Goal #21: Make Future Plans (LASL)

Lizzie slides off the table
“So what’s the verdict?”

I asked the doctor as I slid off the exam room table. Finally, I managed to make it to my appointment. The doctor asked me a multitude of questions, the same ones the nurse asked, and the same ones the paperwork I filled out asked. I was beginning to wonder why they needed so many checks and balances as it was growing tiresome to answer everything multiple times. She seemed polite enough, but I missed my normal doctor. Even so, I patiently succumbed to questions and tests. Always more tests. They could charge me a fortune with tests.

“Wait here,” the doctor requested. “I’m going to get a second opinion.”

A second opinion? I gasped. As the medical professional left the room, my brain went to all sorts of terrifying places. Oh dear! What if I was sick? What if I didn’t fully recover? What if I was slipping back into ghost mode? I just felt happy again. I couldn’t let that happen. I called Joseph last night and left him a message. Actually I called three times. He didn’t answer, but I left him a voicemail each time telling him how sorry I was and begged him for a second chance. I told him I was coming home if he still wanted me. I frowned. I couldn’t lose that opportunity. Not yet. Did I have cancer? Or worse? EXCES?

new doctor
A new doctor appeared, this one much older than the last, but wearing the same attire as the first. I wondered if this hospital had some sort of uniform. I also wondered about the white coats. Then again, Caelen didn’t practice in a white coat.

“Just give it to me straight, doc,” I said, gritting my teeth and bracing for impact.

“Congratulations, Mrs. Green,” he smiled. “You are expecting.”

“Expecting what?” I frowned.

“Babies,” he announced.

I nearly fell back into the table. “That’s impossible. Wait? Did you say babies?”

“Yes, as in more than one,” he replied. “I think it would be best if you take it easy, but I wouldn’t worry if I were you. You’re perfectly healthy.”

“More than… one…” I laid my hand across my stomach in total shock. “How long?”

“You’re about…” the doctor checked my chart. “…two months along. I’m writing you a prescription for prenatals…” he scribbled on apiece of paper.

The night of Cathy and Amy’s wedding! The timing dawned on me. I twisted my lower lip wistfully. What a happy blessing to come out of such a horrible night!

“Babies,” I slipped back into my pants. “I’m going to be a mom.”

“Yes you are,” the doctor winked at me as he tore off the prescription and handed it in my direction. “Of three.”

Joseph jogging

The earliest flight he could get on left at two-thirty. It would have to do. In the meantime, he jogged around the park, thinking through everything he wanted to tell Lizzie. Something poetic would be nice, but he wasn’t sure he could come up with something in time. It would need to be from his heart. That wasn’t hard. The hard part would be waiting for her answer. His cell phone jingled. Plucking it from his pocket, he answered.

Joseph answers the phone
“Mr. Simself?”

“Yes?”

“Joseph Simself? Hi my name is Justin Delgado. I am the president of Sims.tv.”

“Hello Mr. Delgado, it’s great to hear from you. Although I was expecting to hear from your sales manager.”

“Well, let me tell you something. The reason I’m calling Joseph is I would like to interview you for the position of senior vice president of digital advertising and sales management for our company. My hiring manager was so impressed with your interview that he sent me your information and after reviewing it, I wanted to call you. When would you be available to interview?”

“Oh wow! Thank you. Um… thank you!” Joseph exclaimed. “I would be available at your earliest convenience… uh…” he glanced at his watch. “…I’m flying back East to meet my wife tonight, in Wintonborough, sir. So perhaps after the weekend?”

“Well, let me tell you something. I live in Brindleton Bay when I’m not traveling to San Myshuno for work, and it just so happens that I’m in Brindleton this weekend. It may be a little unorthodox, but would you like to come interview in my home? Brindleton is only about a day’s drive from Wintonborough, but I don’t want to intrude on weekend plans.”

“No definitely. I mean. Yes, I can come interview with you. I actually fly into Olde Towne for my layover, but I could arrange my flight to end there. I’d rent a car to drive Wintonborough but stop in Brindleton. What’s your address?”

When he hung up the phone, he did a little happy dance. Things were looking up.

Lizzie fishing

I cast my line for the second time out into the water. There was something very down-to-earth about catching one’s supper. I would truly miss Wintonborough and all its beauty, but the city was tugging on my heart again. I was ready to go home. Tomorrow couldn’t come fast enough.

Tonight, I would be having my last dinner with Lee and Sammy and baby Presley. My mother and Nora were coming too, both in town for a food expo, Mom as a food critic, and Nora as a chef. I felt incredibly peaceful. I was going to be a mom.

And not just any mom. A mom of triplets. My heart leaped for joy. It more than made up for everything that happened. I wondered what Joseph would say when I told him. He still hadn’t answered his phone.

Mom hugs lizzie

“Lizzie, my daughter, you’re beautiful,” Mom said as she wrapped me in a hug.

“Mom, hi… thank you,” I embraced her. “How’s the food expo?”

“Delicious, though not as good as these fish for dinner are going to be,” Mom smiled. “Where does Sammy keep the spare poles?”

“Up by the porch,” I nodded. “I’m glad you’re here, Mom.”

“Me too, Lizzie,” Mom smiled. “I think all my daughters will have babies by the middle of next year.”

“Mom!” I exclaimed. “Who told you?”

“Lee had her suspicions and just look at you,” Mom squeezed my hands, her eyes moistening with tears. “You’re radiant. Such a healthy pregnancy glow.”

Lizzie fishes with family

All four Green women fished for their dinner. Mom and I had more luck than Nora, who was still acting a bit prissy about the worm on her hook.

“It’s alive,” she wrinkled her nose.

“It’s the cycle of life,” Lee replied.

“Grow up,” I teased.

“Don’t…I… like being the baby,” Nora pouted.

“You can’t be the baby and have a baby,” I rolled my eyes.

“Right… babies are messy and dirty and motherhood could be slimy,” Lee teased.

“Ugh! Not unless I’m having an alien,” Nora wailed.

“Oh my daughters, just enjoy the moment,” Mom cut in.

The horizon was breathtaking. Gold hues sparkled against the blue waters. There was something very grounding about watching the sun set and fishing for one’s meal. I made a point to include something similar in my next story.

“So do I get to be the fun aunt?” Nora asked.

“To whom?” Lee asked.

“Lizzie’s kids!”

“Sheesh! Cat outta the bag, much, mom?”I rolled my eyes.

“Hey what about Presley?” Lee protested.

“Well, do I?” Nora asked.

We all laughed.

Lizzie and Mom chat

“I’m thinking of changing my name to Simself,” I said.

It was after supper. Mom and I lay in the grass, gazing up at the clouds and watching the sunset over the Simsapeake Bay.

“It’s your choice, daughter,” Mom replied.

“Really?” I leaned over on my elbow so I could see my mother’s face. “You don’t think it’s weird for a legacy? My legacy?”

“That’s just it,” Mom said. “It’s not just your legacy. It’s Joseph’s too.”

“Yeah, but Green-Simself is so weird,” I sighed. “That’s why I thought it might be a nice gesture to change my name to his.”

“It’s whatever makes you happy,” Mom said. “He doesn’t know yet? About his children to be?”

“Well, that’s why I’d do it. For our kids. A hyphenated name might be difficult for the little ones,” I said. “And no…” I frowned. “He’s not picking up his phone. I mean, I did almost divorce him. What if…” I paled. “What if I have to do this alone?”

“Lizzie, you won’t be alone,” Mom squeezed my hand. “You have your sisters and brother-in-law, and if Julian ever gets his act together, another brother-in-law. And you have your father and me. And something tells me that Joseph won’t abandon your side.”

I sighed and rolled over onto my back, holding my stomach. “I hope so.”

Joseph and his new boss

Joseph eased into a blue and white plaid highback chair in the living room of his potential future boss. He tried not to feel too nervous.

“So you’re Elizabeth Green’s husband aren’t you?” Justin said.

“Yes?” Joseph squeaked, feeling uncomfortable.

“I love her novels. I have almost every single one,” Justin admitted.

Joseph puckered his brow. “Um… forgive me, Mr. Delgado…”

“Please, call me Justin.”

“Okay, Justin,” Joseph began, straightening so as to appear taller. “I prefer that I get this job on my own merits. I love my wife, but I’m not her, and if that’s the only reason you called me here today then I’m afraid I can’t do business with you.”

Justin seemed to ponder his response for a moment. “I can appreciate that you want to be your own man. My wife is Aphrodite Smith.”

“Whoa!” Joseph exclaimed. “The pro tennis player?”

“Yes, and she traveled all over the world before turning eighteen and she’s had fame ever since,” Justin explained. “I know what it’s like to feel left out or left behind.”

Joseph coughed nervously, a hint of pink breaching his cheeks.

“I’ll admit I met your wife and tried to tempt her to join Sim.tv when we were recruiting for a music program,” Justin said. “But it was before she reached her own level of fame as an author. And the truth is, I didn’t call you here today because of her. I called you here because I was impressed by your work and your resume.”

“Thank you, sir,” Joseph replied, feeling both humbled and proud simultaneously. “What in particular did you like?”

“Well, why don’t you tell me about yourself and your career goals and we’ll go from there, okay?”

Joseph is hired

Two hours later, Justin and Joseph talked much longer than planned, but Joseph had a new job.

“Welcome to the team, Joseph,” Justin shook his hand.

“Thank you,” Joseph said. “I’m looking forward to working with you and this company. I really appreciate the opportunity.”

“You don’t have to sell it, Joseph, you already have the job,” Justin teased.

“I’m just being polite.”

“Stay for dinner. Aphrodite’s cooking grilling on the barbecue out back.”

“As tempting as that is, I’d like to get on the road.”

“Yes, go see your wife. And I’ll see you in a week,” Justin said, shaking Joseph’s hand again.

“Thank you,” Joseph did another happy dance on his way out to his rental car.

He was so excited that he tried calling Lizzie as he pulled out onto the two lane highway. She didn’t answer. He drove for about an hour and tried again.

“Lizzie! I’m in Massimchusetts. Driving to Wintonborough now. I wanted to tell you… why I was back East in the first place. I got a…” he didn’t have the opportunity to finish his sentence as a loud bang disrupted his stream of thought, bringing the vehicle to a careening halt.

The following morning, I was on my way to the airport when my cell phone rang. I glanced down, not recognizing the number, but after four calls from the same number I figured I should answer.

“Sounds urgent,” the taxi driver quipped.

“What!” I exclaimed, nearly dropping the phone when I heard the news. “Driver, turn around. Take me to the hospital.”


Author’s Note: Thanks for reading.  There is no hospital or doctor’s office, at least not one that I placed, and I probably should have so I just ran with the spa because that’s where Lizzie traveled to autonomously.This chapter featured  LegacySims2017‘s Joseph. 

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Goal #20: Tie Up Loose Ends, Part 3 (LASL)

Joseph miserable

Miserable, Joseph collapsed on Riley’s leather couch. That and an old record player and a coffee table were all that was left of Riley’s possessions. Everything else had been moved to his new home. Akira quipped that Joseph would have to be carried out in his pajama bottoms on the couch to get him to leave. Joseph was not amused.

He picked up a copy of his wife’s latest book, Clockwork Carnival. He was torturing himself. She didn’t want him anymore. She wouldn’t be his wife for much longer, but somehow leafing through the pages made him feel close to her again. The story followed a handsome Ferris wheel operator, muscular, tattooed, and dark haired, who kept having mysterious encounters with a beautiful redhaired woman every night at midnight on the carousel.

Unbeknownst to him, the woman pined away for her love from inside the mural on the carousel walls, forever trapped within the paint. On their final night together, she finally told him her fate and then climbed to the top of the Ferris wheel begging the gods to fly… just once. And when she fell and lay dying in his arms, she asked him four little words, “Do you still love me?”

Joseph couldn’t help but tear up a little at this couple’s ending. The male protagonist was named Joe. It was fitting. He could practically hear his Lizzie asking the same thing. The parallels were astonishing. Of course, he still loved her. He balled his fist and slammed it into the couch. I’m an idiot! She needs to hear that. In all his phone calls, messages, texts, and letters, he never once assured Lizzie of his love.

“Come on, get dressed,” Riley burst into the apartment.

“Not now, Riley,” Joseph shrugged and turned to face away from his friend, feeling pretty glum.

“No, you don’t have a choice,” Akira sauntered into the room. “We’re going out.”

