#27 How to Warm a Heart (LASL)

I called Rob and cancelled our date. He was disappointed, but he said he understood. I waited three days and couldn’t stand it any longer. I called him back and said we needed to talk. He thought so too, and invited me over. This time I ended up at the right house… literally right next to Joseph’s. That’s wasn’t awkward at all.

Marshall greeted me first out on the sidewalk.

“Hey buddy,” I smiled, reaching down and petting the Simtannican sheepdog.

The dog shook his head happily.

“Can you keep a secret?” I asked, kneeling to whisper in the dog’s ear. “Well, of course, you can… you’re a dog… I think I’m in trouble, Marshall…because I feel all sorts of butterflies.

“What’s the secret?” Rob asked, startling me.

I stood up so fast that I felt dizzy. Marshall jumped up on me, placing his paws on my abdomen. I laughed.

“Well, if I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret, now would it, Rob?” I smirked.

“Then I’m jealous, Marshall,” Rob grinned, rubbing the dog’s head. “Lizzie has your ear.”

I smiled swept across my face. “Hi.”

“Hi,” he repeated, with a much-too-cute smile, and then ran toward the house with childlike enthusiasm. “Come in… come in… please.”

I followed him inside, and we were barely through the front door when he stopped and I bumped right into him.

“Oof!”

“Oh… sorry… what am I thinking? Okay… hold on…” he moved across the room and cleared off the couch, setting a mixture of Carrie’s toys and the dog’s toys on the floor so I could have a place to sit.

I watched him, amused.

“Sit… sit…” he urged.

I did as he asked.

“So here goes…” he sat down in the chair across from me. “…I know that I’m a package deal, and not many women want that… or can accept it… but I… I think you’re special, Lizzie. And I want you to know that I haven’t felt this way about anyone… for a long time…” he shook his head, and rubbed the center of his forehead. “No… this coming out wrong…”

“Rob?”

“No… wait… I’ll just… I have to get this out before I lose my nerve.”

“Okay.”

“…I haven’t felt this way about anyone… ever…” he corrected.

My eyes widened.

“And I want to give us a chance… if there’s an ‘us.’ I mean, if you want there to be an ‘us.'”

I opened my mouth to speak, but I couldn’t figure out what to say.

“I had a long long talk with Carrie, and she gets it. Well, as best as she can get it… as best as a toddler can understand. And she likes you Lizzie. She’s been missing you.”

“She has?”

“We both have,” Rob reached for my hand and squeezed.

I felt the emotion welling in my throat. What a way to warm a girl’s heart! 

“Please say something,” he whispered.

“I’ve missed you… both of you too…” I managed.

“Yay!” Carrie came running into the room, startling us both, and she raced into my arms. “Izzie…Izzie!”

I laughed, and kissed the top of Carrie’s head. “Hi precious.”

“Is that a yes?” Rob mouthed.

“Yes,” I croaked hoarsely. “I’ll be your girlfriend.”

Carrie almost immediately dragged me off to her bedroom so we could play while her dad made us both dinner. She wanted to show me all her new toys, even if I had seen most of them anyway. It was sweet. I was still processing what had just happened.

After dinner,  Carrie fussed until I agreed to give her a bubble bath with all her rubber boats and ducks and to make up stories about the bubble monster.  Rob laughed and told me I wasn’t getting off easy. I grinned.

“I don’t mind.”

After putting the munchkin to bed, I met Rob outside.

“I’m sorry,” Rob apologized. “She can be so demanding.”

“I don’t mind,” I replied.

“You’re really great, Lizzie. I know this comes with a lot of responsibility and extras that you weren’t expecting.”

“Don’t mention it, Rob, I know Carrie is your daughter, and I know how much she is apart of your life, so she’ll be apart of mine too.”

“Okay…” he looked down, faltering a step.

I reached for his hands and squeezed reassuringly. “I’m here for you, Rob. I want to do this.”

“We’ll just take things slow.”

“I can live with that.”

I threw my arms around him, embracing him as tightly as I could, hoping I made the right choice.


Author Notes: I hope you’re as happy for them as I am. I barely had to write. The screenshots speak for themselves. Unfortunately due to a game glitch, I lost screenshots when Rob officially asked Lizzie to be his girlfriend and Carrie so cutely and autonomously interrupting them. 😛 This chapter featured InfraGreen’s/Trip’s Rob Buckley, Carrie, and Marshall.

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#26 How to Distract Yourself (LASL)

Of course, Joseph was a little annoyed. Actually, annoyed is an understatement. He was upset.  I did try to explain everything to him because I felt like he should know the truth. I liked him, but wanted to date Rob.

“Lizzie? I don’t understand. You went out with this guy and we’re dating.”

“But we didn’t define what we are. Are we boyfriend and girlfriend?”

“Plummit! Liz! I like you… I really like you. I waited for you, and then went out on a limb, and this is how you repay me?”

He looked so sad right before he stormed out of the house. Hot under the collar is right. Well, I guess that’s what I get. He didn’t deserve to be treated like this, and now that I know his ex girlfriend broke up with him for similar reasons, I felt like a heel. No, worse than a heel. Dirt. He trusted me, and history repeated itself.

I still changed and went jogging. Alone. It wasn’t the most fun, but I could enjoy the sights of Christmas cactus and date palms and the sounds of morning birds twittering better. Plus I could go at my own pace without worrying about slowing Joseph down. I didn’t respond to Rob yet. I still felt guilty about the way I treated Joseph.

When I returned home, I found everyone in the kitchen. Nora had changed back into her pajamas… and she smelled like she needed a bath. Turns out she went over to see Julian and fell into the trash cans while trying to peek in his window.

“That’s what you get for stalkerish behavior,” I quipped.

Nora jabbed me in the stomach. “I’m mourning here.”

NO I’m mourning, I wanted to say. I was a jerk to Joseph and yet I really liked Rob. I pursed my lips. “What? Because Julian still won’t go out with you.”

“No, because I ruined my favorite pink sweater.”

Mom had just awakened, with a headache, and was still in her bathrobe while she fixed oatmeal with berries and nuts. Dad was mopey about something that happened at work. He didn’t really say, only that he grabbed takeout pasta of some kind from Rattlesnake. Mom was miffed since she went to the trouble of making breakfast for herself. Why didn’t my dad tell her he was picking up lunch?

While Nora waxed about her “hot guy” woes, I couldn’t help but let my mind wander, wondering if Dad had seen Rob at the juice bar. Then I remembered that Rob said he was working this afternoon/evening. Dad continued to groan about an ache in his back. Turns out everyone was having a bad day.

Well… almost everyone. Lee was over at Sammy’s. Who knows what those two were so happy about?

Dad and Mom must have worked out their stuff… because *ahem* he was in the kitchen strutting in a something-something fashion… eating mom’s cereal for her. Awk-ward!

I waited until he left before I fixed the leaky kitchen sink… yet again.

Nora’s mood quickly improved after she showered, though she changed back into her pajamas. She chatted with her friends online and giggled about once every twenty seconds.

I returned to making drinks. It seemed like a good thing to do. That’s when Joseph showed up again. He apologized for storming off, and he said he still liked me, but he’d give me space to figure things out. I totally didn’t deserve his kindness, but I accepted it, nonetheless.

“You’re… special, Lizzie… and you deserve a special guy… and if it’s not me… then…” he kicked the side of the bar awkwardly.

“I’m sorry,” was all I could think to say.

Oh llamas! What should I do? I did the only thing I should do. I got out my phone to text Rob.


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. Joseph autonomously accused Lizzie of cheating in the last chapter, and then on the same day, he came back over autonomously and apologized. And I’m leaving this on a teeny bit of a cliffhanger. Any thoughts about Lizzie’s next move? This chapter featured MINEZ‘ Sammy Sarafin and LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself.

#25 How to Create an Awkward Situation (LASL)

Guilt was eating me a bit after my night with Rob, especially since I told Joseph I was going to do “this thing” whatever that was. At least, Rob asked me to be his girlfriend. I tried to weigh the pros and cons while practicing making drinks at the bar in the study. It was too early for alcohol. I knew it. But I needed something stiff. A Bernish coffee.

Rob was… ironically closer to my age despite being a dad. More established in his career as a mixologist. More direct. Handsome. Rocking the beard. We shared a love of music. He had a sweet dog. We could talk for hours. He was a night owl. And of course, he had the most beautiful little girl. He was a devoted father. But then there was the kid thing… and Carrie was so concerned about me replacing her mom. And yeah, there was Catarina, whom I still occasionally saw around the gym. Would she care if I was dating her ex? And he hated cats…which was weird, right?

