1.17 Hurry Home (ALOW)

Jenara and Gar settled into a nice routine together. Working out at the gym, drinks at the Rattlesnake, dinners in the park after chess matches – hot dogs for her and tofu dogs for him. She found herself thoroughly enjoying his company and missing him when he was gone. One early autumn evening, she was jogging around her neighborhood when a sudden feeling hit her – something she couldn’t quite describe but she knew what it was still the same. It was around the same time, she received a text message from him.

Hurry home, it said.

She picked up her pace. Gar had arranged for a buddy of his to pave a new brick walkway lined with lovely flower lamps for her front yard. The work was supposed to be done today, and Jenara assumed Gar had paid the workers and was waiting for her to arrive.

Gar was waiting for her outside her house when she returned. His face lit up, shining more brightly than the full moon. Jenara felt her heart skip a beat.

“Hello stranger,” she said in a sultry voice.

“Stranger?” he made a face. “I should hope we’re not strangers.”

“No, we’re not,” she smirked. “But I was… just being playful.”

“I like it when you’re playful,” he grinned. 

“Oh really?” she teased. “Like this… when I strike a funny pose? Ta-da!”

“You are funny and playful, and smart, Miss Jenara Yearling. I love being around you…” he complimented, seriously. “And I love the way you make me feel.” 

“And I love you,” he added.

With that, his lips met her own, and she melted into bliss.


1.16 Happy (ALOW)

After the dinner with the Kims, Jenara walked out of her bedroom and was pleased to find the outlines of a pink something-or-other sitting on her dining room table. She snagged her glasses from beside the fruit bowl so she could see better. It was a giant pink stuffed bear holding a cushioned heart, and a note was pinned to its back.

I very much would like to take you on a “date” again. This time, alone…and I’ll pay. 

It was signed – Gar – with a fun, curley-cue G. Jenara felt giddy as she squeezed the gift in her arms, and wondered how he managed to sneak the stuffed animal into her house. Plucking an orange from her fruit bowl, she began peeling the skin, and thought about how nice it was to be dating again. She hadn’t been on a solid date since college.

Gar texted around noon and asked if Jenara wanted to meet him for a workout. Of course, she did. She eagerly jogged over to the Burners and Builders gym. She had been meaning to check the place out. When she saw Garbanzo standing on the sidewalk, his muscly arms exposed and his chocolate-colored skin glimmering in the afternoon sun, she about melted into happiness.

“You okay there?” he asked with a chuckle as she walked right into the curb.

Jenara chuckled weakly. “Heh…heh… I’m fine. How are you?”

You are fine, she thought.

Strangely enough, her workout companion did not follow her into the gym. Jenara tried to figure out the exercise equipment while Gar did push-ups in the street. She found the action odd as she assumed he wanted to spend time with her, but nonetheless, she determined the treadmill would not get the best of her, warming up with a few push-ups of her own before starting her running routine. 

At about four-thirty, Jenara took a break and wandered back outside to discover Gar had cooked them tofu-dogs on the grill across the road. Starving from her workout, she plopped down on the bench and began chowing down on the meal. Tofu wasn’t exactly her thing, but she was willing to try it for the sake of Gar.

“You hate it?” he frowned.

“No?” she replied, between bites of bun and tofu. “Yes…maybe…” she laughed and wiped her mouth to remove a blob of mustard. “It’s not terrible.”

“You’re not a vegetarian,” he hung his head. “I assumed. Because of the veggie burgers.”

“Because they were in my fridge,” Jenara burst out. “I like meat, but I do like vegetables too. And I’m willing to try new things, especially if I can throw mustard onto some things. Mustard is a delicious plant,” she bobbed her head as she shoved another bite into her mouth. “It’s really not that bad.”

Gar’s face relaxed into a big smile. “Thanks Jenara. I’ll take not-that-bad.”

“You better,” she gave him a friendly punch in the arm. “And I can make veggie burgers from a box for you anytime.”

