The Fourth Day, Part Two (Elle)

Partridge in a Pear Tree Cottage | 4th of Simcember 

Elle checks the weather

I wonder what today’s weather will be like. 

“Help yourself to the TV or computer. I gotta scoot,” Cathy called from the kitchen. “I’m doing a lecture downstairs in the pub. You’re welcome to join.”

Elle settled on the backless couch. Why do people buy these things? They aren’t comfortable or practical. Where am I supposed to lean? Even so, she found the soothing teal color to be relaxing, reminding her of the beach in her home town. She could practically smell the sea-salt laden air, hear the cry of the gulls and the happy clamoring of children, and feel the warm, wet sand beneath her bare feet racing to the rocks to watch the seals lazing about beneath the warm Califorsimian sun. Elle sighed. Life was simpler.

“I’d love to,” she replied, clicking on the weather channel. “Thanks for the invite, but I think I want to do some exploring today. I’ll catch the next one for sure.”

“Suit yourself,” Cathy waved.

blizzard comingThe Sims National Weather Service declared snowy and cold conditions for most of the day. Elle sighed, wishing it was warmer for walking about town. She decided she wouldn’t let the temperature ruin her plans. Glancing about Cathy’s living room, she smiled, enjoying the Christmas decoration – a hearty pine tree, decked in festive colored balls, ribbons, peppermint sticks, and golden snowflakes, a matching pine bough decking the mentle with a shiny gold jingle bell, red, green, and white paper stars dangling over window panes, and the soft glow of creme brulee scented candles amidst sprigs of holly branches. A collection of Christmas cards sat atop the caramel colored trunk with bronze hinges.

“I guess Christmas is a few weeks away,” she mumbled to herself, feeling slightly depressed she wouldn’t be with family this year.

Her classes would start this evening, and extend through the Winter Holiday. Most students were on break for the month. Not me, she twisted her toe in the plum-colored area rug. That’s what I get for transferring halfway through the year. Feeling a little nosy, she flicked open a card, wondering about the nice things people wrote to Cathy. Most cards were from students, but she did notice one letter written in her cousin’s familiar handwriting. Elle smiled wistfully, figuring she should call her cousin and the kiddos. She tried to remind herself the end result of transferring schools would be worth it right as she heard the front door slam shut. Oh, I wonder what little present I could buy for my new host! 

“Cathy, is that you?” she called.

Jasper walks in

Jasper McCumber waltzed in, whistling a little Christmas tune.

While fields and flocks, rocks hills and plains 
Repeat the sounding joy, repeat the sounding joy… 

“Oh!” Elle gasped. “I wasn’t expecting to see you, Professor.”

“Hello Elle, did you settle in nicely?” Jasper inquired.

“I did, thank you,” Elle smiled. “I was just about to walk around town. Is it cold out?” She felt a little lazy just lounging on the couch.

lighting fire

“Oh yes, but nothing a young woman like yourself cannot handle,” Jasper remarked as he pulled a lighter from the mantle.

The young man on the television flashed a coy smile as he tried to convince viewers to purchase patio furniture. Elle covered her mouth and smothered a giggle. What a strange time of year to buy patio furniture! She thought she recognized the shirtless man with the frosted blonde curls posing before a umbrella-shaded table.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, switching her focus to the professor.

“Oh, I’m hosting a literary club,” Jasper replied.

“Here?” she squeaked and jumped up from the couch, wondering where everyone would sit.

“Yes, you’re welcome to join,” he replied. “Cathy always lets me use her living room.”

The thought of discussing books by the fire with a renowned writer and literary critic sounded tempting, but she didn’t want to intrude. She also had no idea what they had been reading or if she could even contribute.

“Oh no, I better scoot,” Elle replied. “Thank you anyhow.”

Brent something… the infomercial king, she recalled. Her cousin-in-law, Joseph Simself had invited the actor to a party once since he worked with Sims.tv.

Elle swingsAfter a day of exploring the town, Elle plopped down on one of the swings in the backyard, feeling whimsical. Swings always reminded her of a happy childhood, a time when she was more carefree and content with her life. Her feet kicked the array of autumn leaves at her feet as she pushed off the ground, glancing heavenward. Somehow the half-cloudy sky didn’t even cause her to despair. This is why I’m here, she sighed. To start a better life. 

squealingElle couldn’t help but squeal a bit as she whirled through the air on a squeaking swing set, her gloved hands gripping the golden chains as she pumped her legs back and forth. With each motion, she reminded herself she could do this. She could start over. The past was in the past, and everything could begin anew.

Streets of Hollidaysburg | 4th of Simcember 

Elle wanders through townAs she waited for the ferry to arrive, she pulled out her phone and texted her cousin as she planned to do the night prior. I can’t believe I am roommates with Cathy Tea. Any advice, coz? 

grilled cheeseWhile she awaited a reply, Elle ordered a grilled cheese and a pineapple-mango juice from a street vendor.

“Pleasant evening, isn’t it?” she said.

“Indeed,” the vendor replied.

“Aren’t you cold?” she inquired, glancing at his exposed arms.

“Naw,” he laughed and shook his head. “Hot blood runs in my family.”

Elle munched on her food as she traveled across the lake to the university. Lizzie texted her back just as she stepped off the ferry.

Oh how exciting! I’ll have to make a trip out to see you both. We used to work together, you know. Just be yourself, Elle. Cathy’s an accepting person. Don’t worry about formalities. 

Elle quickly texted “thanks,” wiped a bit of cheese from her mouth, and headed up the dock to the university for her first evening of class – Introductory Poetry.

Elle sees GracieEvening class finished around six-thirty. Professor Claire Clutterbell released everyone early. Tonight was mostly an informal get-to-know one-another class, review of the syllabus and reading materials, and some introductory exercises. Elle was required to come up with a short haiku to describe herself as a class exercise. It was strange as Elle didn’t like to be the center of attention, but with only five classmates, the course felt more like a workshop than a full class. She could do it, Elle swallowed hard thinking back to her nerves as she recalled the poem she penned.

Hear tawny owls call
Herald the evening moon rise
How long will you wait? 

When Professor Clutterbell asked her what she thought the words meant, Elle explained the haiku reflected her love of music, her creative nature, and her desire to make the world a better, happier place. The owl represented her aspiration for wisdom and knowledge, and the fact that she was more of a night person.

Now as she strolled along the street in the early evening, Elle found herself contemplating the last line. Was it gentle inspiration meant to question the things of life? Was it the fierce whisper of her spirit aching for change? Was it the instinctive urge to rise and act? She twisted her lower lip. Professor Clutterbell praised her introspection, and yet somehow it felt incomplete. She wondered if she would ever feel whole.

girl glowingA young girl approached, beaming from ear to ear. Pointed ears, as a matter of fact. Elle half-smiled, wondering what the child wanted. She appeared to be glowing, an aura of pure white joy, something angelic and innocent like children should be. Her jingle bell attached to her cap jangled as she bobbed her head.

“How now brown cow!” the girl lifted her hand in greeting.

Elle frowned. I’m not a cow! she protested internally. Is she calling me a cow? And a brown cow at thatWhy would she call me that? Wait… cow… oh… I need to pick up some milk at the store. Cathy seemed to be out and I’d like some with my cereal tomorrow. In fact, I should pick up a few things. 

The girl seemed to wait endlessly, the earnest smile on her face never faltering. Elle relaxed into a bemused sigh and said the first words that came to mind.

Elocution lesson “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”

The girl’s smile grew even wider, if that was possible. “Oh, thank you. We are learning about elocution in school. E-lo-cu-tion is a big word, don’t you think?”

And to think… I suspected she intended meanness, Elle shook her head.

“Hi, I’m Elle, what’s your name?”

“Gracie Goode. It’s alit…alit…alliteration,” she stumbled over the word. “See? That’s a big word too.”

“Yes, it is,” Elle smirked. “Do you make a habit of talking to strangers about alliteration and elocution?”

For the first time, the little angel frowned. “Mom wants me to be more careful about who I talk to. She’s says not everyone is good in the world like we are, but you just seemed like a good person. Are you good, Elle?” she wiggled her fingers.

Gracie inquires about good Elle fumbled for words. Am I good? Don’t we all wonder that? 

“I’m literally good,” Gracie giggled. “I mean… my last name is Goode, spelled with an ‘e.’ What’s your last name?”

“Well, that’s fun,” Elle remarked. “My name is missing an ‘i’ but I pronounce my name Ell-ie. My last name is Greene.”

“That’s funny,” Gracie replied. “You’re wearing green.”

“And you’re wearing white,” Elle observed. “Are you sure your last name isn’t White?”

“No, silly,” Gracie laughed. “It’s Goode. Well, see ya around, Elle.”

As quickly as she appeared, she scampered off, but not before calling over her shoulder, “Elle? That’s a palin-drome.”

Elle smiled warmly. “Yes, yes it is.”


Author Notes: This story is getting to be quite long. It’s harder and harder to capture everything in game and meet the required number of Sims in one chapter. Some of it may also be this segment follows my Sim and so I’m getting a bit lost in that. 😉 I’m naturally introspective. Haha. I’m also riding the flow of my creativity right now. Hope you don’t mind. 

CathyTea‘s Jasper appeared in the home of Cathy Tea for a Page Turners club meeting. Elle would’ve liked to join but she’s not a club member, at least not yet. 

Elle is a communications major. I plan to have her attend various communications/writing classes. If you would like your Sim to attend a class with Elle, let me know, and I’ll try to make it happen in game. 🙂 This first one is Introductory Poetry. Professor Claire Clutterbell is a reference to an actual Sim from The Sims: Bustin’ Out. She is an expert in poetry, and once the poet laureate to the Leader of the Free World (a.k.a. the President of the Sim Nation). 

divanthesimmer‘s Gracie was highlighted, but I liked the image enough that I added it into the story. She approached Elle and said something in Simlish that almost sounded like “How now brown cow” which sparked this whole conversation. 

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The Fourth Day, Part One (Elle)

Partridge in a Pear Tree Cottage | 3rd of Simcember 

As Elle climbed the outside steps above the pub, she almost pinched herself. She couldn’t believe she would be staying in the home of the Cathy Tea. It was a dream come true to meet the author and professor. No one had seen Cathy in the city of San Myshuno, her place of residence for most of her life, in years. She had retired from the professional author circuit, instead choosing to travel and live out her life teaching at various universities, lecturing at small coffee shops, and hosting discussions in small taverns around the world. In fact, it was fitting the woman lived above a pub. Elle had always hoped to meet her, and was delighted to hear she was guest lecturing at the University of Hollidaysburg when she transferred.

Elle enters CT's home And to think I met Dr. McCumber too, Elle squealed internally as she stumbled into the door. Meeting such distinguished and well-renowned writers was an honor.

“Er… uh… Ms. Tea?” she inquired, knocking against the white oak wood door with its fine chocolaty finish.

Her interruption was met with the clickety-clack of the keys. The professor was furiously typing at the desk in the entryway, an odd place for a writing nook, but Elle was too polite and thought it was too cool to make a comment.

“One second…” Cathy replied with a huge smile on her face. “I have just managed to capture the essence of holiday hope in a story. Can you believe that?”

Elle gulped and nodded in nervous excitement. She could believe anything.

“Well don’t just stand there, Elle, is it?” Cathy smirked. “The icy air is bound to blast my sweet bay tree to death.”

“Oh, sorry, Professor,” Elle grimaced and shut the door.

CT checks student profiles“Cathy, please,” Cathy waved her hand. “Now I need to finish some research. There’s fresh baked pastries from the bakery in the kitchen. Help yourself. And hot water in the pipes if you should like to warm up from the cold. And your bedroom is at the top of the stairs and the last door on the left. Make yourself at home. Will you be able to find it okay? I simply must…” she closed her eyes and pressed her hands to the keyboard. “…review my student profiles for my class.”

“I can… manage,” Elle replied, grabbing her bag from the inside of the living room.

Lizzie sleeps

It felt a bit strange to wander through a practical stranger’s home, but she did as Cathy suggested. Pouring herself a cup of milk, she plucked a cherry and walnut cookie from the glass display in the kitchen, walked upstairs to the third level, dropped her duffel in the bedroom, and filled the tub with honey vanilla bubble bath. Her last thought as she laid down on her pillow was “I have to text Lizzie. She’ll never believe it.

