Prologue, Part 2: 100 Years (LVB) [moved from KCLKF]

Hi everyone, this chapter has been moved from its original place on my other blog in an effort to clean up both blogs and my Simblr. I left the original post up given the comments on it but the story has been moved here. 

Author NoteThis has been a long time coming – the backstory to the famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) Bella Bachelor Goth. I’ve decided to give the story a better name as The Bella Goth Story was quite unimaginative. I released a chapter about her “appearance” in Oasis Landing in November of 2015, and if you’ve kept up with KFLL, you know she makes “journal” appearances in Kass’s story. I have been wanting to do an origin story for Bella, and also write about her connection to Kass’s family, particularly her great-grandmother’s Legacy Island Estate.

This chapter takes place when Bella is a tot, about 14 months. Simis and Jocasta Bachelor are living in Pleasantview, Misimigan. Simis is in seminary and Jocasta is in her sophomore year of university at Sim State University.  Just so you understand, Bella was born immediately after Jocasta graduated high school (right before Jocasta’s 18th birthday). 

Without further adieu, presenting the first in many La Vita Bella installments. 🙂 


She pointed to the girl.

Jocasta Bachelor knew that wasn’t a good sign. Her daughter, Bella could be a handful, but when the adult babysitter was pointing fingers, something was wrong.

When she received the phone call, Jocasta was in the middle of a shift at the academic records office. Of course, she would come right away. Of course, Simis couldn’t be reached. Of course, she would lose pay… again… and possibly lose this work-study opportunity.

During the drive across town, Jocasta gripped the steering wheel, digging her manicured nails into the soft leather. She tried to avoid feeling the weight of the resentment, but her situation was crippling, like a stone around an elephant’s neck.  Her husband was supposed to be available for emergencies, but his work and schooling always seemed to come before her own. Simis did his best to love Jocasta and their daughter. Still she wished he would help more often… that he would drop everything and risk docked pay and termination and failed grades to make sure his child was okay.

The radio in her car spit nothing but moody songs.  Jocasta sunk into a deep angst, falling low, listening to the Downplays singing – see the world in black and white and thinking you’ll never get it right.

She knew college first, then work, then marriage, and then baby was the way to do things, but she had never been one to do things in the conventional way. It was impossible to fit the black-and-white mold. You did things one way or you did things the wrong way. There was no gray. She had to see things in black and white.

He had come to her, whispering sweet nothings and offering promises of escape. The second oldest in her family, Jocasta had never quite been enough, never quite perfect. Eighteen came and so did a baby and a life she hadn’t quite expected.

Simis wanted to do things right. Raised a good Peteran boy. He knew if the others found out they were expecting, he would lose his scholarship and a chance to be a shepherd. So he did right by her. He didn’t want her to sacrifice her dreams so she enrolled in school. Between nursing, burping, and bouncing, Jocasta studied for her classes.

When baby Bella was old enough to suck from the bottle, Jocasta took a job in the admissions office to help with the bills. But Bella was an insufferable brat, impossible to please, and a holy terror to anyone who wasn’t her daddy. And all their money went into babysitters and bills, daycare and dinners in a box.

From the look on Miranda Lee’s face, Jocasta knew they could very well lose their latest caretaker. Every bone in her body ached. Late nights of studying scholarly texts and early mornings of Bella’s endless screams were taking its toll. Motherly instinct said to reach out for her daughter, but Jocasta couldn’t quite bring herself to touch Bella… yet.


“They said not to bother bringing her back.”

Jocasta sighed the kind of sigh a person feels all the way to their soles . She wasn’t exactly surprised. Her daughter was well on her way to getting kicked out of day care last week when she tried to eat Mack’s hair and shoved Jill off the slide. She hated to ask.

“What did she do this time?”

“Biting… again…  she caught some kid in the eye. The day care will be contacting you and your husband later this week,” — seemed almost embarrassed to admit. “And possibly the child’s parents.”

Jocasta resisted the urge to roll her eyes. That call would be just lovely, she laughed wryly. After paying Miranda her compensation, Jocasta carried her wiggling, squirming, unhappy daughter upstairs to her nursery and set her on the floor to play with her Wugglesworth.


Five phone calls and three angry ranting messages on Simis’ machine later, Jocasta collapsed in the nursery rocking chair and covered her face with her hands. She didn’t even care if she was smudging her makeup. She couldn’t understand it.

Bella had somehow managed to wiggle out of all her clothes and was proceeding to practice her “biting” skills on her stuffed vampire bear. She seemed to take some sort of perverse pleasure in biting anything and everything. She was well past the teething stage, and yet her mouth seemed fascinated with leaving its mark everywhere. The bedposts. The toys. The dishes. Hair. Nails. Flesh.

Jocasta covered her ears, horrified by the sounds exiting her daughter’s lips. She picked up Bella, and despite the toddler’s protests, managed to redress her. Carrying her daughter downstairs, she went to meet her husband on the front lawn.


Simis threw up his hands defensively.

“Where were you?” Jocasta yelled.

“Jo, let’s go inside,” Simis suggested.

Bella cooed strangely as her parents argued, nicking Jocasta’s blazer with her teeth.

“I’m sorry, Jo, I didn’t answer. I was in tests,” he explained.

“Tests!?!? It’s always a test or a meeting or a…whatever…” Jocasta waved her free hand around. “I was working, and the babysitter couldn’t reach you.”

“I know, I know, sweetheart,” Simis said. “I’m sorry. I couldn’t get out of class or I would’ve failed the test.”

“Simis! We aren’t going to make the mortgage this month with all the money I’ve lost coming home every day this week,” Jocasta replied despairingly.

“Okay, come here.”

He wrapped his arms tightly around wife and daughter and squeezed gently. He leaned his head and laid on Jocasta’s shoulder. The gesture was oddly soothing. Jocasta hadn’t realized how badly she had been shaking.


Bella decided to pipe in with her own emotional outburst. Jocasta carried her daughter inside and plopped her in the high chair. Bella was less than pleased about the bowl of Llama O’s she received for the third night in a row. They didn’t even have milk because neither parent had been able to go to the store during the week. Bella fussed, throwing bits of cereal all over the room as her parents tried to discuss their difficult situation.

“Argh!” Jocasta threw her hands over her ears in aggravation. “I can’t do this! I can’t be a mom and a wife and a student. I can’t even fix a normal dinner for my kid.”

“That’s it,” Simis decided, punching numbers into his phone.

“What are you doing?” Jocasta bit her lower lip nervously.

Hi I’d like to order a large pepperoni pizza,” Simis was saying.

“Simis, we can’t afford pizza,” Jocasta tugged on his arm.

For delivery,” he added, and covered the phone. “You’re stressed. Bella is driving us both nuts. We can’t go out, but we can order in. Now go…” he smiled, pleasantly. “…yes, the address is seven-zero Sim Lane.” He covered the mouthpiece again. “Go,” he mouthed. “Take a bath. Relax. I’ll take care of Bella.”

“Are you sure?” Jocasta asked, surprised by her husband’s kind gesture. “And the money?”

“Don’t worry about it,” he shook his head. “Fifty Simos? Alright, thank you.” He hung up the phone. “Shepherd Benjamin gave me some Simos today when I helped him clean out his office this morning. We can use it for the dinner tonight.”