Joseph was… Older. On the edge of an exciting new career. Easy on the eyes. Fun. Flirty. We definitely had chemistry, and I already knew he looked great without his shirt… mmm… that athletic build. More spontaneous. We shared an interest in sports and movies. We had the same favorite color. He didn’t have a kid so we didn’t have that coming between us. But he sent me mixed signals. He hadn’t defined our relationship. It was harder to know what he was thinking or wanting. He was a bit of a puzzle. And he was SO into those runs at the break of dawn.

We had all been texting back and forth.

Joseph wrote: » Had a really nice time at the museum. We should do it again sometime.

I wrote: » Thanks me too.

Rob wrote: » I think our date was a smashing success. You are incredibly fun to be with, Lizzie. 🙂

I wrote: » I had a lot of fun too.

Joseph wrote: » Wanna go jogging again in the AM, beautiful? Catch the sunrise? I’ll bring coffee.
Rob wrote: » Hey Lizzie, would you stop by the bar tonight? I miss you. I could get off early. Carrie’s with her mom. I thought maybe we’d bounce to Newcrest and hit up the new karaoke bar and then who knows? A midnight picnic by the waterfront? Under the stars? ❤
Plummit! Coffee? Stars? Really bringing the romance guys! I slammed my glass on the counter. Could I do both? AM sunrise jog and coffee with Joseph and evening karaoke and starlight picnic with Rob? Just my luck, Joseph stopped by right then. I ducked into the bathroom. I know… cowardly.
Nora let Joseph in and settled at the bar counter with her bowl of Fruity-O’s. They chatted for a few minutes, and Nora was her usual flirty self. Probably because I hadn’t gotten around to telling her about Joseph… I narrowed my eyes. …or Rob… or dating for that matter. Then again, she probably thought Joseph was fair game since she practically forced Rob to date me.
“Who is this?” Dad plopped down strategically between Nora and Joseph.
“Dad!” Nora rolled her eyes. “You know Joseph.”
“I know, I’m just teasing,” Dad replied. “Hey, Joseph, how are you?” he reached out to shake the man’s hand.
When Joseph returned the handshake, he was surprised when my father gripped a little harder.
What are you doing… here… so early in the morning?” he asked, looking down over the top of his glasses.
“Oh I’m meeting Lizzie,” Joseph replied. “We were going to go running.”
“Hey Joseph,” I returned to the study, coffee cup in hand, hoping to intervene before things got weirder.
“Say what?” Nora exclaimed. “Liz? You’re running now?”
“I didn’t know you took up running,” Dad added, surprised.
“Neither of you are dressed to go running,” Nora observed, her eyes narrowed. “What’s going on?”
Joseph looked down at his attire. “Would you look at that?” he chuckled awkwardly.
I made a face. “I can run if I want to.” I tightened my grip around the mug nervously. “Hi Joseph.”
“Hey beautiful,” Joseph greeted.
“Beautiful?” Nora repeated, spitting out her bite of cereal, spewing milk on the counter.
“Am I missing something?” Dad tilted his head to the side and laid his hands on the counter.
“Yeah, Lizzie and I are dating,” Joseph said, with the biggest, cutest smile on his face.
“But I thought she was dating Rob,” Nora remarked, placing her hands on her hips. “I gave him a pep talk and everything. Did Rob not show up?”
I groaned and smacked my forehead. Joseph gasped.
“Who’s Rob?” Dad asked.

Author Notes: Thanks for reading. So yeah… that happened. My Simself. *tsk tsk* This chapter featured LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself. Excuse the weird formatting. I’m not sure what happened with this chapter. 

#24 How to Have a Second Chance at a First Date, Pt. 2 (LASL)

“I just want you to be happy,” Nora said.

“Oh, Nora, thank you,” I wrapped my little sister in a big hug. “I appreciate that.”

We were standing on the front patio. Nora wanted to ensure that I was settled in the dating department, even though she hadn’t had much luck herself.

Turns out our “hot neighbor (her words, not mine… I’m not into blondes) was a bit of a loner and wasn’t looking for romance. That, of course, didn’t deter my hopelessly romantic baby sister from trying to invite him over to everything from a family barbecue to a workout session on our balcony with the new-ish exercise equipment. Julian declined. So my sister took it upon herself to try and “fix” my love life to take her mind off her own dating troubles. I still hadn’t told anyone about Joseph yet. I wasn’t sure what we considered ourselves.

Family barbecue turned into fend-for-yourself barbecue. Lee was on a date with Sammy. Dad got a promotion at work. Nora took one look at the meat and thought she would be sick. She doesn’t like hot dogs that aren’t burnt. I don’t blame her. I actually like a good bit of carbon fried onto my hot dog. And Mom was in Newcrest. I plunked one charred and one moderately dark bratwurst onto my plate. Someone had already taken the condiments, save the Duetchsim mustard inside. I was happy. I love that stuff.

I caught sight of Sugar across the street. I hadn’t seen her since before Christmas so I enthusiastically ran across the street, lunch and all, to greet her.

“Hey Sugar! How’ve you been?”

“With the busyness of the holiday season past, I thought it best to take some time to recharge my own batteries. I have been working on a variety of skills, particularly painting as of late.”

“Sounds lovely. I’ve been working on a new novel. I just self-published Bunch Ado About Nothing on Atlantis and now I’m working on another teen fiction, Hart to Hart, about a teenager with awkward parents.”

“Send me the link.”

“Thanks a million, Sugar!”

“No problem.”

“Have you been working on your music at all?”

“Some… I’ve got a show this afternoon at the Solar Flare. Say… can you drop me off? I didn’t realize how late it was.”

“Sure. Do you mind coming in? I gotta change first. I have an interview I’m heading to actually. I might be interning for Nookstone News.” 

“Say that’s great, Lizzie!”

I neglected to add that Joseph, my new… something… acquired the interview for me. Sugar followed me inside and changed as well in the downstairs bathroom.

As I dropped Sugar off at Solar Flare, I felt a headache coming on. Strong pressure pushed and tugged at my temples. I was beginning to regret eating two bratwurst before my interview. Maybe that wasn’t the best idea.

Meanwhile in another part of town… Nora, my kid sister, was up to no good. Well, maybe not, no good… but she had a plan… and a plan that involved stalking, scheming, and a pep talk.

“Hey Nora,” Rob said. “I didn’t know you work out here.”

“Oh hey Rob… funny finding you… and Marshall… here… what a coincidence!”

Total lies. 

“Listen pal… there’s no easy way to say this so I’m just going to say it. My sister, Lizzie likes you. A lot. Like a lot a lot. And you could even say she cares about you and about Carrie.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes, and you are such a big jerk for breaking her heart.”

“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Who said anything about breaking hearts?”

“I did… and Lizzie… she moped around for weeks after you didn’t even give her a chance.”

“She did?”

“Yes. And you need to get with the picture. I know you have a kid and all and I know you’re worried about dating my sister with a kid, but she’s a great sister and a good person who has been a good friend to you and a fantastic babysitter for Carrie. Dare I even say… out of this world babysitter… and I’m saying you owe yourselves a chance to try.”

“Look sister, you don’t know…” Rob started, but Nora firmly cut him off.

“Get off the treadmill… get your butt upstairs to the showers, and put on some cologne for gosh sakes, and meet my sister at the Pizza Planet tonight. She’s gonna be there around seven. And I’ll watch Carrie for you… at a discounted rate and all… after my free advice, of course.”

“You can’t tell me what to do.”

“And Rob?”

“What?”

“My sister likes Old Spice.

“So you… um… like women’s basketball?”

Rob seemed nervous. It was a wonder. Literally thirty seconds before he showed, Nora confessed she asked him to meet us here, and then promptly decided to ditch us in favor of leave because she conveniently forgot she was hanging out with Julian. Nora had asked me to dinner tonight to celebrate my interview… which didn’t go great, but it didn’t suck either. I didn’t even have time to change since I came straight from Nookstone News so I was still dressed in my green skirt suit. Thankfully, I ditched the jacket in my car. I didn’t want to look too put together.

“Yeah, the Oasis Acres are pretty good,” I remarked, wondering if our cheesy bread order would arrive soon since I needed something to occupy my hands.

“Gah! They missed it! And such an easy shot too,” I grunted.

“Sorry. I don’t know much about the game.”

“It’s okay.”

“I do like this sweet bass in this halftime song,” Rob remarked, rubbing his hands nervously against his jeans.

I smiled, deciding to throw him a bone. After all, he had the guts to show up after my kid sister lectured him.

“Yeah, this song… it’s incredible. You haven’t heard of this group? Pentatonix?” I asked, my eyes lighting up. “They do everything acapella.”

“Really? Even that wicked percussion beat?”

“Yep.”

“And the bass?” Rob swung his head back at the television screen to catch the act.

“Yep… that guy…” I pointed. “His name is Avi.”

“Here…” I pulled out my phone. “I can show you other videos of theirs..” I gushed.

“Wow… they are talented.”

“…do you like British Invasion?”

“Sure.”