Partridge in a Pear Tree Cottage | 4th of Simcember 

sitting on her bed When she awoke, Elle momentarily felt as though she was in a dream. What is this strange and wondrous place? Dressing in comfortable athletic gear, she settled on the bed to tie her shoes and made a plan to explore the town of Hollidaysburg today on foot. She had heard lovely things about the town and its people.

Elle found her mind wandering. The bed was comfortable with a leafy green spread as if Cathy Tea anticipated her favorite color. The windows were draped with vibrant green and royal blue curtains tied with creamy ribbons, festive for the holiday season. She did have to wonder about the rather regal looking couple in a portrait adjacent to her nightstand. She should like to have a shade of lip gloss in the mauve color, the same as the dress the woman wore.

pouring tea Cathy hummed a tune in the kitchen as she moved about wiping the white tiled counters.

“Help yourself,” she nodded as Elle entered the kitchen.

“Thanks,” Elle remarked, pouring herself a steaming cup of tea after locating the mugs in the overhead cupboard.

She didn’t feel the need to tell her hostess that she preferred coffee. I can grab a to-go cup from one of the food stalls in town later, or swing by a coffee shop.

“You mentioned a bakery?” Elle began.

“Oh yes. All Things Bright and Beautiful in Hollidaysburg Shopping Plaza,” Cathy said, settling on one of the barstools at the counter. “The Bright sisters… delightful ladies… own the shop. Best pastries in town short of an out-of-the-way cupcake stall in Uptown. There one minute…” she snapped her fingers. “Gone the next.”

talking of Elizabeth “Uptown? Like in San Myshuno?” Elle repeated, sitting next to her new landlady. “My cousin lives there. Well, not Uptown, but the city itself.”

Cathy’s eyes widened, a dawn of recognition glimmering. “Oh… you’re related… to a Green? My goodness… yes!” she raised her hand with a happy laugh. “You look so much like her.”

“Elizabeth Green is my older cousin,” Elle smiled shyly. “Though she goes by Simself now. Has for decades.”

“Wonderful! Marvelous!” Cathy exclaimed. “I haven’t kept in touch as much as I’d like. How are the triplets?”

questioning the tea“Oh I haven’t seen them in awhile, but I hear they are doing well. Ready to start college any day now themselves,” Elle replied, and then made a face as she set her tea down on the counter. “What kind of tea did you say this was?”

Run oolong,” Cathy answered emphatically. “The black dragon tea.”

“Oh…” Elle swallowed hard as the beverage was more burnt tasting than anything else.

“Now what is your major again?” Cathy inquired.

“Communications,” Elle replied. “With an emphasis in writing. I enjoy all kinds of writing actually. Creative. Technical. Analytical. I hope to do research writing someday. At least that’s my plan. I do really enjoy helping people though. Maybe I’ll do some nonprofit work also.”

“It is good to be diversified,” Cathy nodded, reaching for her own cup of tea.

Cathy despises the tea “Blech!” she moaned and turned away. “Sorry that was rude to do in your face. This tea is terrible.”

Elle chuckled weakly. “You said it.”

They both laughed.

“My barkeep downstairs, Ebeneezer, you’ll meet him soon. He comes and makes me tea in the mornings sometimes,” Cathy explained. “Here.”

“Ebeneezer… like Scrooge? A Christmas Carol?” Elle smiled. “I love Dickens.”

“Me too,” Cathy grinned sheepishly. “Part of the reason I hired the mixologist was because of his name. But shh! Don’t tell.”

Elle and Cathy discuss Dickens “Nicholas Nickleby is my favorite,” Elle said excitedly. “I think it’s beautiful that Dickens chose to explore how every person deserves love and friendship, regardless of who they are or where they come from.”

Cathy straightened in her seat and closed her eyes, reciting, “Happiness is a gift, and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.”

Elle clapped her hands. “I’m going to enjoy living here.”

“Me too,” Cathy smiled. “Now let’s see if I can brew us some better tea.”


Author Notes: It was fun to write this chapter. I decided Elle is Lizzie Green’s younger cousin, my “Simself” from Livin’ A Simmin’ Life. Ebeneezer (by Vanpelt81) did make an appearance in the home, brewing tea and then simply vanishing. Haha. I never caught a picture of it so I just mentioned it. Poor Eby brewed a terrible pot of tea. Hopefully he’s a better mixologist. 🙂 Cathy (by CathyTea) and Elle enjoyed discussing favorite authors and books. It was the perfect discussion for those two. The “essence of holiday hope in a story” I mention is a reference to one of CathyTea’s latest stories 12 Epiphanies, well-worth reading, and a meaningful look at Christmas. Not enough Sims popped up in this chapter so I’ll have to make this a two-parter. Thanks for reading. 

The Third Day (Jasper)

A Little Christmas Carol Cottage | 3rd of Simcember

Jasper and the wood If woodworking be the food of love, sculpt on! Jasper was pleased to find one of his pen pal friends had mailed him a package. The humorous statement on the card was just the fuel he needed to return to a favorite pasttime of his – carving wood sculptures.

He recalled the boyhood days, whittling on the island in Windenburg. A true Deutchsim education. It is what his parents wanted for him. Yet summers on the island coast were spent with only the Great Outdoors as his teacher and the trees as his fellow classmates.

sanding

measuring

marking This dull Simcember morning was best spent indoors, sanding the wood to perfection, priming the piece inside for its grand reveal. Then a bit of measuring with a yellow tape from his dearly departed wife, and a few precise markings from a red ballpoint pen, a present from his students at the University of Hollidaysburg.

Jasper admires his handiwork At eleven on the dot, Jasper completed his work – two lovebirds in warm embrace. Let the bird sing without deciphering the song. The feathered friends would be the quiet companions for his lunch of peanut butter and jelly. Without the crusts, of course. It tasted better this way. He was an elderly man with simple tastes. He lit the four candles and breathed in their creamy vanilla scent among the fresh pine boughs from the forest he had collected the day before.

eating He chose to leave the birds in peace, retiring to the wide windowseat. Eyes closed, he said thanks. For the seedless raspberry jam. For the use of his hands. For the comfort of a cushioned seat. For the warmth of the heat rising from the furnace vent at his feet. For the freshness of a new day in his new home, decked in Christmastime cheer.

Evening arrived sooner than he would’ve expected. Jasper spent the day reading the classics in the crevices of his windowseat. He always wanted to have a home with a seat in the window. Around four, the sun started to set, and Jasper wrapped his legs in a warm blanket. Around seven, the shepherd stopped by.

Gerald arrives “Gerald, what brings you my way?” Jasper inquired, rolling a ball in the snow. “Join me.”

“Ah. Jasper, it is good to see you. You know your pond here has some of the best fishing in town. Sometimes I like to clear my head and commune with nature,” the shepherd of St. Nicholas Chapel spoke.

making snowman“I can understand,” Jasper smiled. “Ah dear nature—the mere remembrance, after a short forgetfulness, of the pine woods! I come to it as a hungry man to a crust of bread.”

“One of your poems?” Gerald asked, his eyes twinkling.

building snow “I should be so humbled to think you mistake me for Thoreau, but no, my son,” Jasper responded politely. “I merely quote the words of a great man.”

“I’ve read some of your works,” Gerald shook his head. “Don’t be so quick to dismiss yourself.”

snowman made Jasper slapped the man in a friendly gesture on the shoulder. “Thank you for making my place your Walden Pond. I think I will take my evening walk.”

“Don’t wander too far, Jasper. Wouldn’t want you to catch your death in the cold,” Gerald replied.

University of Hollidaysburg | 3rd of Simcember 

flags Yet Jasper wandered far. He liked his late evening walks. The world lay sleeping in the peaceful presence of snow. He found himself at the University, an impressive structure. He was grateful that the Provost requested he teach a semester as a visiting guest lecturer. The opportunity to shape young minds once again. Ah! he took a deep lung full of frosty air. He would be in his element.

It was nice to be semi out-of retirement. Jasper walked beneath the string of colored flags, indicating the various countries represented at the University of Hollidaysburg, a decent demographic. Windenburg had more, but then again, that school was in the Sim Union.

Jasper wanders

vera

cookies He went for a jolly stroll through the sacred hallways of knowledge before spotting another professor. She was a scientist first, academic second. He had met her the other day in the lunch hall over an intense discussion surrounding robots – science experiments or sentient beings? Jasper had little experience with technological inventions but nonetheless found Vera LeStrange an interesting person.

vera offers a cookie “What are you doing here this late?” he asked.

“Baking sugar cookies. The culinary classes have the best ovens, and my lodging doesn’t allow for a hot plate, let alone a stove,” Vera replied. “Have one.”

“These are delicious,” Jasper complimented, the fresh-baked, hot dessert from the oven warmed his body and soul.

“I enjoy the science of baking. I’ve been trying for the better part of my life to concoct the perfect cookie,” Vera said.

“You succeeded,” Jasper said with a wink. “In my book at least.”

meets Elle

The library was quiet. Only an attendant remained at the front desk when Jasper entered. He wandered the aisles in the company of Shakespeare and Dickens and the like. Tucked into a corner with one of his personal favorites, a book of essays by Margaret Fuller, was a young redhaired woman resting on a couch.

“Oh!” she exclaimed, sheepishly. “I didn’t think I’d be disturbed here.”

“I don’t blame you. Sleeping in a library surrounded by such classics,” Jasper replied. “I’ve done it myself a time or two.”

He was surprised when she pulled a duffel bag and a backpack from behind the couch.

“You’re Dr. McCumber, aren’t you?” she inquired as she stood.

“Uh I prefer Professor,” he replied, a hint of pink in his cheeks. “Or just Jasper will do.”

“I couldn’t possibly refer to you so informally,” she exclaimed. “I’m… uh…Elizabeth Green, but you can call me Elle.”

“A pleasure to meet you Elle,” he said, offering a warm, firm handshake. “Do you mind me asking why you are carrying your possessions?”

“Oh… uh… I’m a transfer from Califorsimia State,” she explained. “And student housing fell through for me, so here I am…” she laughed nervously. “…sleeping in the library.”

Jasper thought for a moment. “What if I told you I could find you some better lodging?”

Her eyes widened.

“At least until you can get on your feet and figure out student housing or some other arrangement,” Jasper added.

“I’d say thank you,” Elle said, surprised. “Thank you.”

Partridge in a Pear Tree Pub | 3rd of Simcember 

meeting CTThey traveled across town. He was still growing accustomed to the temperature changes from one side of town to another. The snow had melted and the air wasn’t quite as biting. His colleague was outside, of course, grilling franks on a red barbecue.

“Doesn’t wood smoke smell like Christmas!” she declared.

“Cathy, I brought you a possible tenant,” Jasper said, settling on a plump stack of colorful pillows.

“Cathy?” his new friend exclaimed. “Like Professor Tea? Oh I’ve read some of your works.”

“Professor Cathy Tea, this is Elle Green from Califorsimia,” Jasper introduced.

Cathy eyes Jasper

Cathy eyed Jasper suspiciously. “She isn’t one of those who sings in the shower and sounds like a dying cat like my last roommate, is she?”

“And if she does, she’s got a good heart,” Jasper smiled. “I just know it.”

“Hey!” Elle protested. “I don’t have a bad singing voice!”

“Or someone who doesn’t know Chaucer from Charles Dickins?” Cathy darted an unrelenting glare at her fellow professor.

“As a matter of fact, I found her in the library among the classical giants, Cathy,” Jasper defended. “She needs a place to stay temporarily.”

“Aren’t we all just staying temporarily?” Cathy replied, her face relaxing. “…in this world. Come, sit, Elle. I am Cathy Tea. No need to call me Professor.”

“Oh… thank you,” Elle replied, hesitantly, taking a seat on the bench as if she weren’t sure what to make of the two teachers.

“Tell us about yourself,” Cathy said.

“Uh… what do you want to know?” Elle asked with a forced smile.

Elle and Jasper and Cathy “Relax,” Jasper chuckled. “We don’t bite. Why did you transfer to Hollidaysburg?”

“I wasn’t happy at Califorsimia State. I wasn’t challenging myself,” Elle replied, honestly.

“And thus, you traveled three thousand plus miles to challenge yourself,” Jasper said, more as a statement than a question.

“I suppose,” Elle chuckled.

“You should do more than suppose,” Jasper remarked. “If you’ve traveled this far… you should be certain.”

“Nonsense, Jasper,” Cathy interjected. “College is the time of uncertainty, of exploration, of testing the boundaries, and traversing the start of this grand journey to discovering one’s identity and purpose in this life.”