“Oh bless Shepherd Benjamin,” Jocasta closed her eyes briefly and put her hands together happily. She kissed her husband on the cheek. “And bless you.”

“Go on…” Simis said playfully. “Scat…” he tapped his wife’s behind as she turned to leave the room.


Simis. Bless his heart. Pizza wasn’t going to solve their problems. Nonetheless, Jocasta was grateful as she sunk into the edges of her porcelain bathtub and allowed the hot water to caress her sore muscles.

He tried. That’s what mattered. Jocasta’s father hadn’t really tried. Then again, he went away to war before she was born and when he came back, he wasn’t the same. War could do that to a person.

I feel like I’m fighting my own personal war with Bella on the homefront. Jocasta couldn’t understand. Was she being punished for her pregnancy out of wedlock with a difficult child? Bella screamed until she got her way. She cried and fussed until she received attention. She pulled hair and kicked shins and bite strangers who thought she was cute.

Jocasta sighed heavily, sinking back into the water until only her nose, eyes, and forehead were exposed. Their mistake. An honest mistake. Bella was a beautiful girl, but a troubled one.

They tried a medical diagnosis. They tried special eating plans. They tried keeping her on a regular schedule. They tried counseling. They tried parenting classes at the community center. They tried prayer. They tried a pastoral blessing on their home. Jocasta had even tried some kind of simdoo magic without Simis’ knowlege because he wouldn’t have approved.  Nothing seemed to work. Bella kept on fighting and biting.


“Simis, I’m at my wits end,” she confessed as she stretched out on the bed with her husband. “I don’t know what to do about our baby girl. I don’t know what’s wrong with her.”

Tears of defeat pricked her eyelids.

“I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve been praying… but lately I feel like the holy Padre isn’t listening…” he replied, trailing off, as if ashamed to admit the truth.

Jocasta reached for her husband’s hand. “I love you, and I love our daughter, but I can’t go on like this.”

“I know, honey,” Simis agreed. “It’s not healthy.”

“What are we going to do, Simis?” Jocasta leaned her head on his shoulder, her slumped posture mirroring the state of her heart.

“I was…” Simis bit his lip as he began. “…reading… about this healer…”

“A healer?” Jocasta repeated with a yawn.

“Yes, in Simultan…” he gulped.

“What is it, Simis?”

“I just… don’t know… I mean… we don’t have any other options… and we’re running out money trying to fix… er… help Bella… I called her.”

“You called her?”

“Yes. She said she specializes in this kind of ‘biting’ problem, usually not in ones so young… but she can help… but we need to go there.”

“To Simultan?”

“To Al Simhara… if she thinks she can help…”

Jocasta lifted her hand to Simis’ lips. “Say no more. We’ll go.”

“We’ll go?” Simis said more as a question than a statement.

“Yes,” Jocasta agreed. “We have to try.”


Forty-two-and-a-half hours later, the Bachelor family had arrived in Al Simhara, settled into their hostel on the edge of an archaeological dig camp, and wandered below ground in the catacombs, trying to find this mystic healer Simis had read about and called. Bella was surprisingly content to stay balanced on Jocasta’s hips, sucking on the beads around her mother’s neck and occasionally biting the glass. She was the only one at ease. Jocasta was uncomfortable in the sticky heat, even below ground. The ancient stone walls appeared to continue to grow closer the further into the tombs they went. The uneven stone slabs provided little comfort for her feet. The dim lighting was playing tricks with her eyes as she thought she saw ghostly figures floating through solid matter at times.

“Are you sure we’re going the right way?” she whispered nervously, rubbing the sweat from the back of her neck.

“I think so,” Simis stopped in his tracks, frowning as he stared at the parchment paper he had been given by a town merchant. “Though this map could be less than accurate.”

“Don’t say that. I want to get back up and out of here. Who meets clients in this…” she grimaced as she walked into a cobweb. “…horrid place?” she waved her arms to clear a path.

“This lady can help us, and we flew all the way here,” Simis said, patting his wife’s shoulder reassuring, and kissing the toddler on the head. “We should at least try to find her.”

Bella purred happily. Jocasta pouted.

“My feet hurt. My joints ache. I’m tired. I’m hungry. It’s hot. And I’m sweating in the most unladylike way.”

“Lady,” Bella giggled.

“No Bella, not now,” she sighed, wiping a sweat-soaked strand of hair from her forehead.

“No…” Bella said forcefully, clapping her hands. “Laadddyyy.”

She pointed.


Across the hallway and in a torch-lit room, there was a lady in green. She sat stoically on a cold stone chair, hands in her lap, feet together. The feather in her hat appeared to flutter as if there was a breeze, but Jocasta felt no wind in the room, nor could she decipher the source of air flow. She swallowed hard. Maybe this hadn’t been a good idea.

Simis eagerly stepped into the archway and called out in hello. The woman didn’t move as if frozen like the other inanimate objects in the room. Her yellowed eyes glowed as she fixated on the flame. Jocasta hesitantly followed her husband, towing her daughter.

“Hello,” Simis said again. “I’m Simis… Simis Bachelor… we spoke on the telephone. You said you could help my daughter.”


The woman said nothing, but stood to her feet, staring first at Jocasta, and then glancing at the toddler. Simis frowned and continued trying to address the woman, but she ignored him. Bella stopped babbling and fidgeting, and stared back at the strange lady. Their gazes remained locked and Jocasta looked at her daughter to Simis and the lady and back to Bella again.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

Simis shrugged, completely at a loss for words.

“Your daughter has the soul of a huntress,” the woman said without breaking eye contact.

“Huntress?” Simis repeated. “Look, Ms. Specter, we came here…”

“I know why you are here, Mr. Bachelor,” the woman interrupted coldly.

“Well, can you help?” Jocasta asked impatiently.

The mystic healer stared into Bella’s eyes more. After a few moments of silence, she answered.


The woman crossed to the center of the room, lifting the lid on a large stone box. The couple followed, dumbfounded by the woman’s techniques, but nonetheless curious.

“You bring all that you have,” she said.

“You mean, payment? Compensation?” Simis questioned, reaching into his satchel. “Yes, I have the Simos you wanted.”

“Good, place them on the floor,” the woman nodded. “Half in sand and half on stone.”

Simis frowned, but did as told.

“Now what?” Jocasta mouthed to her husband as she shifted the toddler on her hip.


From the sand we come,” the woman chanted into the box. “From the sand we come and to stone we go. We ask the Great Spirits to accept our offering today and take this malady.

She waved her arms in the air, and then turned to face the couple and child. “Do you understand what you are doing? I can suppress her tendencies, her latent genes, and her manifestations of this evil, but we take away one and replace with other. There must be a balance. Do you understand?”

“I… don’t,” Jocasta squeaked.

“Balance… there must be a balance in this world. I can help with the healing process but I cannot change who she is. If I take what is not mine, I must give something back. This is what the Great Spirits require.”

Jocasta glanced worriedly at Simis, who was frowning.

“I will take this affliction from her, but in return, she will be cursed with glorious beauty for one hundred years.”

Simis scoffed, and Jocasta resisted the urge to laugh. Glorious beauty? It didn’t sound so bad, compared to the biting and the endless bad behavior and tantrums.

“And it will fix… help her to be good?” Jocasta asked.