Joseph and the guys

They arrived in Newcrest by nightfall. Riley and Akira planned some guys outing, and while Joseph wasn’t in the mood, he did appreciate his friends trying. John, Lizzie’s cousin was there, and his old roommate, Issador, whom Joseph had met at Cathy and Amy’s wedding. Munter Bacon flew into town to join the group, and that fighter pilot, Ace Reynolds also made an appearance. As they stepped off the tram, Joseph wondered what they were doing here.

“This is where you and Lizzie first had your date,” John explained.

“Yeah, so?” Joseph was confused. “It was a horrible first date. And I was an llama’s butt.”

Riley talks
“This,” Riley called from the sidewalk, speaking between sit-ups. “…is an… intervention, Joseph. You need Elizabeth. She needs you. And you need to be reminded of your love for each other.”

“So you took me to the site of a failed date?”

If he wasn’t so tired and heartachy from the past few months, he’d be amused.

“Come on,” Riley popped up from the curb, walking between Munter and John as the two were sizing each other up. “Now you boys play nice. We’re here for Joseph.”

“Of course,” Munter replied coolly.

“Right,” John grunted.

Joseph frowned. Were those two getting along now? He couldn’t keep up with Karleen’s exploits, but in the end, she seemed happy with Munter and John seemed happy with Ash.

“Julian’s already inside,” John remarked, waving to Joseph’s almost brother-in-law.

“Great, let’s go get some Bernish coffees,” Ace grinned.

“And wine,” Izzie said. “Do not forget the wine.”

“Oh the joie de vivre,” Riley swooned. “We drink wine. We sing loud. We fight the establishment…” he cleared his throat and hit his chest proudly. “Viva la revolucion! L’chaim! To Life! Let’s drink!”

“What revolution?” John wrinkled his nose.

“Space age or old world?” Ace interrupted.

“Don’t look at me,” Munter shrugged.

“I think he might already be intoxicated from raiding the mini bar in our train car,” Akira laughed lightly, steadying his partner by offering his arm. “And he’s mixing languages again.”

De nada!” Riley leaped onto one of the fence posts, scrunching like a leap frog. “People! There’s a party to be happening,” Riley said in an excited childlike tone. “Now come on, Joseph…” he urged, grabbing Joseph’s hand as he jumped from the post. “I’ve got something awesome planned.”

John and Joseph dancingForty minutes later, Joseph was laughing and dancing and singing along to “Ooo Child.” It was the song playing the night that Lizzie tried to get him to dance with her for the first time. He realized as he waved his arms in a silly fashion that he had been trying to keep up with her ever since, and she needed more than that. She needed him to be himself and to know who he was and to be confident in himself. He had struggled to hold a job and make sense of his life in orbit around the wildly successful and popular Lizzie and that jealousy and insecurity and pride had damaged their relationship and his sense of self.

Ooh, child, things are gonna get easier,” Akira sang loudly from out on the patio.

Ooh, child, things are gonna get brighter,” Riley sang tiredly from his seat at the table. “If I wasn’t so drunk off my llama’s butt,” he pumped his fist in the air. “…I’d come over there and join you all.”

Some day, yeah,” Joseph sang as he spun around. “We’ll get it together and we’ll get it all done. Some day when your head is much lighter.”

“Oooh yeah,” Riley said. “Someday… my head is gonna… tolerate… more… nectar…” he collapsed on the table.

We’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun,” Joseph continued. “Some day when the world is much brighter.” He took off his cap and saluted the bartender. “You guys!” he exclaimed. “I gotta go.”

“Yeah, you go… you go get her!” Riley said, muffled, pumped his fist in the air without looking up.

“You want to borrow my jet?” Munter asked. “You could fly back to the city and pack your stuff.”

Joseph blinked a few times. “Right… um… sure… where is it?”

“At the airstrip, I’ll call ahead and arrange everything,” he replied, pulling out his phone. “Oh shoot!”

The device was already ringing.

“What?”

“It’s my dad. He and my mum are coming into town. They want to meet Karleen,” Munter sighed. “I was kinda avoiding telling them about the baby.”

Joseph grinned and slapped his friend on the back. “You’re gonna be a great dad! I’m sure they’ll love her.”

“Hey man, you’re going to be a great dad,” Munter said. “Seriously, you and Lizzie are made for each other.”

“Thanks Munter,” Joseph smiled. “Thanks guys.” He waved to everyone. “Now I’ve gotta get to the airport.”

Everyone said goodbye, everyone except Riley.

“My head feels… funny… and words taste like…Skittles.”

Akira chuckled. “Alright, sweetie, it’s time to turn in at the hotel.”

Rob runs to catch Lizzie

I wandered through the Von Haunt Gardens, one of the most beautiful parks on the Eastern seaboard. It was a cool, foggy night so I opted for a leather jacket I had picked up at a thrift shop last time I went shopping with Karleen. My cap kept my hair from blowing all over the place in the wind. My wedges crunched against the gravel as I followed the brick wall surrounding the landscaped gardens.

I was happy. My flight was scheduled for the day after tomorrow. I would go home and see Joseph and make things up to him. I would ask for him to forgive me and take me back. That was the plan. I figured I had the next forty hours or so to come up with more eloquent lines, something that really reflected the state of my heart. Any time I was stuck on wording, I liked to stroll around town, usually late at night, to help freshen my perspective. I could’ve sworn someone was calling my name.

rOB CATCHES LIZZIE

“Wow, you walk fast in heels,” Rob remarked as he stopped to catch his breath.

“Rob, what are you doing here?” I inquired.

“Still in town. Saw you. Thought I’d come. See how you’re doing,” he said, as he sharply inhaled between each statement. “And see. If. You. Want. To grab a coffee. With me. You still like.. Simithiopian?”

“I’m going home, Rob,” I said. “To Joseph.”

Not even coffee could tempt me away.

“Really? I’m glad for you,” Rob panted, bending over to grab his knees.

“You don’t sound too convincing,” I narrowed my eyes.

“Look Lizzie, I always wanted you to be happy,” he said, taking some gasping breaths.

“Are you okay, Rob?” I asked, frowning.

“And I always wanted you to be mine. But those two things aren’t necessarily in line with each other,” he offered with a shaky laugh. “And yeah, I’m fine. I wish you luck, Lizzie. Now where can a guy find the facilities around here?”

“Good night,” I waved as he ran away, puzzled, but still feeling peaceful in my heart about my choice to go home to my husband.

I toyed with my ring. “Oh Joseph, I’ll be home soon,” I whispered.

Rob at a dead endThirty minutes later, Rob hit yet another dead end in what felt like the endless maze of bushes in the Von Haunt Gardens. This felt like some sort of strange parallel to his life. He once loved Lizzie, but he lost her every time to Joseph. The guy was obviously the better choice and he meant what he said, but Rob couldn’t help but feel sad. Sad and uncomfortable. By now, his bladder had grown excruciatingly full.

“What the hell!” he faced a tall hedge and unzipped his fly.

Rob dies

A sharp pain whizzed through his brain and he groaned as he felt his whole body teeter as it was shutting down. This can’t be… how… I go… he thought. Carrie? Would his daughter be okay? Yes, he winced. His final thoughts in this world as he gripped his head were about how Lizzie would make such a good mom.


Author NotesSo much happening in game. Okay, first, we’ll start with the ending. I got a notification that it was Rob’s time to go. I thought it odd since he was still a young-ish adult. I followed him around a bit, he had an “accident” in the maze, and then he died from over-exertion in the garden. Poor guy! R.I.P. InfraGreen‘s Rob. This version of the Von Haunt Estate was created by Peacemaker. LegacySims2017‘s Joseph wouldn’t leave simscognito‘s Riley’s couch even after I moved him out and into Akira’s penthouse. I decided to expand a bit on the novella Lizzie wrote in game. Then Riley invited Joseph to join him in Newcrest. The part about Munterbacon‘s Munter’s plane was a convenient way to get Joseph back to San Myshuno quickly. Helps that he’s a billionaire in game. 😉  Hope you enjoyed. Thanks for reading. This chapter also featured MINEZ‘ Issador and Julian. townies, Akira and did I spy J Huntington the III? Ace Reynolds also made an appearance along with my Simself’s cousin, John Schooner.  

Goal # 20: Tie Up Loose Ends, Part 2 (LASL)

Lizzie jogs and sees a sign

I went jogging in the morning. This extra weight I gained in the past few months was annoying. I was convinced that the stresses of life was throwing off my cycle too. Only one more day until I could see the doctor. Then maybe she could shed some light on my bizarre symptoms.

Suddenly, I came to a dead stop. I almost felt like someone had kicked me in the gut. I doubled over, holding my abdomen. Why oh why was there an advertisement for the Ballet? It was the same advert that Joseph had designed, and seeing it somehow drudged up a whole bunch of thoughts and feelings – mostly memories of happier times.

“Are you okay?” a little girl with dark hair squeaked.

I blinked a few times, my eyes adjusting as the sunlight streamed into the park. The child wore a rainbow short-sleeved sweatshirt and jeans and a pair of green beaded flip flops. Her face looked familiar, and I realized in that moment, I was staring at a former babysitting kid of mine. My ex-boyfriend’s daughter. Carrie.

Lizzie hugs Carrie

“Lizzie!” the little girl shrieked in pure joy.

Instinctively, I dropped and wrapped my arms around her, surprised to see the child.

“Carrie? Wha? What are you doing here?” I asked.

“I’m with my dad,” Carrie replied.

“What are you seven now?” I said, trying to avert the panicky feeling in my chest. Rob’s here?  

“Eight,” Carrie corrected, placing her hands on her hips.

“That’s right,” I said, standing up. “Well, it’s good to see you, but I’ve gotta get going. I have an appointment.”

“An appointment?” Carrie repeated, tilting her head.

“Yeah, a meeting… a place to be, you know,” I shrugged, turning to jog away.

“Hello Elizabeth.”

Rob and Lizzie
The familiar deep musical lilt of my ex-boyfriend’s voice drifted in my direction, and I winced as I realized he saw me. He had barely changed. His hairstyle the same. The same sexy voice. The same soft eyes. I wondered why my heart was beating a mile a minute.

“Hey Rob, how’s it going?”

Right, Lizzie! That’s the thing to say when you see you ex after so long.

“Ooo, you talk, Daddy… I’m going to play,” Carrie said, excitedly, bouncing off toward the playground.

“Not much,” Rob replied. “Trying to keep the old blood pressure down. Doc ordered me on a two week vacation, but since Cat passed away last fall, things have been tight. I’ve been working three jobs.”

“Cat passed away?” I said, my eyes widening with shock. “Oh I’m so sorry. How did it happen?”

“Pufferfish. She was in Shang Simla, and ate some bad pufferfish. The report says they couldn’t do anything.”

“Uh… how are you holding up? Is Carrie okay?”

“We’re fine. As can be expected. What are you doing here on the east coast? I heard you got married. Joseph’s a lucky guy. It is Joseph, right?”

“Yeah, um… about that…” I trailed off.

“Say Brindleton Bay is only about a day’s drive from here. You should come up sometime. Joseph too. He is here, right?”

“No, he’s… um… not… uh, we’re getting a divorce,” I swallowed hard. Now why did I say that? A pang of guilt pricked my heart.

“I’m so sorry,” Rob said, and he sounded genuinely sad for me.

“So are you seeing anyone?” I was curious.

Lizzie chats with Rob

“Gosh, Lizzie, it’s great to see you,” Rob said. “I’ve been so stressed out lately between working nights at the dock and days in the factory and weekends at the bar and restaurant that I don’t have much time to date. And then there’s…” he nodded in the direction of the playground. “Carrie. She’s my pride and joy.”

“I’ll bet,” I smiled, watching Carrie clap her hands and squeal excitedly as she slid down the fire pole. “She really is lovely little girl, Rob.”

“Yeah, she’s a beauty,” Rob grinned. “And you, Lizzie…” his tone changed to a flirtatious one. “You are still radiant as ever. I wish things had turned out differently between us. We should grab a cup of coffee sometime. Or dinner. Let me take you to dinner.”

“Uh,” I laughed nervously. “You said it yourself. You’re so busy. When would you have time to take me out?”

I felt pleasant shivers at the thought of going on a date with Rob. What are you doing? What are you thinking, Lizzie! My inner conscience exclaimed. Joseph! Joseph! I willed myself to think of my husband. As my thoughts drifted to my Joseph Joe, I felt my heart twinge. The thought of him made me deeply distressed. I missed him so much I thought I’d break into pieces. Here I was estranged from Joseph and I still wanted him more than anyone.

