News travelled in the Cavalcantes’ social circles, but Enzo wasn’t sure how. By the time the next function rolled around, it seemed like everywhere he looked, someone pointed and whispered. He wondered, briefly, if Gina had gotten her revenge by spreading the word, but how would she? Her family was influential but had no clout with the rich.
Enzo bent his head when he heard hushed whispering nearby.
“… poor man to have a son like that. Well, the boy always seemed off to me.”
“Indeed. Nothing like his father…”
He set his jaw and tried to drown out the words. His father had noticed the way he writhed and he glanced his way:
“I told you this would happen,” he said in a low voice.
“People always eventually find out and it won’t just affect yourself.”
Enzo’s father glanced in their family’s direction and Enzo followed his eyes. His mother and siblings were standing in a little group to themselves, which was unusual in itself. Their father always discouraged it, because he wanted them to mingle. This little grouping, however, was self-defence. An attempt at protecting each other from the derision.
Nobody said anything directly to the Cavalcantes, of course. It was all implications, barely concealed insults, nasty looks, but there were more than a few ‘whispers’ so loud, Enzo had no doubt they wanted them to hear what they thought of the criminal son.
Maybe Enzo could have taken it if all they did were snicker and whisper about him. He had made a misstep and it was only right that he should be punished. But the rest of his family were treated just as poorly.
Lia especially made the fatal mistake of defending him when she heard someone say something particularly nasty. Enzo wanted to tell her to let it go and let them tear into him as they wished, but in the middle of a function he couldn’t draw attention to himself like that. Instead, it ended with his sister earning even more scorn from their acquaintances and friends, and their father had to put Lia in her place.
“You will make it worse,” he said. “Your brother got us into this mess and now it’s up to us all to suffer it with dignity.”
Dignity was what everyone tried to reflect in those times, but it wasn’t very long before it started to getting to them. What Enzo never expected, however, was for his mother to be the one to crack next. After a particularly bad function with all the usual stares and whispered insults, she walked straight up to her husband and said she wanted a word.
“Georgette, now isn’t a good—”
“No, right now.”
Enzo had a feeling that he was the topic of their conversation and it wouldn’t be long after that it was confirmed.
In hindsight, Enzo should have realised that his mother had had enough. He should also have realised that she was in love with the mason. He wasn’t experienced with romance by any stretch of the imagination, but he knew enough that he should have noticed the looks that passed between them. They smiled like they were the only two people in on a secret, like the two of them could take on the world together. He had felt that way before, though in the fog of misery that had followed, it was hard to remember how it had even been to be with Gina.
Georgette and her lover were more and more blatant before she left. Enzo caught them together in the garden, laughing. Georgette brushed hair from her face and blushed prettily. He thought he was seeing things when it looked like the mason’s hand brushed her elbow. Of course, later, he realised that was exactly what he had been doing. What would have happened if they hadn’t seen him, he could only guess.
At the time, however, he didn’t think of it. He was on his way to a lesson and barely gave his mother a second glance.
“Ah, here comes the little man of the house,” said the mason as Enzo walked over. “Well, maybe not so little, right sonny?”
He talked strangely, the mason, always called him ‘sonny’ and asked him about sports and cars. Enzo didn’t know what to do with that, so he always just said he was busy. He was relieved when the mason and his crew had finished their work so he didn’t have to suffer the awkwardness any longer.
Georgette spun and smiled.
“Vincente, dear, you remember our mason, Mr. Villeneuve, right?”
“Are we having more work done?” he asked his mother, hoping the answer would be no.
“Maybe,” Georgette said, glancing at Villeneuve. “Actually, could you not tell about him being here? Your father wants the holiday home fixed up and I asked Mr. Villeneuve here to talk about it. It’s supposed to be a surprise for him.”
Enzo shrugged. He was still in too much pain to register much except the hollow feeling in his chest. Lately he had taken to going on walks around the neighbourhood, hoping that he would bump into Regina. Not because he wanted to get back with her—he dare not entertain the thought—but because he would like to at least explain and apologise. Maybe that would take some of the guilt off. Maybe he would be able to sleep…
The last thing he thought about in those days was the mason and the possibility that he and his mother had a relationship.
“I won’t tell,” Enzo said.
“You’ve got some great kids, Ge—Ms. Cavalcante,” the mason said.
Enzo’s mother smiled, but the smile didn’t seem to reach her eyes when she replied: “They are.”
“You take after your old man,” Villeneuve continued to Enzo.
“They all look like Vincente,” she said. “Almost like my genetics don’t even have a say… Well, I’m sorry to cut this short, but maybe you had better leave.”
One of those looks passed between them and Villeneuve shook her hand.
“I’ll have a look at your… project,” said the mason with a slight break in between his words. “When I know more I’ll call you back with a proposition.”
