City Goal #6: Find Inspiration, Part 3 (LASL)

While I was hard at work on my outline and chapters for my latest story Spice Corridor, Joseph would often go jogging, especially when I was major league frustrated with my inability to phrase things the way I wanted. Plum words. Sometimes the stray cats tried to keep up as Joseph slowed his pace with a smile. They seemed to take a liking to him. I tried to find a way to include these neighborhood cuties as they seemed to hang out in Thymes Square on almost a nightly basis. Sometimes I’d take a journal, sit on a colorful park bench, pop in my headphones to listen to some soothing jazz, and scribble all sorts of notes, imagining all the different people from different walks of life over the decades pass through this area, and all the little animals who inserted themselves into their lives.

“Are the kits yours?” a bearded man in a blue-button down shirt and jeans inquired.

“Naw…but they sure like to follow me,” Joseph replied, bending down to scratch one of the cats on the side of her face.

She purred gratefully.

“Are they strays?” the man prodded.

“I guess,” Joseph shrugged.

“They seem well fed.”

“This is the city. They find scraps anywhere. And people are usually nice enough to feed them around. You new around here?”

“Yeah, just moved from back East. My family’s from around here though. My grandfather settled in that very building…” he pointed. “The name is Ace… Ace Reynolds.”

“Joseph Simself.”

The men shook hands and exchanged pleasantries.

After his shower, Joseph joined me in the office, plopping down to play a game of Blicblock.

“Wait! Ace Reynolds!?” I exclaimed. “The spaceship pilot?

Now I was bummed I hadn’t taken out my earbuds and paid closer attention to the park gatherers.

“I don’t know about that,” Joseph shrugged. “He said he was in video game programming.”

“Do you know any other Ace Reynolds?” I said, whirling from my computer screen excitedly. “Oh I’d love to interview him for this book. Did you get contact info for him?”

“No,” Joseph shrugged, clicking a few buttons. “I just met the guy.”

“He moved from back East,” I placed the pieces together. “The Reynolds family are pioneers in space exploration. They lived for generations in this very neighborhood…” I flipped through my books. “I came across it in my research, I know.”

“Okay, well, I’m sure we’ll see him again since he said he moved into the neighborhood.”

I squealed and clapped my hands. “I am so putting together a list of questions to ask him.”

At the end of the month, my neighbor, Annie arranged a little get together as celebration for finishing my first draft of Spice Corridor. I even managed to land an interview with the much elusive Ace Reynolds. He was pretty shy and generally avoided writers as a rule of thumb, but he made an exception for an up-and-coming author. You never know what kinds of celebrities you’ll run into in the city.

Annie drove Anne Charming, Amy Cat, and myself to Magnolia Promenade across the border in northern Wasimington. I had never been before, and I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy shopping. I typically went alone when I needed new clothes. Mostly because I liked to get in and out of stores quickly. Annie seemed to have an endless supply of crop tops and she claimed Magnolia Promenade had the best. Amy also said something about enjoying “dressing” other people, picking out outfits and the like. She seemed to have an eye for interesting patterns. Anne wanted to find a new perfume and a few shirts for her workplace. I was the only one who didn’t have a shopping agenda.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” I eyed Annie sharply.

“Too late to back out now,” she said, and linked arms with me. “Come on. It’ll be fun, Lizzie.”

Annie convinced me to try out the outfit from the model in the window.

“Too pale,” I said as she ‘ooo’ed and ‘ahh’ed.

I did like the long sweater look though, even if I wasn’t a fan of the leggings.

“What are you saying, Lizzie? I like the sparkle!” Annie smiled.

“I already have an outfit like this,” I remarked. “I like the blue a bit better.” 

“It’s more your colors anyway, Annie,” Anne said, while admiring some perfume bottles. “What do you think of this scent, Amy?” she asked her roommate.

Amy sniffed. “Ugh! Definitely not. I’m going upstairs.”

“I kinda like it,” Anne replied.

Annie convinced me to try on another outfit from one of the models.

“You look nice in leather,” the clerk complimented.

I wasn’t sure what her angle was. I didn’t like the distressed jeans. Plus tan really wasn’t my color. What’s up with all the bland colors here? Plus the model wore it better. She was way skinnier. They needed plus size mannequins, and I determined to leave a comment card. 

Amy took a shining to a white jean jacket and blue tank layered look. 

While Annie chatted up a male patron in pink jeans, I tried one more outfit. I tried to match the model’s serious look while the mannequin child seemed to be eyeing me up and down. I was actually a fan of the hat and the skirt, but the nylons were itchy and the boots were just okay. I still preferred a higher boot. Maybe the store had some knee high boots… or better yet…thigh high. Dream on Lizzie! I thought to myself. Gotta get in better shape for those. I made a mental note to start working out next month. 

As I walked away, comfortable to be back in my own clothes, I noticed a conservative looking blazer hanging along the wall. I might be able to use one of those for work, I thought. The male mannequin rocked the black shirt. 

“Hey, I think an old friend of mine has that exact dress,” I exclaimed as I walked past a pastel blue flowered dress.

“I like the hat,” Anne remarked as she bypassed me, approaching a table with neatly folded tee shirts and socks. 

“So find anything fabulous?” Annie asked.

“Not really,” I sighed. “You?”

“About a half dozen cute tops,” Annie said. “You didn’t find anything?”

I winced. “Maybe a hat and skirt, but I’d like more color. I’m thinking green.”

“That’s your favorite, right?” Amy interjected as she joined us. 

“Yeah,” I replied.

“I might be able to help you out,” Amy smiled and took my arm. “Come with me.” 

Annie picked out a bright pink and yellow dress while Anne tried on a floor-length wild print gown with vibrant oranges, yellows, and hot pinks. Amy, on the other hand, handed me the brown cap I had been eyeing, a green blouse, and a brown pencil skirt. I snagged a little necklace from the counter to complete the ensemble as Anne kicked me a pair of goldenrod platforms.

“I’ll take them,” I agreed, after eyeing myself seriously in the mirror, still trying to perfect the mannequin stare.

“And you’re taking this too,” Amy said, pulling a yellow dress in my size from the rack. “No protesting. I’m buying it for you.”

“Wait… why?” I frowned.

“Because you’re going to look great!” Amy insisted.

“The price!” I gasped.

“Don’t worry about it. We’re celebrating your completion of your novel. Think of it as a present.”

“Well, yellow is kind-of inspiring,” I smiled. “Okay. An exchange? I’m buying you that purple blouse and jean jacket you wanted.”

“Deal,” Amy grinned.

On the final weekend in Simgust, Amy invited us up to Planet Honey Pop for a night of karaoke and cocktails. Unfortunately, she was working in back, but she did promise to pop out later and got us discounted drinks and entry. Annie showed up, rocking her new shiny white skinny jeans and a gold little crop top she picked up in Magnolia Promenade. I, of course, wore my yellow dress and boots. Maybe I was going for a little Simeron Diaz in Knight and Day. We took the floor by surprise with our country duet of Life is a Highway.

Ali showed up and teased us for starting without her.

“I think I can take you,” she said.

“Oh really?” I placed a hand on my hip. “Let’s go.” 

We tried… emphasis on tried… to sing a version of I Need a Hero. Ali brought her own special brand of awesome with her shy smile and graceful arm gestures. I just let loose and belted my heart out. 

After two songs, my pipes needed a rest. I joined Anne at a nearby table and sipped a glass of wine. Annie, on the other hand, enthusiastically showed her support for the latest singer, a blonde bearded man singing a jazz favorite, Fly Me to the Moon. There wasn’t a single person sitting in the house when he finished. Everyone clapped, cheered, and whistled. He was the real deal. I’m pretty sure Annie wanted to fly just about anywhere with the guy. She even approached him after his song to give him accolades personally.

“You’ve got an amazing voice,” Annie gushed. “I just want to curl up with this song and a cup of hot cocoa… with my cat and a warm blanket draped across my lap while I’m in my windowsill on an early spring day. That’s what your music makes me think.”

“Well aren’t you just a tall glass of bubbly champagne,” he said.

She blushed and nearly fell off the stage in her high heels. He, of course, caught her. We let Annie be alone with her latest crush.  

On my way out of the karaoke bar, I spotted Akira.

“Going so soon?” he inquired. “The night is just getting started.”

“Akira?” I waved, surprised to see him. “It’s almost one in the morning.”

I still couldn’t get over the fact that I knew Akira Kibo, pop singer with a dozen singles and a half dozen records.

“Sleep when you’re dead,” Akira shrugged, his hood scrunched up around his face as he moved his shoulders. “Don’t you want to sway among the stars? And dance like there’s no tomorrow? We’re young. It’s time to be alive.”

“I’d like to be alive…”

“So you aren’t alive?”

“Ha! No… yes…” I yawned. “I mean…I’m sleepy and in need of my pillow.”

“Going to bed so soon?” Akira teased. “There’s a great little club in Uptown that doesn’t close until dawn. I was headed there now. You should come. The chairs are so comfy, I bet they’d feel better than your pillow.”

Was he flirting with me?

“Uptown? Haven’t been there yet,” I said, trying to keep my tone neutral. “And I think I’ll go home and sleep with my husband.”

Akira clicked his tongue. “Suit yourself.”

“I’d like to go home when I can still remain upright,” I chuckled. “But thanks for the offer.”

I was tired alright. So tired I couldn’t even make it to the bed as I laid down on the couch. Joseph came to check on me around two-thirty.

“Alright, come on, Lizzie,” he said, nudging me from my resting place.

“Joseph… sorry… I meant to come to bed, but…” I began, leaning my tired head on his shoulder. “Mmm… you make a nice pillow.”

“Pillow?” he made a face.

“Long story, but trust me… you plus pillow equals a…mazing…”


Author Note: Hi everyone, thanks for reading. I really enjoyed all the autonomous actions in this chapter. Ace Reynolds is a Sim I created awhile ago and he finally popped up in one of my stories. Yay! FYI, Simeron Diaz is a play on Cameron Diaz and if you haven’t watched the hilarious spy parody, Knight and Day… here.

This chapter featured my creation, Ace Reynolds, LegacySims2017‘s Joseph, rockannie’s Annie, MsShadami‘s Amy Cat, MadameLee‘s Anne Charming, and friendsfan367‘s Ali. 

Advertisements

City Goal #6: Find Inspiration, Part 2 (LASL)

Oasis Springs had a community pool at the state park, but the days in the desert town was too hot to truly enjoy the water. San Myshuno was much cooler by comparison thanks to the coastal waters and bay breezes. This park sat along the riverbanks and held fond memories for me as the place where Joseph and I spoke our vows. Thanks to a generous grant from a local foundation, our wedding venue now had a narrow outdoor pool for families and friends to enjoy at no-cost and late into the night as the pool was open twenty-four hours. Of course, they posted the usual “no lifeguard on duty” signs to avoid liabilities. I was surprised there weren’t more people in the water when we arrived.

