Sunday, June 30, 2013

Chapter 6: Like Sand in an Hourglass

All day long, Delilah refused to cry, stubbornly burying her emotions under a fake, plastic smile, but now, after hours and hours of brutal silence, she finally lets go and allows the grief to wash over her. Not wanting to wake up Beau, Lila sneaks out of bed and makes her way to the nursery, but the sight of her babies, blissfully innocent and unaware, does little to soothe her broken heart.

“Delilah?” A sleepy voice echoes down the hall, and within seconds Beau appears in the doorway.

Delilah turns away from him, hoping to hide her red, tearstained cheeks, but Beau doesn’t need to see her face to know that she’s been crying. Coming up behind her, he slides his arm around her waist and pulls her in for a close embrace.

“You’re sad,” he murmurs in a worried voice.

Delilah shivers as his hot breath grazes against her neck, but she doesn’t move away or push aside his hands. “I’m fine,” she whispers, barely loud enough for him to hear.

Beau pauses, watching her uncertainly. He knows that someone died, a close friend of hers he presumes, but she refuses to tell him anymore than that. Indeed, Delilah pointedly avoided him all day today, practically running from him whenever he tried to talk to her, and the distance between them, the lack of trust in their relationship, bothers Beau more than he would like to admit.

With a heavy sigh, Beau brushes aside her hair and begins to kiss her neck, showing her that he loves her the only way he knows how, but Delilah tenses at the touch of his lips and squirms out of his grasp.

“Are you okay?” Beau asks as she turns around to face him.

“I’m fine,” she replies. Taking a deep breath, Delilah shuts her eyes and tries to regain control of her emotions. “Fine. I couldn’t sleep, and I wanted to check on the kids.”

Beau doesn’t look convinced, however. “You can talk to me, babe,” he tells her gently. “About anything. Ever.”

“I’m going for a walk,” she announces. “I need some fresh air.”

“I’ll go with you,” Beau offers, but Delilah just shakes her head and quietly slips out the door.

The brisk autumn breeze sends chills down her spine, biting at her bare skin and blowing straight through her thin clothes, but she doesn’t even notice. All that matters right now is that Kieran is dead, gone forever. The words feel so final to her, so terrifyingly absolute. She’ll never see him again, never hear the gentle hum of his voice or smell the soft scent of his skin. She’ll never talk to him again or laugh at his goofy smile, never kiss him or run her fingers through his charmingly unkempt hair. He’ll never meet her kids, never know their names or see their faces.

And I’ll never get to tell him how much I love him, she thinks with a sharp pang of regret.

After coming all the way to Jericho to break the sad news to her, Luca, Emily, and Atticus decide to stick around for a few more days to get to know Beau and the triplets. While Emily babysits the kids, Luca decides to interrogate his daughter’s boyfriend. Fortunately for Beau, the two men hit it off quite well, and they spend the better part of the afternoon engrossed in an enthusiastic discussion about the economics of the movie industry.

Delilah quickly grows bored of the conversation, however, and silently sneaks away to join her stepmom in the nursery.

Of everyone in the family, Emily seems the most broken up about Kieran’s death. Lost in her thoughts, she barely even glances up when Delilah enters the room, and her eyes, red and swollen from shedding so many tears, appear vacant and empty when they look upon her stepdaughter’s face.

Not knowing what to say, Delilah quietly shuts the door behind her and settles down on the floor at Emily’s feet. The two women sit together in silence for a while, taking what little comfort they can from each other’s presence, before Emily finally ventures to speak.

“They boys, they look like you,” she says softly. “I think they’ve got your coloring.”

Delilah nods in agreement, surprised by Emily’s choice of topic. “Fable seems to have Beau’s eye color though,” she replies with a sigh. “They have much more blue in them than either of her brothers’.”

“I’m not so sure,” Emily furrows her brow pensively. “They seem a bit too light to me. In fact,” she continues, watching Lila out of the corner of her eye, “they remind me of a pair of eyes I used to know. A pair of eyes I miss very much.”

Delilah looks up sharply. “N-No,” she stammers, suddenly feeling dizzy and out of breath. “She has Beau’s coloring. Whatever you’re suggesting, Emily, is wrong. Kieran and I- We didn’t- They’re not his! You’re wrong. That’s… That’s ridiculous.”

