Author Notes: Thanks for reading. Oh the joys of parenthood! So they were going to run around in the park, but it got really cloudy outside with a chance of meatballs… or just thunderstorms. Totally called it. The minute they were inside the gym. Raining cats and dogs outside.So many thunderstorms in San Myshuno. This chapter featured InfraGreen‘s Carrie and Marshall, Karilan‘s Sage, MINEZ‘ Issador, Bugsie2016‘s Bugsie, and LegacySims2017‘s Joseph.
“Parker, what are you doing?” I walked into the kitchen and sniffed. “Ugh! Who left chicken nuggets in the microwave to rot?”
Parer grinned. “Mommy! Boo-ti-ful!”
I smiled. “Thank you, Parker. Mommy’s off to work. Give mommy a kiss.”
Parker frowned. “Where’s daddy?”
“Daddy’s playing with your brothers. Go join him.”
“Hey sweet pea, whatcha doing out here?” the handy man inquired.
“Where’s your mama?”
“Over there,” Parker pointed to Lizzie walking out of the building.
The handy man smiled. “See ya later, gator!”
“Ugh!” Tabatha waved her hand and plugged her nose. “Who lets their stinky toddler run all over creation?
Parker waved her arms enthusiastically. “And dats… the whole… whole… whole wurl!”
Angela frowned, and rubbed her belly. “Okay, little one! I don’t understand your story, but whatever.”
Parker was already bored and ran away. “Bye.”
“Hey!” the musician exclaimed.
“Baby girl! What are you doing out here by yourself?” Ace asked.
“Not by self,” Parker shook her head. “With you!” she pointed.
Ace rubbed his beard thoughtfully. “Well, I suppose so.”
He pulled out his phone and texted Joseph.
Parker shrieked. “Peekaboo!”
Ace decided to play along, laying his hands over his eyes and then unveiling his eyes quickly. “Peekaboo!”
“Hey Parker, me and my brother were just going to eat,” Oliver offered. “Want to come eat with us?
Ace bobbed his head. “That’s a good idea. I’m hungry.”
Parker’s tummy growled. She bobbed her head.
Hamilton Kibo, Oliver’s brother, approached with his own hamburger plate. “Uncle Ace!” he exclaimed, rolling his eyes. “Did you pick up a stray?”
Parker flushed and grunted, stomping her foot.
Oliver gasped. “Hamilton is just teasing,” he glared at his brother. “That wasn’t very nice.” He squeezed Parker’s hands. “Come with me, Parker.”
“Parker! Thank God! What were you thinking? I was so worried.”
Parker tilted her head. “Sor-wie, Daddy!”
Joseph ran his hands through his hair. “I was worried sick! Don’t ever do that again!”
Parker’s lower lip wobbled.
Ace interrupted. “Hey do you want to join us for dinner? I’m babysitting the Cognito-Kibo bunch.”
Joseph shook his head. “I’ve got to get back to my own boys. Bugsie’s watching them.”
“Daddy?” Parker said, her voice full of emotion.
Joseph sighed. “Yes, Parker.”
“Hug!” the little girl demanded.
Author Notes: Thanks for reading. Oh the irony of Tabatha’s comment. Remember Tabatha as a tot? Angela is expecting again. Pregnancy outfits are weird. I found it ironic that Ace and Joseph wore the same swim shorts. Maybe they both went to the pool in the last chapter.This chapter featured the following submitted Sims: lilypadmeulin‘s Tabatha, Zurka‘s Angela, and LegacySims2017‘s Joseph. I feel I should also mention simscognito, as two of his adopted kids with Akira are mentioned – Hamilton and Oliver.
Author Notes: Here’s the deal… I’m feeling a bit uninspired to continue this story. Not because I don’t love the characters, but because I’m struggling to come up with accompanying chapter content for in-game play. It is an ISBI so I can’t really plan out my story. I’m a planner and a plot-driven gamer by nature, and this is a challenge for me. Rather than completely quit, I think I’ll finish out the remainder of Season 3 with picture updates and commentary. That way, you get the updates, and I don’t have to bang my head into my desk or the wall to craft something inspiring in story format. I hope you don’t mind. You might see another chapter from me for this season. You might not. Either way… more Lizzie Green-Simself and her family coming your way!
“You look bear-y good!” Nate said to his sister.
Carrie waved her arms angrily. “Stop it! I hate you!”
Of course, Lizzie had to calm down a crying, confused Nate, and then proceeded to scold Carrie. Joey Jr. just appeared sad and gave his brother a hug.
I gasped. “Parker, where did you learn that word?
“Car-wie! Hmphf!” Parker crossed her arms.
“What’s for dinner?” Joseph asked.
I grunted. “Seriously? I’m a little busy! Will you handle the boys?”
Joseph turned to his son. “Joey, in bed! Now!”
Joey complied, offering a charming smile.
Joseph kissed my cheek. “I got this, beautiful!”
I blushed. “Thank you!”
Joseph knocked on the bathroom door. “Nate, come out here, right now!”
Parker wailed and flailed.
“What’s wrong, sweetie?” I asked, and changed my pitch to baby-talk. “Don’t you like Freezer Bunny Sponge!”
“O-py!” Parker winced.
Marshall barked. Parker grabbed the sponge and squeezed over her face, crying harder as she slapped the water.
“Soapy? Like soap? In your eyes,” I sighed. “Park, you splashed the soap in your own eyes.”
“Your brother would like to sleep,” Joseph said. “Joey, you need to go to your own bed.”
“Nooooooo!” Parker shook her head.
I had just returned from my own shower and was ready for bed. Parker still hadn’t managed to sleep. “What? Not this story?”
“Nooooo! I hate dis book!” Parker kicked her mother.
I grabbed Parker’s leg gently. “No, Parker, we don’t use those words. Shh! You need to sleep. Maybe we’ll skip reading time tonight.”
Parker continued to howl, waking her brothers again. I sighed heavily.
Author Note: Thanks for reading. This chapter featured the following submitted Sims: InfraGreen‘s Carrie and Marshall, and LegacySims2017‘s Joseph.
Author Note: This chapter touches on the topic of bullying.
Oh I haven’t written that in a long time. It’s been awhile since my last update.
Carrie came home from school, distressed. She was selected to be the Juicy Orange Bear, her class mascot, for the school year. She talked to Joseph for hours at the kitchen counter about all her responsibilities. How she would give the morning announcements over the loudspeaker and promote school spirit at sporting games and events and star in the upcoming fall play.
She spoke with Ali, our neighbor, about what it’s like to be a professional mascot. Ali was more than enthusiastic and invited Carrie to shadow her at work. Carrie was even going to write a paper on the subject.
Then, something changed. Carrie grew increasingly upset and agitated. She wouldn’t take the costume off… ever. Even when I suggested a fresh launder. I tried everything – giving her space, talking with her, taking her out for ice cream, letting her stay up a half hour later to play Voidcritters, asking her to do more chores, and I even went as far as asking Karleen for help. That didn’t end well. Karleen came over and sat on Carrie’s bed and told her there was one thing that cheered her up and it started with an ‘woo’ and ended with an ‘hoo.’ I chewed her out for talking about inappropriate things with my daughter. She merely shrugged and said it was good for Carrie to know about the facts of life. Thanks for nothing, Karleen!