Gar laughed.

Jenara stood, and began cleaning up their food, but he stopped her and placed his arms around her tightly, offering a nice squeeze. She felt her heart pounding as she could feel his breath on her cheek and ear.

“I really like you,” he whispered.

“I…” her voice caught. “…like you too. You make me very happy.”

Previous Chapter: 1.15 Third Wheel 

1.15 Third Wheel (ALOW)

“These watermelon mojitos…” Jenara began, taking a sip of her drink.

“…are amazing,” Gar finished her statement.

They shared a happy look. So far the evening was going well. They chose to sit at the bar and enjoy a beverage together while waiting for Dennis to show. They joked around, laughed, and talked about everything from the time Gar’s home remedy for aphids to Jenara’s slight obsession with the Justice League and the weather. Of course, the weather was a safe topic. Jenara figured you couldn’t go wrong with sunshine and clouds.

“Do you like spinach?” he asked.

“Why do I have some in my teeth?” Jenara covered her mouth, self-consciously.

“Oh no,” he reached out and pulled her hand. “You have nothing in your teeth. Why did you think you did?” he laughed.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Jenara replied. “I guess… spinach gets caught in my teeth easily.”

“Then no spinach-wrapped burritos for you tonight,” he smiled.

“Oh I like spinach, but my teeth don’t,” she added. “You recommend the veggie burrito?”

“Yeah, it’s good,” he nodded, leaning over the counter to flag the bartender.

Jenara glanced about, wondering about their dining companion. “I wonder where Dennis is.”

“Hey hi,” a woman in a brightly orange, lace-lined tank top and a full tattooed sleeve plopped onto a bar stool and waved. “I’m Alice. Dennis is my father.”

“Oh, um… hi…” Jenara said, stiffly, taken aback by the attractive dark-haired woman.

“Hello,” Gar said politely. “Alice, it is a pleasure to meet you.”

He stretched out his hand and bowed his head slightly as a sign of respect.

“You know your Simorean traditions,” Alice remarked. “I’m impressed.”

“Ah, yes, I spent some time studying the flora in Southern Simina as an undergrad,” he explained.

Jenara blinked. You learn something new every day. She didn’t realize Gar had traveled outside the country, and she hadn’t thought to ask him what he studied in college. She could’ve kicked herself now, realizing she hadn’t been showing him enough interest. Alice continued to ramble about how much she loved nature, and how fascinating it was that Gar was a PlantSim. She explained how she was a painter, and she only painted living things, particularly plants and flowers, and she felt that was her way of giving back to the grand universe. When she stretched her arms, she showed off even more of her tattoos. Jenara felt uncomfortable, as she knew little to nothing about painting, and she felt she had very little skills about which she could brag. Alice finally asked Gar if he would be willing to sit for a portrait sometime, as she would “love” to add a “PlantSim specimen” to her collection. Sure you would, Jenara thought sarcastically.

“Where is…uh… Dennis?” she asked, laying a hand across Gar’s arm subtly.

Alice took note as she glanced down, but then smiled. “He’s on his way. He was just parking the car. Valet around here is pricey.”

“Tell me about it,” Gar chuckled.

Great! Jenara thought. I’m a horrible first date because I didn’t ask him the kinds of questions I should…and… I took him to an expensive restaurant. 

“Excuse me, I’ll go powder my nose,” Alice slid from her seat. “You wanna come?” she looked at Jenara, who shook her head. “Okay, just thought I’d ask. Dad should be in momentarily.”

Gar reached over, and gave Jenara’s hand a reassuring pat. “I came here with you tonight.”

Jenara flushed, and smiled. He knew? 


She turned her head to see J, the guy who had attended her party at the beginning of the summer for the PlantSims. He was wearing the same powder blue sweater tossed over his shoulders and tied loosely around his neck. Jenara thought it made him look like a prep school grad ready for the beach, but the ocean was a long way from Oasis Springs.

