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. 

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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! 

Goal #18: Celebrate All That is Good, Part 2 (LASL)

Lizzie glances back at Joseph

Cathy excused herself to go visit with other guests, and Karleen joined my sister, Julian, and Lauryn, my editor. Joseph wandered over, a beer in hand. The whole table laughed, and I glanced over my shoulder on my way to the restroom. What could possibly be so funny? Why did I feel so out of place? Why did Joseph avoid me like the plague? I was surprised to catch sight of Munter. I hadn’t seen him since the early spring. He had been overseas in Osimceana, as far as I knew, with his family. I didn’t realize Cathy or Amy invited him. Then again, he didn’t appear dressed for a wedding. I wondered what he would say once he saw the about-ready-to-burst ex-girlfriend of his.

Munter stops Karleen

“Karleen! Stop!” Munter called out, forcefully, more harshly than he meant.

He was so frustrated. He was frustrated with himself, for leaving Karleen when she probably needed him the most, for being suckered by his family. His mother claimed she had an emergency, hence his sudden departure. Upon arriving, he learned his father needed help with closing a business merger. The Bacons acquired restaurants the way some people collect coins. However, the real reason his mother wanted him home was because she disapproved of his younger, unfaithful girlfriend, and she wanted to set him up with a debutante from the right family, with the right education, the right background, the right social circles, and most importantly, the right amount of money. He hated himself for going along with it for all of three months before ending things abruptly when his mother offered to take his new girlfriend pre-ring shopping. He couldn’t keep up with the facade.

His mind had been occupied with Karleen, the girl who screamed ‘stay-away-from-me-I’m-trouble’ by all appearances, but in reality, had such a sweet, fragile demeanor underneath, and a smile that could make his heart melt. Even just being near her was enough to make his brain go all loopy. When he first approached her table, she abruptly stood and tried to walk away. It wasn’t like he had tried. He hadn’t called or written or emailed or texted. He probably deserved her anger. Still, he couldn’t leave things the way they were. She was in his head, in his thoughts, in his dreams, and he found himself making imaginary plans with her and the baby. The baby? He touched his lips absently. And she was in his heart.

“What!” she said, edge in her tone.

“I’m sorry,” he replied, shoving his hands in his pockets. “I’m sorry for being a jerk and for leaving you. I’m sorry for not calling or contacting you in any way. How’ve…you been?” he kicked a loose stone with his sneaker.

“How have I been?” she whirled, repeating, her eyes fiery. “Let’s see. I’ve been… um… just peachy. I mean, I’m past the morning sickness stage, but my feet and ankles are constantly swollen and I feel like I’m leaking a lot of the time, and my brain is all mushy, and I haven’t had a cocktail in seven months, but otherwise, I’m just great. Thanks for asking.”

Munter takes Karleen's hand “Please don’t be like that,” Munter almost whined as he stepped in front of her to cut off her escape route.

“You said you’d be around,” Karleen cried. “And then you vanished.”

“I’m stupid.”

“You promised to call, and you didn’t.”

“I’m an idiot.”

“You said you loved me.”

I do.”

Karleen’s eyes widened. “You do? You still do?”

“I didn’t stop,” Munter said, softly. “Now the question is… do you love me? For me? I know you never cared about the money, but I could take care of you, Karleen. I could take care of you… well…” he groaned and rolled his eyes back. “…that didn’t come out right. I want to take care of you…” he took her hand. “I can offer you everything you ever wanted, but most importantly, I want to offer you my heart. It’s yours, if you want it.”

“Munter… what are you saying?” she frowned, her lower lip wobbling, her eyes flooding with unknown emotions.

He couldn’t tell if it was good or bad.

Munter confesses to Karleen

“Karleen, I don’t care anymore. I don’t care that you slept with John and with Goober when you slept with me. I love you. I forgive you. I want to marry you…” he blurted out, surprising himself, and then his face relaxed into a smile. “I want to marry you.”

“What?” Karleen’s voice cracked. “Even if?” she shook her head. “I don’t deserve you.”

“Oh angel, I don’t deserve you,” Munter said. “Yeah, we’ve been wicked to each other, but I’m not holding it against you if you won’t.”

Tears spilled down her rosy cheeks. “Even if the baby…” she hiccuped.

“I don’t care…” he said in an urgent whisper. “…who the baby’s father is. I want you.”

He pressed his head against hers, inches from her mouth, feeling compelled to kiss the lips of the woman he loved, probably salty from her tears. He didn’t care.

Kiss me

“Kiss me,” she whispered, fiercely.

She didn’t have to ask twice. Munter wrapped his hand around the small of her back, and around her neck, and pulled her into his embrace. It felt good to have her in his arms after all this time. When they finally resurfaced for air, he felt slightly annoyed. He didn’t want it to end.

“So you crashed a wedding to propose?” she laughed, swiping happy tears from her face.

“Basically, love,” he smirked.

“Great!” she giggled. “How are we going to tell our friends?”

“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “All I know is I want you…” he placed his hand on her stomach. “And this baby to mine. I’ll marry you either way.”

Karleen tells Munter

Karleen stepped back, wrapping her hands around her belly, a big warm smile erupting.

“Munter?”

“Yes?”

“The baby is yours.”

He stood in stunned silence. Mine? It was almost incomprehensible. The possibility of the child being his was always there, but he always suspected the baby was John’s. Now Karleen stood before him, eyes shining, big smile, and an earnestness in his tone. His breath caught.

“You’re sure?”

She bobbed her head. “Yes, the doctor and I counted the days. And they have these pre-birth DNA tests these days that confirm parentage if you want…”

“Oh boy!” he ran a hand through his brown curly hair. “Oh wait… is it a boy? Or a girl?”

“Do you want to be surprised?” she asked, leaning in coyly.

He shook his head. She stood on tiptoe, placing a tender hand on his shoulder, and opened her mouth to speak.


Author Notes: Is your heart melting from cuteness over Karleen Corey and Munterbacon‘s Munter Bacon? Mine is. Lol. This chapter also featured LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself, and a variety of background characters, Nora Green, Geeta Rasoya (who was the caterer for the event), Don Baxter, Zurka’s  Angela Smith, MadameLee‘s Anne Charming, Cathy Tea‘s Cathy Tea, Shadami’s Amy Cat, MINEZ‘ Julian DeBateau, Lauryn Marks, and Issador ‘Izzie’ Fernandez, and simscognito‘s Riley Cognito. Thanks for reading. 

Goal #18: Celebrate All That is Good, Part 1 (LASL)

Cathy and Amy stargazing On hot nights, young lovers lay on the ground and identify stars. The excruciating temperatures of the day fade away. Coyotes sing their night hymns. White hydrangeas are in full bloom, an ode to summer. Nothing but calm and constellations and hearts full of dreams. The mighty hunter Orion. The vain queen Cassiopeia. The hearty bull Taurus. The wild archer Sagittarius.

“Luna looks beautiful tonight,” Amy cooed.

“You look radiant,” Cathy replied.

Amy flushed, her cheeks a pleased pink. “Thank you. Seriously, it’s almost as if…” she squinted. “I can see the Lakes colony.”

“Have you ever been?” Cathy inquired, crossing her ankles the other direction as she shifted, her back easing against the crevices of dirt between the paved stones.

“To Luna?” Amy said, rolling so she could see her girlfriend.

“Yes,” Cathy murmured, twisting her braid around her finger. “It is truly remarkable to visit the moon and see Simterra from space.”

“I’ve never left planetside,” Amy replied. “My great-great-great grandparents were explorers, and they hitched a ride with military pilots to the Delta base on Luna before it was off limits to civilians. I think they lived somewhere out here in the Daleth system. I always thought it would be spectacular to be a pioneer in space. There’s so much out there…” she swept her arm upward, placing her hands at different angles to frame clusters of stars. “…I would love to see it all someday. I can’t imagine living in a more lovely spot in the galaxy. Of course…” she smiled coyly. “…I have you to thank for that.”

Cathy propped her weight against her elbow, a bright smile spreading across her face. “Marry me, Amy.”

“What?” Amy blinked rapidly, shook her head, and sat up as if she didn’t hear her closest and dearest friend carefully.

“Marry me,” Cathy repeated, sitting up and draping her arms over her bent knees. “I’m not as young as you you, and I don’t have the energy you do, and I’m advancing in years. I don’t want to waste a moment. I want to be with the woman who makes me sun rise every morning, and who makes my stars shine at night, and who sends the spark of life through my veins.”

Amy’s eyes misted with tears. “Cathy…” she gasped, bringing her hands to her heart as she scooted close. “Thank you…” the women touched foreheads, bowing ever so slightly making silent vows never to leave one another.

“I will marry you.”

Cathy serenades AmyThey made plans to marry within a fortnight. The preparations were a whirlwind. Neither had family in the area, and so they invited as many friends as they could. “Friends are family,” Cathy said, and Amy agreed, “You make your own family.”

Amy called me while Cathy played a phenomenal piano concerto.

“You are going to be there?” she inquired.

I glanced over at Joseph, who was buried in a book on the couch. He hadn’t looked at me all evening. I sighed heavily, and then flushed, hoping Amy hadn’t heard my exasperation.

“We will totally be there,” I assured.