Jasper corrects Cathy “I guess that’s one way of looking at it,” Jasper grumbled. “I think college is a time of solidifying who you are and of making decisions that will shape the rest of your life. You need to plan ahead to make the best possible choices for your life. Too many students waste their time in college. You must always try your hardest and strive for excellence, and you will be successful. You are now an adult, Elle, for how long?”

“I’m nineteen,” Elle squeaked.

Elle and Cathy “Then my fair grey-haired friend, you and I disagree, but what else is new?” Cathy shrugged with a light laugh. “You may stay here, my dear,” she said with an earnest smile. “It would be a delight to have a young person in my home again.”

“Thank you,” Elle blushed.

Jasper chuckled to himself, shuffling across the yard as he waved good night. He knew his new friend would be alright. He rubbed his chin, amused. Even if that youngin’ Cathy still has much to learn.


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. That first line of the chapter was taken directly from the game. This was a fun chapter to write. Jasper and Cathy really were contrary to one another in game. I’m also excited that a variation of my Simself is the third person Jasper encountered meaning a chapter for my Simself will be next. Jasper first quotes Emerson and then Thoreau. This is taking me down memory lane with English lit. Jasper McCumber and Cathy Tea are submissions by Cathy Tea and Gerald Goode and Vega LeStrange is a submission by divanthesimmer. Hope you enjoyed. 

 

Episode 3.4 Down Memory Lane (LASL)

Cathy Tea talks with Lizzie

“Did you hear about Ali and Leon?” Cathy Tea asked.

“Yes! I’m so happy for them,” I replied. “It sounds like they’ve settled on a spring wedding.”

To be honest, I was slightly jealous. I became a mom of four almost overnight. Sometimes it was overwhelming. I was happy to be with Joseph and I loved my kiddos, but I missed some of my freedom. A spring wedding was definitely something to look forward to, but I would be hard-pressed to fit into any of my old dresses, and I kinda wished I was going on a honeymoon trip again. The kiddos demanded loads of attention, and Joseph and I rarely had time for each other, not to mention alone time. Tonight, Ali had offered to babysit so Joseph and I could go out for the evening.

memories

It was hard to believe the Spice Festival had arrived yet again. It seemed like just yesterday when I first arrived in San Myshuno. So much had changed since then. The air was still filled with strong scents of summer savory and robust rosemary, but the colors didn’t seem quite as bright… or as magical. The city felt more challenging, larger than I imagined. I had yet to explore all of the city’s hidden corners and lovely nooks and cozy crannies. Instead, I was baby proofing the corners of furniture and finding parenting tips on my nook, and brushing crumbs in the couch. It wasn’t as romantic as I thought it would be.

Joseph wants to move to the city

I recall when Joseph said he wanted to move to the city. We weren’t even dating yet, and he asked me to pack my little black dress and come with him on his next business trip. If only I were so carefree now… He said he could see himself living in the city. Now I wasn’t so sure I wanted to stay. I hadn’t exactly shared these thoughts with him yet. I wasn’t sure how he would feel about leaving San Myshuno.

Cathy and Lizzie chat

“Simterra to Lizzie!” Cathy said, shrilly. “Did you hear a word I said?”

“Oh…um…” I made a face, feeling sheepish.

“A spring wedding in Newcrest!” Cathy clasped her hands. “Isn’t it divine? I love destination weddings. We’ll get to ride a train there.”

“Yeah, sounds… nice…” I trailed off.

Train to Hidden Hollow

Last time I took a train, Joseph and I ended up in an unexpected place. Hidden Hollow was our first honeymoon, our first official vacation together as husband and wife. Of course, it wasn’t at all like we planned, not like we planned to be in a pyre hollow in the first place. Even so, I recall it was fun, in a weird way, and we bonded. We were just starting life together…

Vlad
…only to be interrupted by a voracious vampire. I still couldn’t believe someone had wanted my husband so badly that he was willing to drive a wedge in our marriage. If it weren’t for the meddling obsession of an ancient vampire, I wouldn’t have lost our baby, Joseph and I wouldn’t have fought, I wouldn’t have…erm… passed on… and we probably wouldn’t have ended up where we were. We were stronger for it, but sometimes I found myself daydreaming of another life I could’ve had.

Cathy says earth to Lizzie

“Uh… Liz… you look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Cathy interjected. “No mind… I’ve seen plenty in my day. So many generational stories…” she appeared to drift off into her own little thought world. “So many lives loved and lost. Passing to the beyond.”

“Lizzie?” I could hear Joseph calling me.

“Uh, I should go, Cathy,” I said, quickly. “It was great catching up.”

“Anytime. You say the time, the place. I’ll be there,” Cathy said, offering me a hug. “Now where did I leave my pen? I have some notes to compile. A new story idea… maybe about ghosts!” she made a spooky ooo sound and walked away with an odd wave.

meeting Cathy

I shook my head, and smirked. Cathy was a dear friend. Never dull. Always brimming with ideas. I recalled the day we met. I was totally a fan girl because… who hasn’t read Cathy Tea’s works? And she had on that lightbulb tee shirt.

It’s to remind me to have only one idea at a time!” Cathy had said.

She sometimes said the silliest things, but that was part of her charm.

“I prefer expressing my big ideas in little words. Like Wow! Every heard of Wow?”

Joseph reserves a karaoke room

“Are you ready, Liz?” Joseph inquired.

Joseph reserved a room at the Waterside Warbler in our old neighborhood. I wasn’t so sure how I felt about singing since my pipes were probably a smidge rusty, but Joseph encouraged me and said it would be fun. Still, I was filled with trepidation when I walked up to the karaoke machine to sing to the crowd. Thankfully, there were only three in the room- a woman I had never seen before, Marie Carter, dressed in a strange outfit, and of course, Joseph.

“I’m hiding from the paparazzi,” Marie claimed.

Recently, she had made some sort of major scientific breakthrough. Unfortunately, I was a little preoccupied with diapers and dinner plans for six to read the paper or watch the news lately.

singing in coffee shop

When I continued to hesitate, Joseph walked up to introduce me, with a big goofy grin on his face, selecting the very first song we ever danced to and sang. That day in the coffee shop, our first date, felt like ancient history. He had been reluctant but I persuaded him through a combination of teasing and bold flirtation. The memory gave me enough confidence to try in a shy, sweet soprano.

Lizzie sings

Some day, yeah
We’ll get it together and we’ll get it all done
Some day
When your head is much lighter
Some day, yeah
We’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
Some day
When the world is much brighter

oh don't you dare

Joseph went next, because we’re partners, and he wanted to support me. Of course, he picked another song that incurred fond memories.

Oh don’t you dare look back
Just keep your eyes on me
I said you’re holding back… she said

Shut up and dance!
Shut up and dance with me

dancing on the balcony

I had assured him it would be fun, and we had lopped and swayed in the moonlight. We may have been close to broke then, recently spending everything we had to secure a deposit on our new place, but we knew how to enjoy ourselves.

Are your eyes on me?” I had asked.

Joseph belting his heart out
She took my arm
I don’t know how it happened
We took the floor and she saaaaaaaaaaid

Tonight proved that we could still have fun together. I mean, who wouldn’t chuckle or smile a little at Joseph’s warbly out-of-tune-heart-totally-into-it rendition of “Shut Up and Dance With Me?”

Lizzie falling asleep

“Come on Lizzie, you’re conking out on me,” Joseph teased.

“Hmm? What? Uh… sorry…” I murmured, nodding my head to the rhythm.

Joseph set down the microphone. “How about I take you home and we call it a night?”

“Yeah… sounds like… a good… idea…” I yawned.

Lizzie and Joseph at home

“You were pretty good tonight,” I remarked, nudging Joseph’s arm as I settled on the edge of our four poster bed.

“Aww… yeah…” Joseph puffed up his chest tonight with a smug smile before he relaxed into a softer one. “No really, you were better.”

“No, I thought your… efforts were…” I searched for a word. “…commendable.”

He grimaced. “At least you were in key.”

“But we both needed this… a night out…” I replied. “And…” I bobbed my head, my words trailing off.

Lizzie falling asleep

“Joseph Joe?”

“Yeah?”

“Staaaay…. right there…” I yawned, and closed my eyes, only about every other word slurred out. “…I…sleep…your shoulder. If you don’t…” I yawned, and closed my eyes.

Joseph smiled and finished my thought. “I don’t mind.”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. Seemed like a good time for some nostalgia as I struggled to write this chapter. It wasn’t that the content wasn’t good because the characters are always great. I was just stuck in a rut creatively until I included the flashbacks. Hope you enjoyed. This chapter featured Cathy Tea’s Cathy Tea,  LegacySims2017‘s Joseph Simself, and TheYayToast‘s Marie Carter. 

Episode 3.3 Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

bathtime with Joey
Bath time is always a challenge. The triplets have their own bathroom yet on the night we planned to have company over, of course, Joey climbed into his mom and dad’s Jacuzzi in his diaper and then splashed so much water out of the tub that Joseph was soaked by the time he finished bathing the kid.

Joey and Mamma

Joey was a complete angel for me. I arrived home from work and he kept saying, “Mama… mama… love you… love you…”

“Aww… I love you too, Joey,” I replied, snuggling him close.

Triplets eating dinner
While I got the kids settled with their dinners – pb&j for Parker, chicken nuggets for Nathan, and a plain tortilla for Joey…

carrie bath time
Carrie enjoyed a toddler-free, uninterrupted extended bath time…

Joseph gaming
…and Joseph grabbed a shower, and beat his high score on Blicblock.

Joseph tells the kids it's time for bed
“Bedtime,” Joseph announced.

“No!” Parker, my night owl, howled. “Eat! Eat!”

She’s also the world’s slowest eater, when she wants to be.

“Why?” Nathan, my inquisitive one, inquired.

He appeared anxious. Lately, he’d had a few nightmares at beddie-by time, and was scared of sleeping.

“Mommy and Daddy have a guest coming,” Joseph said. “So you all need to sleep.”

“Who?” Joey tilted his head.

Joseph asks Joey to guess

“Guess who?” Joseph picked up Joey.

“Santa!” Joey exclaimed.

“No!” Parker kicked her legs. “No Santa!”

“You’re not ready for Christmastide?” Joseph teased.

“Oof…” Joey pointed to his teeth. “Oof…” he repeated and flapped his arms.

“Tooth fairy?” Joseph deduced. “Nope.”

“No bed,” Nathan said, declining participation in the game. “See ‘end.”

“No, you can’t see Mommy and Daddy’s friend,” Joseph replied. “Not tonight.”

Joey sleeping

“Sleep tight,” Joseph planted a kiss on the toddler’s forehead.

Joey went down the easiest.

HUGGING NATHAN

Nathan sleeping in Parker's bed

Parker

Nathan wanted endless hugs and wanted to sleep in his sister’s bed.

Parker wanted to eat. Then play. Then dance. She grumpily agreed to sleep.

washing hands

I was just finishing changing from my work outfit and washing my hands in the bathroom when the doorbell rang.

Ct talks to the bear

bear and dog

cathy and marshall

Carrie let the guest into the apartment. She wanted to show Miss Tea her room. Cathy took a particular interest in the giant stuffed bear Carrie won at a carnival last winter.

“Now, you…be good to my little Carebear. She deserves so much love. All the love you can give her, and if you don’t, I’ll come back and unstuff you,” Cathy threatened.

Marshall barked in agreement, eyeing the bear mischievously.

“I guess I’ll let you sniff my hand, but if you want to lick it, we can’t be friends,” Cathy said in mock-annoyance. “Oh okay… come here, boy!”

Lizzie makes dinner

I got started making dinner – fruit salad – as Cathy had turned vegetarian. She wanted to preserve Simterra, she said, and felt that abstaining from meat was a good way to do so. I pulled out the lettuce, mango, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, and golden apples to wash and chop. I was happy so many fruits were in season this time of year.

Cathy and the trash

“Doesn’t anyone take out the trash around here?” Cathy grumbled.

“When you’re a mama of four, it’s hard to get to every household chore. I have to pick and choose,” I replied cheerily.

Joseph mopped the floor

Joseph brings in a plate

Joseph mopped the floor while waiting for the food, and carried in a plate from the bedroom.

“My cheese plate from earlier,” I winced. “I was watching a show in the bedroom.”

“It’s okay,” Joseph excused.

“Do you think she’s coming back?” I made a face.

We had waited almost twenty minutes for Cathy to return from the garbage chute.

