Monday, August 1, 2011
Chapter 7: Wedding Woes
Phillip takes Gina to her favorite night club to propose.
Sanjay Ramaswami looks on with disgust. Gossip spreads like wildfire in Riverblossom Hills, and by now the entire town knows about Phillip and Gina's illegitimate child. Most people also know about Phil's feelings for Dakota. How could they not? He's been ogling her for years. With hushed voices, they whisper about the scandal, wondering what Phillip will do next.
Apparently, Sanjay disapproves of Phillip's decision.
As expected, Gina is thrilled. She decides to postpone the wedding until after the baby is born as she doesn't want to look fat in her bridal gown.
Phillip hangs around the lounge after Gina goes home. Before long, he's completely drunk. He finds himself staring dejectedly into his glass, wondering how he could have gotten himself into such a mess.
Over the next few months, day to day life around the West household becomes practically unbearable, especially for Lily. She knows that Phillip will leave as soon as the baby is born, and she feels like he's abandoning her. A typical teenager, Lily blames her mother for everything, insisting she's ruined her life.
Lily always assumed that Phillip and Dakota would wind up together. She grew up amidst the tension, the constant back and forth of their relationship, and she knew that her mom loved Phillip long before Dakota even knew herself. This unexpected change of plans infuriates her. Between her father's absence and her mother's tumultuous personal life, Lily no longer believes in love and romance. To her, it's just a bunch of crap.
"Hi Lily." Leo Blanche, the most popular boy in high school, walks over and sits on the swing next to her.
"Hey Leo," Lily responds casually. He may be one of the "cool kids", but so is Lily. He doesn't faze her one bit.
"So," he says, trying to sound relaxed, "I heard your dating Ryan Yokel."
Lily makes a face. "I was," she replies. "But I'm so over it. I dumped him yesterday when I found out he was flirting with the entire cheer squad behind my back."
"Really?" he asks enthusiastically. He clears his throat, realizing he doesn't want to seem too excited. "I mean, uh, really?" he says in a more subdued tone.
"Yeah. Can you believe what a jerk he is?!" she exclaims. "I should have guessed. He's a man after all."
"You know Lily," he says carefully. "Not all guys are like that. Some of us treat women with the respect that they deserve."
She glares at him. "Oh yeah? Like who?"
"Like me. If you gave me a chance."
She snorts her disapproval. She should have known where this was going. "Leo," she begins, the why-don't-we-just-be-friends tone in her voice.
"Come on Lily!" he persists. "Just one date. Please?" He casts her a pleading look, his big eyes full of hope.
She giggles at the goofy expression on his face. "Oh, alright Leo. But just one date!"
That Friday night, Leo takes her to the Reserve Tavern. They immediately hit it off over a game of darts.
"I'm totally going to whip you," Lily tell him.
"You wish," he counters, a big grin on his face.
Leo ends up throwing the match and letting her win. It was worth it to make her happy.
"I really like you Lily," he confesses as the evening comes to a close.
Lily is surprised by how much she enjoyed herself tonight. She always figured that Leo was just like all the other teenage boys she knows, selfish and stupid.
She kisses him in reply.
Over the next few weeks, Lily and Leo spend all their free time together. To the dismay of the many other girls at their high school, they become an exclusive couple.
In what seems like no time, Phillip's daughter Matilda is born. He immediately falls in love the little girl, despite his mixed feeling about her mother.
They set a date for the wedding, and Gina gets to work planning the event. She decides to have the wedding outdoors at the local park.
"Are you sure you want to go through with this?" Lily quietly asks Phillip. It's the day of the wedding, and the whole town is abuzz with gossip about the big event. Phillip looks pale and anxious as he silently stands around watching the guests arrive.
Phillip nods his head, resolute in his decision.
Lily persists, "Because, you know I could totally whisk you right out of here if you wanted." He smiles at her tenacity, but shakes his head no.
"Well, alright," she sighs. "But, just so you know, Leo has the car ready and is standing by just in case."
The ceremony goes off without a hitch. They exchange rings, say their "I do's", and become husband and wife.
Despite Gina's harsh objections, Phillip makes sure that Dakota is invited to the wedding.
Dakota surprises even herself by attending. "I must be a masochist," she muses. Or perhaps, just perhaps, she wants to be there for a friend who has always been there for herself.
After the ceremony, Leo finds Lily standing alone crying. He comes over to comfort her.
"I didn't realize I would be this upset about losing Phillip," she weeps.
"It's alright Lily," he consoles her as he strokes her back. "You've got me now, what more could you ask for?"
She attempts a weak giggle but ends up hiccuping instead.
As the party winds down, Dakota decides to talk to Phillip one last time. She catches him right as he is about to leave.
"Congratulations Phil," she tries to sound sincere but is afraid she came across bitter instead.
"Thank you Dakota," he smiles. "That means a lot coming from you."
"The wedding was beautiful," she tells him.
"It was a bit pink if you ask me," he laughs.
Dakota looks shocked. "But you love pink!" she insists.
"Yes, but you can always have too much of a good thing." He pauses, and choosing his words carefully he says, "Listen Dakota, take good care of Lily, okay? I know she can be such a handful sometimes, especially now that she's a teenager. But she needs you. Now more than ever."
Dakota pulls him into a hug, trying not to let him see the tears forming in her eyes. "You really are the best friend a girl could ask for," she whispers to him, her voice thick with emotion. "I only wish I'd seen it sooner." She squeezes him tightly one last time, and letting the tears roll down her cheeks she turns around and walks away.
I didn't really know where to take my story after the last chapter, so I decided to let the game decide. If Phillip's baby ended up being a girl I would let him go through with the wedding and if his baby ended up being a boy I would let him break off the engagement. When little Matilda was born, I knew it was fate's way of saying that Phillip needed to be with his daughter. And to me, it makes sense. I can't picture sweet, kind Phillip abandoning his only child with a woman like Gina.
So, yes, I technically broke the rules. It was a single parent with help roll, and I moved Phillip out before the generation was over. But Lily only has 5 days before she becomes a young adult, so I don't think it's that bad.
Also, I cannot tell you what a pain in the ass that wedding was. I had to play it three times through because of issues. The first time, I put the ceremony off so long that it was too dark to get any good photographs. The second time, Gina showed up and then left within five minutes. And then, when I called her to re-invite her to the party, she refused to come back! It's like, I know your fickle woman but come on! It's your freakin' wedding! I finally got it the third time through though.
If you don't mind, let me know what you think of Leo. I know everyone talks about the terrible plague of vanillas, and I'm not 100% sure what that means. Do you think he looks a bit too vanilla? Feedback on this issue is appreciated!
And here is a reminder of what he looks like as a teen...