5.32 Unexpected Alliance

[I have no pics at all for this post. Grump.]

Sky hadn’t really believe it, but her agent turned out to be right. Word got out about Sky’s private Sing-a-Gram performances, and demand was so high that she had to hire a receptionist to take orders. She could sing till she was hoarse all day and not fill all the demand. Sing-a-Grams could easily swallow up all her time for Ghostwriter AND her children. So she decided that she could only book three a day, and she turned a lot of business away.

Her family was a handful. Dylan took care of himself for the most part, though he humored her by letting her work on homework with him. Dylan wasn’t a brilliant student, but he was hard-working and creative. Most of the time he figured out the answer to the problem before she really understood it. He spent half of his evenings at Castle Marmalade with his mum, so Sky felt extra pressure to make her time with him count.

Abby, on the other hand, was a demanding toddler, and she had no interest in playing by herself. She would howl if she didn’t feel she was the center of attention. Forest was no help with child care. Hunter came over some afternoons to give Sky a break, and Sky had to hire a babysitter when she was out doing Sing-a-Grams. But most of the time, Sky had to amuse Abby by herself. Single motherhood was exhausting.

In the midst of all this, Sky received word that her elderly Aunt Ada had passed on. Uncle Alberto, who had always been something of a playboy-wannabe, vented his grief by hitting on every woman he could find up and down the streets of Avalon. Sky’s cousin Tomas was mortified.

One day, he called in and hired Sky for Sing-a-Gram serenade for his current obsession, local stage magician Echo Weaver, who he had persuaded to go on a date with him at Coffee Under the Sea.

With trepidation, Sky met her uncle there. The date had already gone sour, and Echo was shouting profanity at him on the patio in front of the coffee shop. [I kid you not. It was hilarious.]

Sky stood on the sidewalk with her musical paraphernalia, waiting for one or the other of them to notice her. They didn’t. This was terribly embarrassing. Finally, she said, “This doesn’t look like the best time. Why don’t we reschedule, Uncle Alberto?”

Alberto noticed her for the first time. “No, of course not!” he said. “Echo my dear, this is my talented niece, Sky Sample. She’s going to serenade us.”

“Don’t call me dear, you perverted old codger,” Echo snarled. The she focused on Sky. “Sky Sample of Ghostwriter? You’re kidding me!”

Sky was surprised and impressed that a local celebrity performer knew her name. At least it distracted Alberto and Echo from their public scene. She set down her portable stereo bubble-blower, hit the ON button, and began to sing.

The finale was a flourish of roses, which Echo refused and Sky had to present to Alberto. Then the two of them picked their fight right back up where it left off. Sky packed up her things and made to get home as fast as possible. Then she noticed someone watching her from behind Echo and Alberto.

It was Xia Wu.

Sky froze. Xia walked over to her, not bothering to stifle her laughter. “That has got to be the most awkward performance I’ve ever seen,” she said. “You pulled it off with about as much style as could be expected.”

“That’s a backhanded compliment if I ever heard one,” Sky said.

“OK, it was a train wreck,” Xia admitted, “but it was fun to watch.”

Xia went on to comment about the weather and ask about the music business. In spite of herself, Sky was drawn in. Xia’s dry sense of humor was infectious, and it helped her relax from her public embarrassment. She hadn’t intended to mention it, but somehow she let slip that today was her birthday.

“Your birthday? You’re kidding me!” Xia said. “I hope you’re planning to do something to celebrate.”

“My triplet brothers are coming over tonight so we can have cake together,” Sky agreed. “It’s not a bit deal, but we’re all really busy right now.” Then she surprised herself by saying, “You’d be welcome to join us. Hunter is baking the cake, and he’s a great cook.”

“I’d be delighted,” Xia said.

Sky gave her directions to the house and made her escape. And indeed, Xia arrived a good 10 minutes early, while Hunter was putting final decorations on the cake. Eliana was there with little Ash, getting visibly round with her and Hunter’s first biological child. Hunter and Eliana certainly hadn’t wasted any time, but they looked incredibly happy. The babysitter had already put Abby to bed, but Dylan had arranged to swap days with Leah so that he could be there for the celebration. Everyone eyed Xia with surprise, but she too the attention with panache.

There was singing and candle blowing — one candle for each triplet. The cake was delicious. The conversation was nice, if interrupted a lot by Ash. Xia told outlandish stories about the lavish parties she used to throw at Castle Marmalade and kept everyone laughing. Eventually, Hunter and Eliana had to go home, Dylan to bed, and Forest to work. Sky and Xia were left alone.

“Thank you for inviting me,” Xia said. “It was so warm and, well, family-like.”

“It was my family,” Sky pointed out.

Xia chuckled. “I come from a big family too,” she said. “Your family is a lot like my family. Everyone made me feel welcome.”

Sky smiled. “I’m glad. It wasn’t much of a party, but I have to say you were the life of it.” She stood up to escort Xia to the door.

Suddenly, they were standing very close together, and Sky couldn’t deny the chemistry she’d been avoiding all day.

Xia was watching her without even trying to hide her desire. “I don’t have anywhere I have to be,” she said softly.

“Xia,” Sky pleaded. “We shouldn’t.”

“Why not?”

“The last time –“

Xia sighed. “The damage is done. We might as well have the fun we’re already paying for.”

