5.42 Sweet Teen

Sky’s distant cousins the Crumplebottoms filled up Sky’s Sing-A-Gram schedule one week. A secret admirer sent a gift to Holly Crumplebottom-Yo (daughter of Shanni and her second wife Jeanna Yo).

She had grown into a truly beautiful woman with Sky’s great-grandfather Lance’s hair color.

Then Arya Crumplebottom sent her to serenade Garry.

Which met with a technical difficulty.

Xia, meanwhile, was a fighter pilot and training harder than ever.

And it seemed like there was a mountain of schoolwork. Dylan was largely independent, and it was difficult to tell what Sawyer needed, but Abby struggled a lot. Her heart was just not in books, numbers, and dates. Abby was a girl who needed to learn by doing.

Dylan was most fond of Riddle and took on most of his care. Training and grooming Riddle was what he did with most of the time he wasn’t studying.

One morning, Sawyer came down to breakfast to finish his homework in the garden before school.

Dylan did a double take. “What is that? A superhero costume?” he asked.

Sawyer gave him a penetrating stare. “I am simulating a much more intimidating, muscular body. It ought to scare off anyone who wants to stuff me into a locker.”

“Someone is stuffing you into lockers?” Dylan asked, concerned.

Sawyer scowled. “And my head into toilets. It stinks.”

“That has to be humiliating!” Dylan said, alarmed.

“No, I mean it stinks,” Sawyer said. “The toilets stink. I have to wash my hair in the sink or I smell all day.”

Dylan ran to get Sky and Xia. Xia was immediately on the phone to Chivalrous Preparatory School. “I can’t believe they’re letting this happen to a kid! And Sawyer has special needs!”

“I don’t have special needs,” Sawyer said, scowling. “I have a special brain.”

The flurry of parent-teacher meetings was probably how Abby’s birthday was forgotten until it was almost too late.

“I’m so sorry we can’t have a party,” Sky told Abby. “I’ll make it up to you. We’ll have a family trip to the park next week. Tonight I’ll bake you a cake.”

“Dylan got a party!” Abby protested. “Even Sawyer got a party, and he didn’t even like it. This is my big coming out as a high school girl! How can you do this to me!”

“I’m so sorry,” Sky. “I’d throw you a party if I could, but it’s too late, and we just can’t manage it. There has to be something I can do to make it up to you.”

Abby fled to her room to sulk.

It was not Sky’s day at all. When she headed down to the kitchen to bake, she discovered that the dish washer had broken a water line and was spraying soapy water all over. Worse, Sean Flynn was skulking around again. Riddle was at least keeping an eye on him. Sometimes it was really nice to have an overprotective dog.

“Xia!” Sky called out in despair.

Xia appeared, surveyed the situation, and rubbed Sky’s shoulders. “Relax. I know how to fix it.” She got to work and had the water line replaced in no time.

Meanwhile, Sky went to fetch Forest. “Your boy toy or whatever is in my kitchen. Could you do something about him?”

It wasn’t clear what was more disturbing — the state of the kitchen, or the people IN the kitchen.

Sky tried hard to focus on her task. This was her first cake from scratch, and Abby was already upset. The very last thing she could handle was disappointing her little girl any more.

“It’s all right,” Xia said gently. “I have the bakery on speed dial. We can order a professional cake and even pretend you backed it.”

“I’m going to do this myself,” Sky said through gritted teeth. She kept her back to Forest and Flynn while she worked.

The result was so good it amazed even Sky. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and candied walnuts.

Abby herself perked up when she saw it. “Wow,” Abby she said. “You made that? You worked really hard for me, Mom.”

Sky gave her a hug. “That means a lot to me,” she said.

The family gathered around to welcome Abby into teenagerhood.

“This better be a great cake,” Abby said, “because I’m making a big wish!”

Abby was the first to take a slice. The cake looked as good inside as it did outside. Sky had outdone herself.

Everyone sat down and made delighted slurping noises.

“Thanks, Mom and Mum,” Abby said. “You really came through. Now when do we get to go shopping for birthday presents?”

“Um,” Xia said.


Abby is, at this point: Star Quality, Snob, Perfectionist, Brave. I don’t know what her fifth trait is going to be yet.

Forest and Flynn making out in the kitchen was autonomous and pretty entertaining.

Sawyer has a rough life. Losers get beat up at school and stuffed into lockers :(.

Gotta crank through these! Must. Get. To. Heir. Poll!

5.41 Being Grown Up

Sawyer spent so most of his time in a world of his own that Sky couldn’t help but worry about him. She spent her life in the public eye, and as he grew older, he would have to deal with her growing fame even if he didn’t want it himself. Also, deep down inside, she couldn’t quite believe that he would want to spend so much time alone if he could see how wonderful it was to spend time with other people

That’s how she talked the family into throwing a huge party for Sawyer’s birthday.

The guest list was too big for the Sample estate, so they decided to close the Charles Sample Sim Fu Academy for the day. The family still owned the academy, though Charles named other masters to take over the responsibility of his martial art.

First to arrive was Xia’s older brother, Jian Wu.

With him was his new wife, Dragonwife, who he wanted to introduce to his family and in-laws.

Also among the guests was Raquel Mentary-Sword, who was now one of the academy’s Sim Fu masters.

Xia did the honors and brought the birthday boy to the party.

He then found a quiet corner and threw a fit if anyone tried to make him come out and talk to people.

At least he had his cow toy that his great grandmother Zahra had made for Charles a long time ago. He liked the bolts and screws on it.

Hunter showed up needing a shower. Again.

“What’s with this?” Xia demanded. “I didn’t think gardening involved so much self-immolation.”

