it feel that way at times….For now though, all is well 😉

      Yes! I mean hopefully you won’t have to imagine for toooo long, but know that I’m super excited to see as well!

      Also, thanks for reading and commenting! Looks like this was your first comment since I had to approve it, so welcome! Your feedback means the world to me ❤ ❤ ❤

  5. Howdy!!! So I am unstrangerifying myself! XD

    I was so happy when they found out that she was pregnant! And I was definitely hoping that you wouldn’t be one of those writers who ends the chapter right before the delivery, which you weren’t!!! So that made me happy!

    So, did you call this chapter Capri because you thought they were going to have a girl? Or did you know that they were going to have a boy before you even titled this chapter? I’m curious.

    Okay, completely random… But I’ve never read a birthing/delivery scene quite like that, most people just kind of gloss over it, but (while I won’t exactly understand because I’m a dude) I would assume that it was the most true to life delivery scene I’ve ever read. I have to admit that I laughed… Alot… at Jo’s thoughts.

    So happy for Jobriel baby!!! Can’t wait to see their genetic meshing!

    Great chapter! Wants more!!! But I understand that school will probably take up most of your time (What’s my excuse though… Sheesh!)

    1. Aw, lol! Thank you! I feel a little bad because you certainly didn’t have to unstrangerfy yourself, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t super excited to see a comment from you again ^_^ Welcome back, friend 😉

      LOL oh that would have been far too cruel, especially after the somewhat ambiguous ending I left last chapter. Plus with going back to classes I knew that the next chapter might be a while in the making, so leaving a cliffhanger like that would have tortured even me! I NEEDED TO SEE THE BABY, lol.

      Neither of those XD I titled the chapter “Capri” with the full intention of Joanne having a boy XD I really liked the idea of Joanne thinking the baby was a girl the whole time and then finding out the baby was a boy, as well as Joanne coming up with the name for a girl and asking Gabriel to select a name for a boy 🙂 Funny enough, Joanne rolled the want to “Have a Baby Girl” and Gabriel rolled the want to “Have a Baby Boy.” Too funny, hahaha. On that note, when Joanne got pregnant if MasterController said the odds were in favor of a girl I was going to try and influence it with apples, BUT I didn’t have to at all because MC said the odds were largely in favor of a boy. Worked out well for me because I don’t like influencing/cheating it, lol.

      Oh I normally gloss over it too, but in this case that felt like a discredit to how truly monumental this moment was for both Joanne and Gabriel. I haven’t yet had a baby myself, so I actually had to do a ton of research to write this chapter! I read so many birth stories I’m surprised I didn’t have nightmares, LOL. Glad it made you laugh—it was meant to be a little comical XD I mean…you’ve got to have at least some shred of humor going into THAT XD Poor doll, but she really did do so well ❤

      EEEEE YESSS. I’m so excited for genetic meshing too! Thus far Milo seems to take after Gabriel, but it’s nearly impossible to tell in burrito-baby stage -_- NEXT CHAPTER, lol.

      School will in fact take up most of my time, but one of my goals this semester is to manage my time more effectively. Even though it paid off, I feel like I spent an inordinate amount of time on school work by not being more efficient, thereby leaving little time for anything else and I really don’t want a repeat of that. I mean, it may just be what it is because these are graduate level courses, but you can bet that I’ll try! I NEED MY SIMS, hahahaha XD

      Thank you so, so, so much for reading and commenting!! Loving the unstranger-fied you XD

  6. *pants heavily*
    Oh my gosh, how on earth do I even start to write a comment???!!!!!!
    I need to do that thing you do when you start writing the comment as your read it, then add to it as you read on, because now I’ve forgotten loads of it because OF BABY MILO!!!!!!!! He is so cute! His brown hair and babyness XD GgggggaaaahhhhHHH!!!!!
    I have to say though, after reading this it does really make me wanna baby O.O my husband might track you down and scream at you 😉 lol, not really.

    I really loved how you described the whole experience of the pregnancy, it adds so much to the overwhelming joy that comes at the end, because you’ve experienced the whole thing with them! I was so sad when her dad told her they were moving away, I was like WAHH?! Seriously?!?!!! I have to admit, I got kinda mad with him, giving her that choice that wasn’t really a choice, I mean why would you leave instead of being able to be there for your grandchild! You only get one chance with these little people when they’re that little! GAH!
    But it was lovely Gabe who swung into the rescue 😀 It hadn’t even occurred to me that they could move too! Mainly because Jo’s pregnant and I didn’t think the game allowed you to move world when one of the sims is preggo…how did you work around that?

    Anyway, yeah what I was saying was that I can’t really do that whole comment while reading thing, because I really didn’t want to see what colour blanket the baby would be wrapped in! For once in my life I didn’t want to know the ending, it had to be a surprise (I must trust you loads!) 😉

    Ahh! I just loved this chapter, it has taken me two days to read it (sorry) I just hate skimming over bits, I need to read every little bit, can’t miss a thing O.O MUST KNOW EVERYTHING!!
    LOL

    I love all the poses you do, do you make the poses yourself? I love how natural they look, I get so frustrated with them sometimes, fingers disappearing and sometimes just not working at all! But you never seem to have this problem! HOW DO YOU DO IT??? The facial expressions too, just priceless, I actually loled when Gabriel got to the bottom of the stairs only to find that Jo was stuck on the sofa, I could just tell how much fun you must have had writing that scene, writers paradise those moments, too precious to speed read! Protective head gear…a bicycle helmet should work ok, or a hard hat, yeah hard hat, she’s pregnant after all. XD

    Hope grad school is going well for you! And you don’t get too bogged down with homework and stuff! We do miss you already!!! 😀
    Awesome job, as always! I’m so happy that they’ve had a baby but ultimately sad that the end of their generation is coming, but I do trust you! I know what ever you write will be brilliant! I love you MILO!!!

