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

1.9 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! 🙂

Previous Chapter: 1.7 Stumped

Next Chapter: 1.9 Petit Chou

1.7 Stumped (ALOW)

As promised, a stump appeared in Jenara’s yard the same day. She wondered about the safety of such a thing right out in the open, but Jasmine Holiday, the PlantSim-Sim liaison assured her that once the pods were placed in their holes, they were sealed in place and no one could mess with them. Even so, she made a note to pick up fencing at the hardware store, and maybe even a heat lamp. She didn’t want the little podling to get cold, especially if she found more friends.

As if on cue, Jenara noticed another green-skinned PlantSim man wandering down her street. She approached, feeling enthusiastic about my new mission.

“Hi, I’m Jenara, what’s your name?” she waved.

“Vito. Not interested,” he replied gruffly, and attempted to keep walking.

“What do you mean not interested?” Jenara frowned. “You don’t like friends.”

“I don’t need ’em,” he replied. “And I don’t want to buy what you’re selling, girlie,” he snipped.

“What? I’m not selling anything!” Jenara protested.

“Are you sure? The last guy tried to sell me an anti-fungal cream. Can you believe that?” the man said annoyed. “As a PlantSim, we embrace all of life, even fungi. And I’d be happy to have fungi cohabitate with me. We’re all about symbiosis. An anti-fungal cream is an insult.”

“I see,” Jenara remarked.

“And the guy before that tried to sell me a subscription to the Money Market Lane Journal,” the man threw his hands up in the air. “Think about how many trees were killed just to make the paper for that ridiculous newspaper!”

“I never thought of that,” Jenara replied, making a mental note to cancel any paper magazine and newspaper subscriptions.

“Those were my friends,” he said dramatically. “My comrades… killed! So you people could read your news when you could just as easily read it online and save the planet!”

“I promise I’m not trying to sell you anything, and I’m not trying to kill your comrades…” Jenara explained. At least not deliberately, she thought worriedly. “And I’m just trying to get to know PlantSims in town for the conference. I met Tara earlier.”

“Tara? My wife!? What? Have you seen her?”

“Tara’s your wife?”

“Yes, she went out wandering and we were supposed to go jogging together, and I haven’t been able to find her,” he exclaimed worriedly.

“Oh, well, she went that way…” Jenara pointed. “…a few hours ago, after she gave me a pod.”

“What? Wait… she gave you a podling?” the man’s eyes grew wide and then narrowed. “I can’t believe it. We said we’d plant our podlings together. Why would she do it without me?”

He pounded his fist into his hand.

“I have a stump in my yard,” Jenara pointed back. “I’d be happy to keep your pod safe too.”

“Look, girlie, I don’t know you and frankly I don’t trust Sims. I don’t trust anyone. And God knows what you’d do with it. This whole podling babysitting initiative is stupid and a waste of time. We can take care of our own, and you can take care of yours. We don’t need to be comingling. We don’t need this. We don’t need this at all.”

He had now raised his voice to the point of yelling. Jenara took a step back in surprise.

“I’m sorry if I upset you…” she stammered.

He pushed past her, and stomped into her yard. “Is this your house?” he asked angrily.

She nodded.

“I suppose this will have to do since we have to keep ours together,” he reached into his pocket, pulling out a red podling and slamming it into a space next to his wife’s podling. “Are you happy now, girlie?”

“It’s Jenara,” she replied, feeling uncomfortable.

“I don’t care what your name is. Just take care of my wife’s and my podlings or I’ll sue you for everything you’ve got right down to that sweet little track suit right off your back,” he snapped.

Jenara flushed as she watched the PlantSim man stomp away. She could’ve sworn she saw steam blowing out his ears. She felt hurt as she had always thought of herself as a caring, nonprejudicial person, but he treated her as if she didn’t have a clue. And she was stumped as to how she made him so angry.

