1.28 With Me (FRWL)

Gage felt like a new man.

He woke up every day with a spring in his step and a smile on his face. He didn’t have to skip breakfast because he was sleeping more deeply and able to get up earlier in the morning. He even made bacon and eggs for his aunt Missy, much to her surprise. He whistled and sang in the shower, much to his cousin, Rhoda’s annoyance since she worked nights. He couldn’t help it. He was happy. He tried to make things up to her by picking up her favorite cookies at the supermarket.

Gage stopped by the library and paid Constance back, even if she hadn’t been expecting it. He also arranged for a piece of artwork to be on loan to the Wright Reading Room from the Octagon House. Anita didn’t like coffee so he often walked to the local coffee cart by himself in the mornings, and was surprised to see Constance there. She confessed she was addicted to their maple pancake bites, and it was the only place in town to get Oolong tea from Simina. Some mornings, Gage would leave extra early and pick up Constance’s order for her, delivering it to the library because she fell asleep at work again. Then he’d check out a copy of the latest weekly At-Home Artist magazine for himself and a romance paperback for Anita because she read books in a day.

Gage stopped blowing off classes and actually started doing his homework. He contacted the professors for the three online and one in-person class he was taking, and requested extra credit to make up for late assignments. Only one didn’t grant him an extension, his art history teacher. Anita was a lifesaver. With her knowledge and firsthand experience in the Sim Union, she was a valuable asset and helped him study every day after work until he felt confident he could pass his final exams with flying colors.

He drove Ruby back and forth to see his cousin, Sam in the City when her car broke down, and he and Anita even helped babysit her little brother, Skip so she could take her online exams for the semester from Sam’s apartment where it was quiet, unlike her own house in Riverview.

He even improved at work, securing three partnerships with artists in the state of Illinoisim, one for a lecture, another for a workshop, and another for a long-term class, and all to display their artwork exclusively at The Octagon House.

His aunt had noticed something different about him, and patted him on the cheek this morning, saying she was excited he found a special individual. Sam noticed, and congratulated him, saying he was happy Gage was able to move on from Soléi, and he invited Gage and Anita to join him and Ruby to ice skating the day after Thanksgiving in Simcago.

That reminded Gage to check in with his ex-girlfriend, and he learned she moved to Simizona to set up a winter camp for the Nativians and supernaturals. They Sim-yped and she wished him well in his life, and said she had begun a relationship with Damon, and told him he was welcome to visit the Cherry Moon Collective anytime. He also called Heather to apologize to her for his atrocious behavior, but she didn’t pick up her phone. Lé told him Heather had parted ways with the Collective and was seeking out work up north in Simnadia.

Gage tried to contact Lakshmi at Simcago Sensations, but she was out on a story. He also bopped around on the Internet trying to find information about Natalya but couldn’t seem to find her. Perhaps she had returned to her real name. He stopped by Cerise’s penthouse, and brought her a 12-pack of plasma fruit juice. He found her lounging, and she told him she hadn’t been into work because she had been feeling under the weather. She was grateful for the plasma packs, and accepted his apology almost immediately saying there was nothing to forgive as they were two consenting adults.

The day before Thanksgiving, Gage decided to take Anita on their first real date. He figured they should go out somewhere before double dating with Sam and Ruby. Anita had helped him at work and with his schoolwork, but short of the picnics in the office, they hadn’t really been out.

Anita picked the place – The Watering Hole. It was a less than reputable bar in town, according to Sam, but the place had really great deep-fried pizza pockets, and Ruby said there was a decent DJ most nights, including her older brother, Al, but she wasn’t sure if he’d be working. The one good thing about the hole-in-the-wall joint was no paparazzi. When they arrived, Anita immediately said she got a good vibe, and headed straight for the dance floor. Gage went to order the deep-fried pizza pockets and was happy the price was dirt-cheap. He ordered an entire plateful.

“Dude, is that your old lady?” the bartender asked.

Gage glanced over at the dance floor where Anita was tearing up some moves, swinging her arms above her head and rocking her hips in rhythmic circles.

“You mean, my woman?” he corrected, and then beamed from ear-to-ear. “Yes, she’s my girlfriend.”

“She’s got mad skills,” the bartender remarked. “Say you look familiar.”

“I do?” Gage’s eyes grew wide as he he sneaked a bite of dripping hot cheese. “Mmm… these are delicious.”

“How do I know you?” the bartender inquired.

“I don’t know,” Gage shrugged. “I don’t know you, do I?”

“The name’s Zeke,” the guy said, offering his hand.

“Hi, Zeke, I’m…” Gage shook the man’s hand, and began introducing himself.

“Gage!?!?” he was cut off by the shrieking shrill voice of his cousin, Rhoda.

He turned and saw his angry cousin, hands perched on her hips, dressed in black mini skirt, silver studded belt, leather corset with black bands, silver buckles, and a collar around her neck, and not much else.

“Another girlfriend?” Zeke leaned over and whispered with a smirk.

“Uh… no….” Gage protested, waving his arms. “That’s my…”

“Don’t you say it!” Rhoda growled.

“…cousin…” he finished, dejected.

“Man,” Zeke chuckled, mostly to himself. “Two hot women in here… too bad one’s your cuz.”

Gage walked over to try and appease Rhoda.

“I can’t believe you’re here,” she exclaimed, angrily throwing her hands in the air.

“Um… it’s a free country,” he said, weakly. “What? Do you work here?”

“Oh gawd! Yes, damnit! Yes Gage I work here. You know my dirty secret. I work at the Watering Hole, and gawd! Why are you here?”

“Excuse me?”

“Yeah, you and my holier-than-thou bro wouldn’t be caught dead in a place like this.”

“Actually Sam recommended the deep fried pizza pockets…” Gage glanced over his cousin’s shoulder to the plate of his once piping-hot food.

“What the hell? Well, why are you here? What are you into? You better not be lookin’ for tail,” she said accusingly.

“Rhoda! I didn’t come here looking to take anyone home tonight. I brought a date,” he replied.

“A date?” Rhoda glared at him incredulously, and then her face relaxed.

Gage frowned. Why on Simterra is she so pissed? 

“Well, you cannot under any circumstances reveal that I work here,” Rhoda said harshly. “Or that you saw me here. Or I will wring your neck.”

“Okay… okay…” he threw up his hands. “Whatever you say. Your secret’s safe with me.”

Rhoda seemed confident that he was telling the truth, and started to walk away, sashaying her hips and accentuating an area he didn’t really want to see. She whipped around, glaring over her shoulder.

“Or that you saw me in this outfit, capisce?” Rhoda added. “Or you’re dead. I swear you’re dead.”

“Okay,” he said, trying not to laugh at his cousin’s bizarre insistence.

Gage joined Anita out on the dance floor.

“Who was that?” she asked, as he wrapped his arms around her hips and squeezed, happy to be back in her arms.

“My cousin… being really really weird… but oh… we didn’t see her tonight,” he replied.

“Okay…” she said, looking bewildered.

“Come on, I got us food,” he said, leading her back to the bar. “And drinks.”

After eating, the couple returned to the dance floor, and enjoyed a few more songs. Gage didn’t see Ruby’s brother, but the DJ present was halfway decent. Anita left to go “powder her nose” or whatever it was ladies did in the bathroom, and he was approached by the bartender. The guy had changed out of his work uniform and into something more casual.

“Zeke, right?” Gage said, shaking the guy’s hand before.

“I swear… that drama with your cuz earlier…” Zeke shook his head and clicked his tongue. “Rhoda has got a stick up her very sweet little ass.”

“Uh…” Gage didn’t know what to say, feeling uncomfortable talking about his relative in such a manner. “Did you need something?”

“I swear, I know you… and I realized why… your last name,” Zeke said, waving his hands in an animated way.

“My last name?” Gage frowned.

“Briody!” Zeke declared, excitedly.

“How do you know my last name?” Gage tilted his head.

“Your ID, you dork,” Zeke replied. “When you bought drinks. It’s my last name too!”

“What do you mean?” Gage said, eyeing Anita who had returned to the dance floor.

She gave him an odd look, but began dancing solo as he continued his conversation, turning his attention to Zeke.

“Briody! Gage Briody! Boy! I’m your big brother!” the man declared, the happiest look spreading across his face.

Gage did a double take, blinking rapidly. His brother? Zeke? Zeke Briody? He had an older brother? The news was overwhelming. He stared into the face of the bartender, and noticed a similarity in the nose and the eyes, even if the man had an ochre skin tone.

“Brother?” he said, aloud, hardly believing the words.

“Yeah, I was born three years before you to Brigit Briody…”

“Mom?” he said, startled.

Zeke was already swallowing him in a hug. “Yeah Brigit’s my mom. I haven’t seen the woman in almost eighteen years.”

“Do you… do you… know where she is?” Gage gasped.

“Nah… ” Zeke shook his head, but I know the stories our granny used to tell me… and that’s enough. Sounds like the woman didn’t really want to be a mom and couldn’t get enough of love.”

Gage chuckled weakly, rubbing the back of his head, feeling connected to his biological mother.

“So you and I share a mother,” he said, mostly for himself, and suddenly his eyes widened. “Who was your dad?”

“Don’t know. But I know your dad was some rich white professor dude who married another woman and broke our ma’s heart,” Zeke explained. “So Rhoda’s your cousin? Huh? But we’re not related…” he remarked with a grin. “…so it’s okay that I occasionally plug her?”

Gage turned a thousand shades of red. “Are you asking my permission?” he said, tersely.

Zeke threw back his head and howled with laughter. “You shoudda seen your face. Ha! Don’t worry… I’m not into your cuz… even if she’s got a nice ass.”

Gage’s face returned to a slight pink.

“Hey, I’m off shift, so I’ll let you get back to the little woman,” Zeke grinned over Gage’s shoulder, eyeing Anita as if she was a hamburger on a menu. “Unless of course, you’ll let me get in a dance first?”

Gage narrowed his eyes.

“Kidding! Kidding! Bro,” Zeke lifted his hands in mock defense. “Enjoy your evening. But hey man, here’s my digits,” he handed Gage a piece of torn napkin with a number scrawled across it. “And we should get together and share stories or somethin’. Not here though.”

“I’d like that,” Gage said genuinely.

“Then once you’re square with me, I’ll introduce you to your big sis,” Zeke smirked.

“What?” Gage’s eyes bulged again. “I have an older sis too?”

“Yeah, we shared a womb,” Zeke gave a deep-bellied laugh. “We’re twins.”

“Oh wow!” Gage exclaimed, as Zeke gave him a half-hug and slapped him on the back.

“Alright, alright, I’ll see you… later… bro,” Zeke said with a wave as he exited the bar.

“Who was that?” Anita asked as Gage returned to dance with his date. “I feel like I came out with you and you’re spending half the time with other people.”

“Anita, you’re not going to believe this!” Gage said excitedly. “That’s my brother?”

“What? Really? You found your bio brother? And he works here?”

“Yeah. I guess so.”

“Wow… that’s amazing.”

“Yeah, and he has a twin, which means I have a big sister too.”

“So do I.”

Gage looked down into Anita’s earnest roasted chestnut eyes, and smiled. “You constantly surprise me, my dear. You have a twin?”

“Yeah, her name is Carlotta. She’s been off in the Simultan desert though for years,” Anita explained. “She left when we were eighteen. And I haven’t really talked to her since. But enough about me…” she placed her hand on Gage’s chest, a gesture he found surprisingly comforting. “What’s he like, your brother?”

“He seems a little… uh… what’s the word? This is all so surreal,” Gage explained.

“Understandably so. You haven’t seen him since…” Anita asked.

“Well, uh…” he rubbed the back of his head. “Um… since I was a tot. I don’t really remember much of those years. He seems um… well, a little sex-crazed.”

Really, Gage? That’s all you can come up with? 

“Oh really?” Anita’s voice hitched.

“Yeah, he was making all sorts of crude comments about Rhoda, and he wanted to dance with you too,” Gage scowled. “But I told him you were with me.”

Anita’s face melted into the sweetest smile. She laid her head gently between his shoulder and collarbone, and leaned into his embrace.

With you… that sounds really nice,” she said, almost sounding as if she was about to cry.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” he asked. “I’m sorry if I was preoccupied during our date tonight.”

“Nothing’s wrong…you’re perfect,” she said hoarsely.

“What? No, I’m not. I don’t deserve such high praise,” Gage protested.

“Shush…” she said. “It’s been so long since I’ve felt safe and loved with a man… not even, Philippe in his later years.”

“Really?” he frowned.

“He was… a hasty choice on my part…” Anita confessed. “And the age difference… well, it caused problems, and all we really had left was the sex. But you… Gage… you’re different. I can tell. And I like this… I like us.”

“He hurt you?” Gage said, his cheek flinching.

Anita shook her head. “I don’t want to talk about it. Plus all couples hurt one another. It’s human nature. But it’s in the past. Let’s just… for tonight… let’s just dance.”

An hour later at closing time, Gage drove Anita back to her house. The night was cold, but the two lovebirds didn’t seem to mind, standing on the porch, protected from the first falling snow of the season. He could see his breath on the frosty air when he surfaced between kisses. She tasted like candied lipstick and peppermint. He never wanted to let go.

“Gage?” she asked, interrupting their flow.

“Hmm?” he said. “What, my angel?” he petted her hair.

“Stay tonight?”

Gage stared deeply into her eyes, and felt her words spark embers in his chest. He thought briefly about what he should do and what he wanted to do, and the two were conflicting. She looked so earnest and hesitant in her question, like a woman who had been hurt before, and he found he couldn’t say no.

“You’re with me?” she asked, almost as if she didn’t trust reality.

“I’m with you,” he replied, lifting her into his arms. “And I’ll stay.”