Xia was right. Sky had already lost Leah. She couldn’t lose her a second time. Sky had been avoiding Xia like the plague since that night in the pub, but the reason for that was gone, wasn’t it? What was she afraid of now?

“I don’t want any commitment,” Sky said. “I’m not good at relationships.”

“I know,” Xia said. “Neither am I.”

And then Xia kissed her, and they both lost interest in talking.

They woke in a tangle of bedsheets to the sound of a toddler howling in the next room. Xia sat up. “Ugh? What’s that!”

“That’s Abby,” Sky said. She dragged herself out of bed, kicked aside her discarded lingerie, and pulled on a robe. “Don’t worry. She’s always like that. I’ll just get her something to eat.”

Sky made her way to Abby’s room and picked her up, deftly cooing over her to calm her down. She sat the cranky toddler on the floor and produced a bottle of milk, freshly warmed in the microwave. Then she sat on the floor and stroked Abby’s green hair while she drank.

She looked up to find Xia standing in the doorway. She looked like she’d been hit with a two-by-four.

“She’s mine,” Xia said.

Sky gulped. She’s actually forgotten Abby was Xia’s child, and she’d never said anything because that would have further entangled them. “Yes,” she said. “I’m so sorry.”


“It’s a long story,” Sky evaded. “But I didn’t do it on purpose, I swear.”

Xia’s gaze was so intense that it almost seemed to burn Sky’s skin. “I have time,” she said. “You better start talking. And you’d better get used to seeing me because can’t get rid of me now.”


I think this post actually turned out longer than it would have with pictures. I guess because I had to describe everything you couldn’t see.

5.31 Wedding Bells and Sad Farewells

In the middle of planning their wedding, Eliana received a call from her sister Nicola. Their father, Robbin Baerwyn, had died at the hospital earlier that morning. He had fallen ill and been diagnosed with a rare blood-borne illness earlier that week. When Forest heard the news, he just nodded and said, “Yes, that makes sense.”

Eliana hung up the phone and walked straight up to her room and closed the door. Hunter stayed downstairs with Ash, looking worried, but he gave her space.

She came down a few hours later, dressed in her best black and violet dress. She crossed the room and took Hunter’s hand. “Let’s get married,” she said.

Hunter blinked. “Right now?”

“Yes. Right now.”

So they were married in the gazebo in the back garden under the stars, with just Sky, Forest, and the children in attendance. Sky slipped out to buy a birthday cake, and they ate it in the arboretum by Hunter’s garden. It was simple, spontaneous, and not terribly grand wedding, but Eliana and Hunter couldn’t have happier with it.

“So,” Hunter said when he’d swallowed his last bite of cake. “I found us a place that I think would be great for Meteor.” He looked at Forest. “I was thinking we were ready to move out.”

Forest, who was standing up with his plate, leaning against a support, nodded. “I think the obstacles keeping Eliana here have been dealt with.”

Eliana flushed and said nothing. Hunter squeezed her hand. “Then if you’re ready Eliana, I say we do it.”

Eliana’s look was fierce. “Let’s do it,” she said.

Within a couple of days, Hunter had purchased the property, a small rural lot with stables and a large garden plot. It was a big risk. The purchase wiped out everything he had saved from his produce business, and he would have to replant. Sky offered help from the Sample trust fund, but Hunter conditionally refused. He wanted to use it only if he had no other option. Still, it made Sky feel better that he had a net to catch him if he fell.

Most of Hunter and Eliana’s belongings fit into a couple of duffle bags. All too soon, Hunter stood at the door with a bag over his shoulder. “Guess this is it, sis.”

Sky hugged him tightly. “I don’t know what I’m going to do without you,” she said.

Hunter hugged back. “I’m not that far away. You can always call. But I know you can do it.”

“I hope so,” Sky said. She watched the entourage straggle down the driveway: man, woman, toddler, wolf, fox, and dog. Riddle snuffled her hand. He at least was staying behind. The house seemed so empty with half of the residents gone.

And she had one more wedding to attend.

She dressed to the nines. She could go and be supportive, but she wasn’t going to give anyone the satisfaction of seeing her at less than her best.

She was so worried about being late that she ended up being the first to arrive. The sat in the silence to collect her thoughts.

The chapel grounds were choked in pink, which is just what you’d expect.

And Leah was fairly glowing.

The guests filed in. Leah’s kid brother Raen was there with his fiance Mitchell Bachelor. They were quite a couple. Mitchell was in a tux, while Raen didn’t dress up at all.

And to her surprise, Xia Wu was there too. Perhaps it shouldn’t be so surprising. After all, Sky was there. Sky would have waved to Xia, but it seemed like exactly the wrong thing to call Leah and Plum’s attention to them.

Leah and Plum posed for pictures before the ceremony.

And the vows went off without a hitch.

There wasn’t a dry eye on the lawn.
The wedding was filled with flowers, lace, and dramatic promises of fairy tale love. It was exactly the wedding Leah had always fantasized about that Sky had not given her.
Afterward, there was a receiving line, and Sky made her way to the front to give her respects to the happy couple.
When it was her turn, Leah just stared at her for a moment. Sky couldn’t met her eyes.

“It was a beautiful wedding,” Sky tried. “I really hope you’ll be happy with Plum. She seems like everything… I… wasn’t.”

Leah looked lost at first.

Then she smiled. “I think I got it right this time,” she gushed. “Plum is the wife I always dreamed of.”