I titled this chapter “Stumped” which is pretty lighthearted given the heavy underlying topic. Please know my intent is not to make fun of PlantSims or anyone for that matter. Prejudice (racism, classism, sexism, ableism) is alive and well in the world, sadly. I don’t really want to dip into a heavy discussion here, but I like the ability of the Sims to talk about real world issues in a nontraditional way. I’ve already set up tensions between the supernaturals and traditional Sims and aliens in my other Sims stories because it is such a multifaceted topic close to my heart, and it’s so important that we talk about things and open our eyes, ears, and hearts to the things around us. I also hope that if anything, we can start gentle, healthy, constructive dialogues about our differences in hopes of making our world a better, more caring place. 🙂

Previous Chapter: 1.6 Plant Life 

Next Chapter: 1.8 Gifts 

1.6 Plant Life (ALOW)

Changing into gym clothes, Jenara decided to do some push-ups in the front yard. She figured it would give her a chance to work out her body while thinking about how she would like to landscape. She thought about some pretty rocks and a stone walkway and some lighting. She envisioned flowers blooming and bees buzzing about. Maybe she could make her own honey too. Perhaps she would take a trip to the garden center later today, if it was still downtown.

“Yoohoo!” a voice called out.

Jenara stood up and dusted off her hands as a lovely woman with braids approached.

“Hello,” she greeted.

“Hi, my name is Jasmine Holiday, and I am the official liaison between the Sims and the PlantSims in town for the photosynthesis conference,” the woman explained.

“Oh yes! I was just talking to Tara,” Jenara exclaimed. “I think it’s exciting. A liaison? What is it that you do?”

“I maintain friendly relations between the parties and coordinate their accommodations and help spread the word,” Jasmine replied. “I just saw Tara on the street and she said you’d be interested in attending.”

“Yes, but I…” Jenara laughed awkwardly. “I’m afraid I don’t know what it is that I’d be attending or doing. Maybe you can tell me.”

“Absolutely. We have guest speakers from all over the world come and speak about PlantSims, explain who and what they are, and share about their unique culture, all in an effort to build friendlier supernatural relations,” Jasmine explained. “We’re also giving Sims a chance to experience what it is like to be a PlantSim through interactive and immersive displays and events. We’d love for you to come listen to a talk, or try out our exhibits, and also invite your friends and family too.”

“Well… I don’t exactly have family, and I’m pretty new in town still,” Jenara said, adjusting her glasses. “But I am interested.”

“Also we’re looking for host families, people who can care for podlings,” Jasmine continued.

“Podlings? You mean baby PlantSims?” Jenara’s eyes widened as she realized just what Tara had left with her.

“Yes, they could grow up to be PlantSims, and they currently have an endangered status because people are not aware of these lovely living creatures when they walk around in nature. Many are crushed underfoot, or swept away by rivers because they nest or plant too close. Some are specifically targeted by hate groups. It’s really rather sad,” Jasmine explained.

“Oh that’s terrible!” Jenara explained. “Actually, Tara already gave me a pod, but I thought it was just a little piece of her…” she realized how dumb that sounded, given this was a podling. “…I mean… I didn’t realize…”

“It’s okay,” Jasmine shook her head. “Many people don’t. Wow… Tara gave you a podling? Just like that?” Her eyes grew wide.


“She must have gotten a good vibe from you. That’s quite an honor.”

“I guess, I kinda wish she had said something… so I could be prepared and all…”

“Don’t worry. I’ll send you some brochures and you can download a pamphlet about care of podlings from our website. In the meantime, I’ll get you a resting place for your pod, and any others that we send your way,” Jasmine said. “I have the stumps in my truck bed.”

“Okay,” Jenara replied.

Already she was confused and overwhelmed, but the project sounded interesting, and protecting life was a high and noble cause. She was happy to lend a hand, even if she knew nothing about plants or gardening.

And the PlantSim challenge continues… in story form. Some of these ideas, the podlings in particular, was an idea of mine for a TS3 PlantSim story I had, and I just never got around to writing. It works for this scenario so I’m keeping it in. Plus I was excited to see Jasmine Holiday wandering around the Springs. Hope you enjoyed!

Previous Chapter: 1.5 Pod 

Next Chapter: 1.7 Stumped