Side Tracks: For Better or For Worse, Part 2 (Lizzie and Joseph)

Simancilla was almost upon us. Since my argument with Joseph, we had been spending even more time apart. It was frustrating since this was supposed to be a romantic vacation. I was about ready to give up and go home alone. It didn’t make sense for us to waste Sugar’s gift when we really only came back to the room to sleep and always at different times. I couldn’t understand what had gotten into Joseph. He was acting hot-headed and jealous, and for no apparent reason. At least I wasn’t crying all the time like I was in the first trimester.

I wandered out to the festival, hoping to catch sight of Joseph. I wanted to make up and put this weird tension behind us. I wanted to enjoy the rest of the holiday together. I visited half a dozen artisans, stopped by the food vendors, and wandered through the crowds gathered around comedians and musicians and singers. I even saw Don, though I avoided him purposely. I didn’t want to give Joseph even more reason to be upset, not that his mistrust of me was justified. I couldn’t believe he was jealous.

Out of the corner of my eye, a large painting caught my attention. The artist used broad and narrow brushstrokes to capture a beautiful spring flower. The shades of pink and yellow reminded me of happiness, and I wasn’t surprised to find the piece entitled “Joy.” And it was well out of my price range too. I sighed. Still, the colors were gorgeous.

“You want to buy?” the artist inquired.

“No… I’m just looking…” I shook my head. “Admiring,” I added, more slowly.

“It’s a good luck flower,” she explained, bending over as she put a few items away in a canvas satchel.

“Yeah, I need some of that these days,” I chuckled weakly.

“It will ward off evil spirits and bad intentions,” the artist smiled as she straightened. “I can sell it to you for fifty-percent off.”

“I’ll think about it.”

“What are you looking at?” Joseph inquired of Cathy, not five minutes after I left the artist.

“The stars. I can’t see them,” Cathy grimaced.

“It’s hazy tonight,” Joseph replied. “But we should be able to see the fireworks at midnight.”

“Cheap imitations of true natural beauty,” Cathy scoffed.

“Alright,” Joseph made a face. “If you say so.” 

“Where have you been?” I exclaimed, approaching Joseph.

“Where have you been?” he stared at me over the edge of his glasses. “Off with Don again?”

“Gawd! Joseph. What the plum is your problem?” I yelled. “Do you really think so little of me?”

Riley was standing nearby and gasped. “Uh oh. Trouble is brewing.”

“Butt outta this,” Joseph snapped.

“Wow, I’ve never seen them so angry with each other,” Sage said to Riley as they watched both Joseph and I stomp off in different directions.

“Or at us,” Riley frowned, and touched his lips. “I hope everything is okay.”

“Foul games are afoot,” Cathy skipped over to Riley and Sage, her ponytail swishing a little too happily behind her.

“What does that mean?” Riley exclaimed, covering his mouth.

Sage grimaced. “Superstitious nonsense.”

Joseph didn’t even come back to the hotel room and I slept through the midnight fireworks. I did notice he came in around six to shower. I wondered why he didn’t just go home. I planned to tell him we should leave but he stormed out before I could have a normal conversation. When he still hadn’t returned by night fall, I decided it was time to go home. I called Riley.

“Hey?”

Lizzie, are you okay?”

“….no, I’m not okay… Joseph is so angry with me.”

Why?”

“I don’t even know. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s like someone did something with my husband and replaced him with an angry, jealous clone.”

Oh gawd! Liz. I’m so sorry. What do you need? Anything? Dulcie and I are just curled up watching dumb comedy shows on TV.”

“I need you…” I sighed unhappily. “Can you come get me? I don’t want to go home alone.”

Sure. Aw… Lizzie. I’m so sorry. I’ll bring chocolate and some chick flicks and we’ll have a sleepover so you’re not alone. Or I can bring tissues and a listening ear if that’s all you need.”

“I love you!” I swiped at the tears pricking my eyes. “You’re the best.”

I didn’t realize that Joseph was behind me during the conversation. He jogged off in a silent rage. Riley stayed on the phone with me until he arrived, bringing Dulcie in tow. I missed my kitty. It was strange that just a week ago Joseph and I were happy and in love, excited about our impending parentage, and proud new parents of an adorable cat. What had happened to us?

Joseph angrily paced the halls of the gallery, hoping to find some clarity. When he entered the lobby, he nearly bumped into Courtney.

“Hey are you okay?” she asked.

“No! I think my wife is having an affair,” he stated woefully.

“What? Oh my gawd! That’s horrible,” Courtney gasped. “What do you need?”

“A new life,” he joked harshly.

“How about a hug?” Courtney offered.

“I don’t understand what I did wrong,” Joseph sighed as they embraced.

“Nothing. You’re a great guy and if she can’t see that, then she’s an idiot,” Courtney exclaimed.

“Some days I feel like I’m surrounded by idiots,” Joseph shook his head and rubbed his temples. “I guess he was just more attractive than me and more talented than me. She loves music. Why shouldn’t I be surprised?” he threw his hands up in the air. “She dated a musician before me. Well, while dating me…”

“So once a cheater…always a cheater…” Courtney muttered, tucking an arm awkwardly behind her back. “I’m so sorry, Joseph.”

“It’s not your fault,” he sighed.

“And he’s not,” she said quietly.

“What?”

“He’s not more attractive,” she said shyly. “Cuz one look at you and I’m practically drooling.”

“I’m not…sure… how to respond to that…” Joseph puzzled.

“Then don’t,” she said quietly. “Let me.”

Her pale pink lips were against his before he could stop her. His brain fogged as he felt the warmth and sincerity of her emotions. He couldn’t believe he was responding. He didn’t want to respond, and yet after Lizzie’s recent betrayal, he wanted to feel anything but sad and angry anymore. 

I couldn’t believe my eyes. My husband was wrapped in the embrace of another woman and she was kissing him. If this day could get any worse… I ran upstairs sobbing. I could hear his voice calling after me as the elevator doors slammed shut before he could reach me. I didn’t know what I would’ve done if he did. My whole body was shaking. I felt my world collapsing, like fragments of the universe cracked the mirror and I was seeing things clearly now. Joseph was having an affair. His behavior made sense now… and yet it didn’t.

Once I reached the thirtieth floor, I exited the elevator, walked to my room, and changed. I wasn’t sure why. Nothing made sense to me anymore. I just didn’t want to wear the clothes I was wearing when I caught Joseph kissing another woman. When I was done, I grabbed my phone and keys and made a beeline for the stairs. I wasn’t sure where I was going. Somewhere. Anywhere but here. I wasn’t even sure if Riley would find me. Or if it would matter. Or if I ever wanted to see Joseph again.

My vision blurred by tears I stepped out in the road to hail a taxi. I don’t remember the impact. I don’t remember falling. I remember the blue. Everything looked blue and hazy. I remember screaming and horns honking and panic, but it was all muffled as I gave into the blue. 

Nothing but blue and smoke.


Author Note: Yes… it is what you think. And it’s not. I’ll explain more soon, but in the meantime, cliffhanger. Joseph and Lizzie started arguing during their trip and things escalated. Of course, a misunderstanding here and there caused something minor to explode. There is more than meets the eye here.  I will say this. LASL is not over. I will continue as the game proceeded without Lizzie and I promise you things do get better.

FYI, Simancilla is my Simworld version of New Year’s Day! 

This chapter featured CathyTea‘s Cathy Tea,  Karilan’s Sage Reed, LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simselfsimscognito’s Riley Cognito, and SoulGal7s Courtney Neon. Thanks for reading. 

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Random LASL Fun

Hi everyone, I posted these in the forums, but several people said they couldn’t view them so I figured I might as well post here in WordPress. If you have difficulties here, try opening this post in a browser instead of reading in WordPress reader. Sorry for all the difficulties.

Here are some fun pictures and some crazy outtakes from my latest gaming adventures in the LASL world. They aren’t majorly spoilerish in terms of plot so if you aren’t caught up, you can still view them.

Karleen and Ash eat dinner
Karleen Corey and her roommate, @TheYayToasts Ash Toast. Karleen is eating peas and Ash is eating chips for dinner. And Ash is admiring their super colorful walls. I love their apartment btw. I did very little to tweak it.

Raj and Ameera Love
Ameera and Raj kissing neck
Back in Oasis Springs, these two lovebirds, Raj Rasoya and @MINEZ‘s Ameera are having fun, though is she kissing his neck or drinking his blood? :grimace:

Raccoon mascot strolling
The raccoon mascot always makes me smile when I see it around town.Munter walking with Dash at nightDash chasing tail barking at it
@Munterbacon‘s Munter and Dash out for an evening stroll with @MadameLee‘s Anne and @MsShadami‘s Amy in the background. And then silly Dash is barking at his tail.

Riley likes Ali's shoes
@simscognito‘s Riley still can’t take his eyes off @friendsfan367‘s “angelic” white shoes. :D

Party and cat
Cute stretching Dulcie (from @LegacySims2017) in the bottom right corner and @MINEZ‘s Julian pulls a whole disappearing lower half trick with the table.

Riley looking right at camera
I see you, Riley (@simscognito):p

Christmas party lots going on
I love parties in the Sims 4. It’s always fun to see the expressions and reactions of Sims. Here my Simself’s sister is excited about something, but I’m loving what’s happening on the edges. @CathyTea‘s Sugar Maple is seriously eyeing Dulcie (@LegacySims2017), and in her usual quiet way, they have an understanding of sorts. And then look at Karleen! She’s just beaming @Munterbacon‘s Munter. It’s adorable. Highlighted snowman, that’s why this pic didn’t make it in the story.

Sugar does push-ups at Christmas party
@CathyTeas Sugar did some push-ups at the party too.

Akira serenades Riley - You're the Top
Akira did a shiny karaoke jazz solo. He’s such a :star: He’s serenading @simscognito‘s Riley… with a solo that sounded very much like “You’re the top!”

🎵You’re the top! You’re the Colosseum,
You’re the top! You’re the Louvre Museum,
You’re a melody from a symphony by Strauss,
You’re a Bendel bonnet, a Shakespeare sonnet,
You’re Mickey Mouse.
You’re the Nile, You’re the Tow’r of Pisa,
You’re the smile on the Mona Lisa.
I’m a worthless check, a total wreck, a flop,
But if, Baby, I’m the bottom,
You’re the top!🎵

Amy at the gallery
A picture of the gorgeous @Shadami‘s Amy.Caleb thriller dance

🎵’Cause this is thriller
Thriller night
And no one’s gonna save you
From the beast about to strike🎵

:D

Joseph upset about his fork
Joseph reading through the floor
A series of weird pictures with @LegacySims2017‘s Joseph and Don Baxter… and for my next trick…

No more Don and Joseph has a phone
…make Don disappear.