 


Author Note: So Gage finds another sibling. Zeke Briody and his sister, Zia were first mentioned in my spin-off (that never happened) So This is Love? Zeke and Zia are the son and daughter of Brigit Briody and Corban Daniels, and are the older half-siblings of Gage. I didn’t intend to write about Zeke when I started this chapter, but you know the Sims. Always unpredictable. The guy showed up looking surprisingly like Gage and I went for it. So many interesting things happened. Rhoda argued with Gage. Zeke hit on Rhoda, and Anita. Both ladies rejected him, of course. This was a fun moment for me in game, and a great way to add some family connections. Hope you enjoyed.

Previous Chapter: 1.27 Bold Proposition 

Next Chapter: Coming Soon 

1.27 Bold Proposition (FRWL)

Gage decided to stay until morning. It was the least he could do. Nalea lay half-naked curled up beneath his jacket when he awoke around seven-forty-five. Smiling, he patted her blonde hair and gently slid from the couch. It hadn’t been the most comfortable sleeping arrangement. Slipping downstairs to the supermarket, he headed first for the coffee stand, ordering a latte for himself, and a hot chocolate with extra whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. Then he wandered to the bakery and plucked some fresh chocolate croissants from the shelf with the tongs. He stopped in the produce department and picked out some sweet-smelling apples, followed by a bunch of bananas to keep his options open. Finally, he stopped in the florist, and hummed and hawed over the type of flowers to buy.

“Gage?”

He turned, noticing Constance browsing through the flower department.

“Uh hi…” he said, tightening his grip on his hand-held basket.

“You’re here early,” she remarked, lifting a bouquet of white roses to her nose.

“Yeah, just gathering items for breakfast,” Gage replied, stretching his arm awkwardly as he dropped a package of candy into his basket.

“You eat chocolate-covered pineapple bites for breakfast?” she quirked a brow, leaning forward to inspect the package. “I should come over for breakfast some time. Must be gourmet at your house… candies from the floral department.”

“I’d like that,” he squeaked, a little too eagerly. “Uh… I’m not getting flowers…no flowers here… no sirree…” he quickly changed the subject. “What are you doing here?”

“Flowers…” she smirked. “… for Senior’s Day… at the library,” she casually knocking a package of the chocolate-covered pineapple bites into her own basket. “…since you suggested it…” she smiled coyly, turning away as she placed a few bouquets of purple delphiniums on her arm. “And,” she turned around. “…I never said anything about you buying flowers, but since you’re acting like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar…” she leaned in and straightened his collar. “…I’d recommend the white roses.”

Gage was too stunned to reply as she sauntered off into the store with a slight wave of her hand. His face relaxed into a smile. Constance Shelley was a constant surprise to him.

“I’ll take these,” he motioned to the florist.

Sauntering back upstairs, he found Nalea had already stirred from her sleep and was frantically trying to replace the buttons on her blouse.

“I have a client coming in a half hour,” she said, evidently freaked out when she saw his face. “I can’t believe we did that… I did that last night.”

He frowned, feeling defeated before he even began. “I brought breakfast.”

“And roses. How sweet!” Nalea remarked hopping across the floor with one shoe on as she looked for her other shoe. “You didn’t have to.”

“I wanted to,” he said.

“But um… Gage… uh…” she wasn’t even looking at his face, and she had hardly glanced at the breakfast spread he had brought as she searched the couch for her missing shoe.

“It’s under the table,” he directed. “Look… if you have a client… I’ll get out of the way.”

“Yes…” she exclaimed, pulling her pump from its hiding spot. “I mean… no!” she looked up at him, flushed. “I mean… uh… yes… you should go… but no… I mean… I want to…”

“It’s okay. You can save the speech,” Gage waved his hands. “I already know.”

“What? I mean… you do?” Nalea said, bewildered.

“Yes, we had a fun date and all, but I can’t be your client anymore after last night. It wouldn’t be professional,” he offered. “And it was fun, but you only wanted fun, and nothing more. You’re not looking for a relationship,” he began to back away. “I get it. It’s cool.”

“Thanks,” she tilted her head. “You took the words right out of my mouth. I mean it wouldn’t be very professional of me to keep seeing you as a paying client. And um… well…” she turned to fix her stray hairs in the mirror hanging on the wall. “And I don’t know what got into me last night.”

“Say no more,” he said, opening his arms. “I was expecting this. And a relationship with strings isn’t what I’m looking for right now.”

“Really?” she puzzled over a rogue hair. “I mean, you wished for a family and a home of your own and to please a woman and…”

“I know what I wished for,” Gage laughed unnaturally. “Seriously, Nalea, I wasn’t expecting to have it overnight or with you.”

“Oh!” she said, sounding almost disappointed, as she stopped preening. Turning about, she looked him in the eyes, “Well, if you want to have more fun sometime, call me, okay?”

“Sure thing,” he said, heading for the door.

“Oh and an apple!” she snagged one from his bag, and planted a light kiss on his cheek. “Thank you. I’m starved.”

With that, she whirled and walked toward the small bathroom of the establishment. Gage trudged down the back stairs, and felt the ache in his heart as he realized every word he had said was a lie. He swallowed hard, realizing Nalea wasn’t the one for him, and had gotten caught up in the irresistible charm last night. When he reached the street, the Simvember morning air hit his face like a cold slap. He debated tossing the entire bag, but then realized he spent good money on his items. Perhaps he could make someone else’s day. He pulled out his phone and dialed.

“Anita? Hey it’s Gage.”

One week later, Gage wandered into the live art room at the Octagon House. He smiled at each artist as he passed by, taking a moment to stop and ponder at each easel. Jon Lessen, the Monday afternoon figures instructor, acknowledged him with a nod as he continued to make the rounds and give pointers to each of the painters. Today the subject of their paintings was two female models in swimsuits. One was Hannah Jones, a journalist for the Riverview Register, dressed in a high cut pink floral one-piece, and the other, to his pleasant surprise was Anita Errare. It was hard not to notice the woman dressed in a hot pink string bikini.

“Ain’t she smokin’?” Buzz Rhodes, an attendee whispered.

“Which one?” Gage whispered back with a smile.

“We were short a model today,” Jon informed him. “So Anita filled in. Hannah helped her get settled.”

“Thank you, Hannah Jones,” slipped out of his mouth before he could stop it.

The woman glanced over at him and grinned. Hannah had apparently modeled in college in several athletic magazines, and now did a gig or two for fun. This week, according to Buzz, she was writing an article on the Octagon House’ newest patron… Anita Errare.

Of course she is. Gage sighed. Modeling for the community art class together was the perfect opportunity to pump the heiress for information. It was hard not to make the golden-skinned Anita the center of attention. He just hoped the article would be flattering. Several tabloids from Simcago and magazines had been hounding Ms. Errare, including Simcago Sensations, the same magazine Lakshmi worked for, and Gage had hoped his former one-night-stand wouldn’t be doing the article. He knew because he had been keeping the young widow company for the past week.

Last Monday, he had called Anita and shared breakfast with her after Nalea blew him off for a client. Anita had found the breakfast picnic in the park to be “a thoughtful idea.” Perhaps his night with Nalea hadn’t been a complete waste. He seemed to have picked up some pointers. Before meeting Anita at the Lost Willow, more secluded than the other town parks, he had stopped by the library and asked Lilith to pass along the roses to Constance… anonymously, of course. The sixteen-year-old volunteer at circulation practically swooned, but she promised to keep his secret. Gage felt better about giving flowers to Constance since she had been admiring them after all, and had suggested the flowers to him.

His breakfast date with Anita turned into several hours of pleasant conversation and getting to know one another. They stopped into Divisadero Budget Books to warm up, and Anita popped back to the powder room, which was when he received a text from Constance.

C: Thanks. Is this to pay me back for the socks? Because I think that’s overkill. 

G: What are you talking about? 

C: The roses… they’re lovely. You shouldn’t have bought me flowers.

G: Lovely flowers for a lovely librarian. How did you know they were from me? 

C: I was with you when you picked them out. 

She signed her text message with a wide-mouthed smile. He was too predictable, he assumed. That’s when Anita resurfaced from the bathroom, and they began browsing through books together as she attempted to locate a text on Libra era Simtalian artists. Tuesday, Anita had surfaced at his workplace and asked if she could help with a project. Any project, she said, as long as she was out of her house. He plugged her in with the evening pottery class, and popped by a few times in the hour to poke his head in the door and see how she was doing when she wasn’t looking.

Thursday, Anita announced she wanted to financially support the Octagon House, specifically by adding a new wing, dedicated to some pieces of her late husband’s artwork.

Friday, they talked with the lawyers over lunch. Gage felt like Billy really should be present for the discussion, but his boss said he completely trusted his judgment and approved what he needed to from a distance.

This morning, Gage and Anita went over the official paperwork in his office, and after an hour of trying to… and failing to decipher the legal jargon… and laughing a little in the process… he sent out for lunch from Little Coriscan Bistro, gourmet applewood smoked bacon and avocado hamburgers with a special pineapple barbecue sauce. He had discovered Anita liked pineapple on the morning of their first breakfast together… chocolate covered pineapple bites had been a good choice after all. He had been glad someone enjoyed them, still feeling the slight sting from Nalea’s casual reaction to their night together.

The sweet potato fries in a honey Parmesan glaze, arugula salad with toasted walnuts, and chocolate fudge cake with a raspberry cream-cheese frosting had been enough to put the proverbial icing on the cake of a long fruitful partnership for the Octagon House. He was taking his boss’s advice quite literally with the wining and dining, even if it was just at the office.

“Hey! You! Boss man?”

Gage returned planet-side as the day-time security guard, Joab Lankste, attempted to gain his attention. The man had already changed out of his uniform into a comfortable pullover, white pinstripe button-down, and jeans.

“Yes?”

“I was going to take this class but looks like I’m too late,” Joab remarked. “And the little old lady will have my head if I’m not home for dinner so take my spot.”

“Uh… what?”

“Trust me, buddy. I’m doing you a favor,” Joab grinned as he walked from the room. “Rashid is already in punching numbers in the clock. You’ll do great, boss man.”

“Tell Rebecca I said hi,” was all Gage could think to say in response.

Jon walked over and set up a canvas on his easel, claiming Joab already paid for the session so Gage could hop right in and paint since he qualified for the employee discount. Gage tried to protest, but Jon insisted saying there were to be no wasted canvases. He rolled up his sleeves, deciding he might as well try.

Fifty-five minutes later, the other classmates packed in their supplies for the night and filed out one by one for the night. Hannah helped Anita to the ladies locker room to shower and change while Gage stayed and chatted with Jon for a few minutes. After everyone was gone, Gage returned to the canvas, adding color with precision brushstrokes. He hadn’t wanted to show off while the other classmates were there.

“Wow, I’m flattered,” a voice came from behind him.

Gage jumped, turning to see Anita wrapped in nothing but a white towel. She must have just emerged from the showers.

“Uh hi…” he said.

Anita leaned toward the canvas, the finished portrait of herself, with a discerning eye. “I like how you captured the still portrait of me, but there’s movement and life behind me with the yellow taxi cab and the fall trees. It’s a neat approach.”

“Thanks,” he started putting away his art supplies. “It was the best I could come up with in the short amount of time.”

“Gage,” she breathed his name. “Your work is brilliant. Joab showed me a few of your paintings in the back. You’ve been working in a storage closet?”

He blushed. “I… well… I don’t typically join classes like these… and it’s actually got decent lighting in there.”

“No, no,” she shook her head. “That simply won’t do. We’ll have to make sure that the new wing has a space for employee artists.”

“That really isn’t necessary,” he replied.

“But I want to… I want to invest in the arts here. I want to invest in you… Gage… you are… look at what you did in under two hours. It is simply stunning. I love how you captured me,” she praised. “You are bold in your brushstrokes and your technique.”

“Thank you,” he managed, his voice croaking as he moved to adjust the canvas.

He wasn’t sure how he felt about her praise. He hadn’t thought of himself as a brilliant artist, especially in the eyes of the widow of the late and great Philippe Errare.

Anita tapped her foot impatiently. “What I cannot fathom is why you are not bold with me.”

“Wha…”

Anita cut off his response by pressing her lips deeply into his own, and for a moment, he forgot everything else in the world. This wealthy, accomplished, well-traveled, engaging, and beautiful young woman showed interest in him – a lowly struggling artist and assistant manager of a gallery and museum in a po-dunk country town.

Gage threw his hands up as she wrapped her arms tightly around him in embrace, almost uncertain as to why he did so, but then his fingers found her face, and caressed her cheeks. Anita sighed happily into his mouth, continuing to massage his lips with her own. He was in heaven, and he had no idea how he got there.

He was almost disappointed when she removed her lips.

“Gage Briody,” she said in a matter-of-fact way. “I have decided we should date.”

“Okay,” he said, grinning lazily.

“That’s all you have to say?” she seemed almost surprised.

“Well, I’m not one to turn down the bold propositions of a beautiful accomplished woman,” he replied, a teasing edge to his voice.

“I am serious, Gage,” she narrowed her eyes. “You and I will date. I have wondered why you have not kissed me before now.”

“I was trying to… uh… respect you… I mean… I didn’t…” he stammered. “…want to presume things….and all… you know… and I wanted to… um… be… your… friend. I didn’t think…”

“No you didn’t. And I have to decide if I’ll forgive you for that,” she said seriously.

“Well, I think you did…” he let out a weak chuckle. “…with that kiss.” he leaned in and nuzzled her cheek. “I would be happy to date you, Anita Errare, if it is what you want. Now why don’t you go change so I can take you to a proper dinner.”

Previous Post: Love Lessons (NSFW) 

Next Chapter: 1.28 With Me

1.26 Love Lessons (FRWL) (NSFW)

Author Note: Warning! This chapter contains mature adult sexual content that is not suitable for younger readers, including sexual content. I have tried to remain tasteful with my pictures. 