“Hey, it’s good to see you,” J said with punchy enthusiasm.

Jenara stepped down off her bar stool, and Gar stood up next to her.

“This is Garbanzo Hawthorne…” she introduced. “And this is J Huntington the Third.”

“The Third?” Gar repeated, shaking the man’s hand. “You can call me Gar, J.”

“Thanks, and yeah, dad and grandad had my name,” J said, proudly. “Grandad was one of the first guys to blast off into space when they relaunched the space program and expansion, and Dad was started his own company. You may know of the Huntington Post?”

“The news site?” Jenara asked, her eyes widening. “Yeah, I know it. I used to read it every morning when I was in college. I liked the dedicated geek culture section.”

“Oh yeah, the Hunt Post offers all sorts of stuff. Did you see Tuesday’s article about how obsessed everyone is with the new mobile games?” J asked. “And how they are the ultimate stress reliever.”

“Yeah, I kill at Question Quash,” Jenara fist-bumped J, to which he replied, “I must challenge you sometime, then.”

“Isn’t it just an opinion site with gossip more so than news?” Gar said, sounding almost unimpressed.

“No… it’s a legit new site,” J said defensively, but his voice wavered. “Why? Do you dislike gossip?”

“Yeah, sure,” Gar shrugged.

“Gossip is our bread and butter,” J spread his arms and smiled.

“Well, that’s Dennis,” Jenara stepped between the men, and tugged Gar’s arm. “We’ve got dinner plans. Nice to see you, J.”

“Nice to see you too, Jenara. Come by the office sometime. I’ll get my dad to autograph an edition for you,” J smiled suavely.

“That would be…” Jenara could feel Gar tightening his grip. “…nice… thanks.”

As she walked over to the table with Dennis and Alice, she could sense Gar was starting to relax. Now he knows how I felt… She looked up at him and smiled sweetly, whispering in his ear, “I came here with you.”

Simorea is my Simworld version of South Korea. Simina is my Simworld version of Asia. The Huntington Post is a play on the Huffington Post. Question Quash is a random game I made up. Hope you enjoyed!

Previous Chapter: 1.14 It’s a Date 

1.14 It’s a Date (ALOW)

After two weeks of “chess matches” in the park, Jenara improved her game and skills. Gar was a patient teacher, and chess was a slow game, but she didn’t particularly want to hold him back. After investigating online, she found a “reigning” champ in the area named Dennis Kim. The name sounded familiar, and Jenara suddenly recalled he was her property manager. She called up Dennis and asked if he would meet with Gar. The man was only too happy to oblige her request. So that’s how Jenara and Gar ended up sitting awkwardly on a bench outside the Rattlesnake Juice Bar on a cooler-than-usual summer evening.

Should I have clarified that this isn’t a date? she worried. Well maybe it is. I do like him… but do I really like him like that? 

“How hungry are you?” Gar inquired, breaking through the strange silence. 

“Me?” Jenara pointed to herself.

“Yes, you,” his mouth relaxed into a charming smile. “No, that potted palm over there.”

“I don’t know,” she shrugged. “Maybe it’s thirsty. Or needs fertilizer. Then it could be hungry.”

“You’re a funny girl, Jenara,” Gar smirked. “In fact, you’re one of the funniest girls I’ve ever met. And pretty too.” 

“Stop,” she said with an awkwardly girlish giggle. “I’m not that funny.”

A heat rose in her cheeks. “Wait, you think I’m pretty?”

“Of course, you’re pretty,” he replied.

“No!” she chuckled, disbelievingly.

“You don’t know how to take a compliment, do you?”

Jenara caught her breath. Suddenly her evening companion and chess buddy was very serious and very close. He even laid his hand on top of her own as if to emphasize his seriousness.

“Well, here I am all geeky and gangling and weird with a really great guy so… uh… yeah…” she stuttered as she realized what she said.

“Do I make you uncomfortable?” he inquired, looking deeply into her eyes.

“No?” she squeaked.