Hunter blushed, but he wouldn’t tell her what the problem was.

Xia and Dragonwife really hit it off.

They spent a lot of time talking about Jian behind his back. Especially his rocky relationship with his baby mama, Brenna Ursine-Sample.

The party was a big success.

Everyone had a great time.

Even Sawyer, provided nobody asked him to join in. Trying to pull him into the noise and the crowd made him very upset, but he kept himself happy if everyone left him alone.

The afternoon wore on.

And someone else showed up.

Sky was spending so much time with Sawyer, trying to encourage him to have fun, that it was quite a while before she noticed someone looking at her.

“L-Leah!” Sky stammered.

“I got your invitation,” she said.

“Thank you for coming. Um– you’re just in time for cake!”

She gathered Sawyer into her arms and hurried upstairs to escape.


While the rest of the family was enjoying the cake,

Sky pulled Hunter outside to pour out her soul. “Everything I try to say to her her is wrong! What do I do?

Hunter thought about it for a while. “Have you tried not talking at all? Just listening?”

“Of course I–!” Sky began. Then, more quietly, “Maybe I’ll try that.”

After she made sure everyone had a slice of cake, Sky took a deep breath and headed downstairs to face the music.

Dragonwife was trying to start a fight with Hunter, though Hunter hadn’t noticed yet.

Leah was trying not to pay too much attention to her brother Raen macking on his husband, Mitchell Bachelor Mai.

“Um, hi,” Sky said. “We always invite you, but I didn’t expect you to come.”

“Yeah, I know I surprised you,” Leah said. “I think we should talk.”

“I– I can listen,” Sky said, knowing she probably wasn’t going to like what she heard. “Is here the right place? Should we go someplace more private.”

Leah shrugged. “I don’t think it matters where I say it.”

“You and I had something amazing,” Leah said. “You threw it all away. I don’t think I can ever forgive you for that.”

Sky gulped. “I know,” she said.

Leah nodded to Xia, who was dancing unconvincingly with Jian, watching Sky intently over his shoulder. “I guess it helps to know that you destroyed our marriage for more than just a one night fling. At least she was someone important. I hope she’s making you happy.”

Sky opened her mouth to protest that she and Xia weren’t really an item. Then she closed it. That was unfair, and untrue. She’d been with Xia now almost as long as she’d been with Leah. And yes, she was happy, but there are times when agreeing with someone is the wrong thing to do. She just nodded.

Leah dropped her eyes. “This didn’t go the way I was planning. I guess I still have issues. What I wanted to say is that I want to bury the hatchet. We can’t get out of each other’s lives. Dylan’s too important. If we can’t be friends, I’d at least like to try to not be enemies.”

Sky’s eyes filled with tears. For a split second, she had to fight the impulse to take Leah in her arms. “Yeah,” she said. “We really did have something amazing. Please let’s not fight anymore.”

They settled for an exchange of tear-filled smiles, and Leah promised to come the next time Sky invited her to something. She was a bit more vague about inviting Sky to Marmalade events. Sky wasn’t sure, but she thought there was an issue with Plum. Maybe Plum wasn’t ready to be so forgiving to Xia.

Sky waved goodbye to Leah as she left, and Xia almost pounced her. “You look like you’re all in once piece,” she said. “What happened?”

Sky smiled weakly. “I think we’re both trying to grow up a little bit,” she said.

Xia laughed. “Who wants to grow up? Now is the time to party!” She grabbed Sky and started to bust a move.

It helped. Xia knew how to make Sky relax.

Meanwhile, Eliana found Sawyer dancing alone in an empty practice room. “Hey there,” she said kindly. “Would you like some company?”

Sawyer tossed his curls and glared at her. “I came out here so I could have less company,” he said. “Why does everyone always tell me I should be lonely? What’s wrong with you normals?”

Eliana blanched. “Sorry!” she said. “I’ll just be on my way.”


So the last toddler is done. This is where Sawyer picked up Socially Awkward to go with his amazing combination of Loser and Diva. I didn’t realize until he aged up into a teen this week, but Loser is incompatible with Brave, so he can’t have the family trait. I have mixed feelings about this. It seems like being a Loser would require you to be MORE Brave just to get through the day. Or at least that’s how I intend to play it :-p.

Trying to keep this on the fast track, but man am I wordy.

5.40 The Other Woman

Just like that, Forest was back at work. He and Flynn never spoke of the battle lines that were being drawn over control of the underworld. In fact, when they were together, they almost never spoke at all.

The day Flynn issued a direct order that Forest successfully countermanded, Flynn sent a furious summons to Forest to come to his office alone. To everyone’s surprise, Forest did so. When he left hours later, he was glad his suit covered up the rug burns. But the two of them hadn’t said a word.

Forest was also making his own booty calls.

This meant that in unguarded moments, Flynn could be found wandering around the Sample estate.

When Forest caught Dylan chatting with Flynn one morning, he took him aside and said in no uncertain terms to stay away. “He might show up in the hall in his boxer shorts, but he’s still dangerous.”

Meanwhile, Sky’s business was booming, but the thrill of the Sing-A-Grams was fading. One morning she had an audition for a wedding singer gig outside the chapel when she was caught completely by surprise.

It ruined her audition, and she lost the job.

Leah Marmalade walked by with barely a look, then seemed to have second thoughts and lingered at the gate, watching Sky.

“Come on!” Plum called. “The party is this way.”

Sky hurried to catch up with Leah without really knowing what she was going to say.

“Uh, hi. I didn’t expect to see you here.”

Leah shrugged uncomfortably. “A couple of friends are getting married,” she said. “It’s not like I stay away just because we’re divorced.”