Emily’s lips curve into a worried frown, but her gaze remains kind and sympathetic. “You two have been in love since you were teenagers, Delilah,” she tells her bluntly. “Only a blind man could miss it. I’m not upset with you, Lila dear, if that’s what you think, but you can’t continue to string along another man like this. It’s not fair to him. It’s not fair to the kids.”

“No,” she snaps as a fresh wave of tears begins to stream down her face. “Kieran is dead, Emily. He’s gone, and no amount of wishful thinking is going to change that. Just- Just leave me alone!” Then, rising to her feet, Delilah turns around and storms out of the room, desperate to escape Emily’s knowing glare.

She wanders around outside for a while, enjoying the numbing chill of the cool afternoon breeze before finally collapsing onto a rickety old bench in a fit of tears. She feels worn out, stretched and exhausted. She doesn’t even know what the point is anymore. Living seems utterly meaningless without Kieran at her side.

“You loved him?”

Delilah jumps, startled by Atticus’ sudden appearance. “How did you-”

Atticus waves his hand impatiently. “Did you love him?” he asks again.

Lila hesitates. “He was my best friend,” she replies guardedly.

“I didn’t realize that,” the old mage frowns. “I knew that the boy had feelings for you, of course, but I wasn’t aware that you felt the same way about him.”

Delilah nods.

“You’d be happy to know that he died well,” Atticus continues. “Valiantly, fighting for something he believed in.”

“But- I thought… You said there was an accident. That he was driving, and a-”

Atticus shakes his head. “I only said that to satisfy your parents,” he explains solemnly. “They aren’t mages like us, and the truth would have hurt them worse than my lie.”

Glancing up, Delilah wipes a tear off her face and sits back. “What happened, Atticus?” she asks quietly.

Atticus sighs and carefully examines his granddaughter over the top of his glasses. Then, with a curt nod, he launches into his story. “Kieran was a special mage, Delilah, far stronger and more powerful than he had any right to be, not only adept at the art of magic but possessing a keen sense of intuition as well. I believe he inherited his gifts from his father, an old acquaintance of mine who died when Kieran was just a toddler, but that, my dear, is a tale for another time. When Kieran moved to Arundel, he got involved with a bad man, a professor at the university who claimed to be Kieran’s real dad. I tried my best to save him, but Cyrus, the professor, filled the boy’s head with lies and turned him against me. Nothing I said or did could stop him.”

Delilah’s eyes grow wide. “So what happened?” she breathes.

“Cyrus brainwashed Kieran into believing that magic, our magic, has started to run dry, and he convinced him that the only way to fix it was to open a portal for him, a hole in the very fabric of time. The spell calls upon some of the most potent and volatile forces in nature, and Cyrus needed Kieran’s raw power in order to control such violent magic. By the time I found out about their scheme, it was too late. Kieran had already cast the spell and torn open the portal, and when I went to shut it he jumped in and sealed it closed behind him.”

Delilah frowns, confusion written all over her face. “So he’s not dead?”

“No, that’s not what I said,” Atticus tells her gently. “After Kieran vanished, Cyrus tried to flee the scene, but I managed to capture and subdue him. That spell requires more than a little law breaking, and he will spend the rest of his life behind bars if I have anything to say about it. Anyway, once I had the situation under control, I headed to my library and started looking through my old archives, and eventually I found some interesting information about a rogue mage that died almost a thousand years ago. It’s been so long that I had forgotten all about it, but I left myself a note at the time, a note for you actually. Kieran loved you very much, Delilah, and he died trying to return to you.”

“What?” Delilah shakes her head in disbelief. “You’re telling me that he died a thousand years ago? And you knew him back then? But-”

Atticus sighs and rubs his head. “I’m immortal, Delilah. I thought your mother told you that. I knew him very briefly at the time, yes. As I recall, he was an enemy of the king and a highly sought after criminal. He was killed for stealing some precious artifact, I believe, and was buried near the town of Alderney. I can show you his grave if you don’t believe me, Delilah.”

“I just…” Lila trails off into a stunned silence. “It’s a lot to take in,” she mumbles.

The following evening, Beau corners Luca in the kitchen with an important question to ask him about his daughter. Atticus left Jericho yesterday to return to his house in the distant forests of northern Sim Nation, and Lila and Emily are out visiting Delilah’s stepbrother (Emily’s son) Rigby right now, so they are the only two adults currently at home.

