Wow, it’s a lot time between the closing out of each generation in this legacy. I’d say it’s because I blog so much, but it’s really because I don’t get nearly enough time to play.
Keep in mind that I accounted for Cyclone with Generation 2 since he passed on before Lance and Layla did.
Generation 3: 1 point
Lifetime Wish: 4 points – Zahra: Creature-Robot Crossbreeder (Science Career) – Fabian: Dynamic DNA Profiler (Law Enforcement Career) – Adjo: Super Popular (20 friends) – Shanni: Heartbreaker (Be the former girlfriend of 10 sims. In this case: Michael Bachelor, Miraj Alvi, Richard Branch, Jake Roland, Willem Yo, Xander Clavell, Hank Goddard, Israel Bauer, Mortimer Goth, and Agnes Crumplebottom. Whew!)
Portraits: 4 points. All accounted for, painted by Lance.
Legacy House/Net worth:
Aspiration Rewards: 4 Zahra died at 240k (2 points) Fabian died at 140k (1 point) Adjo left the household at 70k (0 points) Shanni left the household at 120k (1 point)
Losing Lancelot came down on the Samples like an anvil.
Everyone was struggling and trying not to drag everyone else down.
They all soldiered through the days. But it was Layla who found herself in that empty bed every night.
She tried to put on a brave face, but she wasn’t really fooling anyone.
Everyone wanted to cheer her up. Charles tried his usual fare.
But she barely noticed.
Ada and Fabian dragged her to the art museum to get her out of the house.
Ada was in her element. “It’s so golden,” she whispered, “and the tiny golden men are singing to me.”
Fabian ran into none other than Mayor Tamara Donner. He was so bowled over that he followed her into the bathroom to interview her.
And Layla tried. She really did.
“What’s this thing again? Dadaist? Dada is a movement?”
When she got home, she declared that all she really wanted was a nice bubble bath. Before anyone else could react, Charles had teleported to the to the grocery store to pick up some bath soap.
And got himself picked up for being out after curfew.
When he got home, Zahra really let him have it.
Zahra was terrifying and unforgiving when she was angry.
But Charles was only trying to help. He carried around his resentment until it exploded.
“Do you have any idea the kind of energy your research equipment is wasting? Do you even care?? We all have to live on this planet too!”
Layla listened to the arguing going on downstairs and wracked her brain.
The grief and tension were ripping the family apart at the seams. Lance of all people would have been crushed. She had to think of something to draw them back together.
“The twins’ birthday is coming up,” she told the household. “It’s been so long since we were all together as a family. I think we should throw them a party.”
Everyone jumped to make it so.
The next evening, the Sample house was busting at the seams.
“I don’t know if Agnes said anything,” Shanni confided in Toya as they arrived. “I’m pregnant! Zahra referred us to a doctor who does work for the Science Center.”
“That’s fabulous!” Toya crowed. “Now that money isn’t so tight, Adjo and I are thinking about trying for another one. Let me tell you about babies….”
Adjo slipped away while the women gossiped to pay his respects.
There was hustle and bustle of catching up on everyone’s lives. Adjo and Toya had weathered the lean times, and Adjo was now in business for himself again as a local band manager. “These kids have talent like you wouldn’t believe,” he said. “All they need is one break, and we’re talking national attention, big name label, their voice on every radio station. This is for real.”
While the blood Samples were laughing and comparing notes, Agnes drifted up the stairs alone. Fabian watched her go. He followed and found her sitting on the upstairs couch, staring into space.
“This seat taken?” he asked, not waiting for an answer.
“You!” Agnes said. “What are you doing here? If your wife finds us alone, she’ll cut your balls off.”
“Yeah,” he said amiably. “So she tells me. So what are you doing here all alone?”
“It’s just a little intense down there. I needed a breather.”
“Tell me about it. How’s married life?”
Agnes sighed. “Complicated. It was so much easier with Erik. Or maybe I never got a chance to find out how hard it would be before he died. Don’t get me wrong. I love Shanni. But she’s… intense. And Shanni pregnant is almost more than I can handle. A woman with such a delicate mood should never have a condition that gives her extra mood swings.”
“I know what you mean,” Fabian said. “Monogamy is a lot of work, isn’t it? You might have noticed that Zahra’s the irresistible force AND the unmovable object. I wouldn’t change a thing, but sometimes I wonder how my life could have been different.”
“Yeah,” Agnes said. “I hear you.”
“So we’ve come to this,” Fabian said softly.
Agnes flinched. “Come to what?”
“Old friends. Sometimes old lovers make the best kind.”
She laughed. “Especially old lovers you’d never take back.”
“I deserved that. I think the cake is ready down there. Let’s get going before someone comes looking for us, and I lose my balls.”
And there were laughing, cheering, wishes pondered, and candles blown out.
Under the gaze of old loved ones.
“The thing about the orbital mind control lasers is that most people can’t see or hear them,” Ada told Shanni. “Except me. When the lasers are on, I can feel the heat on the back of my head.”
