Holly Bright

The Fifth Day, Pt. 2: Merry Bright (H4TH)

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Merry Bright | All Things Bright and Beautiful Bakery | 5th of December 

At half-past one, Merry spotted a little elf girl behind the counter. The child was a contradiction of colors – snow white coat and gloves, leggings, and boots, but cap lined with yellow and black snowflake patterns, a minty green dress, and a bright orange scarf. Her pointy ears twinged as they did when elves were feeling mischievous. It was the equivalent of the nose twitch of an enchanter. Merry initially pretended not to notice the child. The girl grinned sheepishly.

“I like your hat,” she said. “It’s bright and blue. Just like you.”

Merry set a to-go brown bag on the counter. “Here you go, Sasha,” she said to the waitress who returned on her lunch break. “Chicken cordon bleu panini with extra Dijon, just like you like it.”

“Thanks,” Sasha replied as she turned momentarily from her conversation with a woman in a robin’s egg blue coat.”

“Thank you,” Merry walked behind the counter to greet the elf child.

She heard of elves having a “sixth sense.” Empathic, were they? She thought she read that somewhere. The alvar were an intriguing breed of fairy. Rarely seen outside of their natural habitat in Hibernia and the northernmost parts of continents. Preferring icy climates over warmer weather fae who lived further south in the grasslands and hills, like Merry’s family. She supposed Hollidaysburg was an excellent place for an elf at Christmastime. The allure of winter wonderland and the promise of below-freezing forecasts for most of the season. Still, to see one was a either a good luck charm or a bad omen.

“What are you doing here?” she asked, hesitantly. Then realizing she should’ve been more polite, she added, “Can I get you something? Some hot cocoa perhaps?”

The girl’s eyes grew big and round as she stared into the bakery glass case. “Are those… strawberries?”

A quick cursory glance confirmed the girl’s guess. “Yes, they are,” Merry replied. “Strawberries and lemon curd scones. Would you like one?”

The girl bobbed her head excitedly, removing her gloves. “We don’t have berries in the far land.”

Too cold, Merry supposed. She plucked a scone from the case with tongs and added three big strawberries to the plate before handing it to the eager child. The girl smiled brightly, holding the plate in her tiny pale hands like a treasured prize. She narrowed her eyes and inhaled the scent, a pleased expression settling onto her face.

“What do I owe you, ma’am?” she asked, most politely.

Merry couldn’t help but feel a sense of warmth radiating from the girl. “Eight simoleons.”

The girl reached into her pocket and set some green coins in Merry’s outstretched hand. Her fingers lingered over the woman’s palm before she spoke, quietly and meekly.

“Don’t be blue, Mizz Merry. You are about to get a visitor soon.”

At half past four, the customers slowed down. The bakery would close in the next hour and a half. Merry finally had time to pause and ponder the elf child’s words. Maybe the alvar were clairvoyant. She wasn’t sure she believed the rumors. Being a fae herself, Merry possessed certain special attributes and abilities – longevity, beauty, brightly colored hair – though some also had brightly colored skin, and of course, a natural gift for making things grow. She certainly appreciated her father’s foresight to adding a greenhouse to the family cottage on Wassail Isle. The ability to harvest berries year-round was the key to her successful business. She smiled as she sprayed the glass case with a citrus solution and wiped the grime with a soft cloth. And delight elf children.

She wondered what the girl meant by blue… like you… Merry did sometimes feel a little downhearted during the holiday season. With the rush of customers and the intensity of the town’s Christmas spirit, she kept busy and busy meant she was distracted. But in the still moments, such as now, when the store was empty and the music from the loudspeakers in the square sounded a little hollow, she felt a little empty. But why? She had a booming business. Her health. Her youth. Her regulars. But maybe she was a little lonely… and feeling a little unfulfilled. Livia was on her break right now, but Merry wished her chef was nearby. Merry wasn’t particularly close with Livia, but she did enjoy their conversations, even if they were mostly about customer compliments or orders for Livia’s famous pumpkin pie. It was nice to have another person present, regardless of the trivial and business like chatter.

I’m going to have a visitor soon… Merry contemplated who the girl could be referencing. Surely not… her heart didn’t dare hope. She hadn’t seen her mother in… she couldn’t even count all the years on both hands. In fact, make that almost four hands. Joy Bright walked out on them years before and she showed no signs of returning, except for an occasional postcard. Greetings from… Selvadorada. Greetings from Mt. Komorebi. Greetings from… Merry scoffed. ‘Greetings’ sounded so formal and stiff, not the kind of hello a daughter wished from her absentee mother, even if they were both adults now.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas… the words came through the mall’s courtyard speakers. Merry tried to focus on making the glass sparkle and shine again like it had in the morning. By now, the case was covered in fingerprints and nose prints of overly excited children and an occasional puppy, a handprint from where an elderly patron needed to press to steady his weight, and the dust from the overhead exhaust. With every Christmas card I write… she began absently whistling to the tune for which she was named. May your days be merry and bright… and may all your Christmases be… 

The last word of the song was interrupted as the double doors to the bakery blew open, bringing in a blast of icy wind. Merry squirted the glass one more time and then spoke without looking up.

“I’ll be right with you.”

A pair of familiar pink and lavender sneakers shuffled across the floor coming into Merry’s peripheral view. She wasn’t sure whether to be annoyed or shocked. So this is who the elf child meant?

“Hello sis!”

Author Notes: Thanks for reading. I’m enjoying delving into this character’s persona. I created Merry and her sister, Holly so long ago, but never had a chance to really explore them in gameplay. Now I have. Also I decided to make Gracie Goode an actual elf. 🙂 I’ve been working on developing my berry Sim lore for my Berry Bountiful Harvest – berry legacy. In my Simworld, the berry Sims are Fae, and the Alvar are a rare breed of berry Sim, elves. Perfect for a Christmastime story. I hope the original creator, divanthesimmer, doesn’t mind. Her original bio says [Gracie] ” is a little angel, truly sent to her parents from above.” I think it fits. 😉 Thanks divanthesimmer for submitting Gracie Goode, and to Shadami for submitting Sasha. The waitress can’t stay away from All Things… Bakery. Haha. I enjoy seeing her come in for all her meals. (P.S. I would’ve said “witch” above, but since I created this story, I’ve changed my lore a bit on witches. They prefer to be called enchanters or spellcasters Also Wassail Isle is the Crumbling Isle of Windenburg, but this is Hollidaysburg, remember?). Hope you enjoyed. 

Day 2, Pt. 3: Happy Feet – the Group Date (SIS)

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Welcome back to the island kingdom of Sulani. I’m your host, Neal “The Dealin'” Wheeler, and this is Bachelor and Bachelorette: Sulani Style – Sweethearts in Sulani. Tonight, we will be “dealin'” our bachelor candidates a challenge – the dance off. Who will be light on his feet? Who will sweep Breanna off her feet? Who will have two left feet? Only the evening will tell… Bring out your dancin’ shoes and join us for the fun!

Our bachelorette is ready to sway… What adorable island attire she’s wearing!

I can hear the sounds of violins
Long before it begins
Make me thrill as only you know how
Sway me smooth, sway me now.

Mort goes for the theatrical entrance in a cloud of black smoke. Poof! Our special effects department got carried away now, didn’t they?
Breanna is skeeved out by Mort’s strange appearance. She is not impressed.
…that leaves an opening for Hunter, but not so fast, Afu saunters up confidently too.
Too slow, fellows! Miguel makes the first contact of the night. Griffin, buddy, you need more pep in your step!

“Hola Senorita Breanna, the night is so beautiful for dancing, is it not?”

Hunter’s Confessional: Plum!

Afu’s Confessional: How does that guy swoop in every time? 

Mort’s Confessional: Freezer bat bunnies! I hoped she would be impressed by my smoke screen. 

Griffin’s Confessional: It’s nice having my own suite, but man! (slouches forward) I shouldn’t have stayed up all night trying to beat my record for FIFA 08.

Miguel offers to go fetch Breanna a refreshing beverage… making way for Andy-oh! Eyes up top, Afu! Yes, we see you checking out the pirate princess’ booty!

“Andy-oh is in the house!” Andy declares loudly, ignoring Mort’s not-so-subtle elbow-jab to pipe down. “And Breanna… you got the steps, girl.”

“Uh thank you,” she replies.

Breanna’s Confessional: I’m not sure what to make of their outfit choice – leather mini skirt, fish net tights, and knee-high boots. And don’t get me started on the top! Lawd have mercy!

“They said ‘dress to impress,'” Andy twirls about. “So here I am!”

“You certainly… aremaking an impression,” Breanna says.

Afu’s Confessional: Ooo… do I detect some shade?

“Wanna hear a joke?” Andy inquires. “Our wedding was beautiful. Even the cake was in tiers.” He snickers.

Breanna laughs lightly and curls her fingers. “It’s too early to joke about marriage.”

Afu’s Confessional: And I’m back in the driver’s seat! 

Breanna declares dance-offs have begun. First up…
Afu. I have my eye on you. Twist and Shout.

Well, shake it up, baby, now
Twist and shout
Come on, come on, come, come on, baby, now

Come on and work it on out
Well, work it on out, honey
You know you look so good
You know you got me goin’ now
Just like I know you would

Afu pulls out spinning light sticks, surprising Breanna.

Well, shake it up, baby, now
Twist and shout
Come on, come on, come, come on, baby, now
Come on and work it on out
You know you twist, little girl
You know you twist so fine
Come on and twist a little closer now
And let me know that you’re mine!

Ah, ah, ah, ah, wow
Baby, now
Twist and shout
Come on, come on, come, come on, baby, now
Come on and work it on out
You know you twist, little girl
You know you twist so fine

Come on and twist a little closer now
And let me know that you’re mine
Well, shake it, shake it, shake it, baby, now
Well, shake it, shake it, shake it, baby, now
Well, shake it, shake it, shake it, baby, now
Ah, ah, ah, ah

Breanna declares Afu’s dance a success! She enjoyed the workout and it was a lot of fun.
Unfortunately for Afu, Mort is swooping in on his territory, eager to make up for scaring Breanna earlier.

“You are a phenomenal dancer,” Mort declares.

“Why thank you,” Breanna fans herself, feeling a bit out of breath from her last dance.

Your turn, Mort. Monster Mash.

I was working in the lab, late one night
When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
For my monster from his slab, began to rise
And suddenly to my surprise

He did the mash, he did the monster mash
The monster mash, it was a graveyard smash
He did the mash, it caught on in a flash
He did the mash, he did the monster mash

Uh oh! Breanna just isn’t feeling it.
Mort, you tried. Maybe the song just hit too close to home… vampire and all.
Mort’s Confessional: Aw bats! I blew it!

After Breanna refreshes with a trip to the ladies room and that drink Miguel promised… she wanders over to bachelor number three for the night.

Kaha. Wipeout.
…with a little help from the props department, Kaha loosens up.
“Finally something to do with his hands,” Hunter smirks.
“Making fun of Kaha isn’t nice,” Miguel calls. “You’re ruining the song.”
“This is a good song,” Andy declares.
Uh oh… Kaha stomped on Breanna’s foot. Maybe he was doomed with a song called Wipeout.
Then laughs hysterically out of nervousness. She hits him with the light wand as she tries to catch her balance.
Poor Breanna fell to the floor and face-planted. Kaha holds his back and groans.

“Ooo, that’s gotta hurt!” Andy says.

“No one’s dancin’ in the moonlight any longer,” Afu laughs.

“Breanna, are you alright?” Miguel rushes forward with concern.

“Everyone, back up,” Miguel shouts, throwing his hand in the air. “Give Breanna some room.”

Miguel puts his hands out to catch her if she falls again. She holds her hand up to her face, her cheeks turning deep red.

“Well, that was embarrassing,” she winces.

“Can I get you anything?” Miguel inquires. “Here… let me help you sit down.”

Griffin decides to take this moment and dive into the bay, swimming around the venue.
Holly rests for almost an hour at this point, giving all the gentlemen a chance to chat with her. Everyone but Griffin. Breanna talks about how she’s squeamish about creepy-crawlies, which apparently saddens Miguel. Hunter observes and listens thoughtfully. Apparently he too decided to take a dip in the ocean. Thankfully, we’re in Sulani. Shirtless guys is the norm. Griffin returns to the hut in his swim wear and chats with Holly.

Miguel’s Confessional: How would I take the lovely Breanna through the bush I so love if she can’t stand the sight of spiders? 

Hunter’s ConfessionalBreanna would do well in the city with me. Maybe skip the entomological exhibit at the museum. (chuckles to self)

Griffin’s Confessional: (in reference to Holly) I like her hair. It’s kinda weird, but cool.

I help myself to a a refreshing glass of lemonade. Gotta stay alert for all the happenings on the dance floor. Holly comes over to see if Breanna was okay. She winces and says she is hanging in there.
While I down my drink, Kaha comes over to apologize profusely to Breanna. She accepts his apology readily. Those two seem to be getting along better now.
Breanna’s ready to get back on the dance floor. Hunter gets redressed at lightning speed. He’s ready to bust a move. Hunter’s turn. Off the Wall. Breanna was really getting into the song.

When the world is on your shoulder
Gotta straighten up your act and boogie down
If you can’t hang with the feelin’
Then there ain’t no room for you this part of town
‘Cause we’re the party people night and day
Livin’ crazy that’s the only way

On the other side of the bar, it looks like some of the ladies from the Paramours house showed up. Caroline and Nakaia are letting the ‘madness’  get to them. Hortance settles at the bar and Miguel wanders over to order another drink. Mort realizes he’s gotta get his head in the game.

So tonight gotta leave that nine to five upon the shelf
And just enjoy yourself
Groove, let the madness in the music get to you
Life ain’t so bad at all
If you live it off the wall
Life ain’t so bad at all (live life off the wall)
Live your life off the wall (live it off the wall)

You can shout out all you want to
‘Cause there ain’t no sin in folks all getting loud
If you take the chance and do it
There there ain’t no one who’s gonna put you down
‘Cause we’re the party people night and day
Livin’ crazy that’s the only way

So tonight gotta leave that nine to five upon the shelf
And just enjoy yourself
Groove, let the madness in the music get to you
Life ain’t so bad at all
If you live it off the wall
Life ain’t so bad at all (live life off the wall)
Live your life off the wall (live it off the wall)
The dance with Hunter was a success!
Do what you want to do
There ain’t no rules it’s up to you (ain’t no rules it’s all up to you)
It’s time to come alive
And party on right through the night (all right)
Are you ready? Andy asks of Breanna. It’s his turn. Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough. Breanna grins and says sure.
Lovely is the feelin’ now
Fever, temperatures risin’ now
Power (oh power) is the force the vow
That makes it happen
It asks no questions why (ooh)
So get closer (closer now) to my body now
Just love me ’til you don’t know how (ooh)
Keep on, with the force don’t stop
Don’t stop ’til you get enough
Keep on, with the force don’t stop
Don’t stop ’til you get enough
Mort and some of the ladies join in the song on the corner of the dance floor. Andy isn’t thrilled that they’re moving in on his territory.

Touch me and I feel on fire
Ain’t nothin’ like a love desire (ooh)
I’m melting (I’m melting) like hot candle wax
Sensation (ah sensation) lovely where we’re at (ooh)
So let love take us through the hours
I won’t be complainin’ (ooo)
‘Cause this is love power (ooh)

…but he’s not giving up!

Keep on, with the force don’t stop
Don’t stop ’til you get enough
Keep on, with the force don’t stop
Don’t stop ’til you get enough

Ooo… looks like Breanna’s had enough. She develops a cramp in her side and stops before the end of the song.
Griffin stops Breanna outside the hut and chats with her about color theories and dance moves. A walk on the beach is exactly what she needed to stretch her cramping side.
Griffin cracks his neck and his fingers and he’s ready to start grooving all on his own. Play That Funky Music.

Yeah, there was a funky singer
Playin’ in a rock and roll band
And never had no problems yeah
Burnin’ down one night stands
And everything around me, yeah
Got to stop to feelin’ so low
And I decided quickly, yes I did
To disco down and check out the show

You go, Griffin! Rock that confidence!

Kaha’s Confessional: How can I learn some of those man’s moves?

Yeah they was dancin’ and singin’ and movin’ to the groovin’
And just when it hit me somebody turned around and shouted
Play that funky music white boy
Play that funky music right
Play that funky music white boy
Lay down that boogie and play that funky music till you die
Till you die, oh till you die

I tried to understand this
I thought that they were out of their minds
How could I be so foolish (How could I)
To not see I was the one behind
So still I kept on fighting

Well, loosing every step of the way
I said, I must go back there (I got to go back)
And check to see if things still the same

Breanna came over and joined in.

