Ever since prom night, Charity had not been answering Freddie's phone calls or replying to his texts. She hadn't even been at school! He really hoped she was okay... but whenever he decided to just go and check on her, the thought of her terrible aunt Mandy scared him off. Maybe Charity was grounded for coming home late that night. He didn't want to make things worse for her...
"Come on dude." Todd's voice tore Fred from his reverie. "Cheer up and stop playing the lovesick puppy already, it's really lame."
"Look who's talking," Larissa teased.
"Who, me? Pining after a girl?" Todd huffed derisively. "Pah! Never! The chicks chase the Toddster, not the other way around, baby."
Larissa snorted and rolled her eyes. "Here we go again..."
Fred was not in the mood to listen to their playful bickering. He made his way up into the playhouse and sat down.
"Heeey," Larissa cooed when she caught up with him shortly after.
"Are you alright?" Her tone was uncharacteristically gentle.
"I know just what you need," Larissa stated. "Some fun! They're showing the new remastered version of Sharks... On Land! over at the Movie Cineplex! We should go watch it!"
Todd, who had just made his way up to his friends, agreed. "Awesome, I could totally go for a bucket of popcorn."
"How about it, Freddie?" Larissa prompted.
"And ice cream afterwards?"
"Sounds like a plan!" Todd and Larissa laughed with relief.
Yet another one of the Dutiel brood was growing up and ready to leave the nest.
Félix had graduated as one of the school's most outstanding students. He had been head of the debate club, and his independent research in the field of chemistry had been publicly acknowledged. They had even awarded him with a certificate stating that he'd maxed out his logic skill, whatever that meant.
It was no surprise that the local hospital had immediately snatched him up for a medical internship. Evelyn and Rémy were so proud - their son was going to be a doctor!
"Hey, little bro, who's this gorgeous fellow you've got there?" Félix had always been a kind soul, and seeing his little brother looking so forlorn made him want to brighten his mood. Talking about Freddie's many pets usually did the trick.
"It's a Spotted Sixam," Freddie explained. "They're super rare and awesome, and this one is a birthday gift for you! I called him Zebulon."
"You did?" Félix looked shocked for a second, before breaking into his usual wide smile again. "Well, Zeb is going to be psyched to have his feathered double flying around our new place. Thanks, Freddie! I'll take good care of him."
Letting the bird hop onto his forearm, Freddie asked, "How do you do it?"
"You two - you and Zebulon - you're so happy, always together. How do you do it?"
Félix smiled. So that was it. His little brother was lovesick. How cute! "Communication is the key, Freddie," he counseled wisely. "Just find a way to let him or her know how you feel."
"I'll try," Freddie mumbled, as bird!Zebulon and his new owner became acquainted.
That very same day, Félix moved in with Zebulon. Their new house was right across the street from the hospital, where Félix would be working from now on.
How are you? I've been worried about you because you haven't been at school and you didn't answer the phone when I called. I hope
There. This would have to do. Freddie had never been good at writing and stuff, but he was out of ideas for how to reach Charity otherwise. Communication is the key, his brother had said.
Fred only hoped that Charity wouldn't get in trouble with her aunt for receiving a letter from a boy...
Faye and Fleur had given birth within a day from each other and were only too happy to have the new grandparents over to take care of the two screaming infants for a while.
Evelyn was rocking Faye's son Ronald while Rémy snuggled Fleur's daughter Kami. The two were just too precious!
Back home, they sat down on the deck and looked out over the ocean. "We're really grandparents now," Evelyn said with a wistful smile. "And all our own little babies are leaving the nest... I don't know what I'll do when Freddie is gone too. It's not long until his birthday. The house will be so big and empty..."
"I've been thinking, ma chère," Rémy said, shifting his weight so he could face her. "Once our little Fréderic becomes an adult, what do you say we sell this house and move to Isla Paradiso?"
Evelyn was taken aback. "Sell the house? But..."
"We'd buy a small place at the beach," he continued, his eyes turning back to gaze longingly toward the horizon. "Just for the two of us - but with enough space for the children to visit." He paused. "Remember our first vacation together, chérie?"
"How could I forget?" Their time on Isla Paradiso was one of Evelyn's fondest memories. They had extended their stay again and again, wishing it could last forever. And now... what was keeping them from spending their retirement in paradise?
"So, what do you think, ma chère?"
"I think that would be lovely."
"Dude, you're all out of cake," Todd called from the kitchen. "What the heck... with all those birthday parties around here one would think..."
With a grunt, Todd plopped himself back down on the floor and picked up his controller again. "Man, Freddie, how come I'm still ahead of you? I wasn't even playing for over five minutes!"
"The cops caught him like ten times," Larissa jeered. "Freddie, you're losing your edge!"
Fred was too wrapped up in his own thoughts to retort. When his friends proceeded to rack up points while he was left in the dust, Larissa finally had enough.
"That's it," she said, dropping her controller. "We need to get your mind off of all this crap. Come on, let's get out of here."
The flame refused to catch on the slightly damp logs, but Larissa was determined.
"... and I don't even know if she's okay or not or if she's mad at me or what!" Freddie had been droning on and on and on. Todd pretended to listen patiently, all the while shooting furtive glances at Larissa. How hard could it be to set some wood on fire? He needed one of her witty comments to make Fred stop yapping already!