The contrast hung in the air between them. “I’m glad,” Sky said weakly. She turned away and went to pour herself some punch.

And ran into Xia on the way into the chapel.

Sky briefly considered teleporting away. She just wanted to be alone, and the last person she wanted to talk to was the woman who was the reason she’d lost her true love.

“I didn’t expect to see you here,” Xia said.

Sky shrugged. “I didn’t expect to see you either.”

“I guess both of us couldn’t help but wallow in our just desserts.”

Sky sighed, afraid she would lose her composure. “Leah and Plum may not realize it, but we probably did them a big favor. They’ll be happier with each other than they ever would have been with us.”

“Yeah,” Xia said wistfully.

“Did you love her?” Sky couldn’t help but ask.
Xia smiled bitterly. “I thought I loved her more than life itself,” she admitted.

Sky gulped and said her goodbyes.

Instead of heading home to relieve the babysitter, Sky found herself at Honeyduke’s instead, on the phone to Adam. Soon the remainder of Ghostwriter had collected together for an unscheduled performance.

She still had her music. In a very real way, it was the one true love of her life. If she looked at it that way, she was very lucky.

Once she was lost in the sharing of melodies with Adam and Garry, she could let herself feel optimistic. Her old life was torn down. All she had to do was be ready to build a new one.

Instead of being lost, she could be free.


This was a final oasis in a long desert of pictures.

I pulled the gorgeous wedding venue off DNA Request Team. I think it’s Lissykin’s.

5.30 Descending

[First post of lost pictures. I used what I had.]

Flynn’s smuggling operation had a series of high-profile busts. Valuable contraband was confiscated. Smugglers went to jail. Flynn’s name turned up in interrogation after interrogation, but there was never enough evidence to indict.

Police Chief William Pierce’s stern, unsmiling picture was on the front page of the paper almost every day.

Flynn began mole-hunting. Minion after minion was called into his office for a “private interview.” Everyone left addled and unnerved, but Flynn took action against no one.

Forest entered his interview with almost too much confidence. Flynn sat him down and questioned him. Forest could feel the feathers of Flynn’s supernatural probing on the edges of his mind. But, as expected, Flynn found nothing. Forest was a good minion, after all. Flynn had already bound his obedience with blood.

Cops were really putting a squeeze on operations. Flynn ordered everyone to lie low for a while. Smuggling operations were to be placed on full stop. Nobody show up to work, everyone focus on being as normal as possible.

The very evening Flynn handed out those instructions, there was a full-scale raid on the Hideout.

Minions stepped out of Flynn’s offices in the graveyard catacombs straight into the arms of waiting police officers. Dozens were cuffed and taken in for questioning. Most were released. Several disappeared immediately afterward — the police might not have been able to make a charge stick, but they were certainly frightening enough to send the more timid minions packing their bags with plans to find legal employment elsewhere.

Forest was part of the haul.

He walked calmly into the cacophony. He didn’t resist when cops grabbed him, cuffed him, and shoved him into the back of a patrol car. What was the point in fighting anyway? It would just give the cops more grounds to indict him.

Everyone in the operation knew Forest was not to be trifled with. The crowd of nervous minions in the holding cell made way for him. He sat down on the most comfortable bench to wait.
About half an hour later, a uniformed cop unlocked the cell. “Forest Sample,” she said. “Chief wants to talk to you personally.”
Forest stood up. The harsh lights reflected off his glasses, making his face even more unreadable. He followed the cop out of the cell.
Chief Pierce’s office was dimly lit as always. Pierce looked up from his desk as Forest was escorted in. He silently looked Forest over as he waved the cop out of the room.
“I trust your ride wasn’t too uncomfortable,” Pierce said. “Please, take a seat. I took the liberty of setting up the chess board. It’s your move.”
Forest chuckled dryly. “Avalon police accommodations are first class,” he said. “At least I didn’t have to eat anything.” He slid into a cushioned seat in front of the chess table, which was laid out with the current game he and Pierce were playing. He scanned the board to take in Pierce’s most recent move. “Oh, that was clever.”
“Check,” Pierce said smugly as he stood up. “But I don’t think mate just yet.”
Forest nodded. “Not just yet.” He picked up one of Pierce’s rooks and replaced it with his knight. “But I think we are due to review our agreement.”
“Hmmmm?” Pierce took the seat across from Forest and saw what he had done. “Dammit. I guess I couldn’t keep that piece forever.” He slid a bishop across the board.
“I paid you the fee we agreed on,” Forest said. “Now you owe me.”
Pierce looked up and stared intently at Forest. His eyes were luminescent in the dim light. Forest didn’t flinch. He was used to it.
Then the police chief grinned broadly, the dangerous primal grin he would never show to the newspaper photographers. His long, sharp canines glinted. “All right then. This is your last chance to bail out.”
Forest advanced his knight again. “Check,” he said, “and, I think, mate.”
Pierce looked over the board and grunted. “You got me again,” he said. “I guess that just seals the deal.” He stood up. “Do you have someplace in mind?”
Forest also rose. Wordlessly, not trusting himself to speak, he took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeve. He offered his arm, palm up, to Pierce.
Pierce nodded. “You’ll want to brace yourself. This,” he said with a wicked smile, “is really going to hurt.” He took Forest’s arm in both hands, bared his teeth in an animal snarl, and sank them into the flesh of Forest’s wrist.
Forest gasped. Red and black fluttered across his vision. He felt himself falling into a dark pit. Falling… falling… until his knees gave out, and he collapsed to the floor of Pierce’s office.
Somehow I failed to get it in the narrative, but Pierce has been using his vampire wiles to give Forest limited protection from Flynn. That’s how Forest has been able to feed information to Pierce at all as well as why Flynn hasn’t detected it. Basically, Forest can’t exactly fight for himself, so he’s made himself a double-agent minion for one vampire against the other. For a price.
Sadly, all the pictures of Forest meeting with Pierce are gone. Too bad because William Pierce/Buffy’s Spike is always nice to look at. Even the blue-skinned version in Avalon.
I had a little interlude in mind where Pierce talks about his choice to go into law enforcement, plus being married (actually engaged — they never did get married) to a vampire slayer. But I have no pictures for that stuff, and it’s time to move along. I do find it entertaining that StoryProgression made Spike a cop. Talk about a corruptible cop.