“Then you have to hear… it’s super powerful…” I trailed off, and grinned sheepishly. “Too much?”

“What? You? Naw…” Rob waved his hands. “I could go all day talking about music.”

“Hooray!” I threw my hands in the air. “Here…”

“Did I hear British Invasion?”

Cathy Tea plopped down at our table, without an invitation, but like she needed one. We were happy to have her join us.

“Yeah…you gotta hear it…” Rob enthusiastically pulled out his own phone and found the video to show off.

I couldn’t help but grin. I had converted yet another person to one of my favorite music groups.

“Hey, look! It’s Sugar! Now if you want to her some mind-blowing music, catch Sugar’s violin!”

“What are you all doing?” Sugar appeared, in her gorgeous evening attire.

She must have changed from earlier.

“Rob, this is my friend, Sugar Maple Bough… and oh, how clumsy of me… this is her roommate and my friend, Cathy Tea.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” Rob smiled.

“Sugar, what’s with the gown?” I asked.

“I’m playing a set later. CPE Bach. I transcribed his solfegettio for violin.”

 

“That’s awesome!” I exclaimed.

 

“Whoa! Transcription is an incredible skill,” Rob remarked.

 

“Thanks,” Sugar said, seeming embarrassed by the attention. “Do you play anything, Rob?”

 

“Not really. I noodle on the guitar every once in awhile. But what I really like to do is sing,” he replied.

 

“What?” my eyes widened. “You sing?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“What do you sing?”

 

“Anything really… but I like… well… would you like to hear?”

Rob erupted into a Mr. Wonderful song, surprising us all, and shocking me, most of all. Who knew he had such talent! He even did all the voices. 

I’m gonna be a mighty king

So enemies beware!

Well, I’ve never seen a king of beasts

With quite so little hair

I’m gonna be the mane event

Like no king was before

I’m brushing up on looking down

I’m working on my ROAR

Thus far, a rather uninspiring thing

Oh, I just can’t wait to be king!

(You’ve rather a long way to go, young master,

if you think…)

We all clapped loudly when he was finished.

 

“Thanks,” Rob said.

 

“Mr. Wonderful!” I practically swooned.

 

“Well… I do have a kid,” he smiled and shrugged.

 

“Wow… Rob… a man of many hidden talents…” I said.

 

“That was impressive,” Sugar added.

 

“Nice!” Cathy exclaimed, squeezing my hand approvingly. “I like this guy.”

 

Yeah no kidding! 

 

“Now, excuse me, I feel that Blicblock game calling me,” Cathy said, standing up from the table.

 

“I’ll leave you two to your dinner,” Sugar said. “Nice to meet you Rob.”  

After we stuffed our faces with cheesy bread and pizza slices topped with earthy green bell peppers and hearty mushrooms, Rob and I retired to the couch to be more comfortable.

“You really do have a great voice,” I complimented.

“You think so?” Rob ducked his head toward his water glass in a bashful way.

“Absolutely,” I encouraged. “Have you thought about music as a career? Obviously, you’ve got the talent and the passion.”

“I don’t know…” he shrugged. “What if I just like mixing drinks?”

I laughed awkwardly. “You could do both.”

“I have to think about Carrie,” he remarked. “But it is a thought. It helps to know someone believes in me.”

 “Of course, Rob,” I replied, unsure about what else to say.

“It’s great to be out here tonight. You’re so easy to talk to and be with,” he smiled broadly.

“Why Rob! I think you paid me a compliment,” I said in mock fluster.

“Don’t joke,” he said, catching my hand. “I…mean it.”

“Thank you,” I flushed, dropping my gaze down to my hands.

I wasn’t sure how to act or what to say. Rob walked me down the stairs, his hand hovering over the small of my back. This was venturing quickly into dangerous territory.

“Well good night…”

“What? No goodbye kiss?” Rob teased from behind me.

“I…uh…” I stammered.

He didn’t want to date now,  he had said. Nothing serious.

“Lizzie, I think we should date.”

Or so I thought.

“What?”

I spun around as Rob approached me.

“We’d have fun together,” Rob explained. “My kid likes you, and that’s saying something. She hasn’t liked anyone I’ve dated since her mom.”

“So… uh… we should date because Carrie likes me?” I cocked my head in confusion.

“No… plummit! I’m not doing this right… uh…okay… I like you, Lizzie Green, and I know you like me too. Will you go out with me… as my girlfriend?”

What am I doing? I’m out with Joseph. I’m out with Rob. Joseph and I aren’t all that serious yet, but I enjoy being with him… and Rob… well, shoot! I enjoy being with him too. I can’t do this… to both of them. I need to pick, don’t I? Oh plummit! 

“You are amazing,” he breathed as he stepped back from the surprising kiss we just shared.

“Oh…” was all I could say.

Aww… plummit all to hell! 


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. I previously decided in another story to call the Beatles – The British Invasion in my Simworld because Simtannican Invasion didn’t quite have the same ring to it. LOL. Also I could figure out no way to give Pentatonix a good Simworld name befitting their music group so I left it in as is. I guess, Simterrans get Pentatonix all the way out in the Daleth system. Haha.

Why did I pick Pentatonix? Well, I’ve been looking for a way to slide their group into the story naturally, and when I heard their cover of Can’t Hold Us, I knew I had to add it, not to mention I’ve heard this song played at a basketball game, hence the tie-in.

In my Simworld, Mr. Wonderful is my version of Disney. I came across this amazing version of I Just Can’t Wait to Be King, and I threw it in here. Rob did spontaneously burst into song, and I didn’t know Sims could do that in TS4. It was so adorable, I had to throw that in there. 

The Oasis Acres are a play on the Las Vegas Acres women’s basketball team. And Lizzie autonomously kissed Rob after he kissed her… it would be cute, except now we have a love triangle. 😛 This chapter featured MINEZ‘ Julian DeBateau,  CathyTea‘s Sugar Maple Bough and Cathy Tea, and InfraGreen’s/Trip’s Rob Buckley and Marshall.

#24 How to Have a Second Chance at a First Date, Pt. 1 (LASL)

For our second “first date,” Joseph and I decided to stay in town. I let him pick the destination. He selected The Futures Past Art Museum. We both opted on more casual attire, though of course, I wasn’t without my signature bling or my boots. For the first time since the new year, I felt like a fresh beginning and a brand new start. I felt something I hadn’t felt in awhile – hopefulness – and it was as sweet as the honey-orange sunrise. Yes, I even got up at the crack of dawn for a private tour of the museum… just for Joseph… because he’s such an early bird.

We were greeted by a much-too-perky assistant manager, who readily confessed she had two cups of double espresso shots so that she could open up the museum for the “two lovebirds.” I grinned awkwardly as she explained a few of the rules. When she got to the absolutely “no touching” rule, Joseph reached for and squeezed my hand purposefully.

“And don’t forget to admire the busts of Mrs. Victoria Crumplebottom,” the assistant gushed. “The wife of the late Robert Crumplebottom, famous puppeteer and artist of Sim City… may he rest in peace…” she made the sign of the cross over her chest. “He had many commissioned before his death. We have three – one in gold, bronze, and silver,” she called over her shoulder as she pranced away.

“Well now…” I said, through a gritted smile.

Joseph squeezed my hand again. “I’d rather admire someone else’s bustline.”

I pinched his side playfully for that remark.

We approved the still-life painting of pears. Joseph lingered nearby, “accidentally” brushing my arms or my hands. It felt good to be close to him.

I appreciated their collection of fine ships while Joseph popped off the the men’s room. What stately beauty and dapper sails!

We both appreciate the Grand Palm Canyon painting, reflecting the native region of Simvada. The use of oranges and yellows accurately captured the beauty of the Simojave Desert.

“Ooo… I just love those sunkissed sands…” I purred.

“I’d love another kind of kiss,” Joseph teased, angling for a kiss.

“Okay… well… you asked for it,” I smirked.

Who knew he was so ticklish on his neck?

I know he enjoyed it. He thought I was gone, as I went to use the restroom, but I couldn’t help but take a peek back around the corner. I’m glad I did because I caught Joseph doing a happy dance… and then spontaneous sit-ups after his confidence boost.

“I had a great time,” Joseph said.

“Me too. This was fun,” I smiled.

Much better than our first go-around. 

“So a goodbye hug or a goodbye kiss?” he said, cheekily.

“I think I know what you want,” I grinned.

It was dusk when I finally resurfaced from my bedroom. Don’t get any ideas folks! Joseph dropped me off like a perfect gentleman, and I spent the rest of the day working on my novel… alone. I headed downstairs for a late dinner of creamy peanut butter and pear jam (inspired by my admiration of the pear painting earlier). Dad always picked out an abundance of jams, jellies, and spreads at the store. I swear our refrigerator is full of condiments and toppings only sometimes. Mom had left candles out on the dining table from her romantic evening with Dad. I didn’t bother turning on the overhead light. I was in a good mood and took advantage of the amorous ambiance.