Bugsie and Lizzie admire paintingBugsie and Lizzie chatAnd finally an appearance by @Bugsie2016‘s Bugsie. I was beginning to wonder if she was still in my game. :)

Thanks everyone. In a few hours, the next LASL chapter will be posted since I always post around midnight Mountain Time.

Side Tracks: For Better or For Worse, Part 1 (Lizzie & Joseph)

We tried to stick to our routines while on vacation.  The doctor recommended I try and keep as much normalcy as possible.  I was still experiencing unexplained dizzy spells. The best we could figure was the growing pressure on my insides and possibly high blood pressure. For this reason,  I was determined to eat healthy, stay hydrated,  get good sleep,  and relax as often as I could.

Joseph would still go on his morning runs while I slept in and took bubble baths. Sometimes I’d order room service.  Sometimes I ate breakfast in the lobby so I could listen to the sweet tickle of the ivories. The hotel employed a pianist. It was nice to sit and eat from the breakfast buffet and listen to relaxing music. Usually Joseph would join me after his shower and he always had tales of someone or something he saw while out and about.

“Cathy says hi,” he’d say… or… “Sage sends her love.”

Sage was bummed to be out of the country when we threw a Christmastime party.  She promised to catch the next one,  and if no one had arranged yet,  she wanted to throw me an epic baby shower in the new year.

Typically,  Joseph would stop at the coffee bar in the hotel restaurant in the AM. It was a good place to get strong coffee and mingle with festival and/or hotel guests.  Everyday he happened to run into a friend or two. On the second day of our stay, he met Courtney Neon on the steps in front of the hotel.

“Holy wow!” she exclaimed,  checking out Joseph’s glistening upper half.  “I bet you hear this a lot,” she grinned.  “But you must workout.”

Joseph chuckled. “I run everyday.  Keeps me in shape.”

“And looking like that,” she remarked,  distracted by his figure. “Makes me want to start running again.”

“You’re welcome to join me… if you can keep up,” Joseph winked. “I have yet to meet someone who can keep up.”

“Sounds like a challenge,” she grinned. “I used to run marathons.”

“Ladies and gentlemen,  we have a contender,” Joseph exclaimed.

The hotel lobby left their Christmas tree up. The air felt festive. While waiting for Joseph, I chatted with the pianist. His name was Don Baxter. He was from Oasis Springs, my hometown, but his cousin worked in San Myshuno so they were thinking about moving to the city. He had been a police detective, but he was taking some time off after a work injury and pursuing his hobby – playing the piano.

“You’re quite talented,” I remarked. “I wish I hadn’t given up piano.”

“You play?” Don arched a brow.

“I did,” I chuckled weakly. “I was horrible. I can’t coordinate my right and left hand for the life of me.”

“It’s not that hard with practice,” Don shrugged.

“True. I do have a fine appreciation for music of all kinds. I actually really like singing,” I replied.

“Ah…  très bon,” Don kissed his fingers. “You should sing with me.”

“What!?” I giggled awkwardly. “No, I can’t. Not here.”

“Why not? I would be happy to accompany a très beau femme.”

“I…don’t know…” I flushed.

“Don’t be shy,” he said.

“I think the likelihood of me singing in public other than karaoke with friends is right up there with playing the piano again,” I laughed.

“I’d be happy to give you some private lessons,” Don said, lowering his voice.

“If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were flirting with me,” I joked.

“What if I am?” Don smiled charmingly, leaning across the piano.

I didn’t have time to respond because Joseph appeared suddenly, a grimace on his face.

“I’d have to say… back off, buddy! She’s my wife,” he snipped.

“Oh you are married!” Don exclaimed. “My apologies.”

“That’s right, walk away and leave her alone,” Joseph grunted as sat down on the couch with his breakfast and put his hand on my leg.

Pardon,” Don said, a bit of pink in his cheeks. “Enjoy your breakfast.”

“I will. I will enjoy my breakfast with my wife,” Joseph glared at the man.

As soon as Don turned, I scooted away from Joseph.

“The man apologized,” I protested.

“I don’t like men flirting with you.”

“He didn’t know I was married. He was very polite about it.”

“I don’t care. You’re my wife and he has no business flirting with you.”

“Joseph,” I huffed. “You don’t have to be so possessive.”

“But you are my wife.”

“And you’re my husband, but sheesh! I don’t tell everyone every five seconds.”

“Now you’re exaggerating.”

“And you’re getting on my nerves.”

Joseph glared in the direction of the piano. “Do you think he’s good looking?”

“What does that have to do with anything?” I threw my hands up in the air.

“Do you think he’s good looking?” he repeated.

“Joseph, I’m with you. It doesn’t matter what I think or don’t think about Don. I’d say you’re jealous for no reason.  Are you sure you aren’t suffering from pregnancy hormones?” I teased, trying to lighten the mood.

“Liz, be serious!” Joseph raised his voice.  “How do I know more guys aren’t flirting with you?  How do I know you’re not enjoying it too?”

“Now wait a minute,” I huffed. “This is supposed to be a romantic vacation and instead we’re spending all this time apart.”

“And whose fault is that?” he grumbled.

“I can’t believe you don’t trust me,” I exclaimed. “What about you?” I pointed a finger accusingly. “Should I start asking you what you’re doing on your runs in the morning? Oogling any hot women?”

“You’re not being fair!” Joseph snipped.

“Really? Really?  I’m not being fair? You’re… You’re. ..gah!” I sputtered. “You’re impossible! I’m going up to the room,” I shook my head and left in a huff, drawing the attention of several nearby individuals.

Joseph tried to follow me upstairs but I told him not to bother.  He stomped back down the stairs,  passing an eccentric looking gentleman in a red print jacket.

“Domestic troubles?” the man inquired in a low and edgy voice,  revealing his pointy incisors as he grinned.

A vampire?  Joseph was startled. In San Myshuno?

“You know what the solution is,” the man continued.  “Broader horizons.”

“Whatever,” Joseph didn’t want to deal with strange vampire suggestions.

“Just trying to help,” the man held Joseph’s wrist. “Can I give you some advice? Never commit to just one person.”

Joseph grabbed his arm back and continued down the stairs. “Excuse me.”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading everyone. The titles are getting difficult with the content of these chapters since I’ve been goal-oriented thus far. I decided to, at least temporarily, get rid of the goal related chapter titles. Some trouble in paradise for young lovers, Lizzie and LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself. This chapter also featured SoulGal7‘s Courtney Neon and game-generated/edited townie, Don Lothario Baxter.

Goal #10: Enjoy the Holidays (LASL)

As Simcember came to a close, Joseph and I decided to enjoy our little babymoon getaway, courtesy of Sugar Maple Bough. She’s such a good friend. On New Year’s Eve weekend, we headed to the Arts Quarter to stay in a nice little hotel attached to Cabash Gallery. We had a suite on the thirtieth floor, and the hotel staff even left us a complimentary bottle of sparkling cider, since of course, I couldn’t drink nectar.

We changed and headed out to the New Year’s festival. Quite a few friends had come over to the Arts Quarter for the celebration. Cathy Tea was in town, enjoying every moment.

“You have to try the tea,” she remarked. “It’s delicious. Third vendor on the right.”

“I’ll make a point to stop over,” I replied.

“You hardly look pregnant, Lizzie,” Annie exclaimed. “I mean, how far along are you?”

“Hovering around four,” I put my hand across my belly. “My mom said she didn’t show with my kid sister until the seventh month.”

“Ah,” Cathy said. “Babies are a blessing. To cultivate new life is such a wonderful gift.”

A lady in a neon green tank top and plaid skirt brushed past our group.

“Hmmf,” she said. “Who wears crop tops in winter?”

Annie flushed.

“Ignore her, Annie,” I said. “It’s been so warm lately so I don’t blame you.”

“Who wears knee socks… like… ever?” Cathy hooted after the passerbyer.

“Ooo, I’m starving,” Karleen joined us. “Are the vendors open yet?”

“Karleen, that’s a wild outfit,” I remarked. “Love the tee.”

“Thanks. I’m as cute as pie. Or cuter than pie. Or cute to the pie… three-point-one-four…um… something…” she shrugged. “I didn’t eat lunch. Or breakfast either.”

“What? You skipped the most important meal of the day!” Cathy gasped.

“I was… um… occupied at breakfast…” Karleen giggled. “In a penthouse…with a gorgeous man. Come to think of it. I did have champagne.”

“Were you still in bed at lunchtime?” Annie asked.

“No…I was…” Karleen covered her mouth. “I had a lunch date… but it was more date than lunch. Our picnic fell in the Sound.”

“Oh no!” I said.

“We were making out and jostled the basket,” she smirked.

“Sounds like a full day,” Annie said.

“Oh it was… especially since it was dates with two different guys,” Karleen winked at me.

“No!” I exclaimed. “You aren’t still seeing both of them, are you?”

“Well?” Karleen grinned sheepishly. 

“Hey ladies,” John suddenly joined our group. “Are you ready to hit the town?”

“Hi Karleen, fancy meeting you here,” Munter walked up to our group with a plateful of something chocolaty.

Both dates appeared in the same place at the same time. From the look on her face, I gathered neither one of them knew about her casual romantic escapades.

“Hey John, you remember Annie my neighbor right?” I interjected awkwardly, trying to avoid a situation. “And this is my colleague and best selling novelist, Cathy Tea.”

“Oh wow, it’s a pleasure to meet you both,” John remarked.
“Karleen, want to go try the tea? It is delicious,” Munter inquired.

“Oh I was thinking we should get a good spot for the fireworks show, Karleen,” John said.

Karleen winced and shrugged her shoulders.

“We should all get a good spot for the fireworks,” I inserted.

“I don’t want to get in the middle of this,” Cathy said. “I’m outta here.”

“Munter… I hear you have great bartending skills,” Annie said, hoping to redirect one of the guys.

Karleen mouthed a thank-you.

“Hey, it’s that sparkly glass of champagne,” the blonde singer from the karaoke club approached our group.

Annie whirled, flushing deeply. “It’s Genji, right?” she asked.

“Yes, Genji, and you are… Annie?” he said, his eyes widening. “Please introduce me to your friends.”

Genji managed to get the whole group to go and watch his comedic slapstick song. Shy Munter stayed away from Karleen as John eagerly grabbed for her hand. I could see the hurt look on his face, and I wondered how long Karleen was going to keep this up. Lauryn showed up and wanted to see pictures of the latest ultrasound. I managed to have the files on my phone.

“Don’t tell, Joseph,” I said. “It’s a secret.”