“I know just what you mean,” Shanni answered eagerly. “Like the invisible words the government inserts into news articles to control the way you think about them.”
“I had no idea you’d understand!”
It was early morning before they could bring themselves to say goodbye. The cloud had lifted from the house. There was cleaning to be done in the morning, but now was the time to unwind.
Layla headed to her empty bedroom with a feeling of peace and contentment. The feeling grew inside her until she realized it was something else entirely.
Layla’s time had come too, and she was ready to embrace it.
It was hard to say goodbye.
But this time, the ones left behind were ready to take comfort in each other.
Who is remembered, lives.
And then there were four. Layla left the household also at age 104 with Lifetime Happiness of (sob) 190,000. If I’d really processed how long she was going to live, I could have nudged her to 200,000. I tried at the end, but it wasn’t soon enough. Plus, she went the last day and a half without generating any wishes. Her last big wish was to throw that birthday party. Still, I don’t think there was enough time to get to the goal even if she’d been more helpful.
This is the last post for Generation 3. It seems kind of fitting that it should end with the farewell of Generation 2.
Generation 3 has been by far the most engaging generation so far. Everyone became a well-rounded personality. Everyone had a story arc. It felt more like a story than either 1 or 2. And you can certainly tell by how many posts I managed to generate for them. 45. Damn.
Oh, yeah, and it turns out that both Insane and Neurotic sims have the “Talk about Conspiracies” conversation option, and it gives them a relationship boost instead of a hit. Shanni and Ada really do understand each other in a special way :).
Layla had been the Executive Chef of the Little Corsican Bistro for ages. As she grew older, the work became more and more familiar, and it took very little effort to keep the restaurant at the quality it had become known for. Layla began to wonder why she was even bothering to show up for work. She wasn’t getting any younger. She should have retired a long time ago. What kept her coming back?
She did something she’d never done before. She called her boss, the owner of the restaurant, out to meet her outside of work hours.
“I don’t think the bistro needs me anymore,” Layla confessed. “I was thinking of retiring.”
“Of course you can if you want to,” the director admitted, “but I see just the opposite. You have real culinary genius, and if you let yourself apply it, you could take us places we’ve never been before.”
Layla thought about those words overnight, and in the morning she’d made her decision. She sat down and designed a menu that wove the cuisine of her childhood with the bistro’s usual fare. Italian-Egyptian fusion.
Sunset Valley was bowled over. Little Corsican Bistro made national, then international reviews.
Layla was a celebrated 5-star chef.
Her boss had been right. She had more potential than she’d ever expressed. And now that it was expressed, she felt at peace. She’d really done all there was to do in the culinary arts.
She made the call and retired from the bistro.
Lancelot was delighted. He’d never had a proper job, and he’d never really understood her desire to have a career. Now that she’d set it aside, he was eager to enjoy all the extra time together.
They celebrated in proper fashion.
Fabian helped her celebrate by fixing a breakfast she had no need to help with.
Layla felt so free she could sing. There were all sorts of new skills and hobbies to explore in her retirement.
To start with, she took a writing class and sat down to write her memoirs.
All was right in the Sample household. Zahra and Fabian were reconnecting.
Charles finally made the honor roll! Being visible didn’t hurt a bit.
“Hey Granddad,” Ada called to Lancelot after school one day. “I’ve been writing some adventure fiction. Could you take a look?”
“Absolutely, my girl!” Lance crowed, his chest puffed out that his expertise was called for.
And that’s when the tingling sensation washed over him.
It was a warm, fluffy feeling, almost like flying.
Lancelot Sample’s time had finally come.
Surrounded by his family, he said his goodbyes.
“Don’t cry,” he tried to tell them. “It’s actually kind of fun!”
But he was already past speaking. They’d have to figure it out on their own.
Without regret, and proud of all he left behind, Lancelot passed into the Netherworld.
(Woo! Lancelot died at the age of 104 with ~260 happiness points. Even though Susie was the founder, I spent most of her lifetime figuring out how to play the game. Lance has been with me for a long time, and it’s hard to imagine playing the legacy without him. I looked up how long a Vegetarian can live, and it’s up to 15 days longer than normal sims, so I was starting to warm up to the idea of him getting to hold his great-grandchild. In the end, he didn’t make it nearly that far, and not even as crazy long as some Vegetarians. I read in someone else’s legacy of a Veggie who lived to be 111!
Zahra wandered out of the bedroom, down the hall, and into the kitchen. She was ravenous, and it had been a long night.
Fabian relaxed on the sofa with a book on logic. “Morning dear,” she said absently to him as she passed.
“Morning, love,” Fabian said, looking up. “You don’t happen to think that something is different do you?”
“Different?” Zahra asked, flushing. “What do you think is different?”
“It’s just that we seem to have misplaced the entire kitchen.”
Zahra looked around. “Oh, it’s not that bad! It’s just a few counters… and a stove… and the coffee maker… The refrigerator’s fine!”
“Have you been playing with the space-time continuum again?”
“No! Well, maybe just a little.”