I contacted the same dressmaker who sold me my bridesmaids’ gown for Lee’s wedding, and found a matching dress in a cool shade of lime, perfect for the fiery summer days in Oasis Springs. I bought new shoes and new jewelry too, hoping to feel good about myself. Unfortunately, Joseph and I were still distant. I slept over at Karleen’s more than I slept in my own bed, or stayed out all night with Riley and Akira doing karaoke, even if they worried about me.

“Sleep when you’re dead!” Riley declared, wrapping his arm around my neck.

“That’s right!” Akira exclaimed, wrapping an arm around my waist. “Preach!”

“I love you guys,” I said, willing myself to be happy.

They really did try.

Lizzie sees Angela

Cathy and Amy decided to do the reception early in the day with a party first, and the wedding second, so they could officially tie the knot at midnight under the stars. I thought the idea was super romantic, but I wondered how long I could tolerate heels and polite chit-chat with acquaintances and strangers, and putting up a facade for Joseph and I. Riley offered to be my wingman, but despite his best efforts, he was a social butterfly. He relished the crowds, flitting from friend to friend, talking, laughing, joking around, making dramatic arm gestures. I knew I couldn’t rely on him entirely.

“Lizzie!” Angela Smith, dressed in a proper pencil red dress, waved to me as I wandered amidst the reception tables, wishing I was a flower.

I could be a rose, pretty and vibrant, and no one would want to talk to me, I sighed.

“Hey Angela,” I said, mustering a smile.

“Wow, you look fantastic,” she purred. “I love green on you.”

“Thank you,” I replied with the best small talk comment I could. “I love your red. You match the roses.”

“Hey I’m sorry about last month,” Angela said. “I know we weren’t the best of hosts to you.”

“It’s fine,” I shrugged, feeling a headache forming behind my eyes. “I wasn’t feeling great that day.”

“Still, it’s no excuse,” Angela insisted. “John and I want to have you over again. Actually…” she reached for my wrist the way an intimate friend would. “You and I really should hang out sometime. Maybe after work? Go grab cocktails?”

“Yeah sure,” I said, distracted by the fact that my husband was over at the bar, helping himself to a beer, and it wasn’t even eleven in the morning yet. I figured this was his way of coping with the day’s events, and me… copious amounts of alcohol.

“Dude! Drinking before noon!” I heard Riley say as he slammed in Joseph’s shoulder in a manly fashion. “I approve.”

I gritted my teeth. So not helping, Riley. 

Nora and Julian -- focal point --Lizzie uncomfortableMy sister and Julian had arrived, Nora, a vision in her chic pink dress, a perfectly placed bow of a slightly different shade wrapped around her bulging belly, Julian, looking dapper, as always, in his suit and tie. And attentive to his pregnant girlfriend.

“Can I get you anything, honey?” I heard him ask.

“A glass of ginger ale,” she replied, with a girly little sigh. “The stomach needs to hold out. I feel like it’s doing somersaults.”

“It’s fighting a little battle in there,” Julian remarked, talking directly to her abdomen, and then kissing her cheek. “…for who’s in control. Don’t forget little one who made you.”

I gulped, feeling a sudden and overwhelming sadness. I should’ve been there… with that… that baby in my stomach. Some days I hardly remembered the pregnancy and other days, the memories were so vivid and vibrant. I imagined how different my life would be if I hadn’t been hit by a car. If I hadn’t passed on to the in-between. If I hadn’t lost the precious cargo in me. Would Joseph love me more? Would he pay more attention to me? To us?

“You okay?”

I blinked, my vision focusing on a radiant Amy, wrapped in yards of lilac satin. Sadness struck my heart again as I realized I never did really have a wedding day. Well, I did, but I didn’t. I didn’t have a ceremony with my friends. I didn’t spend time hunting for the perfect gown. I didn’t select bridesmaids and flowers and all the kinds of things you do when you’re getting married. I swallowed hard, reminding myself today wasn’t about me, but about my friends. My happy adorable-in-love friends.

“I’m fine,” I replied, grabbing Amy’s hands. “I’m happy for you both.”

“Thank you, and thanks for coming,” Amy tilted her head to the side in the direction of her partner. “It means the world to Cathy and I.”

“Amy Cat, get over here!” Nora interrupted us. “Where are you two kids heading on your honeymoon? I want all the details.”

“It’s good to see you, Lizzie,” Amy smiled, squeezing my hands, before walking to my sister. “It’s a surprise,” she said. “But you tell me all the details about this…” she patted Nora’s stomach. “…little one. Have you thought of names yet?”

I wasn’t sure I could handle anymore. My mouth fell open, and I had to force tears back from the brink. Maybe I needed a drink too.

Karleen chatters away Cathy took my hands before I had the opportunity to escape to the bathroom, and insisted I join her at a table. She was dressed in a flowing white dress with silk white roses, her black hair waving around her shoulders for once. She looked so happy. A enlarged Karleen leaned back in her chair, crossing her ankles under the table, and stretching her legs as far as was still permitted to be ladylike. She wore a strapless purple dress, a bold choice given she was in her third trimester and looking about ready to pop and she still had six weeks left. A spiky purple collar graced her neck. My former babysitting kid Teresa also occupied the table, looking all grown-up in a paisley pink flowered baby doll dress and a purple bowler hat. She even wore eyeliner and mascara and some lavender shadow.

“What’s it like?” Teresa asked, excitedly. “To be in love.”

“Says the preteen who can’t keep her eyes off Steve over there at the banquet table and he can’t shut up about you,” Karleen said, in mock-seriousness as she moved her hand around like a talking mouth. “Oh Teresa is just so great. Teresa is so beautiful. Teresa hangs the moon.”

“Karleen,” Teresa laughed. “He’s not that bad.”

“Close your eyes and imagine perfection,” Cathy murmured. “Real deal perfection. It’s not really a feeling. It’s not really an abstract state of being. It is a truth. A real solid truth that simply cannot be defined by any words known to mankind, or stopped up by a dam of our own actions. It transcends this life…” her eyes fluttered open. “…and space and time itself.”

“Wow,” Teresa breathed. “That’s… whoa!”

I closed my eyes. I wished for perfection… for love like that. What happened to Joseph and I?

“Excuse me,” I said, covering my mouth to choke back a cry.


Author Notes: Adorableness abounds with Cathy Tea and Amy Cat! But Lizzie and Joseph are still frosty and distant with one another. Grr… Okay, moving along… CT and Amy got engaged, decided to throw a party, and then host a wedding. It glitched for me, so I went into their household, didn’t control anything, other than to set up the wedding again, hence the multiple upcoming chapters. It’s just a never ending party. 🙂 This chapter featured Cathy Tea‘s Cathy Tea and Sugar Maple Bough, Shadami’s Amy Cat, Zurka’s  Angela Smith, simscognito‘s Riley Cognito, LegacySims2017‘s Joseph Simself, MINEZ‘ Julian DeBateau, and skcaga6‘s Teresa Spinks and background characters, skcaga6’s Steve Wymer, CathyTea’s Sugar Maple Bough, Ace Reynolds, Don Baxter, MINEZ’ Lauryn Marks, Karleen Corey, Nora Green, and MadameLee‘s Anne Charming. Thanks for reading. 

Goal #17: Weather the Distance, Part 2 (LASL)

Joseph and Lizzie stand in the hallway  After our argument, I was seriously tempted to move in with Karleen and Ash temporarily… or John. Both offered. Both sympathized. That’s why I didn’t leave. I didn’t want their looks of pity, their endless questions, their contempt for Joseph. As much as I was mad at him, I didn’t want others to think badly of him, though I’m sure after our last loud argument in the hallway, Annie probably gossiped to our landlady and friends. We stood in the hallway on the shag green carpet, facing the brown and tan striped walls, ready to face our dinner as best as we could. The love loss between us was palpable.

Summer love seemed to blossom everywhere. Our anniversary came and went. We ate a quiet dinner while watching television. Nothing fancy. Nothing momentous. We managed to survive one year of marriage and all its ups and downs. We went through more in a year than most couples did in a lifetime. Still, we maintained the facade that everything was okay. Joseph apologized. I apologized. And that was that. Nothing else changed.

John and Ash Fun-loving John began dating the pragmatic, sarcastic Ash. It was a bit of a surprise for all of us, but apparently, they really hit it off while she was covering the beat at the Geek Con. Ash was writing a scathing piece on the outrageous scandal of Simstagram’s president and chief financial officer’s embezzlement with get-this! None other than Goober Nerdstrom’s assistance. Apparently, Mr. Nerdstrom was fetching black market art pieces for the Simstagram higher-ups. No wonder Joseph had so many problems there. And it was good he got out while he did.

John and Ash are dating Ash walked the Con, getting feedback from the gamers regarding the incident. John was, as always, his usual adorkable self, hitting Ash up with pun after pun and making her laugh. He invited her back to his place the first night and they stayed up all night, talking, laughing, gaming. This went on for the length of the con until finally John asked her if she’d be his girlfriend. He learned his lesson with Karleen, and decided to be blunt. She accepted and John snapped a picture to send it to me. It warmed my heart. He looked so happy. He deserved it.

They broke the news to Karleen, who was surprisingly in favor of the match. I was surprised given Ash’s knowledge of Karleen and John’s dating history, however, like Karleen, I was inclined to believe he wasn’t the dad. If Karleen was telling the truth, the timing was wrong, which left the missing-in-action criminal Goober or billionaire chef-bartender businessman Munter, also still overseas with his family. Karleen proclaimed she would survive with a dramatic flourish as she returned to work.