5.29 Some Kind of Fairy Tale

It was a time for growing older.

Ash became an adorable little toddler. Eliana teared up when she looked at him. “She looks just like my mom.” Eliana’s mother had died when she was a teenager, and shortly after her father had started acting strangely.

What Hunter saw first was that Ash had Eliana’s eyes.

Hunter’s fatherly instincts didn’t need much encouragement. He was a natural dad. This surprised nobody but him.

Ash and Dylan would spend hours at the blocks table. Dylan enjoyed building elaborate, tidy towers that were elegantly symmetrical, well-balanced, and used all the different types of blocks. Ash enjoyed knocking things down. This made for uneasy companionship sometimes.

Riddle and Mystery became adult dogs.



They were both elegant dogs, and both of them were fierce hunters. Enigma approved.

Eliana returned to her favorite hobby, fishing.

In addition to providing Hunter with fresh catches for his culinary experiments, she filled the Sample living room with fish tanks for her most interesting fish.

Now that Leah had moved out, Hunter could use some help in the garden, and Eliana was only too happy to step into that place. While Hunter loved the work more, she found her increased skill with plants to be a big help in her job.

Riddle started sleeping in Sky’s bed. She knew she should kick him out, but she rather enjoyed the company at night.

Then, while patrolling behind the Sufficiently Advanced Tech Center one night, Hunter found the unicorn again.

Breathless, he approached Meteor beneath the starlight.

Meteor let him come.
The unicorn’s coat shimmered with an internal glow. His mane was like silk.

“You are the most amazing creature I have ever met,” Hunter said softly. “Please let me serve you.”

Meteor neighed, a silvery sound almost like a laugh. You are a bold one, aren’t you? I have not met any human quite like you. Very well, I shall give you a chance. Come a look for me when you’re ready. For now, take my blessing.

Suddenly, Hunter was flying!

Then the unicorn vanished.

Hunter felt better than he had ever felt before. Even though his feet were back on the ground, he still felt as if he were flying.

He ran home as fast as his feet would take him, which was actually very fast.

“You’ll never believe the night I had!” he told Enigma when he returned.

He found Eliana sleeping late in their bedroom. “Wake up, sleepyhead!” he cried, throwing a pillow at her.

“Huh? What?” Eliana dragged herself out of bed. “Hunter! You’re — you’re sparkling!”

“And that’s not all!” Hunter said.


“Let me have another of those!”

“Eliana,” Hunter said breathlessly, “we’ve been together for a while now. I’ve loved you since high school, and I know you’re the only woman I want to spend my life with. Would you –“

“No no no!” Eliana cut him off. “You’re not allowed to do that!”

“I– what?”

“You can’t steal my thunder!” Eliana said. “Hush up and let me do it.”

She got down on one knee and reached into her pocket.

“Hunter, I pushed you away, but you never gave up. I thought I could only be miserable, but you taught me how to live. Please stay with me forever as my husband.”

Hunter was speechless as she slipped the ring on his finger.

“I’ve been planning that for weeks,” Eliana said. “I couldn’t let you trump me.”

“I would never dream of it, my love,” Hunter said with tears in his eyes.


Well, I don’t have the wedding, but I do have the proposal, and that was better anyway. The wedding was a bit of a debacle. They were married in the gazebo of the Sample house, but one of them kept getting stuck on the landing coming down from the top floor of the house, so it took forever to get the vows started. Then Forest decided to age into an adult halfway through their vows, which for some reason trumped the wedding, and they ended up having to get married again on the lawn away from the wedding arch. So perhaps it is just as well to not have to figure out what to do with those pictures :).

After the wedding, I moved Eliana, Ash, and some of the pets out to the new Sample-Baerwyn house, which was a super-cute small equestrian lot with a nice-sized garden in the front yard, a small stable, and half the lot dedicated to horse exercise space. The household had 8 Sims in it, and I was going nuts. I kept Eliana around long enough to earn 10k happiness points to change her LTW to Presenting the Perfect Private Aquarium. Charles had already caught more than 13 species of perfect fish, and I was storing them in one of the World Adventures chests. I took them out, placed them in tanks, and Woot! Eliana gets her LTW. Sky also painted her portrait, so she was worth 2 points. Which is nice because I could NOT get Hunter to 100k happiness points. He simply wouldn’t wish for anything big. If I’d realized he was only going to have 150 point wishes to pet his animals, I’d’ve played him differently from the beginning. He did manage to get a 5k wish to marry Eliana, but even with that he only left the household at 80k. Of course, it didn’t help that his LTW was only worth 20k. EA vastly underestimates the difficulty of adopting a unicorn, at least if you’ve never done it before.