“She will no longer be afflicted with evil. She will be filled with good,” the woman assured. “And cursed with glorious beauty for one hundred years.”

“One hundred years?” Simis repeated.

“Oh yes,” the woman nodded. “This is the price. One hundred years.”

Simis looked at his wife. Jocasta looked at her husband. This was their last resort.

“Okay,” they said simultaneously.

Bella sucked on her thumb, but her eyes were still fixed on the lady in green with the strange feathered hat. The healer pulled what appeared to be a heavy crescent moon shaped stone from the box, lifted it above her head, and closed her eyes, murmuring a few words in an ancient language no one truly understood. Blue light began to glow around the wall where the woman placed the stone into a perfectly matching crevice.


Suddenly Bella was swarmed with happy dancing golden yellow lights like fireflies. Jocasta cried out in surprise.

“It won’t hurt your daughter,” the woman assured.

Jocasta took a step back, less certain. Simis walked over and squeezed her hand. Bella giggled, delighted with the warm unnatural light that swarmed around her. Jocasta swallowed hard and fought every urge to run away. She couldn’t feel anything except warm, but something didn’t feel quite right. She couldn’t explain it.

After a moment, the dancing lights disappeared. Jocasta sighed in relief. Bella laid her head down on her mother’s shoulder and closed her eyes as if tired from the ordeal.

“That’s it?” Simis asked.

“The ritual is complete,” the woman nodded. “Bella will need to wear an amulet to ward off evil spirits and to fight her nature, but it should not surface or manifest like it has been. Here…” she placed a small tiny gemstone in Jocasta’s hand. “This ruby… it will do the job.”

“Okay,” Jocasta said, squeezing her hand around the tiny ruby.

“Now go,” the woman opened up a door to a different stairwell than the one they had come down. “These stairs are a shortcut. They will take you outside.”

“Thank you, thank you,” Jocasta said hoarsely. “I’m sorry… what did you say your name was?”

Olive Specter,” the woman replied.

Bella began to whimper, and Simis took the babe from Jocasta’s arms. As they climbed the stairs, he removed her outer clothes and shoes as she was sweating, and placed them in his knapsack.


The Bachelor family exited the catacombs, greeted by the fading sunlight, shadowed by palm leaves. Bella cooed happily, less layers helping her mood.

Simis looked at his wife and smiled, his fingers brushing her hand.

“We did the right thing,” he whispered.

“Did we?”

Jocasta only hoped so. They had no idea what the future had in store for little Bella Bachelor. One hundred years seemed like a lot to forfeit when one didn’t understand what was happening.


Author Notes: The Downplays are, of course, a play on the band, Coldplay. I was listening to the song in the link during this chapter. A shepherd is my Simworld version of a pastor or reverend in the Peteran faith. Benjamin (Long) is actually a Sim in TS2 Pleasantview, and in this story, he’s a “shepherd.” I have this mod which allows for a “faith” career. The war Jocasta mentions, the one her father fought in, was the First Xeno War with the Xenosi. And yes, the Ms. Specter is the very same Olive Specter of Strangetown. She makes an appearance in my other story, The Secret Identity of Jessica Rossum, also (here so far). At this point in her life, she is a “mystic healer,” but she’s Olive Specter. Of course, there’s more than meets the eye. That’s all I’m going to say. And I realize the bows magically change color. Chalk it up to my laziness and The Sims weird choices in attire at strange times. I also had to use a cheat to get Bella, the toddler, to go to Al Simhara with the family so maybe that affected things. Hope you enjoyed! 🙂

Previous Chapter: Prologue, Part 1, The Last Night of Bella Goth

Next Chapter: La Vita Bella, Episode 1, The Plan 


1.19 Witch Way the Wind Blows (FRWL)

Previous FRWL Post: 1.18 Bewitched 

Gage walked out of the flower shoppe with a sense of renewal and pride. He picked out the most beautiful pink roses. He knew for sure that Heather was going to love his gift. Things had ended badly with Solèi, but he was confident he would be happy with her friend. Heather was good for his ego, flattering him constantly. They had met up three more times for a renedevouz after hours in her gypsy caravan, and each time proved better than previous.

With a lightness in his step, Gage walked around the edge of the building and nearly collided with a familiar face. Constance Shelley appeared flustered, and turned nearly as dark pink as her dress.

“I’m sorry,” she exclaimed, throwing her hand up to her chest.

“No, I wasn’t paying attention,” he shook his head. “It’s my fault.”

“You startled me,” she added, teetering in her black heels on the stone pathway. “I guess I need to pay closer attention also.”

He smiled, offering his arm for steadying effect. She was cute when she was flustered.

“Seriously, it’s my bad. You look nice.”

“Thank you,” she tucked a hair over her ear. “I’m on my way to the Friends of the Library convention in Simcago.”

“The Windy City?” he perked. “Sounds like a nice evening.”

“Yes, it will be,” she smiled broadly. “I look forward to this every year. This year, I decided to splurge and stay in the City this weekend so I don’t have to drive back and forth.”

“Oh?” he quirked a brow. “Are you taking someone special with you?”

Constance frowned. “No, I’m going alone,” she declared proudly. “This is a treat for me. Lilith and Harold are covering me while I’m gone.”

“That’s nice. So what’s a Friends of the Library convention?”

“Librarians from all over the state come together and attend workshops and listen to speakers and there’s a big fundraiser open to the public. It should be lovely,” she said excitedly. “I’m giving a talk tomorrow morning on children’s reading hour.”

“You’ll be great at that,” he remarked.

“Yeah, I’m nervous, though,” she smoothed the side of her dress.

“You’ll be great. Do you have notes?”

“Yes,” she patted her pocket. “Right here. I even recorded some thoughts so I can listen to myself while I drive.”

Gage just grinned. She was such a nerd.

“I hope you have fun in the City,” Gage replied genuinely.

“Thank you.  Plus there’s a mixer tonight and..” she grabbed his wrist and he was temporarily surprised, but realized she was looking at his watch. “Oh! If I don’t get inside and order my tea to go, I’ll never make it.”

“I’ll let you go. See you around, Constance.”

It was only after she left that he realized his watch was an hour fast. Shoot! He thought about calling Constance but he decided he wouldn’t. She could figure it out. She sure did look pretty today, he thought as he hopped into his loaner beater from his aunt Missy. He had met her this afternoon for coffee like he did every Friday. Now he was meeting Heather for an ice cream cone at Flying V’s. It was a nice way to spoil his dinner, but he didn’t care. She had picked the place.

Gage barely turned off his engine and grabbed his keys out before striding up to his new lady friend. She was waiting out in front of Flying V’s like they had planned, dressed more casually. She must not have come from work as her garish attire and curly wig were missing. He didn’t mind. He liked the simplified look anyway.

“These are for you,” he declared dramatically, pulling the bouquet of flowers from behind his back as a surprise.

“Oh,” Heather said, unenthusiastically. “Thank you.”

She didn’t sound like her usual self.

“What’s wrong, Heather?” he asked, leaning in for a kiss.

She took a step back, turning her head so his mouth awkwardly hit her cheek instead. She sighed, still not taking the roses.

“I…Gage…we need to talk.”

“Uh oh.”