Karleen pregnant and working at Walrus Karleen had been doing well at Walrus Books. The customers loved her, and appreciated her crazy stories. She took the time to greet each patron, and made sure she knew what their preferences were so she could accommodate. She had even received a raise recently, though she was a little worried about what would happen once the baby was born. She wouldn’t be able to work for awhile. Her boss assured her that the job would be waiting for her when she got back much to Karleen’s relief. While Karleen managed to remain single for the longest time in her life, it seemed like the rest of our friends were pairing up.

Cathy Tea had traveled the world in the last year. She toured for another bestselling book. Unfortunately, the road can be a lonely place, as Cathy wrote me. The most interesting people she met were bartenders. Unfortunately, they were either too old…

sasparilla

How does a youngin’ like you know a sasparilla?” the bartender in Windenburg inquired.

He rocked the salt and pepper look with his twirling mustache. He regaled Cathy with tales of the “good old days,” plopping an extra cherry in her whipped cream. In the end, he went to his grave a few days after meeting Miss Tea, a case of bad fish and indigestion. Perhaps she wanted to be with someone who didn’t have to inhale Pepto Simsol on a daily basis.

…too young…

CT and young guy “Aww… Mz. Tea, you are always makin’ me smile,” the dark-skinned, chiseled jaw, and sparkling eyes caught her attention.

Say, we should grab a coffee sometime, or a tea. You like tea right?” she smirked. “Wait, you like tea, or else you wouldn’t be talkin’ to me,” she quipped.

That’s awful kind of ya, but shouldn’t you date someone your own age?”

Ouch! Who said anything about dating? I was just thinking delicious intellectual conversation with a handsome young man like yourself and an experienced woman as myself and we’ll go from there.”

No thanks, Mz. Tea. Maybe some other time.”

enchanting introduction from Cathy

While waiting for the metro city bus to arrive, Cathy surprised a bystander with a shower of red rose petals.

“These are called Dame de Coeur,” Cathy explained. “Aren’t they lovely?”

“Say do you usually go around and throw flowers at people?” the redhead made a face.

“Why not? Admit it. It made your day,” Cathy smiled. “It means ‘lady of heart.’ You should be flattered.”

“Uh thanks,” the woman replied, sarcastically. “Where are you headed?”

“Here. There. A little bit of everywhere,” Cathy remarked. “I’m Cathy.”

“Amy.”

“Enchanted.”

Amy meets Goober You see, Amy Cat walked to Thymes Square to meet a man she chatted with online. Turns out the man was goofy and charming and wanted in four states. Oh did I say states? I meant countries. Dejected, Amy boarded a bus and rode until the end of the line in Oasis Springs, and wandered around until she purchased a ticket to return.

Amy and Cathy Perhaps it wasn’t a completely wasted trip because she met the goofy and charming lady Cathy with her quirky ways and winning smile and messy braid that bounced when she walked. Amy found herself drawn to the older woman in a way she hadn’t ever felt before. Cathy promised to give Amy a full tour of the Springs and if she didn’t like it after the afternoon, Cathy would personally reimburse her for the ticket cost.

Amy stayed for four days, absolutely delighted by Cathy’s way of telling stories and intrigued by how well she seemed to know every nook and cranny of the Springs from the local watering holes to the best hidden picnic spots to the most comfortable night’s sleep in three counties. At the end of the week, Amy was sad she would need to return, but then Cathy surprised her once more at the bus stop with a single Dame de Coeur rose.

Cathy with rose “It’s a simple as bread and butter and the sun that rises in the western sky, Amy,” Cathy began. “I like you. I like you a lot. And I think we should go steady if you’re into that.”kiss

Oh Amy was most definitely into that!

They kissed.

embrace
They hugged.

Amy promised to return the following weekend, and Cathy replied “nonsense,” and said she had friends in the city who owed her favors. She would be coming with on the bus ride.
Don and Annie

Meanwhile, Don Baxter, Cathy’s roommate, had been dating the lovely ginger, Annie since around Simerce. He scheduled a dinner at Chez Llama to mark their five month anniversary. They met during karaoke one night, and Don whisked her away to Uptown to the Stargazer Lounge so she could hear him play. Needless to say, the romantic-at-heart was impressed by his doting and was dazzled by his musical prowess.

Don proposes Don also had an ulterior motive for taking Annie to the best restaurant in town (which I had yet to confirm since I had never gone back). He wanted to pop a certain question. Of course, Annie was thrilled and agreed wholeheartedly to marry the man in blue. He had transferred to the San Myshuno police department. They announced their engagement after Patriotic Day.

Caelen and Anne outside the closetEven my doctor seemed to be getting it on. I was pretty disturbed when I saw these two outside the exam room of the Celestial Clinic. I don’t think he was performing the standard exam.Needless to say, I didn’t go to my appointment that day. I couldn’t remember the last time Joseph and I were together.

Anne smacks Caelen Anne sent me a long email, gushing about how she met Caelen outside strolling the docks of San Myshuno. The smell of sea salt and fading pink sunset set the stage for their whirlwind romance. At first, she wasn’t too impressed by him, even going so far as to smack him when he made a risque joke.

Caelen and Anne -charmed However, that was short-lived. She soon fell for his allure, and even more his kindness. Caelen really did want to save the world, a fact that impressed Anne. She, of course, didn’t care about the fact that he was part pyre, part witch, part… whatever… he didn’t share the last part. It was confusing as is. Anne was just thrilled he paid attention to her.

Lizzie complaining about getting dinner over withJoseph and I, on the other hand, had fizzled some… again. I was getting tired of this back and forth dance. What was so wrong with us now? I was beginning to question whether I missed some early warning signs during our dating experience. Maybe we just got married too fast.

“Let’s just get this dinner over with,” I said, tiredly.

I wasn’t looking forward to spending the evening with the Smiths. Nothing against John or Angela. I just wasn’t sure I could keep up the charade of the ‘happy’ Green-Simself… Simself-Green couple. See. We couldn’t even agree on a name.

“We won’t stay late,” Joseph assured.

Joseph laughing with the Smiths The Smiths were a little too happy to see us. Joseph settled on the couch with Angela and they immediately started chatting about old times. Of course, Joseph, John, and Angela shared a common undergraduate experience, complete with Angela as a cheerleader, John as a football player, and Joseph on track. They met through athletics and then it was parties and state championships and campus pranks and moving furniture in the back of John’s dusty pick-up truck across half the nation.

Lizzie pulls out her phoneWhen Joseph left the city, he lost track of them for a short time, but the Smiths eagerly filled their friend in on everything in between. I was at a loss, feeling left out. I didn’t share their same experiences. My collegiate years were quieter and while I liked sports, I couldn’t seem to get a word in edgewise. Plucking my phone from my pocket, I resolved to text Karleen and ask her to call me to come up with some excuse, most likely baby related, for me to leave.

John side hugs Lizzie

“Oh, I’m afraid we are boring Lizzie,” John exclaimed, wrapping his arm around my mid-section.

“Sorry honey,” Joseph said with a smile. “It’s been a long time since we’ve… well…” he rubbed his jaw. “When was the last time we had a poker night?”

“Oh gawd!” Angela hooted. “I remember those. All that money… pouf! …because somebody couldn’t keep his eyes on his cards…” she nudged her husband.

“Right,” John smirked. “You were just too good looking,” he squeezed her shoulder.

“And that’s why you lost… both of you… to me…” Angela claimed, proudly, pointing both thumbs in her direction.

Everyone laughed. Everyone, except me. I felt a twinge of jealousy.

“Perhaps you’d like to help Angela get started with dinner,” John seemed to direct toward me.

Lizzie chops onions

“Right…” I grumbled, making my way to the kitchen.

We were supposed to be having chili. I was supposed to bring garlic bread. I forgot. Or a salad. Joseph didn’t remind me. I came straight from work, and I was almost tempted to claim I had a headache or something just to get out of this dinner. The Smiths were a nice couple, but their inside jokes and shared history with Joseph were lost on me. I grunted and groaned as I rummaged through the fridge and began slicing onions for the stew…or soup… or whatever. I tried to tell myself that the onions were making my eyes water, but the truth was, I felt invisible.

When Angela finally arrived in the kitchen, she was laughing so hard that tears fell down her face. She walked to the sink and filled a glass of water.

“Nice of you to finally join me,” I muttered.

“What did you say?” Angela replied, only half-hearing me as she called back down the hallway. “Now boys! No fair going through the photo albums without me. We can do that after dinner.”

“You know what?” I slammed the knife on the counter. “I’m not all that hungry.”

“What?” Angela wiped at her eyelids. “Are you feeling okay, Lizzie?”

“I’m feeling peachy,” I snipped, sarcastically. “Enjoy your dinner.”

“Wait? You’re leaving already?”

“You won’t miss me. You didn’t know I was here.”

Lizzie leaves

John wandered into the kitchen and I shoved past him.

“What’s her problem?” he asked a bewildered Angela.

“I’ll see you later,” I snapped at Joseph as I walked right out of the apartment.

Maybe I was being childish. Maybe I was acting petulant. But for the first time in weeks, it felt good to no longer pretend as I slammed the door.