Joseph digs in

“This looks delicious, beautiful!” Joseph smiled, digging into the fruit salad.

“Good for a hot summer night,” I remarked. “Ah…” I sighed. “It’s so nice.”

“What is?”

“Peace and quiet. All the kids are asleep.”

“Enjoy it while it lasts.”

Cathy excited

“Mangos! I love mangos!” Cathy remarked, suddenly appearing again, and taking a seat at the counter.

“Did you get lost?” I asked.

“Did you fall in?” Joseph giggled into his water.

“I was talking to Ali,” Cathy answered. “Apparently, she’s getting new glasses.”

“I didn’t know she wore glasses,” I remarked.

“She’s nervous it’s going to change her appearance,” Cathy informed.

“Nonsense, the nerdy look is in,” Joseph replied.

Joseph and Lizzie compliment

“And I know one person who can rock the sexy nerd glasses look,” I said, coyly.

Joseph made a sound that was a cross between a gasp of pleasant surprise and a slight choking on his dinner.

Carrie is awake

“Hello Miss Tea,” Carrie pitter-pattered into the kitchen in her bare feet. “I hope you enjoy Lizzie’s fruit salad.”

“It’s very good, honey…” Cathy said, and then stared off into space with excited inspiration. “Ooo… honey would be good drizzled over the salad. Got any?”

“In the left cupboard next to the sink,” Joseph said.

“Carrie, what are you doing up? It’s a school night,” I asked.

book request

“I was… wonder…wondering, Miss Tea? Would you read me one of your children’s books?”

“And then you’ll sleep?” I asked.

“Yes,” Carrie sighed, hopefully.

“Only if you want to,” Joseph said, looking at our guest.

“Hmm,” Cathy puzzled. “I might have just the story for you, Carrie.”

“The ones about puppies?” Carrie asked. “Marshall and I love that book.”

“Sure thing, kiddo!”

Carrie and Cathy return
When she returned, Cathy plopped down at the counter.

“I love telling kids stories. Remind me to host a sleepover at my house and Carrie can come sometime,” Cathy offered.

“Really?” Carrie’s eyes lit up. “You’re the best, Miss Tea.”

“Don’t mention it,” Cathy shrugged.

“That was very nice of you,” Joseph remarked.

“Carrie, did you brush your teeth?” I inquired.

“Yes… and…um…Lizzie?”

“Yes?”

“Would you tuck me in?”

“I’d love to.”

Lizzie yawns
“Lizzie, why are you yawning? Don’t adults stay up late all the time?” Carrie asked.

“Oh…ah…uh…I’m…slee..py…” I said, between yawns.

“That’s conta…gious…” Carrie said, yawning herself. “I learned that word in school the other day. It means I catch what you have.”

“That’s a good word to know,” Lizzie said, shaking her head to try and rid herself of the cobwebs forming.

Lizzie tucks Carrie in

“Good night, sweetheart.”

“Good night.”

Lizzie offers to Cathy
“Thanks for that,” I said.

“She’s a good kid. Tough break. She said she misses her mom,” Cathy said.

“Yeah,” I winced.

I had heard Carrie call Joseph ‘dad’ a few times, which surprised me, since she was close with her father, my ex-boyfriend, Rob. However, she still didn’t want to refer to me as “mom” or anything other than Lizzie. The therapist said not to rush things. She may never, and we would just have to accept it.

“You two have been good for her,” Cathy reassured me.

“I hope so,” I sighed.

“Look I know when it’s time to leave. I’ll see myself out.”

“You don’t have to do that. We were going to watch something or talk about our novels or some-thing,” I yawned uncontrollably.

CATHY LEAVES

“Get some sleep,” Cathy said. “I will call you tomorrow.”

Carrie sleeping

Parker

Nathan changed

Joey

Lizzie and Joseph


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. I was hoping Amy Cat, Cathy’s spouse, would come over for a visit, but she never arrived. I had to throw in a bit of humor from the forums as friendsfan is or was (as she might have them by the time I post this chapter) getting new glasses. This chapter featured Cathy Tea’s Cathy Tea,  LegacySims2017‘s Joseph Simself, and InfraGreen‘s Carrie Buckley. 

Seasons of Change in the LASL World (Updates)

After two months of silence… I have the new cover for the third season of Generation 1 of          Livin’ A Simmin’ Life. Ta da!

LASL Season 3 Cover

And there’s many more characters revealed over on my updated Part 3: Chapters & Characters page. For the record, I don’t have internet set up in my new house yet. If you don’t see your submitted Sims that’s because I haven’t been able to add them to my game yet. I’ll add them soon (no promises on exact timeline since I’m still trying to get settled in).

And don’t get your hopes up for a LASL chapter soon. Sorry folks. :/ I’m still plugging away on The Krazy Crazy Life of Kassiopeia Fullbright, Second Edition, but I wanted to give you something for LASL.

In the meantime, enjoy the life updates and bios of the characters with completed profiles. Find out what your submitted Sims are up to in Livin’ A Simmin’ Life, Season Three: Parenthood. And if you haven’t already, I’d love for you to read Kass’s story, if you need a reading fix from me. 😛 

I’ve been playing the game for fun a bit. Here’s some of my initial thoughts on the game and my newly added, Seasons. (Apologies for the lack of pictures… I haven’t snapped screenshots obsessively like I do when I’m writing. I’m over at my old house writing this post without access to any of the photos I did snap on my desktop at the other house).

Family Life: Having triplets is tricky, and when I popped into a certain household with quintuplets, it was even crazier. I have a feeling the Simself-Greens will need a lot of extra help this season staying sane erm… properly raising four kiddos and keeping their romance alive.

This isn’t the first time I’ve managed a large family (Cora Mae and her quadruplets) and at least she had servants, and TS4 doesn’t make it easy. I suppose it’s trying to be realistic, but goodness! Lizzie and LegacySims2017‘s Joseph are exhausted all the time, stinky (I can’t remember the last time either one of them showered), struggling with bladder issues while they try and potty train their tots, starving and eating quick meals constantly, and stressed out. And the triplets absolutely hate thunderstorms. Poor Parker is probably the worst. She’s terrified.

Once the family decided to head to the park. It took 1 hour for the toddlers to show up, and three hours for Dulcie, and by that point, it started storming. Joseph went back and picked up Joey to speed things along, and Lizzie went to grab Parker. Poor Nathan toddled along for another hour in game.

I tried to send Carrie to help pick up Nathan, but she couldn’t. I didn’t realize kids can’t pick up toddlers so InfraGreen‘s Carrie hasn’t been much help, and poor dear… she’s still adjusting to a loud household because I swear the toddlers break down and throw tantrums once every few hours. Carrie has been hiding out in her room and playing with the giant dollhouse, especially after she walked in on her adopted parents in their bedroom during their one “peaceful” moment. Poor kid! I think she’s pretty scarred.

Pets: Unfortunately, the pets have been kind-of neglected… so much so that Dulcie ran away. Don’t worry. She came back after a day. Friendsfan367‘s Ali Morrison found her. Thank the Maker! Dulcie, then ended up, with some illness and Joseph dropped everything (and left work) to take her to the vet (which I forgot is in Newcrest). Not very realistic here, people! Haha. Newcrest is very far away in my Simworld from San Myshuno (in Simnadia!).

Lizzie was concerned, but she was struggling to feed the tots in their high chairs while a storm raged outside. Does it ever stop raining? Marshall always seems to be muddy, like he is rolling in a perpetual mud bath. Lizzie tries to walk him as often as she remembers. They had a cute moment on the plaza outside the Cabash Gallery where Marshall gave her a hug. I swear, the frazzled Lizzie looked about ready to burst into tears of joy. She needed that hug.

Television: Waltzing With Celebrities is a favorite new TV program to watch in the Simself-Green apartment. I catch Carrie dancing to music frequently in the living room when no one is around and at two or three in the morning (girl, you need to be in bed!). Maybe she’ll be a dancer someday.

Lizzie fell asleep watching Game of Llamas, trying to find new ideas for her novels. Parker napped next to her, and Dulcie curled up on the couch across from them. The “ladies” need to find something more exciting to keep them awake. Lol.

Joseph watched The Real Housewives of Windenburg (I promise, I won’t judge), and then proceeded to come curl up in bed with his wife. In the morning, he was extra attentive.

Activities: Carrie joined scouts as her after-school activity. She managed to earn one scout badge and unlocked “Scout Cookies.” Darn! She has to be a teen to bake. This incident was followed by another flour-and-chocolate-syrup-on-the-floor mess (because when you can’t bake, you might as well make a mess with the ingredients, right?).

Joseph corrected her and sent her to her room.Then he went out and bought a cupcake at a street vendor, put it in his inventory, and left it on the counter. He’s trying so hard to be a good dad to his adoptee.

I am pretty proud of Carrie gaining the “Social” badge. She made friends with simscognito‘s and Akira’s kids, Hamilton and Oliver, and invited them over to listen to music and dance. She was pretty in awe of Rikira’s penthouse when she visited there but sadly kids can’t use the karaoke machine. They would’ve made one sweet trio, I think.

Lizzie got asked to join the “Flower Arranging Club” by CathyTea‘s Sugar Maple Bough, and she turned it down. When would she have time? And then Lisabee2‘s Lisa Bee asked Lizzie about an hour later to join the same club. Do they get points for recruiting people? I’m not sure if Lizzie has the green thumb.

Seasons: Seriously, does it ever stop raining? I swear it storms every day in my game. Carrie is awfully cute when she plays in the rain. Lizzie was so exhausted and dirty one night that while walking Marshall, she took a nap on a park bench and *gasp* showered in the rain. Thankfully, she was in a secluded corner of Myshuno Meadows, but still! I didn’t think she was bold enough… then again, she and Joseph left their wedding reception to “get busy” in the flower bushes. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised with her comfort level with the au naturale approach.

I’m so excited that there’s finally a gifting option in game. Joseph has been gifting Lizzie things quite frequently. I think the tired, overworked mamma appreciates it. 🙂 I need to get out of spring/summer to really experience the other seasons. I can’t wait for autumn!

Food: New recipes always makes me excited. Nora came to visit and made honey cake. I’m going to assume she and MINEZ‘ Julian DeBateau are beekeepers now, but I don’t know for sure. Lizzie hasn’t visited them yet, settled into their new home in Newcrest. All I know is you need honey to make honey cake, but perhaps she purchased it.

Lizzie did visit CathyTea‘s Cathy Tea and Shadami’s Amy Cat in their renovated apartment and CT served bee tea. Lizzie approved.

Lizzie and Joseph’s only date, as of yet, has been to the food stalls (she got a chocolate parfait and he got a vanilla) before they were called home because the “sitter” disappeared? Lizzie also grabbed an iced coffee while walking Marshall one evening and chatted with Munterbacon‘s Munter Bacon, who was out walking Dash.

Harvestables: The money tree is back! Woot! I tried planting it in the living room but that was a bit weird so I removed it. Joseph and Lizzie don’t own property and this new apartment doesn’t have a balcony. Still, I want to work out some sort of story line where Joseph, whose lifetime wish is to be fabulously wealthy, plants a money tree in this story.

He did buy a lotto ticket, but didn’t win. Karleen did! As if she needs the moula with her new husband’s wealth! Ha! But she used her own income to start her own mascot costuming business and a food critic blog.

Calendar: Lizzie was invited to a Weenie Roast but she couldn’t make it because she had to go to work or lose her job after working from home, skipping work, and calling in “sick” for two weeks (because it’s hard raising toddler triplets).

When I switched to control Joseph to help with one of the tots, he received a notification about a Shopping Rebate. He headed over to the Flea Market and purchased a new decor item for his home office at a fraction of cost.

Lizzie and Joseph also received the “Night on the Town” notification, but I wasn’t able to send them because that’s where I stopped playing the game. They could sure use it though.

Gardening: Lisa Bee is a new Sim in town, and is employed in the gardener career. I rolled at random for career choices, and figured someone new should be a gardener. Because this is San Myshuno, I had to set up planter boxes beneath the windows in the kitchen for Lisa. I’ll be curious about indoor gardening. Maybe if it succeeds, I’ll let Joseph plant the “money tree” in their apartment. 😉

That’s all for now, folks! I’ll keep you posted with new chapters!