My cousin John was already there, joking around about my sunglasses at night. I “hmmf-ed” and said if he wore his eyewear in the pool, I could too, even though his were prescription glasses. The only other swimmer was a close friend of mine from high school, Karleen. She sported a black strapless tankini, her black hair slicked back in a ponytail. She waved enthusiastically, swimming over to greet us, and introduced herself to our small party of friends. Riley plunged into the water and shook her hand vigorously and asked her all sorts of questions. Joseph followed suit, diving all the way to the bottom before resurfacing. I chatted with Karleen on the bench for a few minutes, catching up on the latest gossip from Willow Creek, where she attended university, and learning about her new roommate in the art district.

“What are you waiting for?” John yelled at me. “Are you chicken?”

“Chicken?” I put my hands on my hips. “Absolutely not!” I hesitated and eyed Joseph. “How cold is the water?” I asked quietly.

“Chicken!” John shrieked.

“Just dive in and get it over with,” Karleen suggested, doing a cannonball into the water as she plugged her nose.

“It’s not that bad,” Joseph smiled.

“Ooo, it’s freezing!” Annie shrieked, dipping her legs in.

It was too late. I already jumped in, immediately chilled by the vast change in temperature between the air and the water.

“Not that bad, huh?” I rolled my eyes, swimming toward Joseph.

He pulled me into a hug. “Yeah, if I hold you.”

“I can’t… even…” Annie stood up on the edge of the pool, shivering. “It’s too cold. Why on Simterra would they cool the water to that temp?”

“Now who’s chicken?” John yelled, tauntingly.

“Well, are you going to stand there and look hot instead?” Karleen teased.

“And it’s wet,” Annie wailed.

Joseph laughed. “Of course, it’s wet. It’s a swimming pool.”

“Maybe wade in from the far end?” Riley suggested.

Annie pouted and said she was going to find some hot snack to enjoy at the food carts as she wandered off.

“But you’ll miss the fireworks,” John called after her.

“What fireworks?” I asked.

“Opening day fireworks apparently,” Karleen said, as we swam across the pool. “So how’s married life?”

I giggled and covered my mouth.

“That good, huh?” Karleen grinned.

“I don’t see any stars,” I pouted.

“Maybe you should take off your sunglasses,” Riley teased, tugging on my braid playfully.

“Ow!” I exclaimed. “But we agreed I look cool in my shades at night.” I giggled as Joseph and John made faces. “No?”

“I’ll go get mine and we can be twinses,” Karleen laughed. “Or the ladies can be triplets…What do you say… Ann?”

The woman was already almost up the steps of the community center building.

“Maybe I should go check on Annie,” Riley said.

“She’ll be fine, I’m sure,” John said, splashing Joseph and me.

“Hey!” I exclaimed. “I don’t want to be in the middle of this.”

“Oh it’s on!” Joseph replied and the two started an intense pool wrestling match.

Riley wasn’t in the mood and went looking for Annie like he said, claiming he wanted ice cream or something anyhow.

“What do you think of him?” Karleen asked.

“Who? Riley?” I shrugged, laying my arms up along the sides of the pool. “He’s a good writer and he’s funny. He’s been a great encouragement to me as I’m trying to get through all these stories the publisher is requesting.”

“He’s…mmm…” Karleen trailed off

He waved and we waved back.

“He’s over at our apartment all the time. Incentive to come over?” I teased, nudging Karleen.

“Honey, I don’t need any incentive to see you…” Karleen glanced past me, watching Riley walk away. “But… it can’t hurt.” She swam over toward John and Joseph. “Okay, how about a game of horse? I call dibs on John.”

“Well, I certainly don’t,” Joseph laughed, releasing John from a headlock.

“So which one of us is the horse?” I smirked, swimming alongside my husband.

“Do you think you can handle me?” Karleen teased John.

“Let me put my glasses down,” I said after Joseph splashed me.

After a few rounds of horse, we headed over to the main festivities. Karleen begged John to buy her some popcorn. I popped off to the restroom, and when I returned, I found Joseph over by the observatory, intently staring at some purple flowers.

“What do you think for our garden?”

“Lilacs? On the balcony?”

“Yeah, I think between you and me one of us has a green thumb… namely me!” he pointed to himself.

I laughed. “I might not be so bad in a garden.” “They seem to be having fun,” I said, watching as Karleen tossed popcorn at John and he playfully nudged her shoulder in the distance before she took his hand and dragged him over to face painting, that she somehow talked him into, even though they were the only adults in line.

“Thinking of playing matchmaker?” Joseph asked.

“Why not?” I smiled. “They’d be good together, you think?”

“We’re good together,” Joseph replied. 

The first fireworks of the night exploded in the sky above us. I was momentarily dazed by the bright pink light in the shape of a heart.

“How sweet!” I sighed.

“Looks like we’ve been abandoned,” Joseph remarked, pointing over to John and Karleen tickling each other mercilessly on a park bench, and Riley and Annie eating at the picnic tables, deeply engrossed in conversation. “Come here, you.”

“I have this problem,” he began seriously.

“A problem?” I narrowed my eyes. “Are you feeling okay?”

“Lizzie… I’m feeling more than okay… I’m feeling…” he swaggered toward me with a cheeky grin.

“Oh my!” I brought my hand to my lips in mock innocence. “And how is that… a problem?”

“Whenever I’m near you, I can’t seem to stop professing my undying love,” he replied.

“I fail to see the problem,” I giggled. “I might have a solution for you though.”

“Oh you do?”

“How was that?”

“Pretty inspirational.”

“We reached for the stars.”

We resurfaced almost an hour later and rejoined our friends. No one else seemed to think anything of it, even if Joseph was grinning more than normal and my cheeks were redder than usual. Karleen leaned over and adjusted my strap.

“Where were you two?” she asked, her eyes twinkling.

“Observing the stars,” Joseph said, pushing past her to approach the food cart. “I’m famished.”

“Sure you were,” Karleen rolled her eyes, and nudged me. “And I’m sure he is.”

“Karleen!” I exclaimed, my cheeks getting hotter.

“What?” she protested, lifting her arms. “You’re newlyweds. If you weren’t, I’d be worried. It’s expect….”

Thankfully, we were interrupted by more exploding fireworks.


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. This chapter featured my created Sims, John Schooner and Karleen Corey, LegacySims2017‘s Joseph Simself, simscognito‘s Riley Cognito, and rockannie‘s Annie Rock.

City Goal #6: Find Inspiration, Part 1 (LASL)

Simgust rolled around with heat and hope. I finally felt like I had good patterns and habits, and that the apartment was where I wanted it to be. Joseph seemed to be able to work in any scenario and situation. Seriously, we would be in the park and he would be managing just fine on his cell phone, or he would stand out in the hallway working on the tablet while Riley was working out, Annie was trying to teach her cat new tricks, and Geeta argued with her son, Raj as he was headed for a new job in my old hometown, and the elevator was on the fritz again and the maintenance crew blared loud Simspani music. I have no idea how he didn’t go batty.

On the other hand,  I needed my designated work space. Since I worked primarily from home, I wanted everything to be perfect.

I needed the right amount of light, but not too much. I preferred some natural light, and I liked fresh air so I often opened up the windows, but sometimes the noises from the street were too loud.

I liked my motivational music, usually some cozy relaxing jazz or epic movie soundtracks if I was really stuck and wanted to feel like a superhero.

I needed my cup of coffee, brewed to my exact specifications (and Joseph was getting good at making it, mostly because he knew it was one of the only ways to rouse me from bed in the mornings). I’m still not a morning person.

And I needed my books within close reach. I checked out a stack of books from the library about the history of the Spice Quarter, and bought more nonfiction books from the online bookstore. I wanted to do as much research as I could in addition to my personal interviews with people who lived in the region, and observation. Joseph would ask me why I stacked all my books on top of an old suitcase next to my desk instead of on one of our many bookshelves. “Research,” I’d say. I liked it within hand’s reach. It’s organized chaos.

When I needed a break from the computer, I plopped down on the couch and played video games. I was bound and determined to beat my current MySims Racing score. It was a fairly easy game, or so I thought at the early challenge levels. Sometimes I got sucked in for hours, not as badly as the Sims Forever game, of course, but I never wanted to sign off when I was close to beating a level. There were many evenings Joseph would arrive home from work and brew a cup of tea or coffee and sit down next to me on the couch as I was still playing.

“I promise I do actually get work done,” I said, without looking up as I pushed buttons frantically.

“Did I say anything?” he smirked.

“No… but…gah!” I waved my arms in frustration as I was defeated by the gold car on the track again, and nearly bopped Joseph in the nose.

“Hey, watch it, Lizzie!” he chided, softly. “I spilled coffee on my jeans.”

“Oh sorry,” I sighed, setting down the controller. “Well, I suppose…” a smile played at my lips. “We could just get you out of the jeans.”

“Another trip to the laundromat,” he grimaced.

“…whatever will we do with you out of your pants?” I teased.

After our evening romp in the bedroom, we both changed into pajamas. It was breakfast for dinner in the Green-Simself residence. I even threw in some gummy bears for fun. Why not? Joseph certainly appreciated my playful mood.

“We should do this more often,” he said.

“What? Eat pancakes for dinner?” I smiled, shoving a forkful into my mouth.

“Naw…” he arched his eyebrows. “Did you forget already?”

I giggled. “I think I might need a repeat.”

We laid our forks on the table simultaneously. I was about to lean across and kiss him when someone knocked on our front door.

“Hey neighbor, what’s cooking?” the voice of Annie Rock, our neighbor, drifted through the door. “Something smells good.”

Joseph and I shared a knowing look, and said simultaneously, “We’re not home.”

Covering our mouths as we laughed, we returned to bed.

Gummy bear pancakes were enough of a success that I made them again when Sugar came by for a visit. I always enjoyed her company. We shared stories about her life in the traveling orchestra, and what it was like to have Sage, the party queen, as a roommate. I had yet to be able to attend one of Sage’s famous galas. I was either at work or Joseph was. Call me an introvert, but I hated going to parties alone… even if I knew Sage.

Sugar didn’t blame me. She typically skipped out on party nights, preferring to play her violin in the town square with strangers than to bump shoulders with them, forced to make small talk in her own home. Sugar enjoyed gummy bear pancakes so much, she even offered to do the dishes afterward in appreciation.