Fabian sighed, setting down his book. “I understand your dedication to science and everything. It’s great. But would you please keep the experiments a the lab?”
“It wasn’t just an experiment,” Zahra began defensively. “I needed– AIGH! Charles! Would you stop that!”
“Ha, Mom! It gets you every time.”
Fabian glanced at the science book he’d left on the sofa. “I’ve been reading up on this stuff. All the mad science is making this place unstable. I think it’s time we moved. There’s nothing about space-time damage on the disclosure form, so we shouldn’t have not declare anything dangerous when we put it on the market. If we wait until the place HAS collapsed, our homeowner’s insurance won’t cover a thing.”
Zahra deflated. “All right. Let’s go house-hunting.”
Fabian grinned. “I have a better idea. Why don’t you collect up your experimental equipment and take it back to the lab. The kids and I will go house-hunting.”
So Fabian, Ada, and Charles picked a place to live.
And soon they were all packed and on their way.
The new place was an old estate in the architecture of the English countryside. It was directly on the beach and surprisingly close to downtown. Fabian had done a pretty good job.
They arrived on the evening of Ada’s birthday, with just enough time to celebrate properly.
And after a makeover:
Ada was…. changed after that birthday. The artistic vision that had always dominated her personality now seemed to take on a life of it own. Sometimes she started talking to the furniture, or walking around outside in her underwear.
“Don’t worry,” Fabian told Zahra uneasily. “It’s a phase. She’ll grow out of it.”
(Ha! Ada rolled Insane for her teen trait! I was totally not expecting that!
And the upcoming Gen 4 has a new house! It’s English Country Estate at ModTheSims. It has a few issues. The 2×1 gothic arches used don’t seem to exist anymore, one of the upstairs beds was unroutable, and so was one half of the dining table. I tweaked the walls a bit to fix those things, and I replaced the arches with some not-as-pretty columns.
Of course, I ended up moving before I’d intended to AGAIN. This is another elaborate Simfail associated with Shanni’s wedding. Why is it that nobody can get out of this household without there being major game issues???
This time, right after Shanni and Agnes got engaged, I started having major game slowdowns. It literally took Shanni all night to get to her bureau and then to the mirror to fix her wedding dress and hair. I actually tried to do the wedding in this state, which is where the pic of bodiless Parker came from, but it was slow and messed up, and nobody came except the immediate household and Parker for some reason. And then I clicked Agnes and there was NO “GET MARRIED” OPTION.
So I downloaded a utility I read about on ModTheSims that would locate corrupted CC, and the utility flagged the entire custom kitchen from the house they were living in. I don’t know how this could have been the problem, since I’ve been playing in that house for like six months of real time, but it’s possible that there was some cumulative problem. I deleted the kitchen, and things improved immediately.
So I figured it was more fun to roll that into the story :).
I wanted to get the household out of the corrupted house as fast as possible, so I actually moved them out before the wedding and staged them in Condor Museum Lofts for the duration of Shanni’s wedding. Then I moved them to the new digs. So, for your Simantic viewing pleasure….
Here is the whole family standing around in the basement of the loft building.
Shanni was so excited that walls could not stand in her way.
And I close with a cute pic of Shanni calling to schedule her own wedding party.
Shanni and Agnes were married at 11am on a Friday, an odd compromise between Adjo and Layla’s work schedules. It wasn’t too difficult to find a venue for that time, at least.
Shanni had always dreamed of her all-eyes-on-you moment, resplendent in a white wedding gown. But now that she was marrying another woman, she had no idea what would be appropriate, and she tried not to care.
When Agnes persuaded her to share her fantasies, she squeezed her hand with a gentle smile. “If a white wedding is what you want, then that’s what you’ll have. But you’re right. It will look silly if we both do the train and veil thing. It’s a bit silly for me to be even pretending to wear white at my second wedding.”
Instead, she wore the formalwear that Shanni had designed for them the day they met.
Shanni was shocked when she saw the wedding invitations.
“Mortimer? We’re inviting Mortimer?”
Agnes laughed. “You didn’t know that Cornelia Goth was my sister?”
Shanni blinked. “Your sister? She was nearly old enough to be your mother!”
Agnes shrugged. “I was a surprise baby. Nobody would have guessed I’d inherit the family money.”
“Then that means….”
“Your ex-boyfriend is about to be your nephew? Yes, indeed.”
What could you say to that?
“You’re stunning,” Adjo told her. “I always knew you’d be a beautiful bride.”
“I couldn’t have done it without you,” Shanni said.
“Nonsense. Maybe I helped you get there a little faster.”
Lancelot at last had a chance to be the father of the bride.
“Are you ready to do this?” he whispered to his youngest daughter, his eyes twinkling. “I can still sneak you out the back.”
Shanni cast a nervous glance at Agnes waiting for her. “No way back now. I better know what I’m doing.”
“Then let’s get this show on the road.” He took her hand and wrapped it around his arm. “Don’t worry if you feel a little woozy. I’ve been there myself. You can lean on me.”
