~*~*~*~*~Colm and Neal still had a great relationship, even though Neal was in the supposedly rough adolescent period. Neal's nature was so sweet, though, that it didn't affect his relationships much at all. He and Colm frequently sat down to grilled cheese sandwiches (almost the only food ever in the refrigerator since Colm's late-in-life obsession with them) and discussed college, family, and work.
Last time at the Clearys, Neal aged well into a teenager and got admitted to private school. Aisling terrorized the family in ghostly form, and Colm and Michelle continued trying to work their way up their respective career ladders. What will this round bring?
Neal had to admit, love and family were particularly on his mind lately. That much HAD changed since he was a kid. He especially focused on the love part...he couldn't WAIT to have a girlfriend. So when he saw his friend Tessa Ramirez all grown up, he could hardly believe his eyes. She was GORGEOUS. And when she didn't seem averse to his tiny little flirts, his heart skipped about ten beats.
It didn't take more than an evening together while Colm and Michelle were at work for them to quickly fall into good old-fashioned teenage puppy love.
Neal had his very first kiss with her right there in the Cleary kitchen, and he was head over heels for Tessa when she left that night.
Meanwhile, Colm was getting more and more responsibility at work as he got promoted higher and higher. He found that the stress and worry of raising four children was far worse than anything that could happen at work, though, and he stayed calm and clear-headed in the face of problems.
His calm served him well, and he continued to excel.
In his focus on his career, Colm nearly forgot it was almost time for his birthday. Neal jokingly put as many candles on the cake as he possibly could, though his dad was probably more fit than he was, despite getting on in age.
Colm blew out the candles and his hair seemed to fade from it's bright carrot orange to a distinguished shade of gray. "Not so bad, eh?" he asked with a smile, still the same old Colm on the inside.
Michelle had to admit, even though he was much older than she was, she still found him to be one of the most handsome men she'd ever met.
And elderhood didn't mean slowing down for Colm. He had the option of retiring, but he'd been working his whole life to get as high as he possibly could in his field, and he wasn't going to give up yet. With just one more hard push, he thought he could finally make it.
He even kept up his jogging routine. After all, it was important to stay fit, and he knew it would mean he lived a long, healthy rest of his life.
And the next time he went in to work, his decades-long dedication to his field paid off. He was finally promoted to space pirate.
The achievement meant a lot to him, but not because he'd always dreamed of being a space pirate. It was simply the idea that with a lot of hard work, he could accomplish anything he put his mind to. Sort of like raising his children after his wife died so many years before. So he called the office and promptly retired.
Not that he was planning on a sedentary lifestyle. On the contrary, now Colm finally had time to pursue some of the interests he'd never had time to all these years. Like gardening, for one.
Michelle, too, kept making forward jumps, bringing home briefcases full of papers and poring over them at night to make sure she was on the top of her game. As a fortune sim, she had to admit that the paychecks were a sweet cherry on top of the sundae of success. She may have been a kitten at home, but she was a shark at the office.
Despite her intense craving for success, however, Michelle wasn't stupid. She knew that her reputation was as important as her leaps for higher and higher rings. She knew that if she stepped on the fingers of everyone in her path as she climbed the corporate ladder, she'd never really achieve success.
And that knowledge rewarded her. Loyalty was an important part of her work, and Michelle knew it. Another cool 5K in her pocket left her with a big old smile on her face.
And, ever the shrewd businesswoman, she made sure to keep her relationships with her colleagues healthy too. Her reputation had to be as spotless as her work ethic.
It paid off, both personally and professionally.
Neal pretty much took care of himself now that he was a teen, in the sense that he didn't require much from his parents other than their company and support when they were all home. He made new friends and did his homework without being nagged, and he called Tessa frequently at night. They talked mostly about college, and how her parents wanted her to go to Academie La Tour because it was a rich school, and her parents were rich. Neal ached at thinking they would be in seperate places, but he couldn't bring himself to ask her to sacrifice that future in order to accompany him to Sim State.
So, it was with excitement and sadness that he applied for his scholarships and tried to mentally prepare himself to leave for Sim State in the fall. He would miss his parents like crazy, and he would mourn the loss of his high school love, Tessa, but he knew that great things awaited him and tried to focus on that.
As for Colm and Michelle...in anticipation of having the house to themselves soon, they splurged a bit with the money they'd worked so hard for all their lives and couldn't wait to sit back, soak their feet, and enjoy all they'd achieved.
[[Author's Notes: This house is so sweet. I'll probably be bored after Neal goes next round, but maybe not. Colm is pretty fiesty for an old guy, and he's definitely the fittest elder I have in the game. Michelle is really close to getting TOC, which is her LTW, and Colm's LTW (which he hasn't really had time to work on due to the fact that he's been the primary breadwinner for that big ole passel of kids and grandparents) will maybe be a good project for him in his old age. Along with gardening, since his preferred hobby is nature. :) No bloopers; it was a pretty smooth round. Onward to Vinnie Villalobos!]]