Yeah they was dancin’ and singin’ and movin’ to the groovin’
And just when it hit me somebody turned around and shouted
Play that funky music white boy
Play that funky music right
Play that funky music white boy
Lay down the boogie and play that funky music till you die
Till you die, ya
Till you die

Now first it wasn’t easy
Changin’ Rock and Roll and minds and things were getting shaky
I thought I’d have to leave it behind
But now its so much better (it’s so much better)
I’m funking out in every way
But I’ll never lose that feelin’ (no I won’t)
Of how I learned my lesson that day

When they were dancin’ and singin’ and movin’ to the groovin’
And just when it hit me somebody turned around and shouted
Play that funky music white boy
Play that funky music right
Play that funky music white boy
Lay down the boogie and play that funky music till you die
Till you die
Oh’ till you die

Breanna laughs happily. “That was so much fun!”

“How was I?” Griffin asks. “You can be honest.”

“I loved your confidence,” she praises. “A confident man catches my attention any day.”

“That’s a good thing, right?” he inquires.

She bobs her head. “You lay that boogie down!”

It’s Miguel’s turn.

“Tell me,” he inquires. “What kinds of things are you looking for in a good dance song?”

“Catchy lyrics. Good beat. And emotional meaning,” Breanna lists off.

Miguel goes over and requests a song from the DJ, instead of waiting on the random choice of the producers.
Now I’ve had the time of my life
No, I never felt like this before
Yes I swear it’s the truth
And I owe it all to you
‘Cause I’ve had the time of my life
And I owe it all to you
I love this song! Breanna’s eyes light up.

Afu’s Confessional: Uh oh. We might be in trouble. 

Hunter’s Confessional: I didn’t know we could pick our songs. 

I’ve been waiting for so long
Now I’ve finally found someone to stand by me
We saw the writing on the wall
And we felt this magical fantasy
Now with passion in our eyes
There’s no way we could disguise it secretly
So we take each others hand
‘Cause we seem to understand the urgency

Just remember
You’re the one thing
I can’t get enough of
So I’ll tell you something
This could be love
Because I’ve had the time of my life
No, I never felt this way before
Yes I swear it’s the truth
And I owe it all to you
Hey baby

With my body and soul
I want you more than you’ll ever know
So we’ll just let it go
Don’t be afraid to lose control, no
Yes, I know what’s on your mind when you say
“Stay with me tonight” (stay with me)
And remember
You’re the one thing
I can’t get enough of
So I’ll tell you something
This could be love
Breanna is shocked when Nellie Aquafree interrupts and starts belting the lyrics, coming between the two singers.

Because I’ve had the time of my life
No, I never felt this way before
Yes I swear it’s the truth
And I owe it all to you

Afu takes the opening and begins dancing with Breanna.

“What are you doing?” Breanna asks.

“You said… confidence catches your attention any day,” Afu replies.

Breanna isn’t happy.

They finish out the dancing competitions with group dances.

There’s nothing more that I like to do
Than take the floor and dance with you
Keep dancing…let’s keep dancing! 

Shake your groove thing, shake your groove thing, yeah, yeah
Show ’em how we do it now
Shake your groove thing, shake your groove thing, yeah, yeah
Show ’em how we do it now, show ’em how we do it now

Let show the world we can dance
Bad enough to strut our stuff
The music gives us a chance
We do more out on the floor

Groovin’ loose or heart to heart
We put in motion every single part
Funky sounds wall to wall
We’re bumpin’ booties, havin’ us a ball, y’all 

We got the rhythm tonight
All the rest know we’re the best
Our shadows crash in the light
Twistin’, turnin’, we keep burnin’

Shake it high or shake it low
We take our bodies where they wanna go
Feel that beat, never stop
Oh, hold me tight, spin me like a top

Shake your groove thing, shake your groove thing, yeah, yeah
Show ’em how we do it now
Shake your groove thing, shake your groove thing, yeah, yeah
Show ’em how we do it now

Show ’em how we do it now, let’s get on down
Show ’em how we do it now, show ’em how we do it now, ooh
Ooh Show ’em how we do it now, shake your groove thing

Quite a few guys go for a dip in the ocean to cool off after a night of dancing. Levi from Paramours shows up to check out the party and wishes Breanna good luck.

“Uh… is it legal for him to be here?” Afu asks, raising his hand as if in school.

“Did you enjoy the water?” Breanna asks of Kaha.

“Do your tattoos have any special significance?” Breanna asks of Andy.

“Of course they do,” Andy replies. “Each tattoo reminds me of a place I’ve been and how I’ve grown as a person. Like my bird on a flower branch? It’s to remind me to be free to be myself. That I need to embrace who I am.”

“Actually… that’s quite beautiful,” Breanna admits. “I’ve always been to chicken to go under the needle. If I were going to get a tattoo, what would you suggest?”

Andy steps forward and takes Breanna’s hands much to her surprise.

“I wouldn’t presume to know what you should get,” he says. “Tattoos are very personal. You should choose what best fits you, but as I get to know you, I’d be happy to go with and I’d be honored to help you pick out your first.”

Breanna’s Confessional: I’ll be completely honest. Until now, I didn’t know what to make of Andy. But now. He held my hands. I think my heart skipped a beat a little bit. He’s a little different than the usual guy I’ve gone for, but he’s really rather sweet. 

Mort was the only one of the guys who headed back to the estate. He planned to research dance videos and pickup lines.

Mort’s Confessional: Next time… I’lll…er… compliment her hair or something. Or maybe her feet. She has tiny feet… girls like being thought of as tiny, right? Uh… (gulps) tiny happy dancing feet. Yeah that’s a thing, right? 

Andy must’ve made enough of an impression to get the “second chance” card. Breanna selected Footless.

Been working so hard
I’m punching my card
Eight hours for what?
Oh, tell me what I got
I’ve got this feeling
That time’s just holding me down
I’ll hit the ceiling
Or else I’ll tear up this town

Now I gotta cut loose
Footloose, kick off the Sunday shoes
Please, Louise, pull me off of my knees
Jack, get back, come on before we crack
Lose your blues, everybody cut footloose

They danced over to the entrance where Andy offered Breanna a thumbs up.

You’re playing so cool, obeying every rule
Deep way down in your heart
You’re burning, yearning for the some-somebody to tell you
That life ain’t passing you by
I’m trying to tell you
It will if you don’t even try

These two are so cute. They started singing the lyrics with such enthusiasm while looking into each other’s eyes.
You’ll get by if you’d only cut loose
Footloose, kick off the Sunday shoes
Ooh-whee, Marie, shake it, shake it for me
Whoah, Milo come on, come on let’s go
Lose your blues, everybody cut footloose
You got to turn me around
And put your feet on the ground
Gotta take the hold of all
Breanna was pretty tired after a night of dancing. She went to relax outside on the lounge chairs. Afu went to find her.

“Hey, just wanna make sure I didn’t totally offend you,” he says.

“Aw… it’s okay, Afu,” she replies. “Apology accepted.”

“Are you even tired?” Miguel asks as he joins Breanna.

“Nope,” she shakes her head. “I feel so energized.”

“I can see why,” he replies. “You looked great out there!”

“Thank you,” she exclaims. “I’m having the time of my life.”

He grins at the pun. “I’m happy to hear you liked my song choice.”

“It’s one of my favorite songs of all time,” she purrs. “How’d you know?”

“Lucky guess?” he shrugs. “You’re easy to talk to, and it makes it fun to try and please you.”

“You know…” she begins as she tries to return the compliment. “You have a really nice smile, Miguel.”

“Looks like we’re doing this again,” he adds. “Saying goodbye in the morning.”

“Twice in a row,” she flutters her lashes. “Must be a sign.”

He closes his eyes. “I do enjoy spending time with you, Breanna. And I’ll be your dance partner anytime.”

She flushes. “I don’t exactly want to say goodbye,” she confesses, picturing her lips on his own as he squeezes her hands.

Griffin’s Confessional: I can’t wait to hug Breanna again and hold her close. She’s such a beautiful woman and a really cool person and it was so much fun to dance with her. I think we’ll have lots of fun together. Should I call her? I did give her my personal number. Or is it still too early? Aww… shoot! I left my cell phone at the bar.
Hunter’s Confessional: Those were some bumpin’ beats. Breanna was on fire last night. Whoo! She hardly stopped dancing. I am confident we’ll do just fine together. And mmm… her lips are fine. I’d love to kiss them.
Afu’s Confessional: Breanna is… mmm… fine! Like a red wine. And I think she likes a little chocolate with her wine. We should schedule a date.
Kaha’s Confessional: I’ve never thought about romance. Not really. I think (blushes) if Breanna feels about me the way I feel about her, I should like to have my first kiss with her.
Miguel stayed behind to help the crew clean up and bought one of the producers breakfast.

Miguel’s Confessional: I need to step it up if I want to stay in this competition. I should read up on romance and I should practice my best compliments. Naw… Breanna doesn’t strike me as someone who really appreciates pick-up lines. I just need to be myself. Whoo! Go for a jog. Clear your head. You’ve got this Miguel.

Andy was the last to leave. Somehow he fell asleep in the bushes and lost his multiple changes of clothes. Tsk, tsk! One of the guys playing a prank. It didn’t matter.

Andy’s Confessional: Breanna was totally digging me. This could be the start of something beautiful. 

Author NotesThanks for reading this epic long update. It grew longer and longer as they stayed at the beach bar for the whole night and through part of the morning. A lot happened here, and the gentleman all earned points. 

The Songs Mentioned in the Chapter: I made a list of fun, catchy dance songs and rolled at random to see who got paired with what. I was actually pleasantly surprised how well they matched. In terms of Breanna’s favorite song, she was the happiest during Time of My Life (until Nellie interrupted), and she had a lot to drink by the time she karaoke-d with Andy on Footloose. 

This chapter featured VanPelt81‘s Andy and Hortance, MaggieMarley‘s Mort, afai1261‘s Griffin, Munterbacon’sMiguel and Nakaia, TheYayToast’sHunter and Caroline, nerdfashion’sKaha, and divanthesimmer ‘s Afu. Try as I might… I couldn’t get Soulgal7‘s Beau to show up, even though he’d been introduced, though he did wander by the bar in the morning when Miguel and Breanna were chatting. He kept saying it was “too late” when Neal would call and invite him. Well, you missed out, Beauregard.

I couldn’t stop townies from wandering on the lot, or I didn’t try very hard. The only one I mention by name is Nellie Aquafree, my TS4 remake of Nancy Landgraab (and I know she looks exactly alike, but Nancy Landgrabb with two b’s makes an appearance in other stories of mine so I count the TS4 version of her as someone else).Care to guess which guy “pranked” Andy and hid his clothes? 😉 

Hope you enjoyed! Tell us who your favorites are and your favorite moments of the night in the comments. And you can vote – which guy deserves extra points on his dance card? (Just in case this affects your voting, Andy is safe from the first elimination because he received a the “second chance” rose tonight). 

Day 1, Pt. 6: First Night Fun and Fiascos (SIS)

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Neal’s Voiceover: Greetings and Salutations, viewers! I borrowed that phrase from Hortance. Welcome back to Sweethearts in Sulani. Let’s check in with the guys house. Tonight, seven bachelors will participate for the heart of our bachelorette, Breanna Gaines in the first competition of the season – a mixology contest! Hopefully, some of them have read the full dossier on Miss Breanna and will remember her drink of choice – Tang and Zing!
Neal’s Voiceover: Before we get started, let’s check in with our team and determine where each candidate stands. Thank you to the viewers for casting your votes on our official website.

From the Top left to Right: Andy (10), Afu (6), Hunter (9), Mort (19)

From Bottom Left to Right: Griffin (13), Miguel (17), Kaha (10)

Oh, if you recall Miguel and Mort were tied last round. Now Mort pushes ahead to first place with 19 points. Miguel is shortly behind in second with 17 points. Griffin inches to 13 in third place. Kaha and Andy tie, sliding into 4th place at 10. Hunter is in 5th place with 9 points, and Afu, no surprise, is still in last place with 6 points.

At the end of the evening, the gentlemen will have hopefully earned even more points in this next competition, and you, the viewers, will have a chance to once again vote for favorites after tomorrow’s solo date, and two more competitions. I, myself, am looking forward to seeing the gentlemen compete, and I’m curious how everyone will do.

Will Breanna (and the viewers) reward the bold and confident, or choose the sweet and shy contestants? As you can tell from tonight’s episode title, the competition is about to get fierce, and crazy things are about to go down. (Neal winks at the camera). We wouldn’t want it any other way, would we folks?

“Alright, Breanna, are you ready?” Neal asks, with a big goofy grin on his face.

“Absolutely,” she replies, just as the back door opens and Holly nearly stumbles inside.

“Sorry,” she murmurs, embarrassed. “Trying to get a good angle.”

The crew dim the lights for dramatic effect and intense music begins to play. Neal starts with some basic mixology tricks, including stacking bottles and balancing them on his palm. The crowd gathers, with Andy snagging the seat to Breanna’s right, and Kaha sliding into the seat on Breanna’s left. Meanwhile, Miguel hovers behind the bachelorette.

“Alright, gentlemen, the rules are quite simple. Mix up a cocktail for Breanna. You can use any of the ingredients behind the bar here. Only one man per bar and there are only two fully stocked bars so you will have to take turns. Breanna will take at least a sip of each drink and then make her decision. You are allowed to do one sabotage this evening, but if you mess with another man’s entry, it still has to be drinkable. Remember we don’t want to offend our lady here,” Neal waves his hand toward Breanna.

She smiles graciously.

“At the end of the evening, the man with the best drink will collect two additional points. You can continue to mingle and do one-on-one and/or group interactions throughout tonight and all those interaction points will add up also. Our crew will be around keeping a careful eye on the tally. Any questions?”

Andy pumps his fist in the air. “Let’s get started!” he yells. “Breanna… are you ready to have your mind blown?” he practically screams.

“I think so,” she winces, and rubs her ear.

“Let the games begin,” Neal declares.

Despite Andy’s loud enthusiasm, Hunter and Afu are the first contestants to make it behind the bar to begin. Kaha is a little too late. “It’s okay,” Breanna encourages. This gives the two of them time to talk. Kaha manages to tell a funny story about a dog and a ill-fated fishing trip.
Hunter wows Breanna with his bar tricks. Neal decides to dance and cheer Hunter on. Hunter’s Confessional: Remember. I can make one heck of a cocktail.

“Opps, Neal,” Holly reminds. “You’re supposed to be impartial.”

“What can I say?” Neal responds. “I like a good actor like Hunter.”

Afu’s Confessional: I think Breanna wants a taste of the islands. In more ways than one. And I’m gonna give it to her. (he winks at the camera)
Hunter’s Confessional: Plum! I look good. Afu’s Confessional: I am going to wow Breanna with the a combination of fresh fruit and alcohol.
Hunter completes the challenge first. Breanna’s Confessional: Oh my! He smells amazing. I wonder what cologne he uses.

“Here you go, darling,” Hunter smiles as he believes he has made his best drink yet.

“I can’t wait,” she replies as he walks behind her to sit on the next barstool.

“Darling?” Griffin walks up behind the two. “Isn’t that a little too early for pet names? She has a name… Breanna…” he smiles a little too wide.

“Oh,” she winces, recalling her earlier complaint with Hunter, though now she’s feeling more relaxed. “I do prefer my name…”

“Of course, you do, Breanna,” Griffin sends a withering stare at Hunter.

“I call everyone darling,” Hunter confesses grinning, deciding not to be thrown off by Griffin’s mind games. “Breanna. Where did you get such a lovely name?”

“Oh,” she turns toward him and begins to tell the story of how she is named for her great-aunt, and Hunter impresses her again by recalling that ‘Breanna‘ means ‘high and noble.’

While Breanna is distracted by Hunter, Griffin swipes her drink. He takes a sip. Griffin’s Confessional: It truly was a work of art in the form of a cocktail. I couldn’t let Breanna have this one first and then all of our chances would go right out the window. It would be all downhill from here.

“Where did it go?” she exclaims when she realizes her cocktail glass is missing.

Griffin quickly goes and dumps the drink in the bushes and winks at Holly. “Shh,” he says.

She giggles. “That’s your free pass.”

No worries, Breanna! Hunter declares. He made enough for everyone to have his signature cocktail. Miguel moves behind the counter to begin scoping out his options. Afu is still working on perfecting his drink as he squeezes a lime into the mixer.

“Is it my turn yet?” Andy asks plopping back down at the bar after using the restroom.

He’s considering chatting with Breanna about the latest party he attended,  but misses his opening when Miguel asks the bachelorette to dance.

Griffin takes a moment to strategically slip past Afu and take his place as a contender.

Meanwhile, Hunter sits back down after giving Breanna her second (really, her first) glass and she takes a sip. Andy’s Confessional: I wonder if I can S’moogle that Sweet and Salty recipe. Or is it Sweet and Tangy? Kaha’s Confessional: I don’t actually drink so I do not know anything about mixing up alcoholic beverages (wrinkles his nose as he steps up next to Afu). I might just have to sit this contest out. Hunter’s Confessional: I hope she likes it. I make the best cocktails. Everyone says so. Afu’s Confessional: (after taste testing his concoction) Plum! That’s not the right mixture.
Mort’s Confessional: Should I ask Breanna to dance too like Miguel? She has to do something while waiting. Look at all those guys fighting over the spirits! Good thing I brought my own.