Carrie would crawl onto her bed and cry herself to sleep every night. Joseph and I were so confused. He tried talking to her a few times, but she kept sniffling and saying she was embarrassed. I asked her if it was about her grades. Yet her report cards said she was doing better this school year. I asked her if it was about a boy. She snapped at me and told me to go away. I quietly asked her if it was about a girl… shouldn’t discriminate… or if the other girls were being mean to her. She just turned over and let out a little sigh before sobbing.
When she did come out of her room, she was sullen and moody. She would snip at her siblings, even going as far as to yell at Parker. She would lock herself in the bathroom for over an hour. I could hear the familiar music on her tablet, indicating she was playing Voidcritters, and an occasional barrage of dinging, indicating she was receiving messages through her app.
One night when she was sleeping, I picked up the tablet and scrolled through the messages. It was horrifying. Several of her classmates called her ‘ugly’ repeatedly. Some called my precious, healthy daughter ‘fat.’ They said things like no one wanted to see her face and that’s why she had been selected for the mascot. I gasped and nearly dropped the tablet on the bathroom floor. This was not okay.
“Joseph, it’s unacceptable! How can these kids be so cruel?” I exclaimed while giving Marshall a bath that evening.
“I dunno,” Joseph said, wrapping a towel around his waist after stepping from the shower. As he brushed his teeth at the sink, he continued, “We should talk to her teachers.”
“We should remove the messaging app from her tablet!” I said. “I don’t want her to see those words anymore.”
“Or at least block specific users,” Joseph replied, spitting into the sink. “There’s no point in punishing Carrie.”
“What? You can do that?” I said, amazed.
“The wonders of modern technology,” Joseph grinned and kissed my cheek. “I’ll do it tonight.”
I let the bath water drain and towel dried Marshall, formulating a plan in my mind to speak with the teachers, and possibly the parents of these kids.
“Arrrgh!!! Parker! Why did you make a mess?”
My most rambunctious triplet had tossed her daddy’s shaving cream and some of my mud facial scrub on the floor of the bathroom.
“I make shapes!” Parker squealed.
“Noooooo!! No, Parker. No, it’s not okay to drop stuff on the floor like this,” I grunted, cracking my knuckles.
“Bu….but…Car-wie is!” Parker’s lower lip wobbled.
“Carrie is working on her science project,” I explained.
“Bu…but… things…go…booooooom!!” Parker waved her hands excitedly. “Mess. All Over!” she made zooming sounds and explosion sounds.
Ugh! Why did I feel so frustrated? Why did the sight of one more mess make me feel nauseous? Why couldn’t my kids go one day without making a mess? It was bad enough Carrie was still in her bear costume weeks later.
We had spoken with her teachers, and advocated for an anti-bullying workshop for the classes. Joseph spent time monitoring Carrie’s messages for any signs of continued problems, but so far nothing.
We tried positive reinforcement. We told all our kids every day they were loved and beautiful. Maybe hearing it over time would help. Joey always grinned and said, “No mommy… you boo-ti-ful!” Carrie just rolled her eyes, when she wasn’t in costume. I took Carrie to pick out a new outfit once, and asked if she’d like to get her hair styled a certain way for a fresh look. She just flinched and jerked away.
We took Carrie to see a counselor. It was probably past time we did. She was still struggling to call me ‘mom’ and with the trauma of losing both parents, it made things difficult. She still claimed to see her deceased mother floating around from time to time. The therapist told us this was normal for children to imagine their loved ones still with them and with time, this would change. I wondered if Carrie had an overactive imagination trying to cope with grief or if she really did see Catarina. The therapist also said it wasn’t about us. Carrie may never call me mom and I would have to accept it. Of course, I was defensive and frustrated about it, but Joseph calmed me down after leaving the office. The counselor did have a point. I should focus on building a healthy relationship with her. Labels didn’t matter.
“No more messes, Parker,” I declared. “Now you are going to help me clean this up…”
When I bent over to the floor, my back cracked. Ooo! I needed a chiropractic adjustment. Or a massage. Or an adjustment for life.
“Ma…ma!” Parker held her hands. “Saw-we!”
“I forgive you,” I sighed as we began wiping up the shaving cream.
“Ma-ma!” Parker continued.
The little pink-and-yellow clad monster threw herself at me with a big warm embrace. I smiled. It was just what I needed.
Author Notes: Thanks for reading. This chapter featured This chapter featured InfraGreen‘s Carrie and Marshall, and LegacySims2017‘s Joseph, and mentioned friendsfan367‘s Ali Morrison and Karleen Corey. Didn’t get good pictures of them so I couldn’t include it. As an important aside, bullying is never okay. Carrie really did wander around in her bear costume for weeks after having an unfortunate mean encounter with some kids once or twice in public. It seemed like a good opportunity to talk about bullying. This website has many good resources if you’re a victim of bullying, or you see bullying happen. Change the culture. Stomp out bullying.
I stare at the corner, at the yellow gold, murky gray, and sepia tiles of my bathroom wall. I remember when Max and I laid those tiles ourselves. He held the level and I drew a line with a red pencil.
Oh, I breathed in sharply. I remembered the rich and vibrant red of that pencil and the tiny wooden shavings that curled around the edge of a carpet when I needed to sharpen the implement. No one carpets a bathroom now days. It’s rather inconvenient and carries a musty smell. We removed the carpet in the seventeenth year of our marriage.
Seventeen. Oh wow! That year came and went with its own trials, all which seemed significant then, but not so much in year forty-seven. Forty-seven years of marriage, six months, seven days, eight hours, and eleven minutes. That’s when Max passed away from this life to the next, and I felt the life force slip through my fingers like shifting sands, in with the waves, out with the high tide.
My kids will call me crazy, but I thought it was as though a hot white light, fierce like the sun, peaceful as a wispy cloud, spiraled in the air in that moment on the precipice of life and death. I chuckled a bit to myself, adjusting my wide-brimmed black hat.
I am not all that certain that it only exists in that breath. Sometimes I swear I can see the glow of a white light, a reminder that a Higher Divine Power guides my steps. And my hands… I nearly forgot to wash them after using the restroom. I chuckled again.
“Is it okay to laugh at your memorial, Max?”
I ran my hands under the lukewarm water, the familiar creaking of the pipes, once a stiff inconvenience. I insisted we hire a plumber, and Max insisted he could fix it himself. He never did. Stubborn old Max. Stubborn until the day he died. I’m sure the melancholy and the reality of this whole life and death thing has yet to sink into fact for me. Practically, I know you’re gone, Max, but personally, you feel alive. Here. In my heart. Your spirit still resounds like the gentle groan of a slow-leaking pipe.
The strangest thing about this sudden realization is that I might actually feel lonely. There’s a common misconception that those who are surrounded by others are not lonely. I think I feel more alone in a crowded room than in the quiet confines of my mind. I am welcome, but isolated here.
Max’s students are here at this memorial. Your memorial, Max. Memorial (n) serving to preserve remembrance; Commemorative. The professor in Max would be proud that I finally remembered a definition. I had to smirk a smidge. Pun intended. Oh how you loved puns!
Still, it seems strange to commemorate my late husband with people I barely knew. Toward the end of his life, instead of retiring, Max took an assistant dean position at the local Foundry College. At the very least, I can say he was loved. His students came in droves, filling what seemed as though every inch of our home with tears and laughter, pain and joy, remembering, commemorating, preserving pieces of Max in the shared discourse.