Author Notes: First of all, hooray! I wandered around the city to catch up with some folks and found love is in the air. Congratulations to Cathy Tea‘s Cathy Tea and Shadami’s Amy Cat, to Don Baxter and rockannie‘s Annie Rock, John Schooner and TheYayToast‘s Ash Toast, and MadameLee‘s Anne Charming and Caelen Vatore. This chapter also featured  LegacySims2017‘s Goober Nerdstrom (who seriously gets around… lol) and Joseph Simself, Karleen Corey, and Zurka’s John and Angela Smith. Second, Lizzie and Joseph are still unhappy in my game. Drr… everything went downhill after that dinner at Chez Llama. Maybe they will bounce back soon? Thanks for reading everyone. 

City Goal #16: Tell the Truth (LASL)

You grow up hearing “tell the truth.” Truth is often hard. Truth often means swallowing pride, and admitting fault or wrong. Truth is supposed to be freeing,  but sometimes it feels condemning. It’s not like Karleen wanted to keep secrets from Munter, or to lie to him,  but she was afraid. For the first time in her life, she was genuinely scared of losing a guy who meant a damn to her.

Goober was a mistake.

John was fun.

Munter was…
Munter meets Karleen

…plum! Here he comes. Karleen tried to compose herself, but she was on the verge of falling apart. Her lower lip wobbled. I can… do this. She wished she had dressed nicer. Arriving from the gym probably hadn’t been the smartest idea. She hadn’t showered yet, though Munter appeared to be in his workout attire too. What a pair we make! she thought miserably. Munter kisses Karleen

“Hey love,” he said.

Karleen turned her head as he kissed her cheek so he couldn’t see the tears welling in her eyes. This was among one of the hardest things she had ever done. Why am I such a terrible person? Munter had been nothing but sweet and good to her, and she treated him, and everyone else like llama crap. She took a deep breath. You did what?

“You did what?”

She wasn’t sure what was worse – his accusatory finger pointed sharply in her direction, the sound of shock in his tone, or the crushed look on his face.

“I’m sorry,” Karleen cried. “I’m an idiot.”

He hunched his shoulders and dropped his head. “I knew about John,” he whispered. “But I thought you hadn’t been with him in a long time… and it was before we were exclusive… or so I thought.”

“Yes, yes, I haven’t seen John or slept with him in over a month,” Karleen said, realizing the words sounded way more reassuring in her head.

“But Goober? My neighbor?” Munter exclaimed, locking eyes with her own.

There wasn’t any ire or malice. Just profound sadness. Karleen didn’t think it was possible to feel any worse.

“Did you love… him?” his face twisted. “Them?”

“No,” her voice cracked. “No, I cared about John, but…” she raised her arms in abject defeat. “Goober was a mistake. A stupid mistake.”

“Do they know?” he continued. “About the baby?”

Munter tells Karleen he needs time

Her head dipped, a sudden wooziness overcoming her brain. “Uh?” she fumbled.

“Here,” he gently grabbed her arms, steadying her weight.

The dam broke, and Karleen began sobbing. She couldn’t formulate any words. She couldn’t think clearly. She could barely breathe between cries. Munter stood there, silently, stoically, holding her upright, a strange sight to anyone passing by. Yet in Uptown, many things go unnoticed. Like a certain citizen in a familiar vest and tie, a gleam of cruelty in his eye, hidden behind a concrete support thirty yards away. He heard the words, shrugged, removed his glasses to wipe the lenses, and sauntered away with Karleen and Munter none the wiser. This wasn’t his first rodeo, and his line of work certainly complicated relationships. He wasn’t looking for the settle-down-white-picket-fence-raise-the-kids-9-to-5 kind-of lifestyle. His one-night-stand with Karleen was merely that… a fling. His business was completed in San Myshuno. He would move on. Munter was more suited for the bed-and-roses-and-baby lifestyle.

Joseph and the host

Joseph balled his fists to keep calm. A dinner at the hottest new restaurant in the city seemed like the perfect surprise for his wife. Things had been all over the place with them recently and a night on the town had sounded like a great idea. Chez Llama was a fancy sit-down, fine-china kind-of place with a semi-formal attire requirement and a waiting list a mile long. Thanks to Riley’s new beau, Akira, Joseph managed to get a cancellation. Or so he thought.

“Are you certain that you had a reservation under the name Jo-zeph Simself, sir?” the maitre d‘ inquired.

“It’s Jo-seph,” he corrected. “And yes. Dinner for two under the last name Simself.”

Lizzie would be here shortly. He had encouraged her to dress up and meet him after her meeting at her publisher’s office. She would be flying to Deutchsimland next week to meet with a movie producer, and possible future business partner. He wanted to celebrate her good fortune, even though he had little of his own in terms of work lately. After he was laid off, he attended career fairs, consulted a headhunter, and created six dozen resumes, all of which had yet to make it into the hands of a hiring manager willing to give him the time of day. He still hadn’t told Lizzie yet, as she had enough things to worry about. Tonight’s dinner would cost him most of the remaining Simoleons in his personal account, but he didn’t care. His wife deserved the best.

“Akira Kibo called ahead,” Joseph sighed.

The maitre d’ eyed him incredulously. “Are you a music producer? You cannot possibly be a singer?”

Joseph straightened his tie, feeling offended. “I’m in advertising.”

“Oh an agent?”

“Sure. Whatever.”

“Akira… Akira Kibo,” the maitre d’ skimmed the guest list once more. “Why didn’t you say so in the first place?”

The hostess seated the couple in an intimate little corner, complete with a padded booth and lighted candle. They perused the menu with all sorts of dishes neither one of them had heard of before, nonetheless, they were open to trying new things. Joseph kept peeking over his menu to catch a glimpse of his wife, a vision in her scoop-neck green dress, their favorite color.

Lizzie and Joseph peruse the menu

I giggled. “What?”

“What do you mean what?” Joseph quickly averted his eyes and stared at the immaculate flooring, almost shyly.

“You’re staring at me,” I grinned.

“And why not?” he chuckled awkwardly. “You look beautiful tonight.”

I flushed, hoping he would think I was warm from the flickering candle flame.

“You’re not so bad yourself, Mr. Simself,” I smiled softly, returning my attention to the entrees.

Joseph notices the ring

“I see you found your ring,” he remarked, taking my hand.

“Yes, it was buried in a jeans pocket. I thought I told you I found it,” I said.

“It’s been missing for so long I almost sent out a search party,” Joseph quipped.

I laughed as he caressed my fingers. It felt good to be out with him for once. We hadn’t been on the closest of terms recently, and with everything that happened, I wasn’t sure I’d ever remember how charming he was, or how he made me laugh, or made me feel good.

“Let’s play a game,” I suggested.

“A game?” he arched a brow. “I wonder where the waiter is. I’d like to at least get some water.”

“Yes, a game. Two truths and a lie,” I said. “I read about it the other day. You tell someone two truths and one lie and then the other person has to guess which one is the lie.”

“Like you’re beautiful, I’m lucky, and I wonder why you picked me,” he joked.

“You’re saying I’m not beautiful?” I playfully pouted.

“No, I’m saying truth is I know why you picked me,” he grinned confidently.

“Oh?” I leaned over the table, curious about his response.

waitress arrived

“Hello,” a waitress arrived at our table. “Welcome to Chez Llama. What brought you into our restaurant?”

“We’re celebrating,” Joseph and I began in unison.

We looked at each other and laughed. I felt a sudden pressure form behind my eye, and pressed my hand to my forehead as Joseph continued.

“We’re celebrating. My wife landed a movie deal.”

“Congratulations,” the waitress smiled. “You’re E. Green aren’t you?”

“Yes,” I winced, surprised by the mounting pressure.

“Oh I’ve read your Flashpaper Fiction,” the waitress said proudly. “I loved it. You write such interesting characters.”

“Thank you,” I smiled graciously. “Excuse me? Where’s your restroom?”

“Oh,” the waitress pointed across the restaurant. “Upstairs and to the right.”

“Thank you,” I slid from the booth as my pain intensified. “Joseph, order for us, will you?”

Caelen in the restaurant It wasn’t like he meant to trigger a headache. Caelen had been meaning to check in on his patients for over a month now, but leaving the Hollow was tricky. He nearly always had to wear some sort of disguise. It wasn’t like people were jumping to see a pyre-witch-chroniker medical professional, even if he had the proper training. He heard rumors that the patient was experiencing moderate memory loss, and the other recalled too much.

It was possible he got his signals crossed and messed up the procedure. Caelen didn’t like to be wrong. He didn’t like to leave traces of imperfections. He had hoped his procedure would have sent the couple back to life as they knew it without any memory of the problems they suffered. Somehow the husband remembered more than he should, and the wife recalled less than she should. Together this was a recipe for disaster and possibly lawsuit should they ever connect all the dots.

Caelen sighed as he strutted across the restaurant floor, passing by the stage, set for a pianist and singer later this evening. The wife didn’t love music as much anymore, and was cold and distant at times. She continued to have an averse reaction to the medicine his sister had been prescribing. There was sort-of a sad irony to this situation. Lilith, his witch sister, never wanted to be a doctor, and yet she worked part-time as a homeopath at the Celestial Clinic, a known treatment facility for supernatural curses and ailments, and part-time as a street musician. On the other hand, he actually attended medical school, but because of his hybrid genes, no one would let him legally practice outside of a hollow. Lili had called him for a consult, but it wasn’t like he could just stroll up to their home and say, “Ah, remember me? I’m going to treat you now for the illicit memories you’ve regained and for the rightful memories you have not.”