We walked Thymes Square and enjoyed the famous gold statuette, snapped selfies with the friendly neighborhood mascot, a raccoon of all things, admired the detailed street art, sipped our iced lattes, and watched the kiddos play on the playground chatting about everything under the sun from my latest novel to her latest classical composition to favorite vacation destinations to what Joseph would look like if he grew a full beard. That one brought some laughs.

When we returned home, my husband had returned from work and was grilling hot dogs out on the balcony. I got a call from my agent and unfortunately had to excuse myself, but Joseph entertained Sugar with his cat videos and stories from his early morning jogs. He swore he saw some of the weirdest stuff before six in the morning. Riley popped by, smelling the hot dogs, and helping himself to one. He was our resident mooch, but a lovable one. Joseph eyed Sugar’s plate hungrily, but insisted on waiting for me to eat. Poor guy. He waited forty minutes for me to get off the phone.

Sometimes as a writer, I do some odd things for research purposes. Lately, I’ve been taking to soaking in my bathtub as the bubbles help me clear my mind, relax, and unwind. Joseph tries to be supportive and put up with my eccentricities, like sitting in my bathing suit with my sunglasses in the bathtub as I try to imagine sweating out my toxins in a Simpanese bathhouse.

“You wouldn’t be wearing your sunglasses,” he remarked as he washed his hands at the sink, wearing his swim trunks in his latest attempt at solidarity.

“If I was indoors?” I said, sipping on the cup of coffee in hopes of jump starting my brain. “Yeah, I know that, but for this short story I’m writing, I’m considering changing settings from a Simpanese bathhouse to the beach.” I paused and set down my cup. “My protagonist digs her toes into hot sand before splashing out among the foamy green waves, smelling of sea salt and sunscreen.”

Joseph shook his head. “You and your sunscreen!”

“Perhaps…” I narrowed my eyes at Joseph’s sunscreen jab before continuing my story idea. “…the evening ends in a lazy hammock strung between two palm trees, with a good book and coconut juice in hand.” I splashed my arms in the water. “It’s not really a plot and I’m just imagining the beach.”  I rested my arms on the porcelain bathtub as I looked at him over the edge of my sunglasses.

Joseph laughed. “Imagine away.”

A knock on the door took him from the bathroom, but a moment later, after a slight tap, Riley walked into the room, already in his bathing trunks and a tank.

“Wanna go swimming?” he asked. “I hear Myshuno Meadows put in a pool.”

“Really?” I exclaimed, splashing out from the water and picking up my coffee cup. “Sure. Sounds divine. Probably better than my bathtub.”

I pulled the plug so the water could drain.

“Writerly research?” he inquired.

“Yes, could you tell?” I laughed.

He pointed to my hand and grinned. “Coffee cup… and…sunglasses indoors.”

“Totally weird, right?”

“Nope, I slept on a park bench for three nights in a row when I was trying to write a tale about a homeless man. And I wore combat boots and full military fatigues last July, during the hundred degree temps, for my war story.”

“I’m so glad we’re neighbors,” I smiled and hugged him.

“Quirky writers unite!” Riley said, bumping my hip. “So Joseph’s already in swim gear?” Riley grinned and pointed out into the kitchen. “Should we go?”

“Yep, it’s cooler than wearing a shirt and shorts,” I said, walking out into the dining area, motioning for Riley to follow.

“Shirts are overrated,” Joseph interjected with a smirk, grabbing the car keys.

“Well, public decency and all,” I blushed as I walked out into the main hallway.

Joseph leaned into my ear. “Who said I was talking about in public? You know… maybe in the privacy of our home later?”

“We don’t have a pool,” I frowned.

Annie poked her head out from her doorway. “Myshuno Meadows? The new pool?” she asked.

“Yeah, we’re headed there now,” Riley said. “Wanna come?”

“Absolutely.”


Author Notes: Hey readers, I hope you enjoyed. I’m splitting up a long, long chapter into parts again just to make it easier to read. I stepped away from my game for a minute and thought I paused, and when I returned, both Joseph and Lizzie were in swim attire, she was in the bathtub, and drinking coffee. Lol. And then Riley showed up and joined her for a conversation and a pep talk in the bathroom. Among the stranger things I’ve seen in game… haha! Thanks for reading. This chapter featured LegacySims2017‘s Joseph, simcognito‘s Riley Cognito, CathyTea‘s Sugar Maple Bough, and rockannie‘s Annie Rock (even though she wasn’t visibly featured – I somehow missed pictures of her). 

City Goal #5 Enjoy the Spices (LASL)

Simuly arrived with color – flowers in full bloom, artists creating masterpieces on street corners, musicians entertaining the passerbyers with delightful dancing chords, ice cubes clinking in glasses of cool drinks to soothe parched throats, paper lanterns dangling from rooftops and town squares, and fragrant spices filling the air.

Joseph and I enjoyed spending evenings on our balcony outside our apartment. Most nights we grilled our own food, picking up dinner from the local fish market with the large neon peachy pink sign. We never got good fish in the landlocked Oasis Springs.We tried a few new recipes – seafood salmon chowder with chopped scallions, peppered bacon, and salmon fillet  and haddock sandwich with my favorite sriracha coleslaw. Since we lived in the Spice Quarter, finding good spices was a necessity.

Sometimes, when we both had the following day off, we’d stay on the balcony till dawn, talking, laughing, sharing memories and making new ones, spying on our neighbors who did all sorts of things beneath open windows – a musician who penned compositions and tinkled away at the ivory keys, a chef trying out new recipes and sending sizzling dishes out the window to quickly put out the flames, and a hairdresser cutting hair on the fire escape, letting the hair dye fumes evaporate into the sticky summer air. There were the couples who argued about in-laws and rent and schedules as if they couldn’t care less about who heard their screeching voices and then there were the couples that started making out in windowsills and moved to making love beneath twisted sheets.There were children who prayed beneath window frames looking for angels and counting stars, and families who read stories to their kids beneath the hazy night skies.  So much life.

I still can’t believe I can walk into my own apartment – admit the strange penchant for various colored walls, an inability to make up one’s mind regarding the floor type – wooden slats, raggedy carpet, and dirty tiles, the outdated cupboards, and windows that leak air. Joseph was adamant. He found the apartment and most of the furniture was his, but the place was ours. Jointly. We split expenses and chores 50-50. There was no way I could afford this place on my own, and even with Joseph’s years in the city and recent promotion to junior advertising executive, he still couldn’t afford even this nice of an apartment. San Myshuno is an expensive place to live. Neither one of us wanted to live with his former boss’ relative.

Sometimes when we didn’t feel like cooking, we’d order pizza. Usually we would watch a movie or Joseph would channel surf and I’d read on the couch.

“Anything good on?”

Joseph rubbed his jaw thoughtfully. “Chateau du LandgrabbMoonlight Massacre III rerun. And The Real Firefighters of Bridgeport.” 

“Hot,” I said, plopping down on the couch with a cheesy slice perched between my fingers.

“Funny,” Joseph replied.

Post dinner, Joseph graciously cleaned up the dishes, not that we had many. I decided to use the paper plates that the pizza shop gave us, though we both wanted drinks. Joseph drank water, but I wanted a mug of coffee. After a long day, I wanted to relax with a nice cup of joe with my Joe.

“What a refined palate you have,” Joseph teased.

“I know,” I said, sipping on my Simithiopian half-caf blend, and shoving another piece of pizza in my mouth.

“You won’t sleep for awhile,” he remarked.

“I don’t plan on sleeping any time soon,” I said.

“Oh?” he looked excited.

“I’m kinda wired even after all the hard work we did today,” I continued, my eyes twinkling. “So I think I’m going to… read a book. I’ve got a new Sir Conan Doyle Arthur mystery.”

Joseph tossed the dish towel at me. “You’re no fun, teasing a guy.”

He opted to watch Moonlight Massacre III while I read Simlock Holmes and the Missing Third Quarter. We were both thoroughly entertained, engrossed in our respective activities. I, for one, missed reading. I hadn’t enjoyed the luxury as much recently with the move and the focus on my career as a published writer. It felt good to sink my teeth into good literature again.

“You’re missing the part where the guy goes all crazy werewolf like under the full moon,” Joseph said. “And he tears into the ground, ripping the grass to shreds with his claws.”

“That’s nice,” I replied, only half-listening.

“…and his shirt rips off his chest.”

“Uh huh.”

Joseph perched his elbow on the side of the couch with a sly grin on his face, his head resting on his fist. “And then I decide to rip off my own shirt and join in howling in the moonlight.”

I slammed the book shut, and dropped my book on the floor. “Wait… what?”

“Just kidding,” he laughed. “Do we have any popcorn?”

“Hmm… I think… in the cupboard above the sink,” I replied, a slow smile spreading across my face. “Wait… so you… aren’t removing your shirt?” I asked, playfully.

“Are you?”

We watched the stars sparkling above Myshuno Harbor and the traffic speeding past on Highway 1. We discovered the karaoke studio with Annie and Riley last weekend, and we planned to go again. Joseph wasn’t even less thrilled about singing as he was about dancing, but I convinced him to go last time. He mostly cheered us on from a table near the stage. I offered to practice a few steps with him at night on the balcony with my old beat-up stereo set from high school.

“Dance with me,” I said.

“What? Here?” Joseph wildly glanced around to see if he could spot any people nearby.

“Why not?” I shrugged. “It’s our own balcony.”

“But someone could see.”

I grabbed his hand and moved him in front of me.

“Shush…” I said cheekily. “And dance with me.”

“So bossy,” he grunted and began snapping to the beat.

“Come on… it’ll be fun…” I assured him as I began singing and swaying back and forth.

We were victims of the night,
The chemical, physical, kryptonite
Helpless to the bass and the fading light
Oh, we were bound to get together,
Bound to get together.

“I’m not sure I’m doing this right,” Joseph sighed, grooving mildly to the beat.

“There is no right or wrong… there just is…” I interjected as I waved my arms.

“It might help if I could see your moves.”

I forward confidently. “Feel the beat… like this…” I snapped my fingers.

Joseph mimicked what I did as I sang and swayed my hips.

“Oh, don’t you dare look back.
Just keep your eyes on me.”

“I don’t know.”

Are your eyes on me?” I asked, pushing pause on my stereo.

“I don’t know, are they?” Joseph said, cheekily.

I poked him in the chest for his comment. “Then do what I do.”

I took his arm and guided him in front of me again.

“But!” he protested.

“Shut up and dance with me…” I cut him off, and then grinned, “Pleeeease?”

She took my arm,
I don’t know how it happened.
We took the floor and she said,

“Oh, don’t you dare look back.
Just keep your eyes on me.”
I said, “You’re holding back,”
She said, “Shut up and dance with me!”