    1. LOL, yes, I always have to write the comment as I go or else I forget large chunks of what happened or what I wanted to say. I don’t write the comment in the “Comment Box” though because I don’t like spoiling it for myself either!!! I open up Word, drag it to the right side of my screen, and then drag the chapter over to the left. That way, I read the chapter and click over to the other side to write my reactions. Then, at the end, I copy/paste what I wrote into the box, proofread and fix the spacing, and then hit submit. That way too I don’t lose my comment. Sometimes WordPress eats it if you time-out! >:O

      HAHAHA, oh no, I guess I better hide from your husband 😉 It’s the opposite with my boyfriend. This chapter makes HIM want to have a baby, LOL. I’m like “Omg no, not for at least another 5 years!” He gets baby fever so hard sometimes, it’s ridiculous XD Hahahaha. He knows that I’m right though about waiting—we’re both still in school for goodness sake! Plus, ya know, I’d ideally want that ring down the line, haha XD

      Aw, thank you so much! I had to do a lot of research to describe the experience, but it was definitely worth it because when that little baby was born even I was tearing up, LOL. Never have I been so moved by a sim birth XD

      Completely understandable that you got a bit angry at James 😉 So did Joanne! Of course, James and Candice did make the decision before they found out and once they did, there was definitely a moment there where they debated turning back on it, but in the end that wouldn’t be right and you can bet that they would visit frequently! Like Gabriel pointed out though, they could move too 😉 They haven’t yet however though; both families are still in Starlight Shores for the time being, so Joanne won’t be pregnant at the time of the move if they so choose to relocate to Hidden Springs as well 😉

      Aw, no worries! I always need to read every little bit too, and then I even stop and like contemplate it and stuff, LOL, so take your time! I’m super grateful that you read and comment at all! ❤

      I do not make the poses myself, but it would probably be a heckuva lot easier on myself if I learned. I actually have 480 pose packs in my game currently, plus a 1.04 GB folder of pictures of these poses along with their pose codes!!! It’s freaking ridiculous, I know. I might have a problem, hahahaha. Honestly, I get frustrated too and a lot of time I do a lot of fiddling with the ALT key to align them such that their fingers don’t disappear and such. This means that sometimes I align it perfectly JUST FOR THAT ANGLE and then snap the shot because I realize the rest doesn’t show up in the photo. For instance, I guess most poses are designed for skinny guys, because I’m always having issues with Joanne clipping into Gabriel because he does have some weight to him, so like I’ll move her so that from the side shown it all looks fine, but meanwhile on the other side her hand might be in his spleen or something, LOL. Or in cases where I can’t do that, I do a lot of messing with camera angles to “hide” imperfections. In the worst cases, I try to do a bit of editing (like when there’s a hole in James’ freakin’ glitch-ass hair) to cover it up. I only recently started doing that one though as I’m not too skilled in photo-editing, lol.

      I did have fun writing that scene! Totally made myself laugh, LOL. Lol yes, a hard hat and perhaps some bubble wrap? We can just encase her in it, hahaha. I’m sure Gabriel would be amenable to the idea. He was fairly protective over her during the pregnancy…something I think outsiders would have noticed, but not really Joanne because she likes having him nearby ^_^;

      Aw, thank you! I am uh, actually already pretty darn bogged down with homework, but I’m definitely trying to stay on top of it! Eee yay, I’m so happy that you trust me! Though, I will admit, I’m pretty darn sad about the end of this too. It’s not necessarily Joanne’s point of view that I’ll miss since I sometimes find it challenging to write, but rather Joanne and Gabriel as a couple. I just love them so much T_T Awwwww hahaha, and Milo loves you! ❤ ❤ ❤

      Thank you as always for reading and commenting!

      1. That makes so much sense! Now I’m seriously wondering why the hell it never occurred to me to do that! *slaps head*
        You’re very lucky to have a man who isn’t terrified of babies, honestly I find it shocking! You get a big scary bloke and stick him in a room with a baby and zoom off he goes XD He does ok with my three year old nephew though, gives him excuses to play with lego and trains, honestly it’s so adorable! but ‘Hey honey…do you wanna baby?’ And it’s ‘Ahhh nope, no thanks, I’m good’ LOL

        I can so tell that you did research, it makes so much difference to a story, you’ve actually encouraged me to put a bit more research into my stories and not get lazy on the little details, I think when you’re writing, taking screenshots AND editing, making sets, outfits, poses etc, it’s alot to research into the story lines as well, so I take my hat off to you mate! It’s kinda like movie making really isn’t it…in a weird kinda way, especially with all the angels and stuff. I totally relate to the whole alt key, moving stuff around for different shots thing, I have to do that ALL THE TIME! And I totally agree with the whole ‘poses made for skinny guys thing’ like seriously! Jedd has some serious girth, and the troubles I’ve had with him! I think Brette has preformed surgery on his spleen a few times over the last few stories O.O I have the utmost respect for pose box creators and I’m always looking out for dark, straight faced poses to have in my stories, but seriously, they don’t always consider men with a little more…meat.