Shanni felt her knees go weak as she took her first step and leaned into Lance’s shoulder. “Thanks, Daddy.”
Agnes and Shanni recited their simple vows.
And just like that, Shanni Sample became Shanni Crumplebottom.
On to the reception!
Much fun was had by all. The Samples were spreading out even more now. Everyone jumped at the chance to connect.
“I can’t tell you how great is to get a babysitter and hang out with adults for a while!” Toya confided in Ada.
“I’m about to be in high school,’ Ada reminded her. “I offer very reasonable babysitting rates.”
Charles, unfortunately, learned that asking Genvieve Goth to dance was a non-starter.
Mortimer caught Shanni alone for a moment to say, “I know I maybe wasn’t the most sensitive guy, but do you think we can put it all behind us?”
Shanni offered him a tight-lipped smile. “Well, we’re going to be seeing a lot more of each other,” she replied. “I think we can let bygones be bygones, nephew.”
That was just never going to get old.
“Let me know if you and Agnes are thinking about kids,” Zahra confided. “I can probably help. I don’t work in Mad Science for nothing.”
Shanni blushed. “We haven’t really talked about it, but… I’ll let you know.”
Only Fabian kept himself to the edges of the celebration.
“You don’t seem to be embracing the joy of the moment,” Layla pointed out as she took a break from dancing.
Fabian signed. “This is Agnes and Shanni’s time,” he said. “Agnes made it clear she never wanted to see me again. I’m only here because Zahra made me come. I don’t want to do anything that would make Agnes unhappy.”
Layla look up at Agnes’ face on the other side of the fountain. “I think you’d have to work pretty hard to make Agnes unhappy. If you’re looking to make amends, this might be a good time.”
Fabian thought for a few minutes. “All right then,” he said, took a deep breath and headed in the direction of the brides.
“I want you to know I couldn’t be happier for you and Shanni,” he told Agnes.
Agnes offered him a wry smile. “It seems like Shanni and I both have some unexpected family. Being enemies now would be a real pain in the butt.”
Fabian felt a grin spreading over his face. “Yeah,” he said. “You’re right about that.”
And that was that.
When the dust was settling and everyone was heading home, Layla looked wistfully at Lance. “Our last child is grown up and out of the house,” she said sadly. “We won’t ever have another.”
“That’s right,” Lance said. “We won’t ever have another child.” He gave her a wicked look. “But we sure can practice.”
(Better late that never! I don’t know what readers are left! CourtneyHelen might just be out for an extended holiday break. Lost Dreamer Girl’s blog disappeared right after I caught up on it. LDG? Are you still there??
Lance actually did start rolling a crazy number of naughty wishes about Layla right at the end of the wedding. Unfortunately, Layla had to go straight to work, so they had to be put on hold.
Mortimer came up to congratulate Shanni after she was married and actually out of the household, so that exchange was between two NPCs. It was pretty cute, all things considered.
And then there were six. It breaks my heart to say goodbye to Shanni, who was definitely my favorite out of Generation 3, but it was nice to get the household size back down again.)
When work nudged her toward more work with vertebrate life forms, Zahra discovered another common interest with Charles.
They’d never needed conversation, which was good because Zahra was so bad at it. But their silent time together said paragraphs.
When he wasn’t fishing, Charles got Granddad to train Jabari Keaton in Sim-Fu.
Finally, someone his age to spar with.
(With the train ability, you can compel random NPCs to learn skills! Awesome!)
Ada, on the other hand, discovered her Easy Bake Oven.
When she had all the muffins she could carry, she went and found Fabian, who was sitting at the computer as usual. “Come on, Dad! You’re going to teach me entrepreneurship.”
“Queen to queen 4… What? I’m going to teach you what?”
“Oh, come on, Dad. I need an adult with me.”
So she dragged Fabian to the square and set up shop. Once Fabian got over the unpleasantness of being dragged out of his nice comfortable house, he found a wealth of opportunity.
Harvey Ursine, for example, couldn’t avoid talking to a guy whose brother-in-law just happened to be married to his daughter.
(And Fabian becomes the first character to actually MEET Harvey.)
Harvey was waiting for his new squeeze, Zelda Mae, to get off work. He took up with her within days of Rachel’s death. But you had to give the old bastard one thing — he never stepped out on her while she was alive. At least not so that anybody found out.
Mortimer Goth showed up at the theater on a date with Madison Langerak.
But he spent most of it complaining about Shanni.
Ada was a born saleswoman, and the crowd around her muffin stand lasted stretched down the block.
Fabian had to drag her home past her bedtime. “But there are still muffins left!” she cried.
And in all of this ebb and flow of daily life, Shanni was nowhere to be found.
She’d barely been home since things started between her and Agnes. She certainly hadn’t slept there.
There was a whole world to Agnes that she never let people see.
It only took a visit to the dark, half-decorated second bedroom to set Shanni thinking on the life Agnes had expected before her husband’s unfortunate accident turned her world upside down. No wonder she was so bitter now.