This woman is my destiny
She said, “Ooh-ooh-hoo,
Shut up and dance with me.”

Oh, come on girl!

We danced like no one was watching, victims of the musical kryptonite, beneath the full moon over San Myshuno. And we had the time of our lives.

The summer spice festival arrived. I was excited. Five whole days of superb spices, fun food, and excellent company. As I had just officially published Poemmetrics, I was looking forward to doing research on my next non-fiction novel, a series about city life that my publisher recommended. I planned to do research at the festival. I already had a title – Spice Corridor.

On the first day, I ran into my neighbor, Riley.

“What a pair we are!” I remarked. “We look great.”

“Lizzie, are you delusional?” I rolled my eyes teasingly and placed a saucy hand on his hip. “We look hot!”

I smirked. “Have you got a copy of Poemmetrics?”

“Yep,” he replied. “I got it fresh off the presses.”

“Speaking of fresh,” I nodded toward the back corner. “I’m dying for some basil and garden tomatoes. I’d like to grow on our balcony.”

“I know a guy,” Riley said. “I can hook you up.”

Riley watched me as I snipped some sage. Joseph grabbed a plate of rice and beans and chatted with our other neighbor, Annie.

“Hey, aren’t you going to get some basil?” Riley asked.

“Yes,” I said, using my shears precisely as I concentrated.

“Okay, I’m just reminding you,” Riley shrugged from the other side of the table.

“Why are you hanging out over there?” I asked.

“Because…” he said. “The vendor isn’t back. How are you going to pay?”

I plucked some Simoleons out of my pocket and shoved them in the little glass jar on the table. “Honor system, silly,” I smiled.

On the second night, I met Teresa Spinks at the train station. She was super excited to see me. I hadn’t seen her in two years so Teresa had blossomed into a lovely thirteen year old, complete with all the teenage hormones. She had been texting me for weeks about boys, actually one boy in particular.

It didn’t matter that she was getting straight A’s in school, and had picked up violin, inspired by Sugar Maple Bough. It didn’t matter that she had lots of girlfriends or a good relationship with her family. She needed more, she tried to convince me. She wanted more. She wanted… Steve Wymer. According to Teresa, he was super cute and funny and popular and somehow he didn’t know she was alive. I told her to do what I did. Try the bold approach. Just tell him she was into him. Then again, she had plenty of time to date. 

Teresa and I wandered to get food since we were both hungry. We purchased curry from the food stalls and continued to chat about love and life.

“But how do I know if I’m ready to date?” Teresa asked.

“Ooo… who’s the lucky guy?” a young redhaired woman dressed in an off-the-shoulder sweater and short pleated skirt piped up behind us.

“His name’s Steve,” Teresa dropped her head.

“Hey, Teresa, what did I say about getting down about it?” I exclaimed. “The whole world doesn’t need to revolve around dating. You’re still young. You’ve got time.”

“But you’re married, Lizzie, it’s different for you,” Teresa sighed.

“I’m not married, and I like my single life,” the other redhead interjected. “In fact, I’m thinking of starting a club for all the single ladies. I’m Anne… Charming…” she introduced herself.

“Nice to meet you.”

“Teresa.”

Charmed,” Anne said.

“I’m green with envy that you can pull off that off the shoulder look,” I said, making a pun of my own name. “I’m not sure I could do it.”

I was always concerned about my broader shoulders.

“Oh thank you,” Anne smiled.

On the third night, Joseph and I entered the spice contest. I had been practicing all week with eating more spicy foods to prepare my tongue and stomach. Chipotle avocado nachos. Simiribbean jerk chicken. Teriyaki beef bowls. Simjun noodle soup. I was prepared. Joseph on the other hand wasn’t. Poor guy. His mouth was on fire for most of the evening. I, however, became crowned the new spice champion. Other than bragging rights, I didn’t win anything.

We ran into Cathy Tea. She was visiting the city more often with her books becoming more popular. It was nice to see her, although Joseph wasn’t pleased.

“Ow!” he exclaimed. “You’re on my foot.” 

“Oh sorry,” Cathy apologized as he stepped away. “It’s the spicy food! Makes my toes go numb, too!”

“Hey Cathy, how have you been?” I inquired.

Great. Contemplating poetic prose since you just published your latest novel.”

“Did you read it already?”

“I read it in one sitting! Well, technically, three, if you count the times I got up to make fresh pots of tea! It makes me reflect on Bach–the connections between math, music, and other patterns. Do you think it’s possible to write an entire chapter as a palindrome?”

“You always ask the most intriguing questions,” I replied, thoughtfully rubbing my chin.

“I think I need some milk,” Jospeh interjected.

“Poor Joe,” Cathy jabbed. “Can’t stand the heat.”

Joseph grumbled beneath his breath as he walked away.

 

Cathy and I wandered off while Joseph went in search of milk. We stopped to look at the various vendors selling items. I always thought it was amusing that the spice festival sold bacon and eggs tee and chicken drumstick tee shirts. Those didn’t seem too spicy, unless you peppered the bacon, made the eggs into huevos rancheros and you added hot sauce to the chicken. I picked up curry powder at a stall while Cathy and I discussed one of her latest stories.

“So, I’m actually here doing research!” Cathy said. “It’s for my next novel.”

“Oh, what’s it about?” I inquired, excitedly. “I’m doing research too… about this very neighborhood actually.”

“It’s about… Well, I’m sort of embarrassed to say. It’s about my latest, greatest crush, which is on an S-Pop Boy Band, GOTSims! Oh, they’re SO cute and adorable and, as all their ahgase say, ‘So, so soft!’” she chuckled as her cheeks flushed. “Anyway, I felt inspired to write a silly little S-Pop story, and in the novel, the auditions will be held here, so I thought I’d better scope out the setting, get a feel for the atmosphere! Sugar and I are hitting up the karaoke bars after this!”

“There’s Sugar now! Hey, Shug! Ready to warble?”

“I’m your wing-gal, CT,” Sugar said.

“We should sing a duet–or, want to join us, Lizzie? We could sing a trio!”

“Right on!” said Sugar. “We could sing ‘Teenager!’” Cathy blushed and laughed some more.

“I’m down,” I replied. “Let me let Joseph know.”

“I’m a hopeless ahgase!” Cathy said, fluttering her arms in a baby bird imitation.

On the fourth night, Cathy, Sugar, Annie, and I decided to listen to the street musician, which happened to be my friend, Aria, strumming on the guitar with her soft soprano singing. Anne Charming was there too, wearing a bright orange tee shirt from the festival. She was super fascinated by Aria’s music and excitedly whistled and clapped in rhythm.

“Thank you, a little songbird requested this next song,” Aria announced.

Anne laughed happily. I figured she was the “songbird.” 

Anne joined my neighbor, Annie, decked out in bright colors at the picnic table with Sugar and Cathy. Riley was also hanging around as Aria burst into song. He made a face.

“What’s wrong?” I inquired.

“I’m not a fan of opera,” Riley grimaced. “I prefer show tunes.”

“Aria is very talented. I’m sure she could do a Simway ballad if you ask her,” I suggested.

“Naw, I think I’m going home early. I’m tired,” Riley yawned.

I walked with Riley to the festival entrance before stopping at the fountain. I had seen the beautiful Simdi designed fountain previously with the red, pink, and orange tiles and a sweet little elephant spouting water into a small pond filled with red lotus flowers. Yet tonight, the beauty of the structure beneath the waving pink and orange paper lanterns, struck me. I admired it from a short distance, puckering my forehead as I thought about what I wanted to wish for. The bottom was peppered with coins, and I pulled out my own, tossing it in with the dreams and prayers hopes of many before me. Somehow we were all connected in an infinite moment of collective hope.

On the final night, Joseph and I decided to try the bubble bar together. Neither one of us had ever attempted it before, and we figured it was probably safer to do experiment with the flavors with a partner. The bubble bar was brightly colored with gray tubes and yellow nozzles, tucked away in a corner of the festival. The vendor provided purple cushioned seats for the patrons’ comfort. We paid for a single try in case we didn’t like it.

“Are you ready for this?” Joseph asked.

“Yeah, I think so,” I bit my lower lip. “What’s the flavor the vendor loaded?”

“Blueberry,” Joseph replied, pointing to the blue bubbles popping around in the glass section.

“Okay, here goes nothing,” I said, as we reached for the nozzles simultaneously. 

If there was ever a moment to regret, it may have been this one. The bubbles grew bigger and bigger, the size of the moon, many translucent blue moons. Somehow I wondered if the colored tiles below me would stop spinning in psychedelic patterns. Another man joined us at one point and swayed back and forth to the nonexistent music, but it wasn’t like I was all that more lucid. I recalled waving to Riley and screaming about how excited I was about ducks and penguins, I think, and I asked Sugar to bring me a cocktail. She promptly refused. I think I was pretty far gone. What was most annoying was it barely affected Joseph. In fact, he pulled out his phone to update his social media status and check some work emails.

“How… how… how can… you think…” I scrunched my forehead, feeling a booming headache approaching. “…about work now?”

“I think it’s time to go home, Loopy,” Joseph slid his phone into his pocket and smiled.

“Whhhooo’s looooopyyyy?” I protested, but slurred the words.

“Come on, beautiful,” Joseph motioned toward the street. “Do you need help?”

“Naaaaww…you think I’m beauuuuuutifulllll?” I said with the goofiest grin on my face.

“Yes and you think I’m hot,” Joseph teased. “…or that’s what you’d say if you were with it.”

“Shuuuuut uuuupppp!” I slurred. “I… I… I am… finnnnnne,” I said emphatically. “Yoooouuuu arrrrre… hotttt!”

“Uh huh,” he wrapped his arm around my waist.

“Youuuu….” I pointed up at his face. “…arrrrrre…”

Before I knew it, I was sprinting toward the street and nearly collapsing on the sidewalk. I learned my lesson. No more bubble bar for Lizzie.


Author Note: Hey everyone, I had fun writing this chapter. I realize that it was super long so I thank you for reading. I recognize the Spice Festival doesn’t last for days but this chapter is supposed to cover about a month’s worth of writing, hence the length, so I stretched the festival over a week. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about it until after the fact that everyone is roughly wearing the same clothes every day of the festival. I’ll have to keep that in mind in the future. Much thanks to CathyTea for collaborating with me on portions of this chapter. 🙂 

I already established in another story that Sir Conan Doyle Arthur was my Simworld version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Simlock Holmes and the Missing Third Quarter is a play on Sherlock Holmes. My Simself loves coffee… much like my real self… and puns… so sorry Joseph, but the ‘cup of joe’ thing will probably never get old. 😛

The lyrics in the middle of the dance sequence is from the song Shut Up and Dance, originally by Walk the Moon. I was listening to a version by Alex G and Mike Tompkins amazing acapella cover – totally recommend it. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to get Joseph and Lizzie to dance together. Maybe the dimensions of the balcony are too small? Haha… but it worked. I had fun screenshotting. 