        I tried making my own poses once and I nearly lost everything in my game, it was terrifying. I don’t know if you remember the chapter when Jedd and Rod first met the new desk Sergeant (Wells) and I didn’t have any pics of him, it was because my game was no longer working, and my husband had to sweep in and save me, it was terrifying, I thought I was going to loose everything! But thankfully he was able to save it for me! It has kinda put me off trying to make pose boxes again though!
        Haha! I can totes relate to the ‘writing a scene and cracking up while you’re writing thing’ – It makes you look kinda crazy, but I do that alot XD Loving the bubble wrap idea 😀 lol

        And gah! Homework sucks! Like you don’t have enough stuff to suck the joy out of life without the added niggle of homework! Do they know what an awesome writer you are?! Tell them! Tell them to make sims stories your homework! Mwahahahahahaha! That would be so awesome if it worked…lemme know how it goes, k??
        And oh my gosh, I can’t even begin to understand how you feel at having to stop writing them *deep breathing* I don’t know if I could ever stop….maybe I’ll just keep writing back stories until there is just nothing left to write…that would work…right? Right??!!! LOL,

        And please! I love reading your stuff! It’s so feel good, I love how warm your writing it, it seems to reflect you a lot, dunno if anyone’s every told you that, you seem to be a very warm person and it certainly comes across in your writing. Someone told me once that writing is exposing your soul, I thought that was a bit deep and scary at the time, but it does show a bit of who you are, and you write such lovely stories, with just the right about of drama 😉
        You are such a superb writer I’m going to miss your sims, like so badly…I might cry.

        1. LOL perhaps one day he’ll be okay with it 😉

          Haha you know, it really is like movie-making, complete with set-building and costuming! LOL if I have difficulties with Gabriel, who isn’t even all that big in my opinion, you must have all kinds of trouble with Jedd because that man is BUILT. *brief pause for swooning* ….wait, what was I saying? OH RIGHT, spleen surgery! lolol. Our poor non-skinny men XD

          Oh my gosh that sounds terrifying! Thank goodness your husband was able to save everything. Eff pose-creation though, LOL. I know I really should learn, but I already put an inordinate amount of time into making chapters, so I feel like that would just be even MORE time. Though, I suppose once I’ve learned, it could save time in the long run….Maybe something to consider the next time I have a break 😛

          LOL you know, on the first day of class the professors always have us go around and introduce ourselves and what we hope to be as well as share a fun fact about us and I always do say that I write stories and even post them on a blog XD Unfortunately it hasn’t seemed to gain me any free passes though, LOL. That’d be amazing though, wouldn’t it? 😉

          ALL THE BACK STORIES, lol. I still have ideas in the back of my mind for doing Generation 4 specials from Candice’s point of view, or at least specials that reveal more about Candice’s past because I love her so much and I just feel like she didn’t get enough credit for how amazing she was during that whole time o_o Perhaps one day! I also have all these little side stories in my head revolving around Gabriel’s younger days with Daisy, but at the same time I love Joanne and Gabriel so much that it makes me feel weird to see him with Daisy, even if it is in a flashback XD Still, there are definitely some interesting stories I could write there. Gah, if only I could write completely freely and without ever having writer’s block! XD

          Aww wow, thank you so, so much! I’m back to grinning idiotically at my laptop screen. Not sure if anyone has called me a warm person, but I have been told that I’m a very happy, energetic person, hahaha. That always gets to me though because in my head I feel like I’m always irritated and/or brooding, LOL. Guess that’s not a side of me most people see though…except my boyfriend, who literally laughed when I told him about this comment. ASS. Hahaha. Still though, very much appreciate it ❤ Gives me all kinds of warm fuzzies! Thank you, thank you ❤ I shall do my very best to make sure my sims stick around!!

          1. Hehe, yeah he better 😉
            I’m so glad I’m not the only one swooning XD While writing I have to ask myself…could he do this scene topless…..*sigh* no, clothes in it is then. *deep sigh followed by serious sad face*
            Seriously though with some of those poses the men would have to be like SUPER skinny to be able to do them O.O

            >>the professors always have us go around and introduce ourselves…
            OH MY GOSH! I would die if I was told to do that! Unless I just walked up to someone and said; Hey, I’m Nici and I don’t like introducing myself! :O
            *shakes* You sound so much braver than I would be in that situation, I think I’d just stare at people as if I were a rabbit caught in the headlights…..

            Yes YES YES! Back stories! I LoooOOOOoooooVVVVvvvvee back stories! I’m still writing the history of Whitely’s character and I have to say, it’s so much fun! Delving into a character that you already love dearly can be tricky though, because taking too much mystery away can make the character less exciting (in my opinion) but it can mean that people start to feel more of an ownership over them, and that’s what I want at the end of the day, characters that aren’t just mine, but that my readers feel they kinda own too!
            I’d love to read some more of Gabriel’s back story; he’s such a great character. I’d love to know how he became the man he is now, although I can understand it being a little weird with him being with another woman an all, that was one of the drawbacks with doing Jedd’s back story! He was married and had an affair, I might still do it, but it would be a bit weird with Brette being pregnant and all!