You make me feel wonderful and like butterflies are doing the Macarena in my stomach. 

“Yes, maybe…a little… only because I don’t know how to do this,” she slumped her shoulders and sighed.

“What? Date?” he asked.

Jenara flushed. “Oh…um…uh… this isn’t… a date…” she stammered.

“It’s not?” he tilted his head, removing his hand from her own.

He’s disappointed, she figured.

“Well… um… unless you want it to be… I just thought you’d like to meet Dennis.”

“Well, sure, but do you want it to be?”

“Okaaaay…” she conceded awkwardly, her words dragging. “It’s a date on one condition.”


“We split the check.”

Gar closed his eyes for a moment and seemed to ponder her request. “Deal.”

Previous Chapter: 1.13 Kings and Queens 

1.13 Kings and Queens (ALOW)

How do I look? Jenara wondered as she glanced at herself in the tiny chrome-lined mirror of the parks and recreational services bathroom. Perhaps the spiked collar was too much, and she should tone down and soften her appearance. Maybe she looked a little too much like a high schooler in her jacket. Perhaps she should just wear the black tank top and show a little more skin. No, she frowned. The heat from the Oasis Springs sun was enough to roast her alive. Better keep my arms covered.

“I have to warn you, Gar,” she explained, sheepishly as she sat down on the park chair. “I haven’t ever played chess before.”

“You haven’t?” he quirked a brow.

“Well, no,” she winced. “I just thought… it would be fun…to learn… I guess… and when you asked, I thought, why not? A fresh new skill might be just the thing I need. And I’m sure you’re a good teacher.” 

“Thanks, I’m flattered,” Gar replied. “Still I was kinda hoping for a worthy opponent.”

“Oh?” Jenara said,disappointed. “I should’ve been honest with you. I’m sorry.”

“No, don’t be, it’s fine,” he shook his head. “I would like to teach you.”

“Really? Are you sure?” she asked, hesitantly.

“So you don’t know anything about chess?” he asked.

“I know there are kings and queens,” Jenara said enthusiastically.

“And bishops and knights and pawns,” Gar sighed, but began moving pieces around the board. “Here. I’ll show you what each one is.”

“Can I be a queen?”

Previous Chapter: 1.12 Making Friends 

1.12 Finding Friends (ALOW)

Jenara jogged across her lawn toward the street. There were always neighbors out and about. Someone would share her veggie burgers. She was certain.

Sure enough as she rounded the house, she spotted Don Lothario running along the sidewalk.

“Don!” she called out. “Hey Don!”

The man was in his own little world, listening to whatever melodies and harmonies streamed through his headphones. Jenara tried waving, but by that point, he was already past her view.

“Oh well,” she sighed.

Jenara started down the street, whistling a happy little tune, something she heard on the television program she watched yesterday. The sun hadn’t fully risen yet, a sort-of fuzzy unripe peach in the morning sky, but cast a lovely rosy-orange glow all around. She spotted Sandra Roth crossing the street, and started to call after her, but the girl kept her head slumped and ignored Jenara.

I wonder what her deal is. She seems pretty goth and depressed all the time, Jenara observed.

“Oh, Vito!” she exclaimed, seeing the green-skinned man continue down the sidewalk behind her. “How have you been, my friend?”

“We’re not friends,” he replied, gruffly.

“Oh but I thought we could be,” she said cheerily. “It’s such a beautiful morning. I made some veggie bur…”

“Butt out, pep squad,” he growled. “And stay away from my wife. She’s already happy enough without your influence.”

With that, Vito Terrano turned and stomped down the road, leaving a confused, and somewhat sad Jenara. Why don’t people like me? she wondered, with dismay. Was she too bubbly and bright and cheery? But wasn’t that the way to make friends?

