Summer has never really been his season.
There’s something too obvious about it, the heat and the holidays and the expectations that make the air thick. He doesn’t care for expectations. Michael’s always worked better without them and prefers the world to be without them, too. A scrappy underdog world, that’s what he’d like. Not this summer bliss people talk about.
His life has been weird ever since Josephine told her she was pregnant and that he is one of the possible fathers. She had seemed really embarrassed about that last bit, but it’s what makes him feel that flush of warmth in his belly for her – the fact that she’s just as much of a hopeless mess. Even pregnant.
He’d be lying if he claimed to look forward to this baby, because he isn’t. It will change everything and likely not in a good way. He’d also be lying if he claimed to be all right with it being his. If is it. He doesn’t want a kid, at least not like this. His own father hadn’t been a marvel of parenthood, but he had at least been living with Michael’s mother and provided for them, all three of them, and he had occasionally had his bright moments.
But this shit that they’re doing, this is just weird in a bad, messy kind of way.
Like for example the fact that Dennis, Josephine’s other lover, just barges into Michael’s flat to talk about the situation. As though they’re friends now because they’ve been with the same woman. As though it works like that. Like Josephine and the baby are some sort of riddles for them to solve.
Michael doesn’t want to talk about this. He doesn’t want to befriend Dennis and he doesn’t want the man to treat his flat like an extension of his own.
Dennis talks about how he went with Josephine to her routine ultrasound and Michael feels that lump in his throat grow until it feels hard to even breathe. He hates the idea of Dennis playing house with Josie because Dennis is a creep and Josie isn’t. She’s just had a bit of bad luck lately.
Not that Josephine appreciates Michael looking out for her, though. Like Dennis she just keeps walking in and out of Michael’s flat and one night she bumps into Sarah who’s been to the cinema with him. Sure, Sarah is wearing nothing but Michael’s t-shirt, but he still sees no reason for the tantrum Josephine throws.
Michael points out that Josephine is dating other people too, but it doesn’t go over well. She leaves in anger and he can’t help but wonder when he will even hear from her again.
To cheer him up Sarah takes pity on him and brings him along on a trek to Three Lakes, claiming he needs some fresh air and a change of scenery.
She’s right; it actually feels easier to breathe up in the mountains.
“So, why are you such a mess?” Sarah asks him as they challenge each other down at some silly market place of forest fair or whatever it’s called.
“We’ve established already that I am?”
Sarah shrugs. “Do we need to?”
He doesn’t really know, truth be told. Not that he considers himself a mess, exactly, but he sure isn’t considering his life a great masterpiece either. It’s just sort of happened for him. Or not happened. He’s never made plans. Never felt he would be able to fulfil any sort of dream.
Sarah is very different from Josephine. Like night and day, really. If Josephine has a trace of a rich girl gone bad, Sarah has the flavour of someone who grew up in the gutter and dragged herself up. He knows she’s been raised in five different foster homes, that she hasn’t even finished high school, that the closest thing to family she has is an alcoholic aunt in Belladonna. He knows her, knows that kind of history.
And he likes her. He feels at ease with her, enjoys the feeling that they’re friends deep down, beneath the sex and the flirting they’re two people who might watch a football game or go for beer.
“See, I could be serious with you.” She tells him this as a simple fact their first night in Three Lakes. “You’re kind and funny. But you’d fuck women behind my back and I’d have to strangle you every time.”
He has to laugh. “We can’t have that, can we?”
But there’s something in her words, he thinks to himself later. Thinks about it the morning after when they order two full plates of pancakes to their room and her words still bounce back and forth between his thoughts. They hit something soundly buried in him. Makes him wonder if he couldn’t be more than what she sees, if he couldn’t be a guy to be serious with. He had been shaken by the revelation that Jospehine was pregnant – truly shaken, like she had told him she might have passed on a deadly disease or something – but once the news sunk in, he had felt like making changes.
He thinks he would enjoy change but he needs something to change for, to change into.
“I’m not going to be your saviour, Michael.” She looks him straight in the eyes, looks through him. “Not interested in healing the bad guy with my loving embrace.”
He grins at the way she expresses herself, the way she always keeps him on his toes. “Maybe we don’t have to decide what we are going to be?” he suggests. “At least not right now.”
It’s her turn to shrug now, the way he had done earlier.
“Okay,” she says, and it sounds like the sweetest promise in the universe.
It’s not like they haven’t had sex before. He’s known her for years, after all.
But there’s something different about it now, all of a sudden. As though she’s finally agreed to be with him, as he is. The stupid, hopeless, possible father-to-be.
It’s hard to breathe again, for different reasons this time.
* This is Michael’s “one” sim, the one he keeps rolling wants for even though he’d prefer to woohoo his way through the hood for the rest of his life, probably. Most of my romance sims tend to have one special partner they care a little bit more for and I kind of love it. 😀
* Josephine freaked out when Michael and Sarah kissed which is strange considering how they’ve all been subjected to each other’s romantic entanglements before.