            Oh and I can totally relate to the whole writers block thing! I always kinda live in fear of it striking right in the middle of publishing or something (hence why I have to write it all first) I have so much respect for all the writers on here who just flow all the time! I’m like ‘SERIOUSLY PEOPLE HOW THE HELL DO YOU DO IT??!!!!!’

            Hahaha! I can just imagine your boyfriend laughing at that for some reason, part of the beauty of being known through a blog, or through your writing, is that you have absolutely no idea how others view you! Someone told me the other day that they imagine that I look like Brette, and for a long while they thought I was a dude O.o

            Needless to say, I found it worrying, but then I thought about the little avatars you have next to comments, we do just assume that people are their avatars….right? Or is that just me being a crazy person? I mean you are Joanna in human form right?? But then I thought, hold up I have Jedd as my avatar…what does this mean??? AAAGGHHRRhhh! LOL *face melts* I am not a dude! *cries and melts into puddle on floor*

            (Oh and btw, I totes wrote this is word and pasted it in *beams proudly* I’m so grown up)

            1. LOL: “Could he do this scene topless?” I ASK MYSELF THE SAME QUESTION. Ahahahahahaha! So nice to know that I’m not alone in this XD

              Ah yeah, the whole introduction bit used to give me a severe case of the butterflies and shaky voice, but I’ve done it so many times now that though I’m still a bit nervous it isn’t as big of a deal anymore. I suppose being a teacher for three years helped that too, lol. I still sometimes worry afterward though that I sounded like a complete idiot. My only comfort is that I’ll likely never see them again after that class is up! XD

              Ooh you know, I never thought about that, but you’re right, delving into a character that you already love can take too much of the mystery away. Sometimes that is part of the appeal. Seems like a balance has to be struck, and I admit I’m not sure where the tipping point lies o_o Guess that’s why things like editors exist, eh? XD Well if I ever get inspired enough, going a bit more deeply into Gabriel’s character couldn’t hurt too much, but I guess we’ll see! 😉

              “I mean, you are Joanne in human form, right?” LOL. No, but I totally do the same exact thing! Like, I “see” the person as their avatar UNLESS I’ve seen a picture of them otherwise, in which case I sometimes vaguely picture that. So in your case, I don’t imagine you looking like Jedd, LOL. I actually imagine you holding that minions mug up to your face since that’s the photo you have on your About Page XD

              Hahaha, yay for Word! I’m currently typing this there too XD Such a life-saver sometimes =O

  7. THis was such a sweet chapter, Jo’s so adorable when she’s pregnant, I’m so glad that they’ve finally been able to conceive; my heart was breaking when I heard about he false positive, but then the doctor started chuckling and everything was so sweet.
    Aww, poor doll, I don’t know how labor feels, but I admire anyone that goes through it, considering that my thoughts are “fuck fuck fuck stopppp” when ever I accidentally hurt myself- and walking into a doorframe, stubbing your toe, or falling off my yoga ball that doubles as my desk chair into the corner of my desk can’t hurt a fourth as bad as birthing a teeny, squishy human.
    Milo James is such a lovely name! I love the name James and since there’s sentimental reasons for Jo, it’s even lovelier. Capri Anna is an adorable, artistic sounding name, too… Maybe Jo and Gabriel will have another child and get to use it? 😉

    I can sympathize with you when it comes to school; I wanted to finish my legacy’s first generation over the summer and it ended up taking my a solid five weeks to publish anything, due to meetings and projects and essays, though real life does come first, even if sometimes the legacy world is less stressful, haha. 🙂

    1. Thank you so very much ❤ I thought Joanne was incredibly adorable too whilst pregnant. I probably have like 400 pictures devoted to that little bump alone, LOL. It melted my heart so hard and every want that Gabriel rolled revolved around that baby and oh my god, it was almost too much to handle, lol. Clearly I'm very invested in these little pixels XD

      Oh man, I don't know how labor feels either so I admittedly had to do a lot of research to write this chapter. I read so many birth stories I'm surprised I didn't have nightmares XD That's pretty much what my thoughts boil down to too when I'm in pain though, so I felt it would be like that, only times hundred for birth, haha.

      Thank you ❤ I'm absolutely in love with the name Milo James, one because I genuinely like both of those names, but two because as you said, they have such sentimental value. Not sure if they'll have another child or not, but knowing me I may not be able to resist in the end! I would like to use the name "Capri Anna" and I have others in mind just in case. I don't see them having more than two, but you never know 😉

      RIGHT? That is pretty much exactly what happened to me, even during the summer when I didn't have much going on. Unfortunately, as you said, real life does come first though so there we go. You have a legacy in the first generation? What's the link? =O I'd love to get caught up with it 🙂

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting!!! It makes me so happy ^_^

      1. I also took ten, twenty, make a thousand photographs of my sim when she was pregnant, there’s something about there digital baby bumps that are just adorable, haha. 🙂 Capri Anna is such a lovely name, I can’t wait to find out how you’ll use it, I’m sure it’ll be wonderful. 🙂