Jenara remembered a word of advice from her aunt, Ana Nova. Once Jenara came home from school with skinned knees and a bruised ego. Her “friends” had made fun of her in front of the boy she liked, and Jenara had been so crushed she wasn’t paying attention and rode her bicycle into a bush. The girls from school laughed and didn’t help her. They called her stupid and said only a loser would crash into a bush on their bike. She had been so humiliated. She cried and said she never wanted to go to school again, and it was the end of the world. Her auntie had set her on the counter, and gave her a spoonful of her favorite dark cherry ice cream.

Did you know that if you cut a tulip, it will continue to grow up to an inch in a vase?” Ana Nova had said. 

Jenara recalled giving her aunt a puzzled look.

“Sometimes people will say things that are cruel and they cut you to your core,” Ana Nova continued. “But like the cut on a tulip stem, it doesn’t mean the end of life. You can grow stronger and taller from adversity. You know this word, right?”

Jenara bobbed her head, the spoon dangling from her mouth.

“There are people in the world who do cruel things, but don’t ever stop being the lovely red tulip, my sweet sun blossom,” Ana Nova kissed Jenara’s hair. “You will find growth in the healing.” 

With newfound purpose, Jenara decided to walk further down the road and visit the park. Perhaps she would find friends there, and someone to share her veggie burgers.

Sure enough she met Gar. He wasn’t in his PlantSim form, and she thought he looked handsome in his jean jacket, neatly pressed khakis, and baseball cap. He was even wearing her favorite color shirt.

“What do you say about professional cows?” he asked.

“Um?” she frowned, thinking hard.

“They are outstanding in their field!” he joked.

Jenara covered her stomach as she laughed. “Oh that’s cheesy. Wait… I have one… why do cows have hooves instead of feet?” She grinned broadly. “Because they lactose.”

Gar doubled over, laughing hysterically. “You’re funny, Jenara Yearling.”

“Do you like veggie burgers?” she blurted out, and then blushed, feeling uncomfortable about her over-enthusiasm. “I mean… I made some… back at my house… they’re just sitting there… all alone…and I could some help eating them. I know they’re not exactly a traditional breakfast…”

“Oh I like veggie burgers,” Gar bobbed his head.

“Good,” Jenara grinned. “You wanna come?” she nodded in the direction of her house, and Gar fell into step. “Say, Gar?”


“Would you like to be my friend?”

Gar took off his cap and placed his arm over his chest. “It would be my honor, Jenara.”

It is my goal to start updating this story on Wednesdays around midnight MST.  

Previous Chapter: 1.11 Veggie Burgers

1.11 Veggie Burgers (ALOW)

The morning after her house gathering, Jenara was craving hamburgers. Actually veggie burgers to be precise. It was a strange thing to wake up and want a burger patty made of vegetables, but nonetheless, Jenara lifted herself from bed and headed to the kitchen. Opening the freezer, she pulled a package of Evening Star veggie patties, a present from J.R.S., attorney at law. She was grateful he stalked her fridge because she hadn’t been to the store yet since her arrival.

Now how do you turn this on, she puzzled after setting six patties on the grill. Barbecued burgers were the best, and Jenara recalled many times her father making meals out on the back patio. However, she had never once used the grill herself. She fiddled with the knobs until a bright blue gas flame stirred in the coals.

Ooo… pretty, Jenara thought, leaning closer to observe. She then coughed. Not a good idea to get too close. She closed the lid and decided to let the patties cook on the grill by themselves. She could flip them in a few minutes. She wasn’t sure how long patties were supposed to cook on the barbecue and decided to look up stats on her cell phone.

Isn’t it wonderful that we have that information at our fingertips, she thought happily. With the push of a finger and a few clicks, I can find out the answer to anything online. 

How long should you grill a veggie burger on a grill? she typed her inquiry.

The first response said to preheat the grill for 10 minutes. Opps, Jenara frowned. Should she take the patties off and let the barbecue preheat? The second response said to cook the patties for two-and-a-half minutes each side. Jenara decided to cook them for three minutes and then observe since she hadn’t preheated.

What kind of cacti grow in Simvada? 