Little Teresa has a crush! I thought it was cute. She had been texting my Simself for days before visiting. It was great timing. I loved Anne’s interjections too and the Single Ladies Club was something Lizzie got invited to join (the invitation came from Anne). I didn’t know it was a thing. And seriously, Anne Charming rocked that off-the-shoulder sweater, didn’t she? 

FYI,Simiribbean is my Simworld version of the Carribbean, Simjun is Cajun, and Simuly is July. 

This chapter featured LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself, simscognito‘s Riley Cognito, rockannie‘s Annie Rock, skcaga6‘s Teresa Spinks, MadameLee‘s Anne Charming, CathyTea‘s Cathy Tea and Sugar Maple Bough, and MINEZ‘s Aria Rhys. 

City Goal #4: Settle into City, Part 3 (LASL)

On Friday, I met with my agent again. When I arrived home, I was enjoying a giant plate of pasta and chicken when a tiny furry creature ran across the floor and halted on the rug. I stopped mid-bite, eyeing the little devil masquerading in a suit of fur and whiskers. It appeared more scared by me than I was of it.

“Joseph?” I called out loudly.

The furry critter scampered right over my foot. I won’t even pretend to hide the fact that I screamed. Joseph immediately appeared in the living room.

“What?”

I pointed, set my plate down on the table, and ran out the front door.

I nearly collided with Riley.

“What’s going on?” he inquired. “I heard shrieking.”

“Oh you don’t want to go in there!” I shrieked. “We have mice!”

“Mice?” he repeated.

“Mice!”

“As in more than one?”

“Well, no… um… I only saw one.”

“And it chased you out of the apartment?” Riley snickered.

I flushed. He offered to walk inside first. 

By the time Riley made it into the living room, Joseph had moved the furniture to find the hole in the wall where the mouse originated.

“Now, you need to just go back to where you came from,” Riley seemed to speak directly to the mouse. “Lizzie does not want you in this house.”

“Talking to it will get it to leave?” Joseph asked, walking into the room with a trap he pulled out of the office.

“It’s… it’s…” I sputtered. 

Joseph set the trap just inside the hole with a tiny piece of cheese… my good Gouda cheese… mind you. I guess, it didn’t matter. I wanted the thing obliterated. I was grateful his hand came back from the darkness.

“You should tell Geeta and Raj,” Riley suggested.

“Is it safe?” I bit my lip, hovering near the table.

“It’s safe,” Joseph assured. “Yeah, we’ll tell the landlord.”

Tentatively, I approached the living area. Joseph went to tell the landlords about our tiny rodent problem.

“It’s cute,” he smirked. “You’re afraid of mice? I learn something new every day.”

I flushed.

“It’s okay, they won’t hurt you,” Riley tried to assure me.

“I’m not so sure,” I sighed.

We settled on the couch, which was now right up against the dining table, at least until Joseph moved back. Riley spitballed a few ideas and I gave him some feedback. Then I shared the progress I made on Poemmetrics, and he gave me a few pointers. 

As the evening grew later, I was bit with the inspiration bug and sat down at my computer to write for an hour or two while Riley helped himself to my enormous book collection. I didn’t mind. He was nice company. Every once in awhile, I’d read a sentence aloud and get his opinion.

I learned Riley picked up a part-time shift at Walrus Books down on the wharf to make ends meet. Living in the city was expensive. Joseph and I just paid our first and last month’s rent so we understood. Joseph was angling for a promotion at work, but so far, hadn’t made much progress. I hoped my passive income from books would help.

Saturday night arrived. I was super excited. Tonight was karaoke night! Joseph opted to stay home and try and get some extra work done. I was tempted to tell him he wasn’t much fun, but decided not to tease him as our electric bill was higher than we expected because for some reason it was due earlier… something about the last tenants. I dressed up and met Annie and Riley in the hallway. Aria was also in the city that night so she came and joined us.

Annie and I started the evening with an ambitious ballad. We weren’t half bad. Aria cheered us on while Riley went to get drinks, and apparently flirt with a bartender.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone
What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn’t mean I’m over ’cause you’re gone

We at least we were having fun on the chorus.

Riley came back while Annie popped off to the restroom. Aria and I sang our hearts out to Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It was a treat to sing with her sweet soprano. 

Annie made it back to hear the ending.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can’t I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can’t I?

Turns out Munter was next door, trying out for the karaoke contest. He tried a classic pop song. I decided to listen while Annie and Aria mingled at the bar. Riley grabbed my arm and wouldn’t let me fully walk into the room.

“That’s… that’s… Akira Kibo!” he said, his eyes wide.

“Akira?” I repeated.

“Yeah, the pop singer…” Riley looked as pale as a ghost and was shaking like a leaf.

“Holy cowplants! I wonder what he’s doing here?” I said in an excited whisper.

 

We waited until the end of Munter’s song before I walked up and waved hi to him. Riley stayed along the back wall, too nervous to meet one of his idols.

“Hey Lizzie,” Munter said. “Thanks for listening.”

“Yeah, you sounded great,” I remarked, trying not to stare at the professional singer.

“Hi, I’m Akira,” he introduced himself smoothly.

“Hey, I know who you are,” I remarked, even though I was pretty sure I only had one of his CDs loaded on my MAB. “I’m Lizzie.”

“Nice to meet you,” he smiled, looking at the ceiling. “Ah… don’t you just love this place? I love all the fresh colors on the walls. Bright. Cheerful. Inspiring.”

“What’s up with Riley?” Munter asked, with a smirk.

“Um…” I looked back to see Riley still clinging to the wall as I leaned in to whisper to Munter. “I think he’s shy…about Akira.”

“Oh Akira?” Munter said, loudly, making Riley flush and slip out of the room. “Oh yeah, he’s in here all the time.”

“Yeah, you up next, Lizzie?” Akira inquired.

“I’m up for it…” I said, but before I could approach the karaoke machine, Lauryn, my cousin’s roommate walked in and killed it with a Whitney Simston original.

I will always love you
I, I will always love you.

You.
Darling, I love you.
I’ll always…
I’ll always love you.
Ooh
Ooh

I tried, but I just couldn’t hold up to her level with my own solo, but I did have fun singing.

So to all the girls that’s hurting
Let me be your mirror, help you see a little bit clearer
The light that shines within

And there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful

I did manage to attract a little bit of a crowd in the bright yellow room. Riley and Annie cheered me on from the front row, and John, my cousin, arrived and clapped. Lauryn blew me away with her talent, and even so, she encouraged me, and said I sounded really good. 

Shockingly, a sharply dressed business executive approached me.

“I organized this little karaoke night,” he remarked. “I’m always looking for fresh talent.”

I blushed. “I’m doing this for fun and all.”

“Don’t sell yourself short, kid,” he remarked. “I’d be happy to have you come over to our studio and audition sometime.”

“What about…” I looked around for Lauryn.

“We’re looking for something more along your lines. What do you do for a living?” he inquired.

“Uh… I’m an author,” I said, bringing my hands up over my stomach, almost self-consciously. “I’m not looking for a career change…but thank you…I’m flattered.”

“A singing author?”

“Yeah, I’m working with this awesome indie publishing house here in the city.”

“If you ever change your mind,” he remarked, plucking a business card from his coat pocket as if it were second nature and handed it to me. “Or if you want to take a break from writing and want to stretch those pipes… your message… like in that song…” he pointed back to the front of the room where the karaoke machine was. “…would be well received among my team.”

“Okay… thank you…” I smiled shyly, taking note of his name, Justin Delgato, and his multiple workplace addresses with a primary address in Brindleton Bay in Massimchusetts.

The irony was not lost on me. I wondered what an executive for Sim.Tv was doing in San Myshuno for an amateur karaoke night as I shook his hand vigorously.

I wandered over to the bar where Riley and Aria had already ordered drinks.

“What was that all about?” John asked, walking up behind me.

“Um… I think a job offer,” I shrugged.

“What? Seriously?” John exclaimed.

“Who?” Riley inquired, craning his neck.

“A television producer. His name is Justin Delgato,” I tried to sound casual, but inwardly, I was thoroughly surprised and flattered.

“Wow, that’s incredible,” Aria interjected. “I got onto a program on Sim.Tv last year with about twenty other singers. It was an tribute to opera.”

“I don’t think he wants me to sing opera,” I slid onto a barstool. “Who’s up for Bernish root beer floats? I’m buying…” I signaled the bartender wanting to draw attention away from myself.

Riley said he needed to get home since he worked early the next morning, and offered to walk the already inebriated Annie back to the apartment. Munter drank a shot or two with me and chatted for a bit, but then he left too. John was fading fast and looking exhausted after a long day at work so he left with Lauryn. Aria needed to catch the late night express so she cut out, but I felt like the evening was just getting started. I texted Joseph to see if he wanted to join, but he texted that he was in the middle of work. I shrugged, slid onto the barstool again, ordered myself another root beer and a meat and cheese platter. 

“Hey, how’s it going?” a perky redhead, wearing a pink, purple, and black tee shirt, with headphones draped around her neck, said to me.

She was seated at the end of the counter.

“Good… I’m Lizzie…”

“Amy.”

“Want some food? I ordered enough for the whole party but everyone split on me,” I offered.

“Sure,” she smiled, sipping her lemon zinger. 

“You come here often?” I asked, and then resisted the urge to laugh.

I didn’t want to sound like a stalker.

“Only on my nights off. I work up at Planet Honey Pop,” she giggled. “But shh! Don’t tell anyone.”

“Are you scouting competition?” I asked.

“Naw… nothing like that. I just like to frequent other bars than my workplace, ya know?”

“I can totally understand that,” I bobbed my head. “Well, let’s dig in, shall we?”


Author Note: Hey everyone, thanks for reading. The songs featured in this chapter include Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger (because I karaoked that in high school), the classic, Somewhere Over the Rainbow,  Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You (I have a lot of respect for Whitney and she has an incredible powerhouse voice), and I selected Scars to Your Beautiful, a cover by Rebecca Black (because this is a song I’ve always wanted to sing, even if it’s not a traditional karaoke song – I think it has a powerful message, and this is something that I’m super passionate about – positive body image and self-esteem). I was a little bummed Joseph didn’t come out for the night and Riley and I didn’t get to karaoke, but maybe next time. 🙂

BTW, I shortened the Mini Audio Blaster to MAB in the story above, and Bernish is my Simworld version of Irish so it’s a spiked root beer (delicious).