“You’re having another child,” Sky said. “I guess you’re really happy.” It shouldn’t have hurt, but it did.

“I always wanted to carry a baby,” Leah said bitterly. “With you, I couldn’t because we could never plan anything. You didn’t even like being pregnant.”

Sky looked at the ground. “I’m sorry,” she said.
“Look, I’m going to be late for the ceremony,” Leah said. “You better go away.”

Sky watched her go, her heart squeezed so tight it might break all over again.

Before she went home, she slipped inside the chapel while the wedding was being conducted in the garden to down a glass of punch.

It tasted terrible. Perhaps it served her right.

At home, Xia still stole time on the Ghostwriter fandom forums to read what they said about Sky. Ghostwriter wasn’t performing as many gigs as it used to, and the forum had dwindled. The board on Sky’s woohoo life had few real observations these days and was mostly filled with wild speculation.

With Xia training hard as a fighter pilot and Sky performing in the evenings, Dylan spent a lot of time looking after Sawyer. Sky argued with him about it; they had plenty of money for a babysitter, and he shouldn’t be wasting his teenage years.

Dylan wouldn’t hear of it. “This is the proper thing for me to do,” he insisted.

“At least let us pay you for your time,” Sky insisted.

“Well, that’s not appropriate. You shouldn’t pay me for just doing what I should. We’re family.”

Sky took to slipping extra money in his wallet. Dylan must have noticed, but he let her do it.

In addition to the extra babysitting, Dylan became a photographer for the school newspaper. He spent his unauthorized babysitting money on a nice camera and spent long hours working on layout.

And after THAT, he took more practice exams for college placement.

“I don’t know what he’s trying to prove,” Sky worried to Xia. “I wish I knew how to help him have fun!”

Abby didn’t have much trouble having fun. She dressed as a princess and spent long hours sharing her dreams of glamor and fame with her dolls.

Sometimes she dragged her family into the living room to sit alongside her dolls for a big “performance,” which meant she danced and sang and everyone applauded wildly.

“Her singing voice is great,” Xia admitted to Sky. “I know where she got that.”

Sky shook her head. “I don’t sing anywhere near that well,” she admitted.

Sky continued to work on her domestic skills.

And kept working.

She was proud of her first real success. Too bad it was homemade dog food. At least Riddle ate like a king.

One evening, Forest received a mysterious phone call.

“I want to meet with you immediately,” a woman’s voice on the other end informed him.

“How did you get this number?” Forest demanded.

“This is Cynthia Flynn,” she said.

Forest hung up and went to meet her.

She chose the stadium — an odd, very public choice. Cynthia Flynn was an old woman. She had been married, apparently happily, to the Emperor of Evil for most of her adult life. She almost never ventured out in public.

The sun was setting, but it still was bright enough to sing Forest’s skin. He could smell himself burning. What could Flynn’s wife want with him?

“Good evening, Madam,” he began. “How can I help you?”

“You can get out of my Sean’s life right now!” Cynthia shouted.

Forest was caught completely off guard. “Mrs. Flynn! I don’t know what you mean.”

“All he can do is think about you. He doesn’t eat. He doesn’t sleep. I hear him speaking your name when he thinks I’m not listening. I don’t know what you’re doing, but you’re destroying him. My Sean is a good boy!”

Forest stood for a moment, stunned. He didn’t know whether to scorn or pity her.

“Mrs. Flynn,” he began. “You realize that your husband hasn’t aged since you married him, don’t you? Do you enjoy having a boy toy in your old age?”

Cynthia scowled at him. “That’s none of your business!”

“I’m afraid it is my business, Madam. You, on the other hand, are not my business. I can see that your husband keeps you happy, and I have no intention of hurting you. My problem with Mr. Flynn is purely…. business.”

Cynthia scowled. “You’re a wicked man. You leave him alone!”

Forest couldn’t help but laugh. “*I’m* wicked?” he said. “Has your husband ever really smiled at you?”

With that, he grinned, showing off his new fangs in the best possible light.

Cynthia’s eyes widened when she saw them, but she didn’t seem frightened exactly.

“I see there’s no reasoning with you,” she said. “My Sean will just have to destroy you.” And she turned and left.

It was the most bizarre interview Forest could remember in his life, and he’d had plenty of truly bizarre interviews.


Not long after Forest started boinking her husband, Cynthia called Forest up for a date. I couldn’t resist accepting. Sims romance system for the win.

Cynthia, by the way, is a simalike of Miley Cyrus — created long before she had the big change in her image :). She and Flynn never had any kids.

Sadly, I don’t have very many pictures of child Abby that I haven’t used. Most of her childhood was lost in the deleted pictures.

I’m really trying to crank through the last of this generation to get to the heir poll!

5.39 Checkmate

It was time.

Forest hadn’t fully come into his new powers, but he couldn’t wait any longer. Flynn knew something was up. Given enough time, he could use his wisdom and vast experience with this form to defeat Forest before the fight had really begun.

He spent all night, while his senses were sharpest, pouring over old tomes and preparing dark magic.

He chose dawn to make his move. A longer confrontation would almost certainly work in Flynn’s favor. This way, he would have limited time before the sun forced them both to take cover.

It was now or never.

The incantation echoed in his head as if he were on a sound stage. He’d never felt power like this.

And it worked.

Flynn stumbled as he appeared. He was so completely taken by surprise that for a moment, his face was unguarded. For a split second, Forest saw fear.

“Good morning,” Forest said. “I think it’s time to renegotiate my position in your operation.”

