Jo Jo was an excellent baby. He slept through the night and only cried when he absolutely needed something. He only ever woke a parent up once, and it was just a couple hours before the alarm went off anyway. Marli loved her baby, but longed for his birthday to come so she could see what it was like to be a real mom. The day before his birthday, Marli watched Lee leave for work through the bedroom window.
“Go on,” she said under her breath. “Keep walking…no, you haven’t forgotten anything…annnnd…he’s gone! Ok, Jo Jo! Let’s say we get you out of that bassinet, huh?”
She summoned the aging up powers of infant birthdays, and out came the most handsome child. He was the perfect blend of just about everyone in his life. He had his mother’s face and nose, his father’s eyes, but his grandmother’s eye color, the perfect blend of both parent’s skin tone, the outgoing nature of his mother and grandfather (social butterfly aspiration), and his grandmother’s gluttony. (can’t tell whose lips those are yet)
To her surprise, Jo Jo was more interested in spending time with River. She was a little let down at first, but she figured he should probably spend as much time with him as he could because no one knew when his last day was. Besides, she had been trying to finish writing a song in tribute to her mother ever since she passed away. She had been toiling with it for long enough and wanted to finish it as soon as possible, so she let Jo Jo go.
“Jo Jo! You’re big! Happy birthday!”
“Can you tell me one of your fishing stories?”
“Oh, you don’t want to hear those old stories again.”
“Please, grandpops, pleeeeease!”
“Oh, all right. Let’s sit down.
“I was in the Forgotten Grotto…it’s a secret cave that only the best fishersims and handysims can get into…kinda like a secret club! It’s very dark, and the only lights are these beautiful crystals scattered throughout the floor of cave. Some say they come from outer space! So I was in there, and I cast my line into the middle of the pond. Even the water was dark. I couldn’t even see the fish! All of a sudden, my line started tugging. I was so excited, I started reeling it in slowly. But then the tugging turned into yanking and I couldn’t control it! I was using my entire body to bring the line in. I yanked and I yanked, but it kept pulling back to the edge of the pond. So I turned around and tried to run with it. When I got to the end of the line, it snapped me back and I went flying through the air! I landed in the water, and I couldn’t see a thing! I was so scared. I didn’t know which was way up. Then, behind me, I felt something brush past my foot. I turned around, but nothing was there. When I turned back in front of me, there was a bat fish THIS big in front of my face!”
“Wait,” Jo Jo said. “I thought you said you couldn’t see anything.”
“Oh…heh, you remember that. Well, it was there! I know it was. Come on. Let’s go outside and see what the clouds look like.”
River was happy to still be alive to experience this. Being a step-father was great, but being a grandfather was even better. It was the best feeling in the world yet bittersweet. He knew that Melody would have enjoyed spoiling this little boy like grandmothers often do–especially because she never had a son. He felt at ease with Jo Jo. Things weren’t complicated. Jo Jo didn’t know who he was or how he came to be part of this family, and even if he did he probably wouldn’t care. All Jo Jo knew was that he loved his grandpops, and River loved him too.
River and Jo Jo lay down on the cool clay bricks and looked up at the bright blue sky. River wondered if Melody could see them from where she was. Jo Jo wondered, if he could actually make it to the sky, could he actually eat the clouds.
“Hey, look at that one,” River said. “It looks like a T-Rex!”
“No it doesn’t.”
“Ok. What do you think it looks like?”
“A cupcake factory!”
Jo Jo and his grandpops lay out there for a few hours making up what the clouds looked like, and then it was time for dinner. Marli did finally finish Melody’s Lament, but she was only halfway through level eight and wasn’t able to publish it yet. Honestly, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to. Perhaps this first song would be one that just stayed with her. At dinner, she finally got to spend some time with Jo Jo, and she fell in love with him all over again. She loved the sound of his raspy little voice and the way his mind worked.
“Mommy? Can I stay up until daddy comes home?”
“I don’t think so, hon. You’ve been yawning all night. I think you should go to bed.”
“But, I can stay up, Mommy! I promise I can.”
She thought about it. He wouldn’t have school the next day, so it really wouldn’t be a problem, but she didn’t want him to get used to it for when he did start school. Lee had started a new job that day, so she honestly didn’t know what time to expect him. But, she knew that he would be getting home much later than she would want Jo Jo to stay up.
“Not tonight, Jo Jo. You’ve been outside in the sun all day. I think you should get some rest.”
Her perfectionism was getting the best of her. She was trying to be a good, responsible mother steering him in the right direction. Although she wanted to give him everything he wanted and let him do whatever he wanted, she knew he needed some structure and order in his life. But, she looked into his grayish blue eyes. She only knew two Sims in the entire world with that eye color. Well, three, if she counted the pictures she had seen of her grandfather Giancarlo. There was something about those eyes mixed with the pleading of her child that melted her heart. All he wanted to do was spend time with father. What’s wrong with that, she asked herself.
“Ok. But only for one hour. Go change into your PJs.”
Jo Jo took a seat in the hallway downstairs and stared at the door for the entire hour. He was overly excited about his father getting home. But he was very tired too just like Marli said. He could barely keep his eyes open. He fought hard, but eventually he gave up and went to bed. Just ten minutes later, Lee walked through the door.