I should’ve known that I couldn’t stick to a Friday only schedule. 😉 I’m ahead on my posts so I’m thinking about Monday, Wednesday, and Friday updates. Thoughts? 

This chapter featured LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself, simscognito‘s Riley Cognito, Munterbacon‘s Munter Bacon, MINEZ‘s Lauryn Marks and Aria Rhys, rockannie‘s Annie Rock, and debuting MsShadami’s Amy Cat. Thanks for reading. 

City Goal #4: Settle into City, Part 2 (LASL)

Tuesday morning rolled around. Joseph stirred first. He went for a jog, returned, and I was still sleeping. Quite typical actually. When I groggily stirred, he said, “Good morning, sleepyhead.”

I grimaced.

“How about beautiful?” he grinned, pulling me into a hug.

“Okay handsome,” a smile tugged at my mouth corners.

Joseph pulled me into a hug and apologized for the previous night.

“You didn’t apologize last night?” I muttered, still trying to wake up.

“I did, but I think you fell asleep first. It can’t hurt to say it twice,” Joseph replied. 

Joseph decided to set up the bookcase, mop the office floor, update his social media, and made us both bowls of oatmeal, which he brought to me in bed. Sometimes I wish I had his energy. He plopped down at his computer, checking some social media stats and excitedly announced he gained more followers. He also decided to work from home, claiming he was more productive when I was nearby.

“You’re full of it,” I laughed. “You just don’t want to get dressed.”

“So?” he smirked. “I can want both.”

After showering, I dressed for a meeting with my agent as she decided to break up our meeting into two sessions. Joseph’s productiveness made me feel motivated and I cleaned out the refrigerator, organized our coffee mugs, cleaned the coffee pot, and scrubbed out the sink and microwave.

As I was making lunch, chopping onions for the pasta, Riley knocked on the door.

“Hello there,” he said. “I was stopping by in search of a bit of inspiration. Perhaps we could ruminate some ideas together?”

I waved him inside the apartment. “Ruminate away. I’m just making lunch. Would you like some pasta?”

“Smells delicious,” Riley bobbed his head.

“Hey man, good to see you,” Joseph entered the room and shook Riley’s hand.

“You up for more push-ups in the hall?” Riley inquired.

“Always,” Joseph said. “And I’ll kick your…”

“Joesph!” I cut him off. “He’s our guest… be nice.”

“I am being nice,” Joseph insisted, wrapping his arm around Riley. “It’s just a little friendly competition.”

“Absolutely,” Riley smiled. “I think I might be better at sit-ups and pull-ups anyhow.”

When our neighbor popped off to the bathroom, Joseph started toward the office again. I smirked as I watched him walk away.

“You got dressed?”

Joseph nodded. “Probably best since we have company.”

“Still…” I smiled flirtatiously as I trailed off. “I like watching you work… in your boxer shorts.”

Joseph grinned, and came over planting a kiss on my cheek. “I can do it again later.” 

Riley brought over his notebook and jotted down a bunch of ideas while I ate my pasta. He completely forgot all about eating.

“I like the aesthetics of your apartment,” he remarked. “This place has got great vibes for inspiration.”

“Really?” I replied, swallowing my third to last bite of pasta.

Brainstorming made me hungry.

While I popped off to my meeting with my agent, Joseph settled onto the couch to play some games on our television. 

Since Riley’s computer was on the fritz, I offered to let him use mine while I was out. He greatly appreciated this, and used the time to work on his novel and chat with some friends on the Internet to hash out even more ideas. The guy was an idea machine.

When I arrived home in the evening, I changed and settled into the couch to work on some Party Frenzy strategies as that was the next game my cousin, John wanted to teach me. Joseph had set up our lamp and an extra chair in the living room before spending the afternoon with his friend, John (not my cousin). Riley was still in the office typing away furiously. Joseph helped himself to a plate of my leftover pasta from lunch.

“Do you want any?” he asked, directed at me.

“No thanks,” Riley called from the office. “I come up with some of my best ideas on an empty stomach.”

Joseph walked into the kitchen as I offered him a wince and mouthed, “Sorry.”

Riley finally went back to his apartment around ten.

“I thought that guy would never leave,” Joseph sighed.

“Shh! He’s nice. And his computer isn’t working,” I replied.

“I’d work on his computer then if it means I get more alone time with you,” Joseph remarked and smiled, “Come here, you.”

The following morning, Riley showed up at the apartment at six-thirty.

“Yo!” he called out, clapping his hands. “Anyone up for getting their exercise on? ‘Cuz I’m here to pump you up!”

I rolled my eyes, tugging the covers over my shoulder. Nope, exercise wasn’t about to rouse me from my extra fifty-five minutes of sleep. Not even the promise of a freshly brewed cup of Simithiopian coffee could tempt me out of bed. However, Joseph answered the challenge. While I slept, the men seemed to be sizing each other up.

Then they got into the workout together. 

However, when it was time to jog, Joseph left Riley behind in the dust. That’s my man!

A good day starts with breakfast. Some days I’m more ambitious than others. Today I chopped onions and tomatoes and a pinch of fresh chives for an omelet. That would last me until lunch. 

I settled into work on my novel from home. I seem to work best in places other than my actual workplace office. 

Joseph joined me about an hour later, having showered after his run, as I was staring at a blank screen.

“How’s it coming?” he asked.

“Ummm…” 

Joseph decided to work from home too. Unfortunately for me, I had a lot of work to do, and he kept cracking jokes and trying to make me laugh. I wouldn’t have minded if I wasn’t under deadline.

He finally left me be so I could concentrate and tested out our patio grill. His first attempt at veggie burgers wasn’t bad. We were out of ground beef. I would have to add it to our grocery list. I have to admit, it was nice to have a grill on our balcony. He must have had a light workload since he was goofing around so much.

On the other hand, I needed to finish my short story for my editor to review by the end of day, and I needed to work on my anthology, PoemMetrics, The Poetry of Math and Music. Talk about stretching myself. These weren’t my sharpest subjects in school. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very inspired, but once Joseph left to hang out with Raj, our neighbor and landlord, I was, at least, focused.

On Thursday, my agent suggested that I get out in the city for some inspiration. It was a good day for it too as Ali was supposed to be visiting from the Springs. Joseph had the day off so he accompanied me to Thyme Square, the park across the street from our house.

I decided to do some independent research and poll various city residents on how they used math and science on a daily basis for my PoemMetrics anthology. We first saw Riley. He loved the idea and recommended I consider a musical component also.

“Great idea!” I exclaimed.

“Lizzie likes a challenge,” Joseph interjected.

“Music and math have a lot in common, actually,” Riley remarked. “They both have a rhythm and timing to them.”

“Hey!” I waved to a stranger in a purple sweatshirt, grey shorts, and running shoes. “How would you like to participate in my poll for a novel I’m writing?”

“Sure,” the guy replied. “What’s it for?”

I explained the premise. He introduced himself as Munter Bacon, and said he thought it was an interesting idea.

“How is math, music, and poetry intertwined?” he rubbed his bearded chin thoughtfully. “I work over at the Waterside Warbler and I would say there’s certain metrics to making drinks as you measure each part and there’s a bit of poetry to mixing up a new cocktail.”

“Interesting… tell me more…” I probed.

By the time Munter finished his thoughts, three more people had joined us. Joseph went to grab a plateful of food from the food stalls as he was hungry. Ali met up with me in the park, waving and smiling, and of course, adding her two cents. She was most interested in the music of the new Puppy Love movie, based on our friend, Cathy Tea’s novel.

A woman named Marie Carter joined us. She was an actual scientist and had all sorts of interesting ideas about music and math intertwining. Sage also jogged over to join our group and talked about the music she used to help her keep track of her paces during a workout.

Joseph went off to watch the golden statue man in the park. Sage agreed to show Ali around the city while I collected a few more thoughts. Munter waved goodbye, saying how he enjoyed meeting us.

“Ooo,” Marie groaned, leaning back and stretching, her pregnant belly popping out.

“How far along are you?” I inquired.

“Seven months, ten days, fourteen hours, and twenty-nine minutes,” Marie replied, specifically as she glanced at her watch. “Actually…thirty minutes.”

“Ouch!” was all I could think to say as I couldn’t quite imagine being a mom yet.

Ouch?” Riley stood with his hands on his hips. “That’s not the nicest thing you could say.”

“Oh… sorry…” I grimaced.

“It’s okay,” Marie chuckled. “Most days it is ouch!”

After chatting with lots of different people in the Square, I decided to wander around the city, taking a walk down by the waterfront. Water always seemed to help inspire me. On my way back, I noticed John, my cousin, who was getting off work.

“How was your day?” I asked.

“Frustrating,” he huffed. “This video game development stuff was my dream but everyone’s letting office politics get in the way. I just want to do my art.”

“Want a hug?” I offered.

“Sure,” he sighed. 

“…ooo music and math… interesting concept,” John said.

“Really? You think so? It’s not dumb?”

“Absolutely not. It’s poetic! You can appeal to a wide audience there. Hey, you should totally promote your books at Geek Con in the spring.”

“Geek Con?”

“Yeah, it’s a place where people… geeks… gather to show off their stuff, and display their love of all things geeky.”

“Sounds great!” I said, excitedly. “Sign me up.”

When I arrived back at the apartment, Cathy and my colleague, another fellow writer, Donna Duvall, were waiting for me.

“Sorry ladies for taking so long,” I remarked. “I was out on an inspiration walk.”

“Oh yes, I love those,” Donna remarked.

“Feeling inspired yet?” Cathy inquired.

“Oh yes!” I smiled. 

We all pulled out our phones and made plans to “schmooze” another time. I loved the company I worked for as they really tried to promote camaraderie among their authors as opposed to competition. Cathy and Donna were just two of the talented writers working for the same publisher with me.

“I gotta get home to the kids,” Donna remarked, sliding her phone into her skirt pocket. “I’ll see you writers later.”

“Cathy? Are you game for some Simnamese food?” I asked as Donna popped into the elevator. “Then it’s not a total wasted trip.”

“Sounds delicious,” Cathy bobbed her head.

“Great, because I told Ali I’d meet her there ten minutes ago!”


