It was a time of compromises, of mending bridges and building new ones. You could even see it in the ghosts. Fabian and Cyclone seemed to be doing pretty well in the afterlife..
“Hey,” Veronica said.
“You should get a shower,” Hunter said. Another potion experiment had blown up in her face. It happened several times a week these days. Veronica seemed to have a better knack for wiring than she did for chemicals.
“That can wait,” Veronica said. “I saw the report your guidance counselor sent home.”
“Oh,” Hunter said. “That.”
“I’m not going to beat around the bush,” Veronica said. “I’ve been an ass to you about your grades. What I should have been doing was trying to figure out why you were having so much trouble. I’m sorry.”
Hunter gulped. “Thanks, mom. Really.” He was quiet for a minute, while she looked at him expectantly. At last, he managed, “So what do I do now?”
The evaluations were back, and it was pretty clear that Hunter was dyslexic. On one hand, he felt relieved to know that there was a reason school was so hard, and it didn’t mean he was stupid. On the other, it didn’t look like things were going to get any easier any time soon.
“You have a lot of options,” Veronica said. “Let me help you work through them. The most important thing is to find a school environment where you get to do more things that you enjoy.”
After an hour of sifting through the websites of various educational programs, and after Veronica had had that shower, Hunter admitted that what he really wanted to learn right now was something that didn’t involve reading — he wanted to learn to drive.
Veronica smiled. “You’re the one kid I’d actually trust with the car. Let’s do it.” She insisted that they take the Vaguester. That was the last thing Hunter would have expected.
But he had to admit, privately, that it felt pretty good to be behind the wheel of that sexy car.
When he crept the car back to the house after his first lesson, he said quietly, “I think I know what I want to do, Mom.”
“The Round Table Culinary School has a gardening program. I want to learn more about all kinds of living things.”
Veronica nodded. “That sounds perfect. Let’s go sign you up.”
“Let’s hang out after school!” Sky had said to Leah. “It’ll be great fun!” But now that Leah agreed, she wasn’t sure what Leah would find fun.
She shouldn’t have worried so much. Leah was full of ideas. “Did you know Helpless Hearts is showing at the Excalibur Uniplex?” she all but squealed. “I’ve been wanting to see that movie for ages! Would you go with me?”
Sky gulped. That was the sappiest romance of the summer. She used to love making fun of the trailers with Hunter and Forest. “Sure!” she said. “I’ve been dying to see it too!”
The great thing about movies was that you didn’t have to come up with anything to say. You could just sit near someone and enjoy being close without having to justify it.
So that’s just what Sky did. Afterward, she couldn’t have told you much about the except that the heroine looked very nice in a nightgown.
Afterward, they sat down under the stars to talk.
“Don’t you ever wish you could follow your heart like that?” Leah asked wistfully. “I don’t know that I could do it. I’d be so afraid of losing.”
“I bet you could,” Sky said. “You’re a really determined person.”
“I have a secret,” Leah said. “Do you want to hear it?”
“Of course I do!” Sky said.
Leah leaned over and whispered, “I think you’re cute too.”
Well, it was done. Hunter signed up at The Round Table Culinary Institute, and he’d be starting at the new school at the start of the week.
Hunter got away from his family to take a long walk and ponder whether he was more hopeful or more scared.
He heard a whuffling sound in the tall grasses, and when he looked he was rooted to the spot.
The wolf was the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen.
She looked up then, and their eyes met. To his surprise, she was neither frightened nor aggressive. If anything, she seemed tired. He reached out instinctively, and she sniffed his hand.
She was a wild thing. She lived and breathed freedom.
But she was also lonely — the same way Hunter was lonely. Something between them connected that evening, and he knew they should never be parted again as long as they lived.
He didn’t feel that he had the right to name her, but he had to call her something. So he called her Enigma, which is what she was.
“I don’t know what Mom and Dad will say,” Hunter said as she curled up protectively at his feet. “Just be sure to take care of them too, ok?”