“This was delicious,” Breanna sets her glass down. “What’s in it?”

“Close your eyes,” Hunter saunters up behind and sits down on the barstool immediately to her right. “And think about the flavors.”

“Rum,” she replies after a moment of pondering. “I taste rum.”

“Good,” he urges her to continue.

“Pineapple,” she exclaims. “And cherry?” she crinkles her nose.

“Maraschino liqueur,” he admits as she opens her eyes. “And grenadine. The Silent Film.

Andy has already had too much to drink. He left his juice in the middle of the floor.

“Ai-yai-yai-yai-yah!” Andy yells and begins busting a move behind the counter.

Hunter’s Confessional: That guy is super annoying.

Breanna and Hunter return to the end of the counter. It’s musical barstools tonight! Meanwhile, Kaha pulls out a bottle of fresh water.

Andy and Neal begin chatting. Afu still works on his drink. Breanna abandons her first drink to speak to Hunter once more. A nervous Mort disappears off to his room with sudden chest pains.

“Are you okay?” Breanna inquires of Hunter.

“Hmm?” Hunter opens his eyes. “Oh yes, just listening to the music. These island tunes are nice, aren’t they?”

“They are the sounds of my people,” Kaha says, defensively. “They are more than nice.”

“Okay,” Hunter replies sullenly and slides off the barstool to use the facilities.

Breanna takes another sip of Hunter’s Silent Film.

Andy plops back in a seat and slaps the counter. “Bartender! Fill ‘er up!”

Afu grimaces. “You’re supposed to be serving drinks, not ordering them.”

“I got you a glass of water to clean your tongue, Breanna,” Kaha offers shyly.

“Cleanse my palate, you mean?” she replies and her eyes widen. “Thank you Kaha.”

Breanna leaves the bar with Hunter’s drink in one hand and Kaha’s glass of water in another.
Griffin catches Breanna’s eye. Kaha makes his move.

“And just like that… the guy moves in?” Afu groans.

“Water?” Hunter sniffs. “Breanna deserves better than water.”

“Why didn’t I think of that?” Griffin wonders aloud.

“If you’d stop messing around and actually give her a drink,” Andy directs at the other man in pink.

“So so… I’ve never really fished before,” she replies to Kaha’s question about her fishing skills. “Worms make me squeamish.”

“Oh we do not fish with worms,” Kaha shakes his head. “We use baskets designed to trap the fish and keep them alive.”

“It sounds much more humane,” Breanna agrees. “Do you name them too?”

Kaha laughs a deep-bellied laugh. “No, we sell them in the fish market.”

“Oh,” Breanna says, feeling a little embarrassed.

She takes a sip of water. “The dossier says you built your own home?”

“You read my profile?” Kaha says in awe. “That is wonderful. I read all about you too.”

Breanna smiles shyly.

“Oh, but that does not mean I know you… I want to get to know you, if you mean to… get to know me as well,” Kaha replies awkwardly.

“Yes, tell me about building a home,” she asks. “Is it very difficult?”

“Difficult?” Kaha exclaims and stomps his foot on the ground. “Yes. Very. It is not an easy feat to build a home with your bare hands. Not that my hands are not always bare. I do not cover them. Real men have scars… huh!” he pushes his chest out dramatically.

“I see,” Breanna says, wondering if someone coached him on that line.

“I mean… er…” Kaha returns to his normal tone and pitch. “I do not wear gloves. It is too warm in Sulani, and the weave for our walls is soft.”

“They are beautiful… walls…” Breanna trails off, glancing over her shoulder.

Kaha proceeds to tell Breanna all about making a home, and twisting the pipes into place, and how fun it is to see the water flow through for the first time. Breanna seems mildly impressed.

“And if you do not like it, Breanna, I will tear it down and build a new one for you!” Kaha declares.

Breanna coughs into her water. “Oh… I’m sure your home is lovely.”

“But you will not see it?” Kaha’s face darkened.

“We’re getting ahead of ourselves, Kaha,” Breanna pats his leg. “Let’s keep getting to know each other first.”

A frustrated Kaha slinks off to sulk outside the tiki hut. Breanna returns to the counter. Kaha’s Confessional: Breanna touched my leg? How forward! Breanna’s Confessional: That wasn’t uncomfortable at all!

“Welcome back,” says Hunter.

“Thank… you…” Breanna replies, delicately.

Mort returns, a glass of milk in hand. Milk will help his acid reflux.
He quickly downs a glass when he sees an opening with Breanna. Too bad she needs to use the restroom. She’s desperately waiting for Hunter to get out of the bathroom off the hut. Breanna, there are other restrooms on the lot!
Mort’s Confessional: Oh my word! She is so beautiful!
Mort retrieves a chilled bottle of wine from the refrigerator. He returns to the counter only to discover someone “stole” the bottle opener. Griffin’s Confessional: Don’t look at me! (shrugs)
When Breanna returns, Griffin is waiting for her with a drink in hand. Hunter has returned to bar tricks. Andy sniffs, annoyed that he still hasn’t gotten an opportunity to chat with the bachelorette.

“I made this for you,” Griffin declares. “A root beer float. It’s my favorite.”

“Why thank you,” Breanna replies. “How sweet!”

Griffin laughs. “Literally.”

Now it’s Breanna’s turn to laugh a little too hard. I think she’s having fun tonight.

“This is delicious,” Breanna exclaims.

“Thank you,” Griffin replies shyly.

Andy’s Confessional: Hey! No fair! I want ice cream. Mort’s Confessional: Bats! I didn’t open the bottle fast enough.

“Hey! I thought we were serving alcoholic drinks,” Andy protests.

“There’s nothing in the rules,” Neal confirms.

“You’re too slow, fellows,” Griffin says, yawning and stretching his arm around Breanna.

Andy sniffs and looks away.  “Hmmph!”

Mort remains,  an awkward smile on his face.

Griffin’s Confessional: Come on, guys. Give me a break. I’d like a moment with Breanna.
Breanna’s Confessional: He removed his arm so fast. (pouts) I rather liked the feeling.

“Now that they’re gone,  we can talk,” Griffin says, dropping his arm back. “What’s your favorite time of day?”

“Probably morning,  right after sunrise,” she replies,  a little ice cream dribbling down her chin.  “Mmm… it’s when I get my best ideas.”

“My bad!” Griffin offers his sleeve.

“Oh I couldn’t,” she protests.

While Griffin goes for a napkin, Andy moves in. Afu swaggers across the room, catching Breanna’s eye. Miguel settles on the sofa across from Breanna, patiently waiting his turn.

“Andy, why don’t you let me help you with that drink?” Afu offers.

“No thanks,” Andy flips his hair. “I’d like her to try it before sunrise.” He tries to sit next to Breanna but wobbles. “You can’t be into the tool.”

Breanna’s Confessional: Afu may be a tool, but he’s the hottest one in the box.  Ooo… (giggles).

“Or that clown, Griffin,” Andy continues, glaring in the other man’s direction. “He stole those flowers from a hothouse. At least Miguel’s an honest dude.”

Griffin? What are you doing? Fail! Go sit with Breanna! Kaha has returned and is busting a move.

Miguel lifted his glass as if giving a toast. “Thank you, but do you really think tearing down the competition will improve your odds?”

Andy grunts and mutters something about proving it to the group that Griffin is a thief.

Mort takes Breanna’s hand and guides her to the couch where Griffin is sitting.

“I was just warming up the cushions,” he winks at Breanna.

“Wine! This is different,” Breanna declares.

“I wanted something unique,” Mort replies. “This is a bottle of the finest wine from the Von Straud estate in Forgotten Hollow.”

“I hope you enjoy it,” Mort continues. “The full-bodied red pairs well with dark chocolate brownies.”

Breanna’s Confessional: I prefer a good white wine. But Mort was looking at me so earnestly. It was rather cute. I just couldn’t hurt his feelings.

“It is… pretty good,” Breanna winces.

“Really?” his dark eyes light up. “Thank you. It’s one of my favorites.”

“Have you ever gone steady with anyone?” he inquires.

“Oh,” she tilts her head. “Actually… no…” she laughs daintily. “Between my parents’ failing health and the farm and my studies when I was in school, I just didn’t find the time. Have you?”

“Oh? Me?” he squeaks. “People don’t really wanna date the son of the Reaper, himself, you know what I mean?”

Breanna’s Confessional: I really didn’t.

“I promise I’m a normal dude… normal…ish… dude… guy… man… person,” Mort says, flustered.

“Eh,” she shrugs. “Normal is overrated.”

Meanwhile, Hunter has decided he’s had enough of his hot layers and sheds his clothes to jump into the swimming pool, catching Breanna’s eye.

“Uh… yeah… I know. My time’s up,” Mort stands up, the defeatism evident in his tone.

“Excuse me!” a deep voice says from behind a scuba mask. “Breanna… I believe it’s time to be escorted to another part of the set.”

“Oh… really?” she squints her eyes. “And who are you?”

After Mort slinks off, Afu takes off his mask. “I had to get rid of him somehow.”

“Wh? Wha??” Breanna makes a face. “Afu… what are you doing?”

He pulls his drink out from his scuba gear pack and bends on one knee as he offers it to her. “Making a splash,” he declares. “Setting myself apart from the others. Plus… when I wear this thing, people think I’m the crew, not a contestant.”

“I see,” she takes a sip of the Lotta Cocolata in a coconut glass. “Mmm… this is really good. Put the chocolate… in the co-co-nut!” she smirks. “You know… you look really good… even in that scuba suit.”

Afu’s Confessional: Chocolate and coconut. Gets ’em every time. 

Breanna’s Confessional: It was a little weird. The scuba suit. But… that drink was divine. And well… (flushes) That suit was a bit form-fitting. Andy’s Confessional: Hmmf! Whyyyyyyyyy didn’t I th…think… (his words are a little slurred) …to…try…scuba gear? Who knew… (he hiccups) …it was ssssuch… a turn…on! 

Breanna returned to the counter.

“Are you enjoying your evening?” Miguel asks.

“Yes, I am,” she smiles, thinking of Afu’s dark brown eyes.

“I meant to tell you. I love your crown of flowers,” Miguel compliments.

“Why thank you,” she nods.

Dance party! Breanna declares. Miguel smiles and slips off the barstool to join her. Afu somehow changed back into his other suit. Wow! So fast? How did he do that? Maybe he was wearing the scuba dive outfit under his tux. Griffin and Mort join in while Neal begins cleaning up some of the mess. Hunter offers to help and brings some dishes to the sink.
Whoo! Breanna is tuckered out after all that dancing. It’s good for her core, she laughs. Kaha picks up Mort’s half-empty glass of milk. Afu arrives with a second drink in hand – this one blue. Andy and Griffin flank Breanna.

“I once… went to a party…” Andy says, trying to catch his breath. “…where we danced for four hours… in the nude.”

“Really, dude?” Griffin rolls his eyes. “We’re talking to a lady here.”

“Hmm…we’re comfortable… in our… sk…skin…” Andy’s eyes widened as he looked at Griffin. “Wasn’t I tryin’ to proof… what a guy… you were!”

Prove,” Afu corrects.

“Here!” Andy slams a glass onto the counter. “I don’t want this…anymore!”

Breanna offers to help Hunter with dishes, but Neal shoos her away. Afu grins in her direction.

“I could watch you smile all night long, beautiful,” he says.

She giggles.

Andy finally makes it behind the counter and whips up a drink for Breanna… in a red party cup?  Breanna’s Confessional: Ugh! What is this? It’s brown! Griffin’s Confessional: That guy just can’t win. I can’t believe he already got wasted. Oh… that smells horrible.

“Here,” he offers. “Let me help you with that.”

He tosses out the drink. Andy shrieks and runs out of the tiki hut in frustration.

When he returns a few minutes later, he’s covered in dirt and grime and smells like the wrong end of a cowplant. Neal winces. Ooo! Party foul!

“I found it,” Andy declares, throwing his arm up in the air, holding onto an empty glass and a lime slice. “Griffin… he threw out… that man’s…” he sputters, pointing at Hunter. “…drink. He… he… he… cheated!”

“You’re allowed one sabotage,” Neal reminds everyone.

Griffin winces. “Okay, I did. I’m sorry. But he had a backup,” he shrugs in Hunter’s direction.

“Yeah, it’s all good, man,” Hunter offers a truce.

“What?” Andy growled. “You mean I crawled… around… bushes… for nothing?! You all stink!”

“No you stink, man,” Afu plugs his nose and waves his hand. “Go home, man.”

“You okay?” Miguel inquires as he joins Breanna on the loveseat. “Some guys don’t know how to treat a lady.”

“I’m okay,” she replies. “Thank you for asking. He’s uh…” she glances over her shoulder at an angry Andy stomping toward the mainhouse. “…determined…” she manages.

Miguel closes his eyes and waves his hand. “My lady, you are kinder than the rest of us would be.”

“So Miguel,” she begins. “Tell me about your work in the jungle. You were a bush pilot and you hunted treasure, but you were injured?”

“Yes, I spent half a year in a coma,” he replies. “…after touching a poisoned artifact and falling down a very dark shaft. It was a difficult time in my life, but my parents stayed by my side and watched over me, praying I’d return to them. Even if my life was in peril, the jungle is still a beautiful place. She calls to us adventurers in our dreams.

She tilted her head. “And you want to go back? I can see it in your eyes.”

“Yes,” he admits. “I should like to take someone with me too. Perhaps you… someday.”

“Oh… I don’t know…” she turns away shyly. “I’m not sure I am cut out for wandering around dark ruins and exploring the depths of the jungle. There might be bugs there…” she squirms.

Miguel laughs. “My lady, I promise you… they are more afraid of you than you are of them.”

Miguel heads over to the bar, which is finally free, to fix Breanna her drink. Neal declares it is already midnight and the contest is over. Miguel sighs. Shoot! I missed it! Breanna declares Afu the winner. The chocolate and coconut drink was surprisingly refreshing and delicious.
He decides it doesn’t really matter. He didn’t really need to enter the contest. He can make a drink anyhow. Breanna’s favorite is Tang and Zing, he remembers.
Most of the contestants head into the main house now that it’s after midnight. Hunter decides to wow the remaining folks with his bar tricks. Miguel offers Breanna her favorite drink.

“Someone read the dossier…” she says, impressed.

Miguel tilts his head, observing Hunter’s famous bottle stack. “You are really good at that.”

“You’re still out here?” Miguel asks, finding Breanna outside her hut. “I was just about to go for a walk on the beach… if you care to join me.”

Miguel’s Confessional: I am the luckiest guy tonight. I’m getting one-on-one with Breanna before the solo dates are declared.

“Shall we look for treasure?” he asks.

“Oh?” she stops, staring off into the horizon. “Yes, let’s comb the beach together, and the winner gets to take something from the loser, right?” she bites her lip, purposely coy.

He smiles and nods. “You remembered.”

They start digging through the sand. Eyes up, Miguel!
Unfortunately, Breanna doesn’t find anything. A seagull poops on her shoulder. She freaks out. Miguel tries to calm her down. Miguel’s Confessional: It’s just a little seagull crap. (smirks) It won’t hurt. (shakes head) I don’t know if she’d survive in the jungle.
Breathe in… and… out. Breanna’s Confessional: (wails) I can’t believe my moment with Miguel was ruined! And my top! Is ruined too. She wanders over to a bush to tinkle. A little too much booze tonight? I guess that’s what happens with a mixology contest. It’s a long walk back to the beach house, and she’s not sure she wants to wear bird crap the whole way back.
Never fear! Miguel is here to save the day. He offers her his jacket. She eagerly ducks into the bush and removes the top, and slides her arms into Miguel’s oversized coat so she doesn’t have to walk back in just her bra and skirt. A lady would never do that.

“Feeling better?” he inquires.

“Yes, much,” she bobs her head. “Thank you…” she laughs. “It’s a little silly. And I didn’t even win the contest. I should give you something not the other way around.”

“I don’t mind,” he smiles. “My jacket looks good on you. Maybe even better.”

You’ve got to get down here… Merry texts her sister. Miguel and Breanna are getting some really adorable one-on-one time. He gave her his jacket!

“Aww… look at those two,” Holly sighs happily as she watches two couple dialoging from a distance. “I wonder what they’re saying…” she snaps a few pictures.

Miguel suggests they gaze to at the stars. These two are so cute together!

“Come on Holly, let’s give them a moment,” Merry says. “And you’re in your pajamas anyhow.”

“Oh…okay,” Holly agrees reluctantly. “I just hope I don’t miss anything good.”

Author Notes: Wow… what a chapter. Okay, first of all, let me say, I tried my absolute hardest to not play favorites. All the actions in this chapter by the guys were autonomous (except, I cheated and went into CAS to have Miguel share his jacket with Breanna because it was too cute an opportunity to pass up, and it just seemed like something he would do).