Nora joined me just as I was finishing.

“You look nice.”

My sister was dressed in a scoop neck pink sweater and floor-length patterned skirt.

“Thanks,” she took a bite of her peanut butter and some of Opa’s fresh apple butter sandwich. “You look…” she eyed me suspiciously. “…surprisingly happy. What’s got into you?”

“Nothing,” I smiled. “Just had a good day.”

I wasn’t sure I was ready to share the news with anyone just yet.

Little did I know that Nora had a trick or two up her sleeve for improving my happiness.


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. In my Simworld, I named Robert Crumplebottom’s wife, Mrs. Crumplebottom, Victoria. I thought it fitting that she “show up” on Lizzie and Joseph’s date… haha… given her propensity for “spoiling” dates in TS2. Haha. However, it did little to deter the couple as they were flirting and romantic the entire time they were at the museum. i couldn’t help but tease my readers a bit. :pThis chapter featured LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself and  MINEZ‘ Julian DeBateau. 

#23 How to Move On (LASL)

After the new year, I decided it was time to snap out of my funk. While my boxing classes tanked, mostly because I didn’t want to show my face at the gym, I did find other passions.

Writing. I was up to 50,000 words on my novel, Bunch Ado About Nothing. It wasn’t a kids book anymore, but a full length novel, an adolescent fiction told from the perspective of two teenagers. The oldest is good at everything he does – school, sports, friends, hobbies – and the younger is struggling to live in his shadow, getting into fights at school and swiping things from her friend’s house. She also has a crush who doesn’t know she’s alive. *sigh* It sounds oh so familiar! 

If only Joseph stopped IM’ing me long enough to get sentences out. He sent me cute emojis and jokes. I enjoyed our teasing banter, but I still felt myself torn… pining for Rob… wondering about Joseph. I finally changed my status to invisible on my instant messenger.

Remember Sammy? My neighbor… who sings Simtalian opera? He and Lee got together over Christmas. They seem Über perfect together… even if he wear short-shorts when he goes jogging… with non-other than Joseph. Those two are actually good friends. If I go over to hang out with one of the other members of the Springside Friends household, it’s hard not to see Joseph… or these two lovebirds. It’s a bit annoying with my lack of love life. I’m trying to be happy for her.

We have a baby grand so I decided to teach myself to play. I’m not very good, but Mom listens to me and gives me positive feedback. She has to do that. She’s my mom.

“Wonderful!” she exclaimed.

“Mom! It’s so not!” I dropped my head dramatically on the keys.

“Oh my daughter,” Mom slid onto the piano bench beside me. “What has gotten into you lately?”

“I don’t know, Mom, I just feel… like I’m…”

Like I’m what? Dying? Missing something? Missing someone? Confused? Torn? Baffled by the mysteries of life and love? 

“Life will work itself out all in due time. Be patient, my dear.”

“Easy for you to say, Mom,” I scowled and rolled my eyes.

Mom tucked a stray hair of mine behind my ear. “My beautiful daughter… Der Zug ist schon abgefahren” 

“Mom!” I protested.

“You can do better than Rob,” she whispered in my ear before ambling off to the kitchen.

I plunked my head on the keys, disheartened by the Deutchsim phrase. Had the Rob-train truly left the station? 

I decided to get to know my neighbors a bit… even if Sammy is kinda over-the-top lovey dovey. Turns out it was a great idea to make the effort. Sammy bragged almost non-stop about how great my sister was. He used different adjectives. Yuck! We all put up with him because he was the house dad of the Springside Friends. Someone in his family had money, hence why he owned the home. I guess it wouldn’t be so bad to hear all the gushy stuff…if I was there too.

But Sage and Ali seem nice, especially Ali. We really hit it off. She loves animals of all kinds. Neither of us is in a place to own a pet now (Sammy has a strict no-pets policy for the household and I can’t afford a pet) so we commiserated a bit.

“I can’t wait to have my own place so I can have a cat,” I moaned.

“I know. I love kitties. So fluffy. And puppies too,” Ali gushed, excitedly.

“Ugh! Puppies?” Sage rolled her eyes and checked her fingernails. “They poop everywhere and mess up your yard and your furniture.”

“But they sure are cute!” Ali exclaimed. “Do you like dogs, Lizzie?”

Immediately, I thought of Marshall, the big Simtannican sheepdog, and it only made me miserable to think of him.

“Uh… yeah…” I shrugged. “I like cats a bit more though.”

“Cats are so clever,” Ali said. “I once had a cat that could turn on the sink all by herself when she wanted a drink.”

“Nice!”

Sage is outgoing, and can’t wait to throw an awesome house party. She said I’d make the cut on her exclusive list. Nothing like the parties she used to throw in San Myshuno, Simnadia, but still, she’d make sure it was the highlight of the season. We are about to enter Carnivale Season.

“So you’re religious?” I asked.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Sage shook her head. “But any excuse to party, right?” she playfully nudged Sammy.

“Oh yes! That reminds me. I should host a meet-my-girlfriend party,” Sammy said, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. “Now that Lee and I are a couple.”

Sage rolled her eyes. “That’s a thing.”

“Why not?” Ali interjected in a chipper tone. “Celebrate everything!”

“I do know a caterer in Newcrest,” I added, thinking of Catarina.

“Really? You’d call her for me?” Sammy exclaimed. “That would be wonderful.”

“Say wanna hear a joke?” Ali asked.

“Sure,” I replied.

“What do you call an owl with a sore throat?… a bird who doesn’t give a hoot!”

We laughed hysterically. It’s been awhile since I had a side-splitting laugh. Sage and Sammy were not amused. That’s okay. We’ll work on their sense of humor. What a hoot Ali is! Get it! Hoot hoot!

I didn’t know about Sage’s parties, but if anyone knew how to party, it was Sugar Maple Bough. She invited me out to the Solar Flare. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. She said it was semi-formal attire, and we were going to dance and laugh and celebrate being alive. I decided not to argue. It had been awhile since I had a girls night.

We invited Cathy Tea but she wanted to stay in and write. Lee was occupied with who else? Sammy. Nora was busy writing love letters to her mysterious crush *cough cough* Julian. Ali, unfortunately, was hoot-less, as she caught a cold. Poor thing.

I borrowed a little black strapless dress from Lee and sported a little faux diamond necklace my Oma and Opa gave me. When I arrived at the Solar Flare, Sugar was already in full-on party mode. She was dancing and inspiring confidence in everyone around them.

“Sugar Power!” she shouted.

“Whoop! Whoop!” I replied, offering her a hug. “You look fabulous.”

Sugar was dressed in a formal floor-length gown covered from chest to toe in sparkling black and grey sequins.

A drink or two later…

I think I was channeling “the power” a little too much.

While Sugar popped off to listen to the comedian, I grabbed a seat at the bar and ordered the margarita slush.

“You look like you were having fun out there.”

“Joseph!” my face lit up.

I hadn’t seen him for a few weeks. He took a business trip to San Myshuno after finally getting promoted to “Engagement Monkey.” While dressed far more casually than me, he still looked good. Suddenly, I felt self-conscious in my strapless. The Solar Flare wasn’t exactly a formal or semi-formal night club.

“And you look great,” he leaned over and gave me a hug.

“Thanks, you too,” I managed, grateful the bartender returned with my drink so I’d have something to do with my hands.

Even though I was into Rob for awhile, Joseph still got the blood pumping… just a little. Okay, maybe a lot.

“How was San Myshuno?”

“Absolutely amazing, Lizzie. You should totally go sometime. The vibe is incredible. The music, the colors, the sights. You’d really like it.”

“I’m sure I would.”

“I’ve got another trip coming up in Simbruary. You should totally come with me. Pack that little number…” he pointed at my dress.

I chuckled awkwardly. I couldn’t just tag along on his business trip, could I? Even so, I’d always wanted to visit the city.

“I hear it’s like no other,” I replied, purposely avoiding answering his invitation.

Sugar stopped over, greeted Joseph, and told me she had to cut out early on girls night. Cathy had a flu bug. I told her to go and pass along well wishes to Cathy. Joseph ordered us big bowls of broccoli cheddar soup since we were both starving. He talked for nearly ten minutes about all the amazing media opportunities in San Myshuno.

“I could see myself moving to the city someday,” Joseph said. “It’s the headquarters of Simstagram and Sim TV.”

“It all sounds very exciting,” I replied. “I’m happy for you, Joseph.”

“It is, Lizzie. Thank you.”

Two days later, Dad decided to take mom out on a date, and Lee was over at Sammy’s, and even Nora was hanging out with friends. What was I doing? Fixing the bathtub leak in my swim suit.  What a life! Right? Joseph called and invited himself over. I had just over fifteen minutes to change, fix my hair, and touch up my makeup.

