Brown – 7.4: The Painting

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(Previous post: Ballerina)

The sun was already setting when Hazel got to work in the garden. He didn’t mind the night, he preferred it all his life. The garden was situated in the back yard of the home he had shared with his older brother Harry. The garden was originally planted by their mother but Hazel had been the one in charge of it ever since he finished school. It was relaxing for him to be out with the plants, it helped his creative juices flowing, and helped him make new music. He didn’t even mind that tonight he wasn’t alone, his brother was out in the garden as well, working on a painting.

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It was the moment that Hazel glanced at that painting that his evening was ruined. Harry seemed completely emerged in putting the finishing touches to notice his brother staring at it behind his back gaping. Hazel wanted to say something to get him out of his trance but he just couldn’t find the words while he watched his brother’s hand move swiftly over the canvas. Harry had painted a dark skinned woman with long black hair, wearing a white wedding dress holding her head in white gloved hands and obviously crying.

Even if it was a free interpretation Hazel knew what his brother was hinting at with that damned painting and he felt his hands clench into fists as he thought about it. Years ago, before his brother married his beautiful Rhaenys Hazel had planned his own wedding, it was to be a great deal, he had planned it into minute details with his godmother Dina, he wasn’t wearing white, nor did he have long hair, or been a woman, bu the evening had ended with him in tears. Why? Because Donovan Alto, the man he was to marry did not show up…

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It had been so long ago, and yes Donnie had broken Hazel’s heart but they had found peace afterwards, peace and much more. They got married in the end, signing a paper in the City Hall, without much fuss, they were happy now, yet Harry just didn’t seem to accept it. Even though Donnie had been living with them for years now, and even though Hazel was obviously happy he would often catch his brother casting Donnie dirty looks or even saying nasty, plain offensive things to the man.

It bothered Hazel, it bothered him a great deal, he wanted his brother and his husband to get along. But he could not get angry at Harry, Harry was his big brother, he always had his back while they were growing up and Hazel knew it was the same now. Harry was making sure he doesn’t get hurt again, that’s all… He just didn’t know how to make him see that this time he wouldn’t… He knew deep down inside that Donnie would never hurt him again….

He confided his worries to their oldest sister Cocoa when he went with her to her doctor’s appointment.

“I just want him to see that Donnie is the light of my life, he is my everything… My soulmate, my best friend…”

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Cocoa tried to speak back but she was too out of breath running at the treadmill for her cardio exam. Hazel sighed.

“He is just so supportive in everything you know…. You know my client, Latricia?” He asked. Latricia was the young girl he was managing, daughter of Nina Caliente and the late Riam Gradle, formally educated in music she was a star in the making and he was there to help her get to the top. The only problem was that the girl was too quiet and timid for a young aspiring musician, Hazel had learned, on his own skin, that the part of making it big in that cruel world was clawing your own way to the top, making sure it was your voice, your music that got heard… Latricia had none of that spirit. She was pretty content to keeping to the sidelines and letting her angelic voice, and mesmerizing guitar skill speak to herself. Hazel was afraid that would not be enough.

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And so he dragged her to parties, all kinds of parties, events, wherever he could… And while he was wooing the crowd in her name Latricia still hung back and Hazel didn’t know how to bring her up to the front… That is where Donnie stepped in. He would be the one who would sit with her, talk to her, make her feel comfortable, and make her get off the damn couch. Hazel would be nowhere without his Donnie.

The reason he wanted Harry to see it now more then ever, the reason the damned painting hit him so hard was that he and Donnie had started talking about some big changes, changes that would affect not only the two of them but the whole household. He and Donnie were talking adoption.

Hazel had always wanted kids. He loved the little ones, he had played the part in raising Harry’s kids, and enjoyed every second of it, Aenar and Vaela were adorable. And Donnie had his own experiences, he had been running his daycare that had been growing more and more every year, he had three regular kids now, three toddlers he had to take care off at the same time, little Earl Hoves, Jillian Fegel and another little one whose name eluded Hazel. He knew the two of them would make great parents, and wanted Harry to know it.

“But why is it so important Harry knows it?” His sister asked stepping out of the treadmill at least. The sentence came out it short bursts as she fought for breath. He handed her a towel to wipe her sweat but he said nothing. Why was it important? “Maybe you are the one insecure in the whole deal and you are just using Harry as an excuse. I mean it is your life, it will be your kid, not Harry’s. I don’t see why your brother would be an obstacle there, maybe it is something else after all?”

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Could it really be something else? Hazel wondered looking at the man he had loved for most of his life. Was something standing between the two of them? Between them and children? The only answer he could come up with was work.

