Helpful link for a few French words: Google Translate
Alissa’s new family:
Grandmother- Charlotte Moreau
Aunt- Solange Moreau
Cousin- Elder Son of Solange- Rémi Moreau II
Rémi II Sons- Gaston Moreau and Vincent Moreau
Cousin- Son of Solange- Arnaud Moreau
Arnaud’s Wife- Marguerite Moreau
Arnaud’s Daughter- Pascal Moreau
In Champs Les Sim at the Moreau family home a few days before Alissa left Santa Fe:
Solange Moreau remained seated as her sons entered the study. To ensure that the family name continued, she had kept her maiden name after marriage, and her husband had taken her family’s name as his surname. As she sat waiting, she stiffened her spine and hardened her heart. She’d always done what was necessary to protect her family and the Moreau name. Now the interests of her sons and grandchildren were being threatened. They must act quickly!
Arnaud looked at his mother in concern. “What is it, Mére?” When she did not immediately respond, he looked at his older brother, Rémi. Rémi was named after their Grand-pére, Rémi Moreau.
Solange spoke. “Your Grands-parents informed me that we are to have visitors from America.”
“They are Devra’s offspring! We do not even mention her name in this house, and yet her children and grandchildren are to be welcomed with open arms!”
She told Arnaud. “We must be cautious. Pascal and I have researched Devra’s children and discovered that just like their mother, one of them is involved with “show business.” She grimaced in distaste as she said the words, refusing to acknowledge any kinship to Alissa or Crystal.
Arnaud asked her, “What’s wrong with show business? We enjoy a good movie or play from time to time! I even enjoy some of the American television shows!”
The grimace did not leave Solange’s face as she continued. “Both of Devra’s offspring have led lives full of depravity. The eldest had a child out of wedlock. The younger is a drug addict just as her mother was. Thankfully, Devra changed her name to Morales and did not completely dishonor the Moreau name through her own deviant lifestyle nor that of her offspring. I warn you! You must not allow them to influence my grandchildren!”
Arnaud looked at his mother and sighed. He could never reconcile the smiling, laughing pictures of Solange as a teenager with the hard, unyielding woman who had raised him and his brother. The intervening years had changed her. Duty and tradition were everything to her! Arnaud truly believed that his father had died from the years of stress from living with such a cold hearted woman who never tried to hide the fact that she’d married him out of a sense of duty rather than out of love. He still couldn’t comprehend how his father had agreed to such an arrangement.
He knew that his mother had the same sort of intentions for her grandchildren, but he and his wife refused to allow their daughter to be involved in an arranged marriage. Pascal seemed to be the only person for whom his mother had a genuine affection, and Pascal loved her grandmother in return. He was afraid that his mother might try to persuade Pascal behind his back. Her influence over Pascal had pushed he and his wife Marguerite to move to another town and just return to the family home for occasional visits such as this one.
Arnaud’s brother, Rémi, had always put his mother’s needs and demands before that of his own wife, and so Rémi’s wife had given up on her marriage in despair three years before. Their two sons remained here with their father. Arnaud had been appalled at his mother’s plainly evident satisfaction at the departure of her daughter-in-law.
The conflict between his mother and Marguerite had reached a boiling point. Arnaud would not allow his mother to come between himself and his wife although it had meant leaving his grandparents and the vineyard. Even though his brother was the eldest and would inherit the vineyard, the Moreau family had all lived here together through the generations. However, his mother’s behavior had forced Arnaud to leave.
Then Arnaud left the room.
“This is what we must do.”
“You must be Alissa.”
“I’m Jean Pierre. I am a friend of your grandparents. They asked me to meet you here and then drive you back to their place.” He spoke with a heavy French accent, and he seemed very charming. He smiled warmly at Alissa. “They did not tell me how lovely you would be.”
After they were underway, Crystal told him, “Just in case our grandparents failed to mention it, my sister is a happily married mother of five, and she has a granddaughter. So whatever scheme you’re developing about her in that irritating mind of a man that you have, you can just forget about it!”