Nalea seemed to enjoy hovering above the ground. It was a power her people could attain if they concentrated and practiced. She sort-of wished she had the power to be invisible also when she heard the footsteps of a certain young man approaching. I can’t help it though, she said, touching her toes to the ground, the purple smoke vanishing around her ankles. And I’m in trouble. 

Gage felt incredibly guilty as he walked up behind Nalea. She had offered to meet him three nights this week, and all three nights, he had canceled because he was helping out Riverview’s returnee, Anita Errare. Last night, he met her for coffee at Victoria’s Tea House so they could get to know one another. The coffee wasn’t up to the standards of Simspanian caféas it was a Simtannican style tea establishment, but nonetheless it was decent, and it was very public.

He had wanted to try his hand at a friendship, an actual genuine friendship with a woman. It had been a long time since he managed one. He wasn’t sure if he was still friends with Kass. More like frenemies, he thought, wistfully. He really should call her, especially since receiving her desperate call about her dad. He had sent her a text, but that wasn’t enough. He had been so bummed out about Soléi that he couldn’t think straight, or be the kind of friend he should.

Was I ever? Gage wasn’t sure if he really could be friends with Kass, not with his feelings. Evidently, they were still ruminating down there below the surface. His night with Cerise had proven that he still had some kind of attachment to Kassiopeia. He wasn’t sure if he liked that about himself – he needed to get over her. And maybe the best way would be to apologize. Like I’m about to grovel now. 

“Look Nalea, I’m so sorry about standing you up last night,” Gage apologized. “And I know it was the third time in a row and I have no excuses.”

“You are right. You have no excuse,” she snapped back a response a little too quickly.

“Well… um… okay…” he shuffled awkwardly, looking at the toes of his boots. “Why then did you come still?”

Nalea smiled devilishly. “Because you’re irresistible,” she cooed.

“What?” his face turned tomato-red.

“Relax,” she said smoothly, counting down her fingers. “You had three wishes, and I intend to help you meet them, starting with pleasing a woman.”

“Uh… okay…”

 

The reminder felt ridiculous. He remembered what he wished for, and he wasn’t so sure it had been the best idea. Nalea even seemed a little flustered when she led him to the concessions stands, and asked him how they should pay for their snacks.

“Um…” he rubbed his head, and pulling out his wallet.

He didn’t have a lot of Simoleons, having spent money on Anita as his boss had recommended, and purchasing some items for his aunt since they were out of basic staples at home – milk, bread, eggs, cheese… it all added up.

“We can go Dutch.”

“Wrong!” she remarked, tilting her head to the side, and plucking a fiver from his hand. “Lesson one. You always pay for the lady. Even a friend.”

“Okay,” he sighed. “Sure.”

“No, you need to sound more enthusiastic,” she corrected, pulling down on his jacket and straightening his collar.

Gage caught his breath. She was literally an inch or two from his mouth, and he could practically taste her watermelon-lime chapstick.

“What?” she asked, almost as if she didn’t know, but he felt he knew better.

“Those lips look tasty,” he teased, feeling flirty.

Nalea smirked, pulling back to an appropriate distance. “No, that hot chocolate looks tasty.”

Gage waved at the attendant. “The lady will have the hot chocolate. Extra whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.” He winked at sim’jinn on his arm. “And I’ll have an almond mocha.”

Nalea quirked a brow. “You guessed right. Lesson number two. Know your woman’s order. She will be impressed that you remember the little things.”

They walked outside to enjoy their beverages under the stars. While sipping, Nalea gave him a few more pointers. Some of them were obvious, but he appreciated her trying. Plus he was flattered that she remained hooked to his arm. While he pitched their disposable cups, Nalea jumped into a nearby leaf pile, and quickly tugged him in.

“Lesson number eleven. Anything can be romantic. Remember that, including jumping up and down in a leaf pile.”

“Okay,” he agreed, bouncing with his date.

She giggled and he took this as a sign she was having fun.

“Ever made love in a pile of leaves?” she asked, stretching her arms to the sky and yawning.

He wasn’t sure how to answer the question, but recognized she was definitely coming onto him.

“You smell so earthy afterward,” Nalea said, bounding out almost as quickly as she entered the leaf pile.

Gage wondered if he ever was to keep up with the genie.

Nalea grabbed his arm, and leaned her mouth close to his ear, “I hear there’s a urban myth that if a man and woman woohoo in a leaf pile, the child they conceive will adore the outdoors.”

His heart was pounding, and he could feel something starting to grow. If he wasn’t careful, he would be showing in a bit, but he figured that was probably what she wanted. Nalea made him feel excited. He nearly yanked off his jacket right there despite the crisp late autumn air. Not even the Simvember night could cool his hot blood.

They wandered through the festival, joining the apple bobbing contest. Nalea looked up at him coyly with an apple stem perched between her teeth, delicately shaking the apple back and forth almost tauntingly as Gage still attempted to get something other than water in his face. He gently bumped her arm with his shoulder, and she returned in kind, nearly losing her fruit. Pulling back triumphantly, she pulled the apple from her mouth and took a bite.

“Lesson number twelve. Teasing is good, even encouraged. Ladies like playfulness.”

“Men do too,” he remarked, pulling the apple out of her grasp and taking a bite of his own on the other side.

After exiting the haunted house, Gage “learned” women like it when men protect them when they are frightened. He was grinning from ear to ear. He definitely enjoyed Nalea leaping into his arms in fear while they wandered the tight narrow halls of the scary structure.

“Oh I love this song!” she exclaimed, moving toward the speakers.

“Good song,” he agreed, staring up at the wall.

Was it really only a few months ago I arrived and was staring at this very wall? I met my Aunt Missy here and my cousin’s girlfriend, Ruby. He recalled dancing with his aunt, and how she had welcomed him to Riverview. He remembered another welcoming wagon… one by the name of Lakshmi. It had been four months since he had seen her and followed her to the Riverview Gymnasium to tail Don Lothario. And that wasn’t all they did.

“Hey, Simterra to Gage,” Nalea interrupted. “Lesson number fifteen. It is considered rude to space out during a date.”

“Sorry,” he mumbled, wondering why he was thinking about his second one-night-stand. “I’m present, I promise. Look! I even picked up a dance move watching you.”

Nalea lifted her hands and bowed mockingly.

“All hail the King of dance,” she laughed.

“Shut up!” he grunted, but a smile was spreading across his face.

“Hey, that is not bad,” she praised. “Mind if I cut in?”

He swept an arm, inviting her to join.

“This is nice,” he smiled, rocking out to the music.

“I enjoy letting loose,” she said, bumping up against his hips as she swayed with the music, and threw her hands over her head as if she didn’t care who was watching.

“You’re really awesome, you know that?” Gage said.

“Well, thank you, Mr. Briody,” Nalea replied. “So are you.”

“I bet you like letting loose,” he said, realizing he was practically panting.

Maybe I don’t want to push my luck. I don’t want to seem overeager. 

Nalea responded by leaning into his mouth, and surprising him with a French kiss. All he could do was accept and return the favor, swooning beneath the full moon. Was there something in the air tonight? he wondered as he could hear the crackle and pop of a bonfire a group of festival attendees started out on the outer lawn by the river banks. When Nalea surfaced for air, he braced himself on her shoulders.

“Do you want to warm up by the fire?” he asked, his voice low and croaky.

“Nah,” she shook her head, grinning. “I have a better idea.”

Thirteen and a half minutes later, they were standing in her office above the EverFresh Delights Supermarket. Nalea and Gage were engaged in what he would consider a “full-on” make-out session – arms, hands, lips, tongues, fingers, and in a few more minutes, he assumed there would be even more anatomical parts involved.

“For the record…” she gasped between kisses. “I…didn’t…intend…for…this…to…be…the…end… goal…of the…evening.”

“I don’t care,” he mumbled into her mouth.

“And…this…isn’t…a…lesson…” she moaned as his fingers slipped between the gold buttons of her overcoat.

“What?” he pulled back from her face. “You mean this isn’t Kissing 101?”

Nalea snapped her head to attention. “Gage, I’m sorry if this is inappropriate?” she said, hesitantly, almost as a question.

Gage’s eyes widened. Is this inappropriate? I’m not paying her so it’s no worse than my night with Cerise. And that night the lines kind of blurred. 

“We’re on a date, are we not?” he asked, his voice purposely even-toned, even if it felt like he was about to burst out of his pants.

“A date?” she looked bewildered, and then her face softened into a smile. “Ah! Yes, a date.”

“Are you okay?” he said, taking her hand gently. “Do you need some water or something?”

“It is just… It has been… awhile. Most guys do not want to date a sim’jinn. They are worried I will curse them or something. I think they get witches and genies confused.”

Gage chuckled. “I’ve already been with a witch and a vampire.”

He decided not to add, dating a genie would be a piece of cake comparatively. 

“It is not like I am a virgin,” she said, suddenly growing shy. “I have been with a witch too.”

“Let’s not talk about who we have and haven’t been with,” Gage suggested, taking her hand and leading her to the couch.

“You’re right,” Nalea agreed, tilting her head back so he could kiss her.

Gage melted into the wonders of Nalea’s mouth, licking the last traces of her watermelon-lime chapstick. She tasted like a margarita from Mexsimco on a hot summer night, an exotic flavor for Riverview. He was, after all, kissing a sim’jinn, a half-Orbix and half-Sim woman. He had been with Soléi, a si’brid, but the Nativians had been on Simterra centuries longer than the Orbix. He wondered what it would be like to fully know this alien woman.

His fingers tugged at each button of her overcoat, and he liked each little sigh Nalea released as he worked. She was melting into his grasp like a square of honeyed butter in a hot skillet. He stretched her brown leather belt, and she reached down, fumbling an assist as she continued to stay fixated on his mouth. Perhaps she was a little rusty, he surmised, as he had perfected the one-handed removal without looking. It didn’t matter. The lack of finesse was actually refreshing compared to his last bedfellow.

Leaping to her feet, Nalea began undoing her blouse buttons, revealing a coral colored bra. Gage yanked his coat in one swift motion, pulling his shirt out of his pants and slowly revealing his bare chest. She giggled, and pushed her fingers into his chest hairs, and he flinched, enjoying the sensation. Nalea slipped out of her pants, revealing matching lacy underwear, and Gage returned the favor.

They exchanged kisses as she began to explore his body, fingering along his boxers line. He reached around her back, unsnapping her bra, and took a moment to appreciate her breasts. They had a hint of powder blue, her native Orbix skin tone, and when he squeezed them, she let out a delighted little laugh.

“You’re beautiful,” he said, reassuringly, suspecting she needed to hear those words more often.

“Rrrr…” she purred, leaning her head softly against his shoulder and squeezing her manicured hands against his back in a warm embrace. “Thank you. I appreciate you.”

She took a small step and glanced down, her hands wrapping around his member. He quivered at her delicate touch. She stared in awe as he grew larger while she pumped her hand, and he slipped his own fingers onto her delicate parts, trickling over her skin like water dripping in a steady stream from a faucet. Nalea pushed her mouth into his hard, catching him off guard, and he succumbed to climax.

With an enthusiastic grunt, he lifted her sweaty naked body into his arms, and carried her back to the couch where they began. He laid her down, careful to avoid knocking her head against the edge She sank into the pink and white couch cushions with a feathery cry. He positioned himself over her, his arms bracing against the frame. She closed her eyes in anticipation as he lowered himself into her, accepting him completely. Nalea carried him, sustaining his body’s weight with the perfect placement of her hips and thighs. It was as if he was surfing on the edge of an icy ocean surface, and she gave him a drink of her sweet, salty kiss. When she reached the crest of their wave, Nalea cried out, gasping in relief, and he met her wave’s peak with another one of his own. Then as soon as they started, they crashed back onto the shores of heated sand, lying in one another’s impassioned embrace.

“Now that…” she groaned pleasurably. “…is how to please a woman.”


Author’s Note: Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Gage… Gage… I clucked my tongue and shook my head at him too when he made love in a “leaf pile” in game with Nalea. Since it’s incredibly hard to capture screenshots of that, I brought the scene back to the office. I’ve been trying to illustrate the differences between Gage’s lovers – Natalya reminded him of a camping trip in the pine forests, Lakshmi had the sexy nerd thing going on, Soléi like the spices at Christmas, Cerise was a night of blood play, and now Nalea is like soothing ocean water, which is fitting because of the Orbix thing… the Orb planet is blue, primarily frozen water. And I couldn’t resist adding the tidbit about children conceived in a leaf pile… lol… it’s an actual game fact. Hope you enjoyed another Gage adventure. 

Previous Chapter: 1.25 Patroness of the Arts

Next Chapter: 1.27 Bold Proposition

 

 

1.25 Patroness of the Arts (FRWL)

Huzzah! Gage couldn’t help but be excited. He was about to close up the Octagon House for the night, and head over to the autumn festival at the Cannery. Nalea had agreed to give him dancing lessons. He figured no woman could resist a man who danced, right? The thought had put a spring in his step all evening.

“Have a good night, Mrs. Kaminski,” he called out to the desk attendant.

“Gage,” she replied with a thick accent. “I’ve told you. Call me Rayna. Missus Kaminski makes me sound old and infantile.”

“Okay, Rayna,” he smiled, as his employee was mixing adjectives again. “Have a good night.”

“You too,” she said. “I am going to give my daughter some rest. Nadine very big now…” she puffed out her cheeks and motioned with her hand by her stomach.

“How far along is she?” Gage made pleasant conversation.

“Thirty seven weeks,” Rayna said, her smile wide and toothy.

“Well, please pass along my congratulations again,” he replied, genuinely.

“Thank you. Good night Mr. Gage,” Rayna waved, and stepped out the front door.