“I want to marry Delilah,” Beau blurts out, seizing upon the rare moment of quiet to bring up the sensitive subject.

Luca eyes the boy warily. “Have you spoken with Lila about this?” he asks.

Beau shakes his head. “I feel that a man should always ask a father for his daughter’s hand in marriage first. It’s only proper.”

“It’s not my hand to give,” Luca retorts with a frown. “Have you thought about how you’re going to ask her?”

“No,” Beau sighs, “but I want to do something special. She seems so down lately, and I’d like to give her something to smile about again.”

Luca chuckles and grins at him encouragingly. Beau really seems to care for his daughter, and Luca likes the boy’s old-fashioned sense of etiquette.

“Walk with me,” Luca says as he puts his arm around Beau’s shoulder. “I think I have a wonderful idea of how you can propose.”

“Where are we?” Delilah laughs, her lips curled up into a crooked smile. The flight had been long and uneventful, but Lila was so caught up in her excitement that she barely even noticed. Beau, for his part, had stubbornly refused to tell her where they were going, saying only that she should pack “light and bring a swimsuit”.

“You’ll see in a moment,” he tells her affectionately.

Delilah gasps as they reach the overlook at the bottom of the hill.

“Wow!” she breathes. “The view… It’s stunning!”

Sweeping her into his arms, Beau twirls her around and playfully kisses her neck. “You like it then?” he whispers.

“Yes, I love it,” Delilah exclaims as she runs her fingers through his neatly trimmed hair. “I’ve never been any place so beautiful before. But… Why?”

“You seemed so sad after your friend died, and I hated to see you like that,” Beau replies, carefully skirting the true reason for their spur-of-the-moment vacation. “Besides, your parents offered to stay with the kids while they were in town, and I thought that you might enjoy some peace and quiet for a change. They’re such a handful,” he adds with a doting smile.

Delilah feels herself melt at his words. He’s so perfect, she sighs. So handsome and charming and considerate. He’s everything I should want in a guy.

Except he’s not Kieran, a small voice rips through her mind like a gunshot, and Delilah’s face falls slightly. Kieran’s dead, she reminds herself sternly, pushing his face out of her thoughts.

“I love you,” she tells Beau in an almost defiant tone of voice.

Oblivious to her internal struggles, Beau nods and gently brushes a strand of hair out of her face. “I love you too, babe.”

“I have an idea,” he whispers seductively as he traces his hand down her arm. “Why don’t we go check out our hotel room now? I booked the honeymoon suite, so we have the entire second floor to ourselves.”

For the next few days, Beau and Delilah split their time between the beach and the bedroom. Before they left, Luca and Emily emphatically assured them that they loved looking after their grandbabies, so the couple feels no rush to get back home any time soon. Indeed, Lila finds the relaxed pace of island life a welcome change from the hectic, nonstop job of mothering three newborns.

Running her toes through the silky soft white sand, Delilah’s face suddenly grows hard and serious, and her fingers tighten uneasily around Beau’s hand.

“What’s wrong, darling?” he asks as he props himself up on his elbows.

Lila sighs and crawls into his lap. “Do you love me?” she demands in a pouty voice.

“Baby, you know I do,” Beau chuckles. “Why do you even need to ask?”

“Then kiss me,” she breathes.

Beau happily obliges, but the intensity with which Lila returns his kiss alarms him. “What’s going on?” he asks when they come up for air.

Delilah hesitates, her gaze never once leaving Beau’s face. “You know my friend?” she whispers. “The one who died?”

Beau nods, his face unreadable under the bright tropical sun.

“He wasn’t just a friend,” she tells him quietly. “He was my lover, my love. I- I loved him.” The words slip from her lips like sand through her fingers, escaping her grasp and scattering into a million tiny pieces.

“You cheated on me?” His voice sounds pinched and tight.

Delilah shakes her head. “No, of course not. He left town after you found out about my pregnancy. It’s just- He meant a lot to me, Beau, and I want to be completely open with you.”

Beau shuts his eyes for a long moment before nodding and pulling her close. “I can live with that I guess,” he mumbles, more to himself than Delilah. “But no more secrets, alright babe? You’re my girl now, and if this is going to work then I need to know that I can trust you.”

“You can,” Delilah assures him with a forced smile. “I have nothing else to hide.”

