Time passes. Sun's belly slowly expands and things seem to fall into some kind of routine. To keep her mind off of things, Sun frequently turns to the inventing table for stress relief. Some evenings Tula keeps her company, albeit mostly wordlessly, working on chemistry experiments.
Tonight, however, she decides to break the monotony with a question.
"Hey, Sun, do you know what valerian root does? We were talking about it in Chem. today."
"I was never much good at biology, or botany. But I guess it depends on what you mean by "does". Do you mean how it affects Sims, or the environment?"
"I guess Sims. We don't talk about the environment too much in chemistry."
"Well, if I remember correctly, not much on its own. If you mix it with the right substances, however, it can be used for a variety of things. Some people used to smoke it, back when that was a thing people did," she pauses to solder off a piece of her widget, "Otherwise, I guess if you had trouble sleeping it could be helpful. But it's pretty strong, if you mess up the dosage you'll be asleep for days or you'll hallucinate. Way safer to just use normal medicine."
Tula nods. Her chemistry teacher mentioned something similar in passing, but oddly the public library contains very little on the peculiar plant. Tula wasn't able to find anything verifiable on the internet either. Sun is the closest to a certified botanist she can get, so Tula files this information away.
"Do you know how my class could get some? When we switch to studying biology in the next term, we have to do an experiment with plants. I don't want to be boring and use roses or other flowers like everyone else does every year."
Sun hesitates, "Why not just use another plant? Something...easier for you to find."
Tula shrugs, "I just thought it'd be cool. Besides, it's the only non-flower, small and easy to care for plant we could think of. But I guess if you can't get it, I'll just make a boring experiment with a rose like everyone else. Too bad, though. We could've grown it together and everything."
Sun thinks about it. Valerian root isn't inherently dangerous. And Tula just wants to use it for a school project. Would it really be so bad to get her some? Besides, she wants to bond with Tula. If they're going to share a living space, not to mention a relative, they need to get along.
"I'll see what I can do," she promises.
Tula, who has slipped out of her lab-coat, yawns, then smiles. "Thanks so much Sun! You're a life saver."
Just as they were about to end the conversation on a positive note, Sun's hand slips on the blowtorch.
What the- Tula's thought is cut off by the screeching fire alarm and Sun's shrieks.
She covers her ears. What shrill, annoying sounds.
Paolo thunders into the room, the memory of Krista nearly dying at the same table playing so clearly before him. Just like that day, his girlfriend is singed and screaming in front of an inferno.
Unlike that day, his girlfriend is heavily pregnant.
"Dad, what should we do!?"
His daughter's voice cuts through his momentary panic, and his training as a soldier takes over.
"Call the fire department. Call them now."
Tula calmly dials the emergency number and hurriedly describes the problem to the operator.
"Guy! Get me the fire extinguisher!" Paolo shouts at the sleepy teen. Guy, who just wanted to grab a glass of water, blinks in surprise. He looks to his left and his eyes widen and his mouth falls open.
"Sun's on fire!"
"Yes, clearly! Get the fire extinguisher!" Paolo barks at him.
"Where is it!?"
"Under the sink! Hurry up!"
After what feels like an eternity, Guy throws the fire extinguisher to Paolo. He wastes no time in putting the flames out.
Everyone screams in concert.
The confusion, fear, and sight of the charred mess that is Sun, Guy begins to cry. Is this hell? This feels like hell.
The blaze finally dies down. Guy looks around sheepishly.
"I...I'm just going to say yes," Sun says, her voice raspy. She looks down at her soot covered body and realizes that she miraculously has no burns. "Yeah, yeah we're alive..."
Guy cries tears of relief, and claps happily. Sun takes a look around, and feels her knees begin to buckle underneath her.
A short trip to the hospital and overnight observation for the baby later, Sun is cleaned up and allowed to go home.
She worries about what all this stress must be doing to the baby. Why can't anything during this pregnancy go right?
She looks outside the window, and feels a crushing sense of confinement. She needs to get out of this house before it kills her.
But of course, she can't escape that easily. She barely makes it to the garden before her contractions begin.
"Paolo!" she wails helplessly. And though it only takes him seconds to rush to her side, she feels more alone than ever.
This feeling is only slightly diminished by the arrival of their daughter. Despite her seeming flightiness on the issue before, Sun already had a name picked out by the time the nurse came by to ask for a name on the certificate.
"Haliya?" is all Paolo could say.
"It was the name of a moon goddess in the Phillipines," Sun defends.
The corners of Paolo's mouth twitch, "Sun and moon?"
After Haliya is tended to, Sun's anxiety comes back full force. Having their baby in her arms puts her living situation in a harsh light; she needs it to change.
"Look Paolo, I'm just going to be straight up with you. We have a daughter together, and I live in your house and we don't see anyone else. Are...Are we going to get married or not?"
Paolo blinks. Marriage? They haven't even said "I love you" yet. But he sighs, and knows that she's completely within reason to ask. But after that accident at the inventing table, so painfully similar to Krista's, he can't help but feel history is repeating itself. His live-in girlfriend, now the mother of his daughter, almost died during an inventing table accident and now marriage is on the table.
When did his life become a bad soap opera?
"Look Sun, I care for you. And I love Haliya. Nothing will change that. Do we really have to rush things? Marriage is a life-long commitment and we're both tired and stressed-,"
"Stressed? You want to talk to me about stress? I-I don't have a job! I've been living in this house for nearly a year and I barely see you alone! You treat me more like a housemate than a partner! You keep pictures of your dead ex in the room you sleep in by yourself!" Exhaustion, her aching body, and months of anxiety fuel Sun's tirade, "You didn't even pick a name for the baby! Do you even care?"
"Sun..." all Paolo can do is look wounded. Lately it seems to be all that he can do.
Seeing the pain on Paolo's face sends Sun crashing down into a cesspool of guilt.
"Oh Paolo, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said any of that... Plumbob, I'm sorry..."
Paolo begins to move to comfort her, but she takes a small step back and looks him in the eye. The sadness and hurt in her face silences him.
"But one thing is true Paolo... you sleep up there, with Krista. Not down here, with me. Right now, you love her more than me. You love her more than our daughter."
Sun walks off, tears streaming down her face.
Paolo sighs, and looks at the ceiling imploringly.
"Oh dad, what should I do?"
Like he has for so many years, Marko remains silent.
And as it has been for just as many years, Paolo is alone.