I texted Joseph and told him the door was unlocked and to come on in. I just settled into a sports game on my computer when he knocked on my bedroom door. Like I had been there for hours… I didn’t particularly want Joseph to see me in my swim suit. Although why on Simterra did I care? He cheered me on as I finished a lightning round.

I had never had a guy in my room before. This was a new experience for me. And with no one home… I guess I hadn’t thought that one through very well. Joseph sat down on the edge of my bed, given my lack of seating. He looked like he belonged there. Me, on the other hand? I felt like I grew a third arm.

“Sorry for making you wait.”

“No problem.”

“Are you hungry?”

“Not really.”

“Thirsty?”

“Maybe some water. Did you turn the heat up in here?” he asked.

I swallowed a laugh. No, but you did. 

“Well, if you’re too hot, you can always take off your shirt,” I joked.

Ooo…what on Simterra was I thinking? That wasn’t awkward… at… all… 

“Sorry, that was weird…” I plopped down on the edge of the bed. “That was weird, right?”

“Only if you really want it to be…” he said smoothly.

It wasn’t like I hadn’t seen him shirtless before. 

“Dad likes it warm in here in the winter…” I moved my arms up and down awkwardly. “That’s why I’m wearing tank tops.”

“Well… if you’re too hot… you could always take them off…” Joseph replied cheekily.

“Holy cowplants! I’m going to get you for that!” I flushed, leaning in to tickle him.

“Stop! Stop!” he protested.

“Only if you take it back…”

“But I don’t want to take it back.”

A scarlet rose in full bloom probably blossomed on my cheeks.

“What are you saying?”

“I think you know what I’m saying, Lizzie…” he suddenly looked away shyly, scratching at the side of his face. “Sorry. Was that too forward?”

“I like forward,” I responded, without thinking. “Uh… um… forward motion and all. You know like a train speeding along a track.” I clapped my hands one off the other, shooting a hand forward into the room for illustrative purposes.

“A train, hmm?” his dark eyes twinkled. “Do I have permission… to board this train?”

“Depends…” I squeaked, wringing my hands in my lap. “On what you mean…”

“I took that as a yes,” he breathed heavily. “Was that a yes?”

“Yes… yes…” I sighed, and closed my eyes. “Is this really happening?”

“It’s happening,” Joseph pinched my arm.

“Hey!” I reached in to poke his side.

“Okay! Okay!” he protested.

“Look Lizzie, I really like you,” he laid a hand atop my wrist.

“I like you too, Joseph,” I looked deeply into his eyes.

“So we’re doing this?”

I squeezed his arm. “We’re doing this.”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. Sheesh! 1970+ something words. I hope you didn’t mind the jumping around. I enjoyed following my Simself around in game. For the record, San Myshuno is set in Simnadia, my Simworld version of Canada (I envision Vancouver a bit). Carnivale Season is a reference to Carnival Season, of course, prior to my Simworld version of Lent. This chapter featured CathyTea‘s Sugar Maple Bough, friendsfan367s Ali Morrison, Karilan’s Sage Reed, LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself, and MINEZ‘s Sammy Sarafin. 

#22 How to Get Over a Crush (LASL)

For the next few months, I buried myself in work. Lizette Lopez took a strange liking to me, and asked me to be a full-time nanny for little Tabatha. Apparently, I was the only one who could handle her little monster… I mean… angel. I called my other clients and quit, though I still promised to take Teresa to the library on Saturday mornings when Lizette was home and slept in. I also told Brooklyn and Kendyl I would take them to the park when I could, usually Sunday evenings because Lizette wanted to attend mass with her daughter. The hardest part was leaving little Carrie. I could still see her broken-up little face when she asked her dad if I was going to be her new mom.

I had never thought about being a mom. Not really. I always knew it was a possibility in the future if I got married and settled down someday. But somehow, the dream of motherhood eluded me. I hated playing with dolls as a kid because I didn’t like dressing them up and caring for them, not like my sisters did. I had a health scare in my late teens so I wasn’t sure I could even have kids of my own, but I figured it wasn’t like I really wanted them, right? If I didn’t have kiddos, I could still feel fulfilled, right?

In my spare time, I continued to write my novels. Lady Teresa and the Bubble Monster had sold 15 copies. I scraped my celebrities dramady in favor of another children’s book, this time, it was about a family by the name of Bunch, and my working title was Bunch Ado About Nothing. I would still keep a touch on Simspeare in there.

Lee got a promotion at work, which meant she could work on classified documents at home. This privilege was something she bragged about for weeks, content to work in her nightgown. I didn’t blame her. I often liked to lounge in my pajamas all day when I wasn’t working. We often met in the kitchen during Saturday lunch – Lee, with her ramen noodles, me, with my diced tomatoes for my garden salad.

We settled into a relatively normal routine. Mom got a job at the animal clinic in Newcrest and so she was often gone on the weekends. Dad still worked nights with his comedy routines at the Solar Flare or on the air for the local radio station, SIM-HEAT. Don’t ask. Our local radio station had a strange sense of humor. Nora was the only one still moping about because of her lack of a job. She took it upon herself to try and repair things around the house. Unfortunately, she broke more things than she fixed. Let me just saw sudden water spraying you in the ear is not fun. I paid for the repairs that week.

I decided to swear off guys for awhile. I figured it was for the best. Still, my heart ached a bit at night. I missed Rob. I would eat a bowl of Fruity-O’s on the patio in the evenings after finishing a shift at the Lopez mansion and think of Carrie. And thinking of Carrie made me inevitably think of her father. I was tempted to text him or call him, but he hadn’t reached out to me either so I should let it go.

Maybe I should try things again with Joseph. I still saw him about town almost every week, sometimes jogging, sometimes at the food cart, sometimes in the library.  Unlike Rob, he still texted me on a daily basis, usually to check in, say hi, something like that. He had apologized for his behavior in Newcrest and said he really wasn’t himself that night. I joked and said he should probably stay away from the juice.

Joseph even stopped by a few times – once to watch a football game since his cable was out. He brought a mean nacho dip for my mom, and joked around with my dad, helped Lee with her Sim’c’dIn page, and even put up with Nora’s shameless flirting.

Another time he came by to bring by his excess Spooky Day candy, knowing how much I liked chocolates and even stayed to watch cheesy horror films with me. He even chucked popcorn, all in good nature, when I screamed as the werewolf jumped out at the screen.Then he made coffee with honey, vanilla, and cinnamon to make up for his teasing. I sighed happily as I leaned into the couch.

Still another time he helped Dad carry all the new workout equipment he purchased up to the second floor balcony. Joseph didn’t even break a sweat, and he even winked at me as he maneuvered up the stairs. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t appreciate his shirtless upper half… and the view of those tats.

Dad also purchased a jukebox as an anniversary present for mom. Again, Joseph came over and helped him carry the thing up the stairs. Given his propensity for fixing stereos, I couldn’t help but throw a joke in there or two. Joseph laughed… all in good fun. I was beginning to enjoy his presence… at this point, nearly every other day. He was becoming a good friend. Dad and I, of course, tested out the new jukebox… just to be sure it worked for mom later. It was fun grooving to the beats of old time music. I didn’t even care if Joseph was on the porch, leaning against the edge of the porch, smirking. It was hard not to dance to this song.

On Thankful Day, Nora decided she would barbecue the turkey. She found the perfect recipe she said. Of course, my sister + turkey + barbecue + family holiday was doomed to be a disaster. We were just glad she was okay and didn’t burn herself… though she stunk worse than a family of skunks living under a garbage heap.

Joseph just so happened to be jogging by and invited all of us to join him for a Thankful Day feast at the Springside Friends house – our neighbors wouldn’t mind, he said. And Nora totally perked up at the thought of seeing Julian. She spent almost two hours in the shower before finally arriving. Meanwhile, Joseph volunteered us to run to the store together and pick up some extra food, while my parents helped Ali, Sage, and Sammy round up more chairs.

Paper turkeys lined the window front along with the seasonal special: pumpkins. I brushed my fingers over the decoration and smiled. This really was one of my favorite times of year.

“You want a pumpkin?” Joseph asked, pulling some Simoleons out of his wallet. “Pumpkin?”

He winked. I blushed. Before I could protest, he purchased me one. I guess I didn’t really mind. The bright orange color could liven up my room, and I could always make a pie with the pumpkin later. Mmm… pie… with cinnamon… nutmeg… ginger… and a fresh-baked crust in the perfect toasty color with a generous dollop of whipped cream, and Joseph could be sitting at the end of my counter, ready for me to feed him a bite of this delicious… 

“You okay there?” Joseph teased me, nudging my arm as I hugged my pumpkin while we walked to the car.

“Huh? Oh?” I snapped back to reality, and stuck my chin in the air a bit. “I’m perfectly fine.”