Alissa hadn’t taken him seriously at all! She’d had a lot of experience over the years dealing with unwanted admirers, and she knew that he wasn’t really interested in a relationship with her. He was just trying to be what the tourists expected of a Frenchman. Her overprotective sister! Alissa smiled.
Alissa responded, “Ill! I hope it isn’t anything serious. Maybe we should stay at my home rather than at the vineyard.”
Jean Pierre told her, “He is a strong old man. I am sure that he will be fine.”
Alissa glanced at Jean Pierre’s face in the mirror. There was an expression of concern on his face contradicting his words. She wanted to question him further but not with Joy and Cara in the car.
This was Crystal’s and Joy’s first visit to Champs Les Sim, and Cara’s first since she was a toddler. They couldn’t take their eyes off the views through the car windows. The architecture and the landscape of Champs Les Sim was beautiful! They drove deeper into the countryside for almost an hour.
In Santa Fe:
“Oh good, you’re home. I was just about to send you a text. My Dad took Aiden to soccer practice but got called back to the hospital. Shawn has a date, and so Daddy asked me to pick up Aiden. I’ll be back after his practice is over. I thought I’d pick something up for dinner.”
“There’s no telling how late your Dad will be at the hospital, or Shawn out on his date. It’ll probably be past Aiden’s bedtime. Why doesn’t Aiden just sleep here tonight. I can take your car tomorrow and drop him off at school on my way to class.”
“That sounds good.”
Sharlee kissed him and headed for the door.
“Tell Mommy bye!”
“You hog the baby!”
He continued, “I might share the next one with you.”
Sharlee kissed Sky goodbye and then went to get Aiden.
The Moreau vineyard was in an outlying area of Champs Les Sim far from the main city. The road leading there was rough, but the views were gorgeous. Alissa imagined that the roads would be impassible and the vineyard would be cut off during bad storms.
When they drove up to the chateau, Alissa exclaimed! “This is so charming! Just like a chateau from a novel or in a movie.” She was surprised to see how large it was. Her grandparents had somewhat modernized it when they returned to France from the United States. Her great grandfather had passed away not long after her grandparents return, and her grandfather had taken over running the vineyard.
They left the car and entered the house. The family was in the foyer waiting to greet them. As soon as they came through the door Alissa’s grandmother, Charlotte, came to hug her. “Welcome home, Alissa!” Then she turned to Crystal and hugged her too! Crystal strongly resembled their grandmother.
“I see that my sister neglected to teach you manners. I am not in the least surprised!”
“Then you need your eyes examined, Solange. She has the same deep sherry colored eyes as you yourself inherited from me. She also shares the same shade of blond hair as your Mére had in her youth. She is just as much of a Moreau as you!” He chastised her firmly. “I believe it is you who has forgotten her own manners. Do not forget them again!”
Crystal saw the coldness in Solange’s eyes and knew that she did not want them there! Alissa saw it too, but when Solange hugged her, she returned the hug. Solange also hugged Cara and Crystal.
Joy drew back and hid further behind Crystal. She too had picked up on Solange’s true feelings. Alissa intervened. She and Dale had made it a point never to insist that the children show affection to anyone whom they did not want to give it of their own free will. It was a protection for them.
“Maybe after she feels more comfortable with you.”
“Ah, oui! My apologies!” He told Joy again in English with a heavy French accent and added. “Your mother tells us that you love to dance. You must dance for us in the garden. Which is your favorite style of dance?”
Then the rest of the family was introduced to them. First Alissa’s and Crystal’s cousins Rémi and Arnaud were introduced. Rémi’s two teenaged sons, Gaston and Vincent greeted them with friendly smiles.
“I am so happy to meet you, Alissa! I am a fan of your show and of your Pére’s films!”
Arnaud had not known that himself! He smiled.
Then Arnaud’s daughter, Pascal was introduced. With her mouth, she said the appropriate words of greeting, but the expression of animosity in her eyes showed her real feelings about them. She gave Cara an exceptionally hard look, raking her eyes over Cara’s outfit contemptuously.