Flynn knew immediately that Forest had changed without Forest bearing his teeth or taking off his mirrored glasses. Forest could feel Flynn’s power from here, and certainly Flynn could do the same. All secrets were revealed. Now Forest could only hope his calculations about Flynn were correct.

“You,” Flynn said. “It’s all been you, hasn’t it? I should have known when I heard about your conduct during the police raid.”

“Maybe you should have known,” Forest agreed. “But it’s too late now. Now your power over me is broken. And you brought my family into this. That’s not something I can forgive.”

Flynn hesitated. “All right,” he said. “But you’re not going to choose the time and place to fight me.”  He turned and ran. The sun had not quiet risen, and his powers were still at their strongest. He moved almost faster than Forest could see.

Forest swore. Strategic retreat was one thing he’d never expected Flynn to do.

He summoned all of his fledgeling power and started to move. For a second, he was faster than Flynn, but a second was all that he needed.

He, reached out, grabbed the older vampire by the shoulder, and swung him around.

The eyes that met Forest’s were that of a monster. Flynn raised his hand to strike.

Forest reached out and blocked, grabbing Flynn by the wrist. The force of the blow jarred his arm and shoulder. Flynn was still more powerful. All Forest could do was hope he could end this without revealing how much that burst of speed had weakened him.

Forest clung to Flynn’s wrist as Flynn pulled back, dragging them closer together.

Flynn growled deep in his throat, the sound of a cornered panther. “If you think you can bite me,” he hissed, “you’re going to be disappointed.”

Forest grinned. The light of the rising sun glinted off his new fangs. “I know,” he said. “I have something entirely different in mind.”

Flynn staggered back, stunned.

Then, without saying a word, he stepped back into Forest’s arms.

Forest had never been able to let go of the fear that the way that Flynn made him feel was just power that Flynn wielded to keep him under control.

It turned out that their attraction was the one thing for both of them that was completely normal

The sun was getting hotter. Forest caught Flynn’s wrist and led him inside to his room.


Took me a while to get myself together to write this one! I hope it meets expectations :).

The Summon Acquainted spell from the Ravendancer Book of Spells is the only one I’ve ever found a use for. There are a couple of other attack spells which looked like they could be entertaining, but they seem to only operate on rooms of sims rather than a single one. Forest has never been that broad-spectrum.

Yesterday, I played through Sawyer’s teen birthday. Dylan will be an adult in 2 days. I pretty much have to do an heir poll, but I’d REALLY like to try to catch up first so you can get to know the characters. I think they’ve all turned out with pretty strong personalities, and for the first time I don’t have a strong favorite going in.

5.38 Stairway to Somewhere

Dylan had big plans. As soon as he started high school, he began taking practice advanced placement exams for university.

He wasn’t terribly thrilled by his scores, though. Sky tried to remind him that he’d just begun high school. Maybe he’d be more ready for university when he was further in his current classes.

Dylan wasn’t terribly moved by this argument. He was ready to be grown up, and he was ready for it now. He began joining after school study groups to boost his placement scores.

Forest had a few suggestions about where Dylan might direct his ambition.

Dylan even thought about it for a while.

But it was really just a hypothetical exercise that he was using to be polite. Dylan found the very idea of breaking the law pretty upsetting. He tried to stay away from his uncle’s pretty unjust form of justice as much as possible. Besides, Uncle Forest was just extra creepy lately.

Sawyer still seemed to be happiest alone in his room, grouping his blocks by color and building them into symmetrical geometric shapes.

Sky was having some success on socializing him, though.

He no longer pulled away when she held him, but when she tickled, it often took him a long time to remember to laugh.

Sky’s performance at the park pavilion was on that kind of creepy night that made your bones shiver.

Still, it was pretty well-attended.

She sang her heart out.

Crowd reaction was all over the map, from cheers to smiles to people checking their phones. Some of the listeners in the back might as well have been dead.

Xia tried to make up the difference with her own cheers. So much so that when Sky took her bow, she could tell how much of the response was Xia’s.

It was pretty embarrassing. She’d hoped her performance debut would be more… positive.

She made the second set into a Ghostwriter performance. The clouds opened up as she stepped down from the stage, but they’d played in worse. A lot of the crowd ran for cover, but the dedicated fans stayed to listen.

They had a new keyboardist now, Cliffton Hodgins, son of Sky’s long-suffering obstetrician Dr. Sebastian Hodgins.

At home, Dylan was now older enough to be in charge while Sky and Xia were out. He made sure Sawyer was in bed on time, but Abby was not about to let him boss her around. She stayed up playing queen until her parents came home. Dylan tried to ignore her and focus on his studies.

In the living room, the Sample ancestors were having a reunion. They mostly spent it playing video games together.

And then there were more Sing-O-Grams.

Her great-nephew Tomas Sample-Royale bought one to cheer up his roommate, Charlotte Stemple.

It seemed to be mostly a friend thing, since Charlotte most definitely preferred women.

Even with the lesbian community starved for new blood, Sky couldn’t muster the slightest attraction to Charlotte.

It was almost like they were sisters.

And then there was the time her bubble-maker exploded while she was performing for Faith Cagley.

Becoming a singing star was incredibly hard work.

Just some slice-of-life stuff. There are a few better views of teen Dylan. 
Yes, that was a zombie attending Sky’s park performance. The performance was a bomb — probably early performances are often a bomb. But the effect was that she got a high relationship with everyone who watched while they were watching, then took a nasty hit to those relationships at the end because the performance sucked. This resulted in a great notification window that I’ve lost, telling Sky that she wasn’t spending time with the zombie, and it wasn’t her friend anymore.

Sorry about how dark the stage was. Once you’ve set up a stage for a performance, you don’t get another chance to edit it. I clearly did not light it up properly. I’m still trying to figure out how to do that.