Each brings a card. Each says a kind word. Each offers condolences. As if it is an obligation. I know some are genuine. Max always said I had a knack for seeing the authentic. I smiled as I passed the foyer table with cards. I could escape to a place with words, just words.
You made words and pictures come to life with your animated stories. I see cabbages, but you see rows of cabbage flowers opening their green arms to welcome in the sunshine and rain in a bed of red earth, and the loving weathered hands who tend to their needs.
I see child scribbles, and you see the sweet innocent hands of a young girl hoping to please her parents with her ever-so-careful colored pencil marks, and a single stray green stroke on the second page for where the lawn sprawled out of place, but it doesn’t matter. It is beautiful. It is a masterpiece.
You always saw masterpieces, Max.
Everyone plays a role. I play the grieving widow. But am I grieving? Of course, I feel peace that you are no longer suffering. I feel joy that you will live on your life in a better place. But grief? I hug my granddaughter. I see you. I speak to a student. I see you. I see my son sniffling in the hallway into his sleeve, and pretending otherwise. I see you. It is normal to go through a wave of emotions. I know this. Somehow I am still surprised at the emotions I did not expect to feel. Is it normal to feel relieved?
I spent five decades of my life with this man, a man I met in high school, and married on my eighteenth birthday. I loved you fiercely, Max. I loved him with every fiber in my being. Part of me is gone with you. Part of me will never be the same. And yet, I feel numb and hollow now with my plastic smile and my appropriate amount of tears and blurred mascara, saying and doing things people expect. When have I ever done something unexpected?
People do strange things when they are grieving. I once read someone who lost her spouse spent a week locked in her bedroom watching nothing but horror films, a binge fest of Moonlight Massacre films and stale popcorn and weak orange soda. She called it “scream” therapy. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a horror film.
My daughter chose to dip in the backyard pool fully clothed. One of Max’s students thought it was a trend or something. A fun thing to do at an otherwise quite dull and stuffy event. I don’t think Opal thought of it that way. It must be liberating to jump into a swimming pool fully clothed, the splash of the water hiding her tears.
Opal has never been one for convention. You know this, Max, of course. Our youngest, our little Opal Maxine, named for you, a trailblazer as a toddler. She never did things the easy way, or the normal way. What is normal? An artist like Max, but of a different sort, she didn’t attend college like the rest of her siblings, disappointing her father, for sure. For me, I was relieved.
Max, did I ever tell you that? I thought Opal needed to create her own path, and she found it, albeit different than what you anticipated. A single mother at seventeen. Waiting until marriage is so old-school, Ma, she had said. Oh my precious Opal. My only daughter. I wanted to guard you from all harm and pain. Yet there is grace in the path divergent.
Postpartum depression hit hard. She was a teenage mother. We did our best to love her, and to care for her. Max even let her move back home. She hasn’t left, but a few times. Once to traipse through the Sim Union with her friends. Once to take a modeling job in Osimceana. And once to bury her boyfriend, her daughter’s father, who died in the basement of an abandoned warehouse. The needle in his arm still sticking out when she found him.
Opal hung the lanterns in the trees. The ones she hand painted that summer we spent in Granite Falls. The boys wanted to capture fireflies and fish at dawn and play pirates and nobles in the woods with their cardboard and foil swords and eye patches, roasting marshmallows over a crackling campfire of pinewood, and telling ghost stories in their tents with flashlights.
Our Opal? She wanted to do arts and crafts. She participated in the class with the ranger every day. You wanted her to come fishing with you, or hiking, or to explore the woods, Max. You wanted her to see the poetry in nature, but our daughter saw the portrait in the paper. I always inspired that imaginative spirit, and secretly and jealously wished I had such a talent.
When the boys teased her, you told them the lanterns were magic, holding the hopes and dreams of fairies and genies and warding off the weres in the woods. The boys giggled, but they stopped teasing. Then you turned and asked a beaming Opal if she would try fishing in the morning. She gulped and nodded yes. Those lanterns? I think they are her final act of defiance and tribute of love to you all the same.
Did you know it’s raining today? I suppose that’s poetical in itself. The day we met it was raining. No, you did not give me your umbrella. I gave you mine.
You were embarrassed and frazzled, late to a meeting with the principal about your series of bad grades. Oh the kids would laugh if they knew you nearly failed our sophomore year.
My single act of kindness was all it took to light a spark in your eyes and an ember in your heart.
Jasper stands in the hallway, grumbling about the muddy paw prints from someone’s dog. I didn’t stop their pet from entering our home. He is a lot like Max. A perfectionist. An idealist. The weight of the world weighing on him heavily like a Tofunda Wagon sitting on his chest. He wants the best. He needs to be the best.
He works hard. Long hours. Because he wants everyone around him to have the best too. He’s so sweetly misguided. I wish you had spent more nights at home with me by the fireplace, ankles crossed, knitted socks, books in hand. We wouldn’t even need to talk. Just be in each other’s presence. I know you meant well.
Jasper means well too. I wonder for his wife though. Should I try and make more of an effort with my daughter-in-law? Julia is an accountant for a law firm. She crunches numbers and balances figures. I cook flour tortillas from scratch and bake turkey dinners just because. They pay for a service to deliver meals to their door each night.
Jasper does very well for himself. Still I wonder. Work is his life. Where does he live? I know he has a penthouse on the western coast. His drive for success in business nearly rivals your thirst for knowledge, Max. He can’t help but want everything to be in its place, and all in the world to be right. He straightens my shoes. It’s his way of coping today.
As for Pierce, he smiles. He always smiles. He loves to make people happy. He walks around, greeting the guests, replenishing drinks, and engaging in small talk to compensate for my sub-par hostessing. I don’t really want to speak. Pierce does enough of that for us all. He has always been the gregarious social butterfly. It’s probably why he is so successful with his acting. He got a bit part in a soap opera last spring, and it took him to Roaring Heights.
He looks so sharp in his suit today, and his power tie. Almost as though he belongs on Money Market Lane. But he’s much happier on the beaches of Del Sol Valley. I know, my boy. He enjoys his partying and schmoozing and his beach barbecues and backyard soirees. He enjoys standing at center attention.
His date seems a little out of place today in her faded blue jeans and feathered earrings and purple butterfly wrap blouse. She sits uncomfortably on the couch, wiping her no-doubt nervous and sweaty hands against her pants. I almost want to sit next to her and tell her it’s okay. It’s okay to feel out of place at a funeral. I feel out of place and he was my husband.
We light candles in the corners of the room. It’s as though we cannot stand for a single hint of darkness, and yet something always sits in the shadow of the flame. I try to breathe and remind myself that it is okay to be in the light. I don’t want to be in the center light like Cole.
I want to be like the white light of the spirit, the energy of serenity permeating every corner of this home. I want to waft into the rafters and crawl into the space of emptiness.
There I will make my plan. All the things I haven’t accomplished. All the things I said I’d do but didn’t. All the things I have never done. A memorial may be a strange sort of place to realize a truth about myself. I have never been alone. And I’m not okay with that.
Author Note: I started this story with the idea of “Never Have I Ever.” It is a game, for those of you who are unfamiliar, where people play in a circle and get up and move around when they have or haven’t done the things that the center person calls out. It is a get-to-know-you sort-of game.