        Here’s the link to my legacy: http://withloveasims3legacy.blogspot.com, I’ve (finally) managed to finish the first generation, I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

        1. Right!? I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of them, hahaha.

          Thank you ❤ If Joanne and Gabriel have another child AND if said child is a girl, I'll use the name Capri Anna 🙂 Otherwise….¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          Thanks so much! I'm sure that I will ^_^

  8. I am caught up! I used to read a long, long time ago, so long that I just restarted. And so glad I did! Though my eyes are swollen and puffy after sobbing my way through the first half of this generation last night!
    I am so in love with Gabriel. He is just beautiful, inside and out, and so perfect! I’m pretty sure that Jo is my favorite Winters, too, so I can’t wait to see baby Milo. He’s going to be so precious! I hope the next post has much toddler spam. 🙂
    Your writing, as usual, is nothing short of spectacular. You inspire me to work harder on my own, especially since I’m in the first gen of my new legacy after losing the Seabrookes. 😥 First gens are always more difficult, it seems to me. Maybe because we haven’t watched them grow, and aren’t as invested yet?
    Anyway, I have thoroughly enjoyed reacquainting myself with the Winters, can’t wait for more when you get time!

    1. You know, I thought your screen name looked familiar, and then when I clicked on your profile I thought the “Seabrookes” sounded familiar too, plus I didn’t have to approve your comment, so that makes sense 🙂 Welcome back!!!!!!! o(^◇^)o I’m so flattered that you remembered Different Winters even after all this time o_o;

      Oh no! *hands tissues* I don’t blame you. I admit I got teary eyed writing some of those parts too T_T Joanne’s life has been a true roller coaster.

      Hahaha, I am glad I’m not alone in my love for Gabriel 😉 Sometimes I sit here like, “I shouldn’t love this fictional, pixelated character so much,” and then I see him in game or he pops into my mind and I’m like, “BUT I DO!! I SO DO!!!!!” There’s just something about him that even I can’t put my finger on and I’m the one who created him….Hmmm :/

      Aw, Joanne is your favorite Winters? She gives you a big hug for that! I know many have found her to be frustrating, haha, but I love her too 🙂

      MILO. I am SO freaking anxious to see him too, but I haven’t had the chance yet to write and play further. I’m half tempted to make a copy of the save for “picture taking” purposes and then just continue with the normal Winters save so I can see him because he really is sure to be precious I think! The next post will have SO MUCH toddler spam!!!! In fact, that’s the main reason I’m struggling with it: Every idea that pops into my head is a bunch of fluff with Milo, which of course will be included, but I need to structure it better so there’s actually a plot that connects the chapter instead of it just being random, adorable scenes. Argh, very frustrating, but I’m certainly looking forward to figuring it out.

      Oh jeez, thank you (๑′°︿°๑) You’re too kind T_T I’m humbled to hear that my writing inspires you to work harder on your own. You’ve started a new one? I don’t think I saw it on your Hub. What’s the link? I’d love to read it. First generations really are the toughest, I think partly because you’re still trying to figure things out, but also like you said: We’re not as invested yet. I can definitely say that I feel infinitely more connected to James, Joanne, and Gabriel than I am to say Aubrey or Noah, though I do still like them. It’s just…the feelings are different, haha.

      I’m glad that you thoroughly enjoyed reacquainting yourself with the Winters and I hope that you won’t have to wait too long! Of course, judging by my pace, it’ll be longer than I want it to be 😦 Hopefully though, it will be well worth the wait. After all, it’s going to feature little Milo!! AHHH!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

  9. Gah. before I start commenting from the beginning of the chapter, LOL, I just wanted to say the lyrics about Gabriel’s name are making me tear up.

    I liked the false positive thing you did, LOL, because otherwise Joanne throwing up THAT much while not being pregnant could have meant some terrifying illness or something. XD I also got to say, ahh man, I enjoyed your description about her pregnancy. I myself, hate writing pregnancy chapters because I never know what the fuck to write, LOL. But you did well. Really well. 😀

    That is a great suggestion, for Joanne and Gabriel to make a move to Hidden Springs, if Joanne is really that distraught about being away from her family. Although I wonder if their band will still continue. I felt like it could be continued because they could travel for work like they did for the Bridgeport gig. Bands are also not something that has to be in the same place all the time.

    Congrats to the happy family. I’m happy James and Candice were there too. ^_^ Looking forward to see what Milo looks like.

    1. Oh god don’t even get me started–I can’t even see the song on my iTunes without getting all emotional T_T Doesn’t help at fucking all that I used to listen to the song on repeat when I was trapped at the bottom of my own personal well. I don’t even know why that song….Maybe it was a plea for someone to save me, or rather, maybe it was the feeling that I knew, technically, that I could manage life on my own and that I didn’t need anyone else….but I wanted someone else. Someone to bring me light. Someone to make me feel less alone.

      So maybe it makes sense then that even in the beginnings of this generation, I knew that song would be the one to inspire the character of Gabriel and the nature of the relationship he would come to have with Joanne. I knew in advance that she would need help, but I didn’t want it to be a typical “damsel in distress” scenario. That’s where Gabriel’s own personal story came into being and I knew then that they would come to save one another. Thus, the lyrics could go the other way too: They can both shine even in the darkness, but they crave the light that the other brings.