Lizzie leaning back to relax “She still hasn’t come back with our water?”

I returned to the table, sliding onto the bench, surprised by the lack of attention we were receiving in a supposedly five-star restaurant.

“Are you feeling okay?” Joseph asked, his eyes searching mine worriedly.

“Oh,” I broke our gaze. “I’m fine. Just a little headache.” I brushed my hand across my forehead and smiled. “Nothing to worry about. Where were we?” I reached for his hand.

He smiled. “Two truths and a lie.”

“You were about to tell me why you think I picked you,” I probed, teasingly.

“Right. It’s because I’m tall, dark, and handsome,” he smirked.

“Ha! No, it’s because you have a good…” I felt a stabbing pain in my chest. “Whoa!” I gripped the edge of my dress. “…heart…” I finished, realizing the irony of my statement.

“Lizzie?” Joseph exclaimed.

“I’m fine,” I shook my head, realizing I wasn’t, but I didn’t want to ruin our night out or cause him alarm. I slumped against the seat to rest my head. “Just a little heartburn or something. My turn? Okay?” I swallowed before continuing. “…I think your glasses make you look sexy. I hate peas. And I used to be afraid of flying.”

“Since when do you hate peas?” he made a face.

“You’re right,” I closed my eyes with a slight smile. “I don’t. You caught the lie.”

“You like the glasses?” he remarked with a grin, leaning his forearms against the table.

“Yes, I always have,” I replied, and my eyes snapped open. “Oh, I always have… I remembered that!” I said, excitedly. “That and your shirtless jogs around the Springs.”

“You remember those?” he replied, straightening his shoulders with pride.

Joseph and Lizzie playing two truths and a lie “Too bad you don’t have a job where you can work without a shirt!” I quipped and began fanning myself. “Is it hot in here?”

Joseph frowned.

“What? It genuinely feels warm in here,” I sighed as I could almost sense my temperature rising.

“You do look flushed,” he said, awkwardly staring at his hands.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, rubbing the back of my neck.

“Nothing,” he muttered.

“It’s not nothing, really? What is it?” I tried to ignore the rising pressure in my head and the pain in my chest as I fiddled with my necklace.

“I do have a job where I can work without a shirt.”

“Since when?” I smirked.

“Since I got laid off,” he admitted, dropping his gaze shamefully.

“What?”
Lizzie passes out

I wasn’t able to process what he said because of the mounting pain in my skull and a swarm of dizziness enveloping my head. My vision blurred. I could only focus on the last thing I heard, and it wasn’t good news. It was terrible news. My brain fixated on his words as I passed out. Joseph kept crying out, saying my name over and over again.

“Lizzie?”

I felt betrayed. Tell the truth, my brain taunted me.

“Lizzie?”

I felt angry. What a stupid game! Why did I think it was a good idea? 

“Elizabeth!”

I felt sad. The truth can feel so condemning, so final. Oh Joseph! You lost your job, my heart wailed. Why didn’t you tell me? 

“I’m going to get help,” his words sounded muffled, almost as if I were underwater. “It’s going to be okay,” he soothed, walking around and kneeling before me. His face, twisted with fear, was the last thing I remembered.

“Somebody! Help!”


Author Note: For the record, Lizzie genuinely fell asleep in the restaurant. I thought about going with funny, but she started acting weird when Caelen was wandering around. Their restaurant experience was pretty terrible. I just purchased Dine Out, and managed to play test it for the first time since Joseph kindly asked Lizzie on a date. 🙂 However, the service was slow, the host was rude, the waitress was flighty and distracted, and I don’t think they ever got their food because Lizzie “passed out” first.

Also, Karleen attempted to call Goober three times to chat and he rejected her calls or was never available due to work. I didn’t get a good screenshot of him in the background when she confesses to Munter, so I just had to write it in. Thanks for reading. This chapter featured Munterbacon‘s Munter Bacon, Karleen Corey, Caelen Vatore, and LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself. FYI, while I was there, CathyTea‘s Cathy Tea came and played a fun jazz solo. You can watch her video here. Excuse the poor quality. I just did it for kicks and grins. 

Side Tracks: For Better or For Worse, Part 2 (Lizzie and Joseph)

Simancilla was almost upon us. Since my argument with Joseph, we had been spending even more time apart. It was frustrating since this was supposed to be a romantic vacation. I was about ready to give up and go home alone. It didn’t make sense for us to waste Sugar’s gift when we really only came back to the room to sleep and always at different times. I couldn’t understand what had gotten into Joseph. He was acting hot-headed and jealous, and for no apparent reason. At least I wasn’t crying all the time like I was in the first trimester.

I wandered out to the festival, hoping to catch sight of Joseph. I wanted to make up and put this weird tension behind us. I wanted to enjoy the rest of the holiday together. I visited half a dozen artisans, stopped by the food vendors, and wandered through the crowds gathered around comedians and musicians and singers. I even saw Don, though I avoided him purposely. I didn’t want to give Joseph even more reason to be upset, not that his mistrust of me was justified. I couldn’t believe he was jealous.

Out of the corner of my eye, a large painting caught my attention. The artist used broad and narrow brushstrokes to capture a beautiful spring flower. The shades of pink and yellow reminded me of happiness, and I wasn’t surprised to find the piece entitled “Joy.” And it was well out of my price range too. I sighed. Still, the colors were gorgeous.

“You want to buy?” the artist inquired.

“No… I’m just looking…” I shook my head. “Admiring,” I added, more slowly.

“It’s a good luck flower,” she explained, bending over as she put a few items away in a canvas satchel.

“Yeah, I need some of that these days,” I chuckled weakly.

“It will ward off evil spirits and bad intentions,” the artist smiled as she straightened. “I can sell it to you for fifty-percent off.”

“I’ll think about it.”

“What are you looking at?” Joseph inquired of Cathy, not five minutes after I left the artist.

“The stars. I can’t see them,” Cathy grimaced.

“It’s hazy tonight,” Joseph replied. “But we should be able to see the fireworks at midnight.”

“Cheap imitations of true natural beauty,” Cathy scoffed.

“Alright,” Joseph made a face. “If you say so.” 

“Where have you been?” I exclaimed, approaching Joseph.

“Where have you been?” he stared at me over the edge of his glasses. “Off with Don again?”

“Gawd! Joseph. What the plum is your problem?” I yelled. “Do you really think so little of me?”

Riley was standing nearby and gasped. “Uh oh. Trouble is brewing.”

“Butt outta this,” Joseph snapped.

“Wow, I’ve never seen them so angry with each other,” Sage said to Riley as they watched both Joseph and I stomp off in different directions.

“Or at us,” Riley frowned, and touched his lips. “I hope everything is okay.”

“Foul games are afoot,” Cathy skipped over to Riley and Sage, her ponytail swishing a little too happily behind her.

“What does that mean?” Riley exclaimed, covering his mouth.

Sage grimaced. “Superstitious nonsense.”

Joseph didn’t even come back to the hotel room and I slept through the midnight fireworks. I did notice he came in around six to shower. I wondered why he didn’t just go home. I planned to tell him we should leave but he stormed out before I could have a normal conversation. When he still hadn’t returned by night fall, I decided it was time to go home. I called Riley.

“Hey?”

Lizzie, are you okay?”

“….no, I’m not okay… Joseph is so angry with me.”

Why?”

“I don’t even know. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s like someone did something with my husband and replaced him with an angry, jealous clone.”

Oh gawd! Liz. I’m so sorry. What do you need? Anything? Dulcie and I are just curled up watching dumb comedy shows on TV.”

“I need you…” I sighed unhappily. “Can you come get me? I don’t want to go home alone.”

Sure. Aw… Lizzie. I’m so sorry. I’ll bring chocolate and some chick flicks and we’ll have a sleepover so you’re not alone. Or I can bring tissues and a listening ear if that’s all you need.”

“I love you!” I swiped at the tears pricking my eyes. “You’re the best.”

I didn’t realize that Joseph was behind me during the conversation. He jogged off in a silent rage. Riley stayed on the phone with me until he arrived, bringing Dulcie in tow. I missed my kitty. It was strange that just a week ago Joseph and I were happy and in love, excited about our impending parentage, and proud new parents of an adorable cat. What had happened to us?

Joseph angrily paced the halls of the gallery, hoping to find some clarity. When he entered the lobby, he nearly bumped into Courtney.

“Hey are you okay?” she asked.

“No! I think my wife is having an affair,” he stated woefully.

“What? Oh my gawd! That’s horrible,” Courtney gasped. “What do you need?”

“A new life,” he joked harshly.

“How about a hug?” Courtney offered.

“I don’t understand what I did wrong,” Joseph sighed as they embraced.

“Nothing. You’re a great guy and if she can’t see that, then she’s an idiot,” Courtney exclaimed.

“Some days I feel like I’m surrounded by idiots,” Joseph shook his head and rubbed his temples. “I guess he was just more attractive than me and more talented than me. She loves music. Why shouldn’t I be surprised?” he threw his hands up in the air. “She dated a musician before me. Well, while dating me…”

“So once a cheater…always a cheater…” Courtney muttered, tucking an arm awkwardly behind her back. “I’m so sorry, Joseph.”

“It’s not your fault,” he sighed.

“And he’s not,” she said quietly.

“What?”