As she was coming down for breakfast, Agnes dashed out of the downstairs bathroom, looking embarrassed. “Don’t go in there dear. I’ve already called a repair man.”
When the repairman arrived, though, Shanni was in for a surprise.
“Adjo!” She gave her brother a big hug. “It’s been too long. Since when are you fixing toilets?”
(Seriously. If I knew Twallan was going to appoint Adjo as the down repairman, I would have taken a screen shot of Agnes breaking the toilet. It was funny.)
“Since Toya had another baby. You heard, right? Another girl. Her name is Starr.”
Shanni nodded. “Yeah, I heard.” She held her tongue on Adjo’s choice of names. “Congratulations! But appliance repair? I thought you were going to stay with busking and avoid working for The Man.”
Adjo looked to the floor. “Well, that doesn’t exactly pay for a growing family, does it?” The edge to his voice was something Shanni had never heard before. “Toya’s home on maternity leave, and I don’t want her asking her dad for money. I got work as a Roadie at the theater, and I’m picking up odd jobs where I can.”
There were bags under Adjo’s eyes, and he seemed pale and wan under his dark complexion. Shanni could barely find her voice. Adjo had always been so sure of what he wanted. She’d never entertained the possibility that things would be less than perfect for him. “Wow,” she said at last. “I’m sorry.”
Adjo forced a smile that quickly became the real deal. He was tired, not beat. “But enough about me,” he said. “What the hell are YOU doing here?”
Shanni flushed. “Um. About that. I’m kind of here with Agnes.”
Adjo blinked. “With Agnes? You meant WITH with?”
“Yeah. I haven’t told any of the family. I didn’t know how.”
“If you and Agnes are a couple, what’s so hard to say?”
“Well, it’s just that, I don’t know. People expect me to behave a certain way. And good grief, Zahra’s so straitlaced. She’ll completely freak out to see me with another woman.”
Adjo took her by the shoulders. “Look, the real question here is whether she makes you happy. If she does, then we’re all happy for you. Simple as that.”
After he left, Shanni kept on thinking. Adjo might be having a hard time, but he was still people-wise in a way she would never be. He’d taken all the confused thoughts dancing around in her head and made everything clear.
She was happy.
Shanni had dated cops and criminals, nice guys and bastards, smart and dumb, relaxed and ambitious. Nothing had ever stuck. Maybe she hadn’t found the right guy because he wasn’t a guy.
Suddenly, she knew what she wanted.
“Shanni, where are you?” Agnes called. “Come have breakfast.”
“Agnes,” Shanni said from the foyer. “Could you come here? I wanted to ask you something.”
When she got down on one knee, Agnes went white. “You don’t want to. You can’t possibly mean it.”
“I’ve never meant anything more in my life,” Shanni said, and she meant it. Agnes held her breath while Shanni put the ring on her finger.
“But you might change your mind. When you meet my husband’s ghost–“
“Hush,” Shanni said. “Wait till you meet my nephew.”
(I’m so glad you guys enjoyed Shanni’s big reveal! So here’s the gameplay story behind it. Shanni is a Hopeless Romantic. It turns out that if you ever want to play a Wishacy with no challenge to it, make your heir a Hopeless Romantic. Shanni had tons of romantic wishes, but they were almost never for specific people. The only guy she ever spontaneously had a romantic wish for was actually Michael Bachelor, her first boyfriend. All other times, she just rolled high-point wishes to be in a relationship, and if she talked to anyone for very long, she’d roll a wish to kiss him. So she wasn’t going to tell me who she wanted to settle down with after she fulfilled her LTW. I had to look for cues from the story.
And, well, Agnes was one great big cue. She kept popping up in Shanni’s life. More than that, her “secret” trait is ALSO Hopeless Romantic. It seemed like the two of them were a perfect match that was just a little bit less than obvious.
Now, the Heartbreaker LTW is phrased, “Be the girlfriend of 10 different sims.” It does NOT say, “Break up with 10 different sims.” So I figured that once Shanni became Agnes’ girlfriend, her LTW should be fulfilled. Except that once they made a commitment, she didn’t get it. I was getting pretty ticked off. Agnes was the choice. I didn’t want her to have to break up with the love of her life, wait for things to cool down, and then start the relationship up again. And it wasn’t FAIR because that’s not what the LTW said. Even more annoyingly, her commitment tally was 10/10. She needed to be the girlfriend of 10 different sims; the tally SAID she was the girlfriend of 10 different sims, and yet she hadn’t been granted the wish.
In a fit of impulse, I had Shanni propose, since that’s what she was going to do anyway. And lo-and-behold, as soon as Agnes accepted, Shanni got her LTW. It appears that the actual wish is to STOP being the girlfriend of 10 different sims. How you stop being a girlfriend can go either way :).
But wow. Heartbreaker is one heck of a LTW to try to complete with spare. She barely went to work the last couple of days because I was ready to be done and just rolling her through the relationships :).)
The day after she wrecked a customer’s makeover because her thoughts were on Mortimer, Shanni met Agnes for lunch. To her surprise, she found herself pouring out her soul.