Author Notes: And another long chapter. So this will be a three-parter. Hope you’re enjoying. I was quite surprised to find TheYayToast’s Marie Carter was pregnant. It also was nice to see so many Sims hanging out at Thyme Square, the name I picked for my other San Myshuno story on hiatus. Thyme Square… in the Spice Quarter? Hahah! This chapter featured LegacySims2017‘s Joseph, who brought a bowl of oatmeal into the bedroom, set it on the night stand, went back to the kitchen and got another bowl and came in to eat on the bed and talk to Lizzie. I count that as breakfast in bed. 😉 And thanks to the real Joseph for drawing my attention to this because opps… somehow his apology was cut out of the last chapter during edits so I made sure it made it into the top of this one. This chapter also debuted Munterbacon‘s Munter Bacon, and featured friendsfan367‘s Ali Morrison, Karilan’s Sage Reed, CathyTea‘s Cathy Tea, and simscognito’s Riley Cognito. 

City Goal #4 Settle into City, Pt. 1 (LASL)

I’ve decided to start a bullet journal. I’ve already started tracking my life goals and work progress and sharing them with you all. I might as well start doing so in a more organized fashion. I want to be healthier, to accomplish tasks in a timely manner, and stay more positive, plus actually achieve my life aspirations and career goals. Maybe some of you are tuning out about now going… wait? I wanted to read this story, and now you’re making checklists? Don’t worry. I’m still narrating my story. I’m just a bit more goal-focused. You’ll see.

The week was not off to a great start. Joseph and I finished moving in the furniture and decorating the apartment some. We’re trying to figure out what to do with the furniture that the previous tenants left behind. I thought maybe we should hold onto it in case the owners come back for their stuff. Or perhaps we should leave it in the apartment when we move onto a different place? Joseph thought we should sell it and make some Simos. We both remained passionate in our stance, our first argument as a married couple.  It’s just stuff, and somehow it’s more than that.

I always seem to see things differently after the fact, like time to breathe gives me new perspective and the right words. Yet in the heat of the moment,  I feel at a loss,  like I’m desperately trying to keep up but my brain just doesn’t move fast enough to both think clearly and rationally and to say what I need to say and how I feel in an efficient manner.  The plight of the verbal processor! This particular argument resulted in distance as many arguments do.  We sat on opposite ends of the table for breakfast – Joseph, with his eggs, which, by now, were cold, and me, seeking comfort with none other than a chocolate breakfast pastry and raspberries. The stiff silence was excruciating.

Whenever I’m stressed, sometimes it helps me to go for a walk. I needed to clear my head,  collect my thoughts,  and process my emotions before heading to work on Sunday afternoon. As I walked out into the hallway, Riley, our neighbor, stopped and chatted with me at the elevator for a few minutes.

“Where are you headed?” he inquired.

“Out,” I snipped, and then realized I sounded harsh. “Sorry. I’m in a bit…” I glanced back at the apartment door. “…of a bad mood today. I was thinking of going for a walk.”

“Dressed like that?” Riley asked. “You’re looking great!”

“Really?” I smiled. “Thanks… I like your plaid. I should probably wear plaid more often.”

“Thank you.”

“I guess, I should’ve put on something more practical for walking.”

But the thought of going back into the apartment is… 

“I know all the best places in this city,” Riley bragged. “If you ever want a walking partner, I’m your guy.”

“Thanks,” I replied, quickly, as the elevator doors sprang open, but I returned back to the apartment to change, for practicality’s sake.

Joseph was in the office at the computer so he didn’t notice.

When I returned from my walk, I checked in with the landlords, Geeta and her son, Raj, to ask their opinion about the excess furniture. Geeta suggested selling the items at the flea markets in the city. That was a great idea. She invited me to stay for some curry and to get to know her and Raj a little better. I decided to take them up on the offer, since it was so nice. Joseph, however, didn’t see it that way. He wondered why I didn’t come home to join him for lunch before my work shift. Yeah, he was grumpy. I promised we could grab dinner that evening at the food stalls.

Joseph arrived first at the food stalls, since I worked until eight. He tried to befriend an Abyssinian cat, who seemed interested in his dinner.

Speaking of cats… when I arrived at the food stalls to order dinner, already a little miffed Joseph didn’t wait for me, I spotted a familiar Cat.

Catarina Lynx, my ex’s ex. She said she was in the city because she had a change of heart and Rob was considering moving back here so she wanted to check out San Myshuno for herself. At the thought of seeing Rob again, my throat went dry. I shouldn’t worry about it because of course, I’m married to Joseph now, and that was the better choice, but that didn’t stop the feelings of anxious butterflies encircling my heart. 

Cat droned on and on about how great the city was, and how she really should’ve given Rob a chance instead of springing the surprise custody thing on him. You think?

I was primarily irritated by her gushing about how Rob still thinks about me and how he made a mistake and I was so great for him. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes as I ordered not one, not two, but three taquitos. I even ate one while standing there as she babbled on about how cute Rob and I were together as I inwardly seethed. Sometimes I’m too nice for my own good. I didn’t want cute. I had wanted… well, I wanted Joseph… and I was better off for it.

Joseph had already finished by the time I finally walked over to the picnic tables.

“Sorry I was starving,” he said.

“And I was cornered,” I grumbled, and then sighed as I slipped onto the yellow picnic bench. “I’m glad it was you.”

“What?” Joseph asked.

“Nothing,” I decided I didn’t want to explain in the moment. 

I sighed and settled at the table as one of the Abyssinian cats sat down by my plate and hissed. Joseph smiled as he stood behind me.

“Aren’t they cute?” he asked.

I gasped and leaned back in surprise. “Seriously? I’ve had enough annoyances today!” 

“It’s just a cat,” Joseph said, defensively as the cat leaped down and crawled under the bench, hissing at the two of us. “Am I annoying you?”

“I don’t care,” I said, tiredly. “And no, not really… but… just sit next to me, will you?”

Joseph talked me into listening to a street violinist. A few of our neighbors had gathered also. Annie waved hi to me, but I was too focused on the music. 

You would’ve thought the music would help me calm down, but apparently not. I was still stressed, thinking about Cat. Annie gushed about how great the musician was and how she would love to sing with her sometime. Lucky Annie… she even got the violinist’s number so they could arrange a meet. I wasn’t as impressed, leaving early to take a bubble bath… alone, despite Joseph’s desire to make things up to me. I needed to be alone. Somehow I just didn’t want to explain everything I was feeling and thinking.

Monday evening, I went over to hang out with my cousin, John. He recently moved into the Fashion District with roommates. I didn’t get to meet both of them, but I met Lauryn Marks, who is an editor. Funny thing. My agent had just mentioning how I needed a new editor. Thankfully, I had one of my books in my bag, this one was a James Bond-esque Cinderella-type story that I had just published last month. Lauryn immediately started reading it, and became so engrossed in the novel, she didn’t put it down for quite some time. 

“Excellent!” Lauryn snapped the book shut as she stood up. “I read the first few chapters and the ending and I liked it a lot.”

“You read the ending?” I quirked a brow.

“Yes, you can tell a lot about an author from their first and last chapter,” Lauryn explained. “I want to be your editor.”

“Really?” I squealed, happily and hugged her. “I work with an agent so I’ll put you in contact with her to work out the logistics. My publisher is breaking up into smaller publishing houses and they are contracting with independent editors in the meantime. You’ll be perfect. John says you helped him edit his game manual.”

“Did she ever?” John laughed. “She beat the freezer bunny tail outta my first draft, but it was great by the end. I don’t know why she worked with me.”

“What can I say? I saw potential,” Lauryn remarked. 

We excitedly chatted details for a few minutes, before Lauryn returned her attention to the screen. John and I were too distracted to notice… or care about the Specific Hospital episode.

“Oh my goodness guys! Doc McSteamy finally kissed Lady Faire,” she gushed.

After the episode, which we weren’t really watching, we headed upstairs to his room and played an intense racing game.

It had been weeks since I played a video game so I was totally up for dusting off the old console controller. I selected a race in the tropical town of Oahu. Of course, I would pick a track in Sim’waii. Sunlit beaches, soft sands, blue skies, palm trees, and coconuts sounded heavenly. I needed to relax, and nothing said relaxing like a good old-fashioned gaming match.

“How are things with you and Joseph?”

“Um… can we just game?”

I didn’t want to discuss the particulars of my marriage or this silly argument Joseph and I had.

“That bad, huh?” John teased. “I get it…” he lifted up his hands.

“No, Joseph’s great… it’s just… I’m probably being too stubborn for my own good,” I grimaced as I rounded a corner a little too tightly and nearly lost control of my vehicle. “How are things with you and…”

“Don’t bother!” John exclaimed.

“That bad, huh?” I teased.

“Tell me about it. You’ve got one of the good ones,” John leaned forward so he could see the screen better. “She…she smashed my glasses… when I told her… we were through.”

“Wow!” was all I could think to say. “Yeah, Joseph wouldn’t do that… well, not like I wear glasses, but still… I’m happy with him and all…”

“Come on, focus, Liz! I’m going to kick your llama butt!” John whooped.

“You asked for it!” I smirked. 

Despite my best efforts, I lost, but John was willing to give me a few pointers for next time. Gaming put me in a silly mood, and I cracked a few silly puns I heard in the office that day. 

What’s the best thing about elevator jokes?” I asked, looking up at the ceiling.

“Hmm…” John looked down, thinking intently.

They work on so many levels.” 

John smirked.

What did the fisherman say after finishing his dinner?”

John shrugged.

I shouldn’t have at that seafood because now I’m feeling a little eel…” I guffawed a little too much on that one.

My cousin humored me with a laugh.

“Wait… I’ve got another one…” I exclaimed. “I gave all my dead batteries away todayfree of charge!”

We laughed hysterically. 

Lauryn made a late dinner of blackened bass with grilled yellow peppers. When she offered me a plate, I realized how late it was.

“Shoot! I’ve gotta get home to my husband,” I remarked, seeing the clock reading after eleven.

I waved goodbye, thanked John for the fun evening, told Lauryn I looked forward to working with her and meeting her fiance and their other roommate, and scurried out the door.

Joseph was already in bed when I arrived home.

“Joseph… Joe?” I called out softly as I slipped under the covers.

“Hmm?” he stirred. “Lizzie?” he blinked his eyes open.

“I’m sorry…” I reached out and touched his arm. “I’m sorry for our argument yesterday.”

Joseph pulled me into a snuggle. “I’ve already forgiven you.”


Author Notes: Hey peoples! I already completed the first three chapters of this part before I came across Opicana‘s Bullet Journal challenge on the forums. I loved the idea. The basic premise is to give your Sim a healthy, balanced life and goals to work toward achieving this through the tool of bullet journaling. A bullet journal can function as a to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary or be all of the above.You can read Opicana/CrazyCatNerd’s initial post here

Since my Simself is already “journaling” and she has already started on goals during this arc, I thought this would be the perfect challenge to add to this already fun ISBI challenge. The bullet journal will help my Simself plan events, set goals based on her aspirations and general physical, mental, and emotional health, track her habits, and work toward happiness, health, and well-being. This is the perfect timing for this challenge to begin as it was triple boost week when I played through this section.