“It’s not an uh oh, per se, just… we’ve been… fooling around…” she lowered her voice. “And it’s been fun and all.”

He braced himself, waiting for her to say she wanted more. He was willing to give her that. He was willing to make things official. He wanted to do things right by her. She was a sweet girl, and he was starting to feel attached, and he had sensed she was also. He never intended to go on hooking up with her forever. That’s what he had hoped to discuss with her today, making things more official and more serious. The flowers were just the start.

He walked over and set the flowers on the table so they wouldn’t be in the way, and came back, reaching for her hands.

“I’d like you to be my girlfriend.”

“I think we need to cool off,” she said simultaneously, taking a step back and putting up her arms almost defensively.

Gage frowned. “Cool off?” he scratched his head.

This is unexpected. He tried to remain calm, but he could feel his heart rate accelerating.

“What do you mean?”

“Lè is my friend and all,” Heather began awkwardly.

Gage face fell. He knew what was coming.

“…and I don’t want things to be weird between us. I still live at the Collective, and the other day, Damon pieced things together, and I think Lè is already suspicious about a guy in my life,” Heather explained hurriedly. “And I want to be able to bring the guy I’m seeing and sleeping with around, you know?”

“This isn’t fair,” he muttered beneath his breath.

“I just think with the way things ended between you and Lè that it might be best to wait awhile…”

“You mean break up?”

“No, just cool off… until you can properly get over Lè…”

“You don’t think I’m properly over Lè?” his eyes widened.

“I don’t want to hurt her or make things weird at the Collective.”

“You didn’t think that the first time we got together… or the second… or third… or fourth…” he said, accusingly. “If you didn’t want things to be weird between you and Lè, why did you jump into bed with her ex?”

Heather looked hurt. Her lower lip trembled. “I think this is for the best,” she said quietly.

“Yeah, the best,” he repeated sarcastically. “I guess what they say is true about you… with one guy one day and moving on the next.”

“Ouch!” she exclaimed.

“Lè warned me herself when we were dating,” he declared angrily, and he didn’t care that he was starting to sound spiteful. “Heather goes which way the wind blows… whichever guy the wind brings her for the moment, and then onto the next. Well, you’re a real witch.”

“Oh yeah! You’re a real jerk!” she screeched.

Heather smacked him across the face. He rubbed his jaw. Okay, I deserved that. He watched her stalk down the street, realizing he blew any chance of getting back together with her. What concerned him was that part of him didn’t care.

Previous Chapter: 1.18 Bewitched

Next Chapter: 1.20 Pity Party

1.10 Company (ALOW)

Jenara found herself watching over the podlings for nearly an hour. Each one was different, reflective of its comrade in a way. One glowed purple, the shade of a plump dragonfruit, and she could sense the rare and generous spirit of this podling’s counterpart, Tara. Another glowed a bold red, reflective of the heated emotions of its counterpart,Vito. Garbanzo’s podling glowed a vibrant fuschia color, and Jenara blushed thinking of his kind and extravagant words.

Snapping out of her reverie, she headed inside, barely having time to put on a pot of coffee and set out her cakes before the arrival of her neighborhood guests. She didn’t even have time to change. Jasmine came shortly behind, bringing Tara with her. Jenara found herself feeling disappointed when Garbanzo didn’t make an appearance.

Tara cornered Jenara and thanked her once again for caring for the podlings, and relayed her happiness that the younger woman was so generous in allowing a stump on her lawn. Jenara told her it was nothing, and she was enjoying the education and the experience, plus she was happy to meet fellow PlantSims attending the conference, and help be apart of a worthy cause. Tara asked about the PlantSims Jenara had met, and apologized on behalf of her husband. She also made a quick comment about Gar, being quite the ladies man, despite his attachment to another certain PlantSim. Again, Jenara felt disappointed. Perhaps she had misread his intentions, and maybe he was just being nice, but from the way Tara portrayed the man, she had probably flirted with a married man. Talk about awkward.

Despite her completely embarrassing encounter with Don Baxter and the Waterside ladies, they still made an appearance at Jenara’s gathering. Don even brought a friend, J Huntington the III, a local technician, who had much to say about setting up the website of the PlantSim conference and managing a chat room for supernaturals and Sims alike to get to know one another and promote peaceful relations. He even offered to put in a good word at his workplace for her if she wanted a job. Jenara found him to be a bit self-absorbed, but she was happy to meet another fellow tech with an interest in geeky things. She even had the time to debate various Star Trek captains with him, though she wasn’t sure she could forgive him for liking Archer the best. Jenara decided to keep her “lame” comment to herself as that wouldn’t have been polite.

Don nodded to her in his casual “wassup” kind-of way as he passed by Jenara and Tara. He was carrying two plates, one with a slice of Jasmine’s banana chocolate chip bread and the other with a slice of cheescake from Jenara’s kitchen. He brought the desserts to his friend, J. As much as Jenara was enjoying learning about Tara’s PlantSimness, she found herself straining to listen to the two men on the couch.

“This house is cool,” Don was saying.

“Yeah, and it’s resident is pretty cool too,” J said, munching on the banana bread. “Do you think that Jenara chick is into me?”

“Dude, you think everyone is into you!” Don punched his friend in the arm.

“I can’t help it. I’m great,” J grinned much too smugly.

Jenara resisted the urge to roll her eyes.

Hope you enjoyed!

Previous Chapter: 1.9 Petit Chou

1.9 Petit Chou (ALOW)

After dinner, Jenara decided to go for a jog to clear her head. She had collected many thoughts over the past few days and her list of projects just kept growing. Gardening. Eco-friendly practices. Recycling. Living conscientiously. Renovating her yard. Taking care of her parents’ home. She had barely time to process even deeper things lurking int he background like the PlantSims and their podlings, her ex-boyfriend, and the loss of her great aunt.

Stepping outside, she was about to jog down her street when she noticed a PlantSim man standing next to her stump. Feeling overly-protective, she strode across her lawn and asked what he was doing when she noticed he appeared to be meditating over the podlings.

“I was saying a prayer for their well-being, petit chou,” he said softly.

“A prayer?” she frowned, wondering if it was anything like her thanks for her strawberries.

“Yes, a familiar chant among my people. Please join me,” he offered his hand in invitation. “I must thank you for caring for these podlings. Many do not have your courage.”

“I don’t know if I am that brave,” Jenara shrugged.

“Yes, you are, I can tell you have strength of heart. Us PlantSims can sense these things. It is in our nature, no pun intended,” he smiled broadly. “You are very brave.”

She smiled shyly. “Thank you,” she felt flattered.

“I suppose I should introduce myself since I am in your yard,” he replied. “I am Garbanzo, but my friends call me Gar, and I am eternally grateful to you…” he tipped his hat. “…for your caring and kind spirit.”

She flushed, feeling flattered. “Thank you, again. ”

“It is a pleasure to meet you, petit chou,” he reached for and kissed her hand before she could stop him.

“Oh my!” she giggled, and quickly pulled her hand back.

The sensation left her skin tingling with pleasure. The attentions were nice, but it was much too soon, even if the man was handsome.

“Um… what was the prayer you were saying?” she inquired.

“Oh just a few phrases we all learned as podettes, but I have something else you might like to hear, hmm?” Gar asked.

She nodded enthusiastically.