The game got me thinking about the end of life and regrets and bucket lists and things we always say we would do but never did, and how it’s never too late to start fresh. Most Sims stories begin with a young protagonist. I’m always one for changing convention. Why not have a more seasoned protagonist in the later years of her life?
This is the story of a woman past the prime of her life, learning what it means to be alone again, and exploring her self-identity and forging new paths. I plan to walk through a “wish list” of sorts with this character as she meanders through late life and widowhood, and finding new meaning. Sometimes death can give birth to new purpose.
Riley had spent almost an hour potty-training his toddler. She was three-quarters confused, one-quarter giggly. He found today’s lesson most amusing. What is so funny about the bathroom?
He made a face, and checked, for the sake of his little one. He would never get used to this. She was probably worse when she was first born. Such is life. She gave him such an earnest look like she wanted it to be good and to be done with the lesson. Riley obliged.
“It’s great!” he exclaimed dramatically.
The door swung open, and Oliver burst into the room, looking agitated.
“Ollie!” Mia waved and clapped her hands happily. “I poop good.”
“Hey, that’s great,” Oliver sounded less than convinced. “Do you want me to clean up in here, Dad?”
“No, that’s no problem. I’ll do it,” Riley reached over and picked up the toddler potty while Mia climbed on the stool to wash her hands. “With soap, young lady.”
Mia glanced precociously over her shoulder and stuck out her tongue in protest.
“I mean it,” Riley said firmly.
“Soap is good for you,” Oliver added, twisting the toe of his tennis shoe in the tile.
Mia finished washing her hands, using way too much soap.
“Okay, that’s enough. Let’s go find some snacks,” Riley plucked her from the stool.
“Oh thank God. I’ve had to go for like an hour,” Oliver sighed, as Riley ushered his little one from the bathroom.
Hamilton carefully balanced the bowl on his hand, wishing he could hone his levitation skills. Riley told him he would get it in time. Akira told him it was silly to indulge such frivolous and unnecessary powers. Hamilton wasn’t sure who to believe, but he did know he could impress Carrie if he could cause a cupcake to float in her direction. It was his deepest wish to catch her attention and capture her affection, but the Simself girl seemed as though she didn’t know he existed.
The bowl clattered to the floor after only levitating about a half inch. He grunted in frustration.
Stupid! he kicked the side of the refrigerator. Who puts chips in the icebox anyhow?
Hamilton carried the remnants of his snack to the dinner table. The salt tasted good. He knew Akira preferred when he ate something of substance, but his Papa wasn’t home. Potato chips were a nice consolation prize after failing his magic trick.
I know! he began grinning from ear to ear. He would ask Riley to take him to the cupcake stand in Uptown Square. Then he could pick out the perfect sweet confectionery for the sweetest girl in school.
“Whatcha doing, bro?”
Oliver walked into the dining room, interrupting Hamilton’s scheming.
“You aren’t still thinking of Carrie, are you?”
“Shut up!” Hamilton grimaced. “You’re just jealous.”
“Why? Because you have it bad for the ice queen?” Oliver quirked a brow, pouring himself a bowl of chips. “No thanks. She’s not my type.”
“She is not an ice queen!” Hamilton said defensively. “She’s just…” his face melted into a moony smile. “Cool…” he whispered excitedly.
Oliver rolled his eyes.
“You know she’s adopted too?” Hamilton added.
“And she’s older than we are,” Oliver said.
“So?” Hamilton narrowed his eyes. “Papa’s older than Daddy.”
“Yeah…” Oliver trailed off.
“Besides she smells…” Hamilton wafted the air. “…like the salty wooden smell of boats on the docks.”
Oliver made a face. “What? How is that a good thing?”
“It’s a great thing!” Hamilton threw his hands up in the air. “Sometimes I think you’re high if you don’t notice the girls in school.”
Oliver laughed. “You wish I was high. Then I’d be the one in trouble with Papa for once.”
Hamilton grimaced. “Stop it. Why do you have to be so mean?”
“Chips!” Mia exclaimed, suddenly materializing next to the brothers.
Both boys jumped, and Hamilton smirked as Mia snatched the bowl from Oliver.
“Hey, that was mine!” Oliver protested.
“Chips, yum!” Mia smiled as she proudly carried the bowl over to the cushioned stool and plopped down to enjoy her stolen snack.
“Boys be nice to your sister,” Riley said as he walked up the stairs.
“Hey Miko!” Hamilton waved.
“Mi…ko!” Mia said escatatically, jumping off the cushioned stool and running to her friend and roommate.
“Hello little one,” Miko smiled. “How are you today, my darling?”
“Poop is good!” Mia declared.
Miko’s eyes widened in surprise.
“She learned potty training today,” Oliver interjected.
“Oh,” Miko covered her mouth and giggled. “Well, your dad is going to work on his novel, so do you think we can stay occupied downstairs this evening?”
“Sure,” Hamilton shrugged.
“Where’s Papa?” Oliver asked.
“Working late as usual,” Miko said, distracted as she walked into the kitchen. “Boys did you finish your homework?”
“Yes,” they said in unison.
“Then you may watch TV.”
Hamilton and Oliver ran into the other room, scrambling for the remote, arguing over whether to watch Mr. Clean’s Fun Machine or Music TV.
“You don’t mind staying with me, little one?” Miko asked.
Mia smiled happily while Miko went to make batter for corndogs – a little corn flour, salt, sugar, honey, and a pinch of baking powder. She whipped all the ingredients together in a large white mixing bowl.
Mia set about whipping her own frenzy… a cloud of gray dust that smelled like burning electricity. Until she could hone her powers better, she wouldn’t be able to make stars or fairy wings like her Dada.
“Papa!” she exclaimed, when she realized she was in the hallway.
Her cloud was effective. She made it far on wishes and hopes and what little skill she had. This is why everyone thought she was an escape artist.
“Hello Mia!” Akira smiled, and reached for his youngest. “How did you get out here?”
He frowned. She winked mischievously.
“Akira, my love, you’re home!” Riley declared.
“Papa, I did my homework,” Hamilton interjected. “Can I go to the cupcake stand tonight?”
“Riley, has Mia been using her…” Akira lowered his voice. “…magic again?”
“It’s powers, and she’s got a natural talent for the ways of the fae,” Riley winked.
“But our daughter can morph through walls!” Akira protested. “That isn’t normal.”
“You didn’t seem to mind when I could pluck flowers from the balcony and bring them through the wall in my old apartment,” Riley said.
“That was different,” Akira hissed.
“Papa! Did you hear me?” Hamilton exclaimed. “I want to go to the cupcake stand. Dad will you take me?” he implored Riley.
“Akira, you’re home!” Miko joined the party in the hallway. “I made dinner.”
“Oh yeah!” Hamilton exclaimed, running back into the house and coming back with a plate that he handed his father. “Here Dad. Have a corndog.”
Akira’s face reddened. “Riley! I thought we agreed that the boys should only eat healthy foods. And meat doesn’t seem to agree with Hamilton’s stomach. Hamilton, go throw this in the trash.”
“But Papa!” Hamilton protested.
“Well, that was a letdown,” Miko’s shoulders slumped. “I was just trying to help.”
“No buts. You’ll thank me later,” Akira addressed his oldest son. “You won’t feel so sick in the morning and miss school again.”
Hamilton looked so dejected as he walked back into the house. “I guess this means no cupcakes either,” he grumbled as he kicked the doorframe. “Too sugary.”
