** This chapter takes place 13-15 years'ish after the previous chapter. Due to glitches (explanation is after the jump), I had to age Harlan up and move him. So, without further ado, here is the start of Generation 5.
Harlan is nervous to meet his new landlord. When sifting through vacancies in Redwood Harbor, Henrietta's small place seemed the perfect fit for his meager budget and was willing to take him in as soon as he made the long trip from Meadow Glen. However, she wasn't exactly the most accommodating person when he spoke to her on the phone - anytime he asked about the place, she simply stated that he could either take it or leave it. He took it.
"Look -" Henrietta says nervously. "The room you'll be staying in, well... I got this place from my grandmother when she passed on and um, let's just say she had a penchant for colors. If the rest of the house is any indication." She waves her arms around, drawing attention to the brightly colored walls behind her. "I haven't had the time or the funds to repaint this monstrosity."
Harlan shrugs. At this point, he doesn't much care. The trip from Meadow Glen has left him tired and aching to simply fall into next available bed. Henrietta looks mildly relieved at his apparent nonchalance and escorts him into his new room.
"It's very uh..." Harlan smirks as he takes in the state of the room.
"... Pink, I know." Henrietta frowns. "And you'll be the tenth person this week to decline taking the damn room because it's too small, or too pink, or too - whatever other excuse you can come up with."
Harlan doesn't let her waver long in her dejection. "I'll take it." He says resolutely.
"What? Really?" She looks cautiously surprised, but also exhausted. Henrietta obviously can't believe her luck might be changing.
"It's not like I really have a choice. I can deal with a nauseatingly pink, tiny room for the rent you're charging."
"Thank the Watcher." Henrietta smiles. "If I had to show one more person around this place only to be rejected, I was seriously going to punch something - or someone."
"Why have people been turning this place down? The room isn't that bad."
Henrietta shrugs. "It's probably also partly my fault. After the first couple of let downs, I started getting a bit - frustrated with perspective renters."
Harlan nods, remembering when he first spoke to her on the phone and via email and how short she had been with him. He would have turned down her offer too if he hadn't been in a rush and so dirt poor.
Henrietta laughs when Harlan simply nods in agreement. "All right. There's a few ground rules." She says, sternly when the silence begins to delve into awkward territory. "One, no parties without my or my girlfriends permission."
"Girlfriend?" Harlan perks his eyebrows.
Henrietta crosses her arms, defiantly. "Do you have a problem with that?"
Harlan backtracks, embarrassed that his reaction was obviously being misconstrued. "No, of course not. There just wasn't any indication in the advertisement that there was going to be three people living here."
"Well, there is." Henrietta resumes. "Two, you're more than welcome to bring guests here, just please be mindful of the hours. I have to get up early for work most days. Lastly, I don't like nosy renters. I won't get into your business, so please extend that same courtesy to us."
"Good. Then, I guess the room is yours." Henrietta smiles, shaking Harlan's hand. "And Dafne will most likely be in later on today. She'll be glad the room is taken finally."
Henrietta leaves him in his new space to unpack his belongings, but taking his stuff out of his suitcases proves to be too daunting for the time being. Instead, he shoves all of his stuff near the dresser and laughs when he realizes how out of place his things look in his very colorful surroundings. He kicked off his shoes tiredly and made his way to the bed, staring at its foreign sheets and oddly yellow frame. It creaked loudly as he got into it, making him miss his shitty bed back home and the memories of spending time with her in it. He shakes his head, forcing the memories to fade, before finally giving in to his exhaustion and drifting off to sleep.
Harlan is awaken just a few hours later from the incessant ringing of his phone. He turns it off, but whoever is calling apparently can't take a hint. Reluctantly, he answers it only to be barraged by his cousins voice.
"Harlan!" Shalonda says with exasperation. "Pick up your damn phone!"
Harlan laughs. "I'm here Lonnie."
"Yeah, you are." She scoffs. "Why didn't you tell me you were coming into town this week?"
"I didn't know I was. Things just... sort of worked out that way."