It is the whistle of the wind,” he said, followed by a whistle. “...the wind which guides our feet to safety. And the song of the bird… which serenades and fills our minds with hope. And the whirr of the bumblebee…which pollinates the flowers to enable life to continue. And the hum of the dragonfly… who is carried on a breeze and smiles down on nature.”

“Wow,” Jenara gasped. “That is beautiful.”

Gar continued. “It is the howl of the lone wolf at night, crying out for the company of his companions. We are not alone. It is the caw of the crow… seeking the food which others leave behind. It is the prattle of the peacock… attracting the attention of its mate…

Something about the way he said mate made Jenara blush.

“ is the dance of the grass… the blades flapping in the breeze as the sun caresses their cheeks and brings warmth to their souls. It is the coming of twilight… the light fades and we close our shells to the sun and open our hearts to the stars.”

“Oh my,” she breathed.

“Do you like it, petit chou?” he inquired.

“Like it? I love it!” she gushed.

“I wrote it myself,” he admitted.

“What? Really? That is incredible. You are quite talented.”

“Thank you, petit chou.”

She wrinkled her nose. “What does that mean? You keep calling me that… petit chou…”

“Ah,” Gar pressed his hands together. “It is Championne for ‘little cabbage.’ We PlantSims like to use plants for terms of endearment. I hope you do not mind, little one. It is a compliment of the highest order. I do not know your name.”

“Oh,” she flushed. “I am Jenara.”

“… Merveilleux!” he exclaimed. “What a beautiful name! Like the month, January.”

“Yes,” she smiled. “Like the month.”

“Oh then that explains your connection to these podlings. To be named for a passage of time is a wonderful thing,” he said.

“I didn’t know,” she replied. “I guess I never thought of it that way.”

“I shall leave you a podling, oui?” Gar said, making sweeping gestures with his arms. “You are a lovely person for caring for such delicate and innocent creatures.”

Jenara flushed, pleased. This was too much. All the compliments. She appreciated them, but was beginning to feel overwhelmed.

Au Revoir, petit chou!” Gar said, kissing her hands again, before backing away and continuing down the street.

Jenara lifted her hands to her chest, feeling overwhelmed with emotions. “Au revoir,” she repeated softly.

Hope you enjoyed!

Previous Chapter: 1.8 Gifts

Next Chapter: 1.10 Company

1.8 Gifts (ALOW)

After a productive afternoon at the store, Jenara returned home and breathed a sigh of relief, that the PlantSim stump was still in her yard, appearing in tact. She was a bit concerned after all the things Vito had said, and some of the things Jasmine had told her, about people creating problems for the PlantSims and the danger many podlings faced. She hoped it would do her some good to house the podlings outside her home, though she would’ve felt better if Jasmine had placed the stump in her back yard instead of her front.

Heading downtown, she had purchased supplies to build protective fencing around the podling stump, and rocks for her walkway, and fresh flowers and plants for her new flower beds, that she could build herself with the wood she purchased. She also made a trip to the grocery store to buy plenty of food in case she had more neighbors or PlantSims stop by, and stepped into the bookstore, but was unable to find digital copies of the books she wanted. The store owner suggested she visit their website, which she did immediately on her tablet and selected a book about Gardening 101, The Prologue to Prejudice, PlantSim and Sim Relations, and the History of PlantSims. She figured tonight she would have plenty of reading for beneath the covers.

Jenara wandered into her kitchen to stock her refrigerator. Jasmine Holiday had called while she was out and asked if she was willing to host an informal PlantSim and Sim neighborhood gathering for a talk, and of course, she agreed. Jenara was the first to admit she was relatively clueless. Perhaps getting together her neighbors would help mend fences and build bridges. Just in case, Jenara picked up a carrot cake with vanilla bean frosting, a chocolate caramel cheesecake, a gluten free alternative Deutchsim chocolate cupcakes, and a friendly favorite freezer bunny pops in case any kids stopped by. She wanted to have all her bases covered. She wasn’t sure what to serve at a neighborhood gathering.

Her stomach rumbled. Jenara opted for a bowl of raspberry yogurt and some fresh strawberries, sprinkling a little granola on top for a finishing touch. Her light evening meal was looking delicious as she carried it into the dining room. She was pretty pleased with the wide variety of fruit available at the market and how fresh everything looked – bananas, apples, oranges, peaches, mangoes, red grapes, and even lemons. She could easily make plenty of yummy snacks with her fruit bowl, or even jazz up a meal like she was doing now.

About to lift her spoon, Jenara realized that strawberries were a plant of sorts… just like all the fruit in the bowl before her. She recalled the words of the PlantSim man named Vito.

Those were my friends… my comrades…” he had said.

Can I really eat this now? she wondered, laughing awkwardly to herself.

Pulling out her phone, she pushed through the device until she found the e-book about PlantSim and Sim Relations. She clicked until she found an applicable passage.

Many Sims feel uncomfortable eating plants after becoming friends with a Plant Sim. It is only natural to feel this way. It is important to keep in mind while all plants, flowers, and trees are living, they are not all sentient. We, the authors of this book, want to help you understand the conundrum of trying to decipher who is and isn’t sentient. The important thing is to keep an open mind and to recognize the life energy in all things and beings. The fruit and vegetables of this world were given to provide you, a Sim, with sustenance, just as the sun provides food for a PlantSim. We recognize and accept the gifts of this world, and also respect the thing which gives us energy and life. We eat with conscientious freedom just as we would eat a cow steak or a lamb stew, as we remember our needs are important too and offer thanksgiving for each meal.

“Recognize and respect the thing which gives us energy and life?” Jenara repeated aloud.

She liked that. Thinking for a moment, she closed her eyes and bowed her head as a sign of reverence and said a few words in gratitude for the “gifts” she was about to receive. Sliding the spoon into her mouth, she savored the first creamy bite and then bit into the juicy strawberry.

The universe certainly grants good gifts, she thought.

“Thank you,” she smiled.

Hope you enjoyed! 🙂

Previous Chapter: 1.7 Stumped

Next Chapter: 1.9 Petit Chou

1.7 Stumped (ALOW)

As promised, a stump appeared in Jenara’s yard the same day. She wondered about the safety of such a thing right out in the open, but Jasmine Holiday, the PlantSim-Sim liaison assured her that once the pods were placed in their holes, they were sealed in place and no one could mess with them. Even so, she made a note to pick up fencing at the hardware store, and maybe even a heat lamp. She didn’t want the little podling to get cold, especially if she found more friends.

As if on cue, Jenara noticed another green-skinned PlantSim man wandering down her street. She approached, feeling enthusiastic about my new mission.

“Hi, I’m Jenara, what’s your name?” she waved.

“Vito. Not interested,” he replied gruffly, and attempted to keep walking.

“What do you mean not interested?” Jenara frowned. “You don’t like friends.”

“I don’t need ’em,” he replied. “And I don’t want to buy what you’re selling, girlie,” he snipped.

“What? I’m not selling anything!” Jenara protested.

“Are you sure? The last guy tried to sell me an anti-fungal cream. Can you believe that?” the man said annoyed. “As a PlantSim, we embrace all of life, even fungi. And I’d be happy to have fungi cohabitate with me. We’re all about symbiosis. An anti-fungal cream is an insult.”

“I see,” Jenara remarked.