“That’s wonderful. Thank you.”
When he had left, it was just Enzo and his mother left under the blue skies, surrounded by manicured lawns and the work that Villeneuve had done last he was here.
Georgette looked up and commented on the weather—Enzo replied. This was the extent of their usual conversations, though today there was something different about his mother. She suddenly looked at him in a way that was very different. She looked sharp and when she spoke there was a sense of urgency to her voice.
“Do you have a moment to talk?” she asked.
He hesitated. “No, I’m off to one of my lessons.”
It was only a partial lie. He was going to take his walk around town in another vain search, then go off to his lesson. He thought that would be the end of his talk with his mother, but she didn’t let it go.
“Of course, I forgot about your fencing. Tonight, then?”
Enzo was surprised enough that he said yes. Admittedly, he was curious as well. He hardly ever spoke to his mother and now she was so insistent about them talking that she set a time for it. She was in the drawing room before him that night, standing by the fire. He could see her wringing her hands, looking more like she was about to take a big exam than have a talk with her oldest son. Georgette started when he entered, then she let out a deep breath when she saw it was him.
“There you are, dear. How was your fencing today?”
“It was good,” he said.
“I’m glad,” Georgette said and the two of them went quiet.
Enzo wondered what she wanted. She was quiet, facing away, and when he looked closer… yes, he thought her hands shook.
“Is everything… in order?” he asked her.
His mother’s eyes snapped to his. “What? Oh, yes, it is. We rarely talk, you know. After what happened, I thought… we should probably talk. That girl you were seeing, what was her name again?”
Enzo looked away, a heavy lump settling in his stomach. He replied in a curt voice:
“Regina.” He deliberately left out the last name.
“Yes, that’s right. How was it you met her?”
As much as Enzo hated lying, he didn’t tell the truth about trying to steal a car. It was one detail his dad hadn’t managed to get out of him and Enzo was determined not to let it slip. If it got out, he would never see Lorenzo again, even if it had been his own idea.
“I met her while walking to a lesson,” he lied then.
“Ah, I see,” Georgette said and if she didn’t buy it, she didn’t say. Instead she changed the topic with an abruptness that nearly made his head spin: “That friend of yours, Mr. Sartore, what is it he calls you?”
Enzo pressed his lips together nervously. Where is this going?
“Um, Enzo,” he replied.
“That’s sort of a sweet name, isn’t it?” His mother repeated it with an amused smile on her face: “Enzo.”
“Father doesn’t like me to use it. It’s only Lorenzo that does.”
Georgette’s smile died. “No, I suppose he wouldn’t like it.”
Enzo looked at his mother, trying to interpret her strange behaviour. He was drawing a blank. Usually, Georgette barely said two words together. She was a constant fixture at his father’s side, a quiet supporter who nodded when he said something clever and agreed when he made decisions. However, lately she had been different.
“Were you really going to join a gang?” Georgette suddenly asked.
“No, I wasn’t.” Enzo bent his head in shame. “I swear. It was a temporary lapse in judgement that I even spent time with her. She’s pretty, that’s all.”
“Is it because you’re not happy here?” she asked.
Enzo shook his head. “No, of course not.”
“Look, if you want to—”
“No, no, I am happy. I love it here. I’m proud to be a part of the family. It was as I said: a temporary lapse in judgement. I intend to show father that.”
“That’s good,” his mother said. “That’s very good.”
She smiled a little, though the spark was gone from her eyes.
“Was there anything else you wanted?” he asked.
Her face dropped and she shook her head.
“No, my dear. You can go if you please.”
Enzo left, as he didn’t enjoy the atmosphere in the room. His mother’s face was wistful, her eyes full of things he couldn’t ever remember seeing in her. It was, he mused, a lot like Regina and her expressive face; Regina and her pain.
Before he closed the door, she stopped him and said:
“If you wish to talk with me, dear, you can. You know that, right?”
Enzo didn’t know that because they had never talked, but he smiled carefully and said: “Of course. Thank you, mother.”
And then he closed the door on her miserable face. It was the last conversation he had with her before she left.
There was a routine to tragedy within the circles Enzo’s family frequented. The first order of business was always to maintain the image outwardly. As soon as Georgette said she wanted a divorce and left, that was what her husband did: took care of the image outwardly. He alerted their nearest acquaintances to the situation to make sure that the version of affairs that got out was to his advantage, not Georgette’s.
The second order was to tell Enzo and Rosalia, the two children Georgette had left behind.
They had been able to tell that something was amiss as soon as their father became even more distant than usual. Enzo really started to worry once the snickering and backtalking turned to sympathetic looks. He met Ms. and Mr. Napoletani in the streets and though they didn’t say anything outright, they acted differently.
The day after Georgette left, Vincente told them the truth:
“Your mother has left me to pursue a relation with our mason. She took your brother with her.”