“And Carrie,” I averted my eyes, my cheeks filling with red.

“She’s older now, and wow! Lizzie, this is like fate,” Rob said softly.

I reluctantly let him hold it. Somehow human touch felt good after being so far removed from Joseph all this time.

“No, no it’s not, Rob,” I waved my hands. “So much has happened.”

Rob and Lizzie chat

“Then why don’t you start at the beginning,” Rob suggested, his hand reaching for mine. “I’m a good listener, remember?”

“I guess,” I sighed.

“Take it slow,” he urged.

“Okay,” I took a deep breath.

Lizzie tells Rob

I opened up. I told Rob everything. I told him how devastated I was when he left. I told him how I planned to call him after Lee’s wedding and then Joseph kissed me. I recalled that kiss with a deep intensity. Somehow I remembered Joseph’s green pullover sweater and his five o’clock shadow and his earnestness as he looked in my eyes and asked me if he had to spell it out for me, and how much he wanted me and I could tell with that kiss.

I told Rob about our subsequent move to the city and how Joseph proposed to me all spontaneously in the park with the sun shining at just the right angle and the swans floating on the lake and the smell of those wild flowers.

I told him about our impromptu wedding ceremony in the gazebo and how we promised to always fight for one another, and how we would give each other a hand if the other ever fell down.

I told him about the fireworks on our wedding night, and how we ended up in the Hollow by mistake and a vampire nearly attacked my husband, and how that same vampire came back later and screwed with Joseph’s mind.

I told him about how happy I was when I first moved into the city, and how Joseph and I danced on the balcony and he carried me to breakfast and how much he tried to please me.

I told him about how I died and it was all a misunderstanding and I became a ghost and Joseph did everything in his power to bring me back.

I told him about how I lost the baby and my memories and how we had been arguing on again and off again for months.

I told him how I ended up in Wintonborough and how I asked my attorney to write up divorce papers I wasn’t even sure I wanted. The more I talked, the more I realized, and the more I shocked myself. The floodgates opened. I was crying when I was finished. I still…love… I still love Joseph. I covered my mouth. Oh gawd! What have I done? 

Lizzie realizes she still loves Joseph

“I think… I think…” It was like a light bulb clicked. “I lost myself,” I said, swiping at my eyes. “And that’s why it’s been so hard for Joseph and I, but now…” I reached for Rob’s hands and squeezed them. “I’m sorry. This is probably not what you wanted to hear, but I have to go.”

“You do?” Rob’s eyes widened. “So after all that, you’re leaving?”

“I have to…” I said, turning back to wave at Carrie. “I apologize for rambling.”

Any feelings I may have had left for Rob evaporated in the moment. All I could think about was Joseph. My husband. If he’d ever forgive me. If he’d take me back.

“Don’t mention it,” he said casually, draping his arms against the back of the park bench and chuckling wryly. “It’s nice to hear about someone else’s problems for once.”

“I’m sorry, Rob,” I walked back and planted a kiss on his cheek. “You really are the best.”

“Um thanks?” he said, awkwardly.

“Telling you everything made me realize now more than ever,” I began. “…that I need to try and fix my marriage.”

“I’m happy for you,” Rob said, swallowing his disappointment.

“Are you sure?” I hesitated only for a moment.

“Really, Liz. Now go get ’em.”


Author Note: Surprise! Surprise! Rob is back in town. Well, not really. He was visiting, but Lizzie kept rolling whims related to Joseph – call Joseph, send Joseph a flirty text, embrace Joseph, woohoo with Joseph, etc. You get the picture. It was the strangest thing, but the best at the same time because it confirmed what I’ve suspected that Lizzie still loves Joseph. To borrow Rob’s phrase, go get him girl! This chapter featured InfraGreen‘s Rob and Carrie Buckley. 

Goal # 20: Tie Up Loose Ends, Part 1 (LASL)

Author Note: You’re getting one of these on the front end of the chapter today. I’ve been going through old playlists and I came across this song by The Fray. It feels so fitting for Joseph and Lizzie right now. They’re drifting. They’re both to blame. Somewhere along the way they lost each other, and now it’s so sad to watch them. Even so, it feels real to the tragedy they experienced. Hang in there, my pixelated friends!

Presley crying

When I returned from my shower, my nephew was hollering up a storm in my bedroom. I frowned. What was Presley doing in here?

“Oh good, you’re back,” I heard Lee’s voice behind me.

My sister saunteered into my bedroom in her pajamas with a bowl full of franks and beans in one hand. She sat down on the edge of the bed, looking nerdier than ever with her thick night glasses. I sighed. I don’t know what made her think the look was good. She could buy some smaller frames. I almost felt guilty criticizing the new mom’s fashion choices, even if it was just in my head.

Lee chatting with Lizzie

“What’s up with Presley?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t know. I’ve tried everything. I thought the soothing blue of your walls might make him calm down,” Lee shrugged, digging into her late dinner.

“And that would work?” I asked, incredulously.

“I’m desperate,” Lee groaned. “I’ll try anything.”

“So I’m not getting sleep tonight, I guess?” I said, feeling a headache growing behind my eyes.

It wasn’t like I had been sleeping well in the first place.

“Hold the baby,” Lee said.

“The baby?” I repeated.

“Yes, the baby,” Lee said, more forcefully.

Lizzie holds Presley

I picked up my little crying nephew, rubbing my fingers against his little monkey onesie. “There there, little one.”

“Now,” Lee said, between bites of food. “Don’t you and Joseph want to plan for the little ones?”

“Gawd!” I exclaimed, startling Presley.

His little face contorted again and I immediately shushed him. I narrowed my eyes.

“How is that any of your business? Besides, I haven’t seen him in almost two months.”

“Yeah, and when was the last time you got your… you know?” Lee inquired, her eyes sparkling.

I must have flushed a thousand shades of red. “Wha…what… why?” I sputtered. “Lee, take Presley…” I shoved the baby into her arms, dragging the baby bed out into the hallway. “And go.”

“I’m just saying,” Lee smiled knowingly as she cradled her son against her shoulder. “Come on, Presley. Auntie Lizzie is in denial.”

Lizzie sleeping

The truth was I had been really tired lately. When I returned from my appointment with my agent, I collapsed on the bed and slept for ten hours, just yesterday. I blamed my depression, but perhaps there was something more biological in addition to psychological. I called Sugar, and she recommended a good doctor to see in town. She knew someone in every city, I swear. I couldn’t get an appointment for another four days. In the meantime, I’d just have to make do with my energy levels. Holland was in town with her whole family on a vacation, but had made time to see me for our business. The movie was progressing nicely. The lead actress had been cast. Filming locations had been scouted. And the cinematographer had been hired in addition to the director.

Lizzie ill

I wobbled back from my morning walk. It was a grounding for me. A way for me to maintain some normalcy in my life. Dr. Vatore suggested it. I really wished he could see me instead, but he was whisking Anne around the world with his family’s money. Lucky girl! I had nearly fallen on the docks this morning. My dizziness was increasingly worse. I couldn’t figure out why I felt so under the weather. Maybe I caught a bug or something.

Lizzie gets the mail When I went to gather the mail, there it was. The papers. Drawn up by my attorney. It felt so final. But at least we’d be free, right? Free to move on. I was miserable. I’d probably still be miserable, but I needed to be done. I needed this whole charade to be over. Still as I stood outside my sister’s home, letter in hand, I wondered if I had made a mistake. Maybe I should’ve tried counseling. Or at the very least returned a phone call.

Joseph cries over Lizzie

“And you think your life is going one way,” Joseph sniffled, moving his arms around to illustrate a path. “And then it goes another, and you wonder what the plum did I do wrong?”

“Plenty,” Riley muttered under his breath as he grunted against the exercise equipment.

“Excuse me?” Joseph cried, shocked.

“No, I mean…” Riley shook his head, dropping his arms. “Um… You’ve done plenty wrong. You promised to loan me your truck, but you didn’t show last night. I just needed the keys, man. And then you nearly scared Akira half to death with Dulcie last night. She jumped on our bed and you know Akira’s allergic. And you haven’t moved a single box and you said you would.”

Joseph cries

“Oh sorry,” Joseph collapsed on the couch. “It’s not like you’re working either.”

“I am… my muscles,” Riley said, pointing to his arms.

“I meant… in the apartment…” Joseph sighed . “What am I going to do when you move Uptown?”

“I don’t know. Crash on Annie’s couch?” Riley laughed lightly.

“Hey!” Joseph flung an accusing finger in his friend and neighbor’s direction. “This is payback for all those times you were over in our apartment…” he dropped his head in his hands. “…in Lizzie’s and my apartment. Oh gawd! Lizzie!” he cried.

“Aw… Joseph,” Riley said, quietly. “Stay as long as you like.”

Lizzie watches storm

I watched the gathering storm clouds on the horizon. I didn’t really have a plan for what I’d do next, but the impending rainshower seemed to doom any thoughts I had. Nothing I came up with seemed reasonable. Bearable. Livable. I just didn’t know how to make sense of my life anymore. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted or why I should or shouldn’t get a divorce. Maybe it was the easy way out. The brownish-yellow clouds seemed to agree with me as they angrily loomed in my direction.

I sighed, leaning back in the deck chair. I couldn’t live with my sister and her husband forever. I’d probably need to find my own place. I could move in with Ash. She offered since Karleen had moved back in with Munter. However, Ash and John were in a fledgling relationship and I didn’t want to complicate things for them. Riley and Akira would let me move in with them in a heartbeat, but their place was already crowded with Akira’s other roommates. I didn’t want to move in with my parents. I had money. I could afford my own place.

But did I want to? That was the million dollar question. Maybe I rushed everything and this is what my impulsive choices got me. I nursed my Earl Grey Hot, and let the tea warm my hands. I shivered as the wind kicked up. Am I ready to sign that dotted line and finish this? If only my heart and head could get on the same page because rationality screamed to let go and sensibilities cried to hang on. Don’t run away, my heart whispered. Yet I couldn’t bring myself to enter the space I needed to truly feel. It was too painful. And admitting the pain was the first step to healing. I just wasn’t ready yet. Would I ever be? I snatched my cup of tea and headed inside at the first clap of thunder. I’m such a coward.

Joseph lags

Joseph woefully lagged behind his friends as they jogged through Myshuno Meadows. He hadn’t missed a day of jogging, but lately, he just didn’t have the heart for anything.

Nothing was the same anymore. He wasn’t sure which end was up and which was down. The love of his life was slipping away and he was just letting it happen. What’s wrong with you? he grunted internally. Right foot. Left foot. Breathe in. Breathe out. Right foot. Left foot. With each blade of grass pressed into the ground, he felt the finality of his steps and his choices as of late.

Riley tried to convince him that getting out in the open, in the fresh air, would give him perspective. Julian tried to distract him by chatting about video game stats. John urged him to call Lizzie and try and talk things through. Maybe this was a mistake.

Joseph stops

“No, it’s a sign,” Joseph groaned, gripping the sides of his head. “If she wants a divorce, I… I…won’t contest it.”

He hated how final his words sounded. If he wanted change, he needed to make change, but he wasn’t ready to admit his faults. He wasn’t ready to admit his pain. It was hard living in the limelight of his wife when everything he tried seemed to flop as of late. Maybe he should’ve focused less on love and more on his career.

“You can’t give up,” John said. “I know Lizzie. This is pretty drastic for her.”

“I don’t want… to… fight anymore,” Joseph sighed. “We’re not even doing that. This separation is killing us.”

He didn’t add, it’s shredding my heart.

Mac and cheese fridge searching

cooking

They returned to Julian’s apartment. Joseph offered to cook dinner. It was the least he could do for being a burden to his friends. Macaroni and cheese always seemed to cheer him up. It was a good comfort food. He plopped his baseball cap on his head and zipped up his track jacket. Sprinkling a generous amount of pepper into the dinner dish, he wondered how things got so bad.

standing and eating

They stood around and chatted about all sorts of random stuff. Joseph didn’t much pay attention. No one seemed to want to go eat in the dining room. It was just as well. Joseph wasn’t sure he wanted to have a long conversation. He set down his dinner.

“I’m turning in,” he said. “Night guys.”

“Oh… good night,” John said.

As soon as Joseph was out of the room, John immediately began whispering loudly, “You guys, we’ve got to do something.”

“The dude’s miserable,” Julian acknowledged.