“Hamilton, go to your room. No talking back!” Akira snipped. “And Miko, please don’t feed my children llama crap. And Riley!”
Miko huffed, sticking her nose in the air, as she sailed through the double doors of the apartment.
“What?” Riley exclaimed, defensively, biting his knuckles.
“We need to talk.”
Author Notes: Thanks for reading. So much drama. And naturally generated. It’s an ISBI. I promise. I’ve been hands off. This chapter featured simscognito’s Riley Cognito.
After her conversation with Gracie, Elle returned home to an empty house.
“Hello? Cathy?” she called out into the darkness as she walked into the foyer.
She was greeted with nothing but silence. Not even a single patron or employee filled the pub downstairs. Elle frowned, wondering where everyone was, and why the pub wasn’t open. The thought of spending the night alone filled her with discomfort. Clicking through her phone, she wished her friends and family lived closer. She opened a web browser hunting for local hot-spots, hoping to find something to occupy her time. The Ice Lounge on the other side of town sounded most intriguing…
Enjoy a frigid evening with friends right on the historic waterfront at the Ice Lounge. Help yourself to a Christmas cocktail, boogie beneath icicles on the dance floor, and enjoy the cool atmosphere during your night on the town. Exclusive ice rink for lounge patrons. Are you graceful or clumsy? Depends on whether you’ve had too many cocktails.
Elle chuckled at the ‘clumsy’ bit. That would definitely be me. She changed into festive, but warm attire, wrote Cathy a note and stuck it to the refrigerator, and then stepped out.
The Ice Lounge was only an eleven minute walk. It was pleasant enough, and strangely, the air had warmed somewhat. Elle enjoyed taking in the sights, appreciating the old Sim Union-style architecture and the way the moonlight sparkled on the lake like dancing sugar plum fairies. I think I’m going to like living here.
Ice Lounge | 4th of Simcember
When she arrived at her destination, Elle noticed a glamorous looking, silver-haired woman in a black sparkling evening gown standing on the pier, chatting with another grey-haired woman. Wow! I hope I can rock that look when I’m that age! Elle gaped just a bit.
“Love your outfit,” Elle remarked awkwardly interjecting herself in the conversation.
The one woman nodded and left. The other woman in the evening gown broke into an wide, warm smile.
“Hello, and thank you,” she said. “I like your outfit too. In the spirit of holiday colors.”
“Oh,” Elle flushed. “This was just something I threw together. Hi, I’m Elle.”
Elle shook the woman’s hand, her eyes bulging. “Like Claus… Claus.”
“Yes, married to Mister Clause,” Mary winked.
“Oh my!” Elle gasped.
“He would very much appreciate your hat, I think,” Mary said, her eyes twinkling.
Elle walked inside after producing her ID, impressed with the beautiful one-roomed lounge with a three-hundred-and-sixty degree view of Lake Hunnewell. Soft strains of jazz wafted throughout the circular room, its centerpiece an enormous sixty-foot tall tree with silver garland and crystal blue balls dangling on its frosted branches. Elle breathed in and out, trying to calm her nerves. It would be good to meet people in this beautiful place. She was surprised it wasn’t more crowded, but then again it was a week night.
Two patrons were sitting at the modern-looking bar with ice-blue glowing lights in the foot area and sprigs of holly atop the counter. The bartender in a three piece grey suit served two older individuals. Elle whistled softly. He looks sharp! She was bummed she didn’t recognize more young people. This was a college town after all. Right now it seems like a retirement home in here.
“Hey! Hey!” Elle lifted her hand in greeting. “What white wines are you serving?”
The bartender offered a low wave and replied, “We have a house wine and the Monte Vistan Grappo Blanco in stock tonight.”
“Ooo…” Elle exclaimed. “I’ll have that. How much?”
“Glass or bottle?” he inquired.
“Glass,” she flushed. “I don’t think I could finish a bottle without some company.”
Oh plum! Was that flirting? That was flirting! That sounded flirtatious. Oh llamas! I hope he doesn’t think I’m coming onto him. But he is kinda hot.
His eyes sparkled as he poured the drink.
Elle found a seat, a tall throne-like white cushioned chair in the far corner, far away from the bar and the bartender with the expressive eyes. Mmmm… this is delicious, she sipped her wine and watched as other customers trickled into the Lounge.
Mary Clause approached the grand piano, an eggnog sort-of color. Eggnog! I should order some rum and eggnog. That would be delicious. Elle smiled as the woman began to play a lively jazzy tune. She glanced shyly back to the bar and noticed the bartender staring in her direction.
Elle nearly dropped her glass, spilling some wine on her green sweater dress.
“Gah!” her face must have turned a thousand shades of red.
“Elle, I think I could use a partner,” Mary interrupted her embarrassing moment.
“You look like a woman who sings,” Mary replied.
“What? Who me?” Elle exclaimed. “You want me to sing?”
“Yes, would you?” Mary requested, extending her hand.
Elle swallowed hard as a small crowd began to gather. She somehow willed her legs to stand and walked to the golden microphone after Mary’s gentle prompting.
“What should I sing?” she whispered, terrified, whipping her gaze to Mary.
The woman seemed to exude confidence as she stood just right of the piano.
“Whatever you like, Elle,” Mary said. “I’ll play along.”
“Are you ready?” Elle asked, humming nervously as she thought of a tune.
“Yes, whenever you’re ready,” Mary nodded, stepping to the bench.
Elle coughed, and nervously cleared a tickle from her throat before beginning a shy and sweet mezzo-soprano.
City sidewalks, busy sidewalks Dressed in holiday style In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas Children laughing, people passing Meeting smile after smile And on every street corner you hear
Gaining confidence, Elle continued as Mary provided the echo.
Silver bells, (silver bells) silver bells (silver bells) It’s Christmas time in the city Ring-a-ling, (ring-a-ling) Hear them ring, (hear them ring) Soon it will be Christmas day
When she was finished, many people clapped, and a few dropped some Simoleons in a nearby tray in appreciation. Elle flushed with pleased pride. She noticed the bartender had momentarily paused mixing drinks, but he quickly averted his eyes when she looked in his direction.
Feeling confident, she returned to the counter and ordered an eggnog with spiced rum.
A woman in a bright red dress walked past Elle as she fiddled with her Santa hat.
“Hey,” she glanced over her shoulder with a grin. “You’ve got a great voice.”
“Oh!” Elle’s hand froze in mid air. “Thank you.”
“You should come by and sing at the Noggin’ Nutcracker sometime,” the woman said.
“Oh, I don’t know about that. I’m not really…” Elle trailed off. Not really what.
“No, you’re good,” the lady in red said. “I mix drinks there, so I come here for some wind-down chill-time, but you’re the first singer from here I want to poach.”
“I don’t really sing here,” Elle shook her head. “I just indulged…” she bobbed her head toward Mary. “Mrs. Clause over there.”
“If you change your mind,” the woman said, flicking a card from the bust of her dress. “Here’s my contact info. I’m Margarita by the way.”
“Uh… thanks…” Elle licked her lips.
“Ah,” she collapsed at the main bar. “I need some food with all that juice I’ve been drinking. Barkeep, whaddaya have?”
“I prefer mixologist,” he said with a slight sniff. “I am an artiste. Kitchen’s closed.”
“What!” she exclaimed, her face falling. “No!”
“How about some pretzel rolls?” he offered. “I still have some of those.”