Here’s what the guys did in the competition:

  • Hunter (Silent Film)
  • Kaha (Water)
  • Griffin (Root beer float)
  • Mort (Von Haunt Estate Meloire)
  • Afu (Lotta Cocolata)
  • Andy (Dim and Gusty)
  • Miguel (Tang and Zing*) (*doesn’t count – submitted late)

The way I determined the winner was by having Breanna drink a little of each option. The drink that made Breanna “flirty” or the happiest (by default) would be the winning drink. Breanna was the happiest after Afu’s drink and also feeling flirty for the first time during the evening so he won the competition. I know. It’s a bit subjective. I tried. I originally set up the competition to last between 10pm and midnight. It actually went to almost two am.

I had to box in the set a few times to get the guys to actually stay in the same spot, and I think I had to change the back door twice too. Let’s just say one’s the screen door and the other one’s the solid. Outfit changes. Bladder fails. Hunger pangs. Taking dips into the swimming pool. Musical chairs. And they all still survived. Barely.

Andy was the most drunk of the bunch. Poor guy. He did choose to autonomously “yell” at Breanna. Twice?!?! Uh oh… it’s not looking good for Andy. Griffin did genuinely “steal” Hunter’s first drink for Breanna. And then left the glass outside in the bushes?? Afu chose to wear a scuba suit at one point. I laughed hysterically. 

Miguel and Breanna autonomously wandered to the beach. I did have Breanna ask him to be in a group to make it easier to get good screenshots together. I sent Merry and Holly (who was already dressed for bed) to follow for “photos.” I guess they did get to do the treasure hunt after all. Miguel found a sea urchin. Breanna found nothing and was super ticked off when a bird pooped on her. That’s when I got the idea for the jacket.

I had to use some creative angles because I couldn’t really justify why Miguel would give Breanna his jacket, shirt, and tie. XD Unfortunately, his shirt had to be changed a smidge too (and it’s not the same tie, but who cares? We’ll say the moonlight brought out the shiny white lines). And then he rolled a whim to kiss Breanna, and Breanna rolled a whim to kiss Miguel. I couldn’t help it. I had to indulge them.

Hope you enjoyed. This chapter featured VanPelt81‘s Andy, MaggieMarley‘s Mort, afai1261‘s Griffin, Munterbacon’s Miguel, TheYayToast’s Hunter, nerdfashion’s Kaha, and divanthesimmer ‘s Afu. 

FYI, I’m taking a quick break tomorrow for a LASL update, but I’ll be back soon with more Bachelor and Bachelorette:  Sulani Style.

Day 1, Pt. 5: Kiana & Hortance Meet Levi (PIP)

Posted on Updated on

I hope I’m not late, Kiana panicked as she ran up on the beach outside the bachelor estate. Wow, this place is gorgeous, she took a few moments to look around, noting the lovely palm trees and sea grasses and flowers and the open-air concept of the home.

As Kiana was walking up, Neal felt his heart pounding from behind the camera. He couldn’t be here. It was too painful. He ducked behind a plant and let Levi has his moment.

“Hey, how’s it going?” Levi greets.

“Heya,” Kiana says, trying to force a smile. “I’m Kiana.”

“Are you okay?” Levi inquires. “You look a little flushed.”

“I ran over here,” she replies and makes a face as she tries to adjust her strap. “Heels and sand don’t mix well.”

“Didn’t catch the island limo?” Levi winks.

“Uh, I didn’t have time,” she swallows hard and shakes her head, realizing the irony of her statement. “I liked the walk. It was very pretty. This is a beautiful place, Sulani.”

“Where are you from?” Levi asks.

“Del Sol Valley,” she replies. “But I’m looking for a change of pace. And you? You’re from San Myshuno?”

“Yeah, Spice Quarter,” he says. “We have the best festivals.”

“We have the best movie premieres,” she quips.

He laughs. “You’re funny. Of course, valley of stars.”

“I am?” she replies, nervously. “I don’t really think so.”

“What do you do?” he inquires to put her at ease.

“I like yoga and cooking. I love learning new recipes. I hope while I’m here to learn some good Sulanian barbecue,” she replies.

“Really? I love that!” Levi exclaims.

“What?” she starts to smile.

“I asked what you do and you said something other than your career,” he responds. “That’s what I tell people too.”

“That’s cool,” she replies. “I am a yoga instructor for work.”

“I bet you’re really flexible,” he grins.

Her eyes widen. “Uh… yeah, I guess…” she makes a face. “I like to stay in shape and stay active. Practicing wellness and balance is important to me… as is a good homecooked meal.”

“We’ll have lots of time to stay active and good eats,” he assures. “Did you know you have a…”

“Ooohhh!” she squeals and brings up her hands defensively. “Get it out! Get it out! Get it out!” she shakes her arms vigorously.

He plucks a piece of pink string from her hair. “Just a string,” he swallows a smile.

“Oh good,” she breathes a sigh of relief. “I’m deathly afraid of bugs. Do they have bugs here? I’m sure they do… and spiders…. ewwwwww!”

“You’re safe with me,” Levi reassures. “I promise you… no bugs. I’ll even see that the butler makes an extra sweep of your suite to assure no extra critters will be sharing your space.”

“Really?” her face lights up and she grimaces awkwardly. “Thank you. Sorry… is that too girly?”

“No problem at all,” he shakes his head. “Say you know what helps me get my mind off things that freak me out?”

They play a quick game of charades. A model? Levi guesses.
An important person in history? is his second guess.
A movie star? is his third guess. Nope, she shakes her head.

“Give a guy a break,” he replies.

Kiana struts toward him, shaking her hips.

“A model?” he tries. “Oh wait… I already said that.”

“You’re not very good at this,” Kiana deduces.

“A hint, please?” Levi begs.

Kiana sits down, leans close, and whispers in his ear. “A woman without arms.”

“She lays down arms?” he puzzles. “Like a peacemaker?”

“No, not those kinds of arms. Arms!” she waves her own around vigorously. “I was the statue of Veni.”

“Ahhhh!” he smiles, recognizing her movements instantly. “The Simul goddess of love and passion. Good choice.”

“I enjoyed that,” he says, seductively.

“What?” she replies, her shoulder bumping his own. “The game?”

“No, you whispering in my ear,” he says, pleasant shivers running through his body.

“Oh!” she jerks back to an appropriate distance. “I hope I wasn’t too forward. I’m used to getting in people’s space when I’m trying to demonstrate how to do certain poses.”

“You can help me pose all…day… long…” Levi wiggles his eyebrows. “I bet you get everyone really fired up in the mornings.”

“I do,” she pumps her arm in the air. “I ask ‘Are we ready to be whole? Are we ready to be well?’ It helps center the mind on good positive vibes. I also used to be a wellness coach.”

“Oh really?” he bobs his head, grinning like a school boy. “Any tips for me now?”

She reaches out and touches his lower back.

“Stop that,” he flinches and giggles.

“Stop wiggling,” she chides gently. “I’m trying to help you. Your core…” she indicates on herself. “…is misaligned. You need to work on your posture.”

“It tickles,” Levi laughs, and breathes out heavily.

“I’ll show you on myself,” Kiana places her hands on her hips and straightens her shoulders.

“Okay, okay, now you know. I’m ticklish,” Levi says. “Don’t abuse that.” He winks at her.

Levi repeats his gift of a rose before Kiana leaves. She is genuinely surprised, and smiles graciously.
Levi’s Confessional: I might slouch all day long… if she’ll help fix my posture. She’s very attractive. I’d like to take a yoga class with her… maybe a clothing-optional one? (he stares off into space with a goofy grin on his face) If she does that sort of thing. She’s got a great smile. I definitely want to schedule a date.
Kiana’s Confessional: Levi is so attractive. He’s classically hot with a little bit of stubble. Orange is a good choice for him. He’s funny too, but not overconfident. I like that. I could see us shooting basketball in the neighborhood and practicing yoga in the evenings and cooking brunches on the weekends. I think he’d love my souffles.
Hortance wonders how Kiana manages to go before her. Actually, she wonders how three ladies have already gone before her when she was clearly ready first and owning it. I’m a real lady, she thinks to herself, and I’m going to show Levi what it’s like being with a woman.
Work it, Hortance, she coaches herself. Swinging her arms and sashaying her hips. Levi seems to approve as his eyebrows arch and he immediately straightens in his seat. That’s right. Keep your eyes on me! Hortance smiles.

“Greetings and salutations,” she lifts her lacy gloved arm and waves. “I am Hortance Hildenbrand and I just know already we’re going to have a fabulous time.”

“Well…wow…hhii…hiii…” Levi stammers.

“Aren’t you a doll!” she declares. “That face was made for the camera. I bet you don’t hear that very often. You and I would make a very attractive couple, don’t you think?” she flips her hair over her shoulder strategically.

“Heyy!!” he manages and waves in return. “Confidence… I like it.”

“Of course, confidence is the name of the game,” she replies. “How else am I going to get you to notice me? I want to stand out in every way possible from the other candidates because I want to be the best.”

“It’s certainly giving you an edge,” Levi agrees. “Please sit, Hortance. Tell me about yourself.”

“I hate suburbia,” she declares as she plops down in her seat. “Give me big city any day, or open land like this,” she sweeps her arm behind the porch. “Or ocean waves. Suburbia is a nightmare. I’m thrilled to hear you are from San Myshuno, but Levi, with all your success, couldn’t you afford to live somewhere other than the Spice Corridor?”

“Yes…” he leans back in surprise. “I suppose I could. I do keep offices in Uptown, but I was born and raised in the Corridor. It feels weird to leave.”

“Well,” Hortance straightens her skirt. “We can fix that. Maybe at least a penthouse in the Arts District. I love the arts.”

“Planning ahead are we?” Levi tilts his chin and grins.

Hortance waves her arms. “What can I say? I’m a woman who knows what she wants and I don’t want to wait around for it.”

“I don’t mind at all,” Levi says. “How would you decorate our apartment?” he asks, confidently.

“I like a mix of old and new,” she replies. “Antiques and industrial design.”

“Bold choices,” he responds. “And what else would we spend our time doing?”

“Reading the classics,” she replies. “I love literature. My favorite is Vlad the Impaler,” she replies. “Gothic Victorian horror… vampires are really just the most intelligent and sensual creatures, don’t you agree?”

“And it doesn’t keep you awake at night?” Levi asks, his eyes widening in surprise.

“No, would it keep you?” she inquires, her pitch raising a pinch. “If it does, I’d be happy to hold you close.”

“All… night… long?” he grins. “I think I’d like that… reading Gothic vampire novels in each other’s arms with a crackling fire and then a night of cuddling.”

Hortance suddenly jumped up out of her seat. “Is it hot out here or what?”

“Sweltering,” Levi agrees, as he is roasting in his tux.

“I say we head inside to someplace cooler,” Hortance suggests. “Maybe even a little more intimate?”

Hortance orders a Simsmapoliton from the bartender, and a manly drink for Levi… a EAPA. She could already picture Levi chugging the beer with his guy friends while loudly watching the big game and forgetting to pick up his dirty socks like a real man. It would be heaven.
Levi is smitten by Hortance already as they slip into one of the off-limits bachelorette rooms. Neal still hasn’t returned so Holly decides ‘what’s the harm?’ Levi offers bachelorette candidate number four a rose.

“Of course, I should get a rose,” Hortance agrees cockily. “You and I are connecting infinitely well, don’t you think?”

“Uh… uh… yeah… yes…and Hort…ance?” Levi squeaks.

“Spit it out, honey,” Hortance urges. “You’ve got to get through three more interviews after mine so we don’t have all night.”

“I’ve always… liked older women,” Levi manages.

“Of course, sweetheart,” Hortance chooses the orange bed to match Levi’s orange tux. “…older women are more experienced… and sophisticated.”

“And what exactly are you experienced in?” Levi asks, seriously.

“Everything,” Hortance says, a slow smile creeping across her face. “How to make you laugh. How to make you smile.”

“How to fry you up an egg on a Sunday morning just the way you like. How to massage the tension right out of your shoulders after a long day at work.”

Levi grins.

“How to meet your needs in the boudoir. Of course, I have my own needs too, and you, young men, can be vigorous… and passionate, I think, and I expect you to go fishing sometimes also.”

“Fishing?” he stops, startled.

“Yes, it’s such a manly activity,” she takes a dainty sip of her beverage. “Don’t you think?”

“I guess,” he lays a hand on his leg. “You don’t want to go fishing with me?”

“Heavens no!” she shakes her head. “I will go to brunch with my girlfriends. Or antiquing or something.”

“I think it’s time for you to move along,” she says. “Too bad. We were just starting to hit it off.”

“What?” Levi exclaims as he jumps up to follow Hortance. “Where are you going?”

“To explore the rest of the estate, of course,” she replies. “You have fun with all the girls.”

“Do I have to?” Levi lets the words slip out.

“Honey, I can’t monopolize your entire evening,” Hortance fluffs her hair. “I have places to go and people to see too.”

“Now wait… just a minute…” he exclaims. “Just who are you going to see?”

“Why? Jealous?” she says, appearing pleased at his reaction. “Don’t be, darling. I’m just popular and in demand. All the young girls want advice from a seasoned woman like me… but…” she takes his hands. “…at the end of the evening, when you’re tired out, think of me, and I’ll be around for you… whatever…” she kisses his hands. “…you…need…”

Hortance’s Confessional: Hmmm… (arches a brow) I got him. Hook. Line. And sinker. He was reeled in, and I even played a little hard to get. Somehow my confidence wasn’t a turn off. I don’t know why men are always terrified of me, even my late husband. Did I say late? I mean… ex! I’m not so scary, am I? Levi has serious potential in my book even if he’s a bit younger than I am. We connected, and I haven’t connected like that in a long time. It’s flattering.
Levi’s Confessional: (exhales heavily) Wooo! I need a cold shower! (laughs) Can someone bring me a bucket of ice? And a bottle of champagne? No… on second thought… just the ice. That Hortance is one… hot… woman! And she sure does know how to sweet talk a man. I’d stay in any night of the week if I knew she’d be waiting for me at home.

Author’s Notes: In my Sim world of Simterra, Veni is a representative of Venus or Aphrodite. Vlad the Impaler was also the inspiration for Dracula. 

Wow! That wasn’t at all how I expected those encounters to go. First, kittymeow’s Kiana – she walked clear to the end of the porch while Levi sat down. Don’t know why, but I decided they were playing charades. Levi was attracted to both ladies (and after encountering Kiana, he rolled a whim to schedule a date with Kiana), but both VanPelt81‘s Hortance and Levi rolled whims to woohoo after their meet-and-greet (and Levi also got the ‘cold shower’ whim). Levi couldn’t stop telling dirty jokes to Kiana while he was a little flustered with Hortance, and she really took charge of the conversation. At the end of their meet-and-greets, both ladies got a rose, but Hortance definitely has higher romance points with Levi at this point. I’m already thinking of the Fountain Penthouse for Hortance and Levi… if she makes it that far.

What do you think? Tell us in the comments or over on the forums who’s your favorite of the two and why. Will Hortance’s over-confidence kill or improve her chances? Will Kiana stand a chance if she’s interested in two different men? 

Day 1, Pt. 4: Leilani & Caroline Meet Levi (PIP)

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Neal barely had time to make it back and meet Levi. He felt a bit guilty about taking a contestant away from the bachelor, but he was on Cloud Nine. Kiana was so beautiful, and she kissed him! Just like that! Neal hoped she still had a chance to find love with Levi. He really wanted to wish the other man well.

“You’re looking spiffy!” he compliments.

“Thanks, and you are rocking that pink,” Levi remarks.

“I couldn’t exactly come buck naked,” Neal quips.

Levi laughs hysterically. That wasn’t that funny, was it? Neal wonders.

“Are you ready?” he asks.

“Let’s do this,” Levi grins. “Bring on the ladies.”

Neal’s Voiceover: Welcome back to Paramours in Paradise… where seven lucky ladies are about to meet the man of their dreams… Well, one of them will get to go home with the bachelor. The others will have received a trip to Paradise. Speaking of Paradise, let’s meet-and-greet with our first lovely lady, Leilani Lovemore, a local islander.

“Hello!” Levi says suavely. “What are you wearing?”

“Oh it is a sari,” Leilani says. “…from New Simbai. Do you like it?” she nervously opens her hands so he can get a full view and forces a smile as she eagerly anticipates his answer.

“The lace is lovely,” he replies. “You must really like pink. Are you from Simbai?”

“Oh no, I am from here… from Sulani,” Leilani responds.

“Ehhhhh…you don’t look like an islander,” Levi shrugs.

“Oh,” she exclaims, wishing she had not taken Karleen’s advice with ‘dress to impress‘. “I should have worn my everyday outfit. You would like my seashells, I think, yes? This…” she looks down at herself shyly. “…outfit is… it helps women who need jobs. I just wore it because…”

“Oh don’t get me wrong. It’s very pretty,” Levi rushes out.

“Oh good,” she bobs her head. “I promise. I am a native. I grew up on Ohan’ali.”

“Really? I’m Levi… and I’m sorry I should’ve asked your name,” he blinks rapidly and offers his hands apologetically.