“And the guy before that tried to sell me a subscription to the Money Market Lane Journal,” the man threw his hands up in the air. “Think about how many trees were killed just to make the paper for that ridiculous newspaper!”

“I never thought of that,” Jenara replied, making a mental note to cancel any paper magazine and newspaper subscriptions.

“Those were my friends,” he said dramatically. “My comrades… killed! So you people could read your news when you could just as easily read it online and save the planet!”

“I promise I’m not trying to sell you anything, and I’m not trying to kill your comrades…” Jenara explained. At least not deliberately, she thought worriedly. “And I’m just trying to get to know PlantSims in town for the conference. I met Tara earlier.”

“Tara? My wife!? What? Have you seen her?”

“Tara’s your wife?”

“Yes, she went out wandering and we were supposed to go jogging together, and I haven’t been able to find her,” he exclaimed worriedly.

“Oh, well, she went that way…” Jenara pointed. “…a few hours ago, after she gave me a pod.”

“What? Wait… she gave you a podling?” the man’s eyes grew wide and then narrowed. “I can’t believe it. We said we’d plant our podlings together. Why would she do it without me?”

He pounded his fist into his hand.

“I have a stump in my yard,” Jenara pointed back. “I’d be happy to keep your pod safe too.”

“Look, girlie, I don’t know you and frankly I don’t trust Sims. I don’t trust anyone. And God knows what you’d do with it. This whole podling babysitting initiative is stupid and a waste of time. We can take care of our own, and you can take care of yours. We don’t need to be comingling. We don’t need this. We don’t need this at all.”

He had now raised his voice to the point of yelling. Jenara took a step back in surprise.

“I’m sorry if I upset you…” she stammered.

He pushed past her, and stomped into her yard. “Is this your house?” he asked angrily.

She nodded.

“I suppose this will have to do since we have to keep ours together,” he reached into his pocket, pulling out a red podling and slamming it into a space next to his wife’s podling. “Are you happy now, girlie?”

“It’s Jenara,” she replied, feeling uncomfortable.

“I don’t care what your name is. Just take care of my wife’s and my podlings or I’ll sue you for everything you’ve got right down to that sweet little track suit right off your back,” he snapped.

Jenara flushed as she watched the PlantSim man stomp away. She could’ve sworn she saw steam blowing out his ears. She felt hurt as she had always thought of herself as a caring, nonprejudicial person, but he treated her as if she didn’t have a clue. And she was stumped as to how she made him so angry.

I titled this chapter “Stumped” which is pretty lighthearted given the heavy underlying topic. Please know my intent is not to make fun of PlantSims or anyone for that matter. Prejudice (racism, classism, sexism, ableism) is alive and well in the world, sadly. I don’t really want to dip into a heavy discussion here, but I like the ability of the Sims to talk about real world issues in a nontraditional way. I’ve already set up tensions between the supernaturals and traditional Sims and aliens in my other Sims stories because it is such a multifaceted topic close to my heart, and it’s so important that we talk about things and open our eyes, ears, and hearts to the things around us. I also hope that if anything, we can start gentle, healthy, constructive dialogues about our differences in hopes of making our world a better, more caring place. 🙂

Previous Chapter: 1.6 Plant Life 

Next Chapter: 1.8 Gifts 

1.6 Plant Life (ALOW)

Changing into gym clothes, Jenara decided to do some push-ups in the front yard. She figured it would give her a chance to work out her body while thinking about how she would like to landscape. She thought about some pretty rocks and a stone walkway and some lighting. She envisioned flowers blooming and bees buzzing about. Maybe she could make her own honey too. Perhaps she would take a trip to the garden center later today, if it was still downtown.

“Yoohoo!” a voice called out.

Jenara stood up and dusted off her hands as a lovely woman with braids approached.

“Hello,” she greeted.

“Hi, my name is Jasmine Holiday, and I am the official liaison between the Sims and the PlantSims in town for the photosynthesis conference,” the woman explained.

“Oh yes! I was just talking to Tara,” Jenara exclaimed. “I think it’s exciting. A liaison? What is it that you do?”

“I maintain friendly relations between the parties and coordinate their accommodations and help spread the word,” Jasmine replied. “I just saw Tara on the street and she said you’d be interested in attending.”

“Yes, but I…” Jenara laughed awkwardly. “I’m afraid I don’t know what it is that I’d be attending or doing. Maybe you can tell me.”

“Absolutely. We have guest speakers from all over the world come and speak about PlantSims, explain who and what they are, and share about their unique culture, all in an effort to build friendlier supernatural relations,” Jasmine explained. “We’re also giving Sims a chance to experience what it is like to be a PlantSim through interactive and immersive displays and events. We’d love for you to come listen to a talk, or try out our exhibits, and also invite your friends and family too.”

“Well… I don’t exactly have family, and I’m pretty new in town still,” Jenara said, adjusting her glasses. “But I am interested.”

“Also we’re looking for host families, people who can care for podlings,” Jasmine continued.

“Podlings? You mean baby PlantSims?” Jenara’s eyes widened as she realized just what Tara had left with her.

“Yes, they could grow up to be PlantSims, and they currently have an endangered status because people are not aware of these lovely living creatures when they walk around in nature. Many are crushed underfoot, or swept away by rivers because they nest or plant too close. Some are specifically targeted by hate groups. It’s really rather sad,” Jasmine explained.

“Oh that’s terrible!” Jenara explained. “Actually, Tara already gave me a pod, but I thought it was just a little piece of her…” she realized how dumb that sounded, given this was a podling. “…I mean… I didn’t realize…”

“It’s okay,” Jasmine shook her head. “Many people don’t. Wow… Tara gave you a podling? Just like that?” Her eyes grew wide.


“She must have gotten a good vibe from you. That’s quite an honor.”

“I guess, I kinda wish she had said something… so I could be prepared and all…”

“Don’t worry. I’ll send you some brochures and you can download a pamphlet about care of podlings from our website. In the meantime, I’ll get you a resting place for your pod, and any others that we send your way,” Jasmine said. “I have the stumps in my truck bed.”

“Okay,” Jenara replied.

Already she was confused and overwhelmed, but the project sounded interesting, and protecting life was a high and noble cause. She was happy to lend a hand, even if she knew nothing about plants or gardening.

And the PlantSim challenge continues… in story form. Some of these ideas, the podlings in particular, was an idea of mine for a TS3 PlantSim story I had, and I just never got around to writing. It works for this scenario so I’m keeping it in. Plus I was excited to see Jasmine Holiday wandering around the Springs. Hope you enjoyed!

Previous Chapter: 1.5 Pod 

Next Chapter: 1.7 Stumped

1.5 Pod (ALOW)

Jenara chose to take a long nap in the guest bedroom. She had hoped to sleep off her complete and utter humiliation in front of Don Baxter and Sarah Waterside. However, when she awakened, she still felt embarrassed.

Llamas, she cursed beneath her breath. I can never show my face again in this town. 

Shifting beneath the floral comforter, Jenara flopped her legs atop the bed. The room was sparsely furnished, given it was the guest quarters. Her great auntie used to stay in this room when she visited. Jenara didn’t feel comfortable claiming her parents master suite. It somehow didn’t feel right even though they had been gone over a decade. She also didn’t want to sleep in the cutesy children’s play room.