      Fuck, my eyessssss! WHAT IS ALL THIS MOISTURE!? I just can’t handle it!!!!

      ANYWAY *blinks rapidly so I can respond to the rest of your comment* I’m glad that you liked the false positive thing! I was actually a little nervous pulling that at first for fear of it being a “lame move,” but the fact of the matter is that it was never intended to be some terrifying illness XD Joanne was indeed pregnant ^_^ That Halloween was a very special night, I must say 😉

      Ohhhh my goshhhh I actually procrastinated this chapter at first because I was having such difficulties with the pregnancy parts, but I really wanted to write it in so I went ahead and did a ton of research, reading pregnancy stories and birth stories and how did I not have nightmares, honestly? LOL. Regardless, I’m very happy to hear that the research paid off! Thank you o_o;

      Yesssss Joanne and Gabriel should move to Hidden Springs!! In my head I don’t think the move would affect their band too much….It’d just be some extra traveling. I mean, they already do a lot of traveling, it’s just that they obviously do a lot more shows in Starlight Shores than say, Hidden Springs, so now in addition to their pretty regular visits to Bridgeport they’d probably have to make pretty regular trips to Starlight Shores too, since it is a major city and all where they do lots of performances. The biggest question is how the arrival of Milo will affect the band :X

      Hehe yes, I of course had to include James and Candice in there ^_^ No way would they miss the birth of their first grandchild!

      I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING WHAT MILO LOOKS LIKE TOO, hahaha. Well, I did get a brief peek of him as young adult and all I can say is that I very nearly fell out of my chair. He is PERFECT. I just cannot, lol. I didn’t allow myself too long to look though because I don’t like to spoil it all for myself, so I haven’t seen him in an other age stage and didn’t even get to play around with his style XD That will be for later! ^_^

      Thanks a million for reading and commenting! I always look forward to seeing what’s on your mind!

  10. Milo is perfect. I love him already, though I was kinda hoping for a girl. But now Ryan’s girl Audrey and Milo can be best friends! YAY! Aw everything is coming together for them. I’m really happy, Jo deserves this happiness.

    1. ISN’T HE JUST!? HE’S MY SWEET LITTLE MUFFIN CHILD. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH AND HE’S STILL A BURRITO BABY, lol.

      Ooh, a little girl, eh? Well, this may not be the only child that Joanne and Gabriel have….So perhaps they’ll have a girl next time 😉

      But oh yes for sure–Audrey and Milo will definitely be best friends!

      I’m glad that you’re happy–she most certainly does ^_^

    1. In full disclosure, I needed to Google this specific look, but now that I have OMG, I totally see why you would say that! I now feel the urge to brush Gabriel’s hair back again like he did at his wedding and stick a pair of sunglasses on him. YEAHHHHHHHH. Definitely similarities there! =O

  11. hfeoiahdska
    That was really well written!
    All the pregnancy details you added was perfect, and the relationship between Jo and Gabriel just keeps growing and BABY. ITS A BABY BOY. Yaaayyyy!
    Really, this was an awesome chapter, and it was so cute how they both sung to Milo and he calmed down, and how they called him Baby in general which was really really cute, and I just adore this little family and gaaahhh I’m out of chapters now ;-;
    But that also means I can officially press the follow button! (if I press it too early I’m afraid of getting spoilers)

    1. Wow, thank you so much! You just put the biggest smile on my face, haha. I’m so glad that you enjoyed this =)

      And YESS, a baby boy!!!!! I seriously couldn’t be happier as that’s secretly what I wanted them to have =P

      Gahhhh, you’re making my face hurt from all this smiling!! Thank you T_T Haha, I really loved that scene I had to admit. Every time I go back to it I sing the song to myself and ahhhhhhh, I adore this little family too and I really need to write them more chapters but my brain won’t cooperate and WHY CAN’T I HAVE NICE THINGS!?!?!?!

      Oooh, yay for an official follow! I can’t express my gratitude enough so again, THANK YOUUUU! It’s wonderful having you as a reader and I sincerely appreciate all the comments and “Likes” you left for me on your journey to catching up. I hope I’ll have something new for you all in due time.

      Now *TACKLE HUG* YOU ARE AWESOME!

      1. You’re welcome!! Reading and commenting was so much fun XD
        Thank YOU for sharing this story 🙂
        Your writing brain is probably just like on a holiday chilling out on a beach and just going “sshhh, let me just finish this last drink first”. (My own brain almost did that a few days ago, but I brought it right back. If I can’t go on vacation, neither can it T_T)
        But really (everyone probably says this), take your time. We’ll just sit here and sip some Earl grey while we wait.

  12. Can you believe I’m completely caught up? Love love loved this chapter. I was beginning to worry that they wouldn’t ever get pregnant! So glad that they did and hopefully it’ll bring them even closer together. I hope they do move to Hidden Springs then they can stay close with everyone. I had a feeling it would be a boy just because they were expecting the baby to be a girl. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

    1. Hehe, I actually can believe that you’re completely caught up since you’ve been reading so diligently! Plus I haven’t updated in months soooo that’s probably made catching up a lot easier, hahaha.