He was just so busy lately, he had taken on so many side projects that he barely had time for anything… Working with Latricia Caliente had opened up his mind as too how much advice he had to offer young, aspiring musicians so while Donnie slept he would get on his computer, log into SimTube and look for promising young stars that he mentored online, there was also Latrica of course, his day job, and Nina had gotten him a spot at the Sunset Valley Symphony, he was to perform with them for the New Year Concert, it was a great deal and he had to practice for it, which took time of course… He barely had any time left to plan his nephew’s birthday party and he promised he would… What would happen when he had his own children? Would he brake promises to them as well?

Was he really ready to be a parent?

Hazel barely slept that night tossing and turning. He still blamed that stupid painting.

Brown – 7.3: Ballerina

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(Previous post: Piggy)

Like Harry predicted both of kids loved the puppy he got Aenar as an early present for his thirteenth birthday. Piggy was adorable, she was warm and cuddly, she had the energy to keep up with the kids always running around on those little black and white legs of her. And she never peed inside the house! She was a perfect little thing.

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Vaela would spend every morning with her, playing until she was almost late for school and she had to run so she wouldn’t miss the bus. Aenar was more responsible, he would wait until after school, and after he had finished his homework to go and play and often he would invite his friend Melissa Gradle over as well so they can both spend time with the puppy. Harry was very pleased with himself for bringing Piggy into the family.

Now that his kids were grown, and could entertain themselves he found more time to go back to painting, he had been putting his job aside in order to spend time with the little ones but he was eager to back to what he loved, and how he brought food to the table.

He was in the garden, coloring the sketch he had been working on one evening when Vaela interrupted him.

“Hey daddy, can we talk?” She asked softly.

“Sure princess.” He said smiling and turning towards her a brush still in his hand.

“I wanted to sign up for these ballet dances in my school… Do you think that would be okay?” She asked nervously.

“And why wouldn’t it be?” Harry asked smiling. Vaela just shrugged.

“Could you take me there tomorrow after school?”

“Of course princess!” Vaela smiled brightly.

“Thank you daddy!” She exclaimed and ran inside to get ready for bed, hopefully. Harry let Rhae his wife deal with that tonight as he got back to his painting.

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The next day Harry found himself at the nearly empty corridor of his children’s school. He used to go to school here as well, there was only one school in all of Sunset Valley, and the same building hosted both the elementary and the high school. He looked around unsure if he should be happy or sad that so little had changed in the years that had passed between him and his school days. He got so lost in his nostalgia that he had almost forgotten the little hand squeezing his own.

He had gone and spoken to the school’s ballet teacher and Vaela was officially enrolled and in fifteen minutes her actual class was starting. He looked down at her and noticed she was nervously biting her lip her light green eyes glued to the door to the girl’s changing room.

“Is something wrong princess?” He asked curiously and his daughter turned to him.

“Do you think I’ll be horrible at it?” She asked in a faint voice. Harry smiled.

“Of course I don’t.”

“Melissa is very good.” Vaela continued. “She had a great recital at the beginning of the school year. She was very good, everyone clapped.”

“Well Melissa is older than you, she is in Aenar’s class right?” Vaela nodded. “Well there you go, she had more time to practice. I am sure you’ll catch up with her in no time if you work as hard.” Harry told her. “And you will have your own recital and me and mom would come to watch, and uncle Haze, and uncle Donnie…”

“And Aenar?” Vaela asked quietly.

“Even Aenar. In less then a week he might become a grumpy teenager but he will always be your big brother.” Vaela smiled.

“If he gets too grumpy I will need my own room…” Harry smiled back at her.

“We’ll see about that. Now go dazzle everyone, my brave princess.”

“I will, thank you daddy.” His daughter said and pushed open the door leaving Harry alone in an empty hallway.


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When he got home Harry found his son in his room, doing his homework.

“Need any help?” Harry asked and the boy shook his head.

“I am good. There is just a lot of work, nothing hard…”

“Good to hear.” Harry said smiling.  It would surprise him if he had answered any other way, both his children had As in school.  “Are you excited about your birthday?” He asked and Aenar nodded.

“Uncle Hazel is throwing me a party. I helped him with the guest list.” Harry smiled. His little brother sure did love parties.

“Who did you invite?”

“Melissa and Silvester.” Aenar said. “They are the only kids from school I would like there, except for Vae of course. And I told him to make sure to invite uncle Tomas and Luther and Jerod. Because you know… They might need some cheering up…”

Harry just nodded unsure as to what to say. He was often amazed at just how good and caring his little boy was., he must have gotten it from his mother, Rhaenys was the kind of person that wanted to save the world, from everything that was bad… And Aenar was like that sometimes, when he had the chicken pox awhile ago and they went to the hospital for a check up he saw some other sick kids and begged Harry to let him donate his allowance to the pediatric ward. And now at the time of his birthday party he was thinking about the less fortunate… Harry just hoped his son would never change, he hoped he would always stay so innocent and sweet.