Epilogue, Part 2: Can’t Stop the Feeling (LASL)

Since Wintonborough was the site of our reunion, Joseph and I decided to plan for a ceremony one year out. We selected our actual anniversary. We picked a old church in the woods for our locale. Sage called and offered to watch the triplets, the cat, and dog while Joseph and I celebrated our special day. Friends and family came from different parts of the country. Geeta Rasoya flew in to cater the ceremony, and her son, Raj baked our cake.

Carrie makes a mess

Carrie was so mad she didn’t get to help that she threw flour on the floor of our sanctuary. Joseph had really become a great dad in the last year. He couldn’t replace Rob for Carrie, but he was kind and guided her in a gentle way. I was in the middle of getting ready, walking to the dressing room with my bridesmaids, when I saw him take her by the hand and explain there was a better way to process her emotions. She sighed and said her dad bought her an easy bake oven and cooking made her feel close to him. I smiled as Joseph offered to help her make a cake after we returned from our honeymoon.

Joseph calms Carrie

“You promise?” she said, looking so hopeful. “You’ll come back?”

“Of course, I will, sweetie,” he replied.

That’s my man.

Karleen flirting

Before the wedding, Karleen and Riley were trying to decide which one of them was hotter. Of course, Akira did not approve. He felt threatened as the two old friends bantered in typical harmless flirtatious tones. Akira chewed Karleen out, saying she needed to back off his love. Karleen rolled her eyes and said Akira needed to lighten up. He shouted some forbidden words.

Karleen and Munter and Akira

Munter got in the guy’s face and told him to back off and not speak to his wife that way. It ended in Akira trying to shove Munter and Munter punching him.

“Oh!” Karleen exclaimed as Munter rubbed his hand. “I’ve never had someone defend my honor before.”

Riley quotes Simspeare

“Akira!” Riley gasped. “Don’t worry, my love, you will not go down alone.” With a dramatic flourish, he quoted Simspeare before crashing to the ground in a heap, “I’ll be brief. O happy dagger. This is thy sheath. There rust and let me die.”

Akira groaned. “Riles, just…help me up.”

Riley lifted his head from Akira’s chest. “You know I’m yours and only yours.”

“Then elope with me later tonight,” Akira begged.

“What? Lizzie and Joseph are getting married tonight,” Riley protested.

“I’m tired,” Akira said. “I’m ready to fully be yours.”

“You know what?” Riley smiled. “Sure. We’ll go tonight after the reception.”

Thankfully, Riley and Akira avoided Karleen and Munter for the rest of the evening so there was no more drama… other than my sister, Nora acting all whiny, and Julian complaining to Joseph about her mood swings. I suspected she was pregnant again, but now was not the time to discuss it.

Cathy plays piano

I thought the evening would never come. Cathy settled on the piano bench to play our entrance song. Joseph picked it out as a surprise. I couldn’t help but laugh.

Eddie and Lizzie

“Really?” my dad smirked as he sauntered toward me, ready to escort met down the aisle. “Shut Up and Dance With Me?”

“It’s perfect,” I croaked.

“The green is a nice touch,” he remarked.

hugging Dad

“Thank you,” I smiled, swiping at the tears threatening to ruin my mascara. “I didn’t want to wear white.”

“You look radiant,” Dad said, hugging me. “You ready, kiddo?”

“Ready!”

selfie with Dad

“Wait, wait!” he pulled out his phone from his tux jacket. “A picture with my beautiful daughter first.”

Ash and Karleen

My bridesmaids, Ash and Karleen walked the aisle before me. Everyone was all smiles, but especially Munter and John.

Joseph

Joseph stood at the end underneath a flower-trimmed archway, grinning at all his guests.

on the aisle

I stepped onto the white rose petal lined aisle and caught my breath. He really did look fantastic in a tux. I was marrying… no I was already married to the best guy ever. Nothing could ruin our beautiful day.

Lizzie on the aisle

…not even Riley returning fashionably late.

Joseph sniffles

“Are you crying?” I inquired of my sniffling husband.

“Oh Lizzie, I thought this day would never come,” he sighed quietly. “You look… beyond beautiful. You’re gorgeous. And I can’t believe you picked me.”

“I’d pick you ten thousand times over,” I whispered, caressing his cheek.

The minister grinned at us, leaning forward as he inquired, “Are you two ready?”

Joseph hands me a rose

Joseph handed me a single red rose.

“You have my heart,” he said. “All of me. I’m a simple guy. I don’t have fancy words or an impressive speech. I didn’t write you a sonnet or love song. I just…” he cleared his throat. “I love you, Elizabeth Green.”

“Simself,” I corrected as I swished my floor-length green gown.

Simself is the name

“What?” he blinked a few times as if caught off guard by my interruption.

“Simself… Mrs. Elizabeth Simself-Green,” I said, cheekily. “I changed my name.”

“But… the Green legacy?” his eyes widened.

“Joseph, I am yours. It’s my legacy. It’s my name. It’s my life. I can do what I want. And what I want is your name. What I want is you!” I declared.

Joseph dip kisses Lizzie

“Oh wow!” Joseph exclaimed, dipping me back for the sweetest kiss I think I’ve had in my entire life.

Our guests clapped and cheered. The minister smiled.

“Well, I now pronounce you man and wife,” he said. “I would say kiss your bride… but you’re already doing that.”

“Let’s party!” Riley whooped from the crowd.

Everyone laughed.

club dj dancing

Ash hired the same DJ who was at one of the clubs for Riley and Karleen’s bachelorette party. She was fantastic and really got the party grooving. This was a celebration for the ages. Confetti rained from the ceiling.

“Hello Wintonborough!” the DJ shouted. “Can I get a whoop whoop?”

“Whoop!” Riley indulged her.

And then the DJ put on the perfect track.

dancing 6 Ah, yeah, ah, yeah
I got this feelin’ inside my bones
It goes electric, wavy when I turn it on
All through my city, all through my home
We’re flyin’ up, no ceilin’, when we in our zone

dancing

I got that sunshine in my pocket
Got that good soul in my feet
I feel that hot blood in my body when it drops (ooh)
I can’t take my eyes up off it, movin’ so phenomenally
Room on lock, the way we rock it, so don’t stop

dance 1

And under the lights when everything goes
Nowhere to hide when I’m gettin’ you close
When we move, well, you already know
So just imagine, just imagine, just imagine

Lizzie dancing

Nothin’ I can see but you when you dance, dance, dance
Feel a good, good creepin’ up on you 

dance 1

So just dance, dance, dance, come on
All those things I shouldn’t do

dancing 16

But you dance, dance, dance
And ain’t nobody leavin’ soon, so keep dancin’

Dancing with Joseph

I can’t stop the feelin’
So just dance, dance, dance

I can’t stop the feelin’
So just dance, dance, dance, come on

dancing 9

Ooh, it’s something magical

It’s in the air, it’s in my blood, it’s rushin’ on (rushin’ on)

dancing 10
I don’t need no reason, don’t need control (need control)

I fly so high, no ceiling, when I’m in my zone

dancing 11

‘Cause I got that sunshine in my pocket

Got that good soul in my feet

I feel that hot blood in my body when it drops (ooh)

dancing 12
I can’t take my eyes up off it, moving so phenomenally

Room on lock, the way we rock it, so don’t stop (stop, stop, stop)

dancing 13

Under the lights when everything goes
Nowhere to hide when I’m gettin’ you close

dancing 15
When we move, well, you already know
So just imagine, just imagine, just imagine

dancing 17

Nothing I can see but you when you dance, dance, dance 

Feel a good, good, creepin’ up on you
So just dance, dance, dance, come on

dancing 14

And ain’t nobody leavin’ soon, so keep dancin’
I can’t stop the feelin’ 

dancing 18

So just dance, dance, dance
I can’t stop the feelin’

dancing 20
So just dance, dance, dance
I can’t stop the feelin’

dancing 21

So just dance, dance, dance
I can’t stop the feelin’ (yeah)
So keep dancin’, come on

dancing 8

Nothing I can see but you when you dance, dance, dance
Feel a good, good, creepin’ up on you
So just dance, dance, dance, come on
All those things I shouldn’t do

dancing 7
But you dance, dance, dance
And ain’t nobody leavin’ soon, so keep dancin’
I can’t stop the feelin’
So keep dancin’, come on

dancing 22
Everybody sing (I can’t stop the feelin’)
Got this feeling in my body (I can’t stop the feelin’)

Got this feeling in my body (I can’t stop the feelin’)
Wanna see you move your body (I can’t stop the feelin’)

dancing 22Got this feelin’ in my body
Break it down

Everyone was so excited about dancing they didn’t notice we slipped out. Joseph started whirling the sparkler lights, creating our own send-off.

dancing 23Got this feelin’ in my body (ah)
Can’t stop the feelin’
Got this feelin’ in my body, come on (ooh)

We didn’t even make it back to our decorated car with streamers and cans attached. Joseph and I decided to make a pit stop in the woods.

“You ready, Mrs. Simself?” Joseph asked cheekily.

“Are you, Mr. Simself?” I smirked.

coast is clear

He slipped through the flower bushes and into a romantic secluded section of the forest. We could still hear the music in the distance. Everyone was having fun. No one would fault us two lovebirds for sneaking off.

“Coast is clear,” Joseph said, pushing the leaves aside.

“Good,” I grinned, leaning my chin on his shoulder. “Now come help me outta this gown.”

I can’t stop the feelin’ (yeah)


Author Notes: Thus concludes Part 2 of City Livin. I couldn’t help myself. I had to include the wedding before moving onto Part 3: Parenthood. I was thrilled with the pictures. Since Joseph and Lizzie are already married, I set up the walk down the aisle and cheated to put Joseph at the end. Then I initiated one romantic interaction between them. The rest? They did it all on their own. And the dance sequence was so great. I couldn’t pick so I included almost all of them. This was probably one of my favorite scenes to shoot ever. And the best part is 99% of the interactions were autonomous. 🙂 The song is Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling. I just thought it was super perfect for this final awesome scene. 

Thank you for reading and following me along this journey. I am actively recruiting for Part 3 (the last of the Lizzie/Joseph arc before the next generation). I’d love your help in deciding some of the goals for Part 3 in the following categories (so throw down suggestions in the comments or over in the forums): skills, career, city life, parenting, friendships, romance, aspirations, travel, etc.

If you have a Sim individual or family you’d love to see in Part 3, feel free to let me know where I can find your gallery upload (plus any traits/bio you’d like me to be aware of). I’d prefer limited CC, but I use it so let me know where to find it if I need it for your submitted Sim. This is an ISBI (I’m Surrounded By Idi*ts) Challenge, meaning I’ll only control my Simself and everything else is left up to autonomy and game mechanics (short of a few minor things, and I’ll let you know in author notes). And I welcome pets! 

This chapter featured Shadami’s Amy Cat,TheYayToast‘s Ash Toast, InfraGreen‘s Carrie Buckley, Cathy Tea’s Cathy TeaLegacySims2017‘s Joseph Simself,  Munterbacon’s Munter Bacon, simscognito‘s Riley Cognito, and MINEZ‘ Julian DeBateau and Sammy Sarafin.  

Epilogue, Part 1: Play the Right Music

Joseph and I were back together. Things were back to normal. Well, normal is overrated. Things were better than normal. I think we were better than we’d ever been before. We just needed to find the right music again.

Joseph had flown back East to take a job interview and see me.  On his drive down the coast,  he had horrible reception and a tire exploded on his rental.  He had to wait much longer than expected to get it fixed.  But he did.  And he made it. Back to me. I couldn’t have been happier.

On the day I moved back, I received a text from Joseph when walking through the airport. “I can’t get you out of my mind!” I had a long layover in Magnolia Promenade and he asked me to meet him at the new restaurant across town – Limoni. I didn’t need much encouragement. I dragged my suitcase into the bathroom, fixed my hair, touched up my makeup, and pulled out the new dress I bought.

Joseph hugs Lizzie
“Hey beautiful,” Joseph greeted me with the warmest hug ever.

“Joseph Joe,” I murmured.

It had only been eighteen hours since we had seen each other and I was walking on sunshine. Joseph caught an earlier flight to make plans for Carrie to move in with us. Carrie stayed with my sister since we couldn’t take her across state lines until the paperwork was signed. I promised her it wouldn’t be long. I felt bad about leaving her, but I wanted to make the apartment nice for her too. She was distracted by my nephew, Presley, and assured me she would be okay for the long weekend.

Lizzie hugs Joseph

Joseph felt incredible. I closed my eyes and rocked into his shoulder, covering his neck and shoulders with kisses. He laughed.