      Aww, hehe, it did seem like they’d never get pregnant, didn’t it? Of course, it is a DITFT sooo there’s got to be an heir 😉

      I hope they decide to move to Hidden Springs as well, especially since the next generation is Family after all ^_^; We’ll see though….Joanne has lived in Starlight Shores her entire life….It’s difficult for her to imagine herself anyplace else and Hidden Springs is quite the change.

      LOL, right?? I’m super happy though because I’m dying to switch to a male heir again. I really like how the heirs/heiresses have switched off thus far and I’d like to continue that pattern.

      I have lots written right now, but I need to grab time to get photos! Plus, I’ve actually been so into writing that as I’m trying to figure out what photos I’ll need I’ll find myself writing out even more instead. Hrmm well, I guess I’ll go with it, lol. I will say though that you’ll get Augustus and Gemma updates before we return to Joanne’s story again, but hopefully you’ll enjoy it all the same ^_^;

      Thank you so, so much for reading and commenting. I appreciate your readership more than you know! *hugs*

  13. Beautiful chapter!

    I’d have to go back to Gen.1, but isn’t Hidden Springs where this all started? I like the relationship between Jo and her dad. I might envy it even (having a jerk for a father would do that).

    I think it’s sweet that Jo wanted a baby for so long, and when it finally happened, she’s wondering what the hell she got herself into. Hormonal changes are fun!…Not. I love how Gabriel would go out of his way to make her feel comfortable and loved. I especially enjoy the banter between them. They are made for each other.

    Milo is an adorable name. I reminds me of this brand of powdered milk I used to eat as a child…brings back fond memories.

    Finally caught up! I can now go over all of the spoilers on tumblr without being confused as to what those are! I need to go back a few chapters and leave comments though.

    1. Thank you so much, Eileen!

      No, Hidden Springs isn’t where it all started–it started in Neverglade! ^_^ There are certainly similarities between the two though. Apparently I have a clear preference of world-type, hahaha. Oh man, I get what you mean. I actually have a good relationship with my dad and I still envy the relationship that Joanne and her father have. My dad and I are close, but on superficial terms…like we only really talk about movies, the weather, and stuff like that, which is fine, but then you have Joanne and her dad with this deep, openly caring relationship and yeah….It’s something special and I hope Joanne ultimately decides to join them in Hidden Springs because I’d hate not being able to see that anymore. She feels pretty uneasy about it though =/

      Hahaha yes indeed and already being a rather emotional/expressive person the hormonal changes hit her particularly hard XD Gabriel did make it infinitely easier though, that’s for sure. I’m happy to hear that you feel they’re made for one another–I completely agree ^_^;

      Ahh, I love the name Milo too! I didn’t even know that was a brand of powdered milk though, hehe. Now it sounds even cuter to me =)

      LOL yeah I totally try not to post spoilers on Tumblr, but sometimes it gets to be a little inevitable, so congratulations on successfully avoiding them and getting all caught up! I can’t express enough how happy it makes me that you took the time to read this. THANK YOU!!! And thank you for commenting too! I look forward to seeing your future thoughts as I continue to update this story ^_^;

  14. Oh my gosh. What a whirlwind. I just read the last three or four chapters in one go. And everything happened. Like, geez. Wow. You really don’t pull any punches. Let’s start this in a somewhat organized manner.

    Ryan. Love the guy. Yay! Child! I hope we get to see the little guy soon!! I also really like seeing more of Ryan’s interactions with everyone else. I think he’s such a great character.

    James and Catherine (name/spelling?) are adorable. And they’re moving. I hope that Jo and Gabriel move as well because I love keeping families in the same town. And also I love seeing new towns and new houses. Jo and Gabby definitely need a new house. I thought that Jo would die on the stairs during her pregnancy.

    And Jo’s pregnancy. At first she wasn’t pregnant. And then she still wasn’t. And then she wasn’t but she still was? At the end of last chapter, I literally said out loud “Don’t fucking do this to me” as I clicked to the next chapter. I can’t imagine what other people who actually had to wait did. But the pregnancy was adorable and Gabby was so supportive. That was cute and stuff.

    And Milo is an adorable name. It’s so cute I can’t wait to see him grow up! I also hope they have at least one more kid, even though it would make it difficult for their professional careers.

    Very very excited for the next chapter and for the rest of the generation. I hope that the end of classes are going well (if you’re still having classes?). Also, sorry for not remembering the name of James’ wife. It’s just so difficult to scroll through and find specific things. Anyway, great chapter(s)! Looking forward to the next! Swim.

    1. Hahaha XD Yes, what a whirlwind indeed! Bahahaha you know, I’m actually really glad you said that though because I sometimes worry that with the longer my chapters get, the more I may be losing engagement because it might feel slow, so it’s good to know that though the chapters may be lengthy, they don’t typically feel slow at least, LOL. .> Hehehe. That’s the benefit though of catching up with a story–you don’t have to wait on those cliffhangers! Also, thank you ❤ I'm glad you thought the pregnancy was adorable =) Gabriel really was very supportive and I can only imagine he'll be much the same with taking care of little Milo too.

      ISN'T IT!? I'm already so in love with the name and Milo himself and he's only a baby! I think it would be wonderful if they had at least one more kid too, but as you said it would be difficult for their professional careers and Joanne already got antsy about being away from the limelight as it was. Hmmm. I foresee some serious conversations ahead…potentially, hehe.