“I accept your hands of friendship,” she replies. “I am Leilani of the Lovemore clan, but I was raised by the Hoapili clan.”

“That is a beautiful name, Leilani,” Levi says. “What does it mean?”

“My goodness,” she gasps, her jaw dropping open. “How do you keep your hands so soft?”

Levi chuckles at her distraction. “Oh it’s a mandarin hand creme from The New Bland.”

“That is amazing,” she exclaims, absently rubbing his fingers. “They are the softest hands I have ever felt.”

“Thank you,” Levi grins. “You can hold them all day, sweetheart.”

“I am a sweetheart,” Leilani declares and drops his hands. “My last name is Lovemore, of course. I’d like to know more about you, Levi. I can tell by your hands that you take good care of yourself and that you are a kind soul.”

“Really?” he snickers. “All that from my hands?”

“The hands say much about how a person interacts with the world. You work indoors, no?” she inquires.

“Yes, I’m a programmer and a consultant by trade, and you, Leilani?” he asks.

“I fish people from the sea,” she smiles.

“A lifeguard?” he perks up, and recommends they sit.

“You must be very fit,” he continues.

“Oh yes, I swim for miles and miles a day,” she confirms. “It is my favorite workout.”

“I like swimming,” he replies. “I prefer high intensity cardio, but I’m also really spiritual and like to meditate… if I don’t fall asleep,” he smirks.

“Do you speak to your ancestors when you meditate?” she asks.

“My ancestors?” he shakes his head. “No, I just like to clear my mind before going into a business deal.”

“Oh,” she seems disappointed. “I like to commune with the island spirits.”

“Everything is so alive around here, I’m told,” Levi says.

“Yes, I like to think I can connect with my parents,” Leilani says. “They passed on from this life to the next when I was a teen.”

“Oh I’m sorry to hear that,” Levi replies. “I was pretty much raised by my grandma. My mom is… well, I don’t actually know. She left when I was a kid. And my dad, he’s always had health issues, and he’s spent a lot of time in hospitals.”

“That is sad,” Leilani lowers her head. “I bet they are proud of you. I hear you have your own company.”

“I do,” he says, placing his hands on his hips proudly. “Imagine Icarus.”

“An interesting name. Icarus? The boy who built wings and flew too close to the sun, no?” she inquires.

“The very one. He just didn’t have someone like me backing him. See I help people find the materials and the connections they need to get their ideas to take flight,” he explains. “Like your beautiful dress…”

“My dress?” Leilani blushes.

“You said it helps support women who need jobs?” he replies.

“Oh, yes,” she bobs her head. “…they make the dresses in San Myshuno, sell them online and in the city boutique, and send the money back to their families.”

“Someone thought that was a great idea! And someone like me helps those kinds of people find the connections to make those kinds of things happen. So what’s your dream, Leilani?”

“My dream?” she repeats. “I want to bridge a better understanding between my people and the world. I think we could learn much from each other. I would like to find…” she lowers her eyes and flutters her eyelashes. “…a partner to share my love for this beautiful land and its people.”

“That sounds like an admirable dream,” Levi replies.

“And you take people’s dreams and make them come true?” Leilani probes.

“It’s not as easy as that,” he says. “I have dozens of applications daily to work with my consultants and I. Some projects are easier to fund and actually see to fruition than others. I like the especially challenging ones,” he winks.

“And my dream?” she asks hopefully. “Is it challenging enough?”

“The human component always makes things challenging,” Levi nods. “I think it’s a…nice… dream. I look forward to learning more about the Sulanians.”

“Thank you,” she smiles meekly.

Leilani’s Confessional: Levi showed interest in me. This is a good sign. I think we could make a good team. I’d be curious to learn more about his dreams as he asked about mine. I hope I get a chance to tell him of Sulani and all who live here… including the merfolk.
Levi’s Confessional: To be completely honest? (he winces) She was a little boring. I mean, the outfit was interesting, and she is beautiful, but I didn’t feel anything… (he thumps his chest) No sparks! I don’t want to be mean, but her dream is a little generic. It’s not like no one knows about Sulani. She could be a good friend though, perhaps. She obviously has a good heart.
Caroline’s Confessional: Oh my gawd! Why did I let Karleen talk me into wearing this? She knows what she’s doing right? She is the expert. I mean these are the shortest shorts I’ve ever worn in public. Ever! (the color floods her cheeks). And boots in the sand? Bad idea. My feet are already sweating. It’s so not sexy. Oh gawd! Sexy… do I even know how to be sexy?

Caroline walks up onto the porch, heart pounding, head swirling. Since the camera crew didn’t appear to be ready, she plops down in a chair, noticing a guy in an orange suit sitting nearby. Wasn’t he the spokesperson for The New Bland commercials? Or maybe he was the house butler? The butler… that’s right?

“Hi, uh, would you mind getting me a glass of water?” she asks. “I think I might…” she gulps and whispers, “…faint.”

“Well hello, darling!” Levi grins. “You know. I saw you coming from across the way, and I fainted, and hit my head. So I am going to need your name and number for insurance reasons.”

Seeing her stunned look as she throws her hands in the air, he laughs. “I’m Levi, by the way.”

“What?” Caroline gasps and jumps up.  “Oh my gawd! Now I really will faint…” she waves her arms. “I’m so… sorry…” she grabs at her necklace. “…my throat is so…dry… it must be all the sand… or salt… or sea air… or…wow! You’re Levi?” she winces. “I’m so… sorry… I thought you were… the butler or something.”

“I don’t mind doing dishes for a beauty like you,” he teases. “And you are?”

“Dizzy,” she wheezes and clutches her chest. “I can’t… believe… I’m doing this… wrong.”

Levi jumps up immediately. “Please, sit down,” he waves his hand and helps her to a chair.

He waves his hand and requests a glass of water. Caroline gulps the whole thing down, and he requests a second.

“Uh thank you,” she flushes. “I’m so sorry.”

“Stop apologizing, darling,” he shakes his head. “It’s natural to be nervous on television… and on a show like this… meeting the bachelor… me…” he grins. “…for the first time.”

“Wow,” she sighs. “…you’re even more perfect than I expected.”

He laughs, a deep-bellied, happy sound. She smiles and laughs a little too, relaxing into the chair.

“Do you normally have panic attacks?” he inquires. “Or is that too personal?”

“Uh… maybe…” she winces. “If you hadn’t come over and helped me sit down, I think my flight in the fight-or-flight response would’ve kicked in. I’m still so new to this kind of thing.”

“What? Television? Or finding love?” he asks.

“Both,” she squeaks.

“I think it’s adorable,” he smiles.

“You still don’t know my name,” she exclaims.

He smiles. “That’s okay. I can keep calling you darling for awhile until you do tell me.”

“I’m Caroline Grofield, and you are Levi Parrott,” she bobs her head. “Like the bird.”

“Caroline,” he repeats. “Is that a fork in your hair?”

“Oh,” Caroline laughs nervously and points. “A dinglehopper?” she grimaces. “…I thought it would… uh…make me stand out?” she squeaks out the last words.

“Like Ariel in The Teensy Weensy Melodic Mermaid?” he smiles. “I love Mister Wonderful remakes. A little pint-sized barmaid singing mermaid is a great twist on a classic fairy tale,” he grins cheekily. “I bet you’d look great dancing up there…” he points to the tiki bar behind them. “…like young Ariel… in those short shorts.”

“Oh I’m a horrible dancer,” she exclaims. “And I could never…” she shakes her head.

“You can’t be that bad, girl,” he says, standing up. “You should show me.”

“Okay,” she agrees reluctantly, dropping her hands to her sides and moving her shoulders up and down.

“Let’s see your moves,” he suggests.

“Like this?” she replies, stiffly and makes a pouty face as she shifts back and forth woodenly.

Levi laughs. “Come on, you can do it.”

Caroline laughs and relaxes her arms and moves back and forth to the beat Levi spontaneously starts humming.

“See, you’re doing it,” he encourages. “…and I bet you’d get all the numbers of guys at bars with that little outfit.”

Caroline shakes her head. “Bars? I don’t pick up guys in bars. I’m even worse at flirting… than I am at dancing.”

“Everyone knows how to flirt,” Levi says.

“Not me,” she disagrees.

“Alright, let’s see your best attempt,” he nudges.

“Okay… uh…” Caroline wiggles her fingers and half-heartedly says, “Rawrr!!”

Levi’s eyes widen and his face grows serious. “Sweetheart, you got me…. right there!”

“What? No!” she exclaims and chuckles weakly. “That was pathetic.”

“Pathetically cute,” he took her hands. “Look I want a girl who tries. It doesn’t have to be perfect.”

Caroline blushes shyly. “I…wanted this to go perfect. It certainly has not.”

“And that’s why this is… already more perfect… than you know!” Levi declares as he spontaneously kisses Caroline!

Neal: Whoaaaa! Holly shakes the camera. Holly: Did that just happen?

Caroline swings back, hands flying to her heart as she clutches her top and gasps in total shock.

“Surprise!” Levi points at her happily. “I hope you don’t mind, darling.”

“Mi…mi…mmmind?” she stammers. “W…w..wha…wow! What?” she giggles and grins right at the camera. “Did that…just happen?”

Holly bobs her head up and down vigorously.

Levi smiles. “Okay, Caroline. I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. Today I’m giving extra special ladies a rose… before the rose ceremony even…”

“What?” Caroline half-laughs and half-cries as she runs a hand through her hair.

“Yes, and you already get a rose,” Levi declares, whipping one out from the nearby scuba gear closet. “It will guarantee you extra points to help save you from future eliminations.”

“Oh my!” Caroline’s cheeks are a deep rosy red. “Th…tha…thank you…you…Le…vi!”

“You’re so… so welcome, darling,” he smiles sweetly.

Levi’s Confessional: Caroline is the sweetest! And those short shorts! She was workin’ it and she didn’t even know it. I thought the fork in the hair was adorable too. Who knew dinnerware could be such a turnon? She’s a cutie! I didn’t even really mind the ask for the water.

Author Notes: Thank you for reading everyone. I so enjoyed introducing the lovely Leilani (from divanthesimmer) and cute Caroline (from TheYayToast) to Levi. Now I’ll explain a few things that happened.

First of all, Levi was checking out Neal’s dog Mellie at the beginning of this chapter. She wandered…er… flew… er…somehow got to Sulani all on her own.

Second, Neal rolled a whim to streak in the beginning?!?? I didn’t let him as it was time to get rolling, but funny! 

Third, yes, Karleen was the consultant on all of their outfits. I numbered all their outfit choices from everyday, formal, and party wear and asked Karleen to pick (she rolled at random) and that’s how they selected their outfit for the night. I thought it would add a little randomness and make things fun. Plus Karleen’s inappropriate trait makes her outfit choices the craziest. 

Levi was totally unimpressed with Leilani. He was actually really bored during their conversation. Poor dear. I thought she was sweet. I tried. But nope, he was just not that into her. She was oddly obsessed with his hands. 

On the other hand, Levi was totally smitten by Caroline. Already so flirty. She went and grabbed two glasses of water before sitting down with the bachelor so I threw that bit in. Now about the dinglehopper… 1) Karleen mentioned it in the previous chapter and it was a riot! and 2) In the first take of this intro, Caroline had a random fork in her hand almost the whole time. I have no idea why. The game glitched out, and I didn’t get the screenies in my save, and she doesn’t actually have one in her hair, but I decided to sort-of include it in a quirky way… like the quirky gal Caroline is. 

Caroline was totally casual at the beginning of their conversation, and then awkward and funny the whole rest of the time. Her dance moves and flirting were hysterical. Levi used pick-up line and flirt interactions primarily with Caroline. He autonomously kissed her, and then gave her a rose. I thought… what the hey! and included that bit about the roses with the rest of the ladies. 

New Simbai is my Simworld version of India. Mister Wonderful films are a play on Walt Disney. I made up the ridiculous sounding title based on their whims – Go to a bar. Sing karaoke. Hire a maid. Change to swimwear… which made me think of the Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow-Polka-Dot Bikini song for some weird reason. xD

Okay, your turn. Tell us in the comments or over on the forums who’s your favorite of the two and why. Does Leilani deserve another chance and if so, what should she do to up her game? How do you think ‘hot mess’ Caroline will hold Levi’s interest long term? 

Day 1, Pt. 2: Lunch Date (PIP)

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What’s this I hear? Holly bobbed around in the teal waters outside the bachelorette huts. The host of the show is dating someone? That is simply not allowed. You sly dog, Neal! Holly had worked with the man on-again, off-again for the better part of a decade. She had never known him to break the rules. Why now? What’s so great about this Kiana lady? This is going to be great material! she decided to follow.
While Neal and Kiana sped across the Sapphire Bay on their AquaZips, Holly could barely keep up. About halfway across, she decided to quit, grunting in frustration as she could feel a cramp in her abdomen. This is stupid! I’ve got the story of the season right here. Hanky panky happening between my colleague and a contestant! And my side decides to split! Ugh! Holly pummeled the waters with her fists. She made a mental note to start working out more regularly and build up her endurance for swimming.
A lazy day on the outrigger canoe was the perfect way to explore. Merry wouldn’t be needed until tonight for dinner so she decided to take full advantage of all the islands had to offer. It was a breathtakingly blue sky day. The sea breezes were just enough to keep the high Sulanian sun from becoming too unbearable. She was about to turn and navigate to a secluded rocky cove when she heard a familiar cry for help/
Merry turned her canoe in the direction of Holly. Oh that sister of hers! Never preparing for anything! Always overeager and impulsive. As the older of the two Bright twins, Merry was typically bailing Holly out of whatever trouble she got herself into, the poor dear. Good thing Merry had put a change of clothes and the camera in the canoe because she was pretty sure Holly would need them.
I’m here, Kiana texted Neal. She had made a special effort to fix her hair and had tucked a floral floor-length gown into her purse when she sneaked out of the bachelorette huts. She wanted to make a good impression on Neal, but she didn’t want the other ladies to catch on. Hortance, however, had eyed her suspiciously as she stuffed her hair straightener into her beach bag. Kiana could feel her heart pounding. Was it from the thrill of sneaking out? Or was it from genuine excitement to see Neal? Levi was fine. That was for sure. She could tell from the promotional pictures he was going to be a delicious feast for her eyes. But Neal… he was cute in a down-to-earth sort-of way. He wasn’t classically handsome, but he definitely wasn’t a pile of firewood either. And his enthusiasm during their interview was flattering.
While Merry went to stake out a table at the Heart of Sulani to get a good view of the forbidden lovebirds, Holly went to change into different attire. Oh my goodness! Holly whipped out her camera as soon as she emerged from the bathroom. Look who’s here. Levi was jogging down along the beach in nothing but swim trunks and a bright red scarf on his head. And in the background, there was Kiana… in her formal wear… waiting for Neal. This is good. So good… oh gawd! Will he catch her?
Kiana gulped. That was Levi, wasn’t it? Whoa! He was fine… finer than fine. Look at those tats and those muscles! Oh what the plum am I doing? Going to have dinner with another man? I hope he doesn’t see me. Please don’t see me. Wait… he doesn’t know I’m a candidate yet? And I am wearing my hair differently. Maybe he won’t notice. Whew! I think he’s moving along.
Oh no! What’s he still doing there? Holly wondered. The poor man was staring off into the distance as if he had seen a ghost. Maybe it was an island spirit. She heard rumors and whispers and rumblings of those long dead but still tethered to this world floating around, but she didn’t think it happened during the daytime. Oh and look at Neal! So cute! Holly squealed internally. He looks so nice. I’m glad he dressed up for Kiana. Speaking of Kiana, looks like she decided to get a table. Neal, hurry up and join her before Levi catches you.
Holly was about to enter the restaurant and follow when she ran into Hortance, another contestant, on the dock.

“Aren’t you that photographer girl?” Hortance inquired.

Holly’s mouth gaped, surprised to see another candidate at the very same restaurant where Neal and Kiana were having a romantic meal off-camera.

“Yes,” she recovered quickly. “What are you doing here?”

“Getting a bite to eat,” Hortance replied. “Those breakfast sandwiches were not nearly filling enough, and you and your sister weren’t around to cook for us.”

“Lizzie is filling in today,” Holly explained. “You didn’t like the breakfast sandwiches? She’s a pretty good cook too.”

“I wanted an omelette,” Hortance sniffed. “And the other ladies just scooped them right up. Just liked they scooped other things…” she cast a glance over her shoulder and smiled a little too brightly. “…right up.”

Holly grimaced. She knew. Hortance and Kiana were roomies after all, right? At least last night. She knows.

“Well, I’m off,” Hortance continued in her cheery high-pitched tone. “…wouldn’t want to be caught sneaking off campus?” she smirked. “Ta ta!”

“Bye Hortance,” Holly managed, wondering if the woman was going to ‘out’ her competition.

“Oh and Holly?” Hortance glanced over her shoulder. “Be sure to get a close up. The poor girl had puffy eyes this morning though I can’t imagine why!” She laughed daintily and sauntered off to the sand where she called a water cab.