Challenge Notes:

So, uh, was that clear? Cause I honestly have no idea. I’m specifically talking about the part with Atticus and Delilah, when they are discussing Kieran. It sounded alright in my head, but I realize it’s a lot of information to dump on you guys all at once and sometimes I forget to include little (big) details. If you need any clarification AT ALL, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or whatever, and I will get back to ASAP. I’ve been trying to foreshadow that whole series of events in previous updates, but I kind of got distracted by Delilah’s love life. Anyway, there will be more about what happened to Kieran next chapter (a lot more, actually).

So, I’ve never seen this happen before…

Apparently, even Delilah’s dad doesn’t like Beau. LOL…

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chapter 5: Hello, Goodbye

The suffocating silence bears down on Delilah with brutal intensity, crushing her under the weight of their unspoken words, and the oppressive summer heat coats her skin in a fine layer of nervous sweat. Taking a deep, shaky breath, Lila forces herself not to cry, but Beau’s piercing gaze feels almost knife-like in its severity.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” he asks at last, finally breaking the uneasy tension between them.

Delilah shrugs noncommittally. “I didn’t want to bother you,” she answers in a meek voice.

“Bother me?!” he hisses. “Delilah, we’re not talking about left over laundry here! You’re fucking pregnant! With my fucking child!”

“Our child,” she snaps with a furious glare.

“Exactly! Last I checked, it takes two to make a baby,” he snarls.

Delilah feels her temper start to flare, but the fire in her chest quickly dies out, replaced by a smoldering sense of guilt instead. “Why do you even care?” she asks quietly. “From what I heard, you moved on from me ages ago, dating a new girl every week according to the tabloids. I thought a baby would be the last thing you’d want to deal with right now.”

“Does that honestly sound like me?” he demands with an exasperated sigh. “Yes, I dated around a bit after we broke up, but only because I was looking for someone to fill the void you left in my life. I was heartbroken when you ended it between us, Delilah. I still am,” he adds softly.

Delilah scowls at him, weighing the sincerity of his words. “You don’t need to be tied down to a child, Beau.  You have your name to think about, your career in show business, and a baby would only get in the way.” Beau laughs, but Delilah remains unconvinced. “Seriously! Your fans would be livid, and a scandal like this could ruin your squeaky clean reputation!”

“I don’t care,” he smiles. “I’ve always wanted a family, and we could-” He stops short as Delilah cringes slightly. “What’s wrong?” he asks, worry written all over his face.

“The baby kicked. It happens a lot nowadays,” she reassures him.

“Can I feel?” he whispers with wide-eyed excitement.

Delilah grins at his enthusiasm and readily agrees to his request, gently taking his hand and placing it on her belly. “I don’t know if it’ll happen again though,” she warns.

Beau nods in understanding, but within just a few moments the baby starts kicking up a storm. “Does it hurt?” he asks breathlessly.

“Not really,” she replies, giggling at the awestruck expression on his face.

Once the movement stops, Beau reluctantly steps back, his hand brushing against Delilah’s as he pulls it away from her stomach. “I miss you,” he sighs. “And I… I still love you.”

Lila freezes, her heart racing at the hungry look in his eyes. “Beau…” She tries to use a firm tone, but her voice comes out sounding more wistful than cautionary.

“Delilah,” he whispers affectionately, his tongue tasting the delicate sound of her name. Grabbing her hand, Beau brings her fingertips to his lips and softly kisses her smooth skin. “I can give you so much, baby. I can love you and support you and provide for you. We can get married and buy a house and I can relocate to Jericho and you can quit your band and we can raise this child together as a family. What do you say, darling? Let’s try it again, okay?”

Delilah frowns but doesn’t pull her hand away. “Beau,” she begins hesitantly. “I- I can’t. We can’t. I’m not ready for any of that. I don’t-”

“Come on, Delilah,” he murmurs, stepping toward her and wrapping his arm around her waist. “I want to be with you, baby. I love you.”

Delilah feels her breath catch in her chest as Beau pulls her against him and leans in to kiss her. She tries to back away as his lips press against her face, his tongue probing her mouth for acceptance, but he tightens his already firm grasp on her arm.

“Come on,” he implores. “Kiss me.”

And so she does, relaxing into his strong embrace.


Kieran’s voice, heartbroken and disconsolate, rips through her consciousness, and Delilah leaps back out of Beau’s arms. “Kieran!” she shouts as she turns to face him, struggling to come up with a story, an excuse, anything to explain the situation, but he’s already gone.