I probably shouldn’t show so many Sing-O-Grams, but I JUST LOVE THEM. 
I also don’t using show ghost shots, but that was all four generations hanging out in one room, and it was so cute.

5.37 Adjustment

It was so easy. It was even fun.

Forest’s first prey offered no resistance at all. All Forest had to do was strike up a conversation and gaze into his eyes. Soon, he was reaching out, as if unconsciously, to stroke his fingers.

Ace Wilde poured his soul out to Forest while his wife was getting a makeover at the salon.

He was delicious.

As far as Forest knew, Ace’s wife never found out.

After that, Forest did get a makeover. Something he thought was more suitable to his ascendant position in the underworld.

He also rearranged his bedroom. He tried not to be too conspicuous in moving around the new equipment while his family could watch. Fortunately, they never ventured into his room.

Being a creature of the night had entirely different comfort requirements.

He also enjoyed the extra strength and endurance the new form granted him. It compensated for the uncomfortable feeling of his skin burning if he stepped outside during daylight. It was a good thing he did most of his work at night anyway.

Hunting was fun, but he really didn’t need to do it all that often. Some of Hunter’s exotic produce quenched his thirst in a pinch. It was interesting that something so entirely vegetable could taste so much like blood.

The adjustment period couldn’t last long, however, Flynn had to know something was going on. He was pushing the fight to Forest.
Twice in the last week, Sky and Xia had caught prowlers around the house. Sky was no slouch herself, but with a military officer and trained guard dog in the house, the burglar alarm had been kind of redundant. Flynn had to be testing the waters before making a much more decisive move against Forest’s stronghold.

Forest couldn’t let that happen when his family could be caught in the crossfire.

It was time to do something before Flynn could act next.


I’ve been playing sine 2009, and I NEVER had a burglar in any game I played. Then the Samples had three in succession — like one every other night. (The pics of the first two were lost, of course.) That certainly seemed like a signal that Flynn was mustering his forces.

Of course, with this family, it was a race to see who would beat up the burglar first.

Reinstall update: I spent like three hours yesterday evening copying to the new Windows partition and updating my mods. After all my fretting about the installers for my custom worlds, they were exactly where I would have put them if I’d remembered I put them someplace ;). I loaded up and confirmed that the Samples are OK. Woot!

I do seem to have lost the folder I was keeping my user interface captures in. That just means that I don’t have much material for Simantics, and I may be missing some zingers for the Wonderlands. Considering that I’m restoring after a full system wipe, I’ll take it.

5.36 The Form of a Family

When the invitation to Adam Bookabet and Ali Mentary-Hodgins’ wedding arrived, the big surprise was that it had taken so long. Ali apparently took a lot of time adjusting to Adam’s large and unruly family.

They kept the wedding modest — an arch Adam’s parents’ back yard and a reception inside with home cooking, dancing to the radio, and all the video games you could play.

The Bookabet house wasn’t huge, and it was stuffed with so many laughing, drinking people that it could be hard to get a place to breathe. That was probably why Xia walked in on Anita Bookabet in the bathroom. Anita stayed on the opposite side of the room from Xia after that. Xia murmurred to Sky under her breath, “I wish she’d stop looking at me like that! It was totally an accident. She’s not my type.”

After the obligatory first dance between bride and groom, they turned the music to live recordings of Ghostwriter, and Sky grabbed Adam for a dance or two.

“You finally did it,” Sky said to Adam. “I was wondering what took you so long.”

“Ali wasn’t sure she wanted to marry anyone,” Adam admitted, “but I brought her around.”

Ali had broken away from the crowd and was playing video games on her laptop in the kitchen. Big parties really didn’t seem to be her thing.

“Thing is, I’ve been wondering the same thing about you,” Adam said. “What’s taking YOU so long?”

Sky’s dance moves slowed. “Me? What’s taking me so long about what?”

Adam nodded over his shoulder to Xia, who was now tearing up the floor Adam’s elderly father, Franco.

Sky blanched pale silver. “I don’t know what you mean,” she said. “I already proved how bad I am at marriage. The last thing I want to do is screw things up with Xia by tying her down.”

Adam raised an eyebrow. “Have you ever asked her what she wants?” he asked.

“We talk about it all the time,” Sky said defensively. “No commitment.”

“Uhuh,” Adam said.

“You’re just going all newlywed on me!” Sky cried.

Adam laughed. “OK. You got me!”

Then there was cake, and finally everyone gathered on the porch to shower Adam and Ali Bookabet-Mentary on with glitter and confetti as they left on their honeymoon. Half drunk and laughing, Sky and Xia staggered home arm in arm to relieve the babysitter — almost, but not quite, like an old married couple.

Dylan’s birthday rolled around a few days later. They decided on a simple party at the park pavilion and invited family and Dylan’s friends from school.

This was the second time in recent memory that Sky’d had to share one of Dylan’s life moments with Leah and Plum. Xia squeezed her hand in silent support, and Sky kept her smile up and her mind on her oldest son.

Uncle Hunter arrived just after Dylan blew out the candles, looking more than a bit worse for wear.

“It’s a unicorn thing,” he said dismissively. “Sometimes Meteor is a lot more like a real meteor than you’d expect.”

Dylan laughed and couldn’t help but take a picture.

While everyone else was eating cake, Sky took a moment to audition with the pavilion director for a performance timeslot.

It went very well. It would be her first paid gig as a solo artist!

Dylan preferred things mellow. He spent some time with his cousin Ash, then a lot more time with his best friend from school. She was going into baking and brought more muffins and cake to a party that was already about cake. Dylan bought some just to be polite. He always was a boy who appreciated being polite.