“My lips are sealed,” Lauryn smiled.

Joseph was inside the hotel lobby getting a cup of coffee. He had worked a full day before coming over to the hotel to get checked in. I didn’t blame him for being tired. In fact, I figured he might head to bed early tonight. We didn’t need to stay out late every night of the festival.

“Do you know how this tea machine works?” the lady in neon asked.

“I think you just add the tea leaves to the top,” he replied.

“Great! Tea machines are so modern. I have retro appliances at home. Gotta brew my tea the old-fashioned way,” she added.

“These machines are convenient,” he replied.

“Are you staying at the hotel or are you just here for the festival?” she asked.

“My wife and I are staying here.”

“Smart. If you get too drunk on nectar, you have a place to crash,” she smirked. “Courtney Neon…” she offered her hand.

“Joseph Simself,” he replied, shaking her hand. “But we won’t be getting drunk. My wife’s expecting.”

“Oh congratulations!” Courtney beamed. “Enjoy the festival.”

“You too.”

I was starving, and wondering why Joseph was taking so long. I decided not to wait and order kebabs from the vendor. I needed protein up the wazoo these days to keep up my strength. Steak. Protein. Check. Tomato. Vitamin C. Check. Peppers. Avoid… uh oh! Don’t tell. I love spice.

“Are you still alone?” Lauryn inquired. “I’ll come join you if you don’t mind.”

“Joseph should be here shortly,” I replied.

“I’m right here,” he said, tripping over a crack in the sidewalk.

“Ooo… are you okay?” Lauryn asked.

“What happened?” I turned around in a panic.

“I’m fine,” Joseph said, his cheeks bright red. “It’s nothing.”

Lauryn sat down with her plate of spinach and egg quiche. Joseph devoured a plate of bratwurst and spicy mustard. I was beginning to regret the peppers. I could feel the pain forming in my chest. Heart burn. Nasty side effect of pregnancy.

A bright flash of light startled us as a loud explosion echoed seconds later above our heads. Joseph coughed dramatically.

“Uh… can I talk to you, Lizzie?” Munter appeared at my side.

“Sure…” I said, pushing back my chair. “I’ll be right back.” I laid a hand on Joseph’s shoulder. “Are you okay?”

“I’m… fine…” Joseph wheezed.

“I’ll get him some water,” Lauryn offered.

“Th…ank… you…” Joseph said as he tried to catch his breath. 

As fireworks exploded above our heads, Munter and I wandered to the edge of the festival.

“Do you know… I don’t… um… know how to say this… or ask?” Munter began. “…or if I should, but is Karleen seeing John?”

“I think you should ask her,” I said, fiddling with my cap.

“I see the way she looks at him and he looks at her,” Munter swallowed hard. “I just wanted… to… know… if it’s worth my time. I realize you might be biased. John is your cousin. Karleen is your best friend.”

“If you have feelings for her, you should tell her. It might make a difference,” I recommended.

“I haven’t found the time,” he sighed. “I just don’t know if she even wants anything other than…” he trailed off.

“Munter, just talk to her.”


Author’s Note: Hey everyone, thanks for reading. I wanted to add a little clarification. There is no hotel in the Arts Quarter or anywhere in the base game city of San Myshuno. I edited the gallery lot because I thought it would be fun and pretty as a hotel/gallery. Also in my Simworld, the new year’s celebration lasts for days. All the months of the year are twenty-eight days, and then the last day of the year is called Simultima – literally the Last Day. New Year’s celebrations typically last from Simcember 28th through the 2nd of Simuary. You can read more here

This chapter featured John Schooner and Karleen Corey, my created Sims, CathyTea‘s Cathy Tea,  LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself, MINEZ‘s Lauryn Marks, SoulGal7‘s Courtney Neon, rockannie‘s Annie Rock, and  Munter Bacon‘s Munter Bacon.    

Goal #9 : Throw an Epic House Party (LASL)

Simcember arrived moderately cooler than the preceding months. We decorated the apartment with lights, garland, and a tree we picked out at the Thyme Square tree lot. I made paper snowflakes, and Joseph hung red and gold ornaments handed down for several generations in his family. We wore our ugly Christmas sweaters and played silly holiday tunes like Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus is Coming to Town to bring about the festive spirit. I tried my hand at baking a fruitcake, and a good one at that, though I can’t be blamed if it tastes too sweet because of the pregnancy hormones. Shh! Don’t tell anyone. I love that excuse!

Currently, Joseph was working on a major ad campaign for the Myshuno Metropolitan Ballet. He was pretty humble about it, but the campaign was big stuff. I was so proud of him. His boss was so impressed that Joseph scored tickets to see the Nutcracker. It makes me so happy to see his pieces around town. Sometimes, I even stand in the pouring rain to admire his work when I’m returning from morning errands or an afternoon walk.

There’s something about winter rains that make everything more beautiful, adding a dreamy quality. Passerbyers and city dwellers rush to and fro, popping up umbrellas and cursing beneath their breath, but I just stand there, soaking it all in. Joseph says I need to be careful with the baby. When I arrive home dripping wet, he worries. Me? Not so much. The falling droplets of water warm my soul.

Joseph and I celebrated our first Christmastide together as a married couple. It was fairly uneventful… No more flames. Thank the Maker! With the help of John, my cousin, I was able to get Blicblock, Hillock II, and MySims Go! posters signed by the creators for Joseph. John even helped me hang the frames on the wall above Joseph’s desk as a surprise on the eve of Christmastide.

My surprise was a all-black cat. Oh I was so happy! We even found the perfect name for our precious kitty – Dulcinea… or Dulcie for short. She already has warmed our hearts. She loves to be petted and brushed, and she enjoys sleeping beneath the Christmas tree at night. We set up the camera tripod and this was the best picture we could get. Happy Holidays from the Green-Simselves. 🙂

On the afternoon of Christmastide, we decided to throw a party. More surprises awaited me, but first, before our guests arrived, Joseph stole a kiss beneath the mistletoe.

“You look radiant,” he smiled.

“You’re not so bad yourself,” I replied, plucking a piece of Dulcie’s cat hair from his sweater.

“No really… these candles have nothing on you,” he said.

“Must be pregnancy glow,” I sighed, and fanned myself, “If it gets any hotter in here, I’ll have to blow out all the candles… or you’ll have to take off your sweater, hot stuff… one or the other,” I winked. “I can’t decide.”

Karleen arrived first. She picked some fun Christmas tunes and began dancing by herself by the coffee table. Nora and Julian arrived next, Nora bragging about how she still fit into her bridesmaids’ gown from Lee’s wedding. She looked great, but there was no way I’d fit into that dress again. I opted for a simple black blouse and evergreen skirt for the evening, but I was beginning to regret my choice of shoes – high heels. Lee surprised us by flying in all the way from Deutchsimland and with big news of her own! She was expecting also. I was so overcome, I jumped up and down and hugged her dramatically.

“We can raise our babies together!” I exclaimed.

“I know,” Lee smiled. “We’re thinking of moving back to the SimNation. I got a job at the national office so we can visit more often. That’s why Sammy isn’t here tonight. He’s busy making all the arrangements.”

“Oh,” I beamed. “This is a great Christmas present. You’re only three time zones away instead of six. We can talk on the phone more often.”

“Definitely, I need all the help I can get with this little one on the way,” Lee patted her stomach.

“I feel left out,” Nora said loudly.

Julian looked uncomfortable. I wasn’t sure where they were at in their relationship.

Lee and I chatted for awhile, and I shared some of my tips for curing nausea and dizziness, and staying healthy. My editor, Lauryn kept Joseph entertained at the table with stories about the publishing world. Angela Smith made an appearance in a knockout red dress, bringing a plate of peppermint canes, though she was upset because she was allergic to cats, and Dulcie seemed to like her. Munter showed up and threw shy, but flirtatious glances in the direction of Karleen, which she, of course, relished. Cathy also managed to stop by in between galas. The woman was so busy with all her writing these days that it was a wonder I saw her at all.

Angela seemed more herself after sipping on her Star Nut coffee. Our Cafe Immodere was on the fritz so Joseph picked up three dozen coffees from a street vendor because what’s a party without coffee. 😉 Julian kept Angela occupied until her husband, John arrived, asking about her important scientific work. Karleen managed to convince Munter to dance, just not with her. They weren’t in the holding hands stage of their relationship yet, I guess.

“Are you okay?” Ali inquired when Riley dropped to the ground almost immediately after arriving at the party.

“Cute shoes!” he remarked. “White is an angelic choice.”

Ali was thoroughly confused as he continued to do push-ups.

Ali and Riley wandered to the main gathering area where everyone seemed to be dancing. Even Anne busted a few moves.

“No no no,” Siri clicked her tongue and shook her head. “This is how it’s done.”

“Are you a sister too?” Angela asked of Karleen.

“Oh no,” Karleen responded. “I wish. Lizzie and I are close enough to be like sisters though.”

“Isn’t it nice to have the Green sisters all back together again?” Lee remarked.

“Do you have siblings, Angela?” I inquired right as Julian decided to walk in front of me.

“We all know who the most important Green sister is Nora,” Julian smirked.

“Aren’t they romantic!” Anne cooed. “I wish it would happen to me.” She glanced over at Riley. “Are you single?”

“Uh…” was all Riley could manage to say.

“Really?” Siri said sarcastically. “You just ask someone if they’re single just like that?”

“Why not?” Anne shrugged. “No reason to waste time.”

“Uh… hey… ladies?” Riley rubbed the back of his head awkwardly.

“Shush! I saw you first,” Siri remarked boldly. “You should come over here so we can dance.” She swayed her hips.

“Hey, hey, no arguments at the party,” Joseph grinned. “Anne, you’re looking great in that dress tonight. And oh, you should meet someone. Do you know Munter?” he waved his hand in the direction of Mr. Bacon. “And Riley… I think Sugar is looking for you,” he bobbed his head toward the table.

“She is?” Riley squeaked and walked off.

“Say Ali, when was the last time you and Siri caught up?” Joseph inquired.

“Uh… we’re roommates,” Ali giggled. “Siri, what do reindeer hang on their Christmas trees? Horn-a-ments!”

Both Siri and Ali snickered.

I mouthed a ‘thank you’ in the direction of my husband. John and I chatted on the couch about his entrepreneurial pursuits. These days he was working as an independent consultant, coaching up and coming programmers and video game designers. I wished my cousin John was here. He would love to chat with John. Unfortunately tonight, my cousin was in Newcrest visiting his dad. Even so, I got a card from John to give to John. The two might be able to work on some sort of project together.