Liar! 

In the month of Simcember, I decided to take up boxing lessons. Dad said he’d pay for them as an early birthday present. That’s right. I was turning… wouldn’t you like to know? 😛

Thankfully, Joseph avoided the gym like the plague. I was starting to feel conflicted about him. I liked him as a friend, but I had a feeling he wanted more, and I wasn’t ready to admit I did too. I figured boxing could keep me distracted.

Interestingly enough, Cat drove down to the Springs on Thursday nights to attend the class. Just my luck, Rob’s ex would be here. But she was nice, and she seemed to pick up the boxing moves better than anyone else in the class. Plus she had sweet cat leggings. We joked and called ourselves the Redhead Club because 90% of the students were redhaired. Even our instructor had red hair.

“Hey kehd! What gives?” Cat asked me one night after class.

“What do you mean?” I sighed.

She was still calling me ‘kid’ in that Olde Towne accent.

“You’ve been moping since the beginning of… as long as I’ve known you.”

I was not about to tell her I had it bad for her ex, but I was starting to think about another guy. Was that wrong? Could I move on? Could I be happy?

“It’s nothing,” I picked up my water bottle and took a generous gulp.

Ly-ar,” Cat said, shrilly. “Girl, you’ve gotta get a man.”

I nearly spit all the water out. Setting down my bottle, I pouted.

“What makes you think this is about a guy?”

“Because it’s a womanly intuitive thing. Whadda ’bout that Joseph guy?”

“Joseph? Um… we’re just friends.”

“But you wanna be more.”

Well I did. 

“Plum! Girl! You’re so hot. It’s a wonder nobody’s scooped ya up yet.”

“I don’t know… if I’m such a catch…”

“Trust me… if you swung my way, I’d date ya.”

Cat howled with laughter. I couldn’t tell if she was joking or serious. I decided to flit off to the showers… alone. I needed some time to think and maybe the steam would help me clear my head. I needed to snap out of this funk.

“Yikes! Julian! I… uh…” I flailed my arms and turned as red as my hair. “I’m so sorry… I didn’t realize I was in the men’s locker room.”

“Lizzie…” he tilted his head with a slight smile. “…ça m’est égal.”

“Um… uh…” I reached for the wall and grabbed desperately at the tile, hoping my hand would find the door handle.

Here was a perfectly good-looking guy, wrapped in a towel, who lived in my neighborhood, and was single, albeit younger than me, but still… I was super nervous but not because I was into him. He shrugged the whole thing off, but I still couldn’t get rid of the humiliation. I stumbled out the door and ran away as fast as my legs would carry me.

I didn’t even stop when Cat called after me, worriedly. I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to show my face in there again.


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. FYI, I have different names for the months of the year in my Simworld. Simcember is December. And Sim’c’dIn is my version of LinkedIN. This chapter featured MINEZ‘ Julian DeBateau,   lilypadmeulin‘s Tabatha Lopez, and LegacySims2017‘s Joseph Simself, and mentioned friendsfan367’s Ali Morrison and Karilan’s Sage Reed. Unfortunately, I didn’t really get pictures of Joseph and Lizzie wandering around town. I tried to add a grocery store, and then silly me… forgot that I didn’t have Get To Work. Ha! Well, Joseph gifted Lizzie something so I threw in the pumpkin bit for kicks and giggles. And then… poor Lizzie, walking in on Julian. Seems like a repeat of something. 😉 

#21 How to Blow a Second Chance (LASL)

Cat insisted on driving me home, but she said she needed to make a stop first at the Newcrest Animal Clinic to pick up her kitties. She had four – a Siamese named Doc, a Abyssinian named Josie, a Sphynx named Cleo, and a little mixed breed named Bartholomew A. Bittlebun, Jr. I adored cats so I was only to happy to accompany my new acquaintance on the short walk to the veterinary office. I called my parents quick to tell them I was okay, and debated about texting Joseph, but decided that was probably best. He responded with a hang-out request, but I wasn’t back in the Springs yet, and I wasn’t ready to see him.

“He’s cute,” Cat leaned over and caught a glimpse of Joseph’s avatar on my phone.

“Yeah,” I said, almost dreamily, and then snapped out of it. “Um… how much further is the clinic?”

“Trouble in paradise?” Cat pried.

“Um… what?” I flushed.

“You changed the subject fast,” Cat observed.

“We’re… just… friends…” I bit out, feeling annoyed as I spoke.

“Whatever,” Cat shrugged.

When we arrived, I was greeted by yet another familiar face.

“Marshall, it’s me!”

“What are you doing here, buddy?” I pulled a treat from the little dispensary on the front porch of the vet clinic and offered it to the dog.

The dog barked and ran up the steps to Catarina on the porch. I turned to follow.

“Lizzie?”

“Lizzie! Oh thank the Maker you’re okay,” Rob wrapped me in a big bear hug, the kind I had wanted from him the night I accidentally showed up at Joseph’s house.

Except now, I was pretty humiliated… given the way I was dressed. Rob didn’t seem to care, just continued to linger in the an embrace. I felt his fingers brush across my bare skin and relaxed into his arms. I didn’t particularly care why he was here. I was just happy he was.

“Cat called me. She said you got stranded…” he frowned. “Why didn’t you call me?”

“Um… uh…” my throat felt dry as I tried to pinch out some words. “You had Carrie?”

“Yeah, but I could’ve come back,” he remarked, and his eyes lit up as he reached into his pocket. “Oh wait… I have your wallet. It must’ve dropped in the car when you buckled Carrie in.”

“You do?” my eyes widened. “Holy cowplants! Thank you!”

I toned my enthusiasm back when I saw Cat approaching us.

“So you know… my ex?” Rob’s tone shifted.

“Just couldn’t wait to get back to Newcrest to see me,” Cat joshed.

“You know the only reason I came back is Lizzie,” Rob narrowed his eyes. “What kind of games are you playing,  Catarina?”

I felt like I was stuck in the middle.

“Don’t get your panties in a twist!” Cat smirked.

“I swear…” Rob made fists.

“I know. Listen kehd,” she turned to me. “I know I said I’d drive ya back, but…Rob’s here now and well… it’s been real.”

“Uh thanks…” I replied.

Bobby… you take care’uh that one…” Cat teased as she walked back into the vet clinic. “She’s a keeper.”

I flushed. Whatever did she mean? Rob seemed flustered too.

“I gotta get home,” Rob grunted. “The sitter is costing me a fortune. You mind?” he waved his hand down the street in the direction he was parked and whistled for the dog.

“Sure,” I said, rubbing my arms even though I wasn’t cold. “You didn’t have to come all the way back here.”

I still couldn’t believe he drove over two hours to pick me up, and return my wallet. Just because Cat called? I eyed him sharply as we hopped into his truck. I wondered what really went on between those two.

“Cat’s a screwball.  Even if she followed through,  no one should be subjected to a long car ride with that… that… woman,” he sputtered, and began muttering beneath his breath as the engine turned over.

“Oh,” was all I could think to say.

I wasn’t complaining.  Rob let me select the radio station.  He relaxed once we changed the subject. We sang along to a song or two on the car ride. When we arrived back in the Springs, Rob stopped by his house to relieve and pay the babysitter, who happened to be Sharon Wymer. We exchanged pleasantries before Rob interrupted.

“Blasted freezer bunnies!” he shrieked, pulling Simoleons from his wallet. “It’s highway robbery of the Landgrabb variety… and you fed Carrie candy for dinner? Don’t come back!”

The young lady looked about in tears as she ran down the street. I twisted my lip.  Awkward!

“I should get going,” I glanced nervously over my shoulder, hoping that Joseph wouldn’t see me, especially dressed like I was, since his house was next door.

“Gah! Carrie’s going to be wired all night,” Rob sighed. “Blasted babysitter!”

“She’s just a teenager,” I offered in defense. “And you know how pushy Carrie can be.” I rubbed my head,  fiddling with the hairbow. “It took me several weeks before I figured out how to outsmart her tricks. Was this the first time Sharon babysat for you?”

“Hmm…she’s gotta have fried cowplants up here,” Rob grunted, tapping his temple. “Seventy five Simos for three hours. And for what? She’s no you.”

I couldn’t help but smile. “Try feeding Carrie a milk-based product.  It should help her sleep. And you should give Sharon another chance. She’s a good kid. And I can’t be a fairy godmother all the time.”

Rob managed a thin smile.

“You can come in if you’d like,” he offered, letting his shoulders drop. “I need to feed the little one a proper meal I guess before I can drive you home… if you don’t mind waiting.”

“I don’t mind,” I smiled knowingly.

He liked me. I was convinced.