"Right. Well I'm taking you out to dinner."
"Lonnie -" Harlan yawns unexpectedly. "-I'm still exhausted from the trip here. I don't know how entertaining my company will be."
"I'm not taking no for an answer. There's a bistro in the West District. Meet me there in a couple of hours."
Shalonda hangs up before Harlan can protest further.
Harlan shows up to the bistro early. The longer he's there, the more he regrets coming at all. He loves hanging out with his cousin, but he hates how brunt she can be, something that she apparently inherited from her father Gideon. He just hopes that she doesn't ask any questions about his intentions for moving. She believed him over the phone when he said that she convinced him that his scientific skills were needed in Redwood, but he was terrible lying to her face - and she often took advantage of that.
Before he can sneak away, however, Shalonda is there and ushering him to the nearest table after snatching a couple of menus from the waiter. They eat their dinner and after the normal catch up conversation, he can tell she's dying to ask him something.
"What is Lonnie?" He asks. "Your stare down is starting to freak me out."
She laughs, shaking her head. "I'm too obvious. I just wanted to talk to you about the work we're doing here. If you're still interested that is?"
Harlan releases a sigh of relief. So, she hadn't been told about his situation with his ex-fiancee yet. "Yeah." Harlan says, breaking himself out of his own reverie. "I'm still interested."
"I've been talking you up at the Science Facility." She says excitedly, jumping right into the conversation. "However, there's no stable positions right now. You can do lab tech stuff on a freelance basis until an actual job opens up."
Harlan shrugs. "I prefer to be freelance. As long as I'm getting paid, I don't much care for anything else."
"Good. I can't discuss specifics in public, but there's been widespread missing persons cases popping up in surrounding areas. It hasn't hit us here in Redwood, thankfully, but the cities are really feeling it and they're sending out evidence to neighboring labs in the hopes that someone will find something new."
Harlan doesn't share his cousins fascination with the morbid, but he does enjoy a challenge. "Has anyone found anything at all yet?"
Shalonda shakes her head, sadly. "No. Not yet."
"Right. Well I'll give it a try." He smirks. "Maybe my overwhelming genius will crack the case."
"Your ego is the only things that's overwhelming." She laughs. "Welcome to the team."
"Thanks." Harlan smiles. "Listen, I'm really tired. I think I'm going to head in early tonight, but I'll call you tomorrow or something."
Before Harlan can leave, Shalonda blurts; "I heard about you and Cadence. Um, Lachlan and your mother both called worried when you said you were leaving so abruptly."
Lachlan rubs his temples. Of course she knew - how could he ever think that his family wouldn't talk about his private life behind his back. Lachlan, for sure, could never keep a secret. "Well tell them that I'm fine. I'm sure hearing it from someone besides myself will get them to stop asking about it all the time."
Shalonda nods. "I will. And Harlan?"
"I'm here if you need to talk."
Harlan smiles. "Thanks."
Harlan returns home to find his two new roommates fast asleep. He enters his room and shrugs off his clothing. "First day down." He mutters before crawling back into his bed and falling asleep as well.
Angst, angst, angst, angst... angst.
As the title of this chapter implies, this is a major time skip. Due to game borkage, I wasn't able to use any of the legacy saves I had stashed and had to remake Harlan's generation. Instead of replaying/rebuilding what I had in Meadow Glen, I decided it would be best just to get to the next generation and sum up what happened previously. So don't worry - Lachlan, Lily, Logan, Ellis, Dasia, Duncan, Cedric, and Harper will either make an appearance or have their story arc's finished in some manner via Harlan's retelling of events.
Also, rule breaking. Rule breaking EVERYWHERE. The game spawned Harlan in the Congreve household while I was setting Redwood up and I decided to keep it. *shrug* Story > Rules in this case.
Dafne Muller (Henrietta's girlfriend and Harlan's second roomie), who will make an appearance later because I accidentally deleted her pictures, is a sim that was made for me by the lovely strawberrysims. She's adorable and I love her. Thanks so much Barney, if you ever read this. : )