“Lizzie, this is a tux, you know?”

“I don’t care,” I smirked, but I reached up and wiped the lipstick smudge from his collar. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in a tux.”

“And I look good,” Joseph bobbed his head smugly, and then reached to kiss my hands. “But not as fantastic as you.”

the Tea Cats

“Hey look, it’s the Tea-Cats,” Joseph smiled as we were seated at a table near our friends.

“Tea-Cats?” I repeated. “Hi Cathy. Amy.”

“Isn’t that the purr-fect nickname for us?” Cathy purred.

“I love it,” Amy exclaimed. “Joseph thought of it when he stayed with us.”

“It’s real good to see you back together,” Cathy added.

Joseph brags

“Thank you,” Joseph grinned. “Don’t I have the most beautiful wife ever?”

“I don’t know,” Cathy winked at Amy. “I’m pretty biased.”

“Shush, Cathy,” Amy mock-scolded. “These two lovebirds are enjoying their night out.”

My cheeks were a pleased pink. “And I’ve got the most handsome husband.”

“He is rocking that tux,” Amy remarked.

“Stop it ladies, you’re making me blush,” Joseph cleared his throat and stretched his neck like a proud peacock.

“He is pretty handsome in this tux,” I smiled, reaching out and tugging on his bowtie. “But…” I lowered my voice. “You look good without anything too.”

“We haven’t even ordered an appetizer yet,” he coughed, as if nervous by the sudden attention.

I was enjoying every minute of it.

“But I want dessert,” I pouted teasingly. “And I’m not sure I can wait…” I winked at him. “You know what I mean? You always looked good without a shirt. Should I come fix your stereo, sir, if you know what I mean?”

Joseph grimace

drinking root beer floats

Joseph indulged me. Dessert first. I think he was a little embarrassed by my bold flirting in a public establishment,  but I could tell he was pleased too.

Carters

The Carter family was enjoying a night out on the town too. Marie was pregnant… again!

“Congratulations,” I exclaimed.

“Thank you,” she replied. “I hear you have news too.”

“We’re adopting a little girl,” Joseph said, and I beamed as I heard the love in his voice.

He really was going to be a great dad.

“And I’m expecting too,” I added, rubbing my belly.

“That’s awesome, Lizzie,” Marie grinned.

Lizzie eating and surprise

Joseph downed his bowl of soup. I snacked on a pretzel.

“I’ve got a surprise too,” Joseph said. “And I think you’re going to love it!”

“Really? What? Don’t tell me. You already got a promotion at work already?” I asked. “I’m so proud of you.”

“No,” he grinned. “But since I’m making more than ever before…and we’re starting a family, I figured we outgrew our old place. I found us a new home!”

Ali talking to Dulcie

Joseph was hopeful that I wouldn’t be upset that I didn’t participate in the apartment hunting process. I told him I was so excited to start our new life together that it didn’t matter where we lived. While we were at dinner, our friends helped move everything into our new place in the Arts Quarter. Ali had a long conversation with Dulcie in the hallway.

“Now you’re gonna have a whole household of friends,” she explained. “Joseph and Lizzie you already know, but they’re having triplets… do you know what that is?”

Dulcie meowed.

“Three,” Ali squealed and clapped her hands. “Three little babies. Oh the love,” she swooned. “And then there’s Carrie… and Dulcie?” she leaned down to whisper. “Show Carrie a little extra attention. Poor kiddo is adjusting to life without her daddy and mommy. Can you handle that?”

Dulcie purred.

“Good kitty. I knew you would,” Ali squeezed her eyes closed and smiled.

settling

Joseph and I settled into a happy routine in our beautiful new apartment. The place had three bedrooms and space for an office, two bathrooms, and a dining room. It could’ve been the tiny little cramped place back in the Spice Quarter and I still would’ve been over Luna for Joseph, but it was nice to have the space. Plus the size of our family more than doubled. Marshall moved in with us along with Carrie, whom we officially adopted. Dulcie wasn’t all that thrilled about a dog in the household, but she stuck to the countertops to avoid Marshall’s big paws.

Parker Sophia

We welcomed the triplets in the late spring. Parker Sophia was totally going to be a daddy’s girl.

Nathan Robert

Nathan Robert was going to be the apple of his mama’s eye. Oh, I breathed. I’m a mama now.

Carrie

Carrie picked the middle name – Robert for her dad. It was touching. The triplets would have a built-in big sister.

Joseph Elliott

And then the third one of the babies – Joseph Elliott. I could tell my husband loved all his kiddos, but he was especially pleased to have a son named after himself.

bachelorette party

Karleen and Munter welcomed a baby girl of their own before we did – Pepper. Yes, yes, Pepper Bacon. Karleen decided to change her name too. Karleen Bacon. Oh the cooking jokes… get outta the kitchen, woman!

After a few months, Munter promised to give Karleen the big white wedding she always dreamed of. Around the same time, Akira and Riley became engaged. Bring on the double bachelorette party!

Joseph calls

Joseph offered to watch the kiddos so I could have a night out with the girls. It was the first time I had been out in almost a year. Around eleven, he called me, sounding sleepy.

“Are you having fun?” he whispered.

I wondered which of the triplets he was rocking to sleep in his arms.

“Yes, I am,” I beamed, listening to Cathy regale the group with tales of her world travels. “Thank you for calling, Joseph Joe.”

“Good night, Lizzie,” he yawned and hung up.

dancing

When the club closed, and we were kicked to the curb, the group didn’t want the party to be over.

“Come on, Lizzie,” Karleen exclaimed. “Lead us in a dance.”

Dancing Queen!” Riley whooped.

“You guys,” I shook my head, shyly.

Someone found a stereo.

dancing 2

dancing 3

You can dance

You can jive 

Having the time of your life 

dancing 4

Ooo see that girl

Watch that scene

Dig in the dancing queen

Riley

We took the party to Uptown. Of course, Riley, the diva she is, required an outfit and hairstyle change.

“Come on, girl, get outta the bathroom,” I yelled through the door.

All other stalls were taken and I desperately needed to relieve myself.

“Okay, how do I look?” Riley inquired, returning to the dance floor, twirling. “Fabulous? Uh huh… come on… you know I am.”

“Riley, I love you!” I laughed.

Ash dancing

Ash was pretty pleased with herself. She and John just got back from a trip to Champs les Sims. John had never seen the Marsian Tower and he snapped a couple dozen failed selfies and sent them to me everyday. I was so glad that he found happiness. He and Ash seemed to be a solid couple.

Dancing 5

We took the dance floor by storm.

Riley checking out

I think we had a little too much alcohol. Riley kept checking out every guy’s butt that walked by. None could compare to Akira.

Cathy and Lizzie

At some point during the night, Cathy and I ended up at the bar at the same time. She was amazed by the colors and lights and sparkle.

pushups

We went back to the hotel. Unfortunately for us, the pool was closed for the night. That didn’t stop us from splashing, diving, and cannonballing into the water. A little alcohol and a lot of dancing and we were rebels. Someone started a game of truth or dare. I don’t really remember who, but it was pretty fun. Cathy and Riley tried to do one hundred push-ups. Riley collapsed on the pool deck in defeat. Cathy won. She was pretty proud of herself.

marshmallows

We sneaked onto the roof and roasted marshmallows that Karleen had in her bag. I don’t think we were supposed to do that over there heat boxes, but no one seemed to care. The night was coming to a close and we were enjoying living in the moment. Riley broke into a spontaneous serenade – Walkin’ on Sunshine. Whoa!

“And starshine,” Riley warbled. “And moonshine! Whoooaa! Ooo…” she threw her hands up.  “Moonshine!” She tripped over the corner of the heat box. “We should get some.”

“Someone’s a little juiced,” I teased.

“I might have a flask in my bag,” Ash said.

Ooo… and don’t it feel fudd,” Riley belted.

“Food?” Karleen tilted her head.

“Good,” I corrected.

“No fudd….” Riley shook her head.  “Fun aaaaannnd good. We are young…  and on fire.” She hit her chest dramatically.  “This girl is on fi-ire.”

“Alright,” I reached for Riley’s arm. “You’re really gonna be on fire if you keep singing and swinging around. Sit down please.”

marriage Munter Karleen

Karleen and Munter 2

Munter and Karleen 3

Munter and Karleen’s wedding was beautiful. Karleen wore a shockingly modest dress. Well, she was a mama now too. It was stunning. She wrote Munter a poem. In typical Karleen fashion, it was quirky and silly and slightly inappropriate. I think I heard Munter’s mom gasp. She wasn’t particularly thrilled with her new daughter-in-law, but Munter was an only child and Pepper was her only grandchild. For now she would tolerate the woman, and hopefully grow to love Karleen like we all did. Munter’s dad was a little bit more relaxed and open. He even joked around with Joseph about keeping Munter in line.

dress

Karleen picked pretty bridesmaids dresses too. Ash had an emergency and wasn’t able to be a bridesmaid so Riley stepped into fill the spot in his white suit so I was the only one in a bridesmaids dress. I was loving the minty green, and I think Joseph enjoyed it too. He kept glancing over in my direction and winking at me.

Riley and Akira 1

Riley and AKira 2

While Riley and Akira were engaged, they didn’t do the official proposal and ring deal until Karleen’s wedding day. Karleen didn’t care. She was so excited for them, and honored that Akira chose her special venue as the site of his official proposal.

Munter push ups

Munter decided to do a few push-ups while waiting for Akira and Riley to move along so he and Karleen could take wedding photos on the bench.

“What are you doing, babe?” she inquired.

“Working up a healthy shine for the picture, love, so I can match your glow,” he explained.

Joseph steals a kiss

“Hello gorgeous!” Joseph came up and stole a kiss while we waited to see off the newly married couple.

“Aww… you’ve upgraded from beautiful,” I beamed.

“What do you think, Lizzie?” he nodded toward the wedding party. “Should we do it? Should we get officially hitched?”

“What are you saying?” I giggled as he nuzzled my neck.

“I’m saying you and me… a wedding… for our family and friends. We did the whole legal ceremony, but I never got to give you a big day,” he remarked.

I smiled.  “But I’m already your wife.”

“I know, but you deserve a day like this,” he said, grabbing my hands. “What do you say, Lizzie? Stand up with me? Be mine… forever? Marry me?”

“Joseph Joe?” my voice cracked with emotion. “I’d be honored to officially marry you.”


Author Notes: Yay! Happiness! I’m so glad things are working out for the better. Oh the roller coaster of emotions with these two. They’re back together and happier than ever. 🙂 FYI, the game picked Pepper Bacon as a name. I loved it. So punny! Lol. And then the game also decided the proposal at Karleen and Munter’s wedding because my game glitched out and Akira and Riley hadn’t gotten engaged yet somehow. It all worked out. 🙂 

This chapter featured so many Sims… friendsfan367‘s Ali Morrison, MadameLee‘s Anne Charming,Shadami’s Amy Cat, TheYayToast‘s Ash Toast and the Carter family, InfraGreen‘s Carrie Buckley and Marshall Buckley, Cathy Tea’s Cathy Tea and Sugar Maple Bough,  LegacySims2017‘s Joseph Simself and Dulcie,  Munterbacons Munter Bacon, and simscognito‘s Riley Cognito. Congratulations Karleen and Munter and Akira and Riley! And welcome to the Green-Simself babies! 🙂 

Goal #19: Find Hope on the Horizon, Part 1 (LASL)

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Or so the old adage says. I wasn’t sure I felt fonder. A numbness crept around my heart after the first three nights of crying myself to sleep. I tried to remain quiet, knowing my new little nephew was sleeping next door. I didn’t want to anger my older sister. The longer I was around the baby, the more sadness I felt. If everything had happened as planned, I would’ve had my own child months before Lee did. At this point, I wondered if I ever would.

For the first month, Joseph called every day. If I didn’t answer, he would call Lee and Sammy’s home. I never wanted to talk to him. I was doing it to myself – the stabbing feeling through my chest. I just didn’t want to admit my part in this argument. I felt like I couldn’t be blamed for my lack of memory. I felt like I couldn’t be blamed for misunderstandings and for my disconnect from the world. I felt like I couldn’t be blamed for my lack of emotions. That’s not true. I’m not letting myself feel. I sighed heavily, swallowing back some unnamed turbulence of frustration, fear, angst, and anger. Returning to life was like learning how to ride a bike, and remembering the steps, but lacking the significance behind each step, and that fact was disrupting my entire recovery. Dr. Vatore said it was normal. This was grief.