Rob made us grilled cheese sandwiches, Carrie’s and my favorite, and popped off to the restroom while we ate. The toddler eyed me closely, wondering why I was there on my normal night off. I made polite conversation… well, whatever polite conversation you can make with a kid. She didn’t understand why daddy had run off during their game of tic-tac-toe, but she liked Sharon. And she wanted to know if I’d feed her chocolate nougat too.

“You like my Daddy?” she said, suddenly, her eyes, widening.

“What? No!” I protested, flustered.

“You like my Daddy? Say it! Say it!” she shrieked. “He left me! He likes you!”

“Carrie… shh! Calm down…” I hurried over to the high chair to shush the child.

The toddler threw one of her sandwiches on the ground in protest. “I won’t eat… I won’t eat… Not till you say it… I wanna know! You like my Daaaaaddddyy!”

“Carrie! That’s enough!” Rob said in a commanding tone of voice, re-entering the dining room.

I jumped, startled by his booming voice, and meekly returned to the table to munch on my grilled cheese sandwich before he could address me. Carrie “hmmf-ed” from her high chair, and kicked her legs around a bit, crossing her arms. Rob glanced at me apologetically.

Carrie proved to be too fussy to stay in her high chair. Rob let her out and tried to send her to her room. 

“Daadddy? Daaaaaddy?” she cried out, glaring at me over her shoulder. “Daadddy! Come!” she demanded. “Read baby a story.”

“Carrie… what did I say about calling yourself a baby?”

“I am baby!” Carrie stomped her foot.

“No, you’re almost three and a half. You need to…” Rob sighed as she continued crying, pinching the bridge of his nose, and then stood up. “I’ll be right back.”

Evidently, putting the child to bed was not working at all. Carrie returned moments after Rob collapsed into the chair across from me in frustration. This time she wasn’t fussing or screaming or demanding. She folded her hands seriously in front of her little tummy.

“Daddy?”

“Yes, pumpkin?”

“Is Lizzie going-to…” she gulped. “…going-to…be my…my new mommy?”

She sounded so sad. I leaned back in total shock. I hadn’t thought about that. The reality was… if I dated Rob, I was kinda courting Carrie too. Suddenly, I understood why she was so bratty.

Rob went to talk with his daughter in her room. He was gone much longer this time. I sat dumbfounded, wondering if I should wait or leave. When he returned, I immediately started chattering nervously.

“Rob, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to disrupt things for you tonight. And you drove all that time out of your way to get me neglecting time with your own daughter. And I like you, Rob. I really do. I just don’t want to come between you two. But I really do like you… like you enough to ask you out… if you’ll go…” I slowed down, sensing the imminent ‘no’ forming on his lips.  “…if you’d like to go out with me?”

Rob sighed heavily. “I like you too, Lizzie. But I can’t date right now. Look… I’m a mess…” he ran his hands through his hair. “I have a toddler going on teenager who demands all my attention and she’s staying more days with me now that Cat’s busier and busier with work…”

“I get it,” I interjected,  trying to swallow my emotions.

“And my llama-shit-for-brains ex wants more alimony and more child support so she can boost her own plum catering business,  but if she really cared about Carrie, she’d be here in the Springs. So I’m stuck trying to explain to our little girl that her mom doesn’t want to be here.”

I reached across the table,  offering him my hand. “I can’t be her mom,  but I can help out where I can and you need some time for you too. I’d be happy just hanging around here with you…”

“Lizzie, I am still trying to get a hang of this dad thing let alone be a normal guy who kicks back a beer with the guys and dates awesome women like you. I can’t do serious right now. Hell!” he waved his arms. “I can’t even finish painting my dining room.” He leaning forward, resting his forehead against his hands. “And coming to get you instead of being with Carrie… you don’t understand…” he looked up at me,  infinite sadness in his eyes. “That’s just one more twisted thing Cat can use against me in court and say I was neglecting my kiddo.”

He kicked the table leg,  startling me. I had no idea.  I didn’t think of that. I felt so naive and stupid.

“Rob… I’m so sorry I screwed things up for you tonight.”

“No, you didn’t,” he said, sounding genuinely dejected. “I probably should’ve brought Carrie with me and then she wouldn’t be fussing and worrying about us being on a date…”

“…which we weren’t…”

“We weren’t.”

“And your ex wouldn’t have gotten the better of you.”

I felt horrible for saying it as Rob kicked the table again,  muttering curses.

So that was it then. I showed myself out and told Rob I could walk home. He felt bad, but he obviously didn’t want to leave his daughter. I wouldn’t let him anyway. I told him I’d be okay.

I lied.


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. This chapter featured InfraGreen’s/Trip’s Rob Buckley, Carrie, and Marshall. Lizzie is not having the best luck in the dating department, but true to the ISBI, I’m writing what happens in game. Both Lizzie and Rob confessed their attraction to one another, but Rob rejected Lizzie’s boyfriend request. 😢😢😢 Better luck next time, my Simself, better luck next time. And yes, Joseph still persists. 🙂 

#20 How to Make Do With What You Have

If I had any romantic notions of awakening on a park bench, they were gone the moment the sprinkler hit my face. My heels sank deep into the muddy puddle forming at my feet. Feeling stiff and uncomfortable, I yawned and stretched before standing. I was already wet. There was no point in moving out of the way of the park sprinklers. I was pretty sure an imprint from the wooden slats was on my face and I smelled like the wrong end of a cow. Lovely!

Llamas! I walked across the squishy lawn, and blinked a few times to adjust to the bright sunlight. What time was it? Placing a hand over my silver watch, I sighed in relief. I still had my watch, pearls, and I think… uh oh… my wallet? Where was my wallet? I frantically searched beneath the bench, and nearly twisted my ankle as I tried to rush across the soaked grass. Nothing. Drats! Was I robbed?

Last night was… interesting to say the least. First, I had a disastrous date with Joseph and I was pretty sure I’d been friend-zoned. Then, I had an intriguing conversation with Cathy Tea and met some of my neighbors, one in particular who flirted with me. And finally, I spent an hour in the company of the bushy-faced Rob, strolling side by side along the flower-lined Newcrest Historic Trail with our furry companion, Marshall.

Rob and I enthused about music, our favorite bands, which musicians we saw rising to stardom, and which cover songs sounded better than their originals. I found him easy to talk to, even more so than Joseph, though I found them both to be easy on the eyes. And Rob was a bit more talkative than Joseph, interjecting his thoughts more frequently. I enjoyed his company tremendously. I had helped him buckle Carrie in his truck. He offered to drive me home, but I said my train would be there soon. It would’ve been cramped with the car-seat. Unfortunately for me, I missed the last train of the night. After wandering the historic trail for awhile, I collapsed in Fern Park.

Ugh! I rubbed the sides of my face, not even caring if I smudged my makeup. Joseph had texted me five more times throughout the night, mostly to make sure I was okay.

Joseph wrote: » Hey Lizzie, I was such a jerk. Are you okay? I totally shouldn’t have left you in Newcrest. I’ll come get you. I can be there by midnight.

Joseph wrote: » Lizzie, I’m sorry if I made you mad. I know I was not myself tonight, but it’s no excuse. Please forgive me? 🙂

Joseph wrote: » Lizzie, I called a few times and I’ve texted, but still haven’t heard from you. Getting worried. :/

Joseph wrote: » I know I’m probably bordering on stalking. You have a right to be mad. Text me so I know you got back safely, ok?

The final text read…

Called your house. Your parents said you didn’t come home. Where are you? Please call.

I pushed my phone back in my pocket. Ugh! My parents were probably worried. I had a flood of missed calls from them and my sisters. I didn’t really want to talk to anyone right now. I just wanted to find my wallet. What a stroke of luck! I spotted Joseph’s ex wandering through the park. She didn’t look happy.

“Hey Summer,” I called out.

“Lizzie, right?” she said.

“Yeah, what’s up?”

“Oh nothing! Just guys!”

“Ah…” I tilted my head. “I totally understand. I’ve had some of them my own.”

Summer stomped over to the picnic bench.

“Oh it’s just I love this guy and I’m pretty sure he loves me but there’s this other girl and he likes her too… or loves her… I don’t know. I’m so frustrated and angry. I just want him to make a choice, you know? Is it that hard to make a choice? I mean I broke up with Joseph just so I could be with this guy and he’s still waffling between the two of us. The jerk!” the pretty blonde swiped at a tear.

Well that explains Joseph’s frustration with his ex. 

“I’m sorry,” I tried sympathetically.

“And I pulled a double shift yesterday and now I’m working this morning’s shift too all because I’ve been saving up for weeks to see him. To fly down to Lousimana.”

“Louisimana?”

“That’s where he is. It’s where we all went to college.”

“Oh…what brought you here?”

“My cousin, Jasmine. She travels a lot for various magazines, and she did a Day of the Dead event in Newcrest two years ago and got me a job here at the Star Nut Cafe.”

“Oh… that’s nice.”