Those days are past me. 

A memory flitted like a butterfly around in her head. A scared little girl. A nightmare. A monster under the bed. Daddy checking to make sure things were okay while the little girl climbed in her parent’s bed and hugged her mommy. Daddy returning to find mommy and the little girl asleep in each other’s arms. In the morning, they would awaken to find him sleeping in his daughter’s little bed, a poor night’s sleep causing the tall man obvious cramps.

That was Pops. 

Jenara smiled. She loved her father… or what she remembered of him. She loved her mother too. The whole thing felt strange being back in this house, almost as if it were their home and not hers. She wondered if their spirits still possessed its walls, and if they were watching over her.

Still fully clothed, she slipped off the bed and decided to look out the window, trying to ascertain the time. She had a good view of the square across the street. In the crosswalk, a pigtailed teenage girl dressed in black gave a snobbish look to a green-looking woman. Jenara gasped, wondering if the lady were an alien, and then realized, on the contrary, the woman was a supernatural – a PlantSim. Jenara pulled on her shoes and stepped outside just in time to hear the PlantSim lady say hello to “Miss Sandra Roth.”

The girl continued along her way, refusing to acknowledge the green-skinned, leaf-haired woman. Jenara felt an inexplicable sadness.

Prejudice alive and well. 

PlantSims were rare on Simterra, a supernatural race, a strange mix of genetics and plant biology. Jenara had heard many rumors about the green-skinned people, often mistaken for Xenosi, the dreaded aliens from the planet Xenosa. The Xenosi were most likely responsible for the supernaturals on Simterra, though no one liked to admit it. Jenara remembered hearing her father, a researcher, talking about mutations all those years ago when he didn’t think she was listening. She had caught rumblings and whisperings of experiments in Oasis Landing, the secret SimNation government city. Only those who worked there or those who had really good connections or deep pockets, or both, could enter the Oasis Landing. Jenara wondered if this woman on her street had come from there.

“Hello,” she called out.

The woman looked surprised to be greeted.

“Hi, my name is Jenara. What’s yours?”

“Tara… it’s nice to meet you Jenara. I don’t often get common courtesy from people,” she glanced over her shoulder at the teenager walking away.

“I’m sorry. I’ve just never seen a PlantSim before. I hope you don’t mind. I think you’re beautiful,” Jenara gushed.

“No, not at all. In fact, I welcome your questions… if you have any,” Tara smiled as she was practically glowing.

“Where are you from?” Jenara inquired.

“Here… there… where are we all from? The universe grants us existence, and we live for a short time and then move along,” she replied cryptically.

“I guess,” Jenara shrugged. “Did you move to the neighborhood?”

“No, a few of us are here for a photosynthesis conference, and then we’ll be moving on. We’re only here for a few days,” Tara replied.

“A photosynthesis conference?” Jenara repeated. “Wow. That’s cool. What do you do?”

“We open our arms to the sun and drink in its delights as we discuss the future, sustainability, keeping our planet green, and the like.”

“Sounds important.”

“It is. You know if you’d like to stop by Miss Jenara, I’d be happy to get you a pass. We could use more open-minded Sims attending to better understand who we are and what we hope to accomplish.”

“Really? You’d do that.”

“Absolutely. If you’re interested.”

“Yes please.”

“In the meantime, keep your eyes open to the light, and keep your ears tuned to the earth to hear the songs of the universe, and allow the center of your mind to be touched with the goodness of the world all around us,” Tara wished.

“Wow, that was beautiful,” Jenara remarked. “Thank you,” she bowed her head. “I wish you the same, but I can’t think up any poetic words.”

“The poetry is in your heart,” Tara answered. “You need only to listen.”

Jenara felt like saying something like “Namaste,” but figured that probably wasn’t the correct response. Instead, she merely said “thank you” again.

“In case I do not see you at the conference, I will give you one of my pods to remember me by.”

“A pod?”

“A piece of me. You can think of it as a PlantSim’s calling card of sorts. You walk in the woods and you find a pretty flower. You may pluck it. If you roll your pant legs and step into the river in your bare feet and you see a shiny rock, you might pick it up. A pod is a piece of us. It is a piece of the universe. It is our way of saying we are here, and you have noticed. It is a token of our deepest appreciation.”

Jenara fingered the beautiful purple pod the PlantSim woman placed in her palm. “Thank you. This is so generous of you. I am honored.”

“The honor is mine, Miss Jenara. Until we meet again.”

“Until we meet again,” she repeated, waving after her new mysterious friend.

Author Note: For fun, I’m including the “PlantSim” challenge in the storyline. Hopefully I can gain all 6 pods in time. We’ll see. Even so, I thought it’d be interesting to include this in the story. I’m glad Jenara crossed paths with Tara Varela.

Oh and Sandra Roth is the TS4 version of Cassandra Goth, since I’m renaming crossover characters, and Cassandra already appears in The Kassiopeia Fullbright Mystery Series, as does the rest of her family. Sandra Roth is based on the TS2 Roth family. I’m going to guess the “Roth” family is on vacation in Oasis Springs. Hope you enjoyed.

Previous Chapter: 1.4 New Neighbors 

Next Chapter: 1.6 Plants Life

1.4 New Neighbors (ALOW)

The doorbell rang. Jenara eagerly ran to greet her male guest, and was surprised to see a woman standing on her front yard instead.

“Uh hi,” she said, as she tripped out her front door onto what she thought was grass.

The pretty lady with the blonde bob and a super cute sundress and feminine ballet flats eyed her up and down. Jenara felt self-conscious in her red sport coat, jeans, and kicks. She rubbed her toe against the astroturf, wondering why on Simterra it came all the way to the front door instead of having a walkway like all the other houses on the block. How did she miss this before when she came in the house? Was it always like this? She couldn’t remember, and it made her feel cheap and awkward.

“Um… hello…” she said again. “Can I help you?”

“Hi, I’m Virginia,” the blonde said melliflously. “I was friends with the girl that used to live here, and she said someone who owned this house a long time ago was moving back in. I just had to see for myself who you were.”

“Um… I’m Jenara.”

“What? No way! You’re Jenara… of the Yearling family? Aren’t you like super rich or something? What are you doing here?”

Jenara flushed, feeling uncomfortable.

“Uh… I used to live here… as a kid,” she began, side-stepping the comment about her net worth. “…and I just moved back.”

There. Simple enough answer. Virginia didn’t need to know all the details.

“I might have to stay in Oasis Springs more often then now that someone interesting lives here again,” Virginia said, offering a super bright smile. “I travel a lot to get away from this heat. Frequent flyer miles, baby!”

Jenara chuckled weakly.

“Oh em gee, you gotta meet my mom and sis, Jenara,” Virginia exclaimed, reaching for Jenara’s wrist as if they were old friends. “Hold up…” she whistled for two redhaired women standing on the sidewalk nearby. “Mom! This is the house!” she waved and pointed dramatically.

“Oh!” the older redhaired woman gasped and approached, dragging the younger one behind her. “So this is the Yearling house?”

Jenara received an unexpected hug from the older woman wearing much too youthful attire. The visitor appeared to have received injections, but she could still note the tiny wrinkles around the woman’s eyes, a giveaway to her age.

