I’d never seen my Dad so depressed before. He lost his wife, his best friend and first and only love of his life. I could understand his grief but as his daughter it hurt me to see him crying all the time. He would cry in the garden while he watered the plants. Sometimes it looked like his tears were actually doing the job for him.
We buried Mum’s remains at the side of the house next to my grandparents. Whenever he would miss her, he would go out there and talk to her grave and then end up crying. A part of me wanted to remove her remains from the premises because I didn’t think it was good for him to go out there on daily basis and get so upset that he would cry himself to sleep but I also didn’t want her to go away from us. We were her family and this was where she belonged.
My pregnancy couldn’t have come at a better time. Dad was thrilled when I told him I was pregnant and for the first time since Mum died, he actually smiled and was happy.
“This is great news Danielle. I’m really happy to hear I’ll be a grandpop!”
But soon his mood changed and then he took a seat on the bed.
“You don’t seem very happy now, Dad.”
“It’s just that… I’m older than her. I should’ve been first…”
“Dad, don’t say that. Don’t blame yourself. Her time was up and there was nothing any of us could’ve done.”
“I know but you’re going to have our first grandchild. It’s not fair that I get to see him or her and Bree doesn’t. I miss her so much. I know the only reason why I’m still around in spite of passing my time is because of my fitness level. I feel guilty for not encouraging her to make the lifestyle changes I made when we were young. Perhaps she’d still be here.”
“What if she drowned or was electrocuted, would you still blame yourself? It was her time to go Dad. We all have to accept that.”
“You’re right. I just miss her so much. You remind me a lot of her. I think you’ll be a good mother just like her.”
Dad started doing a lot better after I told him I was pregnant. I guess he decided to focus on the joy his new grandchild would bring instead of being depressed over losing Mum.
Even though Mum was gone there was still the issue of asking Ethan to move out. We needed the extra bedroom for when the baby grew up. Dad suggested we extend the house to accommodate our large family but expanding the house would cost a lot and hike up the already exorbitant utility bills. I mean, we paid over 4000 simoleons a week in bills! Even though Ethan leaving would mean one less source of income, in the long run it was cheaper to have one less person living in the house.
“So you want me to leave?” he said after I proposed the idea of him moving out and getting his own place.
“Don’t think of it that way. Think of it as me looking out for you. I’m sure you’d like to be more independent, right?”
“Don’t think I don’t know why you’re asking me this. You want my room for your baby, admit it.”
“Okay, yes. I need your room for the baby.” I promised myself I would be nice but his attitude was getting on my nerves so I couldn’t help myself. “I mean, I’m the one in charge of the estate. Nothing here is yours anyway so I don’t see what the big deal is…”
“Excuse me!” He shouted. “Aren’t you being a little selfish? This is my home too and you have no right to put me out.”
“I’m not putting you out Ethan, I’m only asking…”
“If you want to extend the house, that’ll be great. That’s what you should do instead of demanding I move out. I’m not going anywhere until I’m good and ready and you’re just going to have to deal with it, Dani!”
It felt like my head was going to explode. I was so mad but I had to remain calm because I couldn’t afford to get stressed out and have it affect my baby. Ethan was being so unreasonable and stubborn.
“Just relax my darling. Your shoulders are tense.” Stephan cooed as he gently worked the knots out of my back and shoulders when he got home later that night. Thank the Watcher for my husband being so willing to comfort me. He gave the best massages and it always made all of my stress go away.
“Ethan makes me so mad sometimes.”
“He’s your brother. It’s probably his job to annoy you.” Stephan said with a laugh. I laughed too. I forgot all about my fight with Ethan once he kissed me with his magic lips.
Pregnancy was a tough thing to get used to. The morning sickness ended once I started the second trimester but I was still in a lot of discomfort. We learned we were having a girl and I was so excited to have a daughter. Legacy aside, I really wanted to have a girl because I didn’t know if I could handle being a mother to a boy. I had to deal with Ethan and Felix for most of my life so I knew all about little boys and their troublemaking ways and wanted none of that. But this baby girl was already quite the troublemaker. Most mornings I’d wake up to her stomping her tiny feet against my bladder making me feel like I might wet myself if I didn’t make it to the bathroom on time.
Certain bodily changes were welcomed though like my cup size increasing from a B cup to a D. Stephan, like any male sim, was really happy about that change. I wished I had gotten a little more booty to balance off the bigger boobs but you can’t always get what you want, right?
When I started to show, I became limited at work. I could no longer go on patrol or on APBs. I was pretty much on desk duty or stuck doing lab work to assist Detective Chance on his cases.
At least I was still able to interrogate suspects. I had built a reputation of being a tough cop who had a 90 percent confession rate so of course Chance let me take the lead as bad cop during interrogations. None of those criminals thought a pregnant woman could intimidate them into squealing like a pig on their accomplices.
My hormones were all over the place. The strawberry-everything cravings were intense and my back ached all the time, but my heightened libido with each passing day was an upside. I couldn’t get enough of Stephan but I was sure he felt like he was getting enough of me. Even though he’d come home exhausted from work, I had to seduce him in order to get my fix.
He’d fall asleep right after from exhaustion while I was left wanting more. I’d become so…amorous, which was a good thing since I heard stories about women who would freak out at the thought of their husband touching them while they were pregnant. I was happy that in spite of my pregnancy we were still able to enjoy each other as newlyweds would.
In spite of my complaints, my pregnancy was progressing normally and for a while it seemed like I had everything I ever wanted. A thriving career, a loving husband, a baby on the way, and I had the support of my family. But something was off and I knew what it was. Perhaps it was the hormones influencing my woman’s intuition but I started to become suspicious of Stephan. The late night meetings five days a week made no sense to me. I began to wonder how he had to meet with foreign clients every night. Didn’t he have any domestic clients at the art gallery? Felix also told me that one afternoon while I was still at work Stephan had a visitor, a woman, and the two of them had quite the argument by the front door.