“I should’ve known that if I left Travis would take one look at that Liberty and want her bad. And now, he’s telling me he’s not even sure he can see me this upcoming weekend because he’s going with her to an rocket launch in Florsimida. Gawd!” she rolled her eyes. “I bet she’s thinking about another kind of rocket launch, the bitch!”

“Sorry,” I wasn’t sure what else to say.

“It’s okay,” Summer sniffled. “Wait… have you been here all night?”

“Um… I…kinda…” I winced.

“That jerk, my ex… he just left you here?” Summer looked mad.

“Kinda… but I had a couple opportunities to go home last night, and well, Rob… but…” I was rambling. “I’m okay,” I lied.

Summer walked toward me and did something surprising. She gave me a hug, and her next words shocked me.

“Well, he was probably just flustered seeing me and all…” she dropped her gaze. “…but Joseph’s a good guy.”

“Thanks,” I said.

“Do you need any money to get back?”

“No…” I shook my head vigorously.

I’d be fine. Right? Worse case scenario, I’d call my dad. My parents were probably worried about me too since I didn’t come home last night.

“Well,” Summer’s face brightened. “I gotta go to work. Come by the coffee house before you go and I’ll get you a free latte.”

Whatup kehd! I couldn’t help but overhear your predicament,” a redhaired lady in a crazy cat shirt and sweet grey taxi cap plopped down at the picnic table next to me and pushed over a plate with a grilled hamburger.

“Oh… um…” I stammered.

“Don’t worry. I’m not an axe murderer… just a crazy cat lady…” the woman teased. “Rrraarr!” she pretended to claw the air. “Catarina Lynx, but my friends call me Cat. Get it? Cat?”

She hooted a laugh. I chuckled awkwardly.

“Lizzie Green.”

“Well, Lizzie Green… abandoned by two guys in one night… that’s beat. What’s your problem?”

“Uh…” I blanched.

“I’m just kidding,” Cat smirked. “Sheesh! Girl. Ya shouldda seen your face.”  She pushed the plate closer to me. “Eat, girl. Ya gotta keep up your strength ‘specially if you were partying all night.”

I gingerly took a bite of the burger. It tasted okay.

“It’s not poisoned,” Cat laughed heartily. “Where ya from?”

“Oasis Springs.”

No suh! My ex is from there.”

“Oh really?” I tried to sound interested, but I wasn’t sure how to gauge Catarina. “Where are you from?”

“Olde Towne, which is pretty much the Hub of the Universe as we all know.”

It explained the accent.

“But right now, I’m here in Newcrest, the edge of civilization, trying to get my catering biz-ness going while I work out the custody thing with the ex.”

“Wait…” I shook my head and squeezed my eyes shut and then open again. “…let me guess. Your ex is Rob Buckley?”

“Ya know my Bobby?”

The way she used a possessive pronoun made me feel awkward. Bobby? 

“Guilty,” I said sheepishly. “Um… I babysit for your little girl.”

“My Carrie?” Cat lit up. “Ain’t she the stars and sunshine?”

“She is adorable,” I managed, softening a bit to hear the affection in Cat’s tone.

Carrie was all her father, and Cat admitted it. That and millions of other details I didn’t want to know like how they ended things because Rob could be a bartender anywhere, but her catering business wasn’t just going to take off in the middle of the desert, and that she was a major chowderhead, and she flat out admitted it, and that he was a mad kisser. I flushed at the latter. I didn’t know if she knew I was interested in Rob.

“Aww… crud… where are my manners? I’m pleased to meet ya, Lizzie,” Cat reached over to shake my hand. “Any time ya wanna ride up to Newcrest, you give me a holla, girl. I’d be happy to have you watch Carrie for me here too. And I’ll pay double the ole miser,” she nudged me in the waist.

“Oof!” I exhaled sharply and chuckled uncomfortably.

Rob paid me fairly. I suppose it’s par for the course to say stuff like that about an ex.

“Says… you’ve been gone all night… I’ve got some extra clothes in my car… I think it’ll fit ya,” Cat leaped from the picnic bench and bolted across the lawn.

She returned momentarily with a change of attire for me. Without waiting for me to finish my sandwich, Cat dragged me to the park restrooms as if we were best friends, chucking me the clothes over the stall door. It did feel good to get out of the soaked dress. Cat did up my hair with a green ribbon while I washed my face.

I emerged from the bathroom reluctantly feeling like a totally different person. Catarina was shorter than I was so the long-sleeved brown puppy top cropped above my stomach. Thankfully, the jean shorts came up high enough to hide my belly button. I wrapped the green sweatshirt around my waist like late Piscean era. My hair was super floofed but the bow kept it in check, even if the look wasn’t really my style. At least the flip flops were my size. I would have to make do with what I had.


Author Notes: Surprise! Surprise! Another bizarre discovery in game. Rob was formerly in a relationship with Catarina, so I made her his ex, and Carrie’s mom. Wow! Was that ever outta left field! The language Catarina uses is meant to “respectfully” mimic the Bostonian accent. I visited the city back in my undergrad and had a blast. They really do refer to themselves as “The Hub” as in “the Hub of the solar system.” Olde Towne is my Simworld version of Boston. Lousimana is my Simworld version of Louisiana where Willow Creek is located. Jasmine and Summer aren’t actually related in game, but I decided they could be cousins in my Simworld. I have different “eras” of my Simworld history. The Piscean era closely mimics the late ’80s and early ’90s in our world, the Information Era. You can read more about my Simworld historical eras here. Persistent as ever… Joseph kept texting Lizzie throughout the night. Thanks for reading. 

#19 How to Enjoy a Chance Encounter (LASL)

“Fancy meeting you here,” I exclaimed.

“Lizzie?” he looked genuinely pleased to see me. “Wow! You look great!” he whistled. “What are you doing here?”

“Thanks, I came up on the train to check out the coffee house,” I smiled, deciding to leave out that I had originally ended up in Newcrest on a date… or at least I thought it was a date. “What about you?”

“My ex lives here… temporarily… until we can figure out the custody situation with Carrie,” he replied tensely. “It’s still over an hour away so it’s not ideal, but… she insists on being here.”

Two exes in one night. Just my luck. Plum! 

“Ah! What did I do!? Stupid piece of plum,” Rob threw his hands up in the air.

“What?”

“I was trying to send my resume to a couple different agencies and suddenly I get this… blue screen of DEATH!”

“Oh, let me see,” I flounced about the counter and stepped around an Old Simtannican sheepdog.

Leaning forward over Rob, I clicked a few keys and pressed the monitor power button. The computer rebooted. I couldn’t help but inhale his Old Spice cologne. With a few more clicks, I recovered his supposedly lost documents.

“It’s a miracle!” Rob clapped his hands. “Thank you, Lizzie.”

“You’re welcome. I know my way around computers. I’ve had to hunt down missing files before as a writer.”

“That’s right. How’s the novel writing coming?”

“A little here and there. Yours?” I bent down and balanced on my toes as I reached for the dog. “Is he friendly?”

“Yes…and yes… this is…” Rob sighed, and leaned back, rubbing his own neck. “Marshall.”

“Marshall…” I smiled, letting the dog sniff my hand and was surprised with a lick. “Aww… you’re precious,” I maneuvered around so I could balance better on my heels, fully aware that I was giving Rob a bit of a show for the second time with my scoop-neck dress.

Might as well use what assets I have.  

“Why Marshall?” I stood back up reluctantly. “I mean… I don’t know many dogs named Marshall.”

“Named for the musician Marshall Simmerson.”

“What? No way! I love his music!” I exclaimed. “Have you ever seen him live?”

“In Simcago? No, but I’d love to.”

“What he’s done for Simcago house music… he’s got sweet beats…”

“That he does,” Rob checked the time on his computer. “Say I’ve got about an hour before the ex’s time is up with Carrie. You wanna get outta here? I gotta walk Marshall.”

I glanced down at my phone briefly, frowning as I saw Joseph’s name flash across the screen. He texted that he felt bad, acted like a jerk, and wanted to make it up to me. He also felt horrible for leaving me behind. He offered to drive back into the city to get me if I was still there. I slid my phone back into my purse, smiled broadly, walked over, and pulled Rob up from his seat and linked arms.

“I thought you’d never ask.”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. This chapter featured InfraGreen’s/Trip’s Rob Buckley and Marshall (and a side glimpse of MINEZ‘ Siri Beaumont. FYI, I have no idea why Trip chose Marshall, but I decided since I have free reign with the characters to include a tie-in to a music artist since Rob is musically talented. Marshall Simmerson is my Simworld version of Marshall Jefferson, an American house music artist. I was thinking of this song while writing this chapter. Simcago is my Simworld version of Chicago. Joseph did text Lizzie and asked her out on a second date while she was conversing with Rob, ironically, but she chose to ignore it.