“Yeah, and Lizzie is too,” Riley piped up. “If only they would talk to each other…” he set his plate down and slid over the countertop. “The ends are loose, and we’ve gotta tie them up. I have an idea.”


Author Note: Thanks for reading. This chapter featured LegacySims2017‘s Joseph, simscognito‘s Riley, and  MINEZ‘ Julian. 

Goal #19: Find Hope on the Horizon, Part 2 (LASL)

Lizzie cries over pork and beans

Over the next week, I tried all sorts of things to feel better, but my brain felt foggy and my heart ached. The thought of losing Joseph was devastating, but the thought of being the first one to make a move made me nauseous. I know Lee and Sammy were concerned about me, but I didn’t want their pity. I got up. I got dressed. I watched the sunrise. I brushed my teeth. I fixed my hair. I put on makeup. I ate, though my meals often tasted salty if I started crying. Food shouldn’t make me cry. And pork and molasses beans are already salty.

I was functional though. I even editing the final manuscript of my new fantasy novella, Carnival Clockwork, about a magic carousel that moved on its own after the clock struck midnight and carried riders off into a dreamworld where feelings were physical beings. The character of Love made me depressed as she watched the Ferris wheel operator during the day from the mural on the carousel. She cared about him from a distance, but he didn’t know who she really was. Only when he rode the carousel at midnight could she appear and be with the man of her dreams. I was nearly finished with the story. After incorporating my editor’s notes, I could send it to the publisher. I wasn’t sure I wanted a physical copy of this book. Not everyone gets a happy ending. Love is a stupid name. She needs another one. 

After writing all day, I’d go for walks in the city. Wintonborough was a lovely town with cobblestone streets and sweeping oceanic views and gorgeous foliage. It was unseasonably warm, so the trees had yet to change to their autumn hues, choosing instead to remain various shades of my favorite color. Sometimes I’d take the cable car to downtown, or ride the ferry to the island, or walk to the local market. Lee started accompanying me on my nightly strolls to the corner store.

Lee and Lizzie talk “How’s your book coming?” Lee inquired.

Novella, Lee,” I corrected, feeling annoyed and wanting to be taken seriously.

“Sorry. Novella.”

“It’s getting published tomorrow.”

“That’s fantastic!” Lee exclaimed. “How’s the movie deal coming along?”

Twilight Boulevard?” I shrugged. “Okay as can be expected. We’re still hunting for the lead actress.”

“You mean, you didn’t take the part?” Lee teased. “Movie deals take time. It’ll get done eventually.”

“Yeah,” I sighed. “Do you mind if we don’t talk?”

“Why? I thought you were excited about the movie,” Lee seemed completely oblivious.

“I am,” I swallowed hard. “…but I don’t really want to talk right now.”

Truth was I didn’t want the conversation to go in the direction it always did – Joseph. He still called and texted and emailed. He even wrote me a letter. But he hadn’t visited. In all the romantic movies and literature ever, the guy always chases the love of his life and brings her home. Why hadn’t Joseph come? He hadn’t texted as much in the last few days. I wondered if he was giving up. I guess reality isn’t at all like a fantasy. I just wanted to see his face again, and I was too stubborn to be the first one to budge.

Lizzie walks away Instead I wrote about my desires and my fears and my dreams in my books. I managed to outline yet another story, a possible sequel to Clockwork Carnival. My working title was “I Still Care” but that felt cheesy and dumb. It was the story of the afterlife and a ghost caught between two worlds or two planes of existence and about the man that keeps her tethered to this dimension. Somehow I felt like I was drawing on my experiences as a ghost. It was my way of processing what I did remember and the feelings I had prior to leaving this life for the next. Caelen said the process of writing was therapeutic. I wasn’t so sure because every note writing session ended in tears.

“Oh Liz, you should just call him. He misses you.”

“He’s on the other side of the country and he hasn’t bothered once to come.”

“You haven’t gone home.”

“It’s not home. It’s a place where we shared space. Nothing more.”

“Lizzie, you’re blowing this out of proportion,” Lee clicked her tongue.

I exploded. “I think I’m done with you lecturing me for the night.”

Stomping away, my boots clicking against the stones, I could hear Lee sigh. I know she meant well, but her prying was painful.

“Okay, I’m picking up Presley from day care,” she added, softly. “I’m sorry, Lizzie.”

“Sure you are,” I muttered under my breath.

I hope she didn’t hear me. Once she was out of line of sight, I collapsed on a park bench. This wasn’t the way life was supposed to be. Where was the hope that things would get better? A pigeon cooed and landed on the armrest. I tried to shoo the bird away, but it only hopped closer. What is this? I narrowed my eye. A tiny piece of paper lay attached to the bird’s leg. Hesitantly, I reached out and removed the note. Upon realizing who the sender was, I smiled.

Lizzie games with Riley

“You know you could’ve called like a normal person,” I teased.

A half-hour later, I was deeply engrossed in a soccer game on the computer with Riley.

Aww… but where’s the fun with that?” he said, his goalie blocking my latest shot.

I shook my head. Riley always did have a flair for the dramatic. My friend knew how to make me smile. I always loved that about him.

“Where’s Akira tonight?” I asked, and then winced.

That was a dumb question. It could easily lead to chatting about Joseph. I shook my head. I was probably over-analyzing things.

He’s got a CD signing at the bookstore,” Riley replied. “A wine and crackers thing.”

“I thought you loved that kind-of stuff,” I remarked.

“Sure, but you needed me tonight, Liz,” he said.

“Aww… thanks… now I’m gonna kick your freezer bunny butt right on down the field,” I smirked, posing my shot and the releasing the mouse.

SCORE!

Joe catches Riley in hall Riley only played for an hour with Lizzie before she begged off for the night. It was good to hear his friend’s voice. He missed her, but he understood why she was away. In the beginning, he thought the separation might do her some good. Now he was wondering if supporting her choice had been a good idea. Still, he kept his mouth shut. For once… he smirked to himself as he slipped out of his apartment to go for an evening jog.

“Hello there, man… my man… uh… hey Riley,” Joseph was standing in the hallway, almost as if he had been waiting for him, awkwardly fumbling over his words.

“Hi Joseph,” Riley said, trying to remain neutral in his tone.

“How are you… this… uh… fine evening?” Joseph said, stiffly.

“It’s okay, Joseph. You don’t have to be weird around me,” Riley sighed.

Joseph protests

“I don’t want you to break the code,” Joseph waved his arms.

“What code?” Riley made a face.

“You know… the BFF code. I know it’s not cool to ask you to snitch on… her…” he dropped his head, unable to complete the sentence. Wife. I want to say wife. But it feels weird and I don’t deserve her. 

“You want to know how she is?” Riley asked. “Morose. Mournful. Sad. Splenetic. Pensive. Crestfallen…”

“Okay… okay… I get it,” Joseph said.

Riley shook his head. “I don’t think you do. She’s not herself, Joseph. You need to fix this.”

“I’m trying,” Joseph sniffled. “She won’t return my calls or messages.”

“Then you need to escalate,” Riley slapped Joseph’s shoulder. “And dude… you need to work out,” he teased. “You’re getting soft.”

Joseph grimaced.

Joseph and Riley in hall

“That’s the look!” Riley teased as he flexed. “Come on. I’ll race you around Thymes Square.”

“Then can we get some dinner?” Joseph asked. “I don’t like eating alone.”

“Sure, I’ll buy,” Riley offered. “Actually…” he held up a finger to indicate Joseph should wait, ran into his apartment, and returned momentarily. “Akira will buy. I’ve got his credit card for the month.”

“What?” Joseph replied as they stepped into the elevator. “How’d you manage that?”

“Oh, he lost at strip poker,” Riley smirked.

“Really?” Joseph shook his head. “What would you have needed to pay if you lost?”

“Oh,” Riley narrowed his eyes and grinned devilishly as the elevator doors closed. “I never lose.”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading everyone. This chapter featured LegacySims2017‘s Joseph Simself and simscognito‘s Riley. 

Goal #19: Find Hope on the Horizon, Part 1 (LASL)

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Or so the old adage says. I wasn’t sure I felt fonder. A numbness crept around my heart after the first three nights of crying myself to sleep. I tried to remain quiet, knowing my new little nephew was sleeping next door. I didn’t want to anger my older sister. The longer I was around the baby, the more sadness I felt. If everything had happened as planned, I would’ve had my own child months before Lee did. At this point, I wondered if I ever would.

For the first month, Joseph called every day. If I didn’t answer, he would call Lee and Sammy’s home. I never wanted to talk to him. I was doing it to myself – the stabbing feeling through my chest. I just didn’t want to admit my part in this argument. I felt like I couldn’t be blamed for my lack of memory. I felt like I couldn’t be blamed for misunderstandings and for my disconnect from the world. I felt like I couldn’t be blamed for my lack of emotions. That’s not true. I’m not letting myself feel. I sighed heavily, swallowing back some unnamed turbulence of frustration, fear, angst, and anger. Returning to life was like learning how to ride a bike, and remembering the steps, but lacking the significance behind each step, and that fact was disrupting my entire recovery. Dr. Vatore said it was normal. This was grief.

At the beginning of the second month, Joseph texted everyday. His messages were filled with his own frustrations and fears, pleas for forgiveness, and hopes for the future. I couldn’t bring myself to reply. My heart cried to open, my will remained stronger. I didn’t want Joseph to call. I wanted him to come.

Lizzie overlooking the waterWintonborough was as good a place as any for healing. My sister, Lee and brother-in-law, Sammy had relocated stateside, about an hour from Sim City on the eastern coast of the Sim Nation. They bought a lovely two-story home on Simsapeake Bay. Every morning I would walk barefoot through the soft grass, stopping just before the dock to nowhere, and stare out to the place where water met sky. The cumulonimbus clouds glided lazily by while the gentle waves from the sailboats wake lapped the shoreline as reeds danced in the bracing breezes.

I wondered what it would be like to soar up into the clouds, though no Sim had ever personally been granted the gift of flight. I knew of supernaturals with super speed and super strength, and even my vampiric/witch doctor could flap wings in bat form, but to truly fly… I closed my eyes, pressed my hands to my lips, and sighed. That would be a truly miraculous and spectacular gift. 

Since Simtober arrived, the mornings were cooler, but still I treked out to the dock every morning, barefoot to drink in the sights. The deep blue waters acted as a mirror for the soul of the sky and each cloud rode a wave to the beach. Today Lee and Sammy were planning to go sailing, but I wasn’t ready yet to leave the comfort of the bank. Baby steps, I reminded myself. Someday. Was there hope on the horizon? I hoped so.

There was longing in my heart, but my head did not heed its call. I wanted to be free, to truly be free, but I was shackled to the impossible task of remembering my past so as to improve my present, and the heavy burden was building a dam against my future. I wasn’t sure how much longer Joseph would continue to call and text and write. My phone pinged and I grimaced. Lately he had been emailing.

Joseph emails Lizzie

Good morning, Elizabeth. It’s six a.m. here so it must be about nine a.m. there.

Joseph nearly hit the backspace. Of course, she’d know what time it is. He grimaced, wondering if she found his text messages annoying. He couldn’t help it. He missed her. The nights were long without his Lizzie. He found himself staying busy and staying with friends. It was better than staying alone. I sound so formal, he criticized. Elizabeth. Typically reserved for her parents when they were upset or mad at her, and here he was using her full name.

I wish you’d come home. If you still want space, I’ll respect your decision. I just wanted you to know…

like I want you to know every day. His heart sank like a rock to the bottom of a lake. Plunk. Plunk. Plunk. He removed his glasses and leaned his head against the foyer wall. Did she even read his messages? Did she even care? Should he even bother?

What are you up to today, beautiful? I’m in the Springs today.

…wishing you were here. 

Stayed the night at Cathy’s and Amy’s. Don’s still away on his honeymoon with Annie. The Tea-Cats needed some help moving wheelbarrows full of fertilizer and topsoil. I offered to help since I’m still… 

umemployed? He groaned softly. Ergh! I can’t say that. His job in Magnolia Promenade didn’t work out. After his temp work was complete, the company didn’t hire him. He was still doing odd jobs here and there. Munter found him a job bartending in one of his family establishments. That paid the most, but the work wasn’t steady as they only needed him a few nights a week. He entered a karaoke contest with Akira. They won two hundred Simos. It wasn’t the same without Lizzie. In fact, he wondered why he never went singing with her. She probably would’ve liked that. Karleen’s boss hired him for an afternoon to move boxes of books to and from the truck and store. Now Cathy and Amy offered to pay him to help with their garden. Truth was they could probably do it themselves, but they were being nice. It’s pity money, but I’m desperate. He slammed his fist against the wall. Plum! I wish I wasn’t. 

