This is my first story for the Official TS4 forums Monthly SimLits – A Short Story Challenge. The theme for May is ‘I’m Sorry.’ It’s also the first post on my new WordPress blog!
I wrote this story from screenshots I took after completing the Homeless Elder Challenge with my Sim, Iris Walker. During the challenge she befriended a handsome adult Sim named Leonardo Gleason who worked as the community gardener for Oasis Springs.
I loved my feisty elder so much and couldn’t bear to part with her after completing the challenge, so I decided to have Iris and Leonardo get together. Unfortunately, since she is just a townie I tweaked especially for the challenge and did not intend to continue to play with, I didn’t bother to take any screenshots during the challenge. This explains why the story begins with mostly all text.
I took many screenshots after the challenge though and have plans to continue writing their story. Therefore, consider this an introduction to an upcoming chapter series.
I hope you like the short story and thank you for reading! Happy Simming!
*Fun fact – During an online research session to find a title for this story, I looked for song lyrics about women named Iris. A song called Iris (Hold Me Close) by U2 popped up. I was stunned to find many similarities between the lyrics and my story. It seemed a perfect match. 🙂
*Update! My story won 2nd Place! Here’s the banner I received for it. Thank you everyone who read and voted for my story! I’m very happy & humbled! *Hugs*
Hold Me Close
May-December romances are often viewed with side-eyed judgment by society. I’ve balked against the rules of social convention most of my life. Love is love. When it’s shared between two consenting adults, age is only a number. Iris justified my belief.
She was homeless when we first met in the community garden where I was employed. I didn’t know that fact until one morning I was walking to work and saw her camping out on an abandoned lot.
Iris was sitting on a cooler under an oak tree writing what I assumed was one of her stories or poems. She was never without her notebook.
I had asked her once if writing was her profession.
She smiled slightly and said, “No, it’s just a hobby. It relaxes me. I’ve been writing for decades, but never gave the idea of selling anything much thought.”
“I’d love to read something you’ve written sometime, but only if you’re comfortable with it.”
Iris hesitated a moment staring at me.
“Sure, why not?”
She retrieved the thick, worn notebook I’d seen her writing in many times from a backpack and thumbed through it in search of something I imagined she felt was worthy of sharing with me.
“Let’s see… okay, here’s a poem I wrote. I think it might be one of my best.” She said handing over the notebook.
“Wow, this is really good! You should consider looking for an agent and try to get it published,” I exclaimed when finished.
“No…seriously? You really think others would care about the random scribblings of an old lady?” She looked pleased, but not entirely convinced.
“Yes, I do. Hey, you never know unless you try, right?” I said handing back the notebook.
“And you’re not THAT old.” I smirked rolling my eyes.
“I suppose that’s true, at least the trying part. But, ‘tis a fact young man, I am THAT old.” She giggled, then looked down and bit her lower lip in thought.
“Maybe I will.” She shrugged and tucked away the notebook.
“Anyway, how are your tomatoes doing today, worms gone?” She asked changing the subject.
I didn’t push it.
We spent the rest of that day talking about gardening and other idle chit chat until my shift was over and we went our separate ways. The subject never came up again, but I did notice her writing seemed more prolific whenever she sat perched atop a picnic table near my work area.
I stood on the sidewalk admiring the healthy growth of her garden from seeds I’d given her, when she finally looked up and noticed I was there. Her face lit up like the high noon sun. She was glowing!
My mind reasons now it was probably only the light from a Coleman lantern hissing at her feet combined with happiness for the day’s events. At the time though, and still, my heart believes it was her beauty, strength and courage that made her shine.
I think that’s the moment I knew I was in love with her.
“Leonardo! I was hoping I’d see you later today in the garden, but here you are now!” She giggled happily, dropped her writings on the ground and launched herself into my arms to give me one of the best hugs I’ve ever had.
She smelled incredible and felt even better holding me close. The best part was when she kissed my cheek and grabbed my hands tight in her own.
“Guess what? I did it Leo! I’m so happy I could burst! I sold one of my poems to a publishing house! Can you believe it? Plus, they want to make a book out of my poems and gave me a HUGE check in advance!”
