[[No Family Portrait, Sorry]]
Last round at the Cleary house, Neal shared his first kiss with Tessa Ramirez, his first love. Colm aged happily into an elder and reached the top of the Adventurer career, retiring at the top of his game. Michelle worked her butt off to get promotions, doing everything from skilling to going on numerous outings with co-workers...anything to get ahead. Let's see how they do this round.
There was a grilled cheese epidemic in the Cleary house. Colm was so obsessed with the combination of bread and melted cheese and was so lucky in having such a fast metabolism that he didn't realize he was fattening up everyone else in the house (and probably giving them heart disease). Michelle realized as she put on her pants one morning that she was really getting quite chubby. She'd have to work on that. Image was a big part of her career.
Neal joined in her crusade to get healthy, though it was difficult for him as he was a naturally sedentary young man. Nevertheless, he managed to get fit, something he thought important before going off to school. Put your best foot forward and all that, he figured.
With her typical determination, it wasn't long before Michelle was in tip-top shape again either. A few grueling weeks on the treadmill had slimmed her down nicely and even given her some muscles where she didn't know there had been any before.
Colm, meanwhile, was thoroughly enjoying his retired life of leisure. He finally had time to focus on things that interested him instead of slogging off to work every day because he had a family to raise. Neal was almost ready to head to college, there was a second income in the house, and Colm was eternally grateful to be able to spent his days pottering in the garden, playing in the dirt.
Of course, he spent an equal amount of time soaking in the hot spring grotto they'd had installed in the back yard, as well. Sometimes he went outside to find someone else there, like his good friend Armand Beaumont, but he didn't mind. It was still the most peaceful place around.
Neal, unlike his father, was just at the beginning of his life as an adult...or at least a young adult. He had graduated high school and was now ready to go off to university. Sim State was an intimidating prospect, but so many of his friends from high school were already there or going there that he was less nervous than he might have been.
His biggest regret was that Tessa would not be joining him. Her father said that no Ramirez went to some state college when she could well afford to go to an ivy league school like Academie La Tour. Neal lavished attention on Tessa while he still could.
Lots of attention. "God, I'll miss you," he said, somewhat tearfully. It was no secret that Neal was one of the most tenderhearted boys in the world. Tessa loved him for it. "I know," she said, big exotic eyes blinking back her own tears. "Will you write me? Call me?" he asked. Tessa looked at his mournful expression and touched his face. "I promise you'll hardly miss me you'll hear from me so much."
As Neal headed off to Sim State, his only thoughts were of Tessa. He really hoped he'd see her a lot, that maybe by some miracle they could stay together, but his hopes were woefully low.
Michelle came home with another promotion and fat bonus. CEO was her most difficult position yet, but as always, she took it in stride. If there was one thing she knew, it was business, and she'd be at the top if she had to claw her way kicking and screaming there.
Colm continued to potter. He got a silver gardening badge for his efforts.
It wasn't long before Michelle was faced with one of the difficult decisions her new position demanded she make. She trusted her instinct and held her breath to see what the result would be.
Her gut was right, and not only did she earn the respect of her co-workers, she brought home her largest bonus ever, and a new position.
She came home in style, in a helicopter, a freshly minted business tycoon in the flesh.
Of course, even business tycoons weren't exempt from having the pee scared out of them by Aisling.
Colm was making some real headway toward his lifetime want: to have 20 best friends. The business of raising and providing for a family had prevented him from enjoying the sort of popularity he'd always craved, but now he had all the time in the world to spend on the phone or having company over. He felt happier than he'd ever been, excepting the births of his children and perhaps his wedding days.
Now that she'd finally achieved her lifetime goal, even Michelle had some free time. She used it to indulge in something she'd always wanted to do: restore an old car. Now they could get around in style in the air AND on land.
Colm spent a lot of time in the kitchen now, as well, thanks to the interest in cooking his garden had given him. Who knew that tomatoes, pole beans and strawberries could taste that good together!?
And best of all, they had time to spend with one another. They were still as in love as they were the day they got married. Colm couldn't believe how good it felt to finally do things because HE wanted to, do things HE enjoyed, instead of always focusing on others. Not that he regretted it - not a fraction of an inch. It was just that this retired life was the best reward he could have imagined for that hard work.
Before she knew it, it was time for Michelle to join Colm in his golden years. With a quick blow of the candles, her hair seemed to fade from the burning red to gray.
There were other, less desirable, changes too, but it was okay. She was an official senior citizen now, but it didn't matter so much. She and Colm could be seniors together, and that was all that mattered.
Colm swore to her she didn't look a day older than when he'd met her, and for the most part, he was right. She'd aged very beautifully and hardly looked her age except foor the gray hair.
She didn't FEEL like an elder either, and after a quick makeover, she felt like a million bucks. Like a successful business woman who had made it all the way to the top and could sit back and enjoy life a bit now.
They were in love, had all the money they needed, and all the time in the world to be with each other and pursue their interests. Life couldn't really get any better.
[[Author's Notes: Aw, these two are so cute. Colm is in this permanent state of like... MEGA enjoyment of his retirement. Nature is his natural hobby interest, so between the garden, being on the phone all the time, the hot spring, and the hot wife, he's pretty much blissed out. It's nice to see him be rewarded after having to support a total of four kids and sacrifice his own wants more times than not for them. Michelle is adorable too; she's such a beautiful elder! I'm not sure what will happen with her. I might have her retire, or she might keep on at her job for a little while. I can't imagine her leaving it all behind as soon as she gets to the top. Guess we'll see if she has the retirement want. I don't remember what her second LTW is, but if it's doable, I might go for it. Anyway, I leave you with a few bloopers:
Oh how nice, Caitlin came to see her dad. Wait, that's not Caitlin, that's Arnaud Beaumont's wife Steffi. Colm: "Yes, police, please come quickly. There's a woman here who says she's my daughter, but she's not. I think she may be sick! Hurry!" // Mystic teddy? // Colm: Is it me, or is that teddy giving off some weird vibes? I swear it is! // At first glance, typical fortune sim want. Nothing unusual here. ..... Except there IS no painting that cost 5,000 simoleons. That's just great, EAxis. Way to check for errors. // Old guy convention. :') ]]