“That Munter says he’s seeing someone,” Anne said in a huff collapsing on the couch next to John. “This is why I am queen of the single ladies club. Are you seeing anyone these days, Aria? You should join.”

“No thank you,” Aria said. “I’m pretty busy with my musical pursuits these days.”

“I’d join the Single Ladies Club,” Riley smirked with his hand on his hip.

I think he had one too many hard eggnogs.

“What are you doing later tonight?” Karleen inquired of Munter.

“I don’t have any plans,” Munter shrugged. “Gotta run home and feed Dash.”

“Do you need any help with that?” Karleen inquired, her tone, coy.

“Uh… well… sure… I guess,” he said, sheepishly. “If it’s not out of your way to go by Uptown.”

“It’s never out of my way,” she beamed, her cheeks flushed.

“How are you ladies doing? Can I get you anything?” Joseph inquired.

“Such the perfect host!” Lauryn purred. “Lizzie is so lucky.”

“Did you see my man?” Nora exclaimed. “He gives me foot rubs and lavender bubble baths every night,” she bragged.

“Lavender makes me sneeze,” Sugar sniffled. “I would appreciate another glass of water, Joseph.”

“Sure thing,” he said.

“I brought you a muffin,” Munter said, offering the snack to Lee. “I heard you were hungry.”

“Oh thank you,” she smiled. “What a gentleman!”

“It’s blueberry oatmeal,” he added.

“I wish my husband would bring me muffins,” Angela sighed, looking over to where John was deep in conversation with Aria.

“Oh we’re not married,” Lee protested. “My husband Sammy is over in the Sim Union. He’ll be back for the New Year.”

“What are you up to these days, Cathy?” Joseph asked.

“Oh! I am completely aghase,” Cathy said, laying her hand across her heart. “I flew to Simoula last weekend for research for my Simoulan boy band story. I met the most incredible manager. She was so wonderful we talked for hours and hours. Somehow I still managed to have time to sleep and eat. I hope you’ll read it when I publish.”

“Of course,” Joseph replied.

You better watch out!” Nora sang loudly and off-key.

You better not cry!” Karleen responded.

“Uh oh!” Lauryn grimaced.

“Someone’s had too much nog,” Siri smirked.

You better not shout I’m telling you why!” Nora screeched.

“It’s pout,” Angela interjected. “Pout.”

Santa Claus is coming to town!” Karleen was practically screaming with delight.

I was suddenly questioning the merits of serving spiked eggnog. Then again, I didn’t bring the beverage. Julian did.

“When in Rome,” Lauryn said, loosening her arms and cracking her neck.

“I can dig this beat,” Sugar smiled, snapping her fingers. “Sugar Plum fairies… that violin is wicked sweet.”

“Oh how appropriate!” I gushed.

“I wanted to see the Nutcracker!” Ali exclaimed. “All the little mice are adorable. And the Mouse King!” she sighed. “How do you get tickets?”

“How do you get tickets!” I threw my hands up in the air. “Let me tell you about Joseph’s current ad campaign.”

My husband just grinned as he helped himself to a cup of coffee.

“Sing, Lizzie, sing!” Lauryn exclaimed.

“Oh no! No no no… no singing at my own Christmas party,” I shook my head.

“Why not?” Aria inquired. “You have a lovely voice.”

“You’re one to talk,” I replied. “You should sing, Aria.”

Aria flushed, but we encouraged her to try.

The hills are alive! With the sound of music!” Aria burst into song.

“That’s not a Christmas song,” Ali made a face.

“Oh please, more!” Riley encouraged, clapping his hands.

“Dulcie! Off!” Joseph said sternly.

“Aww… it’s a party,” Karleen cooed. “Let her have her fun.”

“I’m allergic… to… kitties…” Nora said through gritted teeth.

“When did you get a cat?” Julian inquired.

“I’ve never been to a party like this,” Munter said. “It’s really nice to be with friends.”

“We’re glad you came,” Karleen answered for my husband and I as she grinned sweetly in Munter’s direction.

“Happy Christmas everyone!” Lee pumped her fist in the air, startling Dulcie.

“That’s the holiday spirit!” Joseph said, enthusiastically. “Happy Christmas!” he repeated.

“Happy Christmas!” everyone exclaimed in unison.

“How can you not like Fiddler on the Roof?” Riley grumbled in the background as Aria listed off her least-favorite musicals.

“You better be the best man at Julian’s and my wedding,” Nora insisted. “And you better throw Julian an epic bachelor party.”

“Uh hon? He’s having a kid soon. Probably doesn’t want to think about bachelor parties,” Julian said awkwardly.

“Shouldn’t you let the groom pick his best man?” Siri interjected.

“I was thinking that too,” Munter remarked. “But Joseph would look great in a tux. I’d ask him to be best mate at my wedding too.”

“Oh you’re getting married?” Nora said, her eyes widening, sounding slightly annoyed someone was stealing her thunder.

“I do look great in a tux,” Joseph said, confidently.

“So do I,” Sugar smirked.

“Sugar! You didn’t have to get us anything!” I exclaimed.

“Oh but I wanted to. It’s called a baby-moon,” Sugar explained, sliding the papers in my pocket. “You and Joseph deserve one last vacation before you blow up like a balloon.”

“Seriously,” I clicked my tongue. “You’re amazing, Sugar! Merry Christmas!”

“Merry Christmas, honey,” Sugar replied as we embraced.

“I’m ready to head out if you are,” Munter said.

“Oh, right,” Karleen winked dramatically. “I’m right behind you.”

“Hey, where are we going?” Riley inquired, inserting himself between the two.

“Good night, every…one…” I waved between yawns. “Oo…I’m tired, but I don’t know if I can sleep.”

“Some peppermint schnapps should help,” Julian joked.

Angela gasped. “She’s pregnant! She can’t! Aren’t you practically her brother in law? You should know better.”

Julian chuckled awkwardly.

Curious Dulcie. What are the shinies? 

“Time for the after party!” Julian exclaimed.

“You do realize your girlfriend left already, right?” Angela huffed.

“This has been a wonderful party, Joseph, thanks for inviting me,” Lee smiled.

“It was a great surprise for Lizzie,” Joseph replied. “And congratulations again!”

“Let me know if you need some help babysitting the little one when he or she arrives,” Anne offered graciously.

“Maybe I should reconsider Sim City and move here,” Lee teased. “If you’re offering free babysitting.”

“Oh, I’d be happy to watch the kiddos,” Sugar interjected. “The little ones would have such fun in my home. I’m sure Cathy would offer some help too.”

“Count me out,” Siri wrinkled her nose. “Can’t have diapers stinking up my art studio.”

John graciously stayed and did the dishes.

Bye bye, Dulcie. Dad and Mom need to unwrap their last gift… alone…


Author Note: Okay long chapter, but thanks for reading. I enjoyed following everyone around at the party and watching their moods and creating their dialogue. This was a fun chapter. Thanks LegacySims2017 for letting me use his Sim-cat, Dulcie. She’s precious. I love her!

This chapter featured John Schooner, Karleen Corey, Nora Green, and Lee Green-Sarafin, my created Sims, LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself and Dulcie, MINEZ’s Julian DeBateau, Siri Beaumont, Aria Rhys, Lauryn Marks, CathyTea‘s Cathy Tea and Sugar Maple Bough, Munter Bacon‘s Munter Bacon, Zurka’s John and Angela Smith, friendsfan367‘s Ali Morrison, simscognito’s Riley Cognito, and MadameLee‘s Anne Charming. What a great cast! Happy holidays… in May! 😛

City Goal #8: Survive a Heat Wave, Pt. 3 (LASL)

After my second fainting spell, I was nearly put on bed rest. Not that I would’ve minded. I enjoy my cat naps these days. But I didn’t want to be fawned over like some invalid. I did have to go to the emergency room, and was given fluids through an IV. I was apparently dehydrated, over-exerted, and stressed. Not surprising. My OB recommended no more rigorous exercise, especially in hundred degree heat. I would survive these high temperatures by staying indoors and utilizing fans. She also recommended avoiding stressful situations.

That was easier said than done. Our whole apartment was a stressful environment. Our elevator was out of order. We didn’t have A/C and our window fans didn’t have enough oomph to make a huge impact. Our power flickered constantly due to rolling blackouts in the city recently. We had to candlesticks and cockroach repellent. We had leaky bathroom pipes and loud neighbors. I was happy that Riley and Akira were so happy, but I didn’t want to hear their escapades through the thin walls late at night. And worst of all, our cable bill went up. With my increasing medical bills, given the baby and my health as of late, Joseph suggested temporarily eliminating mainstream television.

“I don’t like it. What about my Top Chef show?” I grumbled.

“You can watch reruns on the Internet,” Joseph suggested.

“It’s not the same,” I pouted.

“Lizzie, it’s just for a short time,” he reassured. “Why don’t you sit down? I’ll get you a refill.”

“I can get my own refill. I’m not helpless, Joseph,” I glared at him.

“I know, but the doc said it’s good to be off your feet as much as possible,” Joseph said, and I could tell he was trying to remain positive in the face of my irritation.

“But when you’re at work,” I protested. “I have to get up and down to get things.”

“I don’t want you to have another fainting spell,” he winced.

“Well, who is supposed to kick the window box fan when it peeters out?” I huffed. “And I have to go to the bathroom. Or am I not allowed?”

“Liz, you don’t need to be petulant.”

I like big words. But right now I wasn’t in the mood. I also didn’t like it when he called me Liz. It meant he was annoyed. I frowned and crossed my arms.

“I’m not a baby.”

“But you’re having a baby,” Joseph said, exasperated. “…and you need to take care of yourself and the baby,” he motioned toward the couch.

“What am I supposed to do on the couch all day if I don’t have cable? I don’t have a laptop,” I flopped down on the seat and sighed.

“We aren’t eliminating the Internet…” Joseph began.

“…we can’t! I use it for work!” I wailed.

“Lizzie, did you hear me?” Joseph sighed. “I need it for work too. And you can still stream Simflix.”

“But Karleen and I watch Top Chef together on Wednesday afternoons,” I groaned.

“Can you go over to her apartment?” Joseph winced.

“Not if I’m not allowed to leave,” I grunted.

Joseph went to fix the leaky pipes in the bathroom as best as he could with his limited knowledge about plumbing. I actually repaired broken pipes before in my house growing up, just like I fixed sinks and bathtubs and showers. But I wasn’t allowed to do manual labor. Not like it was all that hard. Joseph grunted in the bathroom and I wanted to go help him, but I didn’t want to get into another debate about staying on the couch. I felt like a pet. I called Karleen.

What’s up, chica?” Karleen sounded way too chipper.