Three agonizing days pass before Delilah can convince him to see her again, and even now he only relents because he can’t bear to leave without saying goodbye one last time.

“I’m sorry,” she sobs as he snaps closed his final suitcase. “It didn’t mean anything. Kieran, please, you must believe me! I didn’t even want to kiss him!”

Kieran shakes his head, fighting the urge to run over to her and kiss away her tears. “No,” he says, more harshly than intended. “I can’t, Lila. I won’t. I need to get away from you, from this, before it kills me. Atticus offered to help me find a place to stay in Arundel, and I’m going to study at the university for a few years. Please, just do me a favor and leave me alone. I need some time on my own. I need some space away from you.”

“A few years?!” she cries. “But Kieran, I can’t raise this baby without you! I need you! I-”

“You need to think about someone else besides yourself for once,” he retorts angrily. “I’ve got a train to catch. If you have to reach me for some reason, you can write to Atticus and he can find me. Goodbye, Delilah.”

In a numb stupor, Lila makes her way home and collapses into a chair at the kitchen table. Gone. The word washes over her like a cold winter rain, sending chills down her spine as the bitter loneliness seeps into her bones. She desperately tries to hold back another onslaught of tears, but the memory of Kieran’s heartbroken face flashes in front of her and she breaks down into ragged sobs once more.

“Delilah?” Beau tentatively pushes open the slightly ajar door and peaks inside. “I wasn’t going to come up, but you haven’t been returning my calls and I wanted to check on you and make sure everything was o-” He stops suddenly as his eyes come to rest on her damp, tearstained face. “What’s wrong, baby?” he whispers worriedly.

Delilah looks over at him and attempts to smile, but her trembling lips refuse to cooperate.

Pulling up a chair to sit beside her, Beau stares at her anxiously, uncertain of how to handle the situation. After their encounter the other day, he fully expected to have to woo Delilah away from another man, but judging from her tearful and often unintelligible jabber he may not have any competition after all. Either way, Beau knows that he needs to assert his claim now, and he’s not above using her current vulnerable state to his advantage. Still, watching her now, he feels a fleeting sensation of guilt pass through his consciousness, but he quickly shrugs it off. Delilah will be far happier with him than that other guy, he reasons, and by helping her move on from the relationship he’s really doing her a favor and saving her from more heartache.

As her sobs begin to subside, Beau stands up and pulls Delilah in for a hug.

“There, there,” he soothes. “It’s not so bad, darling. You don’t need him anyway.”

“B-But the b-b-baby,” she cries into his shirt. “I c-can’t raise it a-l-lone.”

Beau forces himself to suppress a smile. She’s playing right into his hands, and now all he needs to do is seal the deal. “You won’t be alone,” he assures her smoothly. “I will be with you every step of the way.”

“You w-will?” she breathes.

Slipping his hand beneath her chin, Beau tilts her head up and forces her to meet his steady gaze. “Of course I will,” he murmurs as he wipes a tear off her cheek. Hesitating slightly, he presses on. “Let me move in with you, my darling. At least until the baby is born. I don’t want you living alone right now, especially considering your condition, and I’d feel much better if I could be here to look after you. Besides,” he adds with a small smirk, “I don’t want to miss a single minute of our baby’s life, and this way we can experience every moment together, as a family.”

Delilah falters, her mind turning to Kieran. He was going to move in with her and help take care of the baby, but now he’s gone. And he didn’t even let me explain, she thinks bitterly, her eyes brimming with fresh tears.

“Alright,” she agrees after a pause. “But only until the baby is born.”

After Kieran’s heartbreaking departure, Delilah turns to her music for comfort, throwing herself into her band responsibilities with ardent desperation. At first, Bexley and Roscoe were furious about losing the group’s most talented member, but they quickly found a replacement keyboardist to take Kieran’s place, suitably pacifying their melodramatic tempers. Still, now that he’s gone the song writing duties have fallen squarely onto Delilah’s shoulders, and she is anxious to prove to their numerous critics that the band’s popularity is more than just a passing fad. Fortunately, she has no shortage of inspiration lately, and her powerful lyrics about heartbreak and betrayal sound strikingly beautiful when paired with her skillful guitar accompaniment.

She makes sure to work in a couple of angry rock ‘n’ roll songs, too, complete with her signature crazy-rocker-chick face.