“He’s not more attractive,” she said shyly. “Cuz one look at you and I’m practically drooling.”

“I’m not…sure… how to respond to that…” Joseph puzzled.

“Then don’t,” she said quietly. “Let me.”

Her pale pink lips were against his before he could stop her. His brain fogged as he felt the warmth and sincerity of her emotions. He couldn’t believe he was responding. He didn’t want to respond, and yet after Lizzie’s recent betrayal, he wanted to feel anything but sad and angry anymore. 

I couldn’t believe my eyes. My husband was wrapped in the embrace of another woman and she was kissing him. If this day could get any worse… I ran upstairs sobbing. I could hear his voice calling after me as the elevator doors slammed shut before he could reach me. I didn’t know what I would’ve done if he did. My whole body was shaking. I felt my world collapsing, like fragments of the universe cracked the mirror and I was seeing things clearly now. Joseph was having an affair. His behavior made sense now… and yet it didn’t.

Once I reached the thirtieth floor, I exited the elevator, walked to my room, and changed. I wasn’t sure why. Nothing made sense to me anymore. I just didn’t want to wear the clothes I was wearing when I caught Joseph kissing another woman. When I was done, I grabbed my phone and keys and made a beeline for the stairs. I wasn’t sure where I was going. Somewhere. Anywhere but here. I wasn’t even sure if Riley would find me. Or if it would matter. Or if I ever wanted to see Joseph again.

My vision blurred by tears I stepped out in the road to hail a taxi. I don’t remember the impact. I don’t remember falling. I remember the blue. Everything looked blue and hazy. I remember screaming and horns honking and panic, but it was all muffled as I gave into the blue. 

Nothing but blue and smoke.


Author Note: Yes… it is what you think. And it’s not. I’ll explain more soon, but in the meantime, cliffhanger. Joseph and Lizzie started arguing during their trip and things escalated. Of course, a misunderstanding here and there caused something minor to explode. There is more than meets the eye here.  I will say this. LASL is not over. I will continue as the game proceeded without Lizzie and I promise you things do get better.

FYI, Simancilla is my Simworld version of New Year’s Day! 

This chapter featured CathyTea‘s Cathy Tea,  Karilan’s Sage Reed, LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simselfsimscognito’s Riley Cognito, and SoulGal7s Courtney Neon. Thanks for reading. 

Random LASL Fun

Hi everyone, I posted these in the forums, but several people said they couldn’t view them so I figured I might as well post here in WordPress. If you have difficulties here, try opening this post in a browser instead of reading in WordPress reader. Sorry for all the difficulties.

Here are some fun pictures and some crazy outtakes from my latest gaming adventures in the LASL world. They aren’t majorly spoilerish in terms of plot so if you aren’t caught up, you can still view them.

Karleen and Ash eat dinner
Karleen Corey and her roommate, @TheYayToasts Ash Toast. Karleen is eating peas and Ash is eating chips for dinner. And Ash is admiring their super colorful walls. I love their apartment btw. I did very little to tweak it.

Raj and Ameera Love
Ameera and Raj kissing neck
Back in Oasis Springs, these two lovebirds, Raj Rasoya and @MINEZ‘s Ameera are having fun, though is she kissing his neck or drinking his blood? :grimace:

Raccoon mascot strolling
The raccoon mascot always makes me smile when I see it around town.Munter walking with Dash at nightDash chasing tail barking at it
@Munterbacon‘s Munter and Dash out for an evening stroll with @MadameLee‘s Anne and @MsShadami‘s Amy in the background. And then silly Dash is barking at his tail.

Riley likes Ali's shoes
@simscognito‘s Riley still can’t take his eyes off @friendsfan367‘s “angelic” white shoes. :D

Party and cat
Cute stretching Dulcie (from @LegacySims2017) in the bottom right corner and @MINEZ‘s Julian pulls a whole disappearing lower half trick with the table.

Riley looking right at camera
I see you, Riley (@simscognito):p

Christmas party lots going on
I love parties in the Sims 4. It’s always fun to see the expressions and reactions of Sims. Here my Simself’s sister is excited about something, but I’m loving what’s happening on the edges. @CathyTea‘s Sugar Maple is seriously eyeing Dulcie (@LegacySims2017), and in her usual quiet way, they have an understanding of sorts. And then look at Karleen! She’s just beaming @Munterbacon‘s Munter. It’s adorable. Highlighted snowman, that’s why this pic didn’t make it in the story.

Sugar does push-ups at Christmas party
@CathyTeas Sugar did some push-ups at the party too.

Akira serenades Riley - You're the Top
Akira did a shiny karaoke jazz solo. He’s such a :star: He’s serenading @simscognito‘s Riley… with a solo that sounded very much like “You’re the top!”

🎵You’re the top! You’re the Colosseum,
You’re the top! You’re the Louvre Museum,
You’re a melody from a symphony by Strauss,
You’re a Bendel bonnet, a Shakespeare sonnet,
You’re Mickey Mouse.
You’re the Nile, You’re the Tow’r of Pisa,
You’re the smile on the Mona Lisa.
I’m a worthless check, a total wreck, a flop,
But if, Baby, I’m the bottom,
You’re the top!🎵

Amy at the gallery
A picture of the gorgeous @Shadami‘s Amy.Caleb thriller dance

🎵’Cause this is thriller
Thriller night
And no one’s gonna save you
From the beast about to strike🎵

:D

Joseph upset about his fork
Joseph reading through the floor
A series of weird pictures with @LegacySims2017‘s Joseph and Don Baxter… and for my next trick…

No more Don and Joseph has a phone
…make Don disappear.

Bugsie and Lizzie admire paintingBugsie and Lizzie chatAnd finally an appearance by @Bugsie2016‘s Bugsie. I was beginning to wonder if she was still in my game. :)

Thanks everyone. In a few hours, the next LASL chapter will be posted since I always post around midnight Mountain Time.

Goal #10: Enjoy the Holidays (LASL)

As Simcember came to a close, Joseph and I decided to enjoy our little babymoon getaway, courtesy of Sugar Maple Bough. She’s such a good friend. On New Year’s Eve weekend, we headed to the Arts Quarter to stay in a nice little hotel attached to Cabash Gallery. We had a suite on the thirtieth floor, and the hotel staff even left us a complimentary bottle of sparkling cider, since of course, I couldn’t drink nectar.

We changed and headed out to the New Year’s festival. Quite a few friends had come over to the Arts Quarter for the celebration. Cathy Tea was in town, enjoying every moment.

“You have to try the tea,” she remarked. “It’s delicious. Third vendor on the right.”

“I’ll make a point to stop over,” I replied.

“You hardly look pregnant, Lizzie,” Annie exclaimed. “I mean, how far along are you?”

“Hovering around four,” I put my hand across my belly. “My mom said she didn’t show with my kid sister until the seventh month.”

“Ah,” Cathy said. “Babies are a blessing. To cultivate new life is such a wonderful gift.”

A lady in a neon green tank top and plaid skirt brushed past our group.

“Hmmf,” she said. “Who wears crop tops in winter?”

Annie flushed.

“Ignore her, Annie,” I said. “It’s been so warm lately so I don’t blame you.”

“Who wears knee socks… like… ever?” Cathy hooted after the passerbyer.

“Ooo, I’m starving,” Karleen joined us. “Are the vendors open yet?”

“Karleen, that’s a wild outfit,” I remarked. “Love the tee.”

“Thanks. I’m as cute as pie. Or cuter than pie. Or cute to the pie… three-point-one-four…um… something…” she shrugged. “I didn’t eat lunch. Or breakfast either.”

“What? You skipped the most important meal of the day!” Cathy gasped.

“I was… um… occupied at breakfast…” Karleen giggled. “In a penthouse…with a gorgeous man. Come to think of it. I did have champagne.”

“Were you still in bed at lunchtime?” Annie asked.

“No…I was…” Karleen covered her mouth. “I had a lunch date… but it was more date than lunch. Our picnic fell in the Sound.”

“Oh no!” I said.

“We were making out and jostled the basket,” she smirked.

“Sounds like a full day,” Annie said.

“Oh it was… especially since it was dates with two different guys,” Karleen winked at me.

“No!” I exclaimed. “You aren’t still seeing both of them, are you?”

“Well?” Karleen grinned sheepishly. 

“Hey ladies,” John suddenly joined our group. “Are you ready to hit the town?”

“Hi Karleen, fancy meeting you here,” Munter walked up to our group with a plateful of something chocolaty.

Both dates appeared in the same place at the same time. From the look on her face, I gathered neither one of them knew about her casual romantic escapades.

“Hey John, you remember Annie my neighbor right?” I interjected awkwardly, trying to avoid a situation. “And this is my colleague and best selling novelist, Cathy Tea.”

“Oh wow, it’s a pleasure to meet you both,” John remarked.
“Karleen, want to go try the tea? It is delicious,” Munter inquired.

“Oh I was thinking we should get a good spot for the fireworks show, Karleen,” John said.

Karleen winced and shrugged her shoulders.

“We should all get a good spot for the fireworks,” I inserted.

“I don’t want to get in the middle of this,” Cathy said. “I’m outta here.”

“Munter… I hear you have great bartending skills,” Annie said, hoping to redirect one of the guys.

Karleen mouthed a thank-you.

“Hey, it’s that sparkly glass of champagne,” the blonde singer from the karaoke club approached our group.