Hunter found an old sofa cushion for her, and she seemed to think she was sleeping like a queen.
Forest still had the Problem of Ali. He couldn’t get her out of his mind. He got up the nerve to try to talk to her again after school, but she told him she didn’t have time. She was meeting her boyfriend, Adam Bookabet.
Forest’s heart squeezed. He had absolutely no chance with her.
At least, he had no chance if he followed the rules. So the question was what rule had to break to get what he wanted.
“This is an amazing house,” Ali said as she walked in the door.
“Thanks. My mom designed it. She has a pretty strange aesthetic.”
“So where do you want to study? I’m free until seven, and then I’m meeting Adam for dinner. Which Economics lesson did you say you were having trouble with?”
“Well, the books are in the basement,” Forest said. “But first, I wanted to tell you how sorry I am that I went running off to the bathroom when we first met. It was pretty rude.”
Ali looked at him awkwardly. Forest hadn’t just run to the bathroom. He’d wet himself, and they both knew it. “Well, you know, you gotta go when you gotta go, right?”
It was now or never. Forest took a deep breath. “Hey! Is that a bird in the house?”
“Where?” Ali said, looking where he pointed. “What are you talking about?”
Forest pulled the voodoo doll out of his pocket and pushed it toward her, whispering the words of power he’d learned from the dust-covered book in the back of the library.
Ali stopped. Tremors ran through her body, and she stood still.
“Ali?” Forest asked. “You there?”
“I’m here,” Ali said. Her voice was hollow. She stared straight head.
The spell had worked. She was waiting for his instructions. Completely suggestible. Completely his.
He raised the doll again and caressed it against his cheek. “You love me, Ali,” he said softly. “You’ve never met anyone who completes you the way I do.”
Ali still looked past him, but she clutched her hands to hear heart and sighed.
Forest put away the doll. Then he spoke another word of power, and Ali looked at him again. “What were we talking about?” she asked. “Didn’t you want me to tutor you in Economics.”
Forest grinned. “Nah, I figured it out after all. How about dinner instead?”
Ali’s face lit up. “Are you asking me out on a date?”
He took her to The Round Table.
They had a lovely evening out. Forest spared no expense. She couldn’t stop gazing into his eyes, and sometimes she blushed.
As he was picking up the check, Ali’s face flashed with surprise. “I was supposed to do something tonight!” she gasped. “I was supposed to meet Adam!”
Forest pulled her into his arms. “Adam who? You don’t need Adam.”
Ali relaxed against him. “Yeah,” she sighed. “I guess I don’t.”
So this is what I wanted to post before the heir poll. I wonder if it would have affected anyone’s vote. Forest is taking me in a pretty creepy direction as of this writing.
Sorry about those awful seams on Enigma’s. It was some kind of graphics card issue. I thought it was Mac related, but now I’m not so sure. I was able to fix it after switching to Windows, though. I set up the wolf as a stray, but Hunter was out there with her all night, building up their relationship to max, and I STILL never got the Adopt option. I gave up and used MasterController to add her to the household. I now have a new theory that you have to pick actions in the same category, like romance. But I don’t know which one. Affection? Has anyone ever successfully adopted a stray?
Here is the link to the gray wolf I’m using.
Yeah, that definitely would have changed my vote. Evil!Forest is Evil.
I'm happy that Veronica is working to repair her relationship with Hunter, and to start supporting him with his dyslexia.
Enigma's cute, she's a very lovely wolf. Whoever made her did a pretty good job by the looks of things.
I've never actually abducted a stray either, I don't have the patience and the strays don't show up often enough. I'm guessing that means you cheated somehow to add Ghost to the family as well?
Also, Sky and Leah are adorable. Absolutely adorable. That was a very lovely get together scene and it was really enjoyable to read.
Evil Forest is creepy! I like the very evil way his evil-ness is manifesting. Poor Adam!