“Sure,” she stuffed a few Simoleon notes in the glass tip jar.
He perked up. “I’ve got cheesy stuffed ones.”
“I thought you said the kitchen was closed,” she said, tilting her head.
“I save these for special customers,” he smiled, leaning against the counter casually. “Ladies with Santa hats get discounts.”
A young man with spiked blue hair walked past, scoffing.
“Puh-lese! Jesse! What a waste of a line!”
The mixologist, presumably called Jesse, grimaced.
“Now, the hat is stupid,” the boy in the heavily studded leather jacket remarked. “…but you have a half-decent singing voice. We should jam sometime.”
“Uh thanks,” Elle narrowed her eyes. “How old are you?”
“Twenty-one, but I can be a lot more mature than say… Jesse here,” he said.
“Spencer, if you’re going to harass my customers, go away!” Jesse interjected. “You’re not even on the schedule tonight. And you’re seventeen,” he eyed the wild teenager with amusement.
“Fine, but listen Red, whenever you want to jam, you know where to find me,” he practically fell off the barstool.
Elle smothered a smile. Jesse laughed.
“Shove it, Jesse!” Spencer grunted. “I’m on the prowl tonight. And you’re ruining my game… with the ladies.”
“Rawrr!” he lifted his hands, wiggling his fingers and stalked off.
“Well that was…odd…” Elle said, snatching a pretzel roll. “Mmm… the hot cheese is a nice addition.”
“You’re welcome,” Jesse replied. “Like he said, I’m Jesse. Most newbies don’t sing on their first night.”
“I kinda got roped into it,” Elle glanced back over at the stage where Mary Clause still plunked away Christmas tunes on the keys. “She’s great.”
“Who? Mary? She’s been playing here for years,” Jesse said. “Her husband is away a lot.”
“Oh,” was all Elle could think to say. “And um… yes…” she shifted in her seat nervously. “I am new in town. Just transferred to the Uni.”
“Where are you from?” he inquired.
“Califorsimia,” she replied.
“Let me guess, Del Sol Valley?” he remarked. “Tried your hand at acting and couldn’t hack it so you came here to pursue a higher education.”
“Never been,” she confessed.
“What? You’ve never been?” he replied, wiping the counter. “Okay, I had you pegged wrong.”
“I prefer not to be a peg at all,” she replied. “Pegs are boring. I’d much rather be free to define myself by my standards, not societal norms.”
“A true unique,” Jesse grinned. “Hey, you just keep being you. Don’t lose that optimism.”
Elle flushed happily.
“If you’re from Califorsimia, you’ll probably find out quick, the night scene’s a little tired here, but this place isn’t half-bad,” Jesse offered.
“I don’t know,” Elle glanced around. “It could be very lively. I suppose I’m okay with quiet… if I have some nice-looking company.”
She squeaked internally. I just said that out loud? I said that aloud.
He looked away, smiling shyly for the first time all evening.
“You know my name, but I don’t know yours,” he said, as if avoiding the subject.
She was a little disappointed. “Elle. So tell me about yourself Jesse.”
“I uh… what’s there to tell? I didn’t want to go into the family biz. I moved here. Started taking classes at the uni. Moonlight as a mixologist at night.”
“I’m sure there’s more to you than that, Jesse,” Elle said softly.
“I sure hope so,” he chuckled awkwardly. “Hey we’re about to close up. I’ll pack up your food. It’s on the house, Elle.”
“Really? Thanks,” she grinned and then slipped into a yawn. “Oh… it’s late. Two am. Wow. I lost…” she continued to yawn. “…track of time.”
“Time well spent, I hope,” he grinned.
“Yeah,” she nodded. “I’ll see you around, Jesse.”
“Have a good night, Elle.”
Author Notes: I swear… my Simself and versions of my Simself are always attracted to bartenders. Maybe it’s cuz they are among some of the easiest Sims to meet. Jesse Daugherty is a game-generated Sim, but the two of them really hit it off unexpectedly. Mrs. Claus did invite Elle to sing, and Spencer did try to awkwardly hit on Elle (some mod I have… can’t remember what allowing teen-adult romance). Funny though. Margarita was the only one who exchanged numbers with Elle at the end of the night.
This chapter featured divanthesimmer’sMrs. Clause, Margarita Mixer, and Spencer Goode. If I start at the beginning (it would be Cathy, Jasper, Gracie, Mary, and then Margarita as the 5th Sim). Though if I go in strict order, if I count the street vendor, it would be Mrs. Mary Clause. Or if I don’t count the street vendor, then technically, the mixologist, Jesse Daughtery. I can’t decide. Whom shall I feature in the next chapter?
When I awoke in the morning, I realized I overslept my alarm. Panicking, I sat up and frantically grabbed my alarm clock, only to see the note attached. It was from Joseph.
I’ll watch the kids today. You relax. You deserve it.
I smiled. It was signed, Joseph Joe. Breathing a sigh of relief, I collapsed back against the pillow and decided to rest longer.
“Nate, watch where you’re going,” Carrie sighed, as she straightened the tilting beaker after her kid brother ran circles around her science project.
“Car…wie! Dance!” Nathan demanded.
“No, I have to finish my science project,” Carrie shook her head.
“Dance!” Nathan said happily as he pointed to the stereo.
He clapped his hands and began wiggling his behind. Carrie tried to ignore the child as she fiddled with the baking soda. She was determined to make the best and most explosive volcano in her class. No her entire school.
Kids here weren’t like Brindleton Bay Elementary. They were ruthlessly competitive. Just last week someone stuck a flower bouquet in her locker so she would have an allergic reaction. She was forced to go to the nurse’s office and missed the spelling bee. Someone else won instead of her. It should’ve been me, she balled her fists.
Marshall entered the room and began barking, startling Carrie. She nearly dropped her glass beaker. Parker ran out to join her brother in her onesie, dancing in a frenzy. Joey toddled from the bedroom, screeching for Daddy.
“Dad! Can you make them be quiet?” Carrie said, exasperated as her adopted dad knelt next to her project.
“What are you working on?” he inquired.
“My volcano for the science fair,” Carrie replied. “I just need to get the right mix of chemicals and it should be perfect.”
“Okay kids, here’s the deal,” Joseph said, addressing the triplets. “Your mom is going to have some alone time today and your sister is working on a very important school project,” he winked at Carrie.
She beamed. It was nice that Joseph thought of her as the older sister to his own biological kids.
“So we need to be quiet, but we can still have fun,” Joseph continued. “It can be a contest. Who can be the quietest?”
“Oh me me!” Joey Jr. jumped up and down and scream-whispered.
“No me!” Nathan wiggled his booty and giggled softly.
Carrie rolled her eyes.
“Parker, are you going to play?” Joseph asked.
She nodded, her eyes lighting up at the idea of a challenge.
“Can you help me, Dad?” Carrie asked.
“Can I help you? Hmm…” Joseph rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Let me see. I think I’ve made one or two of these in my day.”
“Dad!” Carrie sighed. “You aren’t going to mess it up, right?”
“Never!” he said in mock-seriousness.
At a quarter past eleven, I wrapped myself in my silky green robe. Joseph had laid it over the dresser, freshly laundered and pressed. I smiled as she adjusted the tie and wandered into the bathroom barefoot. I never slept this late. It felt amazing.
