“Hey, Gamora,” Winston said. “You’re doing homework too? What did you get for Question 37 in math?”
Gamora put down her pencil and glared. “You really think I’m working on homework for school?” she said. “I finished all the exercises in the math book last week.”
“Jeeze, okay,” Winston said. “It sure looks like you’re doing homework. Why are you sitting in here if you got it all done?”
“I’m doing an efficiency analysis on the plant-animal crossbreeding program at the Sufficiently Advanced Technology Center,” Gamora said. “Of course.”
“Of course,” Winston said wryly.
After her report was finished, Gamora made sure nobody was watching her and sneaked up to the rec room to watch the latest episode of Steamy Amazon Love.
Victoria was back in the ocean.
In addition to shells and antiquities, there turned out to be a decent market for live-caught marine creatures.
She no longer panicked at the sight of a shark. They weren’t terribly difficult to avoid if you knew what you were doing.
In the afternoon, she returned to the Arcane Institute to talk to Manu about her most recent haul.
“Oh!” the antiquities shopkeeper said. “You must be Victoria Sample. My father told me all about you.”
“You’re Manu’s daughter?” Victoria said. “I didn’t know he had a daughter. It’s nice to meet you!”
“I arrived last night,” the shopkeeper said. “Dad died suddenly of a heart attack. I guess I’m taking over the business.”
“He died?” Victoria said. “I’m so sorry! Does Mom know? He had your dad were such good friends.”
“I’ll make sure everyone knows,” the shopkeeper said. “But I’m trying to focus on some good things too. Can you show me your wares? Dad says you bring the very best inventory, and I can’t wait to see it!”
After such a sad and surreal consignment meeting, Victoria almost felt guilty for catching coffee with Judith. She and her best friend had been so busy building their post-graduation lives that there’d barely been time to do more than text in ages. It was so good to sit down and really take the time to catch up.
“I can’t believe you’re still dating Mason James!” Victoria teased. “He was such a dork in school!”
“He’s a fantastic dancer,” Judith said, “and he’s really smart. It’s actually kind of serious. We’re talking about moving in together.”
Victoria blinked. “Wow. That’s like one step from being married. That seems so… grown up.”
Judith laughed. “Being grown up isn’t all bad,” she said. “What about you? Is there a man in your life?”
“Nobody special,” Victoria said defensively. “Different guys at different times, you know.”
“Vickie the heartbreaker,” Judith said, her eyes twinkling.
“No, really, it’s not like that,” Victoria insisted. “I’m not ready for a serious commitment. How would I know if I found the right guy anyway if I don’t know what guys are like? I want to know what my options are.”
“You really haven’t been in love yet,” Judith said.
“I guess not,” Victoria replied. She really wanted to change the subject. “I’m having fun, though. Tonight I’m going out with a guy I met on Simmy-Cupid.”
Judith was aghast. “You have an online dating account? Do you have any idea the kinds of creeps that hang out on places like that? Tell me you’re going to meet in a public place?”
“Relax, relax!” Victoria said. “Lots of people make dates on the Internet. Anyway, we’re having dinner at The Round Table. It’s perfectly public and safe.”
Rosie Winter met Dylan and Andria at the door. “I’m so glad you could make it on such short notice!” she said. “The papers just went through. This is my first dinner party as a single woman!”
“It feels odd to say, ‘Congratulations for being divorced,'” Andria said, “but single seems to suit you.”
“I brought a lime mead up from the cellar to commemorate the occasion,” Dylan said. “I propose a toast.”
“Hey, Mister and Missus Sample,” Roderick said as he walked in the door. “Thanks for coming to celebrate with Mom. Just curious, but did Vickie come to dinner too?”
Andria gave him a sympathetic look. “I’m afraid not. She told me she had a big date tonight.”
“A date?” Roderick said. “I, um, hope she has a good time.”
Andria snagged a goblet from Dylan’s tray. “Before we toast Rosie’s new life as a single woman, I’d like to raise a glass to my old friend Manu. I guess, at our age, I can’t say that we lost him too soon, but I guess the truth is it’s always too soon.”
Rosie and Dylan raised their glasses. “To Manu.”
“Wow!” Rosie said. “I think this is the best nectar of yours I’ve ever tasted!”
Frederick Rudolph suggested that he and Victoria meet on the beach before dinner, just to get acquainted. Victoria couldn’t think of many things more romantic than the ocean under the stars. This seemed like a good start.
She had to admit that he could use more hair, but at least he didn’t make a big deal out of hiding his baldness, and otherwise he seemed fairly attractive.
They chatted for a bit about her career as a diver and his as a Sing-A-Gram Professional. It felt so weird to call what she did a “career,” but that seemed to be how grownups talk, and here she was supposed to sound mature.