“You sound happy,” I sighed, and brushed a hair sticking to my forehead out of my eyes.

I am. John and I are going to karaoke on Thursday.

“Karaoke?” I repeated in disbelief.

Karleen couldn’t hold a tune, and I was pretty sure my cousin was tone deaf.

“It’s going to be great. And then I’ve got a date with Munter this weekend.”

“Munter?” I repeated again. “Munter Bacon? I didn’t know you were seeing him.”

Yeah, I told Joseph.”

How come I was the last to know anything?

“I met him at a gaming convention,” Karleen replied. “He offered to teach me some game and I said sure. And I beat him…” I could picture her triumphant grin. “…by button mashing.”

“No way! Really?” this brought a smile to my face.

He was dressed in costume too,” Karleen added. “Wanna guess what he came as?”

“Um?”

Darth Maul… here, I’ll send you a pic of us.”

“Oh that’s great! You went as Princess Leia?” I laughed.

Yeah, and the festival staff liked it enough, they asked if they could use it in their promotional material. That’s when Darth Maul asked me out. He said if we were going to represent, we should get to know each other. He’s taking me to the Starlight Lounge.”

“In Uptown?”

“Yeah. Where else? He’s loaded.”

I laughed awkwardly.

“Or at least I think he is. He lives in Uptown,” Karleen giggled. “And he’s been sending me pictures of his big black dog. Oh Lizzie, swoon!

“Have fun.”

I’m texting you a picture he sent.”

“He’s in the picture?” I remarked, surprised.

“I think he had a co-worker take it, but isn’t it adorable?

“Yeah,” I said, trying to be happy for my friend.

I wondered about John, but from my cousin’s cryptic texts, I wasn’t entirely sure how he felt. And Karleen simply just wanted to have fun so I didn’t blame her. I wished I could have fun. More fun than I was having now.

Is that Lizzie?” a voice in the background that I knew belonged to Karleen’s roommate, Ash, said.

“No, it’s Balloon Woman!” I sighed, feeling overly self-conscious about my size today.

Tell her I say hi and I’m sending over some chicken soup with extra spice, just like you like. I heard it’s good for the soul,” Ash said through the speakerphone.

“Oh bless you!” I sighed.

And don’t worry. I kept Karleen out of the kitchen when I made it so no surprises this time.”

That was one time,” Karleen protested. “And I didn’t think a charm from my bracelet would fall in the stew.”

One charm?” Ash snorted. “Ha! It was the entire bracelet remember? You lost the whole thing in there when you tried to fish out the first charm.”

Psh! It still tasted great, Ash!”

Yeah, but no one likes a mouthful of metal. Trust me, Liz, this one is Karleen-proof. I even posted a sign outside the kitchen recently.

“Oh? What does it say?”

Under absolutely no circumstances is Karleen allowed in here without supervision.”

For Thankful Day, Joseph and I traveled to see my parents in Oasis Springs. This time there was no barbecued turkey. Thankfully. I arrived before Joseph. I was able to get out a day or two earlier to spend some time with the folks.

“Where’d you come from?” Dad gasped.

“I flew in with my red cape like Superman,” I teased, waving my hand in the air.

“Oh really? A little birdie told me I’m going to be a grandpa,” Dad smiled. “Get over here, my little Supergirl.”

“Dad,” I protested. “I prefer Superwoman.”

“There is no such thing,” he laughed as he embraced me.

“Then I’ll write one,” I replied.

When Joseph arrived, the humor was in good store.

“The roads were crazy on the drive down here,” Joseph sighed. “I couldn’t believe the mad rush to leave Simnadia.”

“We’re all mad here,” Dad made an Alice in Wonderland joke.

“Then where’s your hat, Mad Hatter?” Joseph teased back.

“With the teacups getting polished. I wanted it to look my absolute best for my daughter and son-in-law. Now get over here and give your old dad-in-law a manly hug!” Dad demanded, playfully and added a grunt at the end.

“I can do that,” Joseph grinned. 

It wasn’t until I wandered into the living room that I realized my ring was missing.

“Oh my llamas! I hope I didn’t lose it on the plane!” I gasped.

“Lose what on the plane?” Joseph inquired.

I was too embarrassed to tell him the truth. My fingers were expanding these days and it made wearing my ring difficult. Sometimes I would take it off just to give my hand a reprieve. I hoped I didn’t lose the beautiful ring he gave me.

“Nothing, um… my papers…” I said the first thing that came to mind. “Uh… notebook. You know. I’m going to check my bags…” I covered my mouth as I headed for the stairs. “You put them in my old room, right, Dad?”

“That’s right,” he said. “Now don’t take too long. We’ll be gossiping about you here downstairs.”

My father laughed, but I wasn’t in a laughing mood. In fact, I was panicked about the lost ring. And I wasn’t feeling the greatest. My head was spinning a little.

“I think I’ll lie down.”

When I returned, Mom and Joseph were watching some antique show. I had a hard time picturing Joseph enjoying that sort of program, but I was just grateful to watch any cable at all. We had cancelled ours. I hoped to catch up on some Top Chef episodes and catch the live broadcast while I was here. I liked to pick up new recipes, and I was hoping to cook more healthy meals when the baby came. There was no time like the present to practice.

“You could ask your sister,” Mom suggested. “I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.”

“Where is Nora?” Joseph inquired before I could respond, even though my mouth was open.

I did not want to take cooking lessons from my kid sister. The last time we saw each other, things were a little tense.

“She and Julian are late as usual,” Mom nudged me. “Making a fashionably late entrance, for sure,” she winked at me.

“Julian texted me and said he was taking her to Championne to shop. I’m sure she had a ball,” Joseph said.

I frowned. Since when did Nora flit off to the Sim Union? And without telling me? How did Joseph know this first?

“They made a stop to see your sister,” Mom explained. “And brother-in-law. I guess Lee and Sammy are in Championne too for a short break. I never know what those two are up to anyhow.”

Figures. Julian and Nora would get to see Lee and Sammy, but I wouldn’t. At least not this holiday season. Gawd… I wish I could just pop off to the Sim Union. I tipped my head back and started to speak.

“It’s need to know,” Joseph replied.

“Gah!” I threw my hands up in the air. “I’m going to find Dad again.”

“What’s wrong?” Joseph asked, following me into the hallway.

“Nothing, I just can’t get a word in edgewise,” I snipped.

He reached for my hands, rubbing my fingers, and noticing the conspicuous absence of something important. “Did you lose your ring?”

I covered my mouth and burst into tears. “I… can’t…”

Thankful weekend was more emotional than I expected it to be. I was perpetually frustrated with Joseph. He seemed to be fitting in great with my parents – laughing and joking around with my dad, helping my mom with house projects, complimenting her food, which made me feel worse about my cooking skills as of late. My tastebuds were wonky with the pregnancy so everything had too much salt or too much water. Joseph kept Nora entertained with his stories of videos that were popular on social media now, and even showed her how to maximize her Simstagram experience. Julian and Joseph got up at the crack of dawn to go jogging like they used to, and that just made me annoyed to be disturbed. I was so angry on the second morning when he slammed the dresser drawer by accident that I threw my pillow at him.

Joseph decided to work out some of his frustrations with me on the punching bag. It had been awhile since he helped my father set up all the equipment, and it had just been sitting there all this time. I wondered if my parents actually used it or if it was just something they kept because they didn’t want the hassle of carrying it all back down. Joseph tried to make things up to me by buying me a pumpkin, but I didn’t want one. The smell made me nasuseous. I felt bad for nearly biting his head off about it in the front hallway as I’m sure my parents and Nora probably heard too. #epicfail I wondered if I needed to get some sort of mood stabilizer but I was worried it would hurt the baby.

We returned to San Myshuno separately. I flew. Joseph drove. I kinda wished I got to drive with him to try and make things up to him and talk about my worries and fears and all this horrible stuff that was happening to me. Then again, I didn’t want to be the pregnant lady cooped up in the car for hours and hours, forcing him to stop every five minutes to pee or to throw up. When Joseph arrived home, he kissed me chastely and then went straight to bed, exhausted from the solo straight drive. I didn’t blame him, but as I watched him sleep, a tear slipped down my cheek. I missed my husband. I missed my right mind. 

We awoke to fire in the apartment. Joseph went to get the fire extinguisher on the balcony as I stood helpless, terrified as I watched the flames lick at the paper on the walls underneath the electrical box. Joseph came running back, looking panicked.

“Lizzie, get out of here!” he yelled.

“The…the…” I rubbed my head in shock.

“I can’t find the fire extinguisher. Go call for help,” he said, pushing me out the door.

I stood, numbly in the hallway, barefoot, in my nightgown, shell-shocked and worn down. Riley poked his head out of his apartment and said something to me. Everything happened in slow motion. My head was spinning again. He grabbed my arm and pulled me toward the stairwell, yelling for Geeta and pulling the fire alarm. I don’t really remember much as he half-carried, half-dragged me down the stairs as I pictured my apartment being destroyed and my husband trapped inside. At that thought, I freaked out, and stopped running.

“I have… I have… to go b…b…back…” I stammered.

“Oh honey, no, we gotta get outside,” Riley said, reaching for my wrist, but I wiggled free.

“Joseph,” I gasped.

My husband, the hero he is, managed to find the fire extinguisher in the bathroom. For some reason, I had moved it. Possibly during one of my sleepwalking episodes. Oh yeah. I’ve started sleepwalking with pregnancy. Great, right?

Thankfully, the bathroom was behind him and he was able to start putting out the flames even though they spread onto the floor. He stayed and put out the fire without hesitation. I would’ve commended his bravery except… 

“What on Simterra were you thinking!?” I screeched, as he walked out in the hallway, barely breaking a sweat.

“Lizzie?” he looked startled to see me. “Did you call the fire department?”

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry…for everything… I couldn’t… leave you… up here alone…” I shook my head, moisture filling my eyes. Someone did. I could hear the sirens in the distance.

“It’s okay, Lizzie,” he said softly.

I burst into tears and collapsed into his arms.

“Shh! It’s okay, Lizzie,” he stroked my hair. “I’m sorry too.”

“Gawd! If something happened to you…” my voice croaked.

“We’re okay…” he whispered.


Author Notes: Thanks for reading, everyone. This chapter had quite the drama. Sheesh! It was hard to write and figure out the right words for everything. My sister is a new mom so I plucked her brain a bit. This chapter featured LegacySims2017’s Joseph, my Sim-parents, Eddie and Essie Green, my Sim-friend, Karleen, Munterbacon’s Munter, TheYayToast’s Ash, and mentioned my Sim-sister, Nora, MINEZ’ Julian, and simscognito’s Riley

City Goal #8: Survive a Heat Wave, Pt. 2 (LASL)

Ever since I can remember, I have wanted a cat. With Spooky Day approaching, I had been thinking about cats even more so. An all black cat would be adorable. Call it nesting, but I really wanted a cute furry baby to cuddle with in the lazy sunny afternoons. Any time I saw a stray around town, I wanted to take it home. 