After confirming the night security guard had begun his shift, Gage walked around and locked all the doors, and did a final sweep of the building. As he was inspecting a crooked Simchel Angelo painting on the second floor, he thought he heard crying.

Gage tiptoed up the stairs, uncertain as to what to expect. He thought about grabbing something heavy to defend himself, but decided against it. What would he wield? A hundred-year-old sculpture? That would surely get him fired. He thought about calling out for the night security officer, but he didn’t want to tip off the person on the upper floor.

As he neared the top of the steps, Gage saw the woman with long dark hair, doubling over with soft sniffling. He wondered who she was and what she was doing at the Octagon House. She seemed to be fixated on a painting of a Simtalian town with Simspanian influence, creamy yellow buildings and bright orange roofs. The woman  reached out and touched the frame, a cry escaping her lips. Evidently, it was a private moment. Gage turned to walk down the stairs, but on the landing, he thought better of it. So as not to scare the woman, Gage decided to walk up the other flight of stairs so he would be facing her when he entered the room.

“Who’s there?” she called out, self-consciously lowering her head and bringing her arms back to her chest as she jumped back a few steps in shock.

“Hello,” Gage said, uncertain of how to introduce himself. “I’m working here, and we’re closed now, ma’am, didn’t you hear the announcement over the PA system?”

The woman let out a shuddering sob. Gage awkwardly approached, wishing he had a tissue in his pocket to offer the lady.

“Um… are you okay?”

“You called me ma’am,” she said tearfully, looking up at him with wild eyes.

“Um… yes…” he squeaked.

“I haven’t… I’m sorry…” she wiped her eyes on her sleeve. “I haven’t…oh I’m sorry…” she drew a handkerchief from her pocket and blew her nose. “This is terribly embarrassing…” she said into the fabric, her voice muffled and odd. “I haven’t been called ma’am in a long time.”

Gage frowned. “You couldn’t be a day over twenty-five.”

Her face broke into a surprised smile.

“Oh thank you,” she purred. “Actually I’m only twenty-two.”

“Then…” he furrowed his brow. “I’m confused.”

“I’m sorry… I should introduce myself,” the woman said, straightening her blouse and then offering her hand. “I’m Anita Errare. I was the wife of the late Philippe Errare.”

Gage gasped. “The Poràdàn painter from Simspania?” he rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Yes, I remember his work very well. We have many of his paintings here. He was quite famous during his lifetime. I was sorry to hear of his passing this last year. You were his wife?” his eyes grew wide. “Sorry, that was insensitive of me.”

“That’s okay,” Anita sniffled, and swiped at her eyes once more. “I am glad to see he still has his admirers. He took to gambling late in life, and lost favor in the artistic community.”

“But his work!” Gage interrupted. “…is incredible. He had such innovative angles and brush strokes. I heard he would climb up on top of the tile roofs of Empordà to capture the last light of the sun every night for a year so he could capture this village…” he motioned to the painting. “…perfectly…” he paused, flushing. “I’m sorry. I probably don’t need to be telling you this. You knew the man intimately.” He clamped a hand over his mouth. “Oh llamas!”

Anita laughed. “It’s all right.” She reached out and touched his wrist. “I’m glad he has someone devoted to his art.”

“I’m so sorry for your loss,” Gage said, clearly his throat. “Did you live in Simspania for long?” He flushed again. “Oh I’m sorry if I’m prying.”

“No,” she shook her head. “You’re not. My Phil…er… Philippe and I met when I was an art student traveling in Champs les Sims. I was eighteen, and my parents were trying to give me the world. I had a trip to Championne with my class and they let me go. I ran away from my teachers, and Philippe and I were married.”

“Wow… that’s um… intense…” Gage said, his jaw going slack. “And that age difference… didn’t bother you?”

“You are quite bold, Mister…? I don’t even know your name,” she sighed.

“Oh, Gage Briody,” he pointed to his badge.

“Mister Gage Briody…” she repeated, and her eyes widened. “…Are you by chance related to Sam Bagley, the younger one, um… junior?”

Sí,” he replied, proudly with a smirk.

Anita clasped her hands together happily, and began speaking in rapid fire Simspani. Gage shook his head and waved his hands.

“I’m sorry… slow down… I don’t know that much Simspani. I speak mainly Mexsimican and I’m rusty at best.”

“Oh!” she stopped mid-sentence, almost as if startled. “Forgive me. I’m just excited. You are related to Sam?”

“Yeah, he’s my cousin.”

“He mentioned you a few times.”

“He did?”

“I used to live in Riverview. Perhaps you know the name?” she tilted her head. “Lobos?”

Gage thought for a moment and replied. “Oh yeah, your dad, Angel Lobos plays for the Riverview Rhinos, right? I’m more into baseball than hockey but Sam and his girlfriend and I all went to a game a few weeks ago. Both of them are really into sports.”

“Is he dating Ruby Broke now? I heard it from my mom,” Anita said.

“Yeah, they’ve been together since early summer,” Gage remarked.

“Small world,” Anita smiled. “Well, I should leave since you’re closed.”

“No problem,” Gage flashed a smile. “Anything for a pretty lady.”

A hint of pink breached Anita’s cheeks. “Thank you…” she clicked down the stairs. “Good night, Gage Briody.”

After she left, Gage found himself wondering about Anita, and wishing he had ran after her and helped her out of the building.The night guard had most likely done that. Still, he felt like less than a gentleman for letting her wander out on her own. Maybe he should’ve asked if she had reliable transportation home.

“What’s wrong with you, dork?” he berated himself.

With a few clicks on his phone, he found an article about Philippe Errare, her late husband. Born in Empordà, Errare, a child prodigy, traveled the world for his art at the young age of eight. He studied under some of the world’s finest artists at the time, and attended the famous LeFromage Art School. He continued to travel the world, and returned to teach in Championne for nearly two decades, before returning to his homeland of Simspania. Gage browsed the Web for more information on Anita. It was as if the press were careful not to write about her. He found one picture, a wedding photograph at Palacio Municipal. The article merely announced their wedding, and said very little about Anita, other than she was a Mexsimi girl he had met during his travels. He did find information about Philippe and his previous wives, Anita being his fourth, and each wife was consistently younger than the one previously. His phone rang interrupting his research.

Gage, my man, how’s it going?

It was the voice of his boss, Billy Caspian.

“Billy, hey  what’s up?” he asked casually.

Nellie Spenster just posted a status on FaceMash about Anita Errare being in town,” Billy explained. “Did you know that?”

Gage made a face. He disliked the Spenster sisters for all their gossiping and whispering behind people’s backs. Why would Billy be following those ladies on social media?

“Actually, she was just here,” he replied aloofly.

What? Man! Why didn’t you tell me?” Billy exclaimed.

“Um, maybe because she literally just left,” Gage said.

She was at the Octagon House! Holy cowplants!” Billy was freaking out.

“Calm down, Billy,” Gage urged, feeling annoyed. “I’m late getting out of here tonight.”

Don’t worry about it,” Billy said. “I’m doubling your salary anyway. I want you to wine and dine Ms. Errare.”

“Wait… what?” Gage exclaimed. “You’re doubling my salary?”

Didn’t you hear me, Gage? Anita Errare is huge in the art industry, and rumor has it, she’s pretty loaded… well, that is if she ever unloads the paintings she inherited from her late husband. The man was like a god in the art world.”

“Um… I don’t know how I feel preying on a widow…”

Seriously, dude, most of my patronesses have been widows, and once you’ve done it once, it’s a lot easier.

“Um… okay…”

And it’s not preying… it’s helping them with the burden of their glorious wealth.”

“How is that any different? Or better?” Gage protested.

Look, women like Anita...” Billy explained. “...they want to give to the arts. They just need to find a reliable outlet to give back generously to the community. Didn’t she grow up in Riverview?

“I think so…” Gage shrugged.

Well, even better. She traveled abroad, married a rich and famous artist, and has come back to roost. She’ll want to give to her hometown for sure as good publicity,” Billy said, excitedly.

“I don’t know. She didn’t seem to be looking for publicity or anything tonight,” Gage replied. “And she didn’t say anything about patronizing us or donating large sums of money or art to Octagon House. I think you’re getting ahead of yourself.”

Hence why I want you to wine and dine her, Gage, you’re the ticket. You’re like around her age and you like art and you’re talented...” Billy said.

“Wait, you think I’m talented?” Gage interrupted, puffing his chest out with pride.

And she’ll like you. Trust me. She’ll want to give to the Octagon House, and if the rumors are true, maybe she’ll even donate forbidden paintings. Supposedly Philippe left her his entire art collection much to the upset of his family. I don’t think they liked her,” Billy prattled on.

“You think?” Gage’s voice jumped an octave. “The thirty year age difference give it away?”

Dude, you’re getting hung up on the specifics. Let’s not worry about that,” Billy said, optimistically. “The point is… you’re getting a raise. So yay! Go out and celebrate tonight. Go find a lady friend and party it up, and tomorrow start your plans for bringing Anita into the fold.”

Billy hung up before Gage could protest. Find a lady friend, he gritted his teeth as he stomped down the stairs. As if it were that easy. He sighed, slipping out the front door after waving goodbye to the night guard. Oh llamas! Nalea! 

Glancing at his watch, he realized he was too late. The festival was long over as it was approaching midnight. He cursed under his breath and kicked a stone in his pathway. Well, at least I’m getting a raise. 

Stopping at EverFresh Delights, he snagged a bottle of box wine, a loaf of crusty bread, and a bowl of soup from the deli. While he was standing in line, he noticed the tabloid magazines. Livin’ Large had a picture of Anita Errare walking out of the bus station, half-covering her face with her purse. The title read Heiress Hops the Pond Home. He squinted his eyes to read the caption Inside the Short Marriage of Philippe and Anita Errare: Painting the Perfect Disaster. 

He scowled. Do they have nothing better to do these magazines? With that, he walked back to the alcohol section, put the wine box back on the shelf, and grabbed a bottle of champagne costing a fourth of his paycheck. He should be celebrating. He got a raise, after all.

“I’m sorry for this embarrassing behavior of mine.”

It was Friday evening. Gage was, again, supposed to go to meet Nalea at the Cannery for dance lessons, and he knew he was going to be late. Last time his excuse of needing to work late worked out, but this time? He wasn’t so sure. Still, Anita Errare had returned to the Octagon House unannounced and he had discovered her right before closing bawling her eyes out in front of another of her late husband’s painting. The young widow’s coffee-colored eyes were so sad as she stared up at him almost pleadingly for another five minutes. Gage didn’t have the heart to resist.

“No, don’t worry about it. You’re obviously still grieving,” Gage replied.

He could’ve kicked himself. Really? That’s the best you can say? 

“Um… I know what that’s like…” he quickly added.

“Wife?” she arched a brow.

“Mom… well, foster mom… well, adopted mom… I mean, basically my mother since I was thirteen. She…um… passed away in Simuly,” he explained awkwardly.

“Oh I’m sorry,” Anita said.

“It’s not your fault,” he shrugged, shoving his hands in his pockets.

“No I am… uh…” Anita fumbled for words, and after a moment of silence, she reached out and put her arms around him.

Gage stayed in her embrace, surprised but comforted by her arms encircling his own. For once someone didn’t try to talk at him when he mentioned Jennifer. He leaned into Anita as she pulled him tighter, as if squeezing assurance into his veins directly. He could smell her freshly shampooed hair, and found himself nearly nuzzling in her black tresses. The scent reminded him of his foster mom’s rosemary lavender bar soap. For the first time since Jennifer’s death, he could remember what she smelled like, and how she felt when she hugged him. It was comforting. It wasn’t until he pulled back from Anita’s hug that he realized tears had formed in his eye corners.

“I apologize if that was too forward,” Anita said, softly. “I just…” she trailed off, her dark lashes fluttering toward the floor. “…I felt as if the universe was saying to embrace you.”

“Thank you,” he croaked, barely able to say the words.

“When I lost Philippe, people spoke to me, but it wasn’t what I needed. Their words were platitudes at best,” Anita explained.

“Exactly,” he cleared his throat.

Finally someone who understood. 

“Can I ask you a question?”

She nodded.

“Does the aching go away?”

Anita appeared to be thinking deeply. Silence stretched between them, and he felt as though he had known her his entire life.

“With time,” she began slowly. “It diminishes. It’s been over a year, but I still feel…” Anita pressed her fingers to her heart.

“I know,” he said quietly.

“But…” she took his hand and laid it over her own. “My heart still beats. I go on beat by beat, minute by minute, and in time, the pain of loss softens and the heart finds its wings again.”

She let go of his hand, but her own still lingered on his arm. He found he didn’t mind.

“That’s beautiful,” he said, swallowing hard.

“You want to tell me about this painting?” he asked, turning away as he didn’t want to inappropriately stare. “You would know more than I do. I’ve always wondered if I am imagining things or if he painted this from on the ground.”

“You’re not,” Anita confirmed. “Philippe did lie on the ground and painted up. Good eye. You caught the angle.”

He smiled, proud of himself. Maybe he was better at art than he thought, or at least better at identification and observation.

Anita swooned, lifting her hand to her head. Gage whipped around, catching her with his free arm, feeling the instant strain at the sudden surprise catch. He made a mental note to start working out with Sam again. Muscles impress the ladies. From the look on Anita’s face, he could tell she was impressed. A hint of red bled into her cheeks.

“Oh!” she said, startled. “I’m so sorry. I should be more careful.”

“Are you okay?” he inquired.

“I’m just hungry I guess,” she remarked, staring intently at his face.

“What?” he asked as he noticed the puzzling lines between her eyebrows.

“Your eyes…” she gasped, and her face softened into a smile. “They are so blue.”