When Stephan realised Felix was there he cut it short and sternly told the woman he would see her later and then she left. Based on her description she didn’t appear to be one of his co-workers, at least none of the co-workers I had met.
When he got home that night I confronted him about what Felix saw. “Who is she and why were you arguing with her?”
“I don’t need this right now, I’m going to bed.” He spat out.
He’d never talked to me that way before. “Stephan…” I called out to him but he ignored me and went upstairs. My suspicions grew stronger after that. He’d never spoken to me that way before and it actually hurt me more than I wanted to admit. The next morning I went for a walk to clear my head and when I returned home Stephan was waiting for me in front of the house.
“I don’t want to talk to you just like you didn’t want to talk to me last night so leave me alone.”
“Come on darling, I’m sorry I spoke to you that way. I was just tired, that’s all. It won’t happen again, I promise.” He started rubbing my belly and I felt my anger subsiding. “Our little girl is kicking up a storm ‘cause she’s trying to get you to forgive me.”
“I forgive you this time. But who was that woman?”
“She’s a client who accused me giving some of her family heirlooms a low appraisal. They weren’t worth the amount she wanted to sell them for and she got pissed off. She’s one of those spoiled, debutantes. I let her have it and I know the gallery heads won’t be pleased so I was stressed out. The way you accused me… it made me feel like you didn’t trust me. You trust me, don’t you?”
“Of course I trust you.” I lied. I didn’t trust him. He always had an answer for every question, always good answers too. But I could not ignore the feeling in my gut that was telling me that he was lying.
I’ve been to the gallery where he worked and because of recent robberies the place was always locked up tight after the 5 pm closing time. Stephan would always leave home at 5 pm for his meetings which made me wonder if the gallery allowed employees to go there after hours or if he was lying to me the whole time. At any other time I would have done a stake out on him but because I was pregnant I physically couldn’t spend hours crouching behind bushes and sneakily chasing after him to find out what he was up to. I needed help and so I reluctantly went to the one person who could do the job.
“What kind of favour?” He barely moved his attention away from the computer screen. “If this is about me moving…”
“I need you to hack into Stephan’s SimCloud account. You’re a good programmer so you’re the only one I know who can help me with this.”
“Why would you want me to do that?” he asked with concern in his tone.
“I think he’s hiding something from me.”
“No.” I responded confidently. “At least I don’t get that feeling. Our woohooing has never been better, especially now that I’m pregnant. It’s amazing, actually.”
“I did not need to hear that!” he blushed.
“Please do it for me.” I tried not to sound desperate even though Ethan was my last hope at finding out the truth about my husband.
“What exactly are you looking for?”
“Phone records, texts, emails, anything that can help me figure out what he’s really doing when he’s gone between 5pm and 12 am. He’ll say its business meetings with foreign clients and he has to have them so late because of the time difference but he’s also been acting suspicious. Some woman came to the house to argue with him, sometimes he’ll hide to answer certain calls during the day, and he spends so much time in his office… When I ask he always has a good answer, almost like he prepared it in advance.”
“Have you tried tailing him? You’re a cop isn’t that what you do?”
“It’s hard for a pregnant woman to go somewhere and look inconspicuous. I can’t ask a colleague because its against policy. Plus, if he figures out I’m spying on him then he’ll think I don’t trust him…”
“But you don’t.”
I sighed in frustration because he was right. I didn’t trust my husband.
“I’ll see what I can find out.”
“No need to thank me Dani. You and I may have our differences but you’re my sister and family comes first.”
It didn’t take Ethan very long to hack into Stephan’s SimCloud account. He set his cell phone to automatically back up to the cloud at the end of the day so once we were in we easily had access to all of his text messages, call logs and data such as pictures and video. Nothing we found appeared to be incriminating at first glance however the majority of the calls made were to numbers I didn’t recognize. I figured they were his clients’ numbers but it turned out that all of those numbers belonged to disposable cell phones. It was suspicious because his clients were supposed to be prominent, wealthy people so why would they need to use disposable cell phones to contact him?
Ethan was also able to use a GPS tracking software that his company was developing in order to track Stephan’s current location. When Stephan left earlier he said he had to go to the gallery for a meeting as usual. But according to the software he was nowhere near the gallery. Instead his location was at a residential house in Bedrock Strait, which was half an hour away from the gallery.
Ethan tried to convince me not to go there but I was already out the door and wasn’t turning back. I had to find out the truth. I had to know why he was there and what was he really up to. I arrived at the address to see it was a pretty small trailer looking house.
No one answered when I knocked the door so I used my detective skills to pick the lock and let myself in. I walked inside and realised the house was a lot smaller than it appeared from the outside. It appeared that no one was there at all but the GPS software assured me that Stephan was still in that location.
Just then I heard a noise coming from somewhere below. I wouldn’t have thought this place would have a basement but the sound definitely came from a room below. Noticing a door across the living room I figured that must lead to the stairs going down and I was right. I thought about calling out to Stephan but I decided not to. If he knew I was there he would have found a way to keep from finding out the truth. I took a deep breath, feeling more anxious with each step on the staircase.
When I made it to the bottom of the staircase I saw Stephan standing by himself surrounded by sculptures and crates. Some of those sculptures looked expensive and the optimist in me allowed me to think he was probably working after all, but then I noticed something odd. One of the sculptures he was staring at was a gold replica of Artemis – a rare sculpture worth thousands of simoleons that was also reported stolen during a heist at Municipal Muses Museum in Willow Creek last year!
He turned around, unfazed by my presence like he knew I was in the house all along, and said to me, “Looks like I’m busted, huh darling?”