However, since Hunter hadn’t actually adopted the unicorn yet, he had to stay in the household until that was done. (Storywise, I intended to write him as already having moved out but still hanging around Sky’s house a lot to look after her.) Hunter asked Meteor to join the household in this scene, but Meteor refused. I had to figure out what was going wrong and try again. The big set of shots that I’m sorry for losing are the ones of Hunter riding Meteor down the street from the Sample house to his new house with Eliana with the sparkles and rainbows dancing out behind them. Sky happened to be giving Eliana a Sing-a-Gram, so she was there when he transferred households to give him a hug goodbye. Hunter’s last act as an active sim was to Try for Baby with Eliana, thus adding her to the bloodline and securing her 2 points :).

All the animals went with Hunter except Riddle. I was really torn between whether to keep Riddle or Mystery. They both turned out so pretty. In the end, Riddle’s hunting hound look won me over, though in retrospect I’m really unclear how he ended up with that shape. Mystery is a more appropriate mix of their parents.

5.28 When You’ve Hit Rock Bottom

Leah returned late the next morning. Sky was waiting for her.

“I hope you had a nice time,” Sky said.

Leah’s words came out mechanically, as if she’d been rehearsing them for hours. “I just came to pick up a few things. I’m moving out. Don’t be too upset.”

“I know,” Sky said flatly. “I figured it out.”

“Our marriage has become a charade, and you know it as well as I do,” Leah said.

“I can see that you feel that way,” Sky replied. “I made a mistake. I’ve been trying to make it up to you, but nothing I do matters.”

“Two mistakes,” Leah retorted. “You made another ‘mistake’ at the Simfest the other night.”

Sky gaped. “How do you know about that?” she demanded.

“You’re a celebrity,” Leah said. “Your fans keep a forum about your sex life. You’re very popular.” She spit out the last word with disdain.

“You’d made it pretty clear you were going to leave me by then,” Sky said sullenly.

“It doesn’t matter,” Leah replied. “You’ve been faithful to make me happy, but as soon as you could justify it, you started fooling around again. You’re never going to be happy being faithful to me, and I will never be able to trust you.”

Sky couldn’t think of anything to say to that.

“Look,” Leah said, “My, ah, friend is waiting for me in the car. I need to go. I’ll be in touch about, you know, the divorce.”

Sky watched silently as Leah threw a few personal items in a bag and excused herself. Then she quietly closed the bedroom door.

Hunter was in his garden when he saw Leah leave. He made his way up to Sky’s room and found her sobbing into her pillow. “Hey hey,” he said, sitting down on the edge of the bed. “I’m so sorry.”

“I’m broken,” Sky sobbed. “I don’t know why I wanted to cheat on Leah. I’ll never be able to be the kind of person who can be loved.”

Hunter pulled her up and gave her a hug. “I love you,” he said. “I know it’s not the same thing, but it’s a start. I know you’re not a bad person. I just don’t think you can get what you want out of a relationship until you know what you want.”

She looked at him with red-rimmed eyes. “And besides,” he said wryly. “Now you have no place to go but up.”

Later, when she felt a little bit less raw, she looked up the Ghostwriter fan webpage and found the forum on her. Leah was right. She was very popular. Not only were there pictures of her flings with Xia and February, there was speculation about her and several other people, most of whom she didn’t know. There was even speculation from fans about how to get her attention to be her groupie.

It was a lot to take in. She’d have to think about it.

Sky spent a few days focusing on her family. She sat down and explained to Dylan that things were going to change, but that both his parents loved him. Once Leah was settled, Dylan could split time between them. She tried not to put him under pressure to affirm his feelings for her. Dylan took the news quietly and was withdrawn for a while.

But one thing she wasn’t getting enough of, the one thing she’d always felt she could really do right, was music. Whenever things got complicated in her life, she stopped pursuing gigs for Ghostwriter. Clearly she was not very good at publicity. It was time for the band to have an agent.

She met with a few well-reputed music agents and decided to hire one.

“Ghostwriter is a very popular band around here,” the agent pointed out. “You’re giving me an easy job. What I want to talk about is YOU. Your music is magical, even without a band. Have you ever considered launching a solo career?

“Solo?” Sky said. “No, it never even occurred to me.”

“Leave it to me,” said the agent. “I know just the thing to get you going.”

What the agent had in mind was not exactly what Sky expected.

Sky rolled through a series of private appearances for parties and celebrations.

It was kind of embarrassing, but the money was good, and it did seem to get her name out there.

On evenings when she was out, she sent email to Leah to tell her it was all right to drop by to be with the kids.

Just so long as Leah was gone by the time Sky got home, it was a decent interim compromise.

Some evenings, she’d finish up at Honeydukes and chat with Amie Engel.

“You know,” Amie said one night. “That offer I made still stands.”

“The what?” Sky said, blanching.

“The offer of some naughty fun. You always look like you could use a chance to relax.”

She leaned in and described in more detail what she had in mind.

Sky dropped her eyes. “I’m not very good at relationships,” Sky said. “I wouldn’t want you to get hurt.”

Amie laughed. “Who said anything about a relationship? I’m not looking for a girlfriend. I’m just looking for some fun. Give me a minute to close up.”