“I’m Katrina Waterside,” the woman said. “And these are my daughters, Virginia… you’ve already met…and Sarah.”

“We’re twins,” Sarah piped up, bouncing her perky red waves.

“Oh…cool…” was all Jenara could think to say.

Fraternal,” Virginia grunted.

“I’m older than you,” Sarah snipped.

“By like two minutes… who the hell cares!” Virginia shrieked.

“So you’re…uh… my neighbors?” Jenara tried to steer the subject away.

The girls stopped squabbling and looked to their mother, who looked young enough to be their older sister.  Jenara surmised the “fraternal” twins were around eighteen or nineteen, and their mother was in her early thirties.

“Yeah, my ex-husband settled us here in this desert paradise. Could’ve picked a worse spot, I suppose. You’ll like it here if you like the heat. There’s not too much to do, but I like to hit the casinos,” Katrina replied.

“Mom’s really good at the craps table,” Sarah added. “She’s won a whole lot…” she covered her mouth and giggled. “I was friends with the girl who lived here. We used to sneak into the casinos and pretend we were older just so we could get juice and…”

Virginia shot her sister an icy cold stare as if warning her to shut up, but if their mother noticed, she didn’t seem to care about the girl’s admission.

“I always wondered when the Yearlings would come back to Oasis Springs,” Katrina said. “I’m so glad you’re home, honey.”

“Thanks,” Jenara shifted awkwardly, uncomfortable with the Watersides’ strange familiarity with her. “Do you know what happened to the family that lived here? My aunt said they moved out so I could move back here, but I didn’t know the details…”

“Don might know,” Katrina supposed.

“Don?” Jenara looked at her, bewildered. “Who’s that?”

The Waterside sisters giggled. “Don,” they yelled in unison toward the plaza across the street.

The beautiful man with the fruit cake and ribbon stood up from a bench on the plaza, and wandered over into their yard. Jenara felt the heat rush into her cheeks.

“Don Baxter meet Jenara Yearling,” Virginia introduced. “Don used to date the girl who lived here, but he…” she linked her delicate arm with his muscular one and giving his shoulder an affectionate pat. “…moved onto greener pastures, if you know what I mean.”

Jenara was certain her cheeks were full of red.

“Hey, whassup?” Don said, casually.

“Good thanks,” Jenara replied hurriedly, and then flushed. “Oh, is that for me?” she turned her attention to the fruitcake in his hand.

“Yeah, a welcome wagon gift,” he smiled dreamily.

“Uh….what?” she tilted her head, feeling dazed.

“A welcome wagon,” Sarah said, perkily. “You know…a welcome to the neighborhood kind-of thing…” she giggled. “What? You’ve never had one before?”

“No,” Jenara looked down at her shoes.

She made a mental note to call a landscaper tomorrow to fix her front yard. She couldn’t have astroturf without a walkway if more neighbors were to stop by.

“I’m sorry. I’m being rude. I should invite you in or I suppose we could go have cake around by the pool,” Jenara added.

“You have a pool!?!” Virginia squealed, clapped her hands like a child, and ran around the side of the house, taking full advantage of the invitation.

Katrina laughed. “Virginia was born a water baby.”

As if that makes sense… I didn’t exactly invite them to swim. 

“Sarah, on the other hand, is afraid of water, but we live in Oasis Springs, so there aren’t any large bodies of water around for miles,” Katrina continued.

The pretty redhead pouted.

“I like swimming,” Don said cheekily.

“Oh… you do?” Jenara’s eyes lit up. “I bet you look ravishing without a shirt on.”

Instantly, heat flooded her cheeks. Sarah continued frowning, and Katrina laughed, amused. Don shrugged as if not sure what to say.

“Did you…uh… bring swim trunks?” she asked. “…and suits?” she cleared her throat. “Swim suits… did you bring your swim suits, ladies? you’re all welcome to swim. I think the pool is clean.”

You think the pool is clean? Jenara did a mental face-palm.

“I’ll go find Virginia,” Katrina said, wandering around the side of the house.

“Do you like… pools?” Jenara squeaked.

“I could swim,” Don remarked.

“I haven’t gotten a chance to swim in it yet, but I’m assured the caretaker took excellent care of it. Even so I built a cleaning bot to help me out and save me time in the future. I’m technical like that and all. I mean I really enjoy building things and tearing them apart, so let me know, neighbors, if you need any help building or tearing apart things because I’m great at that,” Jenara babbled. “I’m good with my hands if you ever need a hand or something.”

What in the Creator’s name is wrong with me? You wanted a bigger hole! Jenara couldn’t have been more humiliated. It was as if her mouth was talking and her brain was somewhere else. Don just stared at her, making Jenara feel worse. Sarah gave Don a weird look and then broke into a funny laugh.

“Oh Don, she’s yapping away like a little puppy,” Sarah said, bemused. “And she’s got a dog collar around her neck so that’s even better.” She touched Don’s arm playfully. “And she offered to give you a hand… if you ever need it. How cute is that?”

“Well, that’s what good neighbors do, right? Give each other hands. I’m happy to help you with all your needs in any way I can,” Jenara continued, much too cheerily.

Oh llamas! Can you dig a deeper hole? 

“What kind of needs?” Don smirked.

“She said all…” Sarah laughed daintily. “Any and all needs, just like a faithful ole pup… Jenara, isn’t it?”

Jenara frowned.

“I’m sure my sister and I can accommodate Don in the way you’re suggesting, but if we break anything around the house that he can’t fix, I’ll be sure to send him your way. In swim trunks if you prefer,” she winked for emphasis.

Jenara’s cheeks burst with color as she realized the double entendre for the first time. Llamas! That’s why Sarah was laughing at me so much. 

“Maybe we should go,” Don said.

“Fine by me. I hate swimming, and I despise fruitcake,” Sarah flipped her hair over her shoulder. “It was nice meeting you,” she said to Jenara in a saccharine sweet tone.

“Riiight… bye…” Jenara waved as the two left her fake-out front lawn.

She didn’t even bother to go find Katrina and Virginia as she walked straight inside. She would go bury herself beneath covers now.

Author Note: This chapter is part of my brand new series, A Life of Whimsy, following Jenara Yearling, my torch bearer, for an ISBI TS4 challenge. If you want to learn more about my plans, click HERE.

In case you’re wondering about the name switch, I did this for sanity sake. While ALOW takes place in the alternate TS4 world, there is crossover to my TS3 world – Simterra, and it takes place on the same planet. I debated changing the TS4 worlds to some random Simterran country, and then decided it would just be easier to rename certain crossover characters.

Don already makes an appearance in My Life with Criminals story, and is referenced in From Riverview, With Love and The Kassiopeia Fullbright Mystery Series. In the original Sims, Don Baxter was used in the promotional materials, and he eventually married a redhead named Sarah. Sarah has a sister named Virginia. Since Katrina isn’t mentioned in TS3, I kept her name, but gave the three ladies the last name Waterside, inspired by “Waterside Dina.” This saved me hassle for the TS3 Caliente family given they have been mentioned and will make appearances in my other stories. I will continue to do this for other characters in the TS4 world. Also for now, Oasis Springs is just outside Oasis Landing from TS3 in terms of geography on Simterra. Hope you enjoyed and didn’t cringe too much at the awkwardness of poor Jenara.

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