Holly plopped down at the restaurant table, glaring over the edge of her shades as she picked up a menu and pretended to read.

“What’s happening? What did I miss?”

Merry didn’t bother glancing up from the menu. Volcanic pasta sounded like an exciting option.

“Nothing much,” Merry shrugged. “I snapped a few photos for you while I waited.”

“What’s this? What are they saying?” Merry asked as she pulled out a piece of paper to scribble notes. “Gah! Why do I scribble such indecipherable things?”

“Hi,” Merry waved at a passing couple.

Holly stiffened. “Stop it! Don’t do that!”

“Do what?” Merry inquired. “It’s Lizzie and Joseph.” 

“Wave to people,” Holly reached out and grabbed her sister’s hand. “You might draw attention to us, and then I won’t get to break this story to the producer.”

“You’re freaking out about your notes,” Merry sighed. “How is that any different?”

“It is, trust me,” Holly grunted, and continued to discreetly look through her camera in her lap. “They shared a menu? That’s adorable! But what are they saying?”

“How should I know?” Merry sniffed. “I’m not the busybody. You are.”

“This is my job, Mer.”

“Okay, Holls.”

“What?” Kiana exclaimed. “No way. That’s where I went to high school too.”

“In Del Sol Valley?” Neal replied. “Yeah, I was president of the drama club in ’06 to ’08.”

“I was in drama club too,” Kiana replied. “Obviously different years than you.”

“I bet you would be a radiant Juliette,” Neal swooned a little. “…from Simeo and Juliette.”

“Nope,” she shook her head. “How about a snarky Beatrix from Munch Ado About Nothin’ Much?”

“Really? You as Beatrix?” Neal replied. “I bet you did a great job. I never got great parts in the plays despite being the drama club president. I think it’s because I was running around trying to make sure everyone else was settled and then got whatever was left over.”

“I’m sure you did wonderfully,” Kiana surmised.

“I wanted to get over stage fright in public speaking. That’s how I ended up in drama club,” Neal explained.

“It evidently helped. You’re here on a television set,” Kiana nodded.

“Yeah, but I still prefer to stay outta the limelight,” Neal admitted, sheepishly.

“Aww, those two are adorable together,” Merry grinned, with a smile as bright as the sunshine.

Holly’s pen broke against her page. “Gah!” she scribbled all over the paper in frustration. “What’s happening? And why can’t I write anything that makes any sense? Drama club…” she made a mental note to investigate Del Sol Valley High and see if she could dig up yearbook pictures of Neal and Kiana.

“You’re the one who sat there,” Merry remarked. “I’d be happy to switch spots with you.”

“I think they’re ordering now,” Merry said.

“Really?” Holly pulled out her phone, deciding it was more efficient and faster for notetaking. “What are they ordering?” she tilted back in her chair, leaning her arm against the back rungs and awkwardly glanced over her shoulder.

The smoked salmon pita and hummus platter for the lady. And a glass of your fine Riverblossom Cranulet Nuala. I’ll take your chef’s choice Citrus Swig and the Walleye Breakfast Cakes.

“Aww… so cute,” Merry exclaimed. “He ordered for her.”

Kiana waved her hands. “I hope you don’t think I’m a snob because I ordered a fancy plate and a glass of wine. I suppose I’m on vacation now in Sulani so I should probably order an island local dish.”

“Nonsense,” Neal closed his eyes and shook his head. “Order what you want.”

“I guess,” she laughed. “I am a bit of a food snob. I like gourmet. I dreamed of being a celebrity chef as a kid.”

“Really?” Neal remarked. “I thought I’d be an astronaut.”

“Why didn’t you go?” she inquired.

“Eyesight. I could get the surgery, but eh… I like being a television personality better anyway,” he responded.

“I think you make a fine TV host,” she remarked. “And are you sure it’s okay I ordered what I did?” she still seemed hesitant.

“Yes, I’m buying,” Neal said, laying a hand on her own. “Don’t worry about it.”

“I could pay for my meal,” Kiana offered. “I know we really probably shouldn’t be here… but can I ask you something?” she slumped against the back of the booth and laid her hand on the table. “Why did you ask me out today?”

“I’m going to be completely honest with you,” Neal began. “I haven’t had the best luck with women. My work schedule is pretty hectic. I travel often and I don’t always get back home as much as I’d like.”

“Where’s home?”

“Actually, I have a little place out in the middle of the Bloom Desert on the edge of Oasis Springs,” he replied. “I like to get off grid every once in awhile when I’m not working, and the desert is my sanctuary. Is that weird?”

“Not at all,” Kiana shook her head. “I imagine it’s very peaceful out there.”

Neal bobbed his head. “Especially at night. When the air cools down and you can hear the coyotes howl in the distance. It’s where I like to take a lantern and go out and sit on my porch and write.”

“What do you write?” she asked.

“Anything and everything that comes to mind. I’m not trying to write the next great Sim National novel, but I do like to take in the world around me and appreciate nature, witness the stars, and let the iambic pentameter flow to me,” he explained.

“You write poetry?” her eyes widened. “Wow! That’s really cool!”

“Anyhow,” he continued. “…and uh… thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

“I think I scare women away. I travel so much and I’m not around enough. I’d rather go be a hermit in Desert Bloom State Park than I would hobnob with celebs in Del Sol Valley. My idea of a fun evening is sitting at home on my porch with my dog, writing poetry by firelight than dancing the night away at the best skyscraper clubs in San Myshuno,” Neal admitted.

“You have a dog?” she probed, tilting her head as she purposely avoided adding she thought it sounded like a great idea to just sit on the porch in the evenings.

She didn’t want to admit she was attracted to someone other than the bachelor.

“Yeah, Mellie,” he closed his eyes and declared proudly as he thought of his precious coonhound. “She was my dad’s dog until he passed. She actually starred in a Bow Wow and Meow Cheow commercial back in the day.”

“Wow, that’s so cool,” Kiana replied, enthusiastically. “I remember those commercials.”

“Yeah, well, I took her away from all the hullaballoo. She’s more at home in the desert and she can run around freely. Now she stays with my neighbor while I’m gone,” Neal explained, a sudden sadness overwhelming him. “I do miss her.”

“I bet you do,” Kiana said, sympathetically. “You never did answer my question though. Why me?”

“Because I’m a scardy cat, okay!” Neal exclaimed. “I live in my isolation and my safety and distance, and I never get out there and try and meet women. It’s not like they don’t find me, but I’m never enough for them. And I saw you and thought you were the most gorgeous woman I had ever seen and I thought, Neal, take a chance. Ask her out. I know I’m not supposed to and all and I can lose my contract, but I thought what the hey! If you said no, I’d let sleeping dogs lie, but now…”

“…I’m here…” she said, shyly and blushed. “I think you’re sweet. I, myself, am a bit tired of all the celebrity in Del Sol, and that’s why I’m here. Looking for a change. I’m really glad you asked, Neal.”

“Thank you,” Neal replied, the slightest hint of pink breaching his paler than ghost cheeks.

Holly squealed. Merry frowned.

“Girl, keep it down, remember?” Merry urged.

“Oh, but this is too cute!” Holly grinned. “I love it! I am shipping them already!”

“It’s a little against the rules, isn’t it?” Merry inquired.

“Yeah, but we’re not gonna tell, and so long as that Hortance woman doesn’t, I think these two might have a shot!” Holly exclaimed.

The sisters ordered their meal. The restaurant started getting louder. Someone was doing a sand castle competition down on the beach. The announcer was loud over the microphone and the sounds of AquaZips also made it difficult to hear what was going on.

The more Holly watched, the more she was convinced Kiana was Neal’s One True Person. Even Merry admitted by the end of the meal that the two were getting along really well.

“Aren’t they adorable, those two lovebirds!” Holly sighed. “I really hope that they can find happiness with each other.”

“Aren’t you the least bit concerned though? We know. Hortance knows,” Merry wondered.

“I think… if Kiana gets booted off the competition, then she and Neal can still be together,” Holly supposed. “Oh wait… look! They’re about to leave.”

She reached for her camera.

“I’ve got to run,” Kiana said, standing up as she suddenly realized the time. “Oh llamas! I’m first up to meet Levi too on the schedule.”

“Oh,” Neal said, standing out of courtesy, the disappointment registering on his face.

“Wait,” Kiana spun around, rung her hands, and said, “Thank you, Neal. I had a lovely time.”

“I wish… different circumstances…brought us together,” he said, sadly. “I really like you, Kiana, but I want you to give it your all with Levi, okay? He’s a nice guy. A great guy actually. And he’s more your speed, I think. Since he lives in San Myshuno and he’s got an active lifestyle. Levi doesn’t deserve this from me… we’ve gotten to know each other, and I can’t do this to him.

“It’s okay, Kiana…” he added after seeing her shocked and saddened face. “I’ll be okay.”

Kiana didn’t care if he was being self-sabotaging or if his words were a ploy to capture her heart. She was suddenly compelled to kiss him. Her lips were on him faster than he could get the words “go on,” out of his mouth. Even if he had just asked to be friends, she wasn’t ready to let go of the overwhelming attraction and genuine warmth she felt for Neal. Did he not hear a single thing she had said about moving to someplace tropical away from the city and how she wanted a change of pace? Maybe Neal was the guy for her!

She turned and ran away, like a cowering cowplant, before he could say a word. She was here for the bachelor as a contestant, but somehow another contender threw his hat in the ring. Her heart pounded as she lifted her dress and raced up the sand, nearly losing a shoe like Cinderella. Sugar! she laughed to herself.  This is a twist that isn’t in the fairy tales! 

Author Notes: You all voted and here we are! It was time to pop back to Paramours in Paradise. These two contests are happening at the same time, so this particular date is earlier in the day than Breanna meeting the guys. Perhaps this really will be “paramours” in Paradise as ‘paramour’ generally references a lover. Depending on your take on everything, this is either a “Aww” or “Eek!” moment. Levi really did just wander autonomously and then he kept on moving. I don’t think he noticed Kiana. Hortance popping in was also autonomous. 

Thanks to kittymeow for submitting Kiana Hamilton and to VanPelt81 for submitting Hortance Hildenbrand. I loved her little appearance too. 😉 While this chapter grew so much longer than I intended, I was very happy with the end result. So many unexpected things happened during their date. I also had fun with the Bright sisters too. I hope you enjoyed this little foray into forbidden romance. What are your thoughts? Should Neal and Kiana continue to see each other on the side? Or should Kiana respect Neal’s wishes to remain friends and try things with the bachelor first? 

By the way, the lovely Heart of Sulani restaurant lot was created by Gipsy1967. I didn’t make any changes to it. I loved the restaurant. It was a great, romantic little lot for the Bright Sisters’ lunch and Neal and Kiana’s private date. Hope you enjoyed! 



Meet the Contestants, Pt. 4: Griffin & Mort (SIS)

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“And we’re back… what a beautiful night in paradise! We just met the terrific treasure hunter, Miguel Vallejo from Selvadorada. Will he find his true treasure in Breanna? Now let’s meet more contestants.”

“Congratulations, Griffin! You are the lucky winner of the bachelor suite, one of the perks of the Sweethearts in Sulani competition.”

“Uh… wow!” the redhaired gentleman gaped in surprise, a lemon wrench poised in his hand as rose petals fall from above. “That’s an honor. Thanks.”

“You’ll receive your own private space and the bachelorette has a special gift awaiting the lucky bachelor contestant you… in the room also,” Neal explains.

“Cool,” Griffin says, and then grimaces as flowers continue to descend. “Uhhhhh…”

“Holly!” Neal says through gritted teeth. “That’s enough petals.”

“Oh, sorry,” she steps down from the ladder.

“It’s okay,” Griffin laughs. “I must be really special.”

“Let me introduce you all to Griffin,” Neal continues.

Griffin Calhoun-Fyres is a twenty-six-year-old Leo who has spent much of his life moving around. While born in Strangerville, Griffin, or Griff, as his friends call him, grew up in Windenburg. When he was seventeen, he left home and never looked back, traveling from city to city, eventually returning to the SimNation, before settling in the island country of Sulani most recently. He goes where the wind takes him, doing odd jobs to get by, but he never complains. ‘I like that I don’t have to answer to anyone, really,’ he explains. He enjoys the freedom of not having a schedule, and he loves living under the stars. Griffin hopes to find someone who can help him grow as a person, and who enjoys getting out and about in the Great Outdoors. Will Breanna be the one?

The other man closed his eyes and smiled, pink popping into his cheeks. “It’s weird to hear someone talk about me like that,” he chuckles, a little embarrassed from the attention.

“You get used to it once you’ve been around reality tv long enough,” Neal explains. “So describe yourself in a few words.”

“Well, that’s new,” Griffin rubs the back of his head. “I don’t think you’ve asked the other contestants that.”

“You’ve been watching,” Neal smiles, as he liked to catch his subjects off-guard sometimes.

“A few words… I am… a redhead,” Griffin starts, stumbling over the words as he looks as if he will burst into laughter. “Obv’s…heh…so I guess, all the stereotypical redhead traits… kinda… fit me… like the fire… and the hot-headedness…” he blanches and swallows. “…but uh, only because I’m really passionate about things that matter to me.”

“Have you ever snapped at someone?” Neal asked, snapping his fingers. “On live television?”

“What!” Hunter exclaims. “No… this is my first time… and no… I would never…”

“Dude, I’m just messing with you,” Neal relaxes into a bemused smile.

“Uh… okay…” Griffin flexes his fingers against his jean shorts.

“I didn’t have the greatest relationship with my family. I had a pretty good family, I guess. Lots of aunts and uncles and cousins around, but my Ma and I didn’t always see eye to eye,” Griffin explains. “My dad was pretty distant and was pretty scarred by the war, I think… with the Xenos… and uh, I learned pretty early on to be self-sufficient and look after myself.”

“Sorry to hear that,” Neal replies, tilting his head, feeling a little guilty for teasing a contestant.

“…so yeah, you learn to be a bit tough and to have a bit of fire in ya because you never know how you’re gonna need to stand up for yourself when you’re out on your own as young as I was,” Griffin says, a deep sadness filling his vibrant blue eyes. “But no matter… I’ve made a great life for myself…” he shifts his tone and smiles. “…and I’ve seen a lot of things and been a lot of places. It’s a great big world out there, and I’m just lucky to be in it.”

“Sounds like a positive attitude,” Neal remarks. “So tell us what you’re looking for in a partner?”

“Would it be cheesy to say a soulmate?” Griffin waves his hands. “I would love to find someone to place roots with, and to build a home with. It’s been a long time since I’ve had one of those and I miss it. Even if I’m estranged with my family, I still think about them. I think it would be great to bring someone like Breanna back with me. It would help after all these years.”

“It’s not cheesy,” Neal affirms. “It’s romantic. And that’s why we’re here. Romance!”

“Thanks,” Griffin replies.

“So what’s one thing you’d do to put Breanna at ease when you meet her?” Neal inquires.

Griffin swings his arm casually and swipes at the air. “Although I should think that it is rather cliche at this point, I would love to give Breanna flowers. I never thought I could have such an appreciation for them…actually, in my years here I’ve picked up quite a few tricks. Nothing to do with my klepto tendencies, of course,” he laughs awkwardly, and kicks himself mentally… Shouldn’t have said that…

“Klepto…” Neal repeats, bewildered.

“I’m a maniac for magic… it’s all magic tricks,” Griffin recovers quickly and licks his lips before continuing as he waves his hands. “Yep, definitely magic tricks. No flowers. Making things appear out of thin air and potentially disappear from nearby stores at the same time…” he flushes. “You didn’t hear that. Yeah, that’s what I’d do.”

“Riiight…” Neal continues, waving his hands and chortling. “Uh, and what kind of honeymoon… do you envision?”

Griffin tilts his head, trying to interpret Neal’s sudden forced laughter. “Well, first on the agenda would obviously be a trip back home, to the place I left 9 years ago thinking I’d never return. I would have felt much too nervous to go back to Windenburg alone, and perhaps returning with the love of my life at my side would ensure that my mother would not be so angry.”

“Although I could be wrong on that,” he smirks. “We redheads are famous for our fiery tempers. Although, we could always go to the Island first…or the ruins – I used to love exploring them as a little kid with my cousins Cecelia and Matt. Or, even before all that, camping in Granite Falls! Just me, her and the great outdoors. Wouldn’t that be lovely…” he sighs dreamily and picks up his drink again.

“That… sounds… great…” Neal puffs, trying to catch his breath. “Thank you… Griff… for…and…uh… good luck to you.”

“Thanks,” he smiles genuinely, dropping his gaze shyly into his drink.

“That’s our kind klepto… I mean… er… happy hobo… uh… no, that’s not it… the great Griffin, folks…” he claps his hands. “And onto our next candidate…” Neal says, his eyes growing wide.

Meet Mort Reaper-Straud. This cheerful Cancerian calls Del Sol Valley his home. Currently between jobs, the ageless… did I read that right? Ageless Mort hopes to find the love of his life and trek off to the jungles of Selvadorada to explore the ruins. A self-proclaimed expert in vampire lore, Mort enjoys being outdoors, especially at night, or if he must venture outside otherwise, on cloudy days. Will he be able to charm his way into Breanna’s heart and life?