Red Barrel Cactus, Ferocactus acanthodes. Scarlet Hedgehog Cactus, Echinocereus engelmannii. Beavertail Cactus, Opuntia basilaris. Silver Cholla Cactus, Opu…

Opps… it had been four minutes! Jenara checked the patties, and they seemed fine. She flipped them with the spatula she found in the tools drawer. What fun names for cacti!

How do you say I love you in Simpanese?

Jenara giggled as she struggled to pronounce the words…

Watashi wa, anata o aishiteimasu

What fun! Thanks S’moogle translator! 

Jenara chopped some lettuce, and debated about sliced cheese before her burgers were finished. She set the tray down on the patio stone countertop and wondered why on Simterra she had decided to cook so many. There was no way, even as hungry as she was, she would eat more than two burgers. Well, she decided. I must go find some neighbors to help me eat this scrumptious meal.

Previous Chapter: 1.10 Company

1.10 Company (ALOW)

Jenara found herself watching over the podlings for nearly an hour. Each one was different, reflective of its comrade in a way. One glowed purple, the shade of a plump dragonfruit, and she could sense the rare and generous spirit of this podling’s counterpart, Tara. Another glowed a bold red, reflective of the heated emotions of its counterpart,Vito. Garbanzo’s podling glowed a vibrant fuschia color, and Jenara blushed thinking of his kind and extravagant words.

Snapping out of her reverie, she headed inside, barely having time to put on a pot of coffee and set out her cakes before the arrival of her neighborhood guests. She didn’t even have time to change. Jasmine came shortly behind, bringing Tara with her. Jenara found herself feeling disappointed when Garbanzo didn’t make an appearance.

Tara cornered Jenara and thanked her once again for caring for the podlings, and relayed her happiness that the younger woman was so generous in allowing a stump on her lawn. Jenara told her it was nothing, and she was enjoying the education and the experience, plus she was happy to meet fellow PlantSims attending the conference, and help be apart of a worthy cause. Tara asked about the PlantSims Jenara had met, and apologized on behalf of her husband. She also made a quick comment about Gar, being quite the ladies man, despite his attachment to another certain PlantSim. Again, Jenara felt disappointed. Perhaps she had misread his intentions, and maybe he was just being nice, but from the way Tara portrayed the man, she had probably flirted with a married man. Talk about awkward.

Despite her completely embarrassing encounter with Don Baxter and the Waterside ladies, they still made an appearance at Jenara’s gathering. Don even brought a friend, J Huntington the III, a local technician, who had much to say about setting up the website of the PlantSim conference and managing a chat room for supernaturals and Sims alike to get to know one another and promote peaceful relations. He even offered to put in a good word at his workplace for her if she wanted a job. Jenara found him to be a bit self-absorbed, but she was happy to meet another fellow tech with an interest in geeky things. She even had the time to debate various Star Trek captains with him, though she wasn’t sure she could forgive him for liking Archer the best. Jenara decided to keep her “lame” comment to herself as that wouldn’t have been polite.

Don nodded to her in his casual “wassup” kind-of way as he passed by Jenara and Tara. He was carrying two plates, one with a slice of Jasmine’s banana chocolate chip bread and the other with a slice of cheescake from Jenara’s kitchen. He brought the desserts to his friend, J. As much as Jenara was enjoying learning about Tara’s PlantSimness, she found herself straining to listen to the two men on the couch.

“This house is cool,” Don was saying.

“Yeah, and it’s resident is pretty cool too,” J said, munching on the banana bread. “Do you think that Jenara chick is into me?”

“Dude, you think everyone is into you!” Don punched his friend in the arm.

“I can’t help it. I’m great,” J grinned much too smugly.

Jenara resisted the urge to roll her eyes.

Hope you enjoyed!