I had a hard time believing someone would abandon this cutie in the Uptown district. I also supposed that all furry creatures would love me, but this cat was indifferent to my tactics and approach. I blame pregnancy hormones for the tears that ensued. 

“You okay there?” Julian inquired, tilting his head to the side out of concern.

I approached the Skye Fitness building in Uptown. Akira had picked up a day pass to the exclusive workout club as an early baby shower present. I didn’t inquire to how much a normal pass would cost because I’m sure it was way out of my budget. One of the perks of the pass was the ability to bring guests. Since Nora and Julian were in town and they both liked exercising, I invited them to meet me in Uptown. Julian was practically my brother-in-law. I half-expected them to announce their engagement any day now. Still, it was a little unnerving to see him jog up in his short-shorts.

“Oh, I’m fine,” I swiped at my moist cheeks as I sauntered toward the gym, trying to appear confident.

Truth was I was embarrassed by my random crying for no reason. The doctor assured me it was normal. I didn’t feel normal. I was larger than I wanted to be. I craved weird foods at strange times of the day. My body sometimes felt like I was leaking. I was emotionally unstable. Some days I couldn’t remember if I put my right or left shoe on first. Not like it mattered.

“It’s silly really,” I tried to smile. “How was your run?”

“Great. I’m going to try out the treadmills now,” Julian said enthusiastically. 

“Liz, you should do something with your hair,” Nora said as she greeted me.

“What’s wrong with my hair?” I replied, defensively.

“Nothing… I just… you’ve had that hairstyle for awhile,” Nora said. “Now’s the time to experiment… before the…” she trailed off.

“Before what? My life is turned upside down? My body is eating me from the inside out?” I snipped.

Nora flipped her own hair, oblivious to my sarcasm. “I’m thinking of dying my hair brown. What do you think?”

I had a hard time thinking of Nora as a brunette. 

“You could try blonde,” Nora suggested.

“Is this heat wave frying your brain?” I widened my eyes. “There’s no way I’d ever go blonde. I wouldn’t look good as a blonde.”

“What are you saying?” Nora frowned. “I look good as a blonde.”

“Right. Which is why you should stay blonde and I should stay a redhead.”

“I just thought you might like something different, that’s all,” Nora smiled, completely unaware at how annoyed I was. “You know Julian knows people here in Uptown. He could’ve totally gotten us a discount.” 

I got us a discount,” I replied, throwing out my hand in frustration. “You’re acting like I can’t afford this place.”

“What? Oh no!” Nora exclaimed. “I just wasn’t sure how much you were making on your little writing projects lately.”

“Oh wow… condescending much?” I rolled my eyes. “And Joseph and I both work full time. I just work from home.”

“Must be nice,” Nora sighed. “I am always in the kitchen at work.”

“But that’s what you wanted.”

“Yeah, but… I don’t know…” Nora twisted her shoe against the tile. “I’m getting bored. And maybe… I’ll go back to school and get my masters.”

“Good for you,” I said, the edge creeping into my tone. “Let’s run.” 

Julian gave up his treadmill for Nora. They exchanged a sloppy wet kiss before he walked over to the weights and began grunting as he worked out, half naked. I wished Joseph was here, but he disliked gyms. He was also working late tonight. Yeah making money so we can afford baby and other niceties. And I make good profits off my published books. I am a successful writer, I tried to encourage myself.

But lately I hadn’t had a good idea, the pipes were leaking in our bathroom, we had spotted cockroaches in the living room, and Joseph had been passed over for a promotion again. I liked our cozy little apartment in the Spice Quarter. I liked being married. I liked my life. But sometimes there were frustrating aspects of living in one of the most expensive cities in the Sim Nation. I watched the peachy sunset fade to the purply twilight and I wondered if that’s where my life was headed. The sun was setting on the facade of the good life in the city and now real life was settling in.

I found myself jealous as my sister gushed about the house Julian recently purchased. I’m sure it was huge, and they didn’t have a mortgage either because Julian had the moula. He was super successful in business, and his family had welcomed him back with open arms so he had access to all his old accounts. Julian and Nora had opened three new franchises of Pizza Planet, and he was running the corporate division in Newcrest. 

Mom was still in town. She came over and gushed to Nora about the monogrammed hot towels in the bathroom and the complimentary bottles of soap and shampoo in the locker room. I wasn’t sure why she didn’t direct the comments at me since I was the one who got us into Skye Fitness thanks to my connection with Akira. I tried to focus on the small patch of green grass right outside on the balcony. The grass is always greener on the other side, isn’t it? Don’t fall into that trap, Liz. 

“This place is great,” Mom said. “It doesn’t even smell like sweat in here.”

“I know,” Nora giggled. “It smells like rose petals, doesn’t it, Lizzie?”

“Yeah whatever,” I mumbled, willing my pores to keep from sweating too much lest I ruin my mother’s perfect picture of this place.

“I think I want to try lifting weights,” Mom enthused. “Julian will you let me have a whirl?”

“Sure Mom,” he said.

“Mom?” I repeated. “Does that mean?” 

“Whee! Look I can change my settings and run harder,” Nora exclaimed.

“That’s great,” I huffed.

Running with normal settings was hard enough.

“Oh come on, Liz. I know you can run faster,” Nora teased. “You are married to the running man.”

I hadn’t actually run with Joseph in a long time. Now I wished I had so I could beat my sister and wipe that smug smile off her face. 

“I can do this,” I gritted my teeth and pushed a few buttons, not only to accelerate the speed, but change the elevation.

“Woot! Now it’s a competition!” Nora smirked just as her machine returned to its normal position. “Wait, what happened?” she frowned, pushing the buttons.

“Maybe it timed out,” Julian joked.

“It didn’t time out. You just… can’t… handle… it…” I said, panting as I tried to keep going.

“Lizzie, you don’t look so good,” Nora said.

“I’m…” 

That’s the last thing I remember because I fell forward and passed out again. The starry expanse taking me off into la-la land right as my head hit the treadmill rubber still moving at its accelerated clip.


Author’s Note: Thanks for reading everyone. All that glitters is not gold, Lizzie is discovering. The sisters had a bit of an argument in this chapter, and Nora was a bit mocking at points so I wrote it in. This chapter featured MINEZ‘ Julian DeBateau. 

City Goal #8: Survive a Heat Wave, Pt. 1 (LASL)

Simtober arrived with a heat wave. Who would’ve thought early autumn in San Myshuno would rake in 95+ degree temps, but it did. The television meteorologists declared the feverish temperatures a phenomenon, a freak of nature, a second summer, a record. Something like this hadn’t happened in over forty years. It didn’t help that my entire body was going haywire thanks to the pregnancy.

Mom came up to the city to visit for a few days. She took me shopping for maternity clothes, gathered all my friends’ names and phone numbers for a baby shower, and helped me pick out furniture for the nursery. Closer to the time, we would be moving our desks to the living room but for now, Joseph and I maintained half of the office space. In the evenings, when the heat had cooled some, we played basketball in the park. I forgot that my mother played all through high school and college, and was even scouted before she chose a different career path. Joseph was a little bummed he couldn’t teach his mother-in-law some tricks. I was bummed he was so fully clothed while working out with us, but he was probably trying to be appropriate around my mom.

Karleen came over regularly to help out too, especially on the days when the morning sickness was horrendous. She brought ginger ale and girly magazines and polished my nails when I was feeling like the wrong end of a llama. Riley also popped by with a series of how-to books she picked up at the library. Of course, she and Karleen argued over which one of them was going to be a fairy godmother. I think Karleen won because she actually brought a sparkly wand one day. Riley pouted until I said there was no reason my child couldn’t have two fairy godmothers.

Joseph developed a strong friendship with the street vendors to accomodate my late night pregnancy cravings. When mom would head to bed, we’d step out across the street to watch the street musicians and chat with the neighbors and townies. Karleen would come and whoop really loudly for the street artists, whether they played pop songs or classical pieces. She acted like their biggest fan, and always left outrageous tips.

“Is she tone deaf?” Amy inquired of me quietly after violinist finished a screeching and frankly awful rendition of a Mincen concerto.

“Who? The musician or Karleen?” I asked.

“Both,” Amy shoved a taquito in her mouth as Karleen spun around excitedly.

“Wasn’t she fantastic?” Karleen exclaimed.

“No,” I laughed. “Not really.”

“Oh then I should tip her even more,” Karleen’s eyes grew wide. “She might be able to take better lessons then.”

The violinist glared in our direction as she packed up.

“Here,” Karleen shoved another fifty Simoleons in the girl’s case.

As she walked away, another musician arrived to take her place.

“Karleen, that was way too generous,” Amy smirked.

“I like to think I’m investing in the future,” she said, proudly.

“Speaking of the future, what’da’ya think of the future for those two?” Karleen smiled as she squinted and pointed off in the distance to Riley and Akira.

“Aww… they’re holding hands,” Amy gushed.

“In public too,” I remarked. “It’s a big step for them.”

Karleen fanned herself. “I always thought Riley was cute, didn’t you? But I guess I’m too late.”

“They’re pretty cute together,” I said.

“They need a ship name!” Karleen clapped her hands and jumped up and down.

“A what name?” Amy wrinkled her nose.

“A ship… you know… like in the movies or books when two characters get together or you want them to get together…the fans ship them,” Karleen explained. “What about Akiley?”

“No… no… no… that’s terrible,” I shook my head.

“What about Akirley?” Amy suggested.

“That’s even worse,” Karleen frowned.

“I know!” Karleen said, a grin spreading across her face. “Rikira.” 

“I like it!” I agreed. “But isn’t it a little weird since we know them? I mean, it’s not like they are really fictional.”

“What’s this fictional stuff you’re talking about?” Riley suddenly bounced in our direction and reached out to hug Amy. “You’re rocking that hairstyle today.”

“Oh, thank you,” Amy blushed and fluffed her hair.

“So what did I miss?” Riley inquired. “Who’s fictional?”

Karleen and I shared a knowing glance before bursting into laughter.

“Antwan Plum…” Amy spoke up quickly. “In my ISBI story… but…” she coughed on a bite of her dinner. “Um… but he feels real to me sometimes… to us, I guess. Lizzie’s read part of his story.”

“Oh, yes, right,” I said, catching on quickly.