At the beginning of the second month, Joseph texted everyday. His messages were filled with his own frustrations and fears, pleas for forgiveness, and hopes for the future. I couldn’t bring myself to reply. My heart cried to open, my will remained stronger. I didn’t want Joseph to call. I wanted him to come.

Lizzie overlooking the waterWintonborough was as good a place as any for healing. My sister, Lee and brother-in-law, Sammy had relocated stateside, about an hour from Sim City on the eastern coast of the Sim Nation. They bought a lovely two-story home on Simsapeake Bay. Every morning I would walk barefoot through the soft grass, stopping just before the dock to nowhere, and stare out to the place where water met sky. The cumulonimbus clouds glided lazily by while the gentle waves from the sailboats wake lapped the shoreline as reeds danced in the bracing breezes.

I wondered what it would be like to soar up into the clouds, though no Sim had ever personally been granted the gift of flight. I knew of supernaturals with super speed and super strength, and even my vampiric/witch doctor could flap wings in bat form, but to truly fly… I closed my eyes, pressed my hands to my lips, and sighed. That would be a truly miraculous and spectacular gift. 

Since Simtober arrived, the mornings were cooler, but still I treked out to the dock every morning, barefoot to drink in the sights. The deep blue waters acted as a mirror for the soul of the sky and each cloud rode a wave to the beach. Today Lee and Sammy were planning to go sailing, but I wasn’t ready yet to leave the comfort of the bank. Baby steps, I reminded myself. Someday. Was there hope on the horizon? I hoped so.

There was longing in my heart, but my head did not heed its call. I wanted to be free, to truly be free, but I was shackled to the impossible task of remembering my past so as to improve my present, and the heavy burden was building a dam against my future. I wasn’t sure how much longer Joseph would continue to call and text and write. My phone pinged and I grimaced. Lately he had been emailing.

Joseph emails Lizzie

Good morning, Elizabeth. It’s six a.m. here so it must be about nine a.m. there.

Joseph nearly hit the backspace. Of course, she’d know what time it is. He grimaced, wondering if she found his text messages annoying. He couldn’t help it. He missed her. The nights were long without his Lizzie. He found himself staying busy and staying with friends. It was better than staying alone. I sound so formal, he criticized. Elizabeth. Typically reserved for her parents when they were upset or mad at her, and here he was using her full name.

I wish you’d come home. If you still want space, I’ll respect your decision. I just wanted you to know…

like I want you to know every day. His heart sank like a rock to the bottom of a lake. Plunk. Plunk. Plunk. He removed his glasses and leaned his head against the foyer wall. Did she even read his messages? Did she even care? Should he even bother?

What are you up to today, beautiful? I’m in the Springs today.

…wishing you were here. 

Stayed the night at Cathy’s and Amy’s. Don’s still away on his honeymoon with Annie. The Tea-Cats needed some help moving wheelbarrows full of fertilizer and topsoil. I offered to help since I’m still… 

umemployed? He groaned softly. Ergh! I can’t say that. His job in Magnolia Promenade didn’t work out. After his temp work was complete, the company didn’t hire him. He was still doing odd jobs here and there. Munter found him a job bartending in one of his family establishments. That paid the most, but the work wasn’t steady as they only needed him a few nights a week. He entered a karaoke contest with Akira. They won two hundred Simos. It wasn’t the same without Lizzie. In fact, he wondered why he never went singing with her. She probably would’ve liked that. Karleen’s boss hired him for an afternoon to move boxes of books to and from the truck and store. Now Cathy and Amy offered to pay him to help with their garden. Truth was they could probably do it themselves, but they were being nice. It’s pity money, but I’m desperate. He slammed his fist against the wall. Plum! I wish I wasn’t. 

“Joseph, is that you?” Amy’s voice called down the hallway.

Feeling like a teenager, Joseph slipped out the door and around the back and attempted to climb through the guest bedroom window. He left it propped open the night before because of the heat. Even in Simtober, the weather was still hot. Amy had given him a key for the week, but this morning, he wasn’t sure he was ready to be around people. The newlyweds were still in that ooey-gooey love phase, reminding him of all the places he wasn’t. Amy knocked on the door.

“Joseph, are you awake? I made pancakes. Cathy made some oolong tea if you’re not hungry.”

Joseph took a moment to collect himself before exiting the bedroom. He nearly collided with a frantically scurrying Amy. She gripped a bottle of orange cleaner like a woman on a mission.

null

“Goodness, Cathy! Your keyboard is atrocious,” Amy exclaimed.

“Five more minutes,” Cathy promised, without looking up, as she furiously typed sentences.

“Uh uh,” Amy shook her head, bottle poised in hand. “You said that a half-hour ago. I’m cleaning.”

“No,” Cathy covered the keys with her arms defiantly. “You can’t. How will I remember Akira will say in his v-log to the fans?”

“Akira?” Joseph repeated.

“Yes!” Cathy said, clasping her hands together excitedly as she turned to face Joseph. “Akira agreed to star in my made-for-TV version of my Sierra and the S-Boys novel. I don’t even need to change his name. It’s perfect.”

“That’s cool. So you landed another television deal?” Joseph replied.

“Sim.tv,” Cathy nodded. “I’ve worked with them before. They did a short mini-series for Dr. Jasmine’s Casebook. They were happy with the results, and asked about the rights to other stories. Right now they’re doing casting for S-Boys. Ooo… you know what? You should make an appearance. I bet you’d get good Simos.”

“Cathy! Shoo!” Amy urged. “You can talk over on the couches.”

“Naw,” Cathy shook her head. “We should probably get working in the garden. I have Sweet Williams and chrysanthemums to plant. However…” she eyed Joseph up and down. “I think you’d do nicely for a guest appearance.”

“Star in a show?” Joseph said, stiltedly, his eyes widening.

“Nonsense,” Amy sprayed the desk and wiped the surface with a paper towel. “Joseph works in advertising. Oh!” she turned around and nearly sprayed Joseph in the face.

“Hey! Watch it!” he exclaimed, jumping back as he removed his glasses which caught the bulk of the mist.

Amy and Cathy excitedly chatting about a job for Joseph
“Cathy, you should hook Joseph up,” Amy suggested, grabbing Joseph’s arm and sitting down suddenly at the dining table.

“Oh yes!” Cathy’s eyes widened as she connected with her wife’s train of thought. “He would most definitely like to meet Joseph.”

“Um…” Joseph chuckled, awkwardly, rubbing the back of his neck.

“He’d be perfect for you,” Amy grinned.

“Ooo,” Cathy squealed. “Yes, he’s been looking for a long time.”

“Will someone please tell me what’s going on?” Joseph interjected.

“You’d be a good fit for each other,” Cathy added.

“Amy! Cathy!” Joseph said forcefully. “Explain.”

Amy laughed, and Cathy just smiled.

“How do you feel about the title Vice President Joseph Simself of Digital Advertising and Sales?” Cathy inquired, her dark eyes twinkling.

“Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?” Amy said with a soft smile, laying a hand on top of his. “Joseph, this could be your big break.”

Sammy and Lee chat over dinner

“This food is delicious, babe,” Sammy said as he sliced into his butternut squash and cherry tomato sauce. “Perfect for a crisp fall evening.”

“Hmm…” Lee blinked a few times before focusing on her husband.

Her mind was wrapped up with a certain occupant in the guest bedroom. Lizzie had barely left her room, save her morning walks down to the pier. She had tried to convince Lizzie to join them on a family outing, but like usual, Lizzie chose to stay at the house. Sailing had been particularly fun this morning, and it was nice to enjoy time alone with Sammy as it was a rare treat since the birth of baby Presley. Still… Lee twisted her lower lip. She was worried for Lizzie… and scared for her sister’s marriage.

“Is Presley sleeping?” Sammy inquired.

“Yes, finally,” she replied, wearily.

Her three-month-old was a precious bundle of energy, and had a set of lungs on him. She didn’t even feel guilty that Lizzie’s room was next to the baby’s and their room was on the second floor, even if it meant tripping sleepily down a flight of stairs in the middle of the night.

“Did you have a good afternoon at the office?” she asked.

“I did,” he smiled, and wiped his mouth with a napkin. “Do you miss the action?”

“You know I do,” she replied. “But we agreed this is best for us right now. And I can’t very well go traipsing through the jungles of Selvadorada with a baby strapped to my back and gun strapped to my hip.”

Sammy laughed. “Next family vacation?”

Lee gave him a friendly punch in the arm.

“Come on, babe. You gotta admit. It would be hot,” he teased.

“In more than one way,” she replied, and began mock-fanning herself before sobering as she noticed Lizzie leave the bedroom and walk to the bathroom across the hallway. “There’s…” she didn’t even manage to say ‘dinner,’ before her sister closed the door, ignoring her statement.

“She’s been here for seven weeks,” Sammy remarked. “Any improvement?”

“No,” Lee shook her head. “I’m afraid things are still quite… frosty with them.”

A loud wailing interrupted their conversation. Sammy set down his fork and stood.

“Okay, my turn,” he offered.

Lee sighed. “Thanks, babe. I’ll clean up in here.”

Sammy started into the other room. Lee began shuffling her dishes around, carrying them to the sink. The house phone rang, and she glanced over, pretty certain she knew what name would flash on the caller ID.

“No, she’s in the shower…” she said.

Or at least that’s what she thought.

“I’ll tell her you called.”

Again.
Lee and Sammy kiss

Suddenly overcome with gratitude for her working marriage and the husband who adored her, Lee set down the dish brush and walked into the baby’s room. She grabbed her husband, tugged him close, and planted a deep kiss on his mouth.

“What was that for?” Sammy asked.

Lee stared deeply into his eyes. “I love you.”


Author Note: Thanks for reading, everyone. So Wintonborough is not a place in Sims 4… but it is in my Simworld. Recently, I was redoing some of my surrounding towns just for fun, and then I came across Peacemaker’s rebuilds of Windenburg. I got lazy, and Peace’s designs are way better than my own. Sammy and Lee Sarafin had moved to the east coast of the Sim Nation from Windenburg, and I decided to just make it work for the story, thus Wintonborough was born. Located in Simsapeake (a.k.a. Maryland and Virginia) and close to Sim City (a.k.a. the Capitol), Wintonborough is the perfect place for Lizzie to hide out and heal.

The name was inspired by a few of Peace’s lots entitled “Winton” something. Although as the title implies, things are starting to look up so don’t worry. I won’t keep you in ‘heartbreak land’ forever. I’ve been playing Peace’s lots for a few weeks now and they are gorgeous. I highly recommend checking them out.  I decided to follow Lizzie and Joseph over the course of separation. Since I control my Sim and my Sim only, I moved Lizzie out to her sister’s. When I switched back to Joseph, all of his actions were autonomous decisions or whims he rolled. 

If you haven’t already, you should totally check out Cathy Tea’s stories, including Sierra and the S-Boys. And if you have the opportunity, you should check out Shadami’s ISBI challenge with Antwan Plum and company. In addition to Cathy Tea and Amy Cat, this chapter featured LegacySims2017‘s Joseph Simself, MINEZ‘  Sammy Sarafin, my Sim-sister, Lee Green, and introducing Presley Sarafin, my Simself’s nephew. 

Goal #18: Celebrate All that is Good, Part 3 (LASL)

Joseph ponders things

Why did weddings make him sad? Maybe it was because of his marital troubles with Lizzie. Joseph knew they couldn’t keep going the way they were. She was barely speaking to him. She could barely look at him. He didn’t blame her. He was cold and distant. After all the things he promised, after all the things he did, after all the things he thought would be different since the last time they made up, he just couldn’t pull himself together to say what he needed to say. He cared about her still, but they were so unhappy. He didn’t understand what was wrong with him. He had something really good, and he wasn’t handling things well.

Since he lost his job earlier in the year, he was working two jobs to stay afloat, and had even talked to Geeta, his landlady, half seriously about catering with her on a few jobs to make some extra Simoleons. Maybe he should even give the ‘love guru’ thing a try, but ha! Who would listen to him? His marriage was failing in a little over a year. Maybe Geeta was right. More misfortune was in store for them. He didn’t want Lizzie to worry, but they were behind on their rent and medical bills and the new car payment. He just didn’t know how to face her and tell her the truth, and it was costing them. Big time!
Joseph chats with Nora and Julian

“Hey buddy, you should go easy there,” Julian warned in a friendly way.