Browns – 7.2: Piggy

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(Previous post: Children)

Getting up before his wife on a Sunday morning, or any morning, was a rare occurrence for Harry Prentiss. So when that Sunday he managed it he hurried to get up without waking her, made two caramel non-fat cappuccinos, sliced up two bananas, put it all on a tray and carried it to the bedroom.

He hoped to surprise his wife and have her start the day in a good mood. He knew Rhaenys had a stressful week, just the other day her boss, the aspiring young politician Laquita Hoves, asked her if she should fire a member of her staff. Rhaenys fought her coworkers case and Laquita agreed to keep her on, and even awarded Rhae with a raise for her honesty. Still Harry knew his wife had at least one sleepless night over the whole ordeal.

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Brown – 7.1: Children

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Harry found his children waiting for him on the sidewalk in front of the grocery store. They seemed lost in conversation, or rather it was his daughter Vaela speaking enthusiastically and Aenar, the good brother he was was, patiently listening. It made Harry smile. His children were growing up so fast it seemed.  Vaela was already in school and Aenar would soon be a teenager. It was crazy how quickly time went by.

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Donovan Alto

Donivan, or Donnie as he is called by those closest to him is the oldest son of Holly Alto. He and his sister Shawanda were born shortly after their mother ended her relationship with Mortimer Goth. She claims Mortimer is not their father but they have never met the man that sired them.

In high school he worked at the local spa and shortly after graduating he opened his own daycare. He met Hazel in high school and they had been together ever since. They broke up one time after Donnie didn’t show up at their own wedding.  Some time later he apologized to Hazel and they did get married, with no fuss at the City Hall.

Donovan moved in with Hazel and his brother Harry after the wedding. He opened his second daycare right next to their home.

Donnie likes sports, and also music and painting. He is close to his family, and very protective of his sister Shawanda and his other two younger sisters Lacey and Tami.

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Round 6 – Bonus Chapter: A new opportunity

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(Previous post: Moving forward)

Hazel had never seen this house before, it appeared to be new but he couldn’t really brag about knowing things around the town. It was pretty, in any case, it looked really modern, two floors, a patio and a balcony, a lot of glass. He walked up the porch to the glass doors inhaling deeply. He was a little nervous about the whole thing, but then again who wouldn’t be, it was Nina Caliente who called after all.

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Nina was a big name in the music industry, she was officially retired but during her career she had been a very famous movie music composer so she still wielded a fair amount of influence. It was Hazel’s dream to have his own music so well heard. He had been writing music since he was a teenager but as he grew older he found that the industry was more than that and he had to start from the bottom like everyone else. But today he hoped all this was about to change…

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Browns – Round 6.3: Moving forward

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(Previous post: Visiting the doctor)

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As the weather started growing warmer and the days longer Aenar was also starting to feel better, and so did Vaela who in the end got sick too. He wasn’t going to school but he was enjoying time with his mother watching cartoons (when the TV wasn’t broken. yet another relic that Rhaenys needed to persuade Harry to change).

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Brown – Round 6.2: Visiting the doctor

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(Previous post: Nightmares)

Weeks passed since Rhaenys had quit the army and she felt good, better, more like herself. She knew what she did was the right thing to do. Things at home were going really well. She got to spend more time with her two children. Harry had gone back to doing what he did best, paint in his pajamas, at night even, as temperatures rapidly approached zero. “I wear a sweater!” Harry said defensively when Rhaenys approached him about this. “I’m fine, I paint better outside, that’s all.”

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Brown – Round 6.1: Nightmares

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It was still dark when Rhaenys opened her eyes. The room was quiet, apart from her husband’s loud and deep breaths. Harry had her back to her so she couldn’t see his sleeping face. Instead she turned slowly to look at the other side, at her daughter’s crib. Vaela was asleep to, laying on her back, one hand over her head.She is getting too big for this crib. Rhaenys observed. Soon we will have to move her to Aenars room… 

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Brown – TOC

This post contains a table of contents for the Brown family with synopsis of each post if you don’t want to read them all (so spoilers obviously).

I try to make each round’s series of posts work as a stand alone short story so each should make sense on its own but if you want to catch up on what happened previously (or check if my writing had made any progress :P) you can follow the links to read them or if you want to refresh your memory or just want to get a fast update of what’s been going on read the synopsis initalic.