I gasped as my eyes fell upon a copper bucket. A bottle of my favorite celebratory champagne and a yellow rose lay tucked into a bed of ice on the floor by the bathtub. Another little note was attached to the side.
Sometimes it’s okay to drink before noon. 😉 Treat yourself to a bubble bath.
I grinned, noticing a giant bottle of bubble bath sitting on the edge of our jetted tub. Joseph was spoiling me. I poured myself a glass, started the hot water, and added a cap full of bubbles. No two. Giggling to myself, I decided to really go for it. Three cap fulls of bubble bath.
I indulged in the longest bath I had taken since I was single. I didn’t step out until I resembled a sun-ripened raisin.
“What do you think, Dad?”
Carrie looked hesitant as she awaited Joseph’s response. Both the cat and dog gathered to witness her finished product. Marshall whined to go outside, but Dulcie seemed genuinely alert. The triplets were still dancing with a newfound energy even if it had been several hours.
“Are you all going to get dressed?” she inquired. “It’s almost one o’clock.”
“It’s the weekend,” Joseph shrugged. “And we’re enjoying a lazy day, aren’t we, kids?”
Carrie bit her lower lip. “But the volcano? What do you think?”
“I think…” Joseph smiled, proudly. “It is the best volcano I have ever seen.”
“Really?” Carrie’s eyes lit up.
“Really! Now go do something fun for yourself too,” Joseph urged.
While Carrie ran to her room, Joseph played with the triplets.
“Horsey!” Nathan declared, leaping at his father with a furious determination.
“Oh I’m the horse today!” Joseph smirked. “Yesterday I was the knight. What do you think, Joey?”
Joey hmmf-ed on the couch, folding his arms.
“It’ll be your turn next,” Joseph assured.
Both Nathan and Joey gave Joseph a workout as he pranced about in the living room and kitchen. Carrie returned to the couch, turning on the television to watch the Super Shopping Network. The channel ran a special about Al Simharan antiquities. Carrie gasped.
“Those knives look epically sharp!” she exclaimed.
Parker nodded, staring up at her father.
“Is it your turn, Parker?” Joseph asked.
His daughter nodded.
About midday, Carrie asked her adopted father if she could practice her instrument without disturbing Lizzie. Joseph gave permission. He had checked on his wife earlier, so he knew she was awake. He brought her favorite take-out – pizza from Pendragon’s franchise in town. He even special ordered extra pineapple, and planted a deep kiss on her cheek when he delivered her lunch. She smiled gratefully. Then he returned with mini pizzas for the kids. Carrie wasn’t too hungry, and picked the pepperoni off politely. The triplets loved pepperoni. Carrie? Not so much.
She tucked her violin beneath her chin and began to drag her bow gently over the strings. The music always made her feel transported to a time and place where nothing else mattered. The concerto didn’t pick on her when she faltered on the C# like the kids at school did when she asked if she could sit with the white kids and they laughed. The music didn’t care if she was different. The notes didn’t think she was weird because her father was Seoulan and first and second adopted fathers weren’t. She wanted to be normal, and the music made her feel free to be who she truly was – unique.
Mid to late afternoon, Joseph put the kids down for a nap and went to check on his wife. I had been writing for most of the day, hit with the inspiration bug. I think I was ready to show my editor a few chapters. Joseph hopped in the shower while I changed and pulled out my yoga mat. It was time for some soothing smooth jazz and relaxing centering exercises.
Nate climbed out of his toddler bed. Little snorts from Joey and soft snifflings from Parker ensured him that his siblings were sleeping. He felt hot. Daddy didn’t like wearing shirts. Why should he? And while he was at it – why not kick off his pants? He did pull both of his rainboots over his feet. Then he could splash in the toilet all he wanted. Secret playtime when he was supposed to be napping was fun.
“Looking good!” Joseph placed his hands on his hips and admired his wife from behind.
I gulped and gasped, halfway through a pose, surprised when my husband popped into the master bedroom behind me. I could smell his cologne even from a distance.
“Joseph, you startled me!” I exclaimed. Glancing over my shoulder, I added, “Did you have a nice shower?”
“You smell good.”
“Thank you,” he grinned, confidently. “So when are you going to…” he trailed off with a cheeky grin. “…get over here?”
I pressed my hands together, and lifted my eyes toward the ceiling.
“The stereo’s working,” I teased. “As you can tell. It hasn’t needed any TLC for over a month.”
I sighed thinking about the finicky stereo that Joseph insisted on keeping since it brought us together. He was sentimental like that. I didn’t really mind. A smile played at the corner of my lips.
“Maybe I’m the one who needs your TLC,” Joseph replied coyly.
Author Notes: Thanks for reading. Carrie has come home moody a few times, and I got a few notifications in game about other kids’ interactions with our adopted daughter. It made me sad, but it was part of the game, so I added it. The triplets were fun in this chapter. Also I had the champagne bucket from some date aspiration Joseph and Lizzie completed forever ago, and planned to place it in the kitchen. I went into build mode and somehow it ended up in the bathroom, and in true ISBI fashion, I rolled with it. Thanks for reading. This chapter featured InfraGreen‘s Carrie and Buckley, and LegacySims2017‘s Joseph and Dulcie.
Partridge in a Pear Tree Cottage | 4th of Simcember
I wonder what today’s weather will be like.
“Help yourself to the TV or computer. I gotta scoot,” Cathy called from the kitchen. “I’m doing a lecture downstairs in the pub. You’re welcome to join.”
Elle settled on the backless couch. Why do people buy these things? They aren’t comfortable or practical. Where am I supposed to lean? Even so, she found the soothing teal color to be relaxing, reminding her of the beach in her home town. She could practically smell the sea-salt laden air, hear the cry of the gulls and the happy clamoring of children, and feel the warm, wet sand beneath her bare feet racing to the rocks to watch the seals lazing about beneath the warm Califorsimian sun. Elle sighed. Life was simpler.
“I’d love to,” she replied, clicking on the weather channel. “Thanks for the invite, but I think I want to do some exploring today. I’ll catch the next one for sure.”
“Suit yourself,” Cathy waved.
The Sims National Weather Service declared snowy and cold conditions for most of the day. Elle sighed, wishing it was warmer for walking about town. She decided she wouldn’t let the temperature ruin her plans. Glancing about Cathy’s living room, she smiled, enjoying the Christmas decoration – a hearty pine tree, decked in festive colored balls, ribbons, peppermint sticks, and golden snowflakes, a matching pine bough decking the mentle with a shiny gold jingle bell, red, green, and white paper stars dangling over window panes, and the soft glow of creme brulee scented candles amidst sprigs of holly branches. A collection of Christmas cards sat atop the caramel colored trunk with bronze hinges.
“I guess Christmas is a few weeks away,” she mumbled to herself, feeling slightly depressed she wouldn’t be with family this year.
Her classes would start this evening, and extend through the Winter Holiday. Most students were on break for the month. Not me, she twisted her toe in the plum-colored area rug. That’s what I get for transferring halfway through the year. Feeling a little nosy, she flicked open a card, wondering about the nice things people wrote to Cathy. Most cards were from students, but she did notice one letter written in her cousin’s familiar handwriting. Elle smiled wistfully, figuring she should call her cousin and the kiddos. She tried to remind herself the end result of transferring schools would be worth it right as she heard the front door slam shut. Oh, I wonder what little present I could buy for my new host!