I've never adopted a stray that way, so I can't help you there. Enigma is cute, though, and it's nice to see Hunter coming into his own before the inevitable kicking out.
Sky and Leah are very sweet together. Awkward teen romances are so cute!
I love Enigma and she is just the cuties dog (even in color). The only pet I successful adopted from the 'wild' was a horse and I had the sim do it all in in one go.
Forrest is creepy with the voodoo doll to ensnare the girl's affections. And Sky is adorable with the watching the stars with Leah.
I added a link to the gray wolf I'm using to the post. The designer, LittleV, has a bunch of really impressive horses and dogs on the Exchange.
I really don't know where Forest is going. When he did this, I really had no idea what would happen next. I've played ahead about about another sim-week, and I now see what the next step in the storyline will be. I don't think he can be heir because I honestly don't know where he's going, and I don't want to guarantee at this stage that he's going to make babies.
I promised myself that when a character rolled Evil, I was going to let that character step out of my comfort zone. I didn't want to smother the trait under something cute. And Forest is a particularly difficult case. He's Evil, Ambitious, and Genius. It's hard to imagine him being ineffective at the goals he sets for himself.
Simmentary: I've been really impressed at how you've been able to make Arma convincingly Evil *and* sympathetic. Forest so far is convincingly Evil, at least :-p
Forest, Forest, Forest!!! I voted for you!! And you repay me by breaking my poor sims' heart!! You just wait until I download you and set Gelert on you! My poor Adam and poor Ali. She really doesn't know what she's in for.
Honestly though, I couldn't imagine him any other way. Great writing Susan. He's fantastically creepy, and I probably would still have voted for him. Sky and Leah are so adorable though, so I may have voted for her instead.
As for the other two, I think it's perfect that the Hunter now has a tame wolf as a best friend … and I love the name Enigma. Wolves are my ultimate fvourite animal, so that excited me no end.
I've commented below, but I just wanted to say that I agree with about Forest. He doesn't have any good traits to balance himself out. He's comes across as a very ruthless, talented and intelligent young man who isn't above stepping on others to get what he wants. My sim Asriel is eccentric, so that gives me a bit of leeway to make him more amiable, or unaware of how his actions affect other people. He's more of the mad scientist type of person. They'd make a right double act though!
Forest is creepy! It was good to see Cycl0n3, though. <3
I'm so happy Hunter found something he wanted to do and got a new pet. 🙂 I bet Enigma will be a great addition to the family!
Oh! I've seen some of LittleV's stuff – I was put off because I didn't think the photo on the exchange would be a realistic representation of what I actually got. Clearly I shouldn't have worried.
Evil can be a really hard trait, I find. Keeping Arma from tipping too far towards evil (or toothless and pathetic, for that matter) is quite difficult. I'm glad to hear that I'm doing a good job.
I'd definitely call Forest a success as well. He's creepier than Arma (at least in my opinion), but Arma is Insane and Shy, which gives him a little leeway because I can play him as more ineffectually evil than you probably can play Forest.
He seems very true to his traits – a lot of ambition and intelligence, but not a lot of morals (which is also a recipe for trouble).
I'm torn between a desire for him to get what he deserves and a desire to see just how far he can go, which I think is a good sign, especially because I'm actually somewhat worried that he'll be undone by his Absent-Mindedness. I think you're doing a very good job of writing him, I'm certainly convinced!
Yeah, I don't think LittleV actually does herself any favors by making those fancy "screenshots" of her work. They don't look like they could actually be shots of anything in The Sims. But yeah, the wolf was very much as advertised. Her work is amazing.
Yeah, Forest's Absent Mindedness is his only trait weakness. So far, it has manifested itself in making him pee himself more than, I think, all other members of this legacy combined. That queue-stomping is wicked. Lesson to anyone playing an ISBI — you do NOT want an absent-minded sim!
I don't plan these storylines out very far in advance, and I usually let the game events and wishes inspire things. I'm sort of hoping that Forest will have some kind of redemption moment, but no guarantees.