“Joseph, is that you?” Amy’s voice called down the hallway.

Feeling like a teenager, Joseph slipped out the door and around the back and attempted to climb through the guest bedroom window. He left it propped open the night before because of the heat. Even in Simtober, the weather was still hot. Amy had given him a key for the week, but this morning, he wasn’t sure he was ready to be around people. The newlyweds were still in that ooey-gooey love phase, reminding him of all the places he wasn’t. Amy knocked on the door.

“Joseph, are you awake? I made pancakes. Cathy made some oolong tea if you’re not hungry.”

Joseph took a moment to collect himself before exiting the bedroom. He nearly collided with a frantically scurrying Amy. She gripped a bottle of orange cleaner like a woman on a mission.

null

“Goodness, Cathy! Your keyboard is atrocious,” Amy exclaimed.

“Five more minutes,” Cathy promised, without looking up, as she furiously typed sentences.

“Uh uh,” Amy shook her head, bottle poised in hand. “You said that a half-hour ago. I’m cleaning.”

“No,” Cathy covered the keys with her arms defiantly. “You can’t. How will I remember Akira will say in his v-log to the fans?”

“Akira?” Joseph repeated.

“Yes!” Cathy said, clasping her hands together excitedly as she turned to face Joseph. “Akira agreed to star in my made-for-TV version of my Sierra and the S-Boys novel. I don’t even need to change his name. It’s perfect.”

“That’s cool. So you landed another television deal?” Joseph replied.

“Sim.tv,” Cathy nodded. “I’ve worked with them before. They did a short mini-series for Dr. Jasmine’s Casebook. They were happy with the results, and asked about the rights to other stories. Right now they’re doing casting for S-Boys. Ooo… you know what? You should make an appearance. I bet you’d get good Simos.”

“Cathy! Shoo!” Amy urged. “You can talk over on the couches.”

“Naw,” Cathy shook her head. “We should probably get working in the garden. I have Sweet Williams and chrysanthemums to plant. However…” she eyed Joseph up and down. “I think you’d do nicely for a guest appearance.”

“Star in a show?” Joseph said, stiltedly, his eyes widening.

“Nonsense,” Amy sprayed the desk and wiped the surface with a paper towel. “Joseph works in advertising. Oh!” she turned around and nearly sprayed Joseph in the face.

“Hey! Watch it!” he exclaimed, jumping back as he removed his glasses which caught the bulk of the mist.

Amy and Cathy excitedly chatting about a job for Joseph
“Cathy, you should hook Joseph up,” Amy suggested, grabbing Joseph’s arm and sitting down suddenly at the dining table.

“Oh yes!” Cathy’s eyes widened as she connected with her wife’s train of thought. “He would most definitely like to meet Joseph.”

“Um…” Joseph chuckled, awkwardly, rubbing the back of his neck.

“He’d be perfect for you,” Amy grinned.

“Ooo,” Cathy squealed. “Yes, he’s been looking for a long time.”

“Will someone please tell me what’s going on?” Joseph interjected.

“You’d be a good fit for each other,” Cathy added.

“Amy! Cathy!” Joseph said forcefully. “Explain.”

Amy laughed, and Cathy just smiled.

“How do you feel about the title Vice President Joseph Simself of Digital Advertising and Sales?” Cathy inquired, her dark eyes twinkling.

“Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?” Amy said with a soft smile, laying a hand on top of his. “Joseph, this could be your big break.”

Sammy and Lee chat over dinner

“This food is delicious, babe,” Sammy said as he sliced into his butternut squash and cherry tomato sauce. “Perfect for a crisp fall evening.”

“Hmm…” Lee blinked a few times before focusing on her husband.

Her mind was wrapped up with a certain occupant in the guest bedroom. Lizzie had barely left her room, save her morning walks down to the pier. She had tried to convince Lizzie to join them on a family outing, but like usual, Lizzie chose to stay at the house. Sailing had been particularly fun this morning, and it was nice to enjoy time alone with Sammy as it was a rare treat since the birth of baby Presley. Still… Lee twisted her lower lip. She was worried for Lizzie… and scared for her sister’s marriage.

“Is Presley sleeping?” Sammy inquired.

“Yes, finally,” she replied, wearily.

Her three-month-old was a precious bundle of energy, and had a set of lungs on him. She didn’t even feel guilty that Lizzie’s room was next to the baby’s and their room was on the second floor, even if it meant tripping sleepily down a flight of stairs in the middle of the night.

“Did you have a good afternoon at the office?” she asked.

“I did,” he smiled, and wiped his mouth with a napkin. “Do you miss the action?”

“You know I do,” she replied. “But we agreed this is best for us right now. And I can’t very well go traipsing through the jungles of Selvadorada with a baby strapped to my back and gun strapped to my hip.”

Sammy laughed. “Next family vacation?”

Lee gave him a friendly punch in the arm.

“Come on, babe. You gotta admit. It would be hot,” he teased.

“In more than one way,” she replied, and began mock-fanning herself before sobering as she noticed Lizzie leave the bedroom and walk to the bathroom across the hallway. “There’s…” she didn’t even manage to say ‘dinner,’ before her sister closed the door, ignoring her statement.

“She’s been here for seven weeks,” Sammy remarked. “Any improvement?”

“No,” Lee shook her head. “I’m afraid things are still quite… frosty with them.”

A loud wailing interrupted their conversation. Sammy set down his fork and stood.

“Okay, my turn,” he offered.

Lee sighed. “Thanks, babe. I’ll clean up in here.”

Sammy started into the other room. Lee began shuffling her dishes around, carrying them to the sink. The house phone rang, and she glanced over, pretty certain she knew what name would flash on the caller ID.

“No, she’s in the shower…” she said.

Or at least that’s what she thought.

“I’ll tell her you called.”

Again.
Lee and Sammy kiss

Suddenly overcome with gratitude for her working marriage and the husband who adored her, Lee set down the dish brush and walked into the baby’s room. She grabbed her husband, tugged him close, and planted a deep kiss on his mouth.

“What was that for?” Sammy asked.

Lee stared deeply into his eyes. “I love you.”


Author Note: Thanks for reading, everyone. So Wintonborough is not a place in Sims 4… but it is in my Simworld. Recently, I was redoing some of my surrounding towns just for fun, and then I came across Peacemaker’s rebuilds of Windenburg. I got lazy, and Peace’s designs are way better than my own. Sammy and Lee Sarafin had moved to the east coast of the Sim Nation from Windenburg, and I decided to just make it work for the story, thus Wintonborough was born. Located in Simsapeake (a.k.a. Maryland and Virginia) and close to Sim City (a.k.a. the Capitol), Wintonborough is the perfect place for Lizzie to hide out and heal.

The name was inspired by a few of Peace’s lots entitled “Winton” something. Although as the title implies, things are starting to look up so don’t worry. I won’t keep you in ‘heartbreak land’ forever. I’ve been playing Peace’s lots for a few weeks now and they are gorgeous. I highly recommend checking them out.  I decided to follow Lizzie and Joseph over the course of separation. Since I control my Sim and my Sim only, I moved Lizzie out to her sister’s. When I switched back to Joseph, all of his actions were autonomous decisions or whims he rolled. 

If you haven’t already, you should totally check out Cathy Tea’s stories, including Sierra and the S-Boys. And if you have the opportunity, you should check out Shadami’s ISBI challenge with Antwan Plum and company. In addition to Cathy Tea and Amy Cat, this chapter featured LegacySims2017‘s Joseph Simself, MINEZ‘  Sammy Sarafin, my Sim-sister, Lee Green, and introducing Presley Sarafin, my Simself’s nephew. 

Goal #18: Celebrate All that is Good, Part 3 (LASL)

Joseph ponders things

Why did weddings make him sad? Maybe it was because of his marital troubles with Lizzie. Joseph knew they couldn’t keep going the way they were. She was barely speaking to him. She could barely look at him. He didn’t blame her. He was cold and distant. After all the things he promised, after all the things he did, after all the things he thought would be different since the last time they made up, he just couldn’t pull himself together to say what he needed to say. He cared about her still, but they were so unhappy. He didn’t understand what was wrong with him. He had something really good, and he wasn’t handling things well.

Since he lost his job earlier in the year, he was working two jobs to stay afloat, and had even talked to Geeta, his landlady, half seriously about catering with her on a few jobs to make some extra Simoleons. Maybe he should even give the ‘love guru’ thing a try, but ha! Who would listen to him? His marriage was failing in a little over a year. Maybe Geeta was right. More misfortune was in store for them. He didn’t want Lizzie to worry, but they were behind on their rent and medical bills and the new car payment. He just didn’t know how to face her and tell her the truth, and it was costing them. Big time!
Joseph chats with Nora and Julian

“Hey buddy, you should go easy there,” Julian warned in a friendly way.

Joseph was on his second beer. Or was it his third? He couldn’t remember. It didn’t matter. It made him feel warm and fuzzy inside. The kinds of things you should feel at a wedding. Right? He wanted to be happy for their friends. Cathy Tea and Amy Cat were pretty awesome together.

“I’m snacking on this… what is this?” Joseph gulped back a swig, and half tilted his bowl so his sister-in-law and her long-term boyfriend could see. “Some kinda trail mix? What’s that green stuff?”

“Wasabi peas,” Nora replied. “I remember those when Julian and I traveled to Asima last Christmastide. Mmm… crunchy… and oh so good!”

“Spi…cy!” Julian kissed his fingers.

“Just like I like my men,” Nora said, teasing, a hint of pink erupting on her cheeks.

Julian laughed. Joseph grimaced and tried a bite. He immediately downed the rest of his beer.

“Fiery, huh, buddy?”Julian smacked him on the back.

“Excuse me?” a well-dressed unnaturally red-haired man in a two-piece purple suit bumped into Joseph. “Are you with the bride or groom?”

“Is there a groom?” Joseph blinked. “I’m not sure how these things work.”

“Me neither,” the man shrugged.

“I’d say the brides to be,” Nora offered.

“But then…” Julian puzzled.

“I’m friends with Cathy and Amy, but I know Cathy a little better,” Joseph replied. “She works with my wife in publishing.”

“My wife works in publishing too,” the man replied. “Editing.”

“Small world,” Joseph said. “Joseph Simself.”

“Issador Fernandez, but call me Izzie. My wife is Lauryn Marks… the best looking one here,” the man grinned proudly, tugging on his vest and nodding toward the dance floor.

“Don’t let the brides hear you say that,” Nora smirked.

“Lauryn? Smaller world? She’s Lizzie’s editor,” Julian exclaimed. “And you, honey, are the best looking woman here,” he kissed her hand.

“So where is your wife?” Izzie asked.

“I…um…” Joseph glanced around. “Don’t know.”

group at the wedding

Joseph cycled through the tables, chatting with guests and downing alcohol anytime someone asked him a question about his wife. Everyone seemed to talk about how great their women were, and he felt uncomfortable. Not because Lizzie wasn’t great. Because he didn’t know if he was great anymore. John kept grinning over at his new girlfriend, Ash, who was spinning on the dance floor with some of the ladies. Julian gushed about how much he was looking forward to becoming a dad. Joseph took another swig. A dad… yeah, that didn’t happen. He couldn’t believe the crushing grief he felt because of it. Caelen bragged about how hot his girlfriend was. Joseph felt a little out-of-place with the part-pyre, part…well, a bunch of other things… who cured him, but his memories on the procedure were fuzzy. Caelen said that it was best that way, but Joseph wished he could remember where he misplaced his heart.

“Are you ever… going to come dance with me?” Anne approached the table with a teasingly exasperated sigh

She swayed and looked up at the twinkling lights around the lattice above their heads.

“I am at your service, my dear,” Caelen said in a low voice.

“Good, dance fever bit me,” Anne exclaimed. “I just love weddings!” she brushed Joseph’s shoulder lightly and scrunched her nose. “Don’t you?”

Lizzie gets wine

I helped myself to another glass of wine. No one would notice or care. It wasn’t like people were really paying all that much attention to me. It wasn’t my day. I wasn’t here for that. Still, I was struck with a profound loneliness. Where was my husband? I almost burst into tears three times today already, and I didn’t know how much more I could take. Would I be able to hold it together until the end of the marriage ceremony? I watched our friends, and wondered what went wrong with my life.

