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It's me again, back with Week 3, Part 4 of Mesa Vista!










Diane and Stephan Shin were back from their honeymoon, but we already knew that.



Diane decided to take up sewing so she could make a kimono for her employee Laura, to go with the souvenirs she'd brought back for her.



Stephan wasn't sure what kind of job he wanted since he was primarily interested in having a Golden Anniversary with Diane.



As luck would have it there was an opening in the Business career, and Mesa Vista was on its way to another Business District.



"Here you go, Laura, a bit of Takemizu wrapped with a pretty bow."
"Thanks, you sure are nice to me."



"ZOMG you're going to have a baby! Can I babysit some time?"



Laura rather liked hanging out at the Shins', despite Stephan's questionable violin playing.



"ZOMG the baby is coming!"
"Hang on, Diane, I'm here!"



"Help, the baby's stuck to the Thinking Cap!"
"ZOMG I knew you shouldn't wear that thing while you were pregnant!"



"Whew! Come on, Stan, Mommy will get you a bottle."
"Uh, that isn't the baby, Diane."
Diane looked down at the Thinking Cap and then around the room and frowned in puzzlement.
"But he was just... where's Stan? ZOMG what's going on?"
Stephan rushed over to the computer to Wiki "babies and Thinking Caps" but couldn't find anything.



"Where's my baby!" Diane moaned.
"What happened to our baby? Where's our little Stan?"


OK?! IT IS SO NOT OK!
Gone, the Shin baby was gone! :(
It was Thursday in the Shin household, and of course they hadn't been saved since their return from Takemizu, plus it wasn't as if I hadn't already played them practically twice this round because of the vacation...
I know, let's pretend it never happened! I felt like a copycat trying to make a plot out of it in my story so soon after Joandsarah lost a baby in her Legacy, but mainly my BaCC was supposed to be for fun and Diane's character was already a bit fragile and the story was becoming more work than I originally intended plus I wanted to finish Week 3 before the end of the year...

(Btw, picture of pretty YA Lorin courtesy of hooptytrib)



Thank goodness, their vanishing baby had been nothing more than a dream! A horrible, horrible dream...
"STEPHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNN..."



"Diane! Are... are you real this time?"
"WHY DON'T YOU COME HERE AND FIND OUT BECAUSE MY FIST IS DYING TO MEET YOU!"



*SAVE!*
This Shin baby looked completely different from the-one-who-was-not-meant-to-be. It's been ages since I've had brown-eyed babies, though, so it's all good.
"Did you hear something, Stan?" Diane cooed.
Nope, Stan didn't hear anything. Nothing at all...



"Daddy isn't going to let you disappear this time, no he isn't."



Nosiree, Stephan wasn't about to let little Stan out of his sight...



Diane finally had to tell Stephan to give poor Stan a break, and that's when he told her about the dream.



Not only had Diane shuddered at the copious number of ZOMGs Stephan had recounted from his dream, she couldn't help but pick up where Stephan had left off.
"Mommy isn't going to let you out of her sight, no she isn't."



Many saves later, baby Stan arrived safely at his birthday cake...



And he grew up into Mesa Vista's official Stan Shin.



Diane washed the confetti from his hair, and then plunked Stan down in front of the Charisma Bunny so he could skill like every other toddler in Mesa Vista, just in case he wanted to eventually become an Entertainer.



Aww, the official Stan Shin is officially a little cutie!



And I messed up. I mistakenly thought a university unlocked the Science career to everyone, when in fact it is a uni graduate that unlocks it, so Diane is going to have to quit. Durn, and she was doing so well...
Btw, the book on the end table is the photo album of their honeymoon, ordered from the computer.

Okay, that about does it for the Shins!
...



Next up is the Cameron-Mazza household, where Neil Cameron was enjoying one of those perfect days for basking in the sun and catching a few rays. Since coming to Mesa Vista, he had made a point of taking advantage of every bit of good that came along each day, and looking back, Maddie was the very best of the good that had come his way.
He closed his eyes and smiled faintly at the memory...




"Be honest, is it too over the top?" Madeleine had asked nervously.
"It's charming, Maddie, I don't mind getting into the spirit," Neil said gamely.
"I was thinking you can man the register, and I'll take care of the rest."
"Are you trying to tell me something with that old antique?"
"No!" Madeleine laughed. "You look great, by the way."
"Er... so do you."



Madeleine Mazza named her store Holly Days, and it sold... well, you guessed it.



"Yoohoo? You in that fetching outfit over there..?"
Maddie smiled at the sound of her friend's voice. "Ye-es?"



"How long are the amaryllises supposed to last?" Diane asked.
"Forever, I think," Madeleine called back.
"All right, I'll take one."