Annie whirled, flushing deeply. “It’s Genji, right?” she asked.

“Yes, Genji, and you are… Annie?” he said, his eyes widening. “Please introduce me to your friends.”

Genji managed to get the whole group to go and watch his comedic slapstick song. Shy Munter stayed away from Karleen as John eagerly grabbed for her hand. I could see the hurt look on his face, and I wondered how long Karleen was going to keep this up. Lauryn showed up and wanted to see pictures of the latest ultrasound. I managed to have the files on my phone.

“Don’t tell, Joseph,” I said. “It’s a secret.”

“My lips are sealed,” Lauryn smiled.

Joseph was inside the hotel lobby getting a cup of coffee. He had worked a full day before coming over to the hotel to get checked in. I didn’t blame him for being tired. In fact, I figured he might head to bed early tonight. We didn’t need to stay out late every night of the festival.

“Do you know how this tea machine works?” the lady in neon asked.

“I think you just add the tea leaves to the top,” he replied.

“Great! Tea machines are so modern. I have retro appliances at home. Gotta brew my tea the old-fashioned way,” she added.

“These machines are convenient,” he replied.

“Are you staying at the hotel or are you just here for the festival?” she asked.

“My wife and I are staying here.”

“Smart. If you get too drunk on nectar, you have a place to crash,” she smirked. “Courtney Neon…” she offered her hand.

“Joseph Simself,” he replied, shaking her hand. “But we won’t be getting drunk. My wife’s expecting.”

“Oh congratulations!” Courtney beamed. “Enjoy the festival.”

“You too.”

I was starving, and wondering why Joseph was taking so long. I decided not to wait and order kebabs from the vendor. I needed protein up the wazoo these days to keep up my strength. Steak. Protein. Check. Tomato. Vitamin C. Check. Peppers. Avoid… uh oh! Don’t tell. I love spice.

“Are you still alone?” Lauryn inquired. “I’ll come join you if you don’t mind.”

“Joseph should be here shortly,” I replied.

“I’m right here,” he said, tripping over a crack in the sidewalk.

“Ooo… are you okay?” Lauryn asked.

“What happened?” I turned around in a panic.

“I’m fine,” Joseph said, his cheeks bright red. “It’s nothing.”

Lauryn sat down with her plate of spinach and egg quiche. Joseph devoured a plate of bratwurst and spicy mustard. I was beginning to regret the peppers. I could feel the pain forming in my chest. Heart burn. Nasty side effect of pregnancy.

A bright flash of light startled us as a loud explosion echoed seconds later above our heads. Joseph coughed dramatically.

“Uh… can I talk to you, Lizzie?” Munter appeared at my side.

“Sure…” I said, pushing back my chair. “I’ll be right back.” I laid a hand on Joseph’s shoulder. “Are you okay?”

“I’m… fine…” Joseph wheezed.

“I’ll get him some water,” Lauryn offered.

“Th…ank… you…” Joseph said as he tried to catch his breath. 

As fireworks exploded above our heads, Munter and I wandered to the edge of the festival.

“Do you know… I don’t… um… know how to say this… or ask?” Munter began. “…or if I should, but is Karleen seeing John?”

“I think you should ask her,” I said, fiddling with my cap.

“I see the way she looks at him and he looks at her,” Munter swallowed hard. “I just wanted… to… know… if it’s worth my time. I realize you might be biased. John is your cousin. Karleen is your best friend.”

“If you have feelings for her, you should tell her. It might make a difference,” I recommended.

“I haven’t found the time,” he sighed. “I just don’t know if she even wants anything other than…” he trailed off.

“Munter, just talk to her.”


Author’s Note: Hey everyone, thanks for reading. I wanted to add a little clarification. There is no hotel in the Arts Quarter or anywhere in the base game city of San Myshuno. I edited the gallery lot because I thought it would be fun and pretty as a hotel/gallery. Also in my Simworld, the new year’s celebration lasts for days. All the months of the year are twenty-eight days, and then the last day of the year is called Simultima – literally the Last Day. New Year’s celebrations typically last from Simcember 28th through the 2nd of Simuary. You can read more here

This chapter featured John Schooner and Karleen Corey, my created Sims, CathyTea‘s Cathy Tea,  LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself, MINEZ‘s Lauryn Marks, SoulGal7‘s Courtney Neon, rockannie‘s Annie Rock, and  Munter Bacon‘s Munter Bacon.    

Goal #9 : Throw an Epic House Party (LASL)

Simcember arrived moderately cooler than the preceding months. We decorated the apartment with lights, garland, and a tree we picked out at the Thyme Square tree lot. I made paper snowflakes, and Joseph hung red and gold ornaments handed down for several generations in his family. We wore our ugly Christmas sweaters and played silly holiday tunes like Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus is Coming to Town to bring about the festive spirit. I tried my hand at baking a fruitcake, and a good one at that, though I can’t be blamed if it tastes too sweet because of the pregnancy hormones. Shh! Don’t tell anyone. I love that excuse!

Currently, Joseph was working on a major ad campaign for the Myshuno Metropolitan Ballet. He was pretty humble about it, but the campaign was big stuff. I was so proud of him. His boss was so impressed that Joseph scored tickets to see the Nutcracker. It makes me so happy to see his pieces around town. Sometimes, I even stand in the pouring rain to admire his work when I’m returning from morning errands or an afternoon walk.

There’s something about winter rains that make everything more beautiful, adding a dreamy quality. Passerbyers and city dwellers rush to and fro, popping up umbrellas and cursing beneath their breath, but I just stand there, soaking it all in. Joseph says I need to be careful with the baby. When I arrive home dripping wet, he worries. Me? Not so much. The falling droplets of water warm my soul.

Joseph and I celebrated our first Christmastide together as a married couple. It was fairly uneventful… No more flames. Thank the Maker! With the help of John, my cousin, I was able to get Blicblock, Hillock II, and MySims Go! posters signed by the creators for Joseph. John even helped me hang the frames on the wall above Joseph’s desk as a surprise on the eve of Christmastide.

My surprise was a all-black cat. Oh I was so happy! We even found the perfect name for our precious kitty – Dulcinea… or Dulcie for short. She already has warmed our hearts. She loves to be petted and brushed, and she enjoys sleeping beneath the Christmas tree at night. We set up the camera tripod and this was the best picture we could get. Happy Holidays from the Green-Simselves. 🙂

On the afternoon of Christmastide, we decided to throw a party. More surprises awaited me, but first, before our guests arrived, Joseph stole a kiss beneath the mistletoe.

“You look radiant,” he smiled.

“You’re not so bad yourself,” I replied, plucking a piece of Dulcie’s cat hair from his sweater.

“No really… these candles have nothing on you,” he said.

“Must be pregnancy glow,” I sighed, and fanned myself, “If it gets any hotter in here, I’ll have to blow out all the candles… or you’ll have to take off your sweater, hot stuff… one or the other,” I winked. “I can’t decide.”

Karleen arrived first. She picked some fun Christmas tunes and began dancing by herself by the coffee table. Nora and Julian arrived next, Nora bragging about how she still fit into her bridesmaids’ gown from Lee’s wedding. She looked great, but there was no way I’d fit into that dress again. I opted for a simple black blouse and evergreen skirt for the evening, but I was beginning to regret my choice of shoes – high heels. Lee surprised us by flying in all the way from Deutchsimland and with big news of her own! She was expecting also. I was so overcome, I jumped up and down and hugged her dramatically.

“We can raise our babies together!” I exclaimed.

“I know,” Lee smiled. “We’re thinking of moving back to the SimNation. I got a job at the national office so we can visit more often. That’s why Sammy isn’t here tonight. He’s busy making all the arrangements.”

“Oh,” I beamed. “This is a great Christmas present. You’re only three time zones away instead of six. We can talk on the phone more often.”

“Definitely, I need all the help I can get with this little one on the way,” Lee patted her stomach.

“I feel left out,” Nora said loudly.

Julian looked uncomfortable. I wasn’t sure where they were at in their relationship.

Lee and I chatted for awhile, and I shared some of my tips for curing nausea and dizziness, and staying healthy. My editor, Lauryn kept Joseph entertained at the table with stories about the publishing world. Angela Smith made an appearance in a knockout red dress, bringing a plate of peppermint canes, though she was upset because she was allergic to cats, and Dulcie seemed to like her. Munter showed up and threw shy, but flirtatious glances in the direction of Karleen, which she, of course, relished. Cathy also managed to stop by in between galas. The woman was so busy with all her writing these days that it was a wonder I saw her at all.

Angela seemed more herself after sipping on her Star Nut coffee. Our Cafe Immodere was on the fritz so Joseph picked up three dozen coffees from a street vendor because what’s a party without coffee. 😉 Julian kept Angela occupied until her husband, John arrived, asking about her important scientific work. Karleen managed to convince Munter to dance, just not with her. They weren’t in the holding hands stage of their relationship yet, I guess.

“Are you okay?” Ali inquired when Riley dropped to the ground almost immediately after arriving at the party.

“Cute shoes!” he remarked. “White is an angelic choice.”

Ali was thoroughly confused as he continued to do push-ups.

Ali and Riley wandered to the main gathering area where everyone seemed to be dancing. Even Anne busted a few moves.

“No no no,” Siri clicked her tongue and shook her head. “This is how it’s done.”