Enzo was struck dumb by the statement. His father spoke it in a normal way, but the words felt big and loud and hurtful in a way that conflicted with his tone. He said the very neutral word relation with an impressive amount of venom and he was barely able to conceal an angry sneer. It took either of them what felt like ages to speak, ages in which the only sounds were the ticking of the standing clock and the crackling of the fire.
“Is… is she coming back?” Rosalia’s meek voice was the first to break the silence.
“No, she isn’t. She wants a divorce.”
“But… but why?” she continued.
“Your mother left because she was unhappy with the way you were raised,” said their father.
He had been facing the fireplace, but now he turned and looked straight at Enzo. His stomach dropped.
The way you were raised.
The way he was raised, he realised.
“You mean…” he said, but he couldn’t get anymore words out because his mouth went dry.
“I’m afraid that the situation with your disobedience pushed her to leave. I’ve told her repeatedly that I’ve done my best, that I’ve tried to handle the situation, but she thinks I should have done better.”
Enzo’s head spun and the only word that came to him was no.
He must have said it out loud, because his father sighed and said: “I’m afraid it’s true. Her reaction is unreasonable, to say the least, so perhaps this is for the better.”
“But why is Amadeo gone?” Lia asked.
Their father looked away and a little flicker of rage appeared in his eyes.
“Your mother was always closest with him.”
Was she? Enzo realised he had no idea. Between lessons he spent very little time with his brother. Amadeo sometimes drank tea with their mother at night, so maybe it was because they were close. Or maybe… Lia moved closer and clung to Enzo’s shirt.
Lia idolised Enzo. She bragged to her friends about her older brother and his accomplishments and she had been the only one to stand up to the people who hurt him. If their mother didn’t want anything to do with him anymore, she wouldn’t want anything to do with her either. He put an arm around Lia, trying to comfort her, though he felt sure it was in vain.
The feeling that settled in the pit of his stomach was like nothing he had felt in his life. Even being forced to break it off with Gina wasn’t this bad. He would gladly take another month of all their acquaintances scoffing at him if he could stop feeling this, if he could take away the pain his sister felt now.
“I-I need to speak with her,” Enzo said. “I have to explain that—”
“It’s too late, Vincente,” their father said. “Your mother doesn’t want to see any of us, she wants to move on, now you need to do the same.”
“Enough. The two of you need to return to your lessons. We can’t let her decision control us, so you will continue as usual, you hear me?”
Enzo opened his mouth to protest, but Lia stopped him.
“Yes, father.” She straightened her back. “I’m off to my piano lesson.”
Their father smiled almost imperceptibly and nodded. “Off you go then.”
It left Enzo and his father alone in the room.
“What about you, Vincente?” asked his father.
Enzo knew what he wanted to hear: “I’m going to my lesson as well.”
His father nodded approvingly and looked reassured that everything would go back to normal. In reality, Enzo started making plans in his head. He wouldn’t let his sister continue to be hurt, so there was nothing for it but to find Georgette.
Author’s note: Hi guys! And welcome back to gen 2! In which Enzo’s dad is terrible. This chapter isn’t very eventful, which was a funny situation for boyfriend to be in when he beta-read. Basically, he thought it lacks the energy of the next one, but there’s nothing wrong with it as such. It’s just very mellow and I honestly can’t see it going any other way. Enzo’s life just doesn’t lead itself to a lot of action. Also, can we talk about how unreasonably pretty Rosalia is as a teen? I swear, I haven’t edited her face. She’s literally just the only sim I’ve ever had (Gina and Enzo included) who doesn’t look awkward as a teen.
So, I hope everyone’s having a good 2019 so far. I’ve just finished my (not really) exams this Wednesday, so I’ve got some time off until the 29th. When I say not really exams, I mean they’re more like tests to see if we’ve understood everything so far. I feel like it went pretty well for all three of them, so hopefully I pass. 🙂
Sims-wise I’ve taken a few days where I didn’t spend time on stories or photos because it really took overhand for a while. I love doing all this, for sure, but I think it got the better of me. I made like 10 couple’s poses in a few days for a future chapter and was just constantly off in my own story world. The past few days I’ve been playing quirky indie games (What Remains of Edith Finch and Her Story – they’re both amazing and because of the latter I want to do murder mysteries) and baking, so I feel a little more healthy. 😛 I’m also learning to model in Blender with the hope that maybe, at some point, I’ll be able to make my own stuff for TS3. I’m probably not going to be doing a terrible lot of it. Basically, I’d just like to be able to make accessories and props for storytelling and honestly? My #1 reason for wanting to learn is to be able to make cuddle blankets for poses. I have my priorities straight, guys.
Anyway, that’s enough rambling for now. I hope everyone’s doing well and I’ll see you in the next post!