Akira was giving tips to the DJ, and Riley was hanging over the edge of the booth, both feet in the air, correcting Akira’s advice, and giving his own two cents. The couple teased each other, and Akira playfully put Riley in a headlock until Riley gasped, “Uncle!”

Julian, my almost-brother-in-law and Nora cuddled on a nearby park bench, whispering sweet nothings into her ear. Probably stereotypical mushy-gushy things. I still wished it was Joseph and I.

My editor, Lauryn and her husband, Izzie were getting cozy at a table, discussing the state of world affairs with my cousin, John and Ash, who were finishing each other’s sentences only about a month into their relationship.

Amy, the bride to be, tucked the hair of the other bride-to-be Cathy, tenderly behind her ear, revealing more of her face as the wind kicked up a bit. It was a sweet, intimate moment, and I felt almost embarrassed to have witnessed it. A half-year ago, I wouldn’t have cared. I would’ve been over Luna. I’m sure Joseph and I were nauseatingly sweet like that in the beginning.

Cathy leading a dance

“Who remembers the Macarena?” Cathy asked, humming as she swayed.

“Oh my gawd! YASSSSS!” Riley exclaimed, grabbing my arm. “You aren’t getting out of this, Liz. You owe me a dance!”

“I do?” I blinked rapidly, setting down my glass of wine.

“Yes,” Riley nodded, taking off his top hat and making a sweeping gallant gesture. “May I have this dance?”

“Okay,” I said, nervously, feeling the heat rise in my cheeks, hoping no one saw me.

Amy siddled up to me on the dance floor, lifting her skirt so she could more easily dance.

“This is fun,” she grinned.

“Show us your stuff, Cath-hy!” Riley cupped his hand to his mouth and shouted in a deep voice.

Amy and I shared a knowing glance and giggled.

Sugar playing the piano

Midnight could not arrive soon enough. I had eaten my weight in food, and drank enough alcohol to be legally intoxicated, and I wondered why I wasn’t physically sick. I kept looking around for Joseph, wondering where he was, and then I realized that it didn’t matter. I was probably going to be miserable either way, and he would barely look at me. I plopped down in the dreaded front row, the place no one ever wants to sit in the auditorium or school or church or a wedding, and hoped I could make it through this evening without feeling any worse.

Sugar played a simple, but beautiful version of Moonlight Sonata as the guest continued to trickle into their seats.  It was fitting as Amy shared with me how Cathy proposed. As the cellist, whom I had never seen before, pulled his bow across the strings, I could hear the lovely tension – the moving minor key, stirring me to almost tears. It was an unusual choice for a walk-the-aisle piece, but somehow fitting.

Lizzie sitting alone

Cathy and Amy walked down the aisle together, holding hands. When they reached the arch covered in winding daffodils, roses, and ribbons, Cathy grabbed Amy around the waist and gave her a big smooch. The guests laughed, and Anne slid into a seat next to me.

“What did I miss?” she whispered.

I nodded toward the couple.

“Sorry,” Cathy smirked, as she greeted the guests. “I know it’s customary to wait till the end for the kiss, but I couldn’t help myself.”

Amy flushed and fanned herself happily.

“Hey!” Karleen leaned over and nudged my husband. “Joseph?”

My heart leaped at the sound of his name.

“Why aren’t you sitting with your wife?” she inquired in a hushed tone.

“Oh, Lizzie?” he replied as if surprised by his place in the audience. “I didn’t realize she was there.”

Joseph and Lizzie in front row

My heart simultaneously sank. How could he not notice me? Joseph moved up to the front row and slid next to me as if it was obligatory or mandatory. I felt queasy as he squeezed my hand. What kind of relationship is this? It was if we were living in an alternate reality.

“Sorry I’m late,” he said, waving his hand, as if that was an excuse.

“Naturally, you’d be late,” I said, with a fake smile and a mimicking wave of my own hand.

“Are you tipsy, Liz?” he leaned in close and sniffed me.

I stretched my neck back, offended. “Shh! Watch the ceremony.”

“Somehow, I never really imagined myself standing here, in a dress, with someone so beautiful,” Cathy said quietly. “Ready to do this? Are you brave?”

Cathy cleared her throat, glanced with a quick blush at the onlookers, and then spoke her vows:

I’ll brave the world for you
This I knew
From the start.

Kiss every challenge
Embrace each hardship,
So long as we’re not apart…”

Amy and Cathy's vows 1

I’ll brave the world with you
This I say
With my heart.

“See? Your stars,
my planets, smile together
in our chart.

“Brave the world with me
Write new law,
Overturn Descartes

“Together, we’ll doubt
The mind, which we know
Our two hearts
Will always outsmart.

rings

Amy’s eyes glistened with tears as she took the love of her life’s hand.

With this ring I promise to continue to be your sun in the morning, your stars at night, and create our own galaxy of life and love through out all our days.

Cathy feels baby

As soon as the service was over, Joseph split, muttering something about needing the restroom. I turned and chatted for a few moments with Anne, who was, of course, ecstatic about the wedding and romance in general. I asked her what she was writing these days to steer the conversation away from romance. Nearby, Ash flirted with John. I could hear her, and I cringed. Not because I didn’t like John and Ash together, but because I was so sick of love. Cathy greeted Karleen, and asked if she could pat the stomach.

“Little life, I am so glad you made an appearance at my wedding,” Cathy murmured.

Lizzie trips

It was time for the after party, and I seriously wanted to go home. Home home. Like to my parents’ house. They probably wouldn’t mind. I could sleep in my old bed in my old room and pretend like my life was better than it was. Someone dragged me onto the dance floor, and I don’t even really remember who it was. My head was spinning and I was beginning to feel the full force of all the alcohol I inhaled. I tried to follow the moves, but I stumbled and nearly bumped into none other than Jospeh. I actually cringed, expecting criticism, especially after everything that had happened recently.

“Lizzzz-iiiie,” he slurred his words as he took a step forward to catch me and keep me from falling and making a complete idiot of myself. “You okay?”

“I need some…” I closed my eyes and shook my head slightly, lifting a hand to my forehead. “…air.”

“But we’re already outside,” Karleen teased, looking up at the night sky. “Or did you not notice?” she winked at us.

“I’m…” I swayed again, feeling dizzy and dehydrated.

“Here…” Joseph offered his arm and guided me to the restroom, making a pit stop at the bar for a glass of water.

Joseph dancing

Somehow we ended up behind the restrooms at the back of the park. I drank the water, and it did little to help my foggy brain. Joseph slurred through some half-hearted apology and I think I accepted it, mostly because I couldn’t be expected to think straight, and this was the most he had paid attention to me in weeks. Some weird amalgamation of classical and techno rang from the dance floor, where I’m sure Riley and Akira were dancing center stage, leading the group. Joseph clapped his hands and swayed his hips to the beat.

“Doesn’t?” he began.

“What?”

“What do you mean… what?” he said, as he danced around with flamboyant moves, waving his arms like a mad man.

“Doesn’t isn’t a sentence or a question,” I replied, strangely and sanely stringing together enough clarity to form that sentence.

“You wanna dance?” he asked, jiving his hips almost unnaturally.

“I thought…” I frowned. “You hate dancing?”

“Shut up!” he yelled dramatically.

I gasped in shock and took a step back, covering my mouth.

He broke into a odd laugh and added, “…and dance with me, woman!”

My face relaxed into a smile. The song… some song… at some point, we danced to that song. I think I taught him the moves.

kiss

Dancing and swaying like drunken fools on the grass, and getting my heels stuck in the grass, and Joseph picking me up so I wouldn’t fall somehow led us to furiously make out behind the bathrooms. Not the most romantic spot mind you. I’m not even sure how it happened, but we stumbled back to our hotel. Safely. Shocking, I know, right?

One thing led to another…

…clothing was removed…

…lips and limbs were intertwined…

…and we landed in bed.

How could I have known our bliss was only an alcohol-infused passion? In the morning, Joseph groaned and grunted, complaining of a headache, criticizing my moves from the night before. I was crushed. Utterly defeated…and I realized right then and there that I needed space.

I dressed, grabbed my suitcase, and headed for the door.

All that was good was gone.


Author Notes: So much happiness. So much pain. Oh my gawd! Just when I thought Lizzie and Joseph couldn’t sink any lower. I just don’t know what happened to my Simself or her Sim-spouse. To go from over the top adorable and perfect together to fighting like cats and dogs. I didn’t even know criticizing a person’s “moves” was a thing in game until now. Eek!

On a happy note, much thanks to Shadami and Cathy Tea for helping write their own vows section. Isn’t it beautiful? Yay for another happy couple. This chapter also featured  LegacySims2017‘s Joseph, MINEZ‘ Julian and Issador “Izzie” Fernandez, MadameLee‘s Anne, simscognito‘s Riley, CathyTea’s Sugar Maple Bough, skcaga6‘s Teresa Spinks and Edwin and Sharon Wymer, and TheYayToast‘s Ash. Thanks for reading! 

Goal #18: Celebrate All That is Good, Part 2 (LASL)

Lizzie glances back at Joseph

Cathy excused herself to go visit with other guests, and Karleen joined my sister, Julian, and Lauryn, my editor. Joseph wandered over, a beer in hand. The whole table laughed, and I glanced over my shoulder on my way to the restroom. What could possibly be so funny? Why did I feel so out of place? Why did Joseph avoid me like the plague? I was surprised to catch sight of Munter. I hadn’t seen him since the early spring. He had been overseas in Osimceana, as far as I knew, with his family. I didn’t realize Cathy or Amy invited him. Then again, he didn’t appear dressed for a wedding. I wondered what he would say once he saw the about-ready-to-burst ex-girlfriend of his.

Munter stops Karleen

“Karleen! Stop!” Munter called out, forcefully, more harshly than he meant.

He was so frustrated. He was frustrated with himself, for leaving Karleen when she probably needed him the most, for being suckered by his family. His mother claimed she had an emergency, hence his sudden departure. Upon arriving, he learned his father needed help with closing a business merger. The Bacons acquired restaurants the way some people collect coins. However, the real reason his mother wanted him home was because she disapproved of his younger, unfaithful girlfriend, and she wanted to set him up with a debutante from the right family, with the right education, the right background, the right social circles, and most importantly, the right amount of money. He hated himself for going along with it for all of three months before ending things abruptly when his mother offered to take his new girlfriend pre-ring shopping. He couldn’t keep up with the facade.

His mind had been occupied with Karleen, the girl who screamed ‘stay-away-from-me-I’m-trouble’ by all appearances, but in reality, had such a sweet, fragile demeanor underneath, and a smile that could make his heart melt. Even just being near her was enough to make his brain go all loopy. When he first approached her table, she abruptly stood and tried to walk away. It wasn’t like he had tried. He hadn’t called or written or emailed or texted. He probably deserved her anger. Still, he couldn’t leave things the way they were. She was in his head, in his thoughts, in his dreams, and he found himself making imaginary plans with her and the baby. The baby? He touched his lips absently. And she was in his heart.

“What!” she said, edge in her tone.

“I’m sorry,” he replied, shoving his hands in his pockets. “I’m sorry for being a jerk and for leaving you. I’m sorry for not calling or contacting you in any way. How’ve…you been?” he kicked a loose stone with his sneaker.

“How have I been?” she whirled, repeating, her eyes fiery. “Let’s see. I’ve been… um… just peachy. I mean, I’m past the morning sickness stage, but my feet and ankles are constantly swollen and I feel like I’m leaking a lot of the time, and my brain is all mushy, and I haven’t had a cocktail in seven months, but otherwise, I’m just great. Thanks for asking.”

Munter takes Karleen's hand “Please don’t be like that,” Munter almost whined as he stepped in front of her to cut off her escape route.

“You said you’d be around,” Karleen cried. “And then you vanished.”

“I’m stupid.”

“You promised to call, and you didn’t.”

“I’m an idiot.”

“You said you loved me.”

I do.”

Karleen’s eyes widened. “You do? You still do?”

“I didn’t stop,” Munter said, softly. “Now the question is… do you love me? For me? I know you never cared about the money, but I could take care of you, Karleen. I could take care of you… well…” he groaned and rolled his eyes back. “…that didn’t come out right. I want to take care of you…” he took her hand. “I can offer you everything you ever wanted, but most importantly, I want to offer you my heart. It’s yours, if you want it.”

“Munter… what are you saying?” she frowned, her lower lip wobbling, her eyes flooding with unknown emotions.