Frederick was just at the beginning of a singing career, but he had big dreams. His favorite dessert was also fruit parfait. They collected all the standard smalltalk about each other.
Suddenly, her phone rang.
“I’m sorry, Fred, do you have a moment?”
“Oh, sure! Take your time.”
“Hi Vickie!” the voice on the other end of the phone chirped. “I was wondering if you were free tonight.”
“Rod?” Victoria gasped. “Is that you?”
“Sure. I was just thinking about you and thought maybe we could go out for drinks.”
“This isn’t a very good time, Rod,” she said. “I have someone here.”
Rod laughed. “You aren’t out with a guy, are you? After the Love-o-Meter said we were meant to be?”
“You know!” Victoria hissed. “You know full well I’m on a date!”
She felt a hot blush creeping up her face. She hung up the phone without saying goodbye and set it to silent. “I’m really sorry about that,” she said.
“Oh, that’s all right,” Frederick replied. “It gave me a chance to finish another chapter. You really ought to try this book. I just can’t put it down.”
After that, they headed to dinner. Frederick offered to pay, but Victoria found a way to gracefully refuse. He seemed fine with that.
The smalltalk continued. Victoria talked about how much she loved her new house. He shared funny stories about sing-a-gram customers and the big audition he was preparing for.
I’m supposed to feel something, aren’t I? she thought to herself as she looked across the table at Frederick. He was a nice guy. She enjoyed talking to him. But wasn’t there supposed to be a spark or something? Wasn’t she supposed to know if she wanted to go out with someone a second time?
What was he thinking?
Dinner ended. They bade each other farewell and promised to send messages on Simmy-Cupid. Victoria waved to him as he sat down in his cab. Then she lingered, caught in her own thoughts. Did she have any idea what she was looking for? Would she even know if she found it?
She didn’t recognize the voice at first, but the face was familiar. “Kain? Kain McWilliams?”
“I saw you over there with that guy, and it kind of looked like you were on a date. You wouldn’t go out with another guy behind my back, would you?”
“B-behind your back?” Victoria stammered. “Kain, we haven’t gone out since before graduation. I never said I was your girlfriend.”
“Are you kidding?” Kain said. “How can you deny the magic when we’re together? Can you really pretend we’re not meant for each other?”
Victoria took a step back. She was suddenly very glad that they were at a public restaurant. “I’m sorry, Kain,” she said, working to keep her voice calm and steady. “I don’t want to see you again.”
“I can’t believe you,” Kain spat. “I’m a nice guy. I’m way better than that loser you were with. I hope he breaks your heart.”
He turned and stormed away.
Victoria went inside the restaurant and called a cab. She stayed inside while she waited and watched for it through the window.
While she waited, she transitioned from shocked to furious. Kain didn’t own her. She didn’t owe him anything.
Judith had worried about a guy from an online dating site, but guys you met in person could be just as scary.
Was dating and romance really worth it at all?
I’m baaack! Or, at least, I hope so. My job is going fabulously, but the new life routine has been rocky. My kid starts kindergarten on Tuesday, so even more disruption. But it sure felt good to write the Samples again.
Grump. Manu has disappeared — deleted by the game. He was an Elder, and it’s possible he really did die of old age. It would have been nice to get a notification or something, considering he was Andria’s best friend outside of the family. I guess it serves me right for making friends with role/service sims.
So, I didn’t make this stuff up — Rosie’s partner was Dylan’s old highschool flame Corina. They never actually married (because SP is weird sometimes), but they lived together for most of their adult lives and had four children together. Any place would call that common-law marriage.
Right after I got the breakup notification for Rosie and Corina, Rosie invited Andria to a party. As usual, they were the only ones to show up, but Roderick came home during the visit. At the same time, Vickie was out on her randomly-generated date, and she got a phone call from — you guessed it — Roderick.
After Vickie’s date left, I noticed Kain on the lot. Vickie had never been able to get him into a conversation so she could, “Just be friends” to get rid of the lingering romantic interest status from prom, so I did it here. Here’s a gripe — you can send a breakup text, but you can’t send a just friends text, so it’s harder to get rid of RIs than it is boyfriends. And yet RIs can still trigger cheating. Argh.
Just to clear up any concerns about family relationships, I’ll just remind you that all the Gen 6 Samples are half siblings. Rosie Winter is Sawyer’s cousin through his other mum. Roderick Winter is Rosie’s son, and he’s Gamora’s second cousin, but he’s not related to any of Dylan’s kids.
This has been your incest false alarm. Dude, my breeding population is about 100 sims, and it doesn’t take long for everyone to be related to everyone else.