Neil and the antique weren't getting along so well, but he did manage to keep up with the flow of customers.



"Hello, Joe."
"Hello, Mrs. Claus. I don't suppose you'd wanna go out with me later?"
"Mr. Claus and I already have plans," Madeleine said lightly, grateful for the ready out Neil provided from the advances of the Mesa Vista locals.
"Guess I'll have to settle for one of these trees instead," Joe sighed, his wink telling her that had been his plan all along.



"Can I help you find anything, Joe?"
"Got any more Madeleines floating around?"
"We're all out, but nice try."



Neil and Madeleine stayed until Holly Days made enough money to live comfortably for a while and pay Mesa Vista's rather steep taxes at the end of the week.



"I have to hand it to you, Maddie, this is a fun business for the winter."
Madeleine waited for Neil to catch up. "You think so? I was afraid you'd think my idea was really silly."
"You sure have a knack for inadvertent poetry. And you want to know something sillier? The idea of a beautiful young thing like you passing herself off as Mrs. Claus," he said as he passed her.



"That was fun," Neil said again when they got back home.
"It wasn't that fun."
"I thought it was. You make everything fun."
"Really?"
"Really."



"I can think of something a lot more fun... hon."



That was the night Maddie decided it was high time they stopped ignoring the two bolts they had for each other. And she hadn't just wanted to woohoo. She wanted a baby.



"Maddie, you know I think the world of you, but I think we made a mistake."
"Why do you say that?"
"Because I'm not going to be around much longer."
"Boy, you don't pull any punches, do you?"
"It's unavoidable. Pretending otherwise won't change it."
"Maybe that's why... I don't think it is a mistake. You'll still get to know our baby before..." Madeleine's voice trailed off.
"I won't be here to help you, you'll be raising the kid all by yourself. I don't want that all on you."
"Maybe I want it all on me! Our baby means I won't be all by myself, a part of you will always be with me. I love you, Neil."
"You're kidding yourself, Maddie. Don't you see, this is not going to end happily ever after!"
"Thank you, that's just what I needed to hear." She stood up, bowl in hand, and he winced when he heard it clatter loudly in the sink.
That hadn't gone well at all, but then how could it? Did she think he enjoyed laying it on the line like that? Well, this was no picnic for him either. He too got up but instead went out into the desert night...



... and ended up at The Dugout.
"The water is very thoughtful, but what I could really use is a brewsky," Jace said, sliding the glass back at Neil.
"Oh, give that to me," Neil growled sheepishly and poured him a fresh glass.
After a few hours running the bar, Neil had found his answer: What's done is done. It sucked, but it was done. So the question was, what was he going to do about it?



For starters, he went home, found Madeleine and kissed her tenderly.
"I'm sorry. What's done is done and I intend to do the best I can by you, because I love you too, Maddie."



They had enough money from both businesses so Madeleine could concentrate on taking care of herself and the baby. And working on some sewing projects, which she dearly loved.



"I hope you don't mind, but I think it's high time you had a new one."



"Do you like it?"
"You're kidding, right?"
"Yes."
"I do like it. I like you a lot more, though."



"Much, much more..."



Madeleine happily started making spaghetti for dinner, and Neil went out front, very cognizant of what was awaiting him...



Too soon!
Madeleine had fully expected Neil to be there for the first days of their baby's life, planned some kind of picture of them together, and... none of that was going to happen.
He was right, I am all alone.



Not all alone, as it turned out, not with neighbors like Marie Sims.
"When you gonna end the suspense, when I gonna see you, baby!" Marie babbled, drawing a reluctant smile from the mourning Madeleine.



Madeleine spent the rest of her pregnancy puttering around the house. Neil had left her with the deed to The Dugout along with a tidy sum from an insurance policy, so at least she had the option of staying home with the baby until she was ready to go to work, should she ever want to.



Nice neighbors and a comfortable nest egg were no substitute for having your love with you during your hour of need, and the night she needed him the most, it was indeed all on her.



"She looks just like you, I wish you could've seen her just once."
A sudden breeze ruffled the leaves of their apple tree and Madeleine noticed it was looking rather sad, too.



Well into the night she took turns tending the tree and the baby, because she couldn't have sad trees, no way... she had their baby to think of now.



The next morning as Madeleine held her daughter, she wondered where their lives would go from here, and the answer suddenly came to her.
Baby steps...



"This is our daughter, Nellie."
...

Okay! That ended on a rather sad note, but I wasn't expecting Neil to pass on that soon, so... yeah, I was pretty sad about that.
Part 5 has been started, but I have less done on it than I did on this update, so it won't be out as soon.
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