I will update this post after each new update for this family is published.

Family tree

Intro

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This Brown family was the first family to move into then empty Sunset Valley. Ebony Brown came to town with her toddler daughter Cocoa, escaping a life of poverty and the fallout that resulted from her teenage pregnancy. Ebony worked hard to provide a good life for her daughter and still tried to be there for her as much as she could. After a relationship with Jesse Hoves she got another daughter, Rita whom she raised on her own as well. She married only once, to Harald Prentiss and from this marriage she got a son, Harry. After Harry she had another child with yet another fireman, another boy she named Hazel.

Ebony started out working at the spa, transferred briefly into music and business and then to politics. She was the town’s mayor. She spent her retirement living wit her two sons. After she died both Harry and Hazel married, Harry to Rhaenys with who he has two kids, Aenar and Vaela, and Hazel to Donovan. They all currently live at the same house their mother started at.

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Round 1

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Family Members

In this post we get to meet the Browns for the first time. Ebony had just retired from politics after losing in her reelection for mayor from her former mentor Dina Caliente. She is bored and contemplates finding another job, she visits her daughter Rita and offers her help which Rita isn’t really receptive to, she goes to a party and tries to cheer up recently widowed neighbor Blair Hoves. When Harry tells her he is interested in a summer program in France she takes a job as a ghost hunter.

Round 2.1

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Family Members

Both Harry and Hazel had finished school long go but none of them actually had a job. Harry decides to put a stop on it, after some serious debate with himself he decides to follow his dream and become a painter. Hazel follows his brother, as usual but he decides to be a gardener even though Harry knows damn well his real talent is music. Harry gets a call from a pretty lady he met a party.

Round 2.2

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Ebony receives a Spooky Award and Hazel is named Pianist of the year. He is still working hard on losing his weight and Harry receives a disturbing call from his sister Cocoa. He goes out on a first date with Rhaenys that is going pretty well until he ruins it by going too far. Luckily for him Rhaenys gives him another chance and this time it goes much better.

Round 3.1

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Family Members:

Hazel and Harry try to move on with their lives after their mother’s death. Hazel is at least on the outside doing better, he had finally began perusing his dream of being a musician, he proposed to his high school sweetheart Donovan and he does his best to help his brother deal and move on too.

Round 3.2

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Following his brother’s example Harry proposes to Rhaenys too and she says yes. He accidentally sees her son for the first time and also accidentally catches Hazel dumpster diving. He organizes Hazel’s bachelor party and everyone has a great time.

Round 4

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Family Members:

In this update told from Harry’s point of view we learn Hazel had been left at the altar, or to be more precise his fiancee didn’t even turn up at the wedding. And to make matters worse for him Harry is planing to use his wedding plans as his own unbeknownst to Hazel. Rhaenys does show up and she and Harry get married. We also learn they had a child, a little boy they named Aenar. Harry is concerned when he learns Rhaenys’ other son won’t be living with them after the wedding.

Round 5.1

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Family Members:

After getting a surprised visit from his ex fiancee who failed to show up at their wedding Hazel is smitten by his apology and decides to go with him to the City Hall and get married. This doesn’t sit well with his temperamental older brother, but Harry’s wife manages to calm him down and stop him from hurting the man who hurt his brother.

Round 5.2

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Family Members:

Hazel and Donovan adjust to married life. Harry decides to give Donnie a second chance and we learn he and Rhaenys are expecting another child. Harry himself had put his painting on hold to take care of his son.

Round 6.1: Nightmares

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Family Members:

Rhaenys is troubled by nightmares and she hates her job at the army so she decides to quit and look for something more. Donovan opens his daycare.

Round 6.2: Visiting the doctor 

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Rhaenys is having troubles dealing with her new situation, but she is distracted when her son gets sick. To make things worse his doctor turns out to be an old nemesis…

Round 6.3: Moving forward

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Aenar and Vaela both recover and Rhaenys finally finds a suitable career.

Round 6 – Bonus chapter: A new opportunity

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Hazel receives an interesting offer from a big name in the music industry.

Round 7.1: Children

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Family Members:

Harry enjoys a day out with his children, Aenar is only days away from becoming a teenager and he hopes he and his little sister will remain close. Vaela reveals a love for movies.

Round 7.2: Piggy

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A new member joins the Brown-Prentiss family.

Round 7.3: Ballerina

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With some encouragement from her father Vaela Prentiss starts a new hobby.

Round 7.4: The Painting

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Hazel disproves of Harry’s latest artwork. He reveals to Cocoa how he and Donnie are planning to start a family but work is kind of keeping Hazel back…