Agnes’s face melted into sympathy when Shanni spoke of her own heartbreak. Underneath the woman’s harsh exterior was a heart that had been broken not so long ago.
“Now, Shanni my dear,” she said conspiratorially over her toasted french sausage, “I can see that you are not the same timid girl who Mortimer Goth walked all over. You just need to convince yourself of that. I think you need to confront him yourself.”
“Honestly? You don’t think that’s kind of trashy?”
Agnes laughed dismissively. “The line between trashy and powerful is all about style. You’ll do it, and what’s more, you’ll come to my place right afterward to tell me how it went. Trust me. You’ll be the better for it.”
So Shanni found herself the one place she never expected to be: Goth Manor.
It was difficult to even figure out which door was the front door, and the doorbell echoed cavernously inside.
Mortimer answered the door. He might be a high school graduate now, but he looked pretty much the same as he hand in school.
“I wanted to drop by to congratulate you,” she said lamely as he sized her up at the door.
“Come in! Come in! I never expected to see you here. Can I show you around? Would you like to hear about the book I’m writing? Dad has already lined up a publisher.”
Wow. He was hot for her, and he wasn’t even trying to hide it. Then again, he’d always been like that, right up until he snubbed her.
“I was just kind of curious. When I graduated, we had this conversation about older women.” She smiled a sultry smile. She’d gotten a lot better at that since school.
“Oh? Did I say something about older women? Older women are delightful. They have lots of experience.”
Shanni laughed at him.
“Huh?” Mortimer asked. “What?”
“Do you have any idea how sleezy that line is?” Shanni said.
Mortimer looked like he’d been smacked. “What are you doing here? You came here to insult me?”
“I came to see how I felt,” Shanni retorted. “In high school, I would have done anything to get you to like me. Now I have no idea why I cared.”
And with that, she turned around and walked out of Goth Manor and out of Mortimer’s life.
It had been so easy. The magic of her memory of him had stripped away as soon as he’d opened his mouth. What a transparent, skeezy looser. She could do so much better.
That evening, she kept her promise and dropped by Agnes’s estate.
To her surprise, Agnes was outside with Parker Langerak, who was making the most amazing lover’s eyes at her.
“Shanni Sample!” Agnes exclaimed when their eyes met. “You didn’t waste any time at all. Do come inside and tell me all about it. Parker, I had a nice time. I’ll call you.” She headed into the mansion, beckoning Shanni to follow.
“Did I interrupt your date?” Shanni asked awkwardly.
Agnes laughed. “Parker thinks he’s going to get some. I usually just let him decorate the lawn. All men are pigs, but some of them oink louder than others.”
“Now then, I was just going to make myself some spaghetti bolognese. Do tell me the story while I cook.”
So shanni sat at the bar and described the encounter with Mortimer. The idea of Agnes Crumplebottom doing her own cooking was hilarious somehow, but the big mansion was looming, dark, and empty. Clearly the legendary heiress was too much of a tightward to keep a staff.
When Shanni’s story was done, they sat down to dinner at the long formal dining table.
“Now tell me I was right,” Agnes said. “You feel much better now.”
Shanni laughed. She felt like a weight had been lifted from her self-esteem. “Yes, you’re right. I never would have guessed! I feel like a new woman.”
Shanni was a new woman, and everything felt possible.
Anything at all.
Including things she’d never dared to imagine.
(And *drumroll* Agnes is Shanni’s SO number 10!
The shot of Shanni leaving Goth Manor with Mortimer looking after her is actually a cheat scene from when she arrived, not when she left. When Shanni rang the doorbell, for some reason the game decided they both couldn’t stand on the stoop together. So it walked them both out all the way to the garage to greet each other. First Shanni walked the whole way, then Mortimer. But the image was just too good not to use.)
He celebrated by running 3 miles and then pumping iron for six hours straight.
Afterward, he looked… well, pretty much the same as he always looked. His days of bulging biceps and pulsating pectorals were long past, and he tried to take the truth with equanimity.
Lance couldn’t quite grasp the idea that his glory days were past. And the more he thought about it, the more he couldn’t let go of his last trip to Egypt with Charles, where they had been blocked from completing the tomb of the Sphinx.
The thing was, he knew exactly what they needed to smash those boulders. It had been hanging on the wall for ages as the prize trophy of his adventuring days.
“All, right, Charles my boy, we are going back to Egypt, and this time we’re going prepared.”
Ada looked up from mixing paints. “You’re going where?”
“Charles and I, we have an unfinished date with the Sphinx,” Lance said with a twinkle in his eye.
Ada beamed. “All right! Just give me a minute to pack!”
“You want to go?” Charles asked in surprise.
“I am SO not going to let you go without me,” Ada retorted.
“But you’re just a little girl.”
“Ha! And it was OK when you were a little boy?”
It was hard to argue with that, even for Charles.
Ada was sure to make sure her mother was all right with things. Nobody mentioned how Lance had whisked Charles away without so much as a by-your-leave.
“I’m going to see the world, Mom! And learn how to ‘walk like an Egyptian’, you know.”