“Are you a sister too?” Angela asked of Karleen.

“Oh no,” Karleen responded. “I wish. Lizzie and I are close enough to be like sisters though.”

“Isn’t it nice to have the Green sisters all back together again?” Lee remarked.

“Do you have siblings, Angela?” I inquired right as Julian decided to walk in front of me.

“We all know who the most important Green sister is Nora,” Julian smirked.

“Aren’t they romantic!” Anne cooed. “I wish it would happen to me.” She glanced over at Riley. “Are you single?”

“Uh…” was all Riley could manage to say.

“Really?” Siri said sarcastically. “You just ask someone if they’re single just like that?”

“Why not?” Anne shrugged. “No reason to waste time.”

“Uh… hey… ladies?” Riley rubbed the back of his head awkwardly.

“Shush! I saw you first,” Siri remarked boldly. “You should come over here so we can dance.” She swayed her hips.

“Hey, hey, no arguments at the party,” Joseph grinned. “Anne, you’re looking great in that dress tonight. And oh, you should meet someone. Do you know Munter?” he waved his hand in the direction of Mr. Bacon. “And Riley… I think Sugar is looking for you,” he bobbed his head toward the table.

“She is?” Riley squeaked and walked off.

“Say Ali, when was the last time you and Siri caught up?” Joseph inquired.

“Uh… we’re roommates,” Ali giggled. “Siri, what do reindeer hang on their Christmas trees? Horn-a-ments!”

Both Siri and Ali snickered.

I mouthed a ‘thank you’ in the direction of my husband. John and I chatted on the couch about his entrepreneurial pursuits. These days he was working as an independent consultant, coaching up and coming programmers and video game designers. I wished my cousin John was here. He would love to chat with John. Unfortunately tonight, my cousin was in Newcrest visiting his dad. Even so, I got a card from John to give to John. The two might be able to work on some sort of project together.

“That Munter says he’s seeing someone,” Anne said in a huff collapsing on the couch next to John. “This is why I am queen of the single ladies club. Are you seeing anyone these days, Aria? You should join.”

“No thank you,” Aria said. “I’m pretty busy with my musical pursuits these days.”

“I’d join the Single Ladies Club,” Riley smirked with his hand on his hip.

I think he had one too many hard eggnogs.

“What are you doing later tonight?” Karleen inquired of Munter.

“I don’t have any plans,” Munter shrugged. “Gotta run home and feed Dash.”

“Do you need any help with that?” Karleen inquired, her tone, coy.

“Uh… well… sure… I guess,” he said, sheepishly. “If it’s not out of your way to go by Uptown.”

“It’s never out of my way,” she beamed, her cheeks flushed.

“How are you ladies doing? Can I get you anything?” Joseph inquired.

“Such the perfect host!” Lauryn purred. “Lizzie is so lucky.”

“Did you see my man?” Nora exclaimed. “He gives me foot rubs and lavender bubble baths every night,” she bragged.

“Lavender makes me sneeze,” Sugar sniffled. “I would appreciate another glass of water, Joseph.”

“Sure thing,” he said.

“I brought you a muffin,” Munter said, offering the snack to Lee. “I heard you were hungry.”

“Oh thank you,” she smiled. “What a gentleman!”

“It’s blueberry oatmeal,” he added.

“I wish my husband would bring me muffins,” Angela sighed, looking over to where John was deep in conversation with Aria.

“Oh we’re not married,” Lee protested. “My husband Sammy is over in the Sim Union. He’ll be back for the New Year.”

“What are you up to these days, Cathy?” Joseph asked.

“Oh! I am completely aghase,” Cathy said, laying her hand across her heart. “I flew to Simoula last weekend for research for my Simoulan boy band story. I met the most incredible manager. She was so wonderful we talked for hours and hours. Somehow I still managed to have time to sleep and eat. I hope you’ll read it when I publish.”

“Of course,” Joseph replied.

You better watch out!” Nora sang loudly and off-key.

You better not cry!” Karleen responded.

“Uh oh!” Lauryn grimaced.

“Someone’s had too much nog,” Siri smirked.

You better not shout I’m telling you why!” Nora screeched.

“It’s pout,” Angela interjected. “Pout.”

Santa Claus is coming to town!” Karleen was practically screaming with delight.

I was suddenly questioning the merits of serving spiked eggnog. Then again, I didn’t bring the beverage. Julian did.

“When in Rome,” Lauryn said, loosening her arms and cracking her neck.

“I can dig this beat,” Sugar smiled, snapping her fingers. “Sugar Plum fairies… that violin is wicked sweet.”

“Oh how appropriate!” I gushed.

“I wanted to see the Nutcracker!” Ali exclaimed. “All the little mice are adorable. And the Mouse King!” she sighed. “How do you get tickets?”

“How do you get tickets!” I threw my hands up in the air. “Let me tell you about Joseph’s current ad campaign.”

My husband just grinned as he helped himself to a cup of coffee.

“Sing, Lizzie, sing!” Lauryn exclaimed.

“Oh no! No no no… no singing at my own Christmas party,” I shook my head.

“Why not?” Aria inquired. “You have a lovely voice.”

“You’re one to talk,” I replied. “You should sing, Aria.”

Aria flushed, but we encouraged her to try.

The hills are alive! With the sound of music!” Aria burst into song.

“That’s not a Christmas song,” Ali made a face.

“Oh please, more!” Riley encouraged, clapping his hands.

“Dulcie! Off!” Joseph said sternly.

“Aww… it’s a party,” Karleen cooed. “Let her have her fun.”

“I’m allergic… to… kitties…” Nora said through gritted teeth.

“When did you get a cat?” Julian inquired.

“I’ve never been to a party like this,” Munter said. “It’s really nice to be with friends.”

“We’re glad you came,” Karleen answered for my husband and I as she grinned sweetly in Munter’s direction.

“Happy Christmas everyone!” Lee pumped her fist in the air, startling Dulcie.

“That’s the holiday spirit!” Joseph said, enthusiastically. “Happy Christmas!” he repeated.

“Happy Christmas!” everyone exclaimed in unison.

“How can you not like Fiddler on the Roof?” Riley grumbled in the background as Aria listed off her least-favorite musicals.

“You better be the best man at Julian’s and my wedding,” Nora insisted. “And you better throw Julian an epic bachelor party.”

“Uh hon? He’s having a kid soon. Probably doesn’t want to think about bachelor parties,” Julian said awkwardly.

“Shouldn’t you let the groom pick his best man?” Siri interjected.

“I was thinking that too,” Munter remarked. “But Joseph would look great in a tux. I’d ask him to be best mate at my wedding too.”

“Oh you’re getting married?” Nora said, her eyes widening, sounding slightly annoyed someone was stealing her thunder.

“I do look great in a tux,” Joseph said, confidently.

“So do I,” Sugar smirked.

“Sugar! You didn’t have to get us anything!” I exclaimed.

“Oh but I wanted to. It’s called a baby-moon,” Sugar explained, sliding the papers in my pocket. “You and Joseph deserve one last vacation before you blow up like a balloon.”

“Seriously,” I clicked my tongue. “You’re amazing, Sugar! Merry Christmas!”

“Merry Christmas, honey,” Sugar replied as we embraced.

“I’m ready to head out if you are,” Munter said.

“Oh, right,” Karleen winked dramatically. “I’m right behind you.”

“Hey, where are we going?” Riley inquired, inserting himself between the two.

“Good night, every…one…” I waved between yawns. “Oo…I’m tired, but I don’t know if I can sleep.”

“Some peppermint schnapps should help,” Julian joked.

Angela gasped. “She’s pregnant! She can’t! Aren’t you practically her brother in law? You should know better.”

Julian chuckled awkwardly.

Curious Dulcie. What are the shinies? 

“Time for the after party!” Julian exclaimed.

“You do realize your girlfriend left already, right?” Angela huffed.

“This has been a wonderful party, Joseph, thanks for inviting me,” Lee smiled.

“It was a great surprise for Lizzie,” Joseph replied. “And congratulations again!”

“Let me know if you need some help babysitting the little one when he or she arrives,” Anne offered graciously.

“Maybe I should reconsider Sim City and move here,” Lee teased. “If you’re offering free babysitting.”

“Oh, I’d be happy to watch the kiddos,” Sugar interjected. “The little ones would have such fun in my home. I’m sure Cathy would offer some help too.”

“Count me out,” Siri wrinkled her nose. “Can’t have diapers stinking up my art studio.”

John graciously stayed and did the dishes.

Bye bye, Dulcie. Dad and Mom need to unwrap their last gift… alone…


Author Note: Okay long chapter, but thanks for reading. I enjoyed following everyone around at the party and watching their moods and creating their dialogue. This was a fun chapter. Thanks LegacySims2017 for letting me use his Sim-cat, Dulcie. She’s precious. I love her!

This chapter featured John Schooner, Karleen Corey, Nora Green, and Lee Green-Sarafin, my created Sims, LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself and Dulcie, MINEZ’s Julian DeBateau, Siri Beaumont, Aria Rhys, Lauryn Marks, CathyTea‘s Cathy Tea and Sugar Maple Bough, Munter Bacon‘s Munter Bacon, Zurka’s John and Angela Smith, friendsfan367‘s Ali Morrison, simscognito’s Riley Cognito, and MadameLee‘s Anne Charming. What a great cast! Happy holidays… in May! 😛