As they walked to their rooms, Alissa looked around her. She was completely enchanted with the chateau. Over the generations as the Moreau family had grown larger, so had the chateau. She knew that Sharlee would absolutely love it, and so would Dale. She would plan a trip for the entire family to return soon.
Her grandparents had already asked to see pictures of the rest of the family, and urged her to bring them back as soon as she could. They were especially eager to meet their great great granddaughter, Skylar.
Charlotte told Alissa, “We will have the nursery reopened and prepared for her.”
Alissa had taken French in high school and had practiced speaking it after she and Dale had bought the house in Champs Les Sim. Although not fluent, she could understand much of it and speak it.
The one unpleasant part of the trip so far was her Aunt Solange. She did not want them there and barely tried to hide it.
It would be perfect were it not for Solange’s hostile attitude.
“We do not keep servants daily. We have two women who come from town to clean twice a week and a cook for special occasions like tonight with your visit. You’ll be expected to make your own beds and tidy up after yourselves. Can either of you cook?”
She left the room after that.
Alissa suggested that Joy and Cara share a room. She thought that Joy would feel more comfortable that way. Cara agreed, and they picked a room across the hall from Alissa’s. Cara and Joy really liked their room too.
Pascal had remained in the room with the girls as Cara unpacked. The boys were going to bring up the rest of the luggage soon. Pascal said nastily, “It’s true that you Americans have no sense of style.”
Cara ignored her comment.
Pascal then said, “I bet you’ll miss having someone to wait on you hand and foot while you’re here.”
“I don’t have anyone “waiting” on me at home. We have a maid who comes and helps out with the cleaning, but other than that we do our own chores and our own cooking.”
Pascal was surprised. She thought American celebrities hired someone to do everything for them. Even though she’d been rude to Cara about her clothes, she really did like the outfit that Cara was wearing. It was very chic. She didn’t tell Cara that though. She left their room and went to find her grandmother.
Some of the others tried to hold back smiles. Jean Pierre had joined them for dinner, and he smothered his laugh. He found Crystal to be very amusing. He’d known that Solange disliked anyone who stood up to her, and clearly Crystal would. He looked at Alissa. Alissa had a little more tact, but he sensed a strength of personality in her as well. No, Solange would not like them usurping her role in the house.
When Trent had told her that her family was very conservative, Alissa had mentioned it to Crystal. Crystal had told her that she wasn’t going there to gain their approval. She felt that they had to gain her approval!
However, Alissa had persuaded her to bring a few more conservative outfits, and she’d thought that her own was fine. Even Valerie hadn’t disapproved of the way she dressed, and Valerie was conservative too! Whatever they had worn, Solange would have found fault with it. Alissa wondered if she’d made a mistake by bringing her girls with her.
Charlotte told Solange, “American tastes and customs are not always the same as the French, Solange. Even within different provinces in France standards can vary. Sometimes I think that you forget about the American side of yourself. You spent your childhood and teenage years in America! Even so, Alissa and Crystal are adults and decide for themselves what is appropriate just as you do! Besides, I think that they all look charming.”
Alissa felt a bit of relief that her grandmother did not share her aunt’s attitude.
Cara returned her look. She didn’t know what Pascal’s problem was, but she didn’t intend to let Pascal spoil this trip for her. She loved it here and couldn’t wait to hit the countryside with her camera. She knew that there was a beach close to them and intended to go there tomorrow.
“Your mother told me that this was your favorite meal, Joy. I wanted you to feel right at home and instructed the cook to prepare it.”
“You are most welcome, Mon Cher.”
They learned that their Grandmére had had a twin brother who had passed away a few years ago. So twins did run in the family! They had relatives on their Grandmére’s side of the family still living in the States. Now that they had found their grandparents, Alissa and Crystal felt that a hole in their lives had finally been filled!
When she saw the kitchen, Alissa really looked forward to cooking in there. It still had a lot of its antique furnishings as well as modern touches. They were all tired from their flight and returned to their rooms not long after dinner.
French Decor: Luna
The Sims Resource: CashCraft
The Sims Resource: Amond Estate