With the shop closed, Amie led Sky down into the subbasement.

Sky looked around, unimpressed. “What are we going to do here?”

Amie gestured to the wardrobe in the corner. “That, my dear,” she said, “is the magical looove machine.” She took Sky’s hand and led her inside.

And she was right. It was pretty magical.

Afterward, they laughed and played dress up with the old clothes in storage.

Amie even did her hair.

Sky couldn’t believe how much fun she was having. It was like that night with Xia, when the weight of the world was lifted off her shoulders. Only this time, nothing came crashing back down.

She realized what was missing.


She wasn’t hurting anyone, and she wasn’t failing to meet anyone’s expectations. She could just be herself.

“Thanks,” she said to Amie. “That was great.”

Amie winked. “I know I’m pretty amazing.”


I have two more posts of pictures, and after that they’re going to get kind of sparse. I’m considering re-staging some stuff with the kids, but I guess it’s a matter of how much time I’m willing to put into it.

I had visualized Sky as being a self-employed band, but that hasn’t gone terribly well. I had to download a mod to get any gigs at all, and then they’re ALWAYS at Honeydukes. So Ghostwriter will still be around, but I decided to try out the Showtime singer career with her. Sing-a-grams are the funniest thing ever.

5.27 All Fall Down

With both parents gone, the Sample triplets made excuses to spend more time together. Sky struggled with a sense of being lost. How would she know if she was being a good person without Mom or Dad to advise her?

Sky was a mother of two, and part of her still wanted to be a child. It was an embarrassing thing to admit about herself.

The days were gray and blended into one another. Sky didn’t call any rehearsals with Ghostwriter. She tried to get a grip on her feelings the way Dad used to, with a bit of meditation. Sometimes it did leave her feeling calm for a while, but it didn’t last.

Sometimes she could hear Leah in the bathroom, engaged in some sort of long conversation with herself. When she asked her wife what she was talking about, Leah shut up and wouldn’t discuss it.

Garry and Arya finally set a date. They were married in the evening at Chateau Crumplebottom.

The wedding was casual, more like one of Garry’s legendary soirees that led him to miss so many rehearsals. If he weren’t a brilliant bassist, Sky would had to kick him out of Ghostwriter a long time ago.

Garry basked in his Big Day. He loved being the center of attention.

When Jeanna called everyone in for cake, Sky was able to grab a few minutes to congratulate her cousin personally. “I’m really glad to see you happy,” she said.
Garry shrugged. “Nothing much has changed,” he said. “It’s just a great excuse for a party.” He looked at with a raised eyebrow. “Speaking of happy couples, where’s Leah?”
Sky flushed and looked away. Leah had booked a solo gig at The Round Table instead. 

The last couple of Ghostwriter rehearsals had just been Sky and Adam.

The Marmalades were one of the most venerated and richest dynasties in Avalon. They’d passed down through the generations an expansive fortress overlooking the sea.

Leah took to visiting there a lot to spend afternoons with Plum.

Nobody was in a position to understand her like Plum, and nobody was so easy to talk to.

“It just gets harder every day,” she lamented. “I try to be a good wife and mother. I’m really trying to move on. But now I can’t even look at Sky.”

“Why did she do this to us? We were so happy!”

“You are so brave for trying so hard,” Plum said. “I don’t know how to overcome a breach of trust like that.”

And she wasn’t kidding. Plum had kicked Xia Wu out of the house shortly after she’d learned about Abby from Leah.

“She’s my love,” Leah said helplessly. “She’s my happily ever after. I can’t be with her, and I don’t know how to live without her.”

“Don’t try to solve it all at once,” Plum said sagely. “Just stay for dinner and take some time to unwind.”

“I think I’d go crazy without you, Plum.”

She followed Plum through the elaborate Castle Marmalade sitting room and stopped to send a text to Sky to say that she wouldn’t be home.

Sky had been walking on eggshells for weeks. Nothing was helping. 

Well, she was done playing supportive housewife. If Leah wasn’t coming home, she was going to go out and have fun on her own.

Hunter and Eliana were happy to watch Abby and Dylan.

The renowned magician Echo Weaver was performing at Coffee Under the Sea that night. Sky decided to buy a last-minute ticket.

Echo did turn out to be a good showman, and Sky was able to forget about life for a little while.

Afterward, she was recognized by February Callender. “You’re Sky Sample? Of Ghostwriter?? I go to all your concerts!”

It was so nice to feel like a celebrity.

At some point, enough was enough.


Sorry guys. I gave them a chance, and it just wasn’t happening. Sky has Commitment Issues, and Leah is a Hopeless Romantic. Plum is a Friendly Hopeless Romantic. Once Leah and Plum met, it just seemed impossible for Leah to compromise for a relationship that was never going to be what she imagined.

5.26 Paths Apart

Word of Hunter’s produce got around, and one day he got the phone call of his life. The Round Table, Avalon’s premier restaurant, offered him a contract as a supplier.

Hunter had finally made it. His business was successful.

Moreover, he was going to have to move out of the Sample estate, and soon. He needed to expand his garden if I was going to meet the demands of his contract.

The puppies continued to be adorable.

Abby was learning more every day.

Her first word was “ball,” but she seemed to mean it in a kind of extravagant way.

Eliana threw herself into her new job at the Sufficiently Advanced Technology Center. You could find her studying scientific experiments almost any time she wasn’t at work.