Joseph was on his second beer. Or was it his third? He couldn’t remember. It didn’t matter. It made him feel warm and fuzzy inside. The kinds of things you should feel at a wedding. Right? He wanted to be happy for their friends. Cathy Tea and Amy Cat were pretty awesome together.

“I’m snacking on this… what is this?” Joseph gulped back a swig, and half tilted his bowl so his sister-in-law and her long-term boyfriend could see. “Some kinda trail mix? What’s that green stuff?”

“Wasabi peas,” Nora replied. “I remember those when Julian and I traveled to Asima last Christmastide. Mmm… crunchy… and oh so good!”

“Spi…cy!” Julian kissed his fingers.

“Just like I like my men,” Nora said, teasing, a hint of pink erupting on her cheeks.

Julian laughed. Joseph grimaced and tried a bite. He immediately downed the rest of his beer.

“Fiery, huh, buddy?”Julian smacked him on the back.

“Excuse me?” a well-dressed unnaturally red-haired man in a two-piece purple suit bumped into Joseph. “Are you with the bride or groom?”

“Is there a groom?” Joseph blinked. “I’m not sure how these things work.”

“Me neither,” the man shrugged.

“I’d say the brides to be,” Nora offered.

“But then…” Julian puzzled.

“I’m friends with Cathy and Amy, but I know Cathy a little better,” Joseph replied. “She works with my wife in publishing.”

“My wife works in publishing too,” the man replied. “Editing.”

“Small world,” Joseph said. “Joseph Simself.”

“Issador Fernandez, but call me Izzie. My wife is Lauryn Marks… the best looking one here,” the man grinned proudly, tugging on his vest and nodding toward the dance floor.

“Don’t let the brides hear you say that,” Nora smirked.

“Lauryn? Smaller world? She’s Lizzie’s editor,” Julian exclaimed. “And you, honey, are the best looking woman here,” he kissed her hand.

“So where is your wife?” Izzie asked.

“I…um…” Joseph glanced around. “Don’t know.”

group at the wedding

Joseph cycled through the tables, chatting with guests and downing alcohol anytime someone asked him a question about his wife. Everyone seemed to talk about how great their women were, and he felt uncomfortable. Not because Lizzie wasn’t great. Because he didn’t know if he was great anymore. John kept grinning over at his new girlfriend, Ash, who was spinning on the dance floor with some of the ladies. Julian gushed about how much he was looking forward to becoming a dad. Joseph took another swig. A dad… yeah, that didn’t happen. He couldn’t believe the crushing grief he felt because of it. Caelen bragged about how hot his girlfriend was. Joseph felt a little out-of-place with the part-pyre, part…well, a bunch of other things… who cured him, but his memories on the procedure were fuzzy. Caelen said that it was best that way, but Joseph wished he could remember where he misplaced his heart.

“Are you ever… going to come dance with me?” Anne approached the table with a teasingly exasperated sigh

She swayed and looked up at the twinkling lights around the lattice above their heads.

“I am at your service, my dear,” Caelen said in a low voice.

“Good, dance fever bit me,” Anne exclaimed. “I just love weddings!” she brushed Joseph’s shoulder lightly and scrunched her nose. “Don’t you?”

Lizzie gets wine

I helped myself to another glass of wine. No one would notice or care. It wasn’t like people were really paying all that much attention to me. It wasn’t my day. I wasn’t here for that. Still, I was struck with a profound loneliness. Where was my husband? I almost burst into tears three times today already, and I didn’t know how much more I could take. Would I be able to hold it together until the end of the marriage ceremony? I watched our friends, and wondered what went wrong with my life.

Akira was giving tips to the DJ, and Riley was hanging over the edge of the booth, both feet in the air, correcting Akira’s advice, and giving his own two cents. The couple teased each other, and Akira playfully put Riley in a headlock until Riley gasped, “Uncle!”

Julian, my almost-brother-in-law and Nora cuddled on a nearby park bench, whispering sweet nothings into her ear. Probably stereotypical mushy-gushy things. I still wished it was Joseph and I.

My editor, Lauryn and her husband, Izzie were getting cozy at a table, discussing the state of world affairs with my cousin, John and Ash, who were finishing each other’s sentences only about a month into their relationship.

Amy, the bride to be, tucked the hair of the other bride-to-be Cathy, tenderly behind her ear, revealing more of her face as the wind kicked up a bit. It was a sweet, intimate moment, and I felt almost embarrassed to have witnessed it. A half-year ago, I wouldn’t have cared. I would’ve been over Luna. I’m sure Joseph and I were nauseatingly sweet like that in the beginning.

Cathy leading a dance

“Who remembers the Macarena?” Cathy asked, humming as she swayed.

“Oh my gawd! YASSSSS!” Riley exclaimed, grabbing my arm. “You aren’t getting out of this, Liz. You owe me a dance!”

“I do?” I blinked rapidly, setting down my glass of wine.

“Yes,” Riley nodded, taking off his top hat and making a sweeping gallant gesture. “May I have this dance?”

“Okay,” I said, nervously, feeling the heat rise in my cheeks, hoping no one saw me.

Amy siddled up to me on the dance floor, lifting her skirt so she could more easily dance.

“This is fun,” she grinned.

“Show us your stuff, Cath-hy!” Riley cupped his hand to his mouth and shouted in a deep voice.

Amy and I shared a knowing glance and giggled.

Sugar playing the piano

Midnight could not arrive soon enough. I had eaten my weight in food, and drank enough alcohol to be legally intoxicated, and I wondered why I wasn’t physically sick. I kept looking around for Joseph, wondering where he was, and then I realized that it didn’t matter. I was probably going to be miserable either way, and he would barely look at me. I plopped down in the dreaded front row, the place no one ever wants to sit in the auditorium or school or church or a wedding, and hoped I could make it through this evening without feeling any worse.

Sugar played a simple, but beautiful version of Moonlight Sonata as the guest continued to trickle into their seats.  It was fitting as Amy shared with me how Cathy proposed. As the cellist, whom I had never seen before, pulled his bow across the strings, I could hear the lovely tension – the moving minor key, stirring me to almost tears. It was an unusual choice for a walk-the-aisle piece, but somehow fitting.

Lizzie sitting alone

Cathy and Amy walked down the aisle together, holding hands. When they reached the arch covered in winding daffodils, roses, and ribbons, Cathy grabbed Amy around the waist and gave her a big smooch. The guests laughed, and Anne slid into a seat next to me.

“What did I miss?” she whispered.

I nodded toward the couple.

“Sorry,” Cathy smirked, as she greeted the guests. “I know it’s customary to wait till the end for the kiss, but I couldn’t help myself.”

Amy flushed and fanned herself happily.

“Hey!” Karleen leaned over and nudged my husband. “Joseph?”

My heart leaped at the sound of his name.

“Why aren’t you sitting with your wife?” she inquired in a hushed tone.

“Oh, Lizzie?” he replied as if surprised by his place in the audience. “I didn’t realize she was there.”

Joseph and Lizzie in front row

My heart simultaneously sank. How could he not notice me? Joseph moved up to the front row and slid next to me as if it was obligatory or mandatory. I felt queasy as he squeezed my hand. What kind of relationship is this? It was if we were living in an alternate reality.

“Sorry I’m late,” he said, waving his hand, as if that was an excuse.

“Naturally, you’d be late,” I said, with a fake smile and a mimicking wave of my own hand.

“Are you tipsy, Liz?” he leaned in close and sniffed me.

I stretched my neck back, offended. “Shh! Watch the ceremony.”

“Somehow, I never really imagined myself standing here, in a dress, with someone so beautiful,” Cathy said quietly. “Ready to do this? Are you brave?”

Cathy cleared her throat, glanced with a quick blush at the onlookers, and then spoke her vows:

I’ll brave the world for you
This I knew
From the start.

Kiss every challenge
Embrace each hardship,
So long as we’re not apart…”

Amy and Cathy's vows 1

I’ll brave the world with you
This I say
With my heart.

“See? Your stars,
my planets, smile together
in our chart.

“Brave the world with me
Write new law,
Overturn Descartes

“Together, we’ll doubt
The mind, which we know
Our two hearts
Will always outsmart.

rings

Amy’s eyes glistened with tears as she took the love of her life’s hand.

With this ring I promise to continue to be your sun in the morning, your stars at night, and create our own galaxy of life and love through out all our days.

Cathy feels baby

As soon as the service was over, Joseph split, muttering something about needing the restroom. I turned and chatted for a few moments with Anne, who was, of course, ecstatic about the wedding and romance in general. I asked her what she was writing these days to steer the conversation away from romance. Nearby, Ash flirted with John. I could hear her, and I cringed. Not because I didn’t like John and Ash together, but because I was so sick of love. Cathy greeted Karleen, and asked if she could pat the stomach.

“Little life, I am so glad you made an appearance at my wedding,” Cathy murmured.

Lizzie trips

It was time for the after party, and I seriously wanted to go home. Home home. Like to my parents’ house. They probably wouldn’t mind. I could sleep in my old bed in my old room and pretend like my life was better than it was. Someone dragged me onto the dance floor, and I don’t even really remember who it was. My head was spinning and I was beginning to feel the full force of all the alcohol I inhaled. I tried to follow the moves, but I stumbled and nearly bumped into none other than Jospeh. I actually cringed, expecting criticism, especially after everything that had happened recently.

“Lizzzz-iiiie,” he slurred his words as he took a step forward to catch me and keep me from falling and making a complete idiot of myself. “You okay?”

“I need some…” I closed my eyes and shook my head slightly, lifting a hand to my forehead. “…air.”

“But we’re already outside,” Karleen teased, looking up at the night sky. “Or did you not notice?” she winked at us.

“I’m…” I swayed again, feeling dizzy and dehydrated.

“Here…” Joseph offered his arm and guided me to the restroom, making a pit stop at the bar for a glass of water.

Joseph dancing

Somehow we ended up behind the restrooms at the back of the park. I drank the water, and it did little to help my foggy brain. Joseph slurred through some half-hearted apology and I think I accepted it, mostly because I couldn’t be expected to think straight, and this was the most he had paid attention to me in weeks. Some weird amalgamation of classical and techno rang from the dance floor, where I’m sure Riley and Akira were dancing center stage, leading the group. Joseph clapped his hands and swayed his hips to the beat.

“Doesn’t?” he began.

“What?”

“What do you mean… what?” he said, as he danced around with flamboyant moves, waving his arms like a mad man.

“Doesn’t isn’t a sentence or a question,” I replied, strangely and sanely stringing together enough clarity to form that sentence.

“You wanna dance?” he asked, jiving his hips almost unnaturally.

“I thought…” I frowned. “You hate dancing?”

“Shut up!” he yelled dramatically.

I gasped in shock and took a step back, covering my mouth.

He broke into a odd laugh and added, “…and dance with me, woman!”

My face relaxed into a smile. The song… some song… at some point, we danced to that song. I think I taught him the moves.

kiss

Dancing and swaying like drunken fools on the grass, and getting my heels stuck in the grass, and Joseph picking me up so I wouldn’t fall somehow led us to furiously make out behind the bathrooms. Not the most romantic spot mind you. I’m not even sure how it happened, but we stumbled back to our hotel. Safely. Shocking, I know, right?

One thing led to another…

…clothing was removed…

…lips and limbs were intertwined…

…and we landed in bed.

How could I have known our bliss was only an alcohol-infused passion? In the morning, Joseph groaned and grunted, complaining of a headache, criticizing my moves from the night before. I was crushed. Utterly defeated…and I realized right then and there that I needed space.

I dressed, grabbed my suitcase, and headed for the door.

All that was good was gone.


Author Notes: So much happiness. So much pain. Oh my gawd! Just when I thought Lizzie and Joseph couldn’t sink any lower. I just don’t know what happened to my Simself or her Sim-spouse. To go from over the top adorable and perfect together to fighting like cats and dogs. I didn’t even know criticizing a person’s “moves” was a thing in game until now. Eek!

On a happy note, much thanks to Shadami and Cathy Tea for helping write their own vows section. Isn’t it beautiful? Yay for another happy couple. This chapter also featured  LegacySims2017‘s Joseph, MINEZ‘ Julian and Issador “Izzie” Fernandez, MadameLee‘s Anne, simscognito‘s Riley, CathyTea’s Sugar Maple Bough, skcaga6‘s Teresa Spinks and Edwin and Sharon Wymer, and TheYayToast‘s Ash. Thanks for reading!