Some things, so they say, are unavoidable. So it is with Sims as well sometimes. Mestral has a rough life after thanking his stars for the luck he's had before his wife died.
"Daddy, I'm so hot!"
"Sweetheart, you're burning up. I heard you sneezing. I told you when you're sick you have to rest. Were you in your room resting?"
"I was jumping on my bed. Resting is boring."
"Darling, Perth, lets get you a cold drink and a cool shower. Come on."
But alas, Perth was not getting better, yet insisted on going to school. Her teacher informed the guidance counselor, who - being awful at her job - panicked and phoned the social worker who had the children removed from the home for neglect.
"Daddy, I don't want to go with that woman. Who is that?"
Mestral held back the flood of tears behind his eyes. It felt as if his whole head were full of tears just bursting to be let loose. Not his girls. Not his baby girls.
"Sir, you have to give me the baby."
"Aaron is mine. Sydney and Perth and Gunther and Aaron are mine. You'll not take them from me."
"Look, Mr. Aha, I'm just doing my job. We have to investigate every case and for now, your children will be placed in protective care until the investigation is finished. If nothing turns up, you'll have them back in a few weeks."
Mestral sighed, knowing you can't fight the government and you can't run with your children, so he handed Aaron to the social worker and somehow didn't fall to his knees directly afterward as all the strength left his body as his children left his house, shuttled into a big blue van.
He barely heard the social worker tsk as she picked up Gunther "Eating cat food, disgraceful." Mestral felt all hope was lost.
"We'll be in touch."
Mestral was a wreck. "My children. My last reminders of my wife. Oh Amy. I need you and you've left me. And I've botched things up so badly that our kids are gone." And then he cried with all the wailing his sorrow held.
Mestral spent the next several weeks waiting for the social worker to phone, say everything was cleared up and he could have his kids back, just come get them. But that call did not come. In the mean time, he cleaned the high chair, and
sat in the nursery staring at the fingerpaints on the walls for hours. Eventually, the social worker did call. She stated he would not be getting his children back as the investigation had shown neglect. He raged to the telephone, but she merely hung up. Devastated and desperate, Mestral devised a plan.
"Gretchen, its Mestral. Listen...something terrible has happened. I need you to come stay with me."
"Mestral, I can't. Things would be too awkward between us."
"Gretchen, its the kids. They've been taken away from me. I need you to move in, get them back. I need my family, Gretchen. They're all I have."
"The kids? Amy's kids? My grandbabies? What happened?"
"A false report led to an investigation and they said I neglected them. You know I would never, Gretchen. You know I'm a good father."
Silence for a moment. "I know, Mestral. I can be there in 2 days time. I need to settle some things with the estate." And in two days, as promised, Gretchen moved in.Immediately, she placed the paperwork to adopt a child. She requested Sydney, the eldest. She knew this had to be hardest on the oldest children and figured she'd start there and get all 4 back as quickly as possible.
"Mrs. Johnson, I know you found some loophole in the system and that you are this child's grandmother. You also know that Mr. Aha is not to have babysitting or alone duties with this child. I am releasing her to your care."
"Yes, ma'am. I will make sure she is properly cared for."
"See to it that you do. We'll be keeping a close eye on you."
Mestral was overjoyed to have Sydney back. The house didn't feel like home yet, but it was definitely a start. By now, months had passed and Sydney was nearly teenaged. It was hard to see her so grown up. Mestral felt he'd missed so much and somethings were different between him and his not-so-little girl.
After the mandatory waiting period, Gretchen called to adopt Perth.
Perth was getting so big too. She wasn't the happy 8 year old she was when she left but a morose little 11 year old.
"Mrs. Johnson, we should tell you, we only let you have Perth because she is what we call 'unadoptable', a special needs case. Perth has become mute. Perhaps she will warm back up at home. We have tried everything: counseling, speech therapists, playmates her age and nothing. She has changed."
"She'll be fine now that she's home. What do you mean you weren't going to let me have her? What about Gunther and Aaron? What about getting the boys back? How long do I have to wait?"
"Mrs. Johnson, they've already been adopted. We have to adopt children out as young as possible. No one wants a teenager, but babies go - well, babies go like puppies in a store window. Haha. That's a little expression we have at the center. Ahem, yes, well. Anyhow, I'm sorry but that's all. Good luck with Perth."
Gretchen took the news poorly. Good thing the social worker didn't see.
Mestral mused, half to himself, "Ah, Amy, we have the girls back. It feels more like home, but they're so big now and this house, everything reminds me of you. Their bedroom with 4 beds, feels so hollow. I miss you Amy."
The girls grew up into fine young women. Just a week after Perth returned home, Sydney had her 15th birthday.
It felt like soon after, although it was a year, Perth turned 14. It had been so long since Amy had measured their height on that little bee decoration. Perth still never spoke. She looked at you so you knew she could hear okay, but she never responded, not even to shake or nod her head.
As if life hadn't been hard enough on the girls, Gretchen's time had come.
I had her buried next to my Amy.
When he went to visit their graves at the local cemetery, driving home during a sudden flurry of snow, the icy roads caused Mestral to have difficulty breaking and he wrecked the car...and died.
We turn our attention now to Sydney and Perth. Since Perth will not, Sydney will narrate.
Sometimes I tried to engage Perth (that's what the counselor called it "engage her in activities and conversations"), but she'd just stand there, blank and mouth agape. Even when I'd whomp her with a pillow. She just looked sad or blank.
I think I know why, but when I start to ask her about it, I get no response, so I can't tell. I used to protect her, at the foster homes. Sometimes we'd get nice families, but mostly we got placed in families that were awful where we were watched to change our clothes and bathe or forced to eat horrible things. I used to take beatings so Perth was spared. But when I got back home, Perth was all alone. I don't know what happened to her. Maybe she was molested. I can't know for sure. But she certainly seems distant. I know she CAN talk because I hear her cry and whimper in her sleep. Sometimes she repeats "no" and flails like she's trying to ward something off. I hope someday she'll come around enough to get past whatever happened. I feel bad that I didn't stay with her. I didn't have a choice, but I could have refused to come home without her.Its kind of annoying, but ever since Dad died, and its just us two in the house, Perth can't sleep unless I'm in bed too. She has to have me laying there, even if I just read. And when I get up, she wakes up too. I do it for her, but I don't know how we're going to ever lead a normal life. At least we have money enough to live for awhile. I'm having to learn how to pay bills and clean and cook - and I'm only 16! Its frustrating. I feel like my life's been taken from me like my mother's was and my grandmother's and my father's - and in some ways my sister's too.