“Thank you, I think,” he replied, lifting her up onto her feet. “I think we should get some food into you. It’ll help with the lightheadedness.”

Twenty minutes later they were seated at a picnic bench at Hogan’s Deep Fried Diner. Anita had chosen the place, and Gage didn’t protest, though he quietly paid. Part of his conscience nagged him. Was he paying because Billy said so or was he paying out of some kind of gentlemanly obligation? While they waited for their food, Gage decided there wasn’t any reason why it couldn’t be both, though he was sure this wasn’t what his boss had in mind when he said “wine and dine.”

“I love this place,” Anita said, taking a deep breath of fresh air as they had found their seats.

“What? Hogan’s?” Gage wrinkled his nose. “There’s much better places to eat in town, but this is the only place open this late.”

“No, Riverview,” she sighed, almost happily, as she made a sign of the cross and silently prayed over her food.

He shrugged, picking up his value-sized hamburger. “You know we could’ve ordered anything you wanted. It didn’t have to be tiny.”

“My blood sugar needs a boost, but I don’t need a lot,” Anita remarked. “Besides I missed fast food. We didn’t have it in Empordà.”

Gage released a deep laugh. “You missed fast food? Really?” he teased. “I’d think you’d have all sorts of delicious food at your fingertips in Simspania, especially with your… er…” he stopped, realizing what he was about to say was inappropriate, and wiped his mouth with a napkin. “…you know… um… Simspanian food must be good.”

“You can say it,” Anita said, sweeping her eyes downward and folding her hands in her lap.

Gage cleared his throat, feeling uncomfortable, and shoved another bite of food into his mouth.

“Can I trust you, Gage?”

He blinked rapidly. He wasn’t sure he had ever been asked that question before. It was implied. He was a foster kid, the bastard son of a fairly well known man in town, a man who had long since been deceased, but there were still rumors about him. Bopping around from home to home, he learned that he wasn’t trustworthy because of where he came from not because of his character. It was a hard question for him to swallow.

“You have one of the kindest faces I have ever seen, Gage Briody,” Anita said, softly.

He nearly choked on his hamburger. That wasn’t what he had been expecting.

“So I believe I can trust you and tell you things that will not make it into the papers,” she glanced about rapidly. “And it looks like the paparazzi did not follow me here.”

“Ha!” he snorted a laugh. “They’re all in bed. At least the ones from the Riverview Register. All the employees are over the age of fifty-five. This is…” he glanced at his watch. “…half past three. It’s after their bedtime… or before their wake time.”

“News never sleeps,” Anita said. “But I think we’re relatively safe here.” She leaned forward intentionally. “I know what the tabloids say and the magazines and the newspapers and they all suspect I married Philippe for his money and he married me for the… uh… well…” she flushed and lowered her voice to a whisper. “…the woo…hoo…”

Gage resisted the urge to smile.

“But that simply was not the case,” Anita corrected, and looked up at the stars. “Was it love? I don’t know, but I cared deeply for him, and I didn’t think once about the money. Oh I knew Philippe had money. He showered me in Simos when he first met me and after we were married. He was a good man.”

Gage frowned. He heard a trigger word. Anytime he heard that word, that phrase, he knew about the cover-up, what it really meant. Anytime someone needed to justify a person being good he was suspicious. He wondered as he cocked his head. He was curious, but his conscience was prodding him. He reached across the table, and laid his hand on Anita’s.

“Anita, you don’t need to tell me if you don’t want to.”

Her eyes filled with tears, like too much water in a coffee pitcher. “That’s why I am telling you, Gage. I know I barely know you, but I know I can trust you. Somehow I know. Right here.” She placed her hand over her heart. “Right now.”

“I know, thank you,” he said. “You give me more credit than I deserve. But I think for tonight, you should just let it rest. You can tell me when you and I have gotten to know each other better.”

Tears splashed Anita’s cheeks and she wiped her face with a napkin.

“Thank you, Gage. Will you walk me home?” she requested.

They walked down the road, Gage pointing out a constellation or two, and Anita humming about the fresh air in Riverview. The sun began to rise ever so slightly, still hidden behind the rolling green hills, though the sky turned a lovely shade of lilac. After cutting across a field, they approached a pleasant two-story home with a detached barn, and in the driveway sat a very expensive car.

“Is that?” Gage asked, excitedly, his eyes growing wide.

“A Margaret Vaguester?” Anita affirmed. “Yes. A gift from Philippe’s uncle. I think he thinks he can buy me off and keep me out of the country. I am an embarrassment to them.”

Gage felt bad for drooling over the car.

“Your husband’s uncle delivered you a car?” he asked, trying to sidestep the awkwardness.

“Heavens no! Not directly. He bought the car from a man here in town. Arranged the whole thing on the Net. Luke McDermott, I think. And your cousin… come to think of it… Rhoda delivered the car the other day,” Anita explained.

“Oh,” was all he could think to say, staring at the shiny chrome wheels.

They walked up onto the porch.

“Would you like to come in?” she asked, a sweet lilt in her voice. “I could make coffee. Do you like cortado?”

“Oh I don’t know what it is but you make it sound delicious,” he replied with a smile.

She tilted her head coyly. “It’s espresso with a splash of steamed milk.”

“It’s so late, or early, I should say… er…” Gage rubbed the back of his head. “I shouldn’t drink coffee since I should try and get some sleep.”

“You don’t want to come in?” she sounded, almost disappointed, reaching for his hands and running her fingers lightly over his skin. “I don’t have to make coffee. We could just talk…” she glanced down shyly. “…or not talk.”

Gage could almost his blood pumping through his veins. She was a very attractive woman, and she was doing her best to entice him through a subtle invitation. He almost wished he could stay, and wondered about the reason for his hesitancy. Something about his last encounter with a woman made him feel less than adequate as a man. Something about his conversation with Constance made him think twice about jumping at the opportunity to be with another woman. Her words still rang in his head – Sex won’t fill the things that are missing.

“Anita…” he began, an awkward mix of hesitancy and eagerness in his voice.

“I don’t offer this to every man,” Anita was saying as she continued to rub his hands. “I haven’t been with anyone since Philippe.”

He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Is this the whole irresistible wish I made? Gage swallowed hard. Then why do I feel so guilty? 

“Anita, I would love to…”

“But…”

“I want to be that man tonight,” he said, the words sounding strange as they exited his lips. “But I think you deserve a better man than me.”

What the hell? Where did that come from? 

“Gage?” she lifted his chin. “That line… what you just said… is why there is no better man.”

His hands trembled. The tension was palpable, and he could feel an electricity in the air, drawing her to him. He couldn’t believe what he had just heard. Anita was full of surprises.

“I will respect your wishes,” she said, softly.

So close!  I could’ve kissed her, he thought, dismayed. That’s what you wanted, he argued internally.

It’ll be better this way, he convinced himself.

“Call me?” she tilted her head. “We’ll do cortado another time.”

“Thank you, Anita,” he said, backing down the steps.

“And I want to hear about the Octagon House where you work. Perhaps we could work together. Some of Philippe’s paintings… maybe… you could help me restore them?”

Exactly what Billy wanted! Maybe they would get their patroness of the arts.

“Sure thing,” he waved as he cut across the street and into the field. “Good night, Anita.”

But what do I want? 


Author Note: Okay, ridiculously long chapter later… enter Anita Errare, formerly Lobos, and another chapter of Gage’s life. The conversation with Billy is something I’ve been planning for a long time, but I wasn’t planning on the woman being Anita. But when she popped up in game… oh how I love when the Sims take me in a new direction! It’s an exciting challenge.

Simchel Angelo, as I’ve previously mentioned, is a play on Michelangelo. Philippe Errare is an entirely fictional artist I created for the game back story. I left some of his history and background muddled because I want to reveal some things over time, but I think you get the picture that there is more to Anita and Philippe’s marriage and life than meets the eye.  In case anyone is interested, Errare is Latin for “to err.” Just a fun little factoid.

Empordà is a world created by Nilxis Designs, and I decided it was in Simspania (Spain). Like Spain and Mexico, there are differences in dialect, language, and culture between Simspania and Mexsimco. A Poràdàn is a person from Empordà.

In case anyone has a super good memory and remembers Anita is the twin sister of Carlotta Lobos and that Carlotta was a love interest of Sam’s and that she was supposedly younger than Sam, then I made a change for the purpose of the story, and because I couldn’t resist writing Anita in. So Anita and Carlotta are intended to be older than Sam (and Gage, subsequently) now and are both 22. When Carlotta left home previously to go to Simultan, she was 18 and Sam was 16 (now in flashback). Anita also left home around the same time and headed to Sim Union for art studies, where she met and married Philippe (who was 48 at the time).

Angel Lobos, Anita’s father, is a minor league hockey player as I mentioned above for the Riverview Rhinos.

I hope you enjoyed and managed to get through the ridiculous word count after I got side-tracked with Anita, but I am happy with the outcome and hope you are too.

Previous Chapter: 1.24 All Wishes Final 

Next Chapter: 1.26 Love Lessons (NSFW) 

1.24 All Wishes Final (FRWL)

Gage knew something had to change. He sensed it that night with Constance. She had driven him back to Cerise’s apartment, and insisted on coming up with him. Cerise was “entertaining” again, and surprised by the intrusion, but she gave him back the clothes and wallet, and tried to kiss his cheek. Gage flinched, rejecting her advances. It didn’t feel right. Then Constance glanced about and gave the woman a piece of her mind, much to Gage’s horror and amazement. She marched back out of the apartment and into the elevator, glancing back at him in an insistent “are you coming?” look of annoyance. Gage moved to follow and Cerise laughed lightly.

That must be Kass. I can see why you like her.” 

He waited to chew out Constance until they were in the car, but decided to let the subject drop since she was driving him home to Riverview. Though he planned to toughen it up and act sullen, he opened up to the woman over burgers and fries and chocolate malts. He shared with her some of his childhood nightmares and his adult dreams, and he revealed the woman of his heart, a woman named Kassiopeia Fullbright. A woman who had rejected him and chosen someone else.

He couldn’t believe he spilled his guts to a practical stranger. He barely knew Constance, but she made him feel comfortable. She shared some of her own stories, a man whom she loved in college. A man she thought would fix everything and be everything for her. A man who had broken her heart. She talked about how she went on a similar quest to find herself after college, and ended up moving around from man to man for awhile. He had a hard time believing prim, proper, modest, sweet Constance could have such a past, but she laughed, waving her fry dripping with ketchup and said she was one in the same.

What he wasn’t sure he wanted to hear was was her insistence that this kind of love, if it was love at all, more like lust, she said, wasn’t fulfilling or lasting. Part of him knew this, but he didn’t want to believe it. He wanted to go on doing whatever he could to forget the horrible aching hole in his heart. The sex numbed the pain, and that was the only thing he wasn’t ready to admit aloud. She nodded, as if she understood his silence.

Constance went up to the counter and brought back sprinkles doughnuts – chocolate with pink sprinkles and strawberry glaze for her, and red velvet with blue sprinkles and vanilla glaze for him. She told him these were the best doughnuts in the state, and she had bribed the secret ingredient in the dough out of the owner years ago, but she had never told anyone. And then, as if she knew what he was thinking,  she held up the doughnut and looked through the center and said, “Sex won’t fill the things that are missing.”

His lips parted in shock. She took a bite of the doughnut and shrugged.

It’s sugary goodness at best. Here for a moment,” she swallowed. “And gone the next…” 

She wiped her mouth with a napkin from the dispenser.

Delicious, but never filling.” 

He knew the truth. He didn’t want to admit it. Constance recommended he seek counseling. She said it worked wonders for her. He wasn’t sure. He called around a few places, but no place was accepting new patients or the pay was too steep for a visit. Plus he didn’t have insurance yet. Billy, his boss at the Octagon House, hadn’t filled out the paperwork yet when he went flitting off to Lucky Palms and then up to Simnadia.

Dejected, he wandered around Riverview after work a few nights, mulling over his options. He could take out a loan, but a bank probably wouldn’t give him one with little to no credit. He passed by the Cannery and saw an advertisement for the “Love Doctor.” Upon closer inspection, he saw the words, “First time visit free. Visits following § 35.”

Thirty-five Simos!? He could muster up thirty-five Simoleons. He continued to read about the benefits of seeing the Love Doctor – how she counseled in matters of love and life and had decades of experience. It might be a carnival gimmick but he was willing to give it a try. He found an app for the office and scheduled an appointment – Tuesday after work.

The Love Doctor’s office was nothing like he expected – puzzle-piece carpet that reminded him of grape soda, Valensim hearts hanging on the wall, mismatching curtains, and lavish mirrors. Her room was rented above the EverFresh Delights Supermarket, and he could smell cured meats from the deli through the thin floors and hear the shopping carts scrapping shelves and linoleum below. And the doctor herself looked no older than himself, dressed in classic genie attire, a peach tube top and mulberry gaucho pants and gold and peach trim, something you’d expect out of One Thousand and One Nights in the Simarabian desert.

“Is this for real?” he asked, incredulously.

“Come in, please,” she gestured to a pink- and-heart patterned table and butterfly patterned chairs in the back.

“You’re the Love Doctor?” he narrowed his eyes. “With decades of experience?”

“I’m half-Orbix,” she replied, and when he looked confused, she added, “You know, the blue-skinned alien race from space?”

He stared straight ahead.

“We’re the ones helping you with the Xenosi,” she said as if he was dumb.

“Riiiight…”

“We live longer than the average Sim. I’m actually seventy-five years old.”

“No way!”

“Can I get you some water?”

“No thanks. Look, is this really free?”

She frowned. “Absolutely. I am here to serve.”

“Um… well, okay… how does this work?”

“Well, usually a client tells me a problem and I tell them how to fix it, if I can.”

“Do you grant a wish?” he snickered, noting the fortune 8 ball on the table.