The more she relaxed and felt safe, the more she seemed discover a second childhood.

She and Dylan were especially fond of each other. He needed someone to help him lighten up and remember how to be childish.

Forest worked hard. Pretty much all the time. His family sometimes didn’t see him for days.

Hunter kept to his evening patrols several evenings a week. It has been so long now since he had seen the unicorn that he sometimes wondered if he’d imagined it. Still, he couldn’t let it go.

Then one day, out in a pouring rainstorm, he finally hit pay dirt.

The creature was even more captivating than he remembered. All his plans and research fell out of his head, and he could only get soaked in the rain and stare at it.

The stallion seemed to laugh at him, but it was an affectionate kind of laugh. Before it disappeared, Hunter heard one sentence in his head. My name is Meteor. Then it was gone.

Leah was avoiding Sky. It was hard to miss it. She wasn’t arguing or acting angry. She just wasn’t around. She retreated from looking after Abby, leaving Sky responsible for the toddler’s skills.

She and Plum Marmalade had stayed in touch. The day after the Love Day birthday party, she called Plum up and invited her to the Magic Mirror Art Gallery to hang out for an afternoon. Plum accepted immediately. It was the first time they’d met face-to-face since that night outside the Sample house.

Plum seemed delighted to see her.

Just as before, a sense of instinctive trust seemed to pull them together. Leah had fought it before, wanting to believe that Sky’s love was true, but now she just felt so…. tired of it all.
She confessed how depressed and lonely she felt. She didn’t work for the police anymore because Sky had wanted to focus on their music, but Ghostwriter hadn’t had that many gigs in quite a while. Dylan was her pride and joy, but he was growing older and didn’t need a mommy leaning over his shoulder all the time.
And Abby….

It came pouring out almost before she realized what she was saying. Abby was Xia’s daughter.

Plum took the news very, very badly.

Leah was struck with guilt for breaking the news to Plum. But it was true. Shouldn’t Plum know?

She reached out hesitantly and took hold of Plum’s shoulder. “I know what you’re going through,” she said quietly. “We can survive this together.”

Plum forced a grateful smile through her tears. “Thanks,” she said. “I can’t tell you how much that means to me.”

Later that night, Veronica decided relax after a long day’s work at her inventing table with one of her old favorite hobbies — skinny dipping.

What she hadn’t realized was just how tired…. and perhaps how old she had become.

She was out in the middle of the pool before she realized how much work it was to tread water. She tried to swim back to the edge, but her arms got heavier with every stroke. She opened her mouth to call for help, and water came rushing in.

It happened so fast that she had gone under before anyone in the house knew something was wrong.

The family was stunned and devastated. But at least everyone was there to see her off.

Veronica was 105. At some level, her children knew that this could come at any time, even if they tried not to think about it. Being able to say goodbye softened the blow a little bit. It was more than they’d gotten with Charles.

When Veronica was gone, Sky stood by the swimming pool and sobbed.

Though almost nobody ever swam in it, Sky had always thought the pool was a sort of elegant status symbol. Suddenly she hated it.

The next morning, she called a meeting with a contractor and laid out plans to tear out the pool and expand the arboretum.

Veronica was laid to rest beside Charles. Perhaps they would help them find each other faster in the Netherworld.


Well, it had to happen somehow, but I didn’t expect to lose Veronica that way. She was incredibly old. I think 105 was her final age, but I’d have to look it up to be sure. That was older than Lancelot and Layla, who were vegetarians. I gave up trying to get her to 200k happiness points, though. She left the game with close to 180k.

I thought it was cute that elderly Veronica was still skinny dipping autonomously, so I took that shot and went off to have Sky paint portraits. Then the camera was yanked back to Veronica gulping water. I directed her to leave the pool and got repeated route failures. Then Overwatch detected her as being unroutable, and she was reset to another location STILL drowning.

Apparently that pool was a death trap. It could have been caused by the fact that the arboretum was made with some fancy build mode hacks. I think the next house the Samples live in will be made without hacks if possible.

I suppose I could have reset her, but I thought — if Veronica had to go, wouldn’t she get a kick out of being a funky ghost? She’s the first non-old-age ghost in the Sample ancestry.

Also, Grim was glitched and never showed up. After everyone waited sobbing all night, I was forced to use MasterController to force kill Veronica’s ghost and have Sky retrieve her from the mausoleum. Perhaps that was why Veronica grew to be that old to begin with. I reset all the sims in town after that, but I guess I won’t know if Grim is functioning properly until someone else in the active family dies. Hopefully that won’t be for a long time. Townies are dying of old age just fine.

At any rate, trust Veronica to make a splash with her exit.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be as fond of a sim couple as I was of Charles and Veronica.

5.25 All You Need Is Love

Now that they had a sunny spring day, they could have the kind of birthday party for Dylan and Abby that the adults had been planning. The family all piled into the Motive Mobile and took a trip to the Spring Festival.

Family and family connections poured out to wish the littlest Samples well.



Jeanna Yo-Mai. She and Leah’s little sister Miyuki hadn’t been married long yet. They’d decided to ditch the name Crumplebottom altogether to avoid inheritance confusion, though they were still living at Chateau Crumplebottom with Garry. Garry insisted the place was too big for just him and Arya.

Garry Crumplebottom and Arya Bookabet, meanwhile, were still playfully dickering over a wedding date. They seemed in no hurry to tie the knot.