He couldn’t tell if it was good or bad.

Munter confesses to Karleen

“Karleen, I don’t care anymore. I don’t care that you slept with John and with Goober when you slept with me. I love you. I forgive you. I want to marry you…” he blurted out, surprising himself, and then his face relaxed into a smile. “I want to marry you.”

“What?” Karleen’s voice cracked. “Even if?” she shook her head. “I don’t deserve you.”

“Oh angel, I don’t deserve you,” Munter said. “Yeah, we’ve been wicked to each other, but I’m not holding it against you if you won’t.”

Tears spilled down her rosy cheeks. “Even if the baby…” she hiccuped.

“I don’t care…” he said in an urgent whisper. “…who the baby’s father is. I want you.”

He pressed his head against hers, inches from her mouth, feeling compelled to kiss the lips of the woman he loved, probably salty from her tears. He didn’t care.

Kiss me

“Kiss me,” she whispered, fiercely.

She didn’t have to ask twice. Munter wrapped his hand around the small of her back, and around her neck, and pulled her into his embrace. It felt good to have her in his arms after all this time. When they finally resurfaced for air, he felt slightly annoyed. He didn’t want it to end.

“So you crashed a wedding to propose?” she laughed, swiping happy tears from her face.

“Basically, love,” he smirked.

“Great!” she giggled. “How are we going to tell our friends?”

“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “All I know is I want you…” he placed his hand on her stomach. “And this baby to mine. I’ll marry you either way.”

Karleen tells Munter

Karleen stepped back, wrapping her hands around her belly, a big warm smile erupting.

“Munter?”

“Yes?”

“The baby is yours.”

He stood in stunned silence. Mine? It was almost incomprehensible. The possibility of the child being his was always there, but he always suspected the baby was John’s. Now Karleen stood before him, eyes shining, big smile, and an earnestness in his tone. His breath caught.

“You’re sure?”

She bobbed her head. “Yes, the doctor and I counted the days. And they have these pre-birth DNA tests these days that confirm parentage if you want…”

“Oh boy!” he ran a hand through his brown curly hair. “Oh wait… is it a boy? Or a girl?”

“Do you want to be surprised?” she asked, leaning in coyly.

He shook his head. She stood on tiptoe, placing a tender hand on his shoulder, and opened her mouth to speak.


Author Notes: Is your heart melting from cuteness over Karleen Corey and Munterbacon‘s Munter Bacon? Mine is. Lol. This chapter also featured LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself, and a variety of background characters, Nora Green, Geeta Rasoya (who was the caterer for the event), Don Baxter, Zurka’s  Angela Smith, MadameLee‘s Anne Charming, Cathy Tea‘s Cathy Tea, Shadami’s Amy Cat, MINEZ‘ Julian DeBateau, Lauryn Marks, and Issador ‘Izzie’ Fernandez, and simscognito‘s Riley Cognito. Thanks for reading. 

Goal #18: Celebrate All That is Good, Part 1 (LASL)

Cathy and Amy stargazing On hot nights, young lovers lay on the ground and identify stars. The excruciating temperatures of the day fade away. Coyotes sing their night hymns. White hydrangeas are in full bloom, an ode to summer. Nothing but calm and constellations and hearts full of dreams. The mighty hunter Orion. The vain queen Cassiopeia. The hearty bull Taurus. The wild archer Sagittarius.

“Luna looks beautiful tonight,” Amy cooed.

“You look radiant,” Cathy replied.

Amy flushed, her cheeks a pleased pink. “Thank you. Seriously, it’s almost as if…” she squinted. “I can see the Lakes colony.”

“Have you ever been?” Cathy inquired, crossing her ankles the other direction as she shifted, her back easing against the crevices of dirt between the paved stones.

“To Luna?” Amy said, rolling so she could see her girlfriend.

“Yes,” Cathy murmured, twisting her braid around her finger. “It is truly remarkable to visit the moon and see Simterra from space.”

“I’ve never left planetside,” Amy replied. “My great-great-great grandparents were explorers, and they hitched a ride with military pilots to the Delta base on Luna before it was off limits to civilians. I think they lived somewhere out here in the Daleth system. I always thought it would be spectacular to be a pioneer in space. There’s so much out there…” she swept her arm upward, placing her hands at different angles to frame clusters of stars. “…I would love to see it all someday. I can’t imagine living in a more lovely spot in the galaxy. Of course…” she smiled coyly. “…I have you to thank for that.”

Cathy propped her weight against her elbow, a bright smile spreading across her face. “Marry me, Amy.”

“What?” Amy blinked rapidly, shook her head, and sat up as if she didn’t hear her closest and dearest friend carefully.

“Marry me,” Cathy repeated, sitting up and draping her arms over her bent knees. “I’m not as young as you you, and I don’t have the energy you do, and I’m advancing in years. I don’t want to waste a moment. I want to be with the woman who makes me sun rise every morning, and who makes my stars shine at night, and who sends the spark of life through my veins.”

Amy’s eyes misted with tears. “Cathy…” she gasped, bringing her hands to her heart as she scooted close. “Thank you…” the women touched foreheads, bowing ever so slightly making silent vows never to leave one another.

“I will marry you.”

Cathy serenades AmyThey made plans to marry within a fortnight. The preparations were a whirlwind. Neither had family in the area, and so they invited as many friends as they could. “Friends are family,” Cathy said, and Amy agreed, “You make your own family.”

Amy called me while Cathy played a phenomenal piano concerto.

“You are going to be there?” she inquired.

I glanced over at Joseph, who was buried in a book on the couch. He hadn’t looked at me all evening. I sighed heavily, and then flushed, hoping Amy hadn’t heard my exasperation.

“We will totally be there,” I assured.

I contacted the same dressmaker who sold me my bridesmaids’ gown for Lee’s wedding, and found a matching dress in a cool shade of lime, perfect for the fiery summer days in Oasis Springs. I bought new shoes and new jewelry too, hoping to feel good about myself. Unfortunately, Joseph and I were still distant. I slept over at Karleen’s more than I slept in my own bed, or stayed out all night with Riley and Akira doing karaoke, even if they worried about me.

“Sleep when you’re dead!” Riley declared, wrapping his arm around my neck.

“That’s right!” Akira exclaimed, wrapping an arm around my waist. “Preach!”

“I love you guys,” I said, willing myself to be happy.

They really did try.

Lizzie sees Angela

Cathy and Amy decided to do the reception early in the day with a party first, and the wedding second, so they could officially tie the knot at midnight under the stars. I thought the idea was super romantic, but I wondered how long I could tolerate heels and polite chit-chat with acquaintances and strangers, and putting up a facade for Joseph and I. Riley offered to be my wingman, but despite his best efforts, he was a social butterfly. He relished the crowds, flitting from friend to friend, talking, laughing, joking around, making dramatic arm gestures. I knew I couldn’t rely on him entirely.

“Lizzie!” Angela Smith, dressed in a proper pencil red dress, waved to me as I wandered amidst the reception tables, wishing I was a flower.

I could be a rose, pretty and vibrant, and no one would want to talk to me, I sighed.

“Hey Angela,” I said, mustering a smile.

“Wow, you look fantastic,” she purred. “I love green on you.”

“Thank you,” I replied with the best small talk comment I could. “I love your red. You match the roses.”

“Hey I’m sorry about last month,” Angela said. “I know we weren’t the best of hosts to you.”

“It’s fine,” I shrugged, feeling a headache forming behind my eyes. “I wasn’t feeling great that day.”

“Still, it’s no excuse,” Angela insisted. “John and I want to have you over again. Actually…” she reached for my wrist the way an intimate friend would. “You and I really should hang out sometime. Maybe after work? Go grab cocktails?”

“Yeah sure,” I said, distracted by the fact that my husband was over at the bar, helping himself to a beer, and it wasn’t even eleven in the morning yet. I figured this was his way of coping with the day’s events, and me… copious amounts of alcohol.

“Dude! Drinking before noon!” I heard Riley say as he slammed in Joseph’s shoulder in a manly fashion. “I approve.”

I gritted my teeth. So not helping, Riley. 

Nora and Julian -- focal point --Lizzie uncomfortableMy sister and Julian had arrived, Nora, a vision in her chic pink dress, a perfectly placed bow of a slightly different shade wrapped around her bulging belly, Julian, looking dapper, as always, in his suit and tie. And attentive to his pregnant girlfriend.

“Can I get you anything, honey?” I heard him ask.

“A glass of ginger ale,” she replied, with a girly little sigh. “The stomach needs to hold out. I feel like it’s doing somersaults.”

“It’s fighting a little battle in there,” Julian remarked, talking directly to her abdomen, and then kissing her cheek. “…for who’s in control. Don’t forget little one who made you.”

I gulped, feeling a sudden and overwhelming sadness. I should’ve been there… with that… that baby in my stomach. Some days I hardly remembered the pregnancy and other days, the memories were so vivid and vibrant. I imagined how different my life would be if I hadn’t been hit by a car. If I hadn’t passed on to the in-between. If I hadn’t lost the precious cargo in me. Would Joseph love me more? Would he pay more attention to me? To us?

“You okay?”

I blinked, my vision focusing on a radiant Amy, wrapped in yards of lilac satin. Sadness struck my heart again as I realized I never did really have a wedding day. Well, I did, but I didn’t. I didn’t have a ceremony with my friends. I didn’t spend time hunting for the perfect gown. I didn’t select bridesmaids and flowers and all the kinds of things you do when you’re getting married. I swallowed hard, reminding myself today wasn’t about me, but about my friends. My happy adorable-in-love friends.

“I’m fine,” I replied, grabbing Amy’s hands. “I’m happy for you both.”

“Thank you, and thanks for coming,” Amy tilted her head to the side in the direction of her partner. “It means the world to Cathy and I.”

“Amy Cat, get over here!” Nora interrupted us. “Where are you two kids heading on your honeymoon? I want all the details.”

“It’s good to see you, Lizzie,” Amy smiled, squeezing my hands, before walking to my sister. “It’s a surprise,” she said. “But you tell me all the details about this…” she patted Nora’s stomach. “…little one. Have you thought of names yet?”

I wasn’t sure I could handle anymore. My mouth fell open, and I had to force tears back from the brink. Maybe I needed a drink too.

Karleen chatters away Cathy took my hands before I had the opportunity to escape to the bathroom, and insisted I join her at a table. She was dressed in a flowing white dress with silk white roses, her black hair waving around her shoulders for once. She looked so happy. A enlarged Karleen leaned back in her chair, crossing her ankles under the table, and stretching her legs as far as was still permitted to be ladylike. She wore a strapless purple dress, a bold choice given she was in her third trimester and looking about ready to pop and she still had six weeks left. A spiky purple collar graced her neck. My former babysitting kid Teresa also occupied the table, looking all grown-up in a paisley pink flowered baby doll dress and a purple bowler hat. She even wore eyeliner and mascara and some lavender shadow.

“What’s it like?” Teresa asked, excitedly. “To be in love.”

“Says the preteen who can’t keep her eyes off Steve over there at the banquet table and he can’t shut up about you,” Karleen said, in mock-seriousness as she moved her hand around like a talking mouth. “Oh Teresa is just so great. Teresa is so beautiful. Teresa hangs the moon.”

“Karleen,” Teresa laughed. “He’s not that bad.”

“Close your eyes and imagine perfection,” Cathy murmured. “Real deal perfection. It’s not really a feeling. It’s not really an abstract state of being. It is a truth. A real solid truth that simply cannot be defined by any words known to mankind, or stopped up by a dam of our own actions. It transcends this life…” her eyes fluttered open. “…and space and time itself.”

“Wow,” Teresa breathed. “That’s… whoa!”

I closed my eyes. I wished for perfection… for love like that. What happened to Joseph and I?

“Excuse me,” I said, covering my mouth to choke back a cry.


Author Notes: Adorableness abounds with Cathy Tea and Amy Cat! But Lizzie and Joseph are still frosty and distant with one another. Grr… Okay, moving along… CT and Amy got engaged, decided to throw a party, and then host a wedding. It glitched for me, so I went into their household, didn’t control anything, other than to set up the wedding again, hence the multiple upcoming chapters. It’s just a never ending party. 🙂 This chapter featured Cathy Tea‘s Cathy Tea and Sugar Maple Bough, Shadami’s Amy Cat, Zurka’s  Angela Smith, simscognito‘s Riley Cognito, LegacySims2017‘s Joseph Simself, MINEZ‘ Julian DeBateau, and skcaga6‘s Teresa Spinks and background characters, skcaga6’s Steve Wymer, CathyTea’s Sugar Maple Bough, Ace Reynolds, Don Baxter, MINEZ’ Lauryn Marks, Karleen Corey, Nora Green, and MadameLee‘s Anne Charming. Thanks for reading. 