I had all the furniture “leftover” from the move in and it was simply sitting in my family inventory, and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Then LegacySims2017’s Joseph and Lizzie got into an argument so I worked it into the story. I had to smile when simscognito‘s Riley complimented Lizzie’s outfit immediately after and bragged about something (can’t remember what in game). Lizzie was super stressed and miffed after accidentally running into Cat that she didn’t even enjoy the music (even if it was the supremely talented, Lilith Vatore). And this chapter debuted my friend’s Simself, John, and MINEZ’s Lauryn Marks. I was happy by the end of the evening Lizzie was in a much better mood. This chapter ended up being super long so I sliced it into two parts. 🙂 Thanks for reading. 

Side Tracks 8 (LASL)

Hey! What are you doing? Get away from my wife!

Joseph ran up to the porch. He stepped between Vlad and myself and nearly elbowed me in the chest and Vlad in the side.

“Joseph, this is Vladislaus Straud… he came over to apologize,” I explained slowly.

“Aye,” the ancient vampire put his hands on his hips and glared at Joseph. “I came to grant you an apology. I drank much too much bloodwine yesterday.”

“Still…” Joseph narrowed his eyes. “I don’t want you hanging around Lizzie.”

“Hmph! Narrowminded,” Vlad muttered to himself stepping from the porch. “I was after your neck anyhow.”

Joseph and I wandered upstairs to the second floor lounge.

“Joseph, he was trying to be nice,” I offered.

“I don’t care. Last night he scared you half to death. And today you’re friends with him?”

“Well, no… not friends… but… I am more rational in the light of day.”

“It’s nighttime. And he was creepy last night with all his mind control.”

“Thank you for trying to protect me…it was…” I smirked and placed my hands on my hips, deepening my voice. “Hey! Get away from my wife…” I even shook my finger.

“Lizzie, I didn’t do that…”

“Yes, you did… well, you practically did… it made me smile.”

“Why?”

Because…” I leaned over and ruffled his hair. “How was your jog?”

“Fine, what should we do on our last night in the Hollow?” he inquired.

“I have a great idea,” I giggled.

While we waited for Tara to finish making us a meal, Joseph and I enjoyed a hot shower together and perused good literature. Every once in awhile, he would laugh and share a line or two from his story, and I’d read an inspiring quote from mine.

Our hostess made a delicious strawberry pretzel salad, blackened bass, caught fresh in the Hollow river, and garlic breadsticks. Joseph opted to go straight for the fish, and I grabbed a bowl of salad first. I would miss these meals. Tara was a talented chef and fascinating company.

While we weren’t planning on a vacation per se, this side trip turned into an delightful honeymoon in the Hollow. We made plans to most definitely return. Joseph was so grateful, he even did the dishes for Tara. She thanked us for visiting. 

Even so, it was nice to be back in the Springs. There’s something emotionally satisfying about coming home, even though this wasn’t home anymore.

“I’m glad you guys made it back safely,” my dad said, greeting us on the sidewalk.

“Oh my goodness, Dad! You’ll never believe the adventure we had,” I exclaimed.

Joseph smiled. “I’ll take the bags inside.”

“Hello Mrs. Green Simself,” Dad teased.

“Ha! That’s what Joseph said,” I rolled my eyes.

“So what’da’ya think, kiddo? About married life?” Dad winked.

“It’s growing on me,” I wrapped him in a hug.

“Congratulations, my daughter.”

“Thanks Daddy.”

“Daddy?” Dad gave me a weird look. “You haven’t called me that since you were a little girl.”

“What can I say?” I shrugged with the biggest smile on my face. “I’m feeling sentimental.”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading everyone. This ends the “Side Tracks.” Tee hee… so many chapters more than intended. This chapter featured LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself. Come back tomorrow for the regularly scheduled posts in the LASL series. 🙂 

Side Tracks 7 (LASL)

As luck would have it, we missed our train. The company offered us a full refund and free passage anywhere we wanted to go. The catch? We had to wait another day or two for another train to get back around this direction as this was a rather unused route. Tara offered to start a load of laundry for us so we didn’t have to wear the same clothes for days, and then headed into town to run errands.

“What should we do?” I inquired.

“I know exactly what I want to do,” Joseph grinned.

Even though no one was around, I still tugged the tank top Tara loaned me over my underwear. Joseph didn’t care. He plunged right into the swimming pool in his boxers as they were pretty much swim trunks.

“I’m going to be as ripe as an old tomato,” I grimaced.

Elizabeth Green-Simself! Get in the water!” Joseph commanded in mock-seriousness.

“So I’m a Green-Simself?” I made a face.

“It makes more sense than Simself-Green,” he smirked. “Though a Red Simself might make more sense if we’re out here too long.”

For that, I fully splashed him.

“Seriously, I wish I had my sunscreen,” I whined.

“You’ll be fine… and I’m sure Tara has some aloe if you burn too badly.”

“It’s peaceful out here.”

“Really? I think it’s eerie…” I adjusted my sunglasses off the bridge of my nose.

“I kinda like it,” Joseph said. “Those mountains are majestic.”

I smiled. “You’re right. They are.”

“I wonder where that path goes,” I said.

“Don’t know,” Joseph dove beneath the water’s surface to swim to the other side.

“Hey, do you get the feeling someone is watching us?” I asked as he popped back up.

Joseph swam over to my side and looked around, but he didn’t see anyone. Neither did I, though I could’ve sworn I did.

“I hope it’s not that vampire from yesterday,” I shivered.

“We can go inside,” Joseph suggested.

“That might be best,” I pulled myself up the ladder.

The B&B had a decent selection of books, so I picked out a novel to read after my shower. Joseph, on the other hand, seemed to get pumped up for a workout. I’ll admit. I peeked up from my pages every once in awhile. He was nice to watch.

Tara returned from the store and began making dinner. The train company finally delivered our luggage. It didn’t matter too much since our clothes had already been washed. Joseph changed and decided to go for a run despite it being nearly dusk. I kissed him, told him to be careful, and set about unpacking a few items.

This is what he saw when he returned… Vlad had returned.


Author Notes: Since I was fully playing around in Forgotten Hollow and checking out all sorts of things, I decided that Joseph and Lizzie couldn’t go home yet. The woman walked through the back of my screenshot so I wrote it in (not sure who she is). More amusing autonomous actions by LegacySims2017’s Joseph and finally he went jogging throughout the Hollow and returned to find Lizzie and Vlad on the porch. Dun… dun… dun… cliffhanger. Thanks for reading. 

Side Tracks 6 (LASL)

I couldn’t have slept even if I wanted to… so I got redressed, freshened up my hair, and reapplied my makeup. I wanted to be ready to leave if that was the best option. The whole situation freaked me out.

When I went downstairs, Tara also had redressed and was chatting with Joseph on the couch.

Joseph was looking at his arms. “It was like I wasn’t in control of myself.”

“A grandmaster can plant powerful thoughts in a Sims head. Anyone could be susceptible so don’t feel bad. And they can send out a high pitched sound almost like a bat sonar,” Tara explained, and seeing me approach, she added, “Don’t worry. You’re perfectly safe now.”

I wasn’t convinced. “I think it might be best if we leave.”

Tara shook her head. “I wouldn’t wander through the woods this time of night. You’re safer here. I hung up extra garlic.”

I grimaced.

“All vampires have a severe allergy to garlic. Even just the scent is a deterrent,” she continued. “And they prefer to stay inside during the day once the sun is up so I’d wait till at least ten o’clock. I’m so sorry about this… I should’ve hung more garlic before I went to bed.”

“We’re fine,” Joseph said. “No one got hurt.”

“He must’ve tracked your scent when you entered the Hollow. Vampires like fresh blood. But don’t worry. Only criminals don’t follow the strict code vampires have. Vlad may be a creep, but he’s harmless. He had too much bloodwine tonight.”

If that was supposed to make me feel better, it didn’t. However, I did agree with her. We should stay inside. Tara convinced us to head back upstairs, and promised to make us a delicious breakfast in the morning, and to drive us back to the train. And she would discount our room price.

“I don’t like it,” I said, frowning.

“It wasn’t Tara’s fault,” Joseph remarked.

“Maybe we should’ve picked a bedroom without a balcony.”

“We’re safe for now, I think.”

“You think?”

“Lizzie… I’ll be right here.”

“And in the morning?”

“I’ll still be here.”

Joseph was awake before me. After the night’s ordeal, I slept until mid-day. He settled in the kitchen and helped himself to Tara’s spinach and egg frittata.

“I’m sorry about last night,” Tara apologized.

“Don’t worry about it,” Joseph replied. “I haven’t met a vampire before so it was my own curiosity.”

“Is Lizzie okay? She was pretty freaked out?”

“She finally fell asleep.”

“When do you need to be back?”

“I’m not sure. They were going to work on it this morning, but they didn’t specify a time to return by. I guess if we miss this train, we’ll have to catch another one. Though Lizzie would probably kill me if we have to hunt down our luggage.”

“What about me?” I yawned as I wandered in the kitchen.

“Nothing…” Joseph stuffed some frittata in his mouth. “Um?” he swallowed. “Good morning, beautiful.”

“Good morning, Joseph Joe,” I leaned over and pecked him on the cheek. “This smells delicious. Thank you for cooking for us, Tara.” “My pleasure,” Tara replied. “I made some blueberry bagels too.”

“You didn’t have to do that,” I eyed the breakfast pastry hungrily as my stomach rumbled. “I guess, I am hungry.”

“Feel free to take the leftovers with you today,” Tara offered.

“Really?” I hesitated to reach for one.

“Yeah, I made them for you specifically with the blueberries fresh picked here in the garden. Joseph said you like berries.”

“I do,” I smiled. “I actually slept… great… in spite of everything…” I cracked my neck. “I feel so well rested, I might not even need coffee.”
Joseph gasped. “What? No?”

I giggled. “I said need, not want. I always want coffee… with my cupp’a Joe.”

“You two are so cute,” Tara gushed.
“We are newlyweds,” I said.

“Really new newlyweds,” Joseph added.

“How did you two meet?”
We shared a knowing glance and laughed.

“Well,” I began. “It’s a strange sort of story…”


Author Note: I don’t really have an author note today so… Pandas! Because why not be random! Another chapter featuring LegacySims2017’s Joseph. Thanks for reading.