Family Bonds

The Valentines Are Adjusting To A Toddler In The House And William Is Finding It Tough!

Summer, Year 5
Rosie pouted into the mirror as she gazed at her reflection. She’d recently had her hair done in a new style and she was experimenting with her clothes. At fifteen and with a boyfriend she adored, she was enjoying this critical period of her life.

Since her mother had become a Style Influencer, Rosie was finding it easy to ‘borrow’ Maggie’s make up and dressing table. As long as William didn’t notice her wearing too much make up before school, she usually managed to get away with it.

Maggie stared at the horror on her breakfast bar. William had always joked about her cooking but had it really got this bad? She shook her head disbelievingly. She blinked several times, suddenly finding herself wondering why she’d thought a taco casserole would be a good idea for breakfast. Christopher and Rosie were never going to eat that and William certainly wouldn’t.
She was fairly certain it wouldn’t be advisable to feed it to Celestia, either.

Rosie sat down and poked at the food on her plate. “What the hell is this?” she asked.
Maggie shrugged. “Taco casserole.”
Before Rosie could even ask the most obvious question, William came into the kitchen. He, too, stared at the plate on the table. Then he glanced up at Rosie. “What are you wearing?”
“Clothes,” Rosie shot back quickly and instantly regretted it.
William’s temper flared. “I meant on your face. You’re wearing makeup. At fifteen, you’re sitting there plastered in makeup!” He shook his head. “Upstairs, now! Wipe that off before you go to school!”
Rolling her eyes, Rosie did as she was told. She had some makeup in her locker at school; she could redo it in the toilets before her first lesson.

“She’s fifteen, Father. Just let her enjoy being a teenager.” Ryan quickly blocked an incoming blow from his father. He’d called round for a visit and found his very angry father alone at home with Celestia; Maggie was at work and Christopher and Rosie were at school. William had taken to surprising Ryan with sparring practice every time he visited.
“She’s still a child,” William replied hotly.
“Maybe but try listening to her,” Ryan suggested. “Come on Father, don’t alienate her too.”

Later, Maggie settled herself in the study to type out her next blog post for her new fashion blog. She sighed as she glanced around the room, waiting for inspiration to hit. This used to be William’s study, before he’d retired and it still had a very Navy-inspired feeling to it. Even though he never really used it any more, she didn’t have the heart to redecorate. Not yet, anyway.

Celestia Valentine had recently celebrated her first birthday. Maggie had been pleasantly surprised to see her daughter had blonde hair; the only other blonde in the family was Elliott and she knew he’d often felt like he didn’t quite fit with all his dark haired siblings. Maggie wished that sort of thing hadn’t ever mattered to him but it did. Both Ryan and Christopher looked so much like their father; even Rosie had a lot of his features.
Family genetics would never cease to confuse but fascinate her.

After school, Rosie and Christopher liked to escape upstairs to spend some time with their sister. Invariably, William and Maggie would descend into another argument about Maggie’s career, Rosie’s makeup and clothes, Christopher’s basketball team, Elliott’s music or Ryan’s choice of girlfriend and neither of them wanted to sit in on that.
Rosie loved teaching Celestia different words using her new flash cards and Christopher was determined to get his baby sister talking.
Nobody talked about how neither William or Maggie were doing these things.

The following evening, Rosie was up in her bedroom, working on some homework and browsing makeup videos on Simtube when there was a knock on her door.
“Rosie? It’s Ryan. Can I come in?”
Rosie looked up. “Yeah, course.”
“Hey.” Ryan stepped into his sister’s room. “Is everything okay?”
“Yeah,” Rosie replied. “Why wouldn’t it be?”
“Mum told me about Dad’s outburst yesterday. About your makeup, clothes and everything.”
“Oh that.” Rosie sighed. “I don’t understand the fuss.”
“Dad’s always like that.” Ryan shook his head. “He’s been like this for years, Rosie; before you were born. He’s been obsessed with us all being ‘perfect’. Well, his definition of perfect anyway. He wants me, Elliott and Chris in the military and he wants you, Mum and probably Celestia to be delicate and feminine and all that stuff. It’s the military upbringing, I think.”
“Well that’s no excuse!” Rosie scowled.
“I know.” Ryan replied. “It wasn’t intended to be. But that’s the reason. And I don’t know if he can change.”
Rosie sighed and quickly wiped the tears from her eyes. “He hates Mum’s job,” she said, changing the subject.
Nodding, Ryan shrugged. “I know. The idea that Mum’s styling people with Hayley drives him crazy.” He chuckled. “You should hear what he said about Hayley.”
“I like her,” Rosie said, smiling. “I had a photo taken with her two years ago, at the UTA festival.” She pointed to the shelf above her desk.
Ryan came over and grinned. “You both look great in that.” He squeezed Rosie’s shoulder. “I’ll have to get you to meet her properly, Rosie. I know Elliott wants to talk music with her some time. But maybe we could have lunch with you sometime?”
Rosie’s eyes lit up. “That would be wonderful!” She jumped up and hugged her brother. “Thank you, Ryan!”

As William tucked his youngest daughter into bed several nights later, he watched her sleep for a moment. She looked so peaceful; a definite contrast to the tense silences from his wife and daughter and disapproving looks from his son. Even Ryan wasn’t returning phone calls and Elliott hadn’t replied to his email yet either. He felt like he might really have done it this time.

Meanwhile, Christopher had his headphones on and was setting up his stream. His homework done, he was determined to get a decent stream going tonight; the tension in the house lately hadn’t put him in the best frame of mind for streaming and it frustrated him. Apart from basketball, gaming was his biggest passion and being able to share the love via his livestreams was always a perfect end to a day.

Rosie was settled in her room, finishing off a sketch on her digital pad. She was enjoying her art classes at school and her drawing had developed into a full blown hobby recently.
She paused and listened intently as she heard her father walk away and head down the stairs. Hastily, she put the pad down and stood up.

She’d been talking to Ryan a lot over Simstagram recently and she’d finally decided to do what she’d been wanting to do for ages; makeup videos. She’d done her research, knew more than most of her friends about the subject and she was determined. Nobody but Ryan knew about it; he’d raised concerns about her putting herself on Simtube but he’d said he’d support her. Right now, that was what mattered to her as she switched on her camera and started filming.

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