“What’s an ISBI?” Riley wrinkled her nose.

“You’ve never heard of one?” Amy’s eyes widened.

I laughed. “Let me tell you all about the ISBI challenge.”

Once Riley and Amy left for the evening, Karleen and I stood around and chatted a little longer.

“You want to tell me why my cousin, John keeps texting me on my phone about you?” I asked Karleen.

“What? John’s texting you about me?” Karleen exclaimed.

“Yeah, look,” I pulled my phone out. “First, he asked me what your favorite flower is. And then he asked me if you liked chocolate.”

“Blech! You told him no right?” Karleen gagged and rolled her eyes.

“What kind of best friend do you think I am?” I smirked, and put my hands on my hips. “You’re allergies are the worst so flowers aren’t an option and you’re the only woman on the planet who doesn’t like chocolate.”

“Fruit… he could get me fruit,” Karleen suggested.

“Yeah, but why is he texting me instead of you?” I asked. “Aren’t you two dating?”

“Not exclusively. You know I’ve been seeing multiple guys. I like to keep my options open,” Karleen answered.

“Isn’t it complicated?” I replied, thinking of my own difficulties with dating both Rob and Joseph.

“Darling!” Karleen fanned herself. “It’s fabulous being wanted.”

“Yes, but don’t they care? Don’t they mind?” I wondered.

“Obviously not because John is still texting you questions about me, and the other two still keep going out with me,” Karleen said.

“Okay, it’s just a little weird since John is my cousin.”

“It’s nothing serious yet.”

“That’s not what John says.”

“What?!” Karleen said, grabbing the phone from me. “Let me see.” 

If I wanted to stay cool, I probably should’ve worn a different outfit. It was the fourth night of my mom in town, and we were playing basketball in Thyme Square again. I wished I had worn shorts, and that I wasn’t pregnant. I was “this” close to borrowing a crop top from Annie, but I was a little too pregnant and self-conscious for that. The last time I wore a crop top was pretty embarrassing – the night that I got stuck in Newcrest after my first disastrous date with Joseph, and Rob’s ex found me in the morning and loaned me clothes. Joseph always teased me a little and said I probably looked cute. I never actually gave the top back to Cat. It was somewhere in a box, forgotten and collecting dust most likely.

I fanned myself as I waited for my turn to shoot a hoop.

“Do you need some water or something?” Joseph asked.

“That’s…not… a bad idea…” I said, slowing my words.

My head was starting to feel a little woozy.

“You should sit down, Lizzie,” Mom suggested.

“I’m fine,” I said, swallowing hard as I felt a little queasy too.

“You don’t look fine,” Mom said, grabbing my arm and guiding me to a park bench. “Sit. Joseph, go get…”

“Already on it,” he jogged away.

I felt a tad awkward, but I did as I was told.  Joseph went to retrieve the water like I needed, and Mom walked over to tell some neighborhood teens to turn their music down. Their stereo was quite loud, blasting some hip-hop song I had never heard. I swayed back and forth to the beat, even though the musical style wasn’t typically my thing. I don’t really remember what happened, but suddenly everything faded to black. When I came to, Mom, one of the teenagers, my cousin, John, who had randomly showed up, and Joseph were all hovering over me.

Elizabeth! Elizabeth!” my mother cried worriedly, holding my shoulders as John was asking simultaneously, “Are you okay?” and the teenager inquired about calling paramedics. Karleen also arrived at that moment too, adding to the number of people crowding me and asked, “What’s going on?”

“Give her some room,” Joseph demanded, slipping off his jacket and sliding it under my head as a pillow. “You’re going to be fine, Elizabeth, okay? I’m here.”

“I…” I couldn’t find the words, feeling confused as he helped me elevate my knees.

“Don’t talk. It’s okay,” he said. “Everyone back up…” he directed people away from the park bench. “John, why don’t you go get some fruit juice from one of the vendors over there? Karleen, can you take our gym bags back to the apartment? Riley should have a key and he should be home from work by now…”

“On it,” the two said in unison, bouncing off in different directions.

“Essie, will you call Lizzie’s doctor…” Joseph continued, and I cut him off. “Oh no, I don’t need to go right now.”

“No, but you should go sooner than your next appointment,” Joseph replied, firmly. “Essie…” he tossed his phone to my mother. “Call the doctor and see if she can see Lizzie tomorrow morning instead of early next week.”

“Okay, I can do that,” my mom nodded and walked away.

“Thank you,” I said weakly. “It was a little… much…with all of them.”  I reached up and squeezed his hand. “You were…you… are… great.”

“I try to be,” he grinned.

“And Joseph Joe?” I began, sipping the water he gave me.

“Yes?”

“I like the way you say Elizabeth way better than my mother.”


Author Note: Hey everyone, thanks for reading. I’m a little sad we don’t have seasons yet in TS4. So October/Simtober is going to feel/look like it always does. A little meta-gaming going on in this chapter. Haha. Like the mention of the ISBI, and the shipping. I have to give simscognito full credit for the ship of Riley and Akira – Rikira. I loved the name so much that I threw it in this chapter. 🙂 Real life friend who Karleen is based on really does dislike flowers and chocolate. I loved her actions in this chapter. She makes for great comic relief in game, and often acts like her real-life counterpart. xD

For whatever reason, Lizzie “faked” passing out in game, and I wondered how/why but then I went into CAS and discovered she somehow had the dramatic trait. I guess there was a glitch. I reset it, but the characters really did gather around her after it happened. Unfortunately, I didn’t snap any pictures since I was so surprised it happened in the first place. FYI, Mincen is the name I gave my Simworld version of the classical composer, Chopin. A little play on words. 😛

Thanks everyone for reading. This chapter featured an awesome cast of characters. I’ll draw attention to MsShadami’s Amy Cat, who mentions Antwan Plum, a character in her own ISBI challenge, and he also makes an apppearance coincidentally in LegacySims2017‘s Jungle ISBI. Both are great reads. The chapter also featured LegacySim’s Joseph and simscognito‘s Riley. 

City Goal #7: Take Small Steps Toward Healthy Living, Pt. 4 (LASL)

When I was in high school, I used to play basketball. Not on an official team or anything. I mostly played in the neighborhood with my guy friends at the park, and occasional girl friend who wanted to tag along. Mostly they tagged along to watch cute guys play ball and sweat. Because on hot days, those guys didn’t wear shirts. 😛 Now I had my own guy so I really had no desire to look at anyone else. Still, I missed the days when I was in shape.

As Simtember rolled to a close, I wanted to keep up with my good habits and stay active, for as long as I could. With a baby on the way, who knows how long I’d feel good enough to exercise? Joseph made it easy for me. He didn’t expect me to keep up with him on his regular runs, but he offered to play basketball in the evenings in Thyme Square.

Akira would often come over from Uptown to play ball. He said he liked to be in more humble surroundings. Fame and fortune brought him pleasant enough perks, he admitted, but he wasn’t into flashy or ritzy things, or hanging at exclusive sports or country clubs. He preferred to be with the people and his roots, and his roots consisted of a basketball hoop in Thyme Square with us lower-income folks.

Although my books were now raking in big Simos, and Joseph was no slouch himself at his current job. We had been able to pay down a good chunk of our debt and starting saving for a nest egg. We also talked about the merits of moving to a larger apartment or fixing up the one we were in. The downside of staying was no dedicated office space, which I needed for my work, but with the baby coming, I might not be writing as much. Upsides of staying included our awesome friends and neighbors and comfort of the already broken-in apartment. Karleen said she wouldn’t mind if we moved in closer to her in the Arts District and she was keeping an ear to the ground for a good, reasonably priced apartment. 

Riley liked to come down and join us, especially when Akira played ball. Those two had been seeing each other, much to my delight, and I was happy that my subtle matchmaking efforts paid off. Riley liked to jog circles around us, throwing out playful insults, convinced she looked best in a track suit. No one pulled off athletic gear like her, but we didn’t want to stroke her ego too much. Joseph didn’t look bad in a pair of track pants either, but with the cooler temps, he was wearing his shirt more often. Bummer. 

Sometimes Riley would join in, usually after cat-calling her boyfriend. That’s if that’s what she called Akira. I wasn’t sure. They hadn’t made an official announcement yet. But you could tell by the way Riley looked at Akira she was over Luna, and Akira would occasionally glance in Riley’s direction when he didn’t think she was looking, and grin like the Simshire cat.

Riley wasn’t bad at rounding out our games of pig either. She nearly always made a hoop. Joseph, on the other hand, seemed to occasionally miss, which frustrated him to no end.

“You’ll get it next time,” Riley tried to encourage.

When he did make a hoop, he stood proudly admiring his accomplishment. What can I say? My husband would go from one extreme to the other.

“I only have P,” Joseph bragged.

I gritted my teeth as I dribbled my ball, somewhat malcontent with my letter count.

“Akira, you’re up,” Riley said, sweetly, throwing a flitatious glance in the man’s direction.

“Did nobody pick up on the fact that I only have P?” Joseph inquired, loudly clearing his throat.

“Humility, honey! Humility!” I raised my voice as I took my shot. “Now it’s Akira’s turn.”

“Opps… I lost the ball…” Akira smirked as he was busy checking Riley out. 

On the nights when Karleen joined us, we would stand and chat outside the apartment. Sometimes Riley would pop in and enjoy the girl talk. We talked about Karleen’s dating exploits – she had three dates lined up with three different guys, about Riley’s dating adventures with Akira (apparently the man couldn’t pick a restaurant), and my baby progression, novel ideas, and plans for Joseph’s birthday.

The sidewalk was a great meeting place, especially after dark when the temperature cooled off. I finally met Joseph’s good friend, John Smith. One night he just ran right into me on the sidewalk because he wasn’t watching where he was going. When he apologized and offered to make up for things (because apparently I have pregnancy glow and everyone feels bad when they plow into a preggo lady), I discovered who he was.

“Angela and I have been meaning to have you two over some night,” John explained.

“Joseph and I would love to come for dinner some night,” I replied, enthusiastically.

“Great… here’s her cell number. I’ll let you two set something up,” John offered.

John and his wife, Angela attended university with Joseph. Ever since we moved to San Myshuno, we’ve talked about getting together, but the summer was busy. Now that I had settled into a fairly good routine and with the baby coming, I wanted to try and get to know Joseph’s friends more.

My favorite evenings were Wednesdays when the street musicians would gather in the square. The artists would play everything from Abba to Simchard Wagner. Depending on my hormones, sometimes I was hyper-critical, but I tried to keep my negative comments to myself.

Karleen always liked to be up close and personal with the musicians, and she would always whoop loudly (even for classical pieces) and leave outrageous tips.