Goal #17: Weather the Distance, Part 2 (LASL)

Joseph and Lizzie stand in the hallway  After our argument, I was seriously tempted to move in with Karleen and Ash temporarily… or John. Both offered. Both sympathized. That’s why I didn’t leave. I didn’t want their looks of pity, their endless questions, their contempt for Joseph. As much as I was mad at him, I didn’t want others to think badly of him, though I’m sure after our last loud argument in the hallway, Annie probably gossiped to our landlady and friends. We stood in the hallway on the shag green carpet, facing the brown and tan striped walls, ready to face our dinner as best as we could. The love loss between us was palpable.

Summer love seemed to blossom everywhere. Our anniversary came and went. We ate a quiet dinner while watching television. Nothing fancy. Nothing momentous. We managed to survive one year of marriage and all its ups and downs. We went through more in a year than most couples did in a lifetime. Still, we maintained the facade that everything was okay. Joseph apologized. I apologized. And that was that. Nothing else changed.

John and Ash Fun-loving John began dating the pragmatic, sarcastic Ash. It was a bit of a surprise for all of us, but apparently, they really hit it off while she was covering the beat at the Geek Con. Ash was writing a scathing piece on the outrageous scandal of Simstagram’s president and chief financial officer’s embezzlement with get-this! None other than Goober Nerdstrom’s assistance. Apparently, Mr. Nerdstrom was fetching black market art pieces for the Simstagram higher-ups. No wonder Joseph had so many problems there. And it was good he got out while he did.

John and Ash are dating Ash walked the Con, getting feedback from the gamers regarding the incident. John was, as always, his usual adorkable self, hitting Ash up with pun after pun and making her laugh. He invited her back to his place the first night and they stayed up all night, talking, laughing, gaming. This went on for the length of the con until finally John asked her if she’d be his girlfriend. He learned his lesson with Karleen, and decided to be blunt. She accepted and John snapped a picture to send it to me. It warmed my heart. He looked so happy. He deserved it.

They broke the news to Karleen, who was surprisingly in favor of the match. I was surprised given Ash’s knowledge of Karleen and John’s dating history, however, like Karleen, I was inclined to believe he wasn’t the dad. If Karleen was telling the truth, the timing was wrong, which left the missing-in-action criminal Goober or billionaire chef-bartender businessman Munter, also still overseas with his family. Karleen proclaimed she would survive with a dramatic flourish as she returned to work.

Karleen pregnant and working at Walrus Karleen had been doing well at Walrus Books. The customers loved her, and appreciated her crazy stories. She took the time to greet each patron, and made sure she knew what their preferences were so she could accommodate. She had even received a raise recently, though she was a little worried about what would happen once the baby was born. She wouldn’t be able to work for awhile. Her boss assured her that the job would be waiting for her when she got back much to Karleen’s relief. While Karleen managed to remain single for the longest time in her life, it seemed like the rest of our friends were pairing up.

Cathy Tea had traveled the world in the last year. She toured for another bestselling book. Unfortunately, the road can be a lonely place, as Cathy wrote me. The most interesting people she met were bartenders. Unfortunately, they were either too old…

sasparilla

How does a youngin’ like you know a sasparilla?” the bartender in Windenburg inquired.

He rocked the salt and pepper look with his twirling mustache. He regaled Cathy with tales of the “good old days,” plopping an extra cherry in her whipped cream. In the end, he went to his grave a few days after meeting Miss Tea, a case of bad fish and indigestion. Perhaps she wanted to be with someone who didn’t have to inhale Pepto Simsol on a daily basis.

…too young…

CT and young guy “Aww… Mz. Tea, you are always makin’ me smile,” the dark-skinned, chiseled jaw, and sparkling eyes caught her attention.

Say, we should grab a coffee sometime, or a tea. You like tea right?” she smirked. “Wait, you like tea, or else you wouldn’t be talkin’ to me,” she quipped.

That’s awful kind of ya, but shouldn’t you date someone your own age?”

Ouch! Who said anything about dating? I was just thinking delicious intellectual conversation with a handsome young man like yourself and an experienced woman as myself and we’ll go from there.”

No thanks, Mz. Tea. Maybe some other time.”

enchanting introduction from Cathy

While waiting for the metro city bus to arrive, Cathy surprised a bystander with a shower of red rose petals.

“These are called Dame de Coeur,” Cathy explained. “Aren’t they lovely?”

“Say do you usually go around and throw flowers at people?” the redhead made a face.

“Why not? Admit it. It made your day,” Cathy smiled. “It means ‘lady of heart.’ You should be flattered.”

“Uh thanks,” the woman replied, sarcastically. “Where are you headed?”

“Here. There. A little bit of everywhere,” Cathy remarked. “I’m Cathy.”

“Amy.”

“Enchanted.”

Amy meets Goober You see, Amy Cat walked to Thymes Square to meet a man she chatted with online. Turns out the man was goofy and charming and wanted in four states. Oh did I say states? I meant countries. Dejected, Amy boarded a bus and rode until the end of the line in Oasis Springs, and wandered around until she purchased a ticket to return.

Amy and Cathy Perhaps it wasn’t a completely wasted trip because she met the goofy and charming lady Cathy with her quirky ways and winning smile and messy braid that bounced when she walked. Amy found herself drawn to the older woman in a way she hadn’t ever felt before. Cathy promised to give Amy a full tour of the Springs and if she didn’t like it after the afternoon, Cathy would personally reimburse her for the ticket cost.

Amy stayed for four days, absolutely delighted by Cathy’s way of telling stories and intrigued by how well she seemed to know every nook and cranny of the Springs from the local watering holes to the best hidden picnic spots to the most comfortable night’s sleep in three counties. At the end of the week, Amy was sad she would need to return, but then Cathy surprised her once more at the bus stop with a single Dame de Coeur rose.

Cathy with rose “It’s a simple as bread and butter and the sun that rises in the western sky, Amy,” Cathy began. “I like you. I like you a lot. And I think we should go steady if you’re into that.”kiss

Oh Amy was most definitely into that!

They kissed.

embrace
They hugged.

Amy promised to return the following weekend, and Cathy replied “nonsense,” and said she had friends in the city who owed her favors. She would be coming with on the bus ride.
Don and Annie

Meanwhile, Don Baxter, Cathy’s roommate, had been dating the lovely ginger, Annie since around Simerce. He scheduled a dinner at Chez Llama to mark their five month anniversary. They met during karaoke one night, and Don whisked her away to Uptown to the Stargazer Lounge so she could hear him play. Needless to say, the romantic-at-heart was impressed by his doting and was dazzled by his musical prowess.

Don proposes Don also had an ulterior motive for taking Annie to the best restaurant in town (which I had yet to confirm since I had never gone back). He wanted to pop a certain question. Of course, Annie was thrilled and agreed wholeheartedly to marry the man in blue. He had transferred to the San Myshuno police department. They announced their engagement after Patriotic Day.

Caelen and Anne outside the closetEven my doctor seemed to be getting it on. I was pretty disturbed when I saw these two outside the exam room of the Celestial Clinic. I don’t think he was performing the standard exam.Needless to say, I didn’t go to my appointment that day. I couldn’t remember the last time Joseph and I were together.

Anne smacks Caelen Anne sent me a long email, gushing about how she met Caelen outside strolling the docks of San Myshuno. The smell of sea salt and fading pink sunset set the stage for their whirlwind romance. At first, she wasn’t too impressed by him, even going so far as to smack him when he made a risque joke.

Caelen and Anne -charmed However, that was short-lived. She soon fell for his allure, and even more his kindness. Caelen really did want to save the world, a fact that impressed Anne. She, of course, didn’t care about the fact that he was part pyre, part witch, part… whatever… he didn’t share the last part. It was confusing as is. Anne was just thrilled he paid attention to her.

Lizzie complaining about getting dinner over withJoseph and I, on the other hand, had fizzled some… again. I was getting tired of this back and forth dance. What was so wrong with us now? I was beginning to question whether I missed some early warning signs during our dating experience. Maybe we just got married too fast.

“Let’s just get this dinner over with,” I said, tiredly.

I wasn’t looking forward to spending the evening with the Smiths. Nothing against John or Angela. I just wasn’t sure I could keep up the charade of the ‘happy’ Green-Simself… Simself-Green couple. See. We couldn’t even agree on a name.

“We won’t stay late,” Joseph assured.

Joseph laughing with the Smiths The Smiths were a little too happy to see us. Joseph settled on the couch with Angela and they immediately started chatting about old times. Of course, Joseph, John, and Angela shared a common undergraduate experience, complete with Angela as a cheerleader, John as a football player, and Joseph on track. They met through athletics and then it was parties and state championships and campus pranks and moving furniture in the back of John’s dusty pick-up truck across half the nation.

Lizzie pulls out her phoneWhen Joseph left the city, he lost track of them for a short time, but the Smiths eagerly filled their friend in on everything in between. I was at a loss, feeling left out. I didn’t share their same experiences. My collegiate years were quieter and while I liked sports, I couldn’t seem to get a word in edgewise. Plucking my phone from my pocket, I resolved to text Karleen and ask her to call me to come up with some excuse, most likely baby related, for me to leave.

John side hugs Lizzie

“Oh, I’m afraid we are boring Lizzie,” John exclaimed, wrapping his arm around my mid-section.

“Sorry honey,” Joseph said with a smile. “It’s been a long time since we’ve… well…” he rubbed his jaw. “When was the last time we had a poker night?”

“Oh gawd!” Angela hooted. “I remember those. All that money… pouf! …because somebody couldn’t keep his eyes on his cards…” she nudged her husband.

“Right,” John smirked. “You were just too good looking,” he squeezed her shoulder.

“And that’s why you lost… both of you… to me…” Angela claimed, proudly, pointing both thumbs in her direction.

Everyone laughed. Everyone, except me. I felt a twinge of jealousy.

“Perhaps you’d like to help Angela get started with dinner,” John seemed to direct toward me.

Lizzie chops onions

“Right…” I grumbled, making my way to the kitchen.

We were supposed to be having chili. I was supposed to bring garlic bread. I forgot. Or a salad. Joseph didn’t remind me. I came straight from work, and I was almost tempted to claim I had a headache or something just to get out of this dinner. The Smiths were a nice couple, but their inside jokes and shared history with Joseph were lost on me. I grunted and groaned as I rummaged through the fridge and began slicing onions for the stew…or soup… or whatever. I tried to tell myself that the onions were making my eyes water, but the truth was, I felt invisible.

When Angela finally arrived in the kitchen, she was laughing so hard that tears fell down her face. She walked to the sink and filled a glass of water.

“Nice of you to finally join me,” I muttered.

“What did you say?” Angela replied, only half-hearing me as she called back down the hallway. “Now boys! No fair going through the photo albums without me. We can do that after dinner.”

“You know what?” I slammed the knife on the counter. “I’m not all that hungry.”

“What?” Angela wiped at her eyelids. “Are you feeling okay, Lizzie?”

“I’m feeling peachy,” I snipped, sarcastically. “Enjoy your dinner.”

“Wait? You’re leaving already?”

“You won’t miss me. You didn’t know I was here.”

Lizzie leaves

John wandered into the kitchen and I shoved past him.

“What’s her problem?” he asked a bewildered Angela.

“I’ll see you later,” I snapped at Joseph as I walked right out of the apartment.

Maybe I was being childish. Maybe I was acting petulant. But for the first time in weeks, it felt good to no longer pretend as I slammed the door.


Author Notes: First of all, hooray! I wandered around the city to catch up with some folks and found love is in the air. Congratulations to Cathy Tea‘s Cathy Tea and Shadami’s Amy Cat, to Don Baxter and rockannie‘s Annie Rock, John Schooner and TheYayToast‘s Ash Toast, and MadameLee‘s Anne Charming and Caelen Vatore. This chapter also featured  LegacySims2017‘s Goober Nerdstrom (who seriously gets around… lol) and Joseph Simself, Karleen Corey, and Zurka’s John and Angela Smith. Second, Lizzie and Joseph are still unhappy in my game. Drr… everything went downhill after that dinner at Chez Llama. Maybe they will bounce back soon? Thanks for reading everyone.