“Ada! You’re one quarter Egyptian! They walk just like everyone else.”
“It’s a joke Mom….”
“I don’t get it.”
“I love you anyway, Mom.”
“What about you, Layla?” Lance asked. “Come with us.”
“That’s all right. You kids have fun.”
“Don’t you miss your homeland? What about your sisters?”
Layla smiled wistfully at her husband. “Lancelot, my love,” she said. “I am an old woman. My joints ache. I hate flying. I like staying home and working in my garden, and my sisters and I do just fine with email. I keep waiting for you to notice that you’re an old man, but you don’t seem to have noticed yet.”
“Eh,” Lance said a bit awkwardly. “Maybe I’m still in denial.”
But she saw them to the airport and made sure everyone had one her amazing perfect apples to eat on the plane.
Ada gasped when they arrived. “It’s so beautiful! So amazing!”
“It’s a campsite,” Lance pointed out. “There’s a lot more than this to see.”
“I have to PAINT IT!” Ada cried.
Charles, on the other hand, was still petrified of flying. It was just unnatural to be tossed through the air in a big tin can. Lance knew to look for his jitters this time and had an idea how to fix them.
“Have I ever taught you any Sim-fu meditation?” he asked.
“No. What’s that?”
“Here, let me show you. First, get comfortable. Yes, like that. Now, let your mind expand.”
And then something amazing happened.
“I’m solid! I can’t believe it, Grandad! Thank you!”
“Ooof! You’re welcome! Who knew the power of Sim-fu?”
Ada dropped her paintbrush and dashed over.
“You don’t look like a ghost at all anymore! Well, maybe a little bit, but it’s a fabulous look. I can’t wait until I can paint your portrait!”
Charles was pleased to see that he really could have it all. He hadn’t lost any of his so-called super-powers. He could still float, pass through solid objects when he wanted to, and teleport all over town. And he could be just as scary as he was before if he choose to be.
But now he was both more visible, and more substantial.
Lance gathered the kids up into Fabian’s patrol car, which he just happened to have with him, and they headed out to the Sphinx.
Ada stayed outside to paint it, while Lance and Charles headed inside for adventure.
Charles had never felt so powerful in his life.
He and Lance made a great team.
And the final conclusion, at the center of the Sphinx, filled him with awe.
Afterward, they took some time to drink in the beauty of the place in their own ways.
On their final day, Lance cooked breakfast on the camp site’s stove.
“You two should appreciate this hot meal! Back in my day, we didn’t have the luxury of a stove at the Egyptian camp site! We had to eat cold cereal out of the refrigerator and like it!”
(Seriously. I had to install a mod just to add that stove. China and France have base camps with stoves, but not Egypt. Why? Don’t ask EA those silly questions.)
Charles got a little bit of exotic fishing in.
And Lance and Ada a little fun.
(Plus some games of tag that looked horribly inappropriate whenever I tried to photograph them. Sigh.)
And they finished their time bonding around the fire, talking of their adventures and future plans.
All too soon, it was time to catch the plane home.
(Herein, I get sick of never being able to see Charles either. What I’m actually doing is using the “Deghostify” option in EA’s testingcheats, made easier to use by Twallan’s DebugEnabler. He still floats and has sparkly ghost effects, but now he is in full color. I downloaded a metallic silver skintone for him so that he could continue to look ethereal. He would have had Cycl0n3’s pasty white skintone, so I made him very pale silver. The hair is just what looks like a ghostly hair color to me. He would have had Layla’s all-black hair. He also inherited Cycl0n3’s ice-blue eyes, which are a nice genetic touch in the Sample family.)
(Two posts for the price of one because I have some posting time. It’s been a rough week.)
Shanni couldn’t believe how long it had been since she’d seen her brother face-to-face. Adjo and Toya had a lovely little starter home overlooking the sea, and he talked it up to her on the phone every chance he got. It was high time she went to see Adjo in his new digs.
It really was a lovely little place. Very rustic.
When she raised her hand to knock on the door, it opened suddenly, and she found herself about to punch Adjo in the face. “Oh!” she cried. “I’m sorry!”
“Hey sis!” Adjo said in a rush. “Great to see you! I gotta head to work.”
“But,” Shanni said at his retreating back. “This is your day off. We were going to do lunch!”
“Sorry!” Adjo called over his shoulder. “I’ll catch up with you later!”
Wow. He looked stressed. Shanni couldn’t bring herself to be mad at him. She hoped he was OK.
Toya emerged from the house as Adjo disappeared. “Hey there! Want to come in to meet Charmaine? Did he tell you were expecting again?”
“You’re what? So soon?”
Toya laughed. “Well, it wasn’t exactly planned. But Adjo wanted a big family. Might as well get the maternity leave over with in one dose, eh?”
Wow. Adjo was going to be a daddy. Again.
“Actually,” Shanni said, “I think work’s calling me.” Shanni headed to work and tried to distract herself. Israel Bauer dropped by on her break. “Hey there! I graduated and have a job and everything! Any chance you’re free for lunch?”