Since Akira and Riley were still new to the dating scene, they seemed to like a little separation when around strangers. I think everyone could still tell they were into each other because they’d throw flirtatious glances in each others’ directions every once in awhile.

Sometimes my cousin, John would come by on his way home from work, programming video games in the Old Salt House down by the waterfront. Sometimes he’d let us in on an alpha or beta testing, but since he wasn’t a night person, he usually skipped on to catch the train, much to Karleen’s dismay. John was one of the guys she was seeing.

Sometimes I’d see Amy down by the waterfront, usually before she popped off to the Waterside Warbler. Like she had told me, she didn’t like to patronize her own club when she wasn’t working, and the Warbler had better drink deals anyhow, even with her employee discount.

Joseph typically wouldn’t join us until he ran all his steps for the day. Often times he seemed to run laps around the square and I’d wonder if he did that strategically just so I could watch my husband hard “at work.”

When he did join us, he was usually hungry, even if we’d eaten dinner before heading over to the square. If the vendors were still open, we’d grab a snack. Otherwise, I cut my music-watching short and head home with him so we could find something to munch on in our kitchen. Pregnancy cravings are a thing, you know.

I never expected to be “that” lady, but lately I’ve been craving everything from animal crackers to watermelon. And Joseph liked to indulge me so after his evening shower, he’d slice the fruit for me while I put my feet up on the couch and watched The Tonight Show with Tony Clifton.

Then he would work on drawing up the designs for our nursery. He’s inspiring me to try my hand at painting and drawing too, though most of my artistry looks like child’s crayon drawings.Just tonight Joseph made up a mathematical diagram for the nursery. I guess, he’s expecting the baby to be into algebra and number theories.  That’s okay. I’m getting in touch with my inner mommy. He’s going to be such a good dad.


Author NotesThanks for reading. This chapter debuted Zurka’s John Smith and featured LegacySims2017’s Joseph, MsShadami’s Amy Cat simscognito‘s Riley. FYI, I think it’s pretty straightforward but the Simshire cat is a play on the Cheshire cat and Simchard Wagner is a play on Richard Wagner. Ride of the Valkyries anyone? Lol. 

Side Tracks: True Colors (Akira and Riley)

Akira Kibo wasn’t the rockstar everyone made him out to be. He was a washed-up pop singer without a boy band, or any band for that matter. In a city like San Myshuno, you could blend in with all the other house names and wannabe artists. Everyone still thought he was a hero of the music world. That’s why he came back to San Myshuno two years ago. No one here need know of his failure overseas – his inability to land another deal with his long-time record label, the sad misfortune of his agent overdosing on pain pills, the loss of his girlfriend to his brother.

Figures. Kano was more… well, everything. More successful. More wealthy. He was an attorney. More educated. He had a Ph.D. More charming. Akira had his moments, but he didn’t have the greatest luck with dates. More handsome. Akira was probably at best mildly good-looking, and fell into the “cute gush-about-him-to-your-girlfriends” kind-of category but not “long-term romantic material.”

The worst part wasn’t even that Kano and Simone were getting married at summer’s end. The worst part was his sore lack of talent as of late. He didn’t have a song he could fall back on and that left him spiraling, feeling his safety net clipped out from under him. He couldn’t come up with a single lyric or chord. He wanted something, anything to feel again, to know the meaning of his life, and to experience the music breathing life back into his weary soul.

He met Lizzie two months before, and she seemed nice and as his luck would have it, unavailable. She was hopelessly in love with her husband. He wasn’t a home wrecker. He had rules. No married women. No groupies. No serious strings. Otherwise, he had pretty much an open mind about everything.

Lizzie had become a good friend. She did karaoke with him on the weekends, and he liked that she was taken. It made things easier. He didn’t have to worry about getting his heart broken. He was safe from his roommates too. Darling was a teenager and a lesbian, and Miko was too overworked to date.

When Lizzie asked for his help watching her stand at the flea market, Akira agreed. He could flatter the customers, he assured her, and gain their Simoleons. Lizzie and Joseph were trying to sell the furniture from their previous tenants. Lizzie promised a home-cooked meal in return, and a favor he would sincerely appreciate. She was vague, but the mystery intrigued him.

A favor he would sincerely appreciate sounded just good enough to him. It wasn’t like he needed the money. Miko was wealthy, the sole surviving heir of her Simoulan parents, both investment bankers. She took her money and bought a penthouse in San Myshuno, and then spent the rest of her money and time devoted to social justice work, helping the disenfranchised women who came to the city from Southeast Asima looking for a better life.

Miko paid for all the household expenses in exchange for the opportunity to sing with legend Akira Kibo and teen idol Darling Walsh. It was sort-of like being a kept man but without the complications of romantic entanglements. His parents thought the situation strange and almost shameful, given the conservative Simpanese family they were. He didn’t care. He needed a place to start over and San Myshuno was calling.

A young dark-haired individual walked up to him. Akira was pretty sure that despite the feminine attire and cosmetics, the person was a dude. It didn’t matter to him. Be true to yourself, he always spouted whenever he was pressured by his parents to be something he wasn’t. The person had the blush of a full-blooming rose on their cheeks. Akira knew that he had been recognized as the pop singer. He put on his best smile, the kind he gave his fans. What’s the harm? It’s just business.

“Can I interest you in some antique chairs?” Akira spoke, trying to avoid staring at the individual’s angular high cheekbones.

The person had nice symmetry, and Akira couldn’t help but notice. He also had no idea how old the pieces were that Lizzie wanted him to sell. “Antique” or “vintage” sounded better than “old llama crap.”

“Hi… um…hi…I…I am… wow…”

“Cat got your tongue?” Akira couldn’t help but tease.

The blush increased, but the confidence grew. Akira could see it in the lady’s eyes.

“Lizzie sent me,” she waved. “I’m Riley.”

“Lizzie Green?” Akira repeated, and then grinned. “Did she tell you we have the second best stuff in this flea market?” he nudged the woman in the arm.

“Um… only second best?” Riley frowned.

“If I told you it was the best, you’d know I was lying,” Akira shrugged. “But if I say second best you might buy more.”

He didn’t care if he was giving away his trade secrets. Not like they were anything special.

“I think you misunderstood me,” Riley coughed and cleared her throat. “Lizzie sent me. She asked me to help out at the booth today.”

“Oh?” Akira rubbed the back of his neck thoughtfully. “That’s odd. I’m here for that reason too.”

“I know you are,” Riley said, and then quickly added. “I mean, she said you might be here, Akira.”

“Have we met?” Akira inquired, finding the lady’s awkwardness refreshing.

It reminded him of his early days as a singer when people would approach him shyly and ask for an autograph right when the fame started catching on. Nowadays most people were almost paparazzi-like asking all sorts of invasive personal questions, ones which he generally redirected and ignored all the while keeping his plastic smile plastered across his face.

“I’ve always wanted to meet you. You’ve been my music hero for as long as I can remember. I saw you at karaoke the night you met Liz, but I…”

“Let me guess? Too shy to approach someone like me?”

“Is this a set-up?” Akira put his hands on his hip.

Is this what Lizzie meant by a favor he would sincerely appreciate? He wasn’t sure he wanted to be set-up right now. It wasn’t like he had never been with a guy before as there was the kid from his high school he messed around with in the eleventh grade, and then in college, he dated his gay drummer, and during a world tour, he hooked up with a bisexual back-up dancer. She was an interesting ride… wild and free. He wanted more of that… freedom… to be.

Riley gulped. “I didn’t look like this then. I wasn’t sure… I mean…I didn’t know if you’d be offended if… I didn’t know what you were… I mean…” she looked down at the ground, twisting her toe in a sidewalk crack. “…what you are into that is.”

This Riley wasn’t his type on the surface, but Akira was intrigued. The fact that he… or she… was trying to be respectful of his sexual preference was a first for him. He scratched his head and tried to remember if he saw Riley there that night at karaoke. There were lots of gals and dudes around. Akira hadn’t really been looking. Then again, maybe he remembered a bashful wallflower in a brown vest. The hair was down, he thought. Now it was slicked back in a ponytail.

“I didn’t know if you liked women or men,” Riley continued. “I thought I’d try this approach first.”

Akira respected Riley’s guts. He/she wasn’t holding back about his/her romantic interest. Akira felt flattered, but he was also cautious.

“Can I ask you something?” he inquired. “Are you gay?”

“It’s more complicated than that. I identify as bigender,” Riley said.

“Ah… okay…” Akira hadn’t heard of it before, but nothing really surprised him anymore about people’s preferences. “Is that like bisexual?”

“It’s different for every person. For me, bigender means sometimes I identify as a woman, and sometimes I identify as a man. I hope that doesn’t scare you away.”

Riley looked a mixture of hopeful and worried. Akira was actually touched by the gentle look in the lady’s eyes. She was curious, but respectful enough to walk away if Akira wasn’t interested. It was like a sixth sense of Akira’s. The ability to read people’s motives well.

Without thinking, Akira reached out and touched Riley’s shoulder. Maybe it was time to give up all his preconceived notions and try something outside the box. If the world was going to judge him for being the way he was, to hold him to some impossible standard, Akira wanted to color outside the lines.

“I am not scared by you,” he said, seriously.

Riley looked startled. “Really? Cuz you’re like my hero.”

“Okay,” Akira chuckled. “Enough with the hero/idol business. I’m just Akira. I identify male. I go both ways so I guess that makes me bi…” he stopped and rubbed his chin. “You know, I’ve never said that aloud… and to a practical stranger. There’s something about you…” he opened his eyes and felt like he was seeing the world for the first time in Riley’s face. “…that makes me want to open up.”

“I am told I have that effect on people,” Riley giggled. “So okay… I’m doing this… Akira. Just Akira. Will you have dinner with me?”

So this was the favor? A set-up? I should’ve known. Lizzie may have had ulterior motives, but there didn’t seem to be any guile in Riley’s request. Something inside him made him want to say ‘yes,’ but he had a question of his own.

“Would you take your hair down… like the first night I saw you?”

Riley pulled her hair tie loose, shaking her short black hair to the sides as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Something about that simple action made Akira’s heart leap and he didn’t know why, but he wanted to take a chance.

“Then I’d love to have dinner with you.”


Author NoteThanks for reading. You finally get to learn who Riley’s crush is. I want to thank simscognito for help with this chapter, and obviously, the side tracks story featured simscognito‘s Riley Cognito and the Maxis-generated townie, Akira Kibo. I want to thank simscognito for offering notes and input for this chapter as I wanted to portray Riley’s identity in an accurate and respectful way. I also want to thank Cog for helping me with the chapter title, inspired by Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors.