When it was time to go back to school Bran had mixed feeling about the whole ordeal. In one hand he was glad he would see get to see Nan every day again. He was hoping that would force them to talk again and talking might help repair things between them. In the other hand he dreaded seeing everyone else again. He still remembered the bad rep his best friend Kerry got after he was seen flirting with a girl that wasn’t his girlfriend at his party. And what Bran did at the dance was much, much worse…
For the best part of the summer he avoided everyone. He got a job at the local grocery store where he mostly worked in storage to avoid running into anyone from school. He would work and sweat trough the day and in the evening he would relax in their hot tub, provided there were no paparazzi around, those vultures always followed his mother, and by extension him and Tricia too.
But the worst thing that happened, apart from Tricia not coming home of course was his mother’s summer fling. Usually he ignored his mother’s dates. He found that was the best thing for a teenage boy who wants to keep his sanity intact. This summer however his mother chose to start seeing Aenys’ father.
He would often come over, have dinner or watch TV with his mum making Bran escape to his room, or go for a lonely walk around town. He knew his mum probably had no idea that her new fling was the father of the boy he got into a fight at the dance, and Aenys’ old man didn’t seem to know or care either but Bran knew and riddled with guilt he couldn’t even stand being in the same room with him.
However when school finally began Bran was surprised to see how normal everything was. It seemed what happened at the end of the school year was largely forgotten by Sunset Valley high school population. Everyone was busy talking about their summer vacations, new classes, new books… And everyone treated Bran just the same as before.
“Where have you been man? I haven’t seen you in months!” Waylon, one of his closest friends exclaimed when he saw him in the hallway. “Come over today.” He added. “I have this new show I want to watch, about a gang in Bridgeport, a hundred years ago, we could see it together… What have you been doing all summer? I took a painting class if you believe it… It was very cool, I’ll show you my drawings when you come over…”
And so Bran went to Waylon’s place. He lived just across the street with his mum and a bunch of siblings. Their house was basically a trailer, much smaller then Bran’s so chaos was guaranteed. Waylon apologized profusely for having to rewind the show that they were watching about fifteen times because they didn’t hear a word being said because someone was yelling about something somewhere in the house. But Bran didn’t mind at all. His house seemed so quiet and empty now with Both Tricia and Rosie gone and somehow it didn’t feel the same. Here, visiting Waylon, he remembered how families should live. And all in all Bran was glad that he was among people again and things were getting back to normal…
However by the end of his second week in school another out of the ordinary thing happened. He was standing in the hallway rummaging trough his locker. His mother said she wanted some books on astronomy, a new hobby she had taken up recently and Bran promised he would check the school library but before he could borrow a new book there was an old one he had forgotten to return. And now of course he couldn’t find it…
“Are you almost done there? I need to talk to you and I don’t have all day.” An impatient, yet vaguely familiar voice spoke behind him and he turned to the sound of it. A skinny girl with short brown hair was standing behind him and looking at him her narrow brown eyes focused on his face.
“Umhm.. hi.” He said startled. Of course he had recognized the girl that spoke to him, it was Nan’s older sister Maja. She was also Aenys’ best friend… That thought clenched his stomach with embarrassment and guilt.
“Hi.” She said dismissively. “I need to have a word, are you free?”
“Yup.” He said trying to block the mess that was his open locker with his body. However Maja didn’t seem to care much about it, she had hardly spared it a second glance.She was quiet for one drawn out second in which a thousand wild thoughts ran trough Bran’s head…
“It’s about my sister.” She said finally making Bran’s heart beat even faster then before. A new bubble of hope appeared in his chest and started spreading trough his whole body.
“What about your sister?” Bran asked quickly. “Which sister?” He then added. Maja narrowed her eyes at him even more.
“Nan.” She said coldly. “Della said she wouldn’t talk to you at all?” Bran just nodded sadly. “Well come home with me today after school.” She said. “She can’t avoid you there.” Bran nodded.
“Okay, it’s a deal. Meet you outside after the bell.” She said and turned around. Bran sighed. He looked at his locker. Maybe mum can’t wait one more day for that book… He thought.
Bran spent all his break before last class of the day in the bathroom, trying to smooth over his wild orange hair, just like mum had done for him the night of the memorial concert, he liked it a lot that way, it was much better then his usual wild-locks-everywhere he just didn’t see a reason to bother with it every day but today wasn’t just any day…
When he was done he took a deep breath looking at himself at the mirror. He was almost satisfied with it when he heard the bell ring. He had to skip a few steps at the time just to get to Miss Hoves’ class. By the time it was over he wished he had skipped the class instead of all those stairs… He could barely concentrate on a word his Simlish teacher was saying, all he thought about was his upcoming meeting with Maja, going to her house, seeing Nan, thinking about what he would say this time…
He found Maja waiting for him outside, just like she had promised. She was scanning the crowd vigorously moving her eyes side to side until she saw him. She waved at him getting up to stand on her toes so he could see her better.
“Come on! Lets take the bus together, she is already home, she didn’t have this last class. She said the teacher is sick or something.” Maja told him grabbing his arm.
“Miss Hoves isn’t sick!” Bran said as he walked huridly besides her. Maja sighed.
“Then she lied. It’s Nan, that’s what she does…” She said and Bran frowned. Nan always said her sisters weren’t as intelligent as she was and they resented her for that. Still, calling her a liar like that? Tricia would never talk like that about him…
But he kept his mouth shut. Maja was helping him afterall…
Once they arrived to the house the Prentiss sisters lived in Maja took him trough a small hallway and a spacious living room to a big dining room/kitchen in the back of the house.
“Wait here.” She told him. “I’ll go and get her. She doesn’t know it’s you who is here. Talk to her… Be nice… Or whatever it is that works with her.” She said accentuating the last word. She was about to leave when Bran stopped her.
“Hey Maja, stop. Thank you.” He added. “I really appreciate you doing this for me.” She stood silent for a minute.
“I’m not doing this just for you.” She said. “I am doing it for all of us, all of you…” Before Bran could work out what she meant she turned around and hurried up the stairs. He could hear her footsteps on the floor above. He waited for a while standing there awkwardly. At first he was trying to analyze Maja’s last words but then it occurred to him that no one knew he was here and someone could just walk in here and find him loitering around… It could be Della, or Maja’s mum or dad… Engrossed in those unsettling thoughts he didn’t even hear the footsteps coming down this time and he was surprised when Nan just barged in to the room.
“Bran?” She said surprised. She held a baby girl in her arms, the tiny one had brown hair like Maja did, and light green eyes like Nan’s. He had forgotten Nan’s mum had another set of twins this summer… He was barely speaking to Nan so he didn’t even know their names. He smiled at the baby.
“She is so cute. She looks like you! What’s her name?” He asked looking up at Nan who’s expression had already turned murderous.
“Why are you here?” She asked ignoring all he said. He sighed.
“I wanted to talk.”
“You should have called.”
“I didn’t think you’d answer…”
“My idiot sister dragged you here.” She said sharply. It was not a question.
“Yes, Maja invited me.” He said. He still wondered how could they all be like this to each other. They were siblings for crying out loud. But again he said nothing about it. “She also thinks we should talk.” Nan said nothing. The baby in her arms had turned around looking at the tiles on the wall. Bran sighed.
“Look Nan, I already said I am sorry… More then once. What I did was stupid. What you did was stupid as well… But maybe we could move past it, start over? I’m willing to are you? And…” He continued. “And if you aren’t then maybe we should break up.” The finality which he put in that last sentence surprised both of them. And for a moment they just stared at each other and the whole world disappeared. Bran didn’t even dare to breathe…
“Fine.” Nan finally said. “Let us start over.” She then moved towards him and Bran thought they were going to kiss… Right there in her kitchen… But Nan just dumped the baby in his hand. “Here. Hold her. I need to set up the table. ” She turned her back to him as she opened the cupboards. “Stay for dinner, I want you to meet my family. And her name is Dalma.”
/* If you read More Surprises, the last part of the Prentiss family story this round, you know Rita just learned she was pregnant and in some logical time progression those babies could not by any chance be toddlers yet. However my game ages up all babies that are born in families I’m not playing immediately, even if my baby life stage is set to 33 days. And I couldn’t resist showing that picture of Nan and her baby sister. 😛 So please forgive the slight timeline disturbance. 😀
This is the last chapter of Bran’s story this round. Next up we have one more Rosie chapter (you can read the last one here) and then we are going to check up on Bran’s aunt Dina and cousin Sara, if you want to catch up on their story so far you can do it here.*/