“Hello Mort,” Neal began, slipping into a seat at the table across the deck. “Tell us about yourself and your family.”

“Hi, I’m Mort, Mort Reaper-Straud. You’ve probably heard of my Mum, Amelia Straud, since she’s a mega-famous actress,” the dark-haired, dark-skinned man in a white tee shirt says begins. “…she’s a vampire, but unsurprisingly that’s not general public knowledge – until now I guess. Oops,” he covers his mouth and winces.

He continues way too cheerily. “You’ll have heard of my great great great great grandfather, Vlad, who’s this big Vampire King. Actually I’m fourth in line to the throne, which sounds impressive…”

“Whoa! You’re royalty?” Neal gasps, and Holly shakes the camera.

“…but when you think about it that means I’m practically guaranteed never to rule because, y’know, three immortal sims stand between me and that crown,” Mort continues. “You’ll definitely have heard of my father – he’s Death.”

“He died?” Neal puzzles, wondering how these contestants got selected and on the air.

The network sure liked to send him challenges.

“No, he’s not dead,” Mort shakes his head. “He’s Death with a capital D. You know: big scythe, dark hood, reaper of souls,” he waves his hands. “Yeah, that Death. But I doubt you’ve ever heard of me; I’m only a nobody, which is just the way I like it.”

“Until now…” Holly remarks, swallowing a smirk off camera.

“Riiight…” Neal sighs, skeptically. “Uh, pretty sure there’s no actual Death.”

“Yeah, well, that’s my dad… we don’t actually know really who he is. Dad doesn’t live with us, of course, he’s a busy guy, all that soul reapin’ to do. The first time I met my father was the day my grandmother died, so that sucked. Then again, I never do see my dad under good circumstances. It kinda goes with his job,” Mort explains.

“What are some of your hobbies?” Neal inquires, desperately hoping to change the subject, and wonders why Mort appears to be glowing.

“This is a bit morbid,” Mort says sheepishly. “… but I have to admit that when I was a teenager, I was so desperate for my father’s attention that I spent a lot of time hanging out around hospitals, old folks’ homes and other likely spots hoping to catch a glimpse of him.”

“Hospitals and old folks homes…” Neal repeats in total shock, closing his eyes, praying a commercial break was coming soon.

“I still volunteer there regularly. I believe in giving back,” Mort grins. “But the hanging around just for fun… I’m past all that now and I have big plans for the rest of eternity. I’ve seen the huge collection of Omniscan treasures and relics that my great grandparents brought back from Selvadorada. They never did find all of the lost golden relics, though, and I’m hoping that I will be the one to recover them. I just need to find someone willing to come with me.”

“Anything else?” Neal squeaks.

“I’m a geek who loves video games and science fiction, especially curled up inside under a blanket fort on a rainy day. Because clouds… rain… indoors… it’s all perfect to me,” Mort replies, closing his eyes and curling his hands toward himself in glee.

“That’s cute,” Holly coos. “What is one thing you’d bring Breanna to put her at ease?”

“Hmm I think I’d bring her a small gift to break the ice – maybe a box of chocolates, since it sounds as though chocolate is a particular favorite of hers,” Mort replies thoughtfully.

“And uh…” Neal gasps, his throat feeling dry.

Merry quickly brought him a bottle of water.

“…the honeymoon. How do you envision… a honeymoon?” he takes a swig and manages.

“Did you see Breanna yet?” Holly smiles.

“Isn’t she lovely?” Merry follows.

“Here’s her picture if you haven’t,” Holly offers a photograph to Mort and then steps back behind the camera.

Mort gulps. “Breanna is even more beautiful than I was expecting. Wow, I don’t usually get nervous but I’m a little nervous now. I hope she likes me.”

Later during Mort’s confessional: Shoot! She isn’t keen on vampires? Ah it might be better if she didn’t know that about me right away or at least until she knows me better – although I’ll have you know that I get all my plasma strictly from plasma packs. Not sure how I’ll explain away not eating in front of her and I will have to remember to walk at the pace of a normal mortal sim and of course never to fly around as a bat. Also the whole ‘the-Grim-Reaper-is-my-father’ thing might be best kept under wraps for a while. That tends to weird people out too. But at least the ‘Amelia-Straud-the-World-Famous-actress- is-my-Mother’ thing will detract away from the uh… stranger things* about my family and I. Don’t get me wrong, I would want her to know those other things eventually – you can’t build a relationship on lies and half-truths – or not a healthy one, anyway.

Mort laughs. “Anyway, I should probably answer her question now. Well, as I’ve said already I have big ambitions to explore the jungles in Selvadorada. My great grandparents spent almost 80 years in those jungles, investigating tombs and building up a huge collection of ancient artifacts, Omniscan treasures and relics.”

“I think it’s pretty romantic that they could be together for so long, just the two of them, in such extreme conditions. I’d love to take my future wife to the waterfall where my great grandmother proposed to my great grandfather. I hear it’s the most beautiful place.”

“So my ideal honeymoon would be a holiday to Selvadorada where we’d visit the places I’ve heard about from the memoirs of my great grandparents and hopefully experience some of the romance that they found there. Who knows, maybe we’d even find some treasures of our own?”

“Alright, thanks folks, er… Mort… and uh, everyone…” Neal waves. “Have a good night.”

“Uh, Neal…” Merry interjects. “We’re only just going to commercial.”

“We are?” Neal sighs, and feels about ready to faint.

“Yeah, we’ve got one more interview tonight,” Holly reminds him.

“Just let me grab a quick drink first,” Neal heads into the bar.

Insulting a guest contestant? Jungle exploring body-builders? A vampire of noble blood who thinks he’s related to Death? And a kleptomaniac who might just be a runaway thief? Oh gawd… what is going to happen here? Get a grip, Neal!

“Say, want another match?” Miguel offers.

Author NotesSo, Neal is getting pretty flustered here. It is the end of the night… and maybe he’s been drinking a little too much. In case you’re wondering, the seventh and final contestant will be joining us the following morning. Thank you to afai1261 for submitting Griffin and MaggieMarley for submitting Mort, plus writing such great backstories here and here

In my Simworld, Strangerville is set in New Azteca, and is just outside Strangetown. Windenburg is set in Albergia, which is my Simworld version of Germany and Switzerland. The war Griffin mentions would be the ongoing cold war with the Xekzois, known as Xenosi or Xenos to the Sims, the green-skinned xenophobic aliens (that are a bit akin to the Star Trek Borg).

BTW, also in my Simworld, Death/the Reapers are a vampiric alien race known as the Kr’v (or sometimes referred to as the Titans). Krv is the Serbian word for ‘blood.’ Fitting, right? Anyhoo, without going into a lot of detail, I imagine Mort is the son of the current ruler of the Kr’v homeworld, also called Kr’v (or Titanav by Sims). You can read more about the Kr’v here.

Back to Mort, yes, he’s a vampire. In my Simworld, vamps have all sorts of lore and culture, and I won’t get into all of it. They are the most well known supernaturals, and the most restricted in terms of what they can and can’t do. By this time in the Simterran history, vampires have more freedoms to move outside their hollows (communities), but are still feared, which is probably why Neal reacted so badly. Poor Mort. I love his cheeriness.

Mort is physically, mentally, and socially gifted, and loves the outdoors, is a geek, and is cheerful. He has skills in charisma, comedy, and vampire lore, and I added video gaming. Griffin has the klepto trait, plus loves the outdoors, and hotheaded. I also added ‘Incredibly Friendly,’ ‘Free Services,’ as I feel he could charm his way into ‘great’ discounts, and Frugal, as I feel he would be living off the land and he has to be resourceful 😉 He has skills in Charisma, Mischief, Fitness, and Fishing.

Hope you enjoyed. Did you see SoulGal7‘s Aliena Sixam made an appearance in the background of Mort’s interview? Also Munterbacon ‘s Miguel, nerdfashion’s Kaha, and TheYayToast’s Hunter also appear in the background. Thanks for reading. 

Meet the Contestants, Pt. 3: Miguel (SIS)

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Welcome to Sweethearts in Sulani. All the contestants are gearing up for competitions with a little liquid courage. Tomorrow they meet the bachelorette herself, Miss Breanna Gaines. We just met the astonishing actor, Hunter Hale. Could he be the man to sweep Breanna off her feet?

Now we go to meet bachelor contestant #3. Speaking of competitions, he’s playing the iconic Sim National game Don’t Wake the Llama. Let’s check in.

“Hola!” the curly-haired man with immense muscles looks right at the camera. “I am Miguel Vallejo, a twenty-six-year-old Scorpio from Puerto Llamante, Selvadorada,” he speaks in a deep voice with a heavy Aztecan accent. “…and I am a treasure hunter,” he declares proudly. “I have traveled into the depths of the Belomisia Jungle and back many times, and have yet to find the best treasure of all, the treasure of a good woman like you Breanna,” he points at the camera. “And I would treat you like a queen.”

“Welcome Miguel,” Neal says. “I see you are playing a game.”

“Ah, yes, games that require concentration like this one, and finesse, are my specialty!” Miguel declares. “Would you like to join me?”

“We could play and talk,” Neal decides. “Excellent idea. So tell us about yourself. You must spend a lot of time body building,” he chuckles weakly, in awe of the man, and also intimidated by him. “It’s an incredible feat. It must be all you can think about.”

“What are you saying?” Miguel gasps and puts his hands on his hips. “That I spend too much time on my physique and not enough time on my mind?” he narrows his eyes. “Evidently, you have no imagination.”

“Excuse me!” Neal exclaims, mimicking Miguel’s move by placing his hands on his hips. “I do have imagination… and I wasn’t implying you were dumb.”

“The mind, my friend, is the sexiest muscle,” Miguel declares. “I believe in exercising as a whole… particularly my brain. This body…” he touches his enormous biceps. “…is just a vessel for my wealth of knowledge and experience.”

“I see,” Neal says. “I did not mean to offend. I happen to think your… er… the mind… is an attract…I mean, important part of… intelligence is an important trait in a woman.”

“In anyone,” Miguel says, passionately. “I definitely hope Breanna is a smart woman, as well as attractive. I like a person that can hold an intelligent conversation and isn’t afraid to show how smart they are.”

“I apologize again, if I offended you,” Neal says, meekly. “I meant the discipline it takes to stay so muscular… er… we can start over. Please let me introduce you properly… er… Holly, we might want to cut this.”

“Are you kidding?” she pokes her head out from behind the camera. “This is gold…” she says, her eyes sparkling.

Neal sighs.

“I will forgive you… if you will play a game with me,” Miguel offers.

“Deal,” Neal says, relieved. “But first.”

Meet Miguel Vallejo. Growing up in the jungles of Selvadorada, he spent his youth running through the Omiscan ruins. Miguel is a survivalist, and he knows his homeland like the back of his hand. When you live among the bush, you never know what you’ll find, he says. That’s why Miguel dedicates two hours daily to staying fit. However, he explains the most important muscle you need to exercise daily in the jungle (or anywhere) is the mind. Miguel has always wanted to be an adventurer and find fortune. He is looking for someone who encourages his adventurous lifestyle and can lose track of time talking about all things intellectual. Will he be fortunate enough to find the next big adventure with Breanna?

“So Miguel, what are some of your hobbies?” Neal inquires.

“I enjoy reading and collecting maps,” Miguel begins with a suave smile at the camera. “A map can tell you a lot about the mapmaker actually, like their preference for measurement, and what is important to them. Will they focus on topography or will they primarily show you the trail they think is best?”

“That’s an intriguing hobby,” Neal replies.

“I enjoy reading history books and watching the history channel,” Miguel continues. “Ancient history of Simterra is my favorite. I double majored in paleontology and history in college. I almost completed a masters in anthropology.”

“Impressive,” Neal nods. “And I understand you have one more hobby.”

“Yes, programming,” Miguel points to his temple. “Must keep the mind sharp. There is no reason the material and virtual worlds cannot be of interest to me. I am designing a mind maze game to help fund my expeditions.”

“And your work?” Neal asks. “I understand it is interesting.”

Miguel grins. “I would say more than interesting. It is not one specific job, but many. I like the thrill of the adventure. A few years ago, I was a bush pilot helping bring supplies to the tiny villages deep in the jungle. My plane is an antique, but she gets the job done.”

“I understand you had a bit of a bad experience and a major setback during your last trip into the jungle,” Neal probes.

A dark look flits across Miguel’s face as he contemplates his next move. “I fell into a poisoned artifact while investigating Omiscan ruins. I was life-flighted to São Paten and spent the next six months of my life in a coma in a hospital.”

“In the past year and a half, I spent time training my body and my mind to return,”  Miguel continues. “As you said in my intro, I am a survivor. I will beat this challenge just like every other one I have faced. The jungle calls me, bro. There is an energy there unlike any other. You cannot imagine if you have not been.”

“Sounds like an awesome place to be,” Neal affirms and grumbles as soon as the tower collapses.

“Better luck next time,” Miguel shrugs.

“Plum!” Neal exclaims, and then smacks his forehead. “Holly… opps… please strike that from the record.”

“Too late Neal,” Holly pokes her head around the camera. “We’re live.”

“Live?” Neal gulps, and pales.

“So… Mister Miguel Vvvaaallejo,” Holly drags out the ‘v’ in an almost purring sound. “Breanna has some questions for our bachelors.”

“I should like to hear them,” Miguel frowns. “But first…” he rubs his chin thoughtfully before proceeding to tell Neal how he could have amended his decisions in order to have secured a victory.

“Uh… thanks…” Neal grimaces at the unsolicited advice.

“What is one thing you would do to put Breanna at ease when you meet?” Holly inquires from out-of-view.

Neal begrudgingly resets the tower of sticks while Miguel replies.

Miguel turns to look at Holly. “I would take Breanna on a treasure hunt. I would tell her about some of the sunken treasure that could possibly be found by either beachcombing or free-diving, and then I’d let her make all the decisions. I’d turn it into a competition, to see who can find the most interesting things, and the winner can claim an item off the loser. I always find that a little bit of friendly, healthy competition helps to ease any tension.”

“That sounds dreamy…” Holly swoons. “An item from the loser?” she repeats, fantasizing about asking for Miguel’s shirt, should she be competing.

Neal clears his throat loudly.  “And what kind of honeymoon…” he begins and adjusts the collar of his jacket as he reclaims the interview. “…do you envision for yourself?”

Miguel pulls the first piece with vigor as he begins a new game and waves the stick around in the air triumphantly. “That’s an easy one… I’d love to go back home to Selvadorada to show Breanna my roots. There’s a really amazing place out in the jungle with a panoramic view of the jungle, its various ruins, and even a romantic waterfall… It is truly a magical place, full of wonder, and I’m sure my parents would spoil her like the queen she is.”

“Is it true it’s called Flirty Falls?” Holly squeals and claps her hands. “I have been all over the world myself, but I have yet to venture into the jungle.”

“You should go someday,” Miguel smiles, charmingly. “It is a magical place.”

“And we’re out of time. Commercial break,” Neal declares, slapping the table. “I need some air…” he coughs.

“You don’t need to be a poor sport about it,” Miguel replies.

Author Notes: I hope you enjoyed. Thank you to Munterbacon for submitting Miguel Vallejo. Miguel and Neal did not hit it off well. They are the first to not get along. I found it funny that Miguel thought Neal was insulting his intelligence. Neal did genuinely insult a guest on the show… bad Neal! Holly helped rescue the scene yet again. He kept looking over at her anyhow. This scene took place immediately following Hunter’s interview and I figured they could chat during the game, which did not turn out well for Neal.

FYI, Azteca is my Simworld version of Central and South America. São Paten is a custom world made by Potato Ballad Sims for TS3.

I had a problem in my game equipping the extra traits of ‘Loves the Outdoors’ and ‘Romantic’ so I had to tweak a few things. Miguel’s traits are Geeky, Genius, Active, and Quick Learner. I equipped Survivalist and Great Kisser in lieu of the other traits. I hope you don’t mind, Munterbacon. He is skilled in Fitness, Archaeology, Selvadoradian culture, and has skills in Logic, Charisma, and Handiness also. 

I also plopped him in the “Xtreme” Career by TwilightSims to test out why I was having issues with his Sim and sent him off to the jungle once in another save, which is why he talks about being a bush pilot at one point during this interview. 

We also see nerdfashion’s Kaha, VanPelt81′s Andy, MaggieMarley‘s Mort, TheYayToast’s Hunter, and afai1261‘s Hunter in the background on set. Thanks for reading everyone! 

Meet the Contestants, Pt. 4: Hortance (PIP)

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Moving right along… let’s meet Bachelorette #4!

Neal’s voiceover: Hortance Hildenbrand is a forty-one year old highschool English teacher from Oasis Springs. A recent divorcee, Hortance is eager to get back on the market and meet other guys, who are not from her hometown, but she’s not looking to have kids… or even like kids. (Did I read that right?) Hortance enjoys writing Twilight fanfiction (though we’re not sure if that means she is really obsessed with that time of day or if she’s got a thing for supernaturals), reading romance novels, shopping, brunch, hanging out with her gal-pals sipping Simsmapolitans, and antiquing.