(I have only one picture, and it’s not terribly flattering.)
“Actually, I just had lunch,” Shanni admitted.
Israel was not to be distracted. “Dinner then. Maybe we can hit the theater. What do you think?”
Shanni laughed. “You’re the most persistent guy I’ve ever met. OK, you’re out of school and fair game. It’s a date.”
They had a nice time, though Shanni didn’t exactly feel the pangs of love in her chest by the time they got out of the diner. She had a chance to catch up on Israel’s life, and it had be a rough one so far. His mother Devin Bauer got sick not long after Antonio died, and she died when he was in elementary school. He’d been bounced from one foster home to the next, finally setting down with Malika Williams and her two daughters. It was quite a sob story, but he told it with a smile.
(Seriously, the poor kid has been in Twallan’s “Last One Standing” routine TWICE. Devin died, he got moved in with a foster parent, then THEY died, and he ended up in Malika’s house. I don’t know why Devin died so soon. She was a life stage younger than Antonio when they got married, but I have to guess she was actually just days from becoming an elder back when I photographed Layla visiting her in Gen 2.)
“Want to head back to my place for a nightcap?” Israel suggested after dinner. “I like the sound of the word ‘nightcap.’ It’s so old style.”
“Sure,” Shanni said. There was something about this guy…. it wasn’t love, but she was intrigued.
They headed to the Williams house.
Malika’s older daughter Lisette just happened to back from a date of her own.
The four of them awkwardly shared the front lawn for after-date flirts. Shanni noticed that Israel was constantly looking over her shoulder to see what Lisette was doing.
“This isn’t about me at all, is it,” she demanded of Israel. “You’re doing all of this to make your foster-sister jealous.”
Israel cringed. “I didn’t mean it that way. I was… trying to get over her.”
Shanni glanced surreptitiously at Lisette, who turned out to be glancing surreptitiously at Israel. It was something out of a sitcom. “I’m not sure who is trying harder to make who jealous,” she told him. “Watch.”
She pulled Israel close, but made sure he had a good view of Lisette.
“Watch her make with the green-eyed monster.”
“Oh,” Israel said. “Do you think she really cares.”
“I think the two of you should have a long talk.”
“Wow,” Israel said. “You’re not mad at me for dragging you through this?”
Shanni suppressed a sigh. When had she gotten to be everyone’s dating counselor? “No. It’s OK.”
“When I saw you with Mortimer in high school, I knew you were something special,” Israel said. “You really are.”
Mortimer. “Ah, Mortimer was in your graduating class, wasn’t he?” she asked, trying to sound unconcerned.
“Oh, yeah. He has big plans to be a writer now that he’s out. Want me to say hi to him for you?”
“No, uh, that’s OK. Let’s talk later!”
Shanni got out of there and headed home as quickly as she could.
Mortimer. The wound was as fresh as it had been the day of her birthday.
And it was still on her mind at work the next day.
This had to end. It was time to do something.
(I thought the end of Shanni’s date with Israel was HILARIOUS, and it was totally not staged. I had not idea Israel and his foster-sister were romantic interests. After this, I really wanted to see Israel and Lisette get married, and I considered forcing it for story cuteness, but while I was contemplating, he got involved with the Sharpes, and the rest is history.)
Ever since his birthday, Charles had been thinking about fishing. He’d dabbled with it before, but now he really saw the appeal. There was just no better way to commune with nature.
One morning, he got up at dawn and teleported down to the beach behind their house to get a chance at the fish before Sunset Valley woke up.
It was just like Sim-Fu meditation: him, the water, the dawn, and his thoughts.
Until the cops hauled him in for being out before curfew.
To give you an idea of how nuts this was, let’s look at the setting.
Here’s the Sample family house, perched on a cliff above the beach.
Here Charles ran up the path back to his home, where the cop stood shouting at him. The guy didn’t even bother to come down himself.
“We can’t have ruffians the likes of you running about all hours!” the cop lectured him when he finally got back home. “Especially ones in, uh, camouflage paint to make ’em hard to see.”
Great. Nobody noticed Charles when he wanted to be seen, but when a bit of invisibility would have been nice, he got screwed.
“Now get in the car, and I’ll take you home.”
“I AM home,” Charles pointed out. Then, more quietly, “Doofus.”
“What’d you call me?”
“Well, we’ll see what your folks have to say about this.”
Zahra, who was hauled in from her morning gardening, looked from Charles to the cop and back again. “You picked him for FISHING before curfew?” she asked. “Really? Don’t you have real troublemakers to arrest somewhere? You know his stepdad is detective on the force too, don’t you?”
“Um, no ma’am.”
That’s Sunset Valley’s finest for you.
(Seriously, teens wish to go out after curfew all the time. How on earth do you NOT get caught?? I canceled Zahra lecture because the whole thing was so silly and it would have made them all late for school/work.
This chapter is super-short b/c I thought it was funny, and it didn’t line up with anything else thematically. Going to get another one out quick while I have time.)