"Yeah man, that sucks," he agreed yet again, not even paying attention anymore. Fred seemed satisfied though.
Larissa whooped with delight. "Finally!"
"Shaka bra, dude," she gestured and miraculously, Freddie joined. "Let's get this party going!" Her enthusiasm was infectious!
Todd reached deep into his pocket for a little something he'd been saving for a special occasion. This was just the thing to cheer up his best pal!
He tossed the small bundle of dry leaves into the fire with a flourish.
"Now it's a party!"
The heady fumes spreading from the flames soon engulfed the trio...
"This is so awesome..."
"Look at me! I'm eating the stars... chomp... chomp... teeheee..."
"But there's soooooo many of them! Sooooooooooooo many! You'll never get them all..."
"I think I'm gonna..."
The sand muffled the sound of Todd's fall to a soft thud.
"Is he going to be okay?" Fred asked, jolted back to his senses.
"Yeah, don't worry." Larissa was calm as she settled herself down onto the sand. "It happened last time too. He just needs to sleep it off."
"Some party, huh?" she smiled. "It's cool that you're here too this time. It's always more fun when it's the three of us."
"Yeah..." Fred's voice trailed off thoughtfully as he stared into the flames.
"You're still thinking about her, aren't you?" Larissa asked, despondent.
"Yeah... I just... I can't stop myself! I keep wondering if I did something wrong and what I did and how I could--"
"You know, Freddie," she interrupted. "Being all upset about it won't make anything better. Just relax and let things happen the way they do. If she's the right girl, she'll come to you eventually."
"You really think so?" He asked, giving her a searching look. Having serious conversations with Larissa was a rare occurrence, but this sounded like actual advice.
"Yeah," she breathed softly, peering up at him from under her lashes.
"That would be nice..." Freddie sighed and leaned back to gaze at the stars.
... he felt something warm resting on his hand.
Fred pulled away reflexively. "Larissa," he started. "I- I don't--"
She looked perplexed for a moment, almost hurt. Then she quickly broke into a grin. "It was a joke, man," she lied. "Can't you take a joke?"
"Oh!" Freddie laughed. "Good one!"
Birthday wishes were special. Freddie had thought long and hard about what to wish for this time around.
Really, there was only one thing that had been on his mind lately...
He took a deep breath and then blew it out rapidly, squeezing his eyes shut. I wish Charity would show up!
He managed to extinguish all the candles at once.
Little Freddie, all grown up!
But still, Charity was nowhere to be seen...
Wait, was that the doorbell?
"Charity!" Freddie couldn't believe it! His wish had come true! There she was, pretty as ever, holding...
... a baby?!
"Freddie..." she smiled wanly when she noticed him.
"Charity!" He uttered her name once more, overjoyed to be able to do so in her presence again. "So that's why you haven't been around! You've been too busy with your new part-time job!" He beamed. What a load off his mind that was! "Aww, I bet you're a great babysitter."
"Freddie." The half-hearted smile from before had left as quickly as it had come. "I'm not a babysitter."
This confused him. "So... they're your new siblings?"
"They're yours, Fred."
"... my siblings?"
"No!" Exasperation tinged her voice for a second. Then impassiveness took over again and she continued more quietly. "Your children. Yours and mine."
"But-- but how...?"
"You know how, Fred." She sighed.
"But... why didn't you tell me? Charity, this is..." Fred didn't know what to say. "So, why..."
"Grace and Gloria," she said. "That's what I called them, if that's okay. I thought the names were pretty..." She gulped.
"You need to take them." Her eyes were full of despair when she looked back up at him. "Please!"
Fred could only gape at her.
After a short silence, Charity continued to talk.
"They're sending me away, to live with relatives," she began to explain. "They were so mad..." She paused briefly as a shudder overcame her, then shook her head to get her jumbled thoughts back on track. "You need to take the babies, or they'll make me put them up for adoption! I can't let that happen. Please, Freddie... please..." Another sob, and she was unable to say anything else. Pulling the infant to her chest, she whimpered softly and let the tears flow.
Freddie was distraught. Cautiously, he moved to comfort her, placing a warm hand on her back. "Charity, I..."
"I'm sorry," she finally managed as she shoved the baby she was holding into his arms. "I'm so sorry."
She took off, running on wobbly legs towards a taxi that had been parked a little farther down the road.
Freddie, still in shock, was left to stare after her.
He could see her stumbling and struggling to get into the car, almost losing a shoe in the process.
And then she was gone.
Fred had no idea how long he stood there.
"Sweetie, everyone's asking for you," Evelyn chirped brightly as she came down the steps. "What are you doing out here? It's your party..."
When she came close enough to see, she stopped in her tracks.
Rémy was right behind her. "Chérie, what is..."
The long climb up the stairs was beginning to take its toll on the elderly couple, but right now, they had other concerns. "Well," Rémy started, not knowing how to finish his sentence.
"I suppose we can remodel this room to be a nursery again..."
"I suppose," he echoed.
So much for their retirement.
Twins! I did not see that coming. All throughout her pregnancy I kept checking on Charity's status with MC, and the chance for twins was at only 2% the entire time!
I pollinated Charity using MC because I didn't want to get a teen woohoo mod for this. She was pretty grumpy that I couldn't even be bothered to download any maternity wear for her...
Aaaand that's the end of generation 5! Evelyn sure deserves some rest now, but alas...