Her relationship with Beau moves slowly in the beginning, and he spends his first several weeks in Jericho sleeping on the sofa in the living room. Nevertheless, Beau proves wonderfully helpful and accommodating around the house, and Lila soon warms up to his presence in her life.

Still, despite sharing a bed now, Delilah steadfastly refuses to discuss their relationship or make any long term plans with him. We can talk after the baby is born, she stubbornly replies whenever he tries to bring it up.

Fortunately for Beau, he doesn’t have to wait very long. Delilah goes into labor several weeks before her due date.

And for good reason. She gives birth to triplets, two healthy baby boys and one rambunctious baby girl. Phoenix (blue) is the oldest, followed by Griffin (yellow) then Fable (pink).

With three newborns to care for, Beau and Delilah seldom get a minute alone together. Tonight, however, none of the triplets put up a fuss at bedtime, and Beau seizes upon the rare moment of peace to make an important announcement.

“I sold my house,” he tells Delilah with a tired grin.

Lila glances up sharply, startled by his news. “You own a house?” she demands.

Beau nods. “Owned, actually. In Bridgeport, but now that it’s sold we can buy a place together here in Jericho.”

Delilah frowns, her forehead crinkling in thought. “Are you sure?” she asks, doubt seeping into her words. “You don’t have to move here if you don’t want to.”

Chuckling, Beau leans over and lightly kisses her lips. “A pack of wolves couldn’t keep me away from you and the kids,” he replies firmly. “I want this. I want you,” he adds with a small smile.

Delilah sighs and joins him on the bed. “I can’t afford a new house, Beau” she tells him quietly. “Roscoe signed our band to his label when we were just teenagers, and he gave us a downright lousy deal. I won’t start taking home a decent paycheck until our contract is up for renewal in a couple of years. I’m sorry, baby, but moving just isn’t possible for me right now.”

Pulling her on top of him, Beau reaches up and brushes a strand of hair out of her face. “Darling, I will buy the house,” he whispers.

Delilah stiffens. “I can’t ask you to do that,” she replies with a scowl.

“And I can’t ask you, the mother of my children, to raise our babies in a tiny one bedroom apartment in the middle of the city,” he exclaims irritably. “They are sleeping in the living room right now, Delilah. They need a real house, with a nursery and a backyard and space to run and play.”


“It’s not fair to the kids, my darling. Besides, I want to do this for you. For us. For our family.”

Reluctantly, Delilah agrees to go look at a few houses with him the following weekend, and so that Saturday they leave the triplets with their Uncle Rigby and Aunt Heidi and head out to start their search. After a semi-long car drive, Beau and Delilah pull up in front of a secluded oak grove located at the end of a winding, dead-end street. They get out of the car, and Beau leads her down a well-worn path, past a small pond, and over a rickety wooden bridge.

“Close your eyes,” he commands as he takes her hands and guides her down the final few steps.

“Aaaand open,” Beau exclaims with an enthusiastic grin.

Delilah gasps at the sprawling old farmhouse stretching out before her eyes. Lush hydrangea bushes, towering sunflower stalks, and imposing oak trees adorn the sumptuous and expansive grounds, and the weathered stone house appears to wrap around a charmingly unkempt courtyard. Breathing in, Delilah smells the faint scent of lavender drift by on the warm autumn breeze, and the rustle of the wind carries nothing but the soothing sounds of nature on its breath.

“Do you like it?” Beau asks as they wander through the kitchen and dining room.

“It’s-” Delilah stops and sighs, her eyes alight with excitement. “Amazing,” she whispers.

“I’ve always dreamed of raising my children in the country,” Beau explains happily. “Away from the dirt and smog of the city, from the tabloids and paparazzi, the pressures of my career and the influences of the media. My grandparents owned a farm down south, and I spent every summer out there with them. I want to give my kids, our kids, those same wonderful memories.”

“I love it,” Lila gushes as she glances around the quaint, but endearing family room. “I never thought I would like a farmhouse, but this… This is beautiful.”

“You haven’t even seen the best part yet,” Beau beams.

Delilah can merely shake her head in awestruck disbelief as she walks into the adorable playroom.

“It’s perfect for them. For us,” she smiles before pulling Beau into a deep kiss. “Can you afford it?”

Beau chuckles and tweaks her nose affectionately. “Don’t worry, my darling. I wouldn’t tease you like that.”

True to his word, Beau calls the realtor that very same day, and less than a month later they move into their new home.