“Hunter,” Eliana’s strained voice rose over the din over conversation.

Hunter was deconstructing Sky’s audition performance with her and wasn’t paying a lot of attention to his wife.


“Eh, what dear?”

“Hunter, get over here! The baby is coming!”

Hunter’s eyes became round. “The what! Baby!” He jumped up and grabbed Eliana by the arm, dragging her out of the park, shouting, “Make way! Pregnant woman coming through! Baby! Baby! Baby!”

Shortly after, he called to breathlessly inform Sky that her first full-blooded niece, Gina Sample-Baerwyn had been born. Gina had Eliana’s mother’s copper skin too. Apparently those genes were strong.

It was hard to keep the party going after that spectacle, and Dylan didn’t seem to mind. He wasn’t terribly wild about being the center of attention anyway.

So the whole family headed home to… well, be a family.

Sky realized that she was content.

Maybe for the first time.


Pictures resumed right after Dylan aged up, and I lost his full-face shot. I cannot express how ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE he grew up. Hopefully you’ll be able to see better in later posts.

Adam and Ari’s wedding was a party invite from the Bookabet clan that I gave a story purpose, same as I did with Garry and Arya. I even gave both sims the “Just Married” moodlet to give the story some authenticity. I’m terribly grumpy about losing it. It was the most rockin NPC party I’ve ever attended, with a good 10 attendees (half of which were Bookabets, but still) crammed in a 20×20 house. Most of them were dancing to the stereo. So cute.

The party was pretty hilarious, what with Hunter having blown himself up and Eliana going into labor. I have no idea what he might be doing these days that would involve blowing up. Mostly he gardens and wins races with Meteor.

Leah still has a terrifyingly bad relationship with Sky, though :(.

And now the long screenshot drought is over.

Also, I haven’t been playing for at least a month due to computer trouble. My Windows partition on my elderly Macbook Pro blew up its boot sector without warning (or something like that — this is out of my area of technical expertise). The bottom line is that I could access the files from OSX, but I couldn’t boot to Windows. So I was able to get the most up-to-date files off the computer, but then I had to wipe out the partition. We decided that the old computer had gotten pretty creaky and it was a good idea to have a new one regardless.  Thus, I have spent the last month ordering and configuring a new computer. Did you know that installing Sims 3 from scratch is a huge pain in the butt? You did??

I now have everything installed except the CC and mods, I think, and I’ll probably take a deep breath and try to load a save game sometime soon. You know… this might make me move the Samples to Monta Vista earlier than intended. I love Avalon with a passion, but I’m using a custom world by Bakafox that I edited in CAW myself… and you can’t load a save game if the world isn’t installed properly. Well, there’s no reason to panic until there’s a reason to panic. Wish me luck :).

5.35 Metamorphosis

Forest was dying inside, and it wasn’t a figure of speech.

The feeling spread from the bite on his arm and settled in his stomach. Then it extended upward and grabbed hold of his heart, a cold hand squeezing tighter every day. He could feel his heartbeat slowing. Every time he took his temperature, the reading was lower than the last.

It didn’t hurt, really. It seemed strange that it didn’t.

The story of the police raid on Flynn’s hideout spread from the moment Flynn’s minions were released. Forest had been escorted out of the holding cell to meet with the chief of police. Hours later, he had been dragged back, unable to stand, and Flynn’s entire staff was released without a single charge being filed. Nobody knew what Forest had done to engineer their release. When anyone asked, he just smiled.

The raid itself was devastating to Flynn’s reputation. Forest didn’t even need to sew the seeds of dissent — everywhere, he heard rumors that Flynn’s power had waned. The underworld was ready for a new Emperor, and Forest was their chosen heir.

Everything was going the way he planned.

During his rare trips to the hideout, Forest avoided Flynn. He was sure that if the Emperor could see the way he was changing, Flynn would kill him outright. Avoiding didn’t turn out to be hard. Flynn spent much of his time secured in his armored underground office. The rest he spent… elsewhere.

As the Change progressed, Forest became more and more restless. He knew he should stay inside, away from prying eyes and innocents, until he was sure of his new form. But he couldn’t manage it. He wanted — needed — to be where other people were. Normal, hot-blooded people.

That’s why he was at Tinkerbell’s Beautique talking to a Stylist when the vice finally released in his chest. His heart stopped beating.

Suddenly, Forest was thirsty.


I intended to cover more time with this post, but it felt like it ought to end here.

The transformation into a vampire turned out to be WAY cooler than I expected. I don’t think screenshots can really capture it. And, sadly, I lost all my screenshots of it anyway :(. I actually caught one in a memory, which I posted to my EA account.

The reason for this Sample hiatus is that I got hung up when I realized that I actually had pictures for them in three separate folders, all numbered the same (of course). There was also a lot of duplication. I really have no idea how this got so messed up. I had to figure out what I had and how to get them consolidated. And, being me, I decided to learn python so that I could write a script to rename the files so they could all go into the folder with the rest of Gen 5. Don’t laugh too hard.

The good news is that I have one important scene I thought I’d lost.

We’re almost to the end of the missing pictures. I have about half of the pictures needed for the next post. After that, it’s back to normal.

5.34 Third and Final

Xia moved in without much fanfare. Dylan didn’t mind, and Abby was ecstatic to have her mum around more often. Now that she was there full-time, she picked up even more slack in the family routine and added a few extra embellishments. For one thing, she started reviving Hunter’s abandoned garden.

That reinforced Sky’s cooking efforts, which everyone admitted were getting better.