“I keep pinching myself to make sure it’s real. Maybe you should pinch me too?!” She winked with an impish grin.
I knew she was just excited, but that flirty question was so uncharacteristic, I didn’t know what to say. I just nervously laughed and squeezed her hands.
”That’s incredible! Congratulations! I’m so proud of you Iris. I knew you could do it!”
She gave me another quick hug and let go to pick up her notebook and sit down on the cooler.
“Thanks, I couldn’t have done it without you though. No one had ever shown an interest or cared before you did. So after you read my poem and told me it was good, that gave me the confidence I needed to go for it. I’ll always be grateful.”
I felt like crying.
“That’s what friends are for, right?”
Green eyes sparkling still, she nodded and asked, “Hey, do you have any plans tonight? I’d like to take you out for dinner to celebrate if you’re free?”
“I’m free, that sounds great!”
How could I say no?
We had a wonderful meal and talked long into the night about her future plans. First, and foremost, she wanted to buy the camp lot and build a house on it. Fortunately, we learned soon after it actually was for sale.
Iris continued living in a tent on site during construction. She confessed that after living there so long, the idea of going elsewhere made her anxious. She needed to take care of her garden too. I offered to look after it for her so she could temporarily reside in comfort at a hotel across town.
She reluctantly agreed, but only stayed one day. I found her in the garden waiting for me. She proclaimed it wasn’t right there, not like home. The bed was hard; the water tasted funny, stale air, etc.
I played along with her grievances even though I suspected deep down, she had really just missed me.
I missed her too.
When her list began melting into silence, I gently pulled her tight to me in a warm embrace. She laid her head against my chest and we stood that way for a long time.
Things progressed quickly after that day for the house and our relationship. Two months later, her new home was finally ready to move in. It was sparsely furnished and sorely lacking in the landscaping department, but Iris assured me that would all change. I thought it was perfect.
We took a quick tour during which I snapped this lovely pic of her standing in the hallway.
Later while relaxing outside on the backyard patio, we drank a toast to her good fortune and Iris suggested going out to eat.
After dinner we went dancing at a local night club.
It was fun, but too crowded for our tastes so when my friend Candy invited us to a private party at The Bluffs, we both eagerly agreed to go. I hadn’t a clue the two of them had met earlier and made special plans for the entire evening.
The DJ was playing one of my favorite electronica songs when Iris suddenly dropped down to one knee.
It scared me; I didn’t realize what was happening yet and feared she was having a heart attack! Then I noticed the diamond ring she held and those incredible green eyes filled with love and hope.
She shouted above the noise, “I know this is totally unexpected, but I’m old and I don’t want to waste any more time. I love you Leonardo. Will you marry me?”
I had no idea she felt that strongly about me too. I was speechless.
She frowned in confusion when I only pulled her up and led her some distance away. I didn’t feel comfortable giving her my answer while surrounded by a gaggle of gawking people we didn’t know.
“Aw, Iris, I’m sorry Honey. Don’t look so worried. I love you too! Of course my answer is YES! Did you really think otherwise?”
“My life was just, okay before I met you, but you made it a million times better when you walked into my garden. Gardening was my life, I thought it was enough. But as much as I talk to my plants, they can’t answer back, or understand, or hold me close and love me the way I needed. The way you do.”
Guess what else? It’s amazing how much we think alike; I was planning on asking you to marry me too!”
Iris gasped in surprised delight when I produced a ring from my pocket and slipped it on her finger.
Months of pent-up sexual frustration made a nearby flowering bush appear to be the perfect spot to make love for our first time together.
“Do you think anyone heard us?”
“Nope, seems like they all left.” I said looking around.
“Cool. Could we, maybe do it again?”
”Oh, Definitely!” I growled, pinching her behind. She jumped, squealed and looked over her shoulder at me in fake admonishment.
“Sweetheart, I’m just making it real for you as once requested.” She tackled me.
We might not have a very long future together, but I know our love will endure forever in my heart.