For a while, life settles into an easy and comfortable routine. Beau continues to work off and on, flying to the nearby city of Boscaster every few weeks to promote his newly released crime drama and drum up publicity for his upcoming role as the title character in a big budget action film, but for the most part he spends his days at home with Delilah and the triplets. Despite the never-ending diaper changes and frequent late night feedings, Beau adores his children, and he revels in his responsibilities as a new dad.

Lila never expected Beau to be such a loving and devoted father, but with three newborns to look after she welcomes his involvement with open arms. Snuggling her daughter close to her chest after a particularly long and fussy night, Delilah feels overwhelmed by gratitude toward her partner. What if Beau hadn’t wanted anything to do with her or the kids? She’d be all alone right now, trying to raise three babies in a tiny apartment without any help.

No, she reminds herself with a pang of regret. Kieran would be here. Sighing, she desperately tries to push his image out of her mind, but she can’t help but miss him at moments like this. He’d probably have found some other excuse to abandon me by now anyway, she thinks angrily.

“I’m not ready to come back yet,” Delilah exclaims the following week when Bexley drops by her new house for a chat. “My babies are still too young to be left with a sitter.”

“But your fans miss you,” Bexley declares with a dramatic sigh.

“What about Rigby and Austin? Can’t they-”

Bexley shakes her head. “You are the face and voice of the band, Delilah dear. They want to see you. Besides,” she adds with a moody scowl, “Roscoe was promoted to president, and he’s been on a power high lately. He keeps threatening to sack me if I can’t get you back on stage again by the end of the month.”

“Well, tell Roscoe that he can wait a while longer. I don’t want to start performing again until the triplets are at least six months old.”

“Six months old?!” Bexley cries. “That would be career suicide!”

“Fine,” Delilah retorts. “Then consider the band dead.”


“My priorities have changed, and with Beau around now I don’t need the work anymore.”

“You can’t quit,” Bexley proclaims with a distinct air of haughtiness in her voice. “Your contract-”

“My contract doesn’t give you the right to dictate my life,” Delilah cuts her off furiously. “You’ve meddled in my affairs too many times, Mrs. Maddox, and I for one am sick and tired of it. Get out of my house and don’t come back until you’ve lost the attitude.”

“But I told her I wasn’t ready to leave the babies yet, and then she started acting all pissy about it so I kicked her out!” Delilah gushes that evening when Beau gets home from the studio.

Chuckling at her excitement, Beau squeezes her hand adoringly. “I’m so proud of you, baby,” he grins. “Did you send in your resignation letter yet?”

“Oh, I didn’t officially resign,” Lila giggles. “I just threatened to.”

“Well, you should take care of that pretty soon,” Beau tells her absently. “You don’t want to drag it out now, do you?”

But Delilah doesn’t even hear him, too busy thinking about her earlier conversation with Bexley to pay him any attention.

After dinner, Beau proves to be in quite a frisky mood. Lifting Delilah up onto the counter, he runs his hand along the inside of her thigh and playfully, teasingly hikes up the edge of her skirt. Delilah grins against his tender kiss and responds by seductively wrapping her legs around his waist.

“Are you ready for this?” he mumbles as he pulls away slightly. While they shared a bed during her pregnancy, Lila never felt like doing anything besides sleeping in it, but now that the babies are almost two months old Beau is eager to test the waters again.

“Yes, absolutely,” Delilah tells him determinedly. Fumbling with his shirt, she stops suddenly as a thought crosses her mind. “Why?” she asks. “Aren’t you?”

Beau smiles in reply, and picking her up he sweeps her into the bedroom.

With a heated kiss, Beau lays Delilah down on the bed and removes her dress and jacket, savoring the touch of her bare skin pressed against his body. Lila eagerly slips her hands beneath his shirt, letting her fingers explore his sculpted, muscular chest as their lips collide in a flurry of passion, but Beau soon regains control. Pushing her back onto the covers, he holds her hands down and runs his mouth along the side of her neck, eliciting a satisfied groan from Delilah before pulling away and wriggling out of his top. She smiles at him shyly, feeling a bit self-conscious as his eyes trace her new, curvier figure, but with an appreciative growl Beau leans in and rips off her bra.

It’s been ages since either of them has been intimate with anybody, and so the sex feels almost overwhelming in its intensity. At the height of her orgasm, Delilah calls out to him, screaming the only name that comes to mind.