A lot of Xia’s spare time went into training for her flight program, so she was often found outside running at all hours and in all weather.

Riddle got a lot of benefit, since she enjoyed his company.
That was a very good thing because Riddle had an inflated sense of his territory and could be a real problem when he was bored.

Sky continued to perform and do Sing-A-Grams until her due date. Her fans loved her for it and spent a lot of time speculating on fan forums who the new baby’s mum might be.
Dylan won first place for a painting contest in school. Sky attended the ceremony alongside Leah. It didn’t hurt as much as when they saw each other at Leah’s wedding. Wounds did heal, if slowly.

Sky’s due date passed, and she began wishing for stronger contractions. At last they came. Xia rushed her to the hospital and stayed with her while Dylan and Abby visiting Hunter and Eliana. It was by far Sky’s most comfortable labor, and in due course Sawyer was born. Afterward, at her request, Dr. Sebastian Hodgins tied her tubes and ensured that this was the last child she would carry.

When she first laid eyes on him, Sky was pretty sure she knew who his mum was. He was silver-skinned like her, but his bright green eyes were distinctive. It was the come-hither look in Amy Winter’s identical bright green eyes that had caught Sky’s attention in the first place.

In between feedings and sleep, she and Xia had long, anxious conversations about what to do about Amy. Xia would not hear of Sky keeping the information from Amy the way she’d kept it from Xia. Finally, they agreed that Sky would call Amy and invite her over to tell the story and see what Amy thought.

It was a long, strange conversation. Sky held baby Sawyer in her arms for the entire time, and she mercifully slept for most of it. Amy was incredulous and said at least four times that if Sky intended to ask for child support, she’d want a parentage test to prove Sawyer was her child. Sky assured her that money was not an issue. They agreed at last that Sky would send Amy email reports on Sawyer’s development, and they would have the option to become involved in each other’s lives if Sawyer wanted it when he grew up.

“You know, I used to date her,” Xia said with a grimace as Amy left.

“The lesbian community in this town is just too small,” Sky said with a sigh. Amy was now living with February Callender, and February was carrying their child. I guess if Amy told February about her unexpected baby, February wouldn’t be able to get too angry, considering that she’d had her own fling with Sky.

Weeks later, February hired Sky to give Amy a Sing-A-Gram for her Elder birthday.

That was awkward, but it could have been worse.

Sawyer grew into a toddler reminiscent of both his mum and the grandfather he never met. Sky’s throat caught when she saw Charles’s hair.

But from the very beginning, there seemed to be something different about Sawyer. He didn’t respond well to being touched and was prone to nasty temper-tantrums for no apparent reason.

He was developmentally far enough behind Sky’s other two children that she and Xia decided to enroll him in speech therapy, and Sky spent hours sitting with him and working on his words.

The first word she could recognize was bug.

He was an exhausting toddler, and Sky and Xia tag-teamed his skills as much as possible.

As he approached Elementary School age, Sky with much trepidation took him for a psychiatric evaluation. The diagnosis was upsetting but not a complete surprise — Sawyer had a high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The diagnosis came with a list of support groups and special educational programs. It was a huge relief to Sky to know what kind of help to seek for her son. Still, it was clear that helping Sawyer socialize and get a full education was going to be a lot of work.


I scrounged up a decent number of pictures for this one. I’m pleased that I had the picture of Sawyer’s first word. The Sing-A-Gram to Amy was much later, but I thought it was worthwhile to get SOME picture of her in here.

Again, this would probably have been a couple of posts if there had been pictures. I guess this is advancing Sky’s story much faster than I’d have done on my own.

Missing pictures: The conversation between Sky and Amy about Sawyer did happen. Xia took Sky to the hospital, but for Amy was called also, and all three of them went home from the hospital together. Sky then stood in the front hall of the house and had a long talk with Amy while holding the newborn.

Also, Sky’s maternity Sing-A-Gram uniform was friggin’ adorable.

Sawyer was also born with the same pale, normal skintone. I also discovered that Abby didn’t have Xia’s eyes — she had the yellow preset color from CAS. Sawyer had the same eyes. His whole genetics were so in question that I just assigned all of them. The considered giving him Amy’s green skintone just so all three kids would have different skins, and now I’m kind of sorry I didn’t. But this glitch seems to happen when the game tries to assign Sky’s skintone, so I gave him silver. I just arbitrarily decided on Amy’s eyes and Charles’s hair because out of seven applicable kids at this point (including Hunter’s) NOBODY ever got it.

Sawyer rolled got a really rough set for his random traits, which is why I decided that he was Autism Spectrum. I’ll try not to write him too insensitively, but I don’t claim to actually know anyone who is Autistic since graduating from high school. I do have a friend with Asperger’s Syndrome.

5.33 Surprising No One

Sky and Xia had a long talk about Abby. Then Xia came by a few days later, and they had another long talk about it. And then they talked some more in email.

Xia was upset, but she didn’t actually question Sky’s honesty about how Abby was conceived. Sky assumed at first that it was just an even more absurd story that Sky had secretly farmed genetic material from a one-night stand in order to carry that woman’s child while she was already married to someone else. Actually, when you said it that way, it actually did seem more plausible that Sky was a supernatural being with a different route to conceiving children.

But it turned out to be more than that. Xia’s great-uncle Zhan Wu had been Charles’s sensei. Xia had learned just a little bit about ghost people from him.

No, Xia wasn’t upset because she didn’t believe Sky’s story. She was upset because Sky never told her. And Sky honestly had never thought that she was being hurtful. She thought she was doing them both a favor to not force Xia to become involved in an enormous, unasked-for complication in her life.

Sky was certainly reexamining the way she looked at things.