Previous Chapter: 1.9 Petit Chou

1.9 Petit Chou (ALOW)

After dinner, Jenara decided to go for a jog to clear her head. She had collected many thoughts over the past few days and her list of projects just kept growing. Gardening. Eco-friendly practices. Recycling. Living conscientiously. Renovating her yard. Taking care of her parents’ home. She had barely time to process even deeper things lurking int he background like the PlantSims and their podlings, her ex-boyfriend, and the loss of her great aunt.

Stepping outside, she was about to jog down her street when she noticed a PlantSim man standing next to her stump. Feeling overly-protective, she strode across her lawn and asked what he was doing when she noticed he appeared to be meditating over the podlings.

“I was saying a prayer for their well-being, petit chou,” he said softly.

“A prayer?” she frowned, wondering if it was anything like her thanks for her strawberries.

“Yes, a familiar chant among my people. Please join me,” he offered his hand in invitation. “I must thank you for caring for these podlings. Many do not have your courage.”

“I don’t know if I am that brave,” Jenara shrugged.

“Yes, you are, I can tell you have strength of heart. Us PlantSims can sense these things. It is in our nature, no pun intended,” he smiled broadly. “You are very brave.”

She smiled shyly. “Thank you,” she felt flattered.

“I suppose I should introduce myself since I am in your yard,” he replied. “I am Garbanzo, but my friends call me Gar, and I am eternally grateful to you…” he tipped his hat. “…for your caring and kind spirit.”

She flushed, feeling flattered. “Thank you, again. ”

“It is a pleasure to meet you, petit chou,” he reached for and kissed her hand before she could stop him.

“Oh my!” she giggled, and quickly pulled her hand back.

The sensation left her skin tingling with pleasure. The attentions were nice, but it was much too soon, even if the man was handsome.

“Um… what was the prayer you were saying?” she inquired.

“Oh just a few phrases we all learned as podettes, but I have something else you might like to hear, hmm?” Gar asked.

She nodded enthusiastically.

It is the whistle of the wind,” he said, followed by a whistle. “...the wind which guides our feet to safety. And the song of the bird… which serenades and fills our minds with hope. And the whirr of the bumblebee…which pollinates the flowers to enable life to continue. And the hum of the dragonfly… who is carried on a breeze and smiles down on nature.”

“Wow,” Jenara gasped. “That is beautiful.”

Gar continued. “It is the howl of the lone wolf at night, crying out for the company of his companions. We are not alone. It is the caw of the crow… seeking the food which others leave behind. It is the prattle of the peacock… attracting the attention of its mate…

Something about the way he said mate made Jenara blush.

“...it is the dance of the grass… the blades flapping in the breeze as the sun caresses their cheeks and brings warmth to their souls. It is the coming of twilight… the light fades and we close our shells to the sun and open our hearts to the stars.”

“Oh my,” she breathed.

“Do you like it, petit chou?” he inquired.

“Like it? I love it!” she gushed.

“I wrote it myself,” he admitted.

“What? Really? That is incredible. You are quite talented.”

“Thank you, petit chou.”

She wrinkled her nose. “What does that mean? You keep calling me that… petit chou…”

“Ah,” Gar pressed his hands together. “It is Championne for ‘little cabbage.’ We PlantSims like to use plants for terms of endearment. I hope you do not mind, little one. It is a compliment of the highest order. I do not know your name.”

“Oh,” she flushed. “I am Jenara.”

“… Merveilleux!” he exclaimed. “What a beautiful name! Like the month, January.”

“Yes,” she smiled. “Like the month.”

“Oh then that explains your connection to these podlings. To be named for a passage of time is a wonderful thing,” he said.

“I didn’t know,” she replied. “I guess I never thought of it that way.”

“I shall leave you a podling, oui?” Gar said, making sweeping gestures with his arms. “You are a lovely person for caring for such delicate and innocent creatures.”

Jenara flushed, pleased. This was too much. All the compliments. She appreciated them, but was beginning to feel overwhelmed.

Au Revoir, petit chou!” Gar said, kissing her hands again, before backing away and continuing down the street.