“Kieran!” she moans as she trembles and shakes from the ecstasy.

Beau tries to brush it off as nothing, a slip-up that anybody could have made, but he doesn’t sleep well that night as her voice, shouting another man’s name, plays over and over again in his head.

Delilah, for her part, doesn’t even realize she made a mistake, so Beau’s cold behavior toward her the following day feels hurtful and confusing. Nevertheless, she goes about her daily chores without a word, trying to shrug off his aloofness as exhaustion from their previous night together.

Setting Griffin down in his crib, Delilah hears a knock at the front door. “I’ll get it,” she tells Beau gruffly, assuming it must be Bexley back for round two.

“Dad!” Delilah exclaims excitedly as she throws her arms around his neck in a warm embrace. “And Emily too! I didn’t know you guys were coming for a visit,” she beams at them.

Luca, her father, welcomes the exuberant greeting, and he pulls his eldest daughter in for a tight hug. “We should’ve called ahead, but with everything going on yesterday we forgot,” he mumbles apologetically.

Delilah frowns, noticing her father’s tired, raspy voice. “Everything going on?” she asks. “What happened, Dad?”

Luca doesn’t say anything, instead moving to stand next to his wife Emily. Delilah watches them closely, her eyes darting back and forth between Luca’s pinched, worried gaze and Emily’s blotchy, tearstained face. “What happened?” she repeats again, more sternly this time.

Just then, Atticus appears at her door.

“Delilah,” he forces himself to smile. “May I come in?”

Lila nods and beckons him inside. “Grandpa?” she greets him with a scowl. “What are you doing here?”

“We need to talk, Delilah,” he tells her somberly. “It’s about Kieran.”

Lila feels the room begin to spin at the mention of Kieran’s name. She glances over at Emily, whose now sobbing softly in Luca’s arms, before turning her full attention back to Atticus. “What happened?” she demands in a piercingly sharp voice.

“Can we sit down, honey?” Luca chimes in. “I’d rather-”

“What. Happened.” She spits the words at Atticus, her eyes never once leaving his cold, impassive face.

Taking a deep breath, Atticus nods curtly. “Kieran…” he hesitates ever so slightly, as though struggling to find an easier way to tell her. “Kieran died, Delilah,” he says at last.

Challenge Notes:

Wow, busy chapter! I probably should have split it up into two, but I couldn’t find a good place to stop.

Let’s see here, what do I need to talk about? Oh yes. The challenge. ;D Beau and Delilah are now *officially* living together. According to her roll, she gets to have a partner, so that solves that little mystery. =D I moved Beau in before the babies were born, but holy crap it was a really close call! The triplets honestly did arrive early, or so it seemed anyway. I thought Sim pregnancies lasted 72 hours, but I don’t think this one even reached the 70 hour mark.

TRIPLETS! *dies* I was aiming for twins, as Delilah only rolled for one kid and I couldn’t bear to raise a singleton, but I definitely overshot it a little. I made her listen to kids’ music all day long on a portable boom box, and I may have given her the fertility treatment LTR on the sly. =P However, I made certain to shut off the quadruplets “feature” right before she went into labor. I seriously don’t need four little brats terrorizing poor Delilah, even if Beau is around to help out.

I have no idea what I was thinking when I named the babies like that, by the way. It was late, and I was tired, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. I’ve been dying to use the name Fable for a girl (nickname Fae), and I really wanted something that wasn’t matchy matchy for the boys. But yikes, did I ever fail! Well, at least they don’t rhyme…

So, I bet you’re wondering how a first generation founder Sim can afford such a large house, eh? Well, I shall tell you. ;) While I absolutely consider Delilah to be my “founder”, she isn’t technically my first generation. Basically, I caved and gave her the money that Luca (her rich doctor dad) earned during his time as my founder. He lived by all the challenge rules and never cheated or anything like that, so I figured it was fair game. I plan to pay it back, too, if that helps any. I’m just sick and tired of watching my Sims live in crummy little houses, and I really wanted to use one of the lots that I’d already built. Am I lazy? Yes. Am I cheating? Well, that’s up for debate.

What else? Oh yeah. Kieran. *sobs hysterically* If it is any consolation at all, I can promise you that my next update will explain it ten times better than I could this chapter. Still though… :’(

P.S. I promise I'll actually respond to comments this time. /fail