They spent a few more wonderful days in Shang Simla. Bloom could not remember when he had last felt so relaxed and at ease. Had he ever?
He didn't even mind the paparazzi stalking their every move.
Back home in Bridgeport, the calm feeling still persisted. No longer did Bloom fret about not being able to spend enough time with his children - he simply treasured every moment with them. Soon he realized that they were actually spending a lot more time together that he had thought.
Tending to his growing garden also gave him great satisfaction. He also stopped frantically checking the mailbox every morning before work. He felt genuinely serene.
But one morning his serenity was disrupted when Bloom was almost swept off his feet. Walking past the mailbox, toward the door, someone Bloom saw someone coming straight towards him.
Was it? Could it be?
For a moment, they just stood and stared at each other. She had aged, much like Bloom had himself, but there was no doubt about it. It was Matilda!
He saw tears welling up in her eyes as she began to speak.
"Bloom, I... I know I have no right to be here-- I... I..."
Her voice trailed off into sobs. But Bloom wasn't paying attention to what she was saying. His eyes were fixed on her hand.
He reached out to her, still regarding her hand.
After all this time, after everything that had happened, Matilda still wore her wedding ring - just like Bloom.
There was nothing more to say. Bloom understood, and so did Matilda.
They had both aged so much, but it felt like no time had passed at all. It was familiar and comforting, yet fresh and exciting all at once.
It just felt right.
They spent the whole morning together in bed. Bloom's thoughts didn't go to his work even once.
Finally, the other side of the bed was warm again.
When they crawled out of bed in the afternoon, Bloom stroked Matilda's cheek and said, "I need to show you something, Matilda."
"You painted these?", she asked. "They're beautiful."
"They are our beautiful children, Matilda."
"Matilda, I wouldn't have it any other way."
A warm breeze rustled through the leaves as the sun neared the horizon. As expected, Bloom had know exactly where to find his children on such a lovely day.
They were cautious at first, not quite knowing what to do.
Clover was the first to leap into her mother's arms.
The boys quickly followed.
They laughed and talked for hours, until well after dark.
Bloom was glad to see that just like himself, none of his children resented their mother for her absence. He had managed to fill the gap she had left, apparently. They had been a complete family all along, but everyone was happy to welcome a new member.
Cypress was glad to finally have someone in the house who could appreciate his cooking.
He prepared egg rolls, a recipe he had picked up during their recent trip to Shang Simla.
Matilda praised him for his excellent cooking, and Bloom thought that Cypress had never looked more pleased.
And of course, they also bonded over video games.
"Wow, you are a great painter!"
"Oh, uh, thanks. Citrus is better than me really, I much prefer playing the guitar. I just had this idea and had to paint it..."
"Is this anyone in particular, Clover?"
"Uhm, well, it's a bit silly..."
"Well, you see, I was just imagining what I might look like as a normal Sim, you know? Like you."
"Oh, I see..." Matilda seemed unsure how to react to this for a second. "Well, it looks beautiful, Clover. Just as beautiful as you look now."
Clover was silent for a moment. "Thanks... mom."
It was the perfect time to take Broccoli up on his invitation to Hidden Springs.
He and Sedrick had moved into an amazing house by the lakeside and Beryllium and Bismuth lived in an even larger mansion closer to the mountains.
"The fresh air here is really amazing!", Bloom exclaimed. He wanted to disctract himself from commenting on Broccoli's head-leaves, which were now white. Had Broccoli simply not washed off the pollen like Bloom had? Or had it actually turned white? Regardless, the fresh air really was amazing!
Bloom's family welcomed Matilda like she had never left. Broccoli told them both happily about everything that had been going on in Hidden Springs.
"You know, Bis managed to buy this beautiful plot of land, and he has got it in his head to make it a sort of family cemetery or something. Yeah, it's weird, but you know our little brother. Anyway, he already had mom and dad interred there, and I'm going to have Aria's remains transported here as well. If you guys don't find it too macabre, you should really check it out."
Bloom was skeptic at first. How could Bismuth do something like this without even thinking of asking him? But when Bloom arrived at this serene spot in the mountains and saw the memorial for his parents, all his mixed feelings vanished. It really was a beautiful spot for a family cemetery.
For their vacation, Bloom had rented a nice holiday house right across the street from Broccoli's house.
The view of the lake was simply breathtaking.
Bloom was struck by inspiration and painted for hours.
The kids loved it too, fishing in the lake right behind the house.
This really was the best family vacation they had taken so far! Everyone loved it in Hidden Springs.
Time flew by quicker than it ever had before. On the last day of their stay, Broccoli and Sedrick, who had grown into a young adult, took them up to a special viewing point in the mountains.
"Wow, look, I can see aunt Beryl's house from here!", exclaimed Clover.
"And ours is over there!", Citrus added.
"It's not our house, Citrus.", Cypress stated as he walked up behind them.
"Aw well, I wish it was!", Clover said, smiling at her brothers over her shoulder.
"It really was a wonderful vacation, Bloom. Too bad it's almost over."
"Hm..." Bloom thought for a moment. "It doesn't have to be, actually!"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, at work we've been talking about opening another branch, you see, and I think this might just be the perfect place for it."
"Yes, Matilda, why don't we all move to Hidden Springs?"
It was a perfect ending to a wonderful vacation - that wasn't actually ending! When Bloom had told the kids about his idea, they had all immediately been excited. Even Clover, who Bloom thought would have objected because of her boyfriend Darwin, was all for it.
"After all, Bridgeport isn't that far off. He can visit."
It would be a fresh start.
Matilda is back! At the very beginning, when I rolled for this generation, I had planned on a messy celebrity divorce after having the babies. But even when Bloom had a midlife crisis, he never got the wish to divorce Matilda even once. Whenever I had a Sim going through midlife crisis before, they always, always got the wish to divorce their spouse. Every time. Yet Bloom only wanted to kiss and woohoo... Same with her, of course. They were so in love!
So, following the optional part of the 'single parent' roll, Matilda was allowed back after the youngest child (all three are the same age) passed the middle point of the teen stage.
Also, yay for Hidden Springs! I love Bridgeport, but it is so laggy, unfortunately.