Jenara lifted her hands to her chest, feeling overwhelmed with emotions. “Au revoir,” she repeated softly.

Hope you enjoyed!

Previous Chapter: 1.8 Gifts

Next Chapter: 1.10 Company

1.8 Gifts (ALOW)

After a productive afternoon at the store, Jenara returned home and breathed a sigh of relief, that the PlantSim stump was still in her yard, appearing in tact. She was a bit concerned after all the things Vito had said, and some of the things Jasmine had told her, about people creating problems for the PlantSims and the danger many podlings faced. She hoped it would do her some good to house the podlings outside her home, though she would’ve felt better if Jasmine had placed the stump in her back yard instead of her front.

Heading downtown, she had purchased supplies to build protective fencing around the podling stump, and rocks for her walkway, and fresh flowers and plants for her new flower beds, that she could build herself with the wood she purchased. She also made a trip to the grocery store to buy plenty of food in case she had more neighbors or PlantSims stop by, and stepped into the bookstore, but was unable to find digital copies of the books she wanted. The store owner suggested she visit their website, which she did immediately on her tablet and selected a book about Gardening 101, The Prologue to Prejudice, PlantSim and Sim Relations, and the History of PlantSims. She figured tonight she would have plenty of reading for beneath the covers.

Jenara wandered into her kitchen to stock her refrigerator. Jasmine Holiday had called while she was out and asked if she was willing to host an informal PlantSim and Sim neighborhood gathering for a talk, and of course, she agreed. Jenara was the first to admit she was relatively clueless. Perhaps getting together her neighbors would help mend fences and build bridges. Just in case, Jenara picked up a carrot cake with vanilla bean frosting, a chocolate caramel cheesecake, a gluten free alternative Deutchsim chocolate cupcakes, and a friendly favorite freezer bunny pops in case any kids stopped by. She wanted to have all her bases covered. She wasn’t sure what to serve at a neighborhood gathering.

Her stomach rumbled. Jenara opted for a bowl of raspberry yogurt and some fresh strawberries, sprinkling a little granola on top for a finishing touch. Her light evening meal was looking delicious as she carried it into the dining room. She was pretty pleased with the wide variety of fruit available at the market and how fresh everything looked – bananas, apples, oranges, peaches, mangoes, red grapes, and even lemons. She could easily make plenty of yummy snacks with her fruit bowl, or even jazz up a meal like she was doing now.

About to lift her spoon, Jenara realized that strawberries were a plant of sorts… just like all the fruit in the bowl before her. She recalled the words of the PlantSim man named Vito.

Those were my friends… my comrades…” he had said.

Can I really eat this now? she wondered, laughing awkwardly to herself.

Pulling out her phone, she pushed through the device until she found the e-book about PlantSim and Sim Relations. She clicked until she found an applicable passage.

Many Sims feel uncomfortable eating plants after becoming friends with a Plant Sim. It is only natural to feel this way. It is important to keep in mind while all plants, flowers, and trees are living, they are not all sentient. We, the authors of this book, want to help you understand the conundrum of trying to decipher who is and isn’t sentient. The important thing is to keep an open mind and to recognize the life energy in all things and beings. The fruit and vegetables of this world were given to provide you, a Sim, with sustenance, just as the sun provides food for a PlantSim. We recognize and accept the gifts of this world, and also respect the thing which gives us energy and life. We eat with conscientious freedom just as we would eat a cow steak or a lamb stew, as we remember our needs are important too and offer thanksgiving for each meal.

“Recognize and respect the thing which gives us energy and life?” Jenara repeated aloud.

She liked that. Thinking for a moment, she closed her eyes and bowed her head as a sign of reverence and said a few words in gratitude for the “gifts” she was about to receive. Sliding the spoon into her mouth, she savored the first creamy bite and then bit into the juicy strawberry.

The universe certainly grants good gifts, she thought.

“Thank you,” she smiled.

Hope you enjoyed! 🙂

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