She stared off at a blank space on the wall, and sighed.

“If that is your wish…”

“Wait… uh… no… I mean, I only get three, right? If I remember correctly from my mythology,” Gage stammered, feeling awkward.

“I’m half sim’jinn,” she replied. “If I was full, I could grant more than three, but I may only grant three at a time to a single individual, and only if it relates to the problem at hand. I am here to serve.”

Gage frowned. “Yeah you said that,” he twiddled his thumbs. “You really are a sim’jinn? A genie?”

“Yes.”

“And a counselor?”

“Of sorts.”

“Well, I guess, here goes…” he sighed. “I’m pretty much willing to try anything.”

Gage began talking about his rough childhood and how he wanted to have a family more than anything, and that he liked women. He chuckled. A lot. He liked women a lot. He enjoyed their company and their looks and their attention.

“And their sexual desire for you,” the woman sim’jinn interrupted him.

He blinked rapidly. “Uhhhhh…”

“Yes I can tell a man who has a strong sexual prowess and a desire to be the king of the jungle…” she winked, and tilted her head, offering a silly little laugh. “And the bedroom.”

What kind of counselor is this? Well, she is free. 

“Do you have a license to practice?” he interjected.

She frowned. “No, well… I should qualify that. I’m not a licensed psychologist or therapist but among my people, we are known to be good listeners and we grow to be quite wise in our old age. I am bound by the codes of my people, the sim’jinn – do no harm and such – but we are quite lax compared to your Simlish doctors and all. I can’t prescribe you pills and you don’t need to take everything I say seriously, but I listen. Most people want a fun little fortune told or a wish granted. You’re the first person to walk in here and tell me your life story.”

Gage felt the heat bloom on his cheeks. Constance had recommended counseling. This wasn’t what she had in mind. This wasn’t what he had in mind.

“Oh I see,” he managed to squeak out.

“It’s okay, Gage,” she reached across the table and took his hand. “I can tell you needed to say what you said and you needed someone to listen and care. I don’t really know you, but I’m glad you shared those things with me. You needed to be heard and accepted.”

He jerked his hand, feeling uncomfortable with the whole situation. “Um…okay… thanks I guess.”

She smiled broadly. “Anytime. You are welcome.”

“I don’t even know your name,” he said sheepishly.

“Nalea al Nazneen,” she replied. “That’s how I knew about the king of the jungle.”

“Wha…what? Why?” his eyes grew wide.

“My name means lioness,” she giggled.

“It’s…uh…um… it’s a pretty name,” was all he could think to say as he loosened his collar. “Could I get that water now?”

“Sure,” Nalea stood up and walked over to a mini refrigerator returning with a chilled water bottle. “You know I think Gage is a nice name too.”

Funny! That’s what Cerise had said. He gulped down the liquid as quickly as possible.

“So I don’t pay you, huh?” he remarked.

“Nah, this first session is free, though you’re welcome to come back for more,” Nalea smiled warmly. “In fact, I’d like that.”

She stretched out her hand.

“Are you going to read my palm?”

She laughed. “No, I’m not an enchantress…” she waited, and then spoke again, pointing. “Your water bottle? Are you finished? I was going to throw it away.”

“Oh of course,” he averted his eyes to avoid the surmounting discomfort. “So my wishes? I can wish for anything?”

“Within the realm of life and love, and that’s pretty much anything,” she replied, tossing the bottle into the trash.

“What if I change my mind?” he asked.

Returning to her seat, she pointed to the table. “No, all wishes are final. That’s the rule. I’m sorry. You have to keep what you ask for.”

Gage paused, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. He wasn’t sure this was remotely what he came for, but now that he had the attention of a sim’jinn, he couldn’t let it escape. He thought about what would best benefit him.

“I wish for…” the words sounded strange exiting his mouth, but Gage continued. “…”I wish to…to be irresistible.”

Nalea smiled, and bobbed her head. He waited. Nothing happened.

“What? No shimmering dust or magic music or instant feelings of relief or something?” he joked.

“No, it doesn’t work like that. Trust me. I’m logging your wish. You’ll receive the wish when you’re done telling me what you desire,” Nalea explained.

“Oh okay…” he closed his eyes, thinking hard.

He thought about the words of Constance, saying he couldn’t chase after empty things. Sex won’t fill the things that are missing. 

But perhaps finding the right woman and having her want me will help. And how will I know who she is? And if she wants me? He would have to be the best guy he could be and that would be enough, right? 

“I wish to know how to please a woman.”

Nalea bobbed her head again.

“And I wish…” Gage hesitated.

He had already used up two wishes. He couldn’t take them back. What would be the best wish? Think. Think.

Ah come on! You don’t even know if this will work.

But if it was a scam, shouldn’t I be paying or something?

Then again, maybe that’s how she hooks people. She brings them back again and again and they pay money after she’s hooked them the first time.

But she looks trustworthy enough.

Ish. Trustworthyish. 

Nalea cleared her throat, drawing him back to the present. He knew what he wanted.

“I wish to have a home of my own for my family,” he added.

Nalea stood up, walking over to Gage, and stretched out her hand. “It’s a pleasure doing business with you, Gage Briody.”

When he took her hand, he wasn’t sure if he had just been swindled or not, by this oddly beautiful and quirky sim’jinn  but he did feel hopeful for the first time in years.


Author Note: I hope you enjoyed Gage’s little side trip to the “Love Doctor.” FYI, the “fortune 8 ball” wasn’t a typo. It’s my Simworld version of a Magic 8 ball.

The Orbix first made an appearance in my Letters from Lizzie story. You can read more here.

In general,  the Orbix (plural species) are a service-oriented species.  They train their youth in battle tactics from birth, to serve and protect their society. While a female Orbit (singular individual)  can serve in the military, she cannot hold a high ranking position due to the patriarchal society.

The Orbix have been at war with the Xenosi for decades, and are helping the Sims prepare for encounters with the Xenosi through technology, training,  and knowledge.  Currently,  the Sim-Xenosi War and the Orbix-Xenosi War is a cold one,  but this wasn’t always the case.  You can read more here.

Sim’jinn or genies are descendants and hybrids of the Orbix. Unlike the other hybrids (i.e. werewolves, vampires,  etc), the sim’jinn are most often not recognized by their own parent race (the Orbix) or are second class citizens, especially female sim’jinn. This is because the Orbix view the sim’jinn as impure spirits, shades of their great race,  and at worst,  xenon (in their tongue,  this word means demon) in Sim form. The legend has it the Xenosi spliced DNA from an Orbit and a Simarabian Sim to create the sim’jinn.

Because the Orbix distrust and denounce sim’jinn (due to the origin of the sim’jinn species)  and treat them as second-class citizens, many Simterran governments and Sims themselves have adopted this view also.

Sim’jinn primarily live on Simterra and Simterran off-world colonies. Many travel and live alone as they aren’t widely accepted in society or are viewed as “carnival tricks” or “gimmick entertainers.” They are a small nomadic race – only a few hundred in total numbers. The sim’jinn often work in the service industry, using their abilities of their parent species to entertain, comfort,  or counsel.

Because of their disconnect from the Orbix, sim’jinn are often left to figure out their culture,  abilities,  and powers on their own (and their skills may not be as trusted, accepted,  understood,  or fine-tuned as a full- blooded Orbit). Also sim’jinn cannot change their appearance like the Orbix can. They cannot blend into society like their parent race and are targets for prejudice and discrimination.

Hope you enjoyed the chapter and worldbuilding.

 

Previous Chapter: 1.23 Read Like a Book 

Next Chapter: 1.24 Patroness of the Arts (coming soon)

1.23 Read Like a Book (FRWL)

He was dreaming… sweet dreams. Of a woman with red hair. Of a woman who loved him. Of a woman who made him feel good. Of a woman he always wanted…

…Kass.

“Hmm?” Cerise stirred beside him beneath snakeskin sheets.

“Kass,” he mumbled.

She felt good against his back, the softness of her white tee brushing his own. He could feel her exposed midriff, her skin cool and smooth next to his own back. He could feel her arms encircling him, and the scent of her cinnamon perfume like a spiced tea on a wintery morning. He could stir his fingers in the steamy liquid drops of her hair.

“Who’s Kass?” she asked, releasing her arms around his chest.

“I love you, Kass,” Gage murmured. “I…want…you…” her mumbled beneath the sheet. “Kass?”

“Whoa!” Cerise jerked back from his side, yanking the covers in the process.

Startled, he sat up, rubbing his eyes. “Good morning,” he said, tilting his head to the side and offering a sleepy half-smile.

“Who’s this Kass person?” Cerise asked sharply, her makeup still perfect from the night before.

“Um…” he rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. “I…”

“Are you into dudes?” she inquired, eyeing him closely.

“What?” he gasped. “No… Kass is a woman’s name. You didn’t know that?”

Not helping your case here, buddy. 

“You said you loved her,” Cerise repeated, sounding almost hurt.

He narrowed his eyes. “I said that?”

“Yeah,” she folded her arms across her chest, her braless breasts bouncing in the process.

Gage cleared his throat. “Uh….”

Cerise glared, waiting for an explanation.

“You love her. You want her. Present tense, Gage!” Cerise snipped.

“I…but Kass isn’t here, you are,” he insisted.

“Are you married?” she grunted.

“No, no, it’s nothing like that,” he waved his hands in protest.

“You’re engaged?” she guessed. “In a committed relationship? You don’t want to leave her. You were just looking for a one-night stand. She doesn’t please you anymore. You come looking for vamps like me. Cuz we’re all what… sex maniacs? Yada, yada, yada,” Cerise threw her hands up in the air. “Look, I’ve heard it all before.”

“But I’m not… I mean… Kass… that woman… she doesn’t mean anything to me,” he lied, feeling like he was rapidly losing ground and favor.

“Look it was fun and games, but I think you need to leave,” Cerise sighed dramatically. “I need my afternoon plasma coffee and you should go home… to that… Kass… whatever…” She shoved him off the bed, flouncing to the kitchen.

“But it’s not like that!” Gage exclaimed. “Honestly.”

Cerise pushed the button and her coffee machine roared to life. The liquid began brewing. Gage braced himself against the night stand, gritting his teeth as he stood up.

“Look, Cerise, I like you… and what we had last night was hot…” he began.

She clucked in a hen-like fashion, and wrapped her hands around her warm beverage, flicking the liquid with her tongue. Walking over to Gage, she wrapped her hand tightly around his forearm and pulled him with surprising force over to the elevator.

“Look,” she pushed him in. “I wasn’t looking for a wedding ring or a relationship or nothing. It was business. Nothing more. What happens in a vampire house stays in a vampire house.”

He wondered if she meant her apartment or the idea of vampire houses in general.

“It’s nothing personal. Besides my mistress will be along shortly for an inspection and I can’t have you here,” she remarked.

His eyes widened. She smirked, taking another sip of her coffee.

“It’s not like that,” she said, peeking over the edge of her coffee cup. “My mistress is my business employer and house manager…” she leaned into the elevator and pinched his cheek. “Ahh… but you thought… well, you dirty little Bene.”

Gage chuckled awkwardly and shifted his weight to one foot as he pressed the down button.

“Next time bring your friend or whatever… Kass…” Cerise called after him.

Gage couldn’t stop gaping until he reached the ground floor and wandered outside. What the hell? It was then he realized that he left his pants, shirt, jacket, and boots in Cerise’s apartment. He planned to go back up for them until he saw a long black limousine with red lights pull up next to the curb and a woman with greyish skin and a long black flowing dress with tails step out. He surmised that must be Cerise’s mistress. The woman darted her eyes, piercing him with a dark gaze as she smiled, revealing her sharp incisors. He gulped and took a step back. Probably best to get his clothes another time. 

Gage wandered in the low-lying fog for awhile. A few taxis passed by but wouldn’t pick him up due to his unusual attire.  He got more than one cat call from a woman on the street or passing car. Thankfully he had the sense to grab his phone before leaving Cerise’s, but now he was kicking himself for leaving his wallet and keys. The vampiress might still get in trouble, and he didn’t even have her phone number to call and pick up the items later.

He tried ringing his cousin, but Sam didn’t answer. Gage remembered he was out for the day at classes and then driving Ruby back to Riverview. He thought about calling Northwestern University but how would he explain the need to interrupt Sam in his classes. He somehow managed to get past the doorman at Sam’s apartment, but no one was home and he didn’t feel like explaining to anyone why he needed let in. He thought about calling his aunt or other cousin, but both of them would surely laugh at him, and he wasn’t ready for that.

I’m an idiot! 

The sun was starting to go down, and he was feeling the evening chill set in. He was getting plenty of stares from passerbyers.

“What? I’m decent,” he protested.

…except I’m without shoes, pants, a wallet, and keys… he gritted his teeth.

Could be worse, he reminded himself.

There was one time when a foster parent kicked him out with nothing but his undies. A homeless guy in the park had taken pity on him and given him his only spare pair of pants and a hoodie. Still he had wandered for hours without shoes in the cold, wet, miserable rain. Gage eyed the sky. At least it didn’t look like precipitation was coming, but the fog was nipping at his skin. He wondered if he should wander back to Cerise’s place, but he felt like a fool. He didn’t really want to see her again after she kicked him out in a humiliating fashion.

He wandered past a hot dog stand, and his stomach gurgled. The scent of fried meat almost made him feel nauseous, he was so hungry.

He wandered past the police station, and was tempted to file a “fake” report, but he really didn’t want to get in trouble with the fine men and women in blue.

He wandered past the hospital, and thought about checking himself in for the night. He could claim stomach pains or something, which wasn’t far from the truth.

He wandered past the public library, and thought about walking inside to get warm for a few minutes. They advertised open until 10p.m.

Then he had an idea. He picked up his phone and punched in a number.