Xia spent several afternoons a week at the Sample house, mostly to spend time with Abby. Xia was training as a fighter pilot with the Camelot Armory Air Force, and she kept very early hours — she was usually at work before the sun was up, and she showed up afterwards before Dylan was even home from school. Sky booked Sing-A-Grams for those afternoons. Her life became enormously easier to manage.

The newfound peace of mind left Sky with a new craving to be domestic. After all, she’d been living on delivery pizza, takeout, and microwave meals since Hunter left.

They ate a lot of burned grilled cheese sandwiches for a while. When it wasn’t fit for people to eat, Riddle was always ready to step in and help.

Abby grew into a child.

She was an energetic kid who loved to take on all variety of fantasy roles.

She had a naturally lovely singing voice and would spend hours making up songs and singing them to her favorite doll, Princess. She begged Sky for private singing lessons. Sky was delighted to have someone to share music with, especially since Dylan seemed to have no musical interest at all.

Abby’s imagination seemed boundless, and Sky enjoyed taking little vacations into worlds of Abby’s making. Abby could embellish and expand upon Sky’s bedtime stories to create new stories that Sky liked more than the originals.

Abby also enjoyed telling little white lies and experimenting with just what kind of nonsense she could make people believe. Sky and Xia started sending email notes to each other with things that Abby had told them so that they could compare notes.

Dylan, meanwhile, advanced from block architecture to scale models. He set up a card table in the living room and build a replica of Sunset Valley, where his grandfather came from, and ran a model railroad through it. He used to spend whole evenings perfecting it and adjusting the train track.


One afternoon, when he was adjusting the location of some buildings, Abby came up to watch. “Whatcha doin’?”

“All these houses need to be an inch to the left,” Dylan said absently.


“I wasn’t using the most up-to-date map of the Sunset Valley when I built this model,” he said. “It’s inaccurate.”

Abby looked over the model landscape with wide eyes. “You mean you made this exactly the same as a real place?” she asked.

“I sure did,” Dylan said proudly.

“Why on earth would you want to that?”

Dylan opened his mouth to explain how he’d made the model, then did a double-take. “Huh?”

“Why would you want to make it look like a real place?” Abby asked again. “You can always make up a place that is prettier and more exciting.

Dylan was genuinely puzzled. “I don’t know,” he said. “Then it wouldn’t be real.”

Abby rolled her eyes. “Real is boring,” she said. “In the real world, you can’t be a superhero. Or a princess.” She walked over to their dress-up chest a pulled out her pink satin princess dress. “Your problem is that you have no imagination.”

“I do so have imagination!” Dylan flared. “I can be a prince just as well as you can be a princess.”

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” Abby said.

Dylan pulled on his blue prince costume and raised his scepter. “By the power invested in me as prince, I’ll built a city of emerald and marble. The streets will be paved with platinum because gold is too soft to make a good road. Everyone is guaranteed a good life and a living wage, provided that they donate time to keep the city clean and beautiful–“

“Wow,” Abby said, laughing. “You really don’t know how to do this.”

Dylan crossed his arms. “OK, you show me.”

Abby caught a fold of her skirt in one hand and raised her head regally to gaze over her subjects. She really was quite convincing. “I’m so pleased to meet you Ambassador,” she said as she raised her hand to a man’s imaginary lips. “Of course I would consider trade with your country when you ask so nicely.” She raised her hands and swept around the room. “I know. My people are so loyal. They would do anything for me. A princess like me can do anything.”

“Ugh,” Dylan said. “Why would you want to do THAT?”

“What?” Abby demanded, stomping her foot. “I was perfect!”

“Have everyone looking at you like that,” Dylan said. “It’s so…. exposed.”

Abby and Dylan had a long way to go before they could ever understand each other.


Sky and Xia set careful boundaries on their relationship. Xia might sleep over, but they made it clear from the start that there was no exclusivity. In fact, some day’s they’d just sit up in bed and tell stories about their erotic adventures with other people. Xia preferred women, but she also found the occasional man interesting, so her stories were sometimes truly alien to Sky.

The Sing-A-Grams had really enhanced Sky’s reputation as a performer. There was standing room only in the bars and pubs when Ghostwriter played. And there was more. In addition to her active fan website, Sky started seeing her face on the cover of gossip magazines. She thought she should have been scandalized, but she actually found it amusing. After her performances, she was flocked by attractive young women trying to attract her attention, and every once in a while, she let someone who interested her show her a good time.

So she shouldn’t have been surprised when she started waking up sick in the mornings.

“I’m pregnant,” she said unceremoniously when she left the bathroom one morning after another round of vomiting.

Xia threw up her hands. “That’s a thing with you, isn’t it. Can’t you do anything about it?”

“My mother had her tubes tied,” Sky said. “I’ve been avoiding it because I wasn’t sure I wanted to give up having children.”

“And now?”

“I think I’ll have it done after this one,” Sky admitted.

Xia took her hand. “You’re going to need some extra help now,” she said. “I’m over here all the time. What would you think if I just, well, moved in?”

Sky squeezed her hand. “Would you seriously consider doing that?” she said. “It would make things so much better.”

Xia kissed her. “Done,” she said.

“Just remember–“

“NO COMMITMENT!” And Sky and Xia laughed.


And this is the final baby from Generation 6. One of the sub-challenges I set for Sky was to have three kids by three different women. That certainly shakes up the genetics.

This would have been a couple of posts, but with no pictures I thought I’d toss them all together. Sorry if it’s too long.

Pictures resumed shortly before Abby became a teen, so at least I could share what she looked like. The scene with Abby and Dylan dressed up as royalty was super cute :-p.