Oh, yeah, and on the stray pets thing, I tried really hard with Enigma and never got the option to adopt. I gave up on Ghost a lot earlier, so I cheated both of them into the household.
Better yet, I read a bunch of forums on this issue, trying to figure out what the trick was to legitimately adopt Enigma, and I didn't find any guidance. Weird.
I had a revelation later that all the other options like Move In, Propose Marriage, Ask to be BFF, etc. all require you to have a high relationship AND prime the situation with a bunch of interactions in the same category (Friendly or Romantic). I had a hard time figuring out how to make Sky and Hunter BFFs, and it turned out that it was just like proposing marriage — with a high relationship, I had to do 4-5 actions in the "Friendly" category until "Sky thinks Hunter is being friendly." Then the interaction popped up.
So I suspect there's something like that with strays. Perhaps the interaction category is Affection? Sadly, he household has enough pets, so I'm not going to be doing any more experiments for a while.
Hunter won't be turned out on his ear as soon as he ages up. I'm going to try to get him to his LTW. So he'll be around for a bit!
Oh, Jo, I keep meaning to say — I really want Asriel in my game! Any chance you could upload him separately? Adam's just about to become an adult in my town, so I figure he'd work as a child or a teen.
No problem. I won't have time to do it today, but I'll upload him tomorrow as he is. You can age him up to teen if you want, just randomly roll his next trait or give him one that fits. I haven't played the Bookabet save file much past my last update, so he's still got a bit of a wait until his teen birthday. I've snuck a look at him as a teen though … he's a bit of a heartbreaker lookswise!
I've just been on the Carl Sims forum trying to find an answer, and while some people don't find it necessary, most people with issues adopting pets seem to find that if you ask them to leave and come back, on the third visit they become adoptable. I have no idea if this is just a massive coincidence (there are people out there who say they can adopt animals on the first visit), but it seems like it might be a potential solution.
It's a little weird though, I'm not sure why visit count would matter.
No guarantees is fine. Knowing he was going to get better would remove all the suspense.
Also, it sounds like you get a lot more fun out of Forest's Absent-Mindedness than I do from Ali's. All that ever happens with her is that I occasionally have to repeat 'Go-to' commands. It's actually a little disappointing in some ways.
Ok, I've uploaded Asriel. You can age him up to teen if you want, but I've just remembered that I was going to assign the family trait Bookworm on his next birthday, so just give him that trait 🙂
He's definitely a mad scientist type!
This chapter is sooooooooo cute. Everyone grew up a little and partly found their way in life. While Forest is extremely evil and creepy, Sky and Hunter are simply adorable. They deserve to be happy and to find what they wanted (that dog is really cute, by the way!). Surely, Forest will do exactly what he wants to do, without any compromises. Poor girl…
Can't wait to see the next chapter <3
So good to see you back!! I hope everything went well with your thesis.
The problem with letting a stray go away is that then you have to find it again. You could be spending a very long time hunting down the same stray to adopt it.
Well, I'm not expecting an A…. the most important thing is that it's done. Finished. Gone. Hooray! Now I can focus on the nice things in life again…like Sims 😉
Everyone I've ever known who's done a thesis felt very accomplished from just completing it, regardless of how it was graded. Congrats!
Hm, I like this. Will try and keep track of your story!
LOVE. You are so talented, Susan; I had forgotten just how good you were at creating interesting, emotionally riveting story lines. I can't wait to see what happens next.
(Oh, and I love hearing what the Callenders are up to; makes me eager to get their story back up!)
Gee, thanks! I hope the rest of the storyline lives up to your first impressions!
I'm so glad you're back to read what happened to your sims. I find the cross-pollination sims so entertaining, but it's better when the creators get to see it. Simmentary never did get to see Ali take a supporting role, I think. Ah well.
Ha. Oh wait, she actually commented on this thread. Though this was shortly before she dropped off.