Forty minutes later, Constance Shelley picked him up in her antique car. He was waiting at a subway station. Grateful he didn’t have to wait a minute longer, he slipped into her vehicle.

“I’m sure glad I remembered you’re in town for the Friends of the Library convention,” he remarked.

She handed him a bag of clothes, a hoodie, a pair of military fatigue paints, socks, and boots.

“What on Simterra were you doing wandering Devil’s Port dressed like that?” she asked.

Gage pulled the pants up on over his legs.

“I had to come up with the weirdest excuse to get into the building. I told the doorman I was delivering books from the library and he asked me if we made house calls now so I hope your cousin likes books about eighteenth century antiques because that’s all I had in my car,” she remarked, and he couldn’t tell if she was amused or annoyed.

“Thank you,” he said, yanking the hoodie over his head.

“And I had a hell of a time explaining to Ruby why I was at the apartment in the first place,” Constance wrinkled her nose as she put the car in drive. “She apparently thinks I’m someone named Kass.”

Gage made a face at the sound of that name. He was annoyed his thinking-aloud had gotten him into trouble today already. He didn’t want Kass to ruin things for him again.

“Thank you for coming to get me,” he rubbed the back of his head, already feeling warmed by the heater of Constance’s car.

He knew he was deflecting, but he didn’t care.

“I couldn’t find socks so I had to buy you some. You can pay me back,” she said.

“You didn’t ask her?” he raised an eyebrow.

“Look, I don’t know why you didn’t just go back and ask Ruby directly,” Constance said, pulling away from the curb. “Her name is Ruby, right?”

“Yeah, Ruby,” he shrugged. “Sam’s girlfriend.”

“I see,” Constance said. “And Kass is… your girlfriend?”

I wish. Kass wouldn’t kick him out of the apartment without his clothes in the morning, hungover and hurting. Gage crossed his arms over his chest, drawing his knees closer to his body as he nursed his ribs. He hoped Constance hadn’t seen the love bites on his neck or the scratch marks on his legs and arms.

“A friend,” he said, staring off out the window. “Nothing more.”

“Uh huh,” Constance replied as if she didn’t believe him. “And the woman who has your clothes?” she pulled up to a stop light, and glanced over in his direction. “It is a woman, right?”

I might as well admit it, he nodded affirmatively.

“I take it Lè and Heather didn’t work out,” she said.

He expected judgment in her tone, but he heard none. Only a statement. He cleared his throat.

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“You try and act all mysterious, Gage Briody, but I know you,” she replied, boldly.

He swallowed hard.

“You are chasing after women trying to find the dream…” she laid a hand on his knee as she maneuvered through traffic with her other hand on the wheel. “…that dream childhood you and I didn’t have. Trust me. I know. I lived it. But hopping in and out of bed with someone isn’t going to fix the fact that you had a shitty childhood and it isn’t going to get you that home and family you want and deserve.”

Gage’s jaw dropped open. It was as if Constance had peered into his soul and knew his innermost thoughts and feelings. How did she do that? He wasn’t sure if he should be scared, offended, angry, or impressed. He glanced over at her, watching her face for a hint of expression – something so he could interject something equally as worthy, but he couldn’t see anything. Nothing except a few more crease lines around her eyes than a twenty-something woman should have. Constance had just read him like a book.

“Listen, I’m starving, and I don’t exactly want to talk about my love life,” he said, curtly, deflecting once more. “And I’d buy you dinner as a thanks, but I don’t have my wallet, and that’s why I couldn’t get home in the first place.”

 

Constance immediately made a U-turn.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“I know a good little diner on the way out of town. I didn’t know where I was taking you, but I’m guessing you don’t want to go back to your cousin’s?” Constance said, more as a statement than a question.

He nodded.

“You said you were hungry,” she said, her voice climbing a few notches in pitch after he gave her a weird look.

“Yes, but I have no money,” he said, feeling incredibly stupid.

“Don’t worry about it,” she patted his knee in a sisterly way. “If I was running around in the streets of Simcago without my clothes and my wallet because some…” she glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. “…guy kept all my stuff, well, then I’ll know who to call next time.”

His face relaxed into a smile.

“Not sayin’ I’d ever be caught dead doing that,” she clarified.

“Of course,” he tried to keep his smile from expanding as she was glaring at him threateningly.

“And after we eat, I want to know all about this mystery woman,” she added.

So close! 

“And Kass.”

Gage’s smile turned to a frown.

“And then,” she declared resolutely. “We will go get your clothes.”

He couldn’t help but laugh in surprise.

“What witch keeps a man’s clothes?”  Constance shook her head, disapprovingly.

“Actually…” he tried not to smile, but the whole situation was amusing. “She’s a vampire.”

Previous Chapter: 1.22 Bloodplay 

Next Chapter: 1.24 All Wishes Final

1.22 Blood Play (FRWL) (NSFW)

Author Note: Warning! This chapter contains mature adult sexual content that is not suitable for younger readers. Consider this chapter 18+, Rated R. I have tried to remain tasteful with my pictures, but some material may be disturbing (due to the nature of vampirism). The language description is also more graphic than normal, as an illustration of culture and distinction from previous relationships. Exercise your own judgment. 


“This is your place?”

Gage exited the elevator into the penthouse suite of Windy City Towers. The room had a modest appearance, black and grey checkered carpet, caramel colored-walls and furnishings, four-poster bed with snakeskin sheets and drapes, and a brown leather couch facing a small entertainment stand.

“Do you like my digs?” Cerise cooed, squeezing his shoulder as she leaned in to sniff his cologne before waltzing over to the television.

He jumped with pleasure.

“You are a tease,” he smirked, seating himself on the couch.

She hovered, and he found himself gazing at her supple partially exposed breasts, and peeling off her layers with his mind.

“Background noise,” she explained. “Doesn’t matter what we watch,” she swished her hips. “Just so we don’t bother the neighbors.”

“Sounds like a plan,” he was practically drooling.

He paid very little attention to the Championne cooking show as they sipped their ambrosia. Cerise nuzzled close, draping her arm around his neck and thumbing along the zipper of his leather jacket.

“Ouch,” she gave a mock pout, when her skin grazed the metal too hard, slicing her skin.

Two tiny droplets of blood splashed his coat. Cerise pressed her right breast hard into his left arm, and he could practically feel the nipple through his many layers. She laid his hand strategically on her thigh, pushing the edge of her already short dress even higher, allowing him to feel her skin directly. She leaned around his neck and sucked the blood dripping from her finger, and he felt his body go to full alert. Arousal was imminent.

“How…how…long have you been doing this?” he murmured into her hair.

“What?” she glanced up at him coyly, giving him the perfect view straight down her dress. “Kissing you, Gage?”

He closed his eyes and swallowed. “No… I mean… um… you’re a vampire.”

“Well, yes,” she giggled.

“Full-blooded or partial?”

She leaned forward and between kisses on his neck, she added, “I was born a vampire Sim.”

“Full blood,” he managed as she reached for his groin, her fingers groping at his jeans freely. “Okay, well, the house…do all vampires belong to a house?”

“Yes,” she replied, miraculously talking between the flicks of her tongue and the licks of her lips. . “All registered vamps do. My house, the Black Swan, caters to Sims benefactors and other sups who want a taste of vamp blood. We are governed by a set of blood laws set by our houses.”

His eyes widened. “Will you… I mean… will you get in trouble for being here with me?”

“No,” she laid her hand against his body, pressing her fingers between his buttons and intertwining with his chest hairs.  “We’re more lax than the other houses on the rules. Lots of girls take home men, and the elders don’t care too much so long as everything’s consensual.”

“But the government…” he protested.

Cerise kissed him, drawing blood from his inside cheek. He flinched, surprised, but she hugged his lower abdomen to comfort his pain. Blood drizzled down her cheek and jawline. His blood. He felt dizzy.

“…the government… stays out of our business…” she remarked.

“But isn’t it like…”

She laughed, fluttering her lashes. His eyes remained fixated on the blood on her chin. “You can say it. Prostitution?” She shook her head. “Like I said…” she met his gaze with her own. “…the SimNation government stays out of our business for the most part and lets us regulate things for ourselves as long as we pay taxes and don’t participate in illegal turnings or slayings of Sims. So the houses decide if sex for payment is legal amongst themselves,” she twirled a strand of red hair around her bleeding finger, absorbing the liquid. “We’re all adults, right?” she tilted her head seductively.

“Yes,” he breathed, leaning fully into her mouth.

Gage became consumed by the vampiress, snapping her strategically placed diamond pins, and was pleasantly surprised she wasn’t wearing any lingerie. Her snowy gray skin was utter perfection. He couldn’t find a single blemish or flaw. What they said must be true. Vampires had the incredibly fortunate ability to regenerate, contributing to their abnormally long life. He kissed her and grazed his teeth from nose to navel, loitering on her rosy nipples.

Cerise encouraged his curiosity, and allowed him to nibble on her lobes and limbs. They stretched on the floor, in a heated naked frenzy, hands and lips probing and exploring, nails scratching to the point of drawing blood, tongues intertwining. When surfacing for air, Gage felt Cerise clawing his back, marking his flesh with her nails.

When their necks, backs, wrists, and legs were dripping with tiny rivers of blood, Cerise snapped up and bent over the couch, inviting Gage to enter at will. She gasped and moaned as he inserted himself between her legs, clenching her hips as if his life depended upon it. She jerked and shuddered, bracing herself on the cushions while he climaxed. Whipping around, Cerise thrust her upper body into his, blood trickling and pooling between her breasts. She slammed her lips into his, moaning into the cavern of his mouth as she too peaked in pleasure. Gage gave her a moment to recover, and then asked.

“What do we do now?”

She smiled, and walked over to her kitchen, opening her refrigerator and returning with a carton of orange juice.

“Drink this,” she replied. “To revive your strength.”

He drank his fill – almost half a gallon of juice. Cerise gave him a handful of iron supplements to compensate for the blood loss and then brought him to a red heart-shaped clawfoot bathtub. She asked if he wanted to clean alone, and he shook his head with a grin. They rinsed together, cleaning and nursing each others scrapes and cuts.

“Should I go?” he asked hesitantly. “It’s almost four a.m. I don’t want to assume… I don’t know…um…” he felt awkward. “…the protocol.”

“Oh,” she said lightly. “You can stay.”

Gage smiled, lifting her into his arms, carrying her to the bed, and for the first time in weeks, slept peacefully and without disturbance.


Author Note: Okay, so why was this chapter way more raunchy than previous chapters? Well, that’s vampire culture for you. Perhaps I’m drawing on stereotypes here, but I really wanted this relationship with the professional vampiress, Cerise Rose, to be a very different and unique experience for Gage, while giving some more back story for the vampire Sim lore. If you’ve read Darkness May Dream, you know about the Kr’v, the vampire alien parent race. Rumor has it the Xenosi secretly experimented, splicing Kr’v genes with Sims and created the vampire-Sim hybrid. Another rumor suspects that the Grim Reaper himself, king of the Kr’v, created the vampire-Sims. And if you’ve read Darkness May Dream, you know that the Kr’v aren’t discerning at all when it comes to taking Sim lovers so there are plenty of Sim-vampire-Kr’v hyrbids running around Kr’v, so why not also on Simterra?

Whatever theory you subscribe to, the SimNation government is fairly lax when it comes to watching this group of individuals, whether from a don’t-bother-us-and-we-won’t-bother-you mentality or a fear of the vampires. Either way, vampire Houses rule over the vampires. Each vampire registers with a house, and each house is overseen by an Elder, an older, mature experienced vampire. Each house specializes in a specific service or skill, and ensures its vampires receive employment, housing, and nourishment. There are vamp-telepaths that are utilized by the military and police departments. There are vampire-bloodletters that help in the medical and science research industries in order to help cure infectious diseases. There are vamp-entertainers, and the House of the Black Swan specifically are exotic dancers and entertainers. Though the House of the Black Swan does regulate activities on the sites of their places of business (i.e. bars, clubs, dance houses, massage parlors, etc.), the vampire elders do not regulate what their employees do in their off-time.

As explained above, benefactors or “Benes” as the ladies like to call them, are patrons who come. In order to visit a House, one needs to pay the entrance fee and sign a waiver, absolving the employees from liability due to harm experienced during one of the practices. If the “bouncers” or “elders” do not deem a patron to be healthy enough for the experience, or a patron cannot pay, they might be turned away. A benefactor is expected to pay for and consume large amounts of alcohol and to participate in ritualistic feedings, though this is optional if the patron has deep enough pockets or if they do not give verbal consent. The vampires are taught to seek permission even after the paper is signed and the money is paid. Most Sims need to take something for blood sugar and iron pills in order to regain their strength post-bloodletting, and rest is recommended.

Other terms used in this chapter included “seeker” – someone who wants to be around vampires and is often a first-time customer; “kink” – someone who is sexually aroused by vampires;  “blooddrinker” – another name for vampire; and “Casear” – someone who is fully committed to being turned. Often times, a vampire will use the term “flavor” to describe the taste of someone’s blood, their own or the person they are or want to drink. For the record, ambrosia is not the same life-extending ambrosia “food” from the Sims games. This “ambrosia” is a name for an alcoholic drink – a cocktail that actually exists.

Previous Chapter: 1.21 Love Bites 

Next Chapter: 1.23 Read Like a Book

 

1.21 Love Bites (FRWL)

Author Note: Warning! This chapter includes mature adult content that may not be suitable for younger readers, specifically foreplay and fetishism. I have been completely tasteful with my pictures, and this content is primarily narrated in word-form. 


He had always wanted to meet a vampire. 

“Welcome to Black Swan. ”

He had always wanted to meet a vampire. A few clicks later, he had discovered a Vampiress exotic dance club. The beauty of a city. Something for everyone. 