“Cathy, is that you?” she called.
Jasper McCumber waltzed in, whistling a little Christmas tune.
While fields and flocks, rocks hills and plains Repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy…
“Oh!” Elle gasped. “I wasn’t expecting to see you, Professor.”
“Hello Elle, did you settle in nicely?” Jasper inquired.
“I did, thank you,” Elle smiled. “I was just about to walk around town. Is it cold out?” She felt a little lazy just lounging on the couch.
“Oh yes, but nothing a young woman like yourself cannot handle,” Jasper remarked as he pulled a lighter from the mantle.
The young man on the television flashed a coy smile as he tried to convince viewers to purchase patio furniture. Elle covered her mouth and smothered a giggle. What a strange time of year to buy patio furniture! She thought she recognized the shirtless man with the frosted blonde curls posing before a umbrella-shaded table.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, switching her focus to the professor.
“Oh, I’m hosting a literary club,” Jasper replied.
“Here?” she squeaked and jumped up from the couch, wondering where everyone would sit.
“Yes, you’re welcome to join,” he replied. “Cathy always lets me use her living room.”
The thought of discussing books by the fire with a renowned writer and literary critic sounded tempting, but she didn’t want to intrude. She also had no idea what they had been reading or if she could even contribute.
“Oh no, I better scoot,” Elle replied. “Thank you anyhow.”
Brent something… the infomercial king, she recalled. Her cousin-in-law, Joseph Simself had invited the actor to a party once since he worked with Sims.tv.
After a day of exploring the town, Elle plopped down on one of the swings in the backyard, feeling whimsical. Swings always reminded her of a happy childhood, a time when she was more carefree and content with her life. Her feet kicked the array of autumn leaves at her feet as she pushed off the ground, glancing heavenward. Somehow the half-cloudy sky didn’t even cause her to despair. This is why I’m here, she sighed. To start a better life.
Elle couldn’t help but squeal a bit as she whirled through the air on a squeaking swing set, her gloved hands gripping the golden chains as she pumped her legs back and forth. With each motion, she reminded herself she could do this. She could start over. The past was in the past, and everything could begin anew.
Streets of Hollidaysburg | 4th of Simcember
As she waited for the ferry to arrive, she pulled out her phone and texted her cousin as she planned to do the night prior. I can’t believe I am roommates with Cathy Tea. Any advice, coz?
While she awaited a reply, Elle ordered a grilled cheese and a pineapple-mango juice from a street vendor.
“Pleasant evening, isn’t it?” she said.
“Indeed,” the vendor replied.
“Aren’t you cold?” she inquired, glancing at his exposed arms.
“Naw,” he laughed and shook his head. “Hot blood runs in my family.”
Elle munched on her food as she traveled across the lake to the university. Lizzie texted her back just as she stepped off the ferry.
Oh how exciting! I’ll have to make a trip out to see you both. We used to work together, you know. Just be yourself, Elle. Cathy’s an accepting person. Don’t worry about formalities.
Elle quickly texted “thanks,” wiped a bit of cheese from her mouth, and headed up the dock to the university for her first evening of class – Introductory Poetry.
Evening class finished around six-thirty. Professor Claire Clutterbell released everyone early. Tonight was mostly an informal get-to-know one-another class, review of the syllabus and reading materials, and some introductory exercises. Elle was required to come up with a short haiku to describe herself as a class exercise. It was strange as Elle didn’t like to be the center of attention, but with only five classmates, the course felt more like a workshop than a full class. She could do it, Elle swallowed hard thinking back to her nerves as she recalled the poem she penned.
Hear tawny owls call Herald the evening moon rise How long will you wait?
When Professor Clutterbell asked her what she thought the words meant, Elle explained the haiku reflected her love of music, her creative nature, and her desire to make the world a better, happier place. The owl represented her aspiration for wisdom and knowledge, and the fact that she was more of a night person.
Now as she strolled along the street in the early evening, Elle found herself contemplating the last line. Was it gentle inspiration meant to question the things of life? Was it the fierce whisper of her spirit aching for change? Was it the instinctive urge to rise and act? She twisted her lower lip. Professor Clutterbell praised her introspection, and yet somehow it felt incomplete. She wondered if she would ever feel whole.
A young girl approached, beaming from ear to ear. Pointed ears, as a matter of fact. Elle half-smiled, wondering what the child wanted. She appeared to be glowing, an aura of pure white joy, something angelic and innocent like children should be. Her jingle bell attached to her cap jangled as she bobbed her head.
“How now brown cow!” the girl lifted her hand in greeting.
Elle frowned. I’m not a cow! she protested internally. Is she calling me a cow? And a brown cow at that! Why would she call me that? Wait… cow… oh… I need to pick up some milk at the store. Cathy seemed to be out and I’d like some with my cereal tomorrow. In fact, I should pick up a few things.
The girl seemed to wait endlessly, the earnest smile on her face never faltering. Elle relaxed into a bemused sigh and said the first words that came to mind.
“Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”
The girl’s smile grew even wider, if that was possible. “Oh, thank you. We are learning about elocution in school. E-lo-cu-tion is a big word, don’t you think?”
And to think… I suspected she intended meanness, Elle shook her head.
“Hi, I’m Elle, what’s your name?”
“Gracie Goode. It’s alit…alit…alliteration,” she stumbled over the word. “See? That’s a big word too.”
“Yes, it is,” Elle smirked. “Do you make a habit of talking to strangers about alliteration and elocution?”
For the first time, the little angel frowned. “Mom wants me to be more careful about who I talk to. She’s says not everyone is good in the world like we are, but you just seemed like a good person. Are you good, Elle?” she wiggled her fingers.
Elle fumbled for words. Am I good? Don’t we all wonder that?
“I’m literally good,” Gracie giggled. “I mean… my last name is Goode, spelled with an ‘e.’ What’s your last name?”
“Well, that’s fun,” Elle remarked. “My name is missing an ‘i’ but I pronounce my name Ell-ie. My last name is Greene.”
“And you’re wearing white,” Elle observed. “Are you sure your last name isn’t White?”
“No, silly,” Gracie laughed. “It’s Goode. Well, see ya around, Elle.”
As quickly as she appeared, she scampered off, but not before calling over her shoulder, “Elle? That’s a palin-drome.”
Elle smiled warmly. “Yes, yes it is.”
Author Notes: This story is getting to be quite long. It’s harder and harder to capture everything in game and meet the required number of Sims in one chapter. Some of it may also be this segment follows my Sim and so I’m getting a bit lost in that. 😉 I’m naturally introspective. Haha. I’m also riding the flow of my creativity right now. Hope you don’t mind.
CathyTea‘s Jasper appeared in the home of Cathy Tea for a Page Turners club meeting. Elle would’ve liked to join but she’s not a club member, at least not yet.
Elle is a communications major. I plan to have her attend various communications/writing classes. If you would like your Sim to attend a class with Elle, let me know, and I’ll try to make it happen in game. 🙂 This first one is Introductory Poetry. Professor Claire Clutterbell is a reference to an actual Sim from The Sims: Bustin’ Out. She is an expert in poetry, and once the poet laureate to the Leader of the Free World (a.k.a. the President of the Sim Nation).
divanthesimmer‘s Gracie was highlighted, but I liked the image enough that I added it into the story. She approached Elle and said something in Simlish that almost sounded like “How now brown cow” which sparked this whole conversation.