      I'm happy to hear that you're excited for the new chapter and the rest of the generation =) I've even added to the generation if you've seen by writing Augustus' and Gemma's stories too. It's put a bit of a delay on Joanne's story, but I've been enjoying writing their stories too much to stop, lol.

      This is my last week of classes, which means finals. I am dying inside, but come next Monday I will finally be FREE, FREE, FREE, which hopefully means more writing!!!! I've probably got another Augustus and Gemma update up my sleeve, followed by a Joanne update I think? Hopefully, lol. I need to work it all out.

      Thank you and thank you soooo much for reading and commenting! I really appreciate it! ❤

  15. Okay so this is the first chapter I’ve read and it’s so sweet! I regret not joining wordpress sooner because there are so many wonderful stories that I wish I had caught from the beginning! I LOVE their relationship. I mean, I’m a sucker for that kind of cute romance anyway, but these two are especially cute. I adore that the naming theme is songs! I love naming themes, I don’t know why xD
    Are you going straight into generation six now, or are there more chapters of gen five left (I know there are the extra two posted after this but I figured I’d stick to the main family so I didn’t meet so many new characters at once xD). I wish I had more days off before I go back to uni because there are so many things I want to read >.< Would you recommend a recent starting point for me, maybe? That would be awesome 😀

    1. Ahhh, thank you so much!!!!! I love their relationship too, especially given how far they’ve come to get to this point o__o But I’m a sucker for that kind of cute romance too, so I feel like every couple ends up becoming my new favorite, lmao.

      Haha, thank you! I actually have a naming theme for every generation that fits its theme. So since the first generation was “farming” it was nature/plant names, then for “business” it was the names of famous CEOs…stuff like that, lol. Sometimes it’s more subtle and other times it’s more noticeable, like now =)

      Umm so my original plan was to have a couple more chapters of Generation 5 to wrap it up, but since I’ve been so completely uninspired (their story is basically told) it might just end up being one conclusion chapter? I’m still sort of figuring it out because I’ve been currently working on the stories of Joanne’s siblings, particularly Gemma and Augustus, which you’ll see as “Generation 5 Special: Augustus and Gemma” and its parts. I have updates in plan for them, and then I hope to go back to the main story line, finish it already, and then start the 6th, lol. With grad school classes starting again though who knows how that will end up T__T

      As for a recent starting point….I’m not really sure….I mean in my head Generations 4 and 5 go together, so it makes sense to me to start at the beginning of Gen 4. I think you could probably skip the first 3 and not be too ill effected by it. But if that’s still a lot, then I would just say starting at the beginning of Generation 5, as you’ll get to know not only the main characters, but also the siblings so when you get to the spin-offs they’ll make more sense, lol. I realize that’s probably still a lot maybe…but I can’t think of another point! =O Maybe you’ll get little down-time moments while at Uni in which you can read, lol. Idk, but I’m super excited to have you here and I hope that whatever you decide, you’ll enjoy what you read!

      Welcome to Different Winters and thank you for commenting!

      1. I’ll try to start at generation five for now and then I can always go back if I have some time! I will have downtime for the first week of uni (more than I have now – shortage at work means I have to give up all of my days off except one D:) but it’s my final year so we’ll see how that goes xD Still, I’m excited to read more, wherever I end up starting! Thank you for your wonderful reply ^.^

          1. Thank you! I’m looking forward to going back but not to the work. I’m feeling a bit meh about my dissertation topic already xD And you’ll be seeing comments from me as I work my way through 😀

            1. Yes, that’s how I feel too. I’m excited because this is my last year of classes before my practicum and it feels like I can finally see the end of my school days, but at the same time the pile of assignments I already have is making me want to crawl beneath my bed covers and never emerge, lmao. I won’t do that, of course, but gahhh so tempting! XD

              Oh and yessss I’ve been seeing your comments and I’m working my way through replying to them now!! I’ve seriously loved every single one of them!!! *tackle hugs*

              1. Okay, I’m back to where I started xD I’m so, so glad I read the generation, I may just have to go further back and read more haha. But first I have the specials! So it’s my reward after work tomorrow.
                Oh, and on education – it’s brave of you to go onto grad school haha, I think my undergraduate study is bad enough. What is it you’re studying? I can’t remember if you mentioned it somewhere.

                1. Hahaha, well whether you do or don’t, I’m very very very appreciative of all the reading and the comments you’ve already done!

                  But yes, the specials!!! They’re actually my current focus now and I even have another little special update in the works :3 I’m just taking the photos for it ^_^

                  Ahhh, thank youuuu although sometimes I don’t know if it was very brave, or very stupid. The two seem to be next door neighbors, don’t they? Lol. I’m studying Clinical Psychology (Counseling Practice) with the goal of being a licensed therapist =)

                    1. Hah, well, I’m not so sure that I understand people better necessarily XD I mean maybe a bit, but certainly not to this like super power level or anything remotely close to that, hahaha. Honestly it’s really just sitting down and thinking, “What’s the motive behind why the character is saying this? How do they feel and why do they feel this way? What drives them? etc” and that’s what gets me to better understand them as a person. But it begs the questions….do I do that because of taking psychology classes, or did psychology appeal to me because I like thinking in those ways? WE MAY NEVER KNOW XD

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