A smile played at his lips.

“Bene. Seeker. Kink. Casear?”

Gage blinked, his eyes focused on a blonde vampiress clothed in a silver plunge blouse, a studded belted mini skirt, and heels with decorative straps climbing her legs. She was swaying erotically behind a velvet rope in a shimmering room, having caught the attention of a beefy gentleman with sideburns and a fedora. He forced himself to swing his attention back to the bartender who was asking him questions that sounded like gibberish.

The frizzy-haired gentleman in glasses appeared to have a normal skin tone, and Gage felt it was moderately safe to engage him. He wasn’t really certain what he came for, but he was going to find out.

“Um… excuse me?” Gage cleared his throat and loosened the top button of his collared shirt.

The bartender rolled his eyes as he continued to polish the inside of a glass. “Noob. Seeker.” Within a moment, he set a fiery red beverage on the counter, and plopped six red hotshot candies into the liquid. “You signed a waiver, right?”

“But I didn’t order anything,” Gage protested.

“Trust me,” the bartender replied, suavely. “You need this to start. It’s called Dark Energies. It opens up your mind to possibilities. Come back later and order a Black Mood. This will help you feel more relaxed and open for feeding when the ladies start coming onto you…” he glanced over at the dancer who had caught Gage’s attention once more. “And when you’re ready for a refresher, ask for Ectoplasmic Residue.” The man winked and sized Gage up and down. “So you don’t end up anemic.”

“Uh…” Gage swallowed hard. “Oh…okay.” He picked up the glass and took a sip.

The liquid burned his throat, but had a pleasant grape aftertaste, like wine, but much stronger. He engulfed the remaining drink and wiped his mouth, as if to prove he was in the game.

The bartender laughed coarsely. “Feel free to look around, Bene, now that you’ve been initiated.”

Gage wandered to the left, having already seen the dancer dressed in silver. He had learned her name was Silver Succubus, and she was known for having a slippery tongue. He wasn’t quite sure he was ready for something that intense. He found a dark-haired vampiress, clad in a leather collar, her dress wrapped in belts.

“What’s your flavor, Bene?” the lady eyed him saucily, placing her hands on her hips and pumping her chest forward for his viewing pleasure. “I’m black licorice.”

Bene?” he repeated, and shook his head, gesturing to himself. “No, my name is Gage.”

She giggled, and licked her lips. “Come back when I’m the preferred flavor of the month, Bene.”

Gage continued to make the rounds, and then settled back at the bar. What am I doing here? 

“Failed already?” the bartender taunted. “Couldn’t find a flavor you liked out of all these goddesses?”

“Perhaps because this Bene hasn’t met the right goddess yet,” a sultry voice from behind him spoke.

Gage glanced over, his eyes falling upon a red-haired vampiress, with curls falling softly around her neck and shoulders. Her fire-engine red leather dress plummeted down her chest, revealing the supple edges of her breasts, the dress held only together by three strategically placed diamond pins. Her sky blue eyeshadow, rose blush, and cherry red lips were a stark contrast to her ashen skin. Gage caught his breath. There was something about her piercing blue eyes that swallowed him in an ocean whole and made him want to know this exotic beauty even more.

“I’ll leave you in the capable hands of Cerise,” the bartender saluted the woman with his index and middle finger before walking away to attend to another guest.

“Cerise Rose,” the woman offered one hand to shake, and with the other, she reached and patted the bulge in his jeans.

“Um… uh…” he stammered, his cheeks flooding with heat, unsure of how to respond.

“Just checking out your package,” she grinned. “So I can make sure you can handle me, Bene.”

His face darkened a few shades of red. “Um… Gage… Gage Briody…” he squeaked.

“Gage? Oh… I like the name Gage…” she purred, and ran her tongue ever so slightly across her lower lip, moistening her mouth. “In archaic times, a gage was a valued object deposited as a sign of good faith.”

He felt simultaneously aroused and discomforted as her eyes swept over his persona as if he were a slab of rare steaks at a meat market.

“I can tell…” she leaned and whispered in his ear, her tongue flicking his right lobe. “…you, Bene, will be a faithful and valuable addition to my evening.”  She snapped her fingers and whistled for the bartender. “This one’s whet my whistle, and now we’re in need of refreshments.” She dramatically dragged a finger from her chin down her throat. “I’m certainly parched…” she glanced coyly at Gage. “…aren’t you?”
He gulped, feeling a growth between his legs. There was only one way to describe this vampiress – exotic beauty.

Cerise ordered two glasses of a golden beverage called ambrosia, and pulled Gage out onto the floor once more. Escorting him around the room, she narrated in between sips of her drink. A seeker was someone who was new to the vampire scene. A kink was just what it sounded like – someone who wanted sexual attention from the blooddrinkers.

“A Casear… well…” she fluttered her long dark lashes, and giggled. “When in Rome…” she flicked her swizzle stick with her tongue in a tantalizing fashion. “If you can handle going all the way, Bene…”

“But my name is Gage,” he replied, bewildered. “Not Benny.”

Cerise lowered her eyes, a smile playing at her lips. “No, my dear, Gage… a Bene is short for Benefactor. You did sign the release papers, correct?”

“Yeah,” he shoved a free hand in his pocket. “Why does everyone keep asking?”

“It’s why the elders make you sign a paper. Everyone who comes in here is assumed to be a benefactor…”

Gage stared blankly at the woman.

“…a donor…” she said, and then made a gruesome face, changing her tone to an odd and gravely pitch. “…me wants… to… suck… your… blood.”

Gage’s eyes widened in horror.

Cerise’s expression softened into a smile, and she purred, “You are so gullible, Gage.”

“So I’m going to let you feed on me?” Gage said, uncertainty in his tone.

Cerise took his hands, gently massaging his skin with her thumbs and forefingers. “It’s not quite like that. When you’re ready, I’m here to help make your first bloodletting experience memorable and mesmerizing. Trust me. You’ll want more.”

“Okay, if you say so,” he replied, still feeling weird about the whole thing.

“I’m a professional,” she purred, moving her fingers to the small of his back. “I won’t do anything without your consent.” She ran the back of her fingers along his cheeks, wrapping her arms around his body, and trickling her hands down his spine.

He had a feeling this was some form of subliminal messaging, but he honestly didn’t mind. He was enjoying the attention.

“You only pay me in plasma if you feel comfortable,” she stopped when her arms were fully encircled around his waist and she stood a mere few inches away from his hips and pelvis. “That’s why the elders charge an outlandish…” she gestured to the cameras he had previously been unaware of. “…fees just to get in here… in case, we do not get our needs satiated.”

“Makes sense,” he nodded.

By his third drink, Gage was feeling much more at ease. The tension from his muscles was released, and his sexual appetite wheted. Cerise engaged him in an exotic dance, her knees swaying between his legs almost like a pendulum, her arms stretched over her head, waving to the music. He felt himself growing stiffer, feeling expectant he was going to receive some pleasure.

When he was ready, Cerise led him into a small lounge area with thick dark purple pillows on an oversized loveseat, hidden by sheer black curtains, and lit only by the flickers of candlelight from a black crystal chandelier. She kissed his neck before settling into massaging his lips with her own. Soon her tongue was fully exploring the reaches of his mouth, and he returned the favor. Cerise removed his leather jacket, and rolled up his sleeve with the acrobatics of her mouth. He found the sensation oddly erotic.

After asking for his verbal go-ahead, she lowered her head to his forearm, grazing his flesh with her teeth. He shivered, enticed by this strange practice, the ridges of her teeth tickling his skin. When she bit down, he couldn’t help but utter a cry. It almost felt like the prick of a needle, and yet instead of filling an IV tube, he was filling a vampiress’ mouth.

When she was done, she returned to an upright position, and reached for a tissue to wipe her face. He was strangely mesmerized by the sight of his blood dripping down her chin, almost as if she had consumed a quarter-pint of cherry tomatoes or juicy raspberries.

“Did you get your fill?” he asked, softly, taking the gauze she offered.

“Yes,” she gasped, pouring water from a black porcelain pitcher into a small basin in their feeding room, and washing her face.

Gage walked behind her, pulling her wrist gently, and nuzzling his nose in her hair. She smelled like hot cinnamon candies. His body felt on fire.

“Do you want more?” he asked, his voice barely audible.

She turned to face him, and he found himself lured into the serene coves of her eyes as a sailor was drawn to sirens on the cliffs.

“The elders do not like it when we take Benes outside the house,” she murmured.

“But do you?” he inquired, interlacing his fingers with the straps of her dress, caressing her skin. “Can you?”

Cerise jerked from his side, walking over to the curtain and peering through for a moment. After ensuring no one was nearby, she pulled Gage against the wall, pressing her body firmly into his own, and running her fingers across his lips.

“How hot are you?” she whispered.

He felt his internal temperature searing. “I want you,” he mouthed.

She leaned in, sucking his lip before entering his mouth and giving him one more passionate kiss. Retreating from his lips, she barely nibbled his neck, drawing a tiny bead of blood. She swiped the bead with her finger and brought it to her own mouth.

“Meet me outside after closing.”

With that, she disappeared between the opening in the curtain, fluttering away with the speed of a graceful bat. He sighed, pressing his palms back into the wall. He could hardly wait.


Author Note: Opps, I got so excited by posting this chapter, I forgot the notes… so you can see the next chapter for them.


Previous Chapter: 1.20 Pity Party

Next Chapter: 1.22 Bloodplay 

1.20 Pity Party (FRWL)

Gage found himself wandering the streets of Devils Port in Simcago. He wasn’t quite sure what he was trying to accomplish. He just needed to escape the provincial world of Riverview and its glorious rolling green hills and picturesque sidewalks lined with autumn-gold and maroon trees, where every person in town knew his name. After his humiliating break-up with that witch, he needed to get lost in the streets of a city with a different rhythm, where taxi drivers didn’t eye him suspiciously, and bartenders didn’t know his story, and the little old ladies didn’t sit on the curb and gossip about his life.

“He’s the one who was Kody’s kid,” Lucille Spenster had said as he had marched past the elderly sisters outside Flying V’s.

Great! he balled his fists. His breakup with Heather had been too public. 

“Who?” Nellie replied to her sister, as if she hadn’t heard.

“Kody? You know Dakota Burroughs?” Lucille said, glancing up from under her hat to get a better look at the “boy.”

Yes, well… tsk… tsk…” Nellie clucked. “He’s just like his father that one. Womanizing.” 

That one stung.

“I heard his mom was a maid for the family or something,” Lucky Perkins, sipping an iced tea at a nearby table, piped up.

“I heard she was a hooker,” Nellie hooted.

“Oh right, he’s that kid related to that criminal family,” Lucille said, crossing and re-crossing her legs as she leaned back to include Lucky in the conversation. “The Bagleys.” 

“Didn’t you hear Sam Bagley Sr. was exonerated of his crimes?” Lucky added.  

“Ha! Sure. But that Ma Bagley’s never been caught, but everyone knows she’s crooked,” Nellie laughed. “And that Rhoda too.” 

“Yeah, he’s related to that family,” Lucille confirmed. 

“The bastard son of Ma’s brother,” Lucky said beneath his breath.

It was all he could take. He hopped the next bus to Simcago, and began pacing the streets. He didn’t particularly want to go by his cousin’s apartment. Ruby was home early for the holidays since her dad, Flat fell off a ladder while hanging paper turkeys for Thankful Day at the Riverview Grocer. He had broken his leg, and needed help around the house since Flo was taking computer night classes and Skip still needed to get to school. Ruby was staying with Sam for a few days before heading down to Riverview, and taking her final exams from a distance. Gage didn’t want to interrupt the happy “reuniting” couple, and frankly, he didn’t want to be around the Bagleys right now.

He remembered the streets, the bitter cold winters, the frosty footprints and the snow eating through his shoes, and the chilled winds from the Devil’s Port Harbor. He was young when he lived here, before his years in Sunset Valley, before his days became more than skipping school, darting between cars on busy streets, collecting coins that had fallen down gutter grates, and banging vending machines in hopes of getting a free meal. What he didn’t want to remember was how his foster dad made him get hit by a car once so they could get insurance money, and the time that his arm had gotten stuck in a grate for hours until a kind police officer on horseback offered to help him, and his head being slammed over and over again into the soda machine by those older teen boys who thought it was hilarious. It’s a wonder he didn’t have brain damage. His entire life was a cautionary tale of what not to do – the screw-up, the failure, the unwanted, the abandoned, the forgotten, the bullied…

He grit his teeth. The bastard son of Dakota Burroughs. Gage smacked himself across the face. Snap out of it, and stop feeling sorry for yourself. No one else is attending your pity party. 

Frankly there was only one way to end a pity party.


Author Note: Another Gage Briody chapter for you, and this time with some more back story. Finally updating From Riverview, With Love. Devils Port is an awesome world created by GaladrielH and available for download from The Sims 3 Catalog. I found it to be perfectly fitting for my Simworld “Simcago” a.k.a. Chicago, the Windy City. I thought about including screenshots from the Spenster sisters dialogue, but found it to be interesting to write it in flashback (and I was lazy and already in the Devils Port world when I thought of the idea). I liked how the “cautionary tale” line matched up with the yellow stop light in the City (see above). I enjoy paying attention to imagery. Ruby’s dad, Flat Broke does work at EverFresh Delights Supermarket, and I thought it was fitting that Flo Broke be taking “computer” classes based on her bio – “She clips coupons and gets herself to work in the morning, but will she ever figure out how to use the computer?” Ruby, the ever dutiful daughter, has returned home from Legacy Isle a.k.a. Bay City. For the record, she is one year ahead of Kass (and Gage and Sam) in school. Hope you enjoyed. 

Previous Chapter: 1.19 Which Way the Wind Blows 

Next Chapter: 1.21 Love Bites