“Hey there, I’m Hortance Hildenbrand, and no, you may not call me Tancey or Hilde. My name is Hortance and I appreciate being called by my proper name,” the thin woman with expressive eyes says almost immediately, putting her hands up.

“Okay,” Neal replies slowly.

“I heard you had a problem with another contestant’s name, and I’m not into cutesy nicknames either,” Hortance clarifies.

“Well, welcome Hortance,” Neal continues. “How long have you been teaching?”

“Decades,” she replies. “Longer than you’ve been alive, I suspect. What are you, just outta college?” she eyes Neal suspiciously.

“Oh… um… no,” he replies. “I’m in my early thirties.”

“Oh, well,” she waves her hand dismissively “…it’s hard to tell with that baby face.”

Hortance grimaces. Holly motions wildly to Neal to keep him talking as he appears to be thrown off his game.

“Nothing a few little wrinkles in a couple years couldn’t fix,” Hortance continues. “Age lines are a sign of wisdom you know.”

“So… Hortance…” he begins. “Tell us about yourself.”

 “I like writing. That’s partly why I’m a highschool English teacher. Kids spelling these days is atrocious and they need to know the difference between a conjunctive adverb and subordinating conjunction or my stars! How will they get by in this life? We can’t all be screenwriters like Alan Stanley.”

“I see. You listed Twilight fanfiction as an interest. Would you care to expound?” Neal continues.

“Oh yes,” her mouth relaxes into a gentle smile. “See I know that it’s an obscure blip on the early two-thousands’ radar from Old Eorthe but there’s so much potential there.”

“Never heard of it,” Neal shrugs.

Hortance gasps. “Sacrilegious!” she sticks her nose in the air. “I will be sure to ship all the novels to your trailer by morning. Vampires. It will blow your mind.”

 “Okay,” he winces, making a mental note to research Twilight. “I thought you were speaking about the mid-century Twilight Zone. Yes, we get archived episodes all the way out here on Simterra too.”

“The what zone?” Hortance shakes her head. “Of course, I write fanfiction to improve upon the original. It’s quite brilliant actually. I can have my editor ship you a copy of my latest manuscript… I heard…” she cranes her neck. “L. Green herself is here. Do you think she’d read it?”

“Why don’t you tell us about what else you like to do?” Neal tried to steer the conversation back to the topic at hand.

“I am a bit of a fitness nut. I wonder if that yoga instructor will give me some tips,” Hortance replies. “We got to talkin’ on the bus. And I like men who work out too. And like that last girl… girl, what’s your name?” she eyes Caroline as the other contestant walks onto the set.

“Oh… uh… I’m so sorry…” Caroline squeaks. “I didn’t realize you were filming. Oh gosh… I’m… just getting my purse. I think I left it here.”

“No mind,” Hortance waves it off.

Neal eyes Caroline in surprise.

“You said you like muscles and I couldn’t agree more,” Hortance declares. “I prefer my man to be manly. No baby cakes for me,” she shakes her head wildly and then tilts her head in a dreamy manner. “Muscular men are so attractive, don’t you think?”

Neal coughs. “Hehhhh… so you like to workout?”

“I am quite religious about it actually. I learned kick-boxing with bots, rock climbing, and ballroom dance all in the last month.”

Seeing Neal’s surprised look, she adds, “What? I am a quick learner.”

“I enjoy ballroom dance as well,” Neal admits.

“Well,” Hortance smooths her gold dress. “I think we just found something in common.”

“Might have to ask you for a spin on the dance floor,” Neal says.

Hortance smiles happily. “I think I’d enjoy that. Of course, only if it’s okay with Levi. When do we meet Levi?”

“Tomorrow,” Neal answers. “Your bio also says you enjoy homestyle cooking.”

 “Yes, I do. I look forward to the island feast night,” Hortance replies. “It’ll be great to get some island local favorites too. I would prefer a cookout in the backyard to a fancy restaurant anyhow. All the money in the world can’t buy a good homestyle meal. Not that I don’t enjoy the finer things in life…” she trails off.

“…massages… massages from manly muscular men who are good with their hands…mmm…” she waves her hands back and forth. “Jewelry. I’m a sucker for unusual pieces. I like antiques, remember?”

“I do,” Neal nods. “What’s your favorite piece?”

“Well, I’m a Leo, and I found an antique brass lion once that was just perfect for my den,” Hortance replies.

 “That’s great,” Neal exclaims. “Before we move on, let me ask, if you could travel anywhere in the world…”

“…where would I go and why?” Hortance eagerly interrupts. “Oh, yes, I’ve been waiting for you to ask. San Myshuno. They have the best street markets and fairs for antiques. Oh and Windenburg. So rich with culture and pieces of history. Really… anywhere but the Springs. Did I just see Joseph Simself?” she glances about wildly. “The Simstagram star? Now that’s a good man right there…” she grins. “Of course, he’s married to that L. Green,” she sounds disappointed. “He used to live in the Springs too… hmmf! Good thing he got out too. The Springs are becoming so… parochial.”

“Yes, and well, good luck to you, Hortance…” Neal says and shakes her hand.

“Please, honey, I don’t need luck,” Hortance grins enthusiastically. “I just need a real man!”

“Heh, and there you have it, folks,” Neal grins awkwardly and lifts his hands as he’s not sure what to make of bachelorette number four. “Hortance Hildenbrand. We’ll be back right after these words from our sponsor.”

“Now, Neal… your real name is Gregory. I read your bio,” Hortance continues. “Gregory is a much more manly name, don’t you think? And honey, has anyone ever talked to you about growing a beard?”

 Author Notes: I already love Hortance. I love how she’s not the typical bachelorette on the show, and that’s what makes her interesting. Thank you VanPelt81 for submitting such a unique Sim to this competition/story. So much to work with here! It was fun to throw Neal off his game a little. And nice to see LegacySims2017’s Joseph Simself once again as he strolled past on the beach. And Caroline from The Yay Toast also made an appearance. FYI, Alan Stanley is a TS3 celebrity scriptwriter, a play on Woody Allen.  Thanks for reading everyone! 

Meet the Contestants, Pt. 3: Caroline (PIP)

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After a brief commercial break from our sponsor, The New Bland, body products that make you smell magnificently mediocre, but at least they’re not mothballs in the back of your closet. It’s brand new! 

Welcome back. Let’s meet our next contestant straight away.

The pretty brunette, in a sky blue tank blouse and floral skirt, swallows hard and makes a squeaking sort of sound.

“Are you okay?” Neal asks, awkwardly, his face still frozen in the killer salesmen expression, the same as the commercial.

Yes, yes, using New Bland products makes me feel like a new man, he thinks.

“Uh,” she manages, her face turning a bright rosy red. “I think so.”

“Let’s fly off the island and meet the babe from Brindleton Bay, Neal begins, as the young lady manages to force a smile and whimpers in a sort-of freaked-out way.

“Caroline Grofield is a twenty-something Scorpio who thought she knew where her life was headed when her sister decided to do what countless others before her had done. Take on the Rebuild Challenge.”

“Oh for heavens sake, we’re not here to talk about my sister,” Caroline interjects, finding the courage to speak, and immediately bunches her fingers around her skirt to calm herself. “Yes, my sister is reality star, Anita Grofield,” she admits as she continues. “But we’re here to talk about me, not Anita.”

“Be your own woman,” Neal nods and rolls with it. “I like it.”

“Thank… you…” Anita shyly says as she sinks back against the back of the yellow couch with oversized red flowers.

“Do you think…” she asks. “…you could sit a little closer? I’d feel a bit better.”

“Absolutely,” he replies as he shifts out of his seat. “So Caroline… take the reins and introduce yourself.”

“Really?” she squeaks, and clears her throat self-consciously. “Okay… yes, I’m Caroline Grofield. I used to be a botanist, and yes, I used to do everything my sister did. We were inseparable. But then I realized I needed to get my own life…”

“And your own show,” Neal interrupts.

“Exactly, and uh…move on with my life,” she says. “I thought by coming to Sulani I could figure out what I want out of life.”

“Ambitious!” he exclaims. “And brave. To start over on national television.”

“Yes…” her throat feels dry and itchy.

“I’ve always known what I wanted,” she continues. “And I’ve always planned my life, and I thought to Hades with it! I, Caroline Grofield, have an idea, a brilliant idea. To do something I’ve never done before. Be impulsive!”

“You’ve never been impulsive?” Neal gasps.

“Uh, the most impulsive thing I did was quit my job… and move away from the beat-up little apartment I shared with my sister. And move into an even more beat-up and tinier apartment in Brindleton Bay.”

“That’s pretty impulsive,” Neal confirms.

“Yeah, but…” she pauses. “…I’ve never done this…” her voice drops to a near-whisper. “…left my hometown on a whim to fly to a foreign country and compete for a bachelor with six other women… maybe more… I hear there’s alt..alt…alternates…” she finds herself stuttering.

Neal motions to Merry to bring the woman a bottle of water. The older of the Bright twins obliges. Caroline gulps down three times and hands the bottle back to Merry as she swallows and says a dainty ‘thank you.’

“Am I pathetic?” she bursts out. “I mean, I’m jobless and aimless and kinda a mess.”

“A hot mess,” Neal smirks.

Caroline blushes. “Thanks… I just want to know that I’m not crazy for doing this.”

“If it makes you feel better, I choked on national television the first time I was on a gameshow,” Neal admits.

She looks at him skeptically.

“No, literally choked. It was a chubby bunny contest with marshmallows and I stuffed one too many in my mouth,” he laughs at the memory. “…I puked on one of the judges.”

“Oh,” she gasps.

“Everyone’s nervous. It’s normal. And you have to be a little wild to apply to one of these shows,” he assured. “So don’t worry. You’re in good company.”

“Okay,” she sighs, though still doesn’t look relieved.

“What are you looking for in a partner?” he inquires.

“Muscles,” she exclaims, and then giggles and blushes. “I mean… I like mennnnn… who are muscular…” as if that response was any better as she flushes a deep scarlet. “…I like active men who are… healthy?” she drops her hands in her lap as her last word is a higher pitch.

“Nothing wrong with knowing what you like,” Neal recovers smoothly. “And physical attraction is important in a relationship.”

He nudges Caroline lightly so she knows to open her eyes. “Levi has muscles.”

She sinks further back into the couch. “Uh…” she begins meekly. “I just like manly… men… men who are traditionally masculine, I suppose. Men who like to work out and take good care of themselves… none of those Shakespeare Court actors who wear…” she touches her flushed cheeks. “…makeup… and read lines all day. I want to get out and do things.”

“No scrawny Big Apple theater geeks, got it!” Neal grins sheepishly.

“Oh!” she looks mortified as she freezes unnaturally. “You aren’t… like… one of them? Oh… I just said that!”

“Naw…” he shakes his head. “I got my start in Del Sol Valley on a soap commercial. Not on the stage. Don’t worry, Caroline. You’re doing great. And it’s good to know what you don’t want too.”

“I must sound like such a snob with my Simsmapolitans and my disdain for theater guys. I do like plays, but I don’t…” she trails off and sighs dejected. “And I wanted this to be so perfect.”

Neal realizes she’s feeling uncomfortable, and decides to move things along. “Tell us more about yourself. What do you like to do?”

“I like dancing…” she manages.

“Dancing!” he exclaims. “That’s awesome. I do ballroom.”

“Oh, yes, I’ve always wanted to do ballroom,” she remarks, relaxing. “And I like gardening. Plants are so much easier to understand than people.”

“Agreed,” Neal nods. “I can sing to my dahlias all I want, but the minute I burst into song on the street, people give me such weird looks.”

“On… the… street?” she looks confused.

“Singing to flowers is kinda cute,” Holly pipes up from behind camera.

“There will be a dance competition,” Merry interjects quickly changing the subject from off the camera also.

“I brought my dancing shoes,” Caroline beams.

Neal’s cell phone rings, and he glances down at the screen. “Oh I’m so sorry… can we pick back up in a minute or so?” he asks, a little embarassed.

“Sure, we’re going to commercial anyhow,” Holly replies.

While he steps away, Holly and Merry approach Caroline.

“I lived in Brindleton for a summer,” Holly says. “Did a shoot on Deadgrass Isle,” she continues. “…for the Haunted Houses of the SimNation spead in Clocks magazine.”

“I see,” Caroline replies, looking timid as she motions for the bottle of water once more, which Merry happily gives it to her.

“First time on camera, dear?” she remarks, more as a rhetorical statement than anything. “It gets easier. We could practice if you’d like.”

“Really?” Caroline smiles.

“Great! While I adjust the lights,” Holly grins and begins running around set and gives a thumbs up to her twin for suggesting the idea.

Merry states the question from the bachelor. Caroline shuffles around in her seat, dropping the water bottle off the back of the couch. Nerves had the best of her. The camera crew’s lights were in her eyes and the heat of the bulbs increases her tension. She coughs to break the silence.

A petite sound. “What was the question?” she asks.

Merry reads over a sheet of paper on the cue card and repeats, “If you could travel anywhere in the world, where and why?”

The last remnants of color drip from Caroline’s face. She thought back to her life. Her travels. It was empty. Where would she go? She’d never thought much about traveling, but the idea appealed to her. A tiny spark lit in her and she felt the words start to bubble out of her.

“I’ll admit it,” she says. “I’ve never traveled much. I was born in Brindleton Bay and then moved to San Myshuno after college. I thought San Myshuno could offer all the different experiences I could ever want, but I want more.”

Caroline could feel the muscles in her cheeks pull her face into a grin. The warm sunny environment was more stunning than she had imagined. She unknots her hands and lifts them, making wide sweeping motions as she continues.

“Coming here to Sulani has been amazing. It’s gorgeous and fantastic and I want to experience everything it has to offer.”

There was no stopping her now. She stands up and places a finger to her lip. Holly motions her to sit back down as she realizes she is still filming. Great! I’m catching all this. This is good, she realizes. And Caroline doesn’t know tape’s still rolling. She moves her hand encouragingly as she prompts bachelorette number three to continue and Merry catches on.

“So it’s going to sound a little silly to say that out of all the places I want to go to next: It’s Willow Creek,” Caroline says as she laughs. “I know. Willow Creek is a quaint little no where town, but when I was a kid my Mom used to tell me stories. She was from Willow Creek and there was a legend that there is a portal to the elven world there. The Sylvan Glade. A gorgeous place with a waterfall and pink blossomed trees. I don’t know if it exists, maybe it was just a fairy tale, but I’d love to explore my roots and search for something more. I think I’d find magic just traveling to a new place and exploring it to its fullest, and that thought makes me really happy.”

Merry and Holly begin clapping wildly.

“Bravo!” Holly exclaims.

“See you relaxed,” Merry assures.

“Really?” Caroline breaks into a bright smile, her doe eyes softening. “I did it!”

“What are you most looking forward to?” Merry inquires.

“Swimming! The beach here is so nice,” Caroline looks around happily. “I want to swim all day in the ocean. I’ve never done it before!”

“Really? You never went swimming in Brindleton?” Holly exclaims.
“No,” Caroline bits her lower lip. “I’ve always been too scared. And it’s cold. But here… the water is really warm.”

“What did I miss?” Neal returns to his seat. “Sorry, they want me over on the SIS set for a shoot later today.”

“I did it,” Caroline admits, swinging her arm triumphantly over her chest as she makes a victorious fist. “I was good.”

“What was good?” Neal quirks a brow.

“Don’t worry,” Holly grins and walks over to pat her colleague’s shoulder. “Merry and I… we’ve got your back,” she winks.

“I think,” Merry smiles. “We’re done here. We’ve got what we need.”

“Perfect,” Neal smiles. “Well, it was a pleasure meeting you, Caroline. Good luck.”

“I just stumbled in here and look how lucky I already am,” Caroline exclaims. “Thank you, sir… thank you very very very much,” she shakes Neal’s hand with surprising vigor.

“You’re… so welcome,” he replies, amazed at her newfound confidence. He glances over at his colleagues. “I should take phone calls on set more often…” he admits as he walks toward the Bright sisters. “You two are excellent co-hosts.”

“Why thank you,” Holly mock bows.

“You’re welcome,” Merry shrugs with a knowing little smile.

Caroline reminded her so much of herself when she first stepped onto set for her cooking show. It was refreshing to see a genuinely anxious and down-to-earth contestant.

Author Notes: Thanks for reading. Caroline Grofield was submitted by TheYayToast/Ash Toast. I have to thank Toast for helping me come up with the idea of a super nervous Caroline. She wrote a lot of Caroline’s later dialogue and inner thoughts in the forums for me. Caroline was genuinely all over the place, a little shier than the first two contestants when on set. It was thoroughly entertaining to interview her. Decided the Bright sisters, and Merry should make an appearance again. FYI, Clocks magazine is a play on Time magazine. Hope you enjoyed!