Forest was the only single triplet left. At Veronica’s urging, he asked the love meter for advice. It didn’t seem to see a problem — it thought Forest was hot. Too bad it wasn’t a sim.

Veronica paraded around her new adopted grandson for everyone to meet.

Then she shared wild stories of youth with Ada and Jeanna.

Leah caught up with Miyuki.

“He’s a beautiful kid,” Miyuki said.

“Are you thinking of having any of your own?” Leah prodded with a wink.

“I don’t know,” Miyuki admitted. “Jeanna already has two kids. I’m not sure I want to deal with all the squalling and bodily fluids.”

Leah wasn’t sure what to say to that.

Then came the time for Dylan to blow out the candles!

Happy birthday was sung with great gusto.

Then came Abby!

Her hair and eyes made it very clear whose daughter she was, and she wasn’t Leah’s.
Sky shot Leah a worried look. Her wife’s face was forced into an expression of celebration, but her eyes were dull. They had both known it was likely that Abby was Xia’s child, but it was a very different thing to see that it was true. But they couldn’t talk now in the middle of the party. Sky would have to wait until they got home.
Veronica pulled Hunter and Eliana onto the dance floor.

Hunter seemed a lot more outgoing these days. He let Veronica teach him some moves.

Dylan went straight to the face-painting booth and gave the painter detailed instructions on exactly the art he wanted on his face. The painter gave him the same rainbow she gave everyone else.

Still, he was pretty happy with it. And even happier with the beautifully-colored Easter eggs

Dusk fell, and the party was still going on. The adults were all dancing and laughing.
Then someone unexpected wandered into the park.
“Mrs. Sample!” Ali Mentary said. “I got your text. Thank you for inviting me.”

Veronica faltered. “It’s nice to see you, Ali, but I didn’t send you a text message.”

“You didn’t? I didn’t mean to crash your party!” Her eyes flickered nervously over Veronica’s shoulder to Adam, whose eyes were burning into her.

Forest watched from a distance, looking satisfied. It wasn’t terribly difficult to send a text in his mother’s name.

Sky stepped into Adam’s line of sight. “Adam,” she said gently. “Are you all right?”

Adam didn’t say anything. He turned on his heel and ran into the park cottage.

Ali watched him go and gulped. She turned to leave, but Forest stepped in her way. “Hey there,” he said. “It’s been a long time. I was, sort of hoping you were well.”

Ali blinked back tears. “Hi,” she said. “I didn’t think you’d want to talk to me either.”

Forest offered a wan smile that showed a heart that still ached. “You know,” he said. “That was old news. I thought maybe we could be friends.”

Sky saw Adam standing on the porch of the cottage. She started to run to meet him, then remembered her ghost blood. She closed her eyes and appeared in front of him. That was one way to keep him from escaping.

“Adam,” Sky said. “Ali loves you. Hasn’t this gone on long enough?”

“Will you leave it alone?” Adam cried. “She’s the one who left me, remember?”

“Look,” Sky retorted, “but I know a little bit about screwing up your love life. I have no idea what happened with Ali, but I know she’s not over you. Better yet, I know you’re not over her either. You never date. You look miserable when you see happy couples together. Just go talk to her, Adam, or you’ll regret it forever. Trust me.”

“Wow,” Adam said more softly. “I didn’t know you felt so strongly about this.”

“I care about you, Adam,” Sky said. “I want to see you happy, and the person who is making it hardest for you to be happy is you.”

Adam wavered. He looked genuinely frightened. Sky pulled him into a hug. He held her tightly. “Thanks for being my friend,” he said.

Ali had already left. Adam looked at Sky for encouragement one last time. Then he took a deep breath and ran after her.

Whatever they said was between them, but it didn’t take long for the news to make it through the gossip network that Adam and Ali had been seen out on a date together.

Sky watched Adam go. Then her eyes fell on Leah

It was just a a kiss from the kissing booth, but Leah really wasn’t the kissing booth type. Sky felt a fresh knot in her stomach. It didn’t look like Leah had taken the news about Abby well at all.

For Amhranai, who likes it when I post a lot 🙂 :).

Leah had a wish to kiss someone. I tried the kissing booth, and it didn’t fulfill the wish! Not terribly well-thought-out on EA’s part, if you ask me.

I tried to have Sky use her celebrity influence to get Adam to kiss Ali, and I have to say that I’m unimpressed by THAT game feature. First of all, the game decided that Ali absolutely had to go to a protest at City Hall a few sim-minutes after she arrived. I ended up having game trouble and had to replay this party. Then I invited Ali much earlier and tried the same trick with Sky influencing Adam. This time, he tried to kiss the wrong sim. I tried again to make sure that he’d selected Ali from the list. Same thing. No kiss was successfully delivered on any attempt.

I’m afraid that Sky and Leah are still not out of the woods.

5.24 Silver Linings

Eliana moved into the Sample estate that night.

Hunter offered to call her father to tell her she wasn’t coming home, but she insisted on doing it herself. When he started shouting at her over the telephone, she hung up on him and giggled crazily. “I never thought I’d be able to do that!” she said.

“I think you can do anything,” Hunter replied.

The next evening, she found her way to the gypsy caravan to have her palm read.

She came home glowing. “This the beginning of good things,” she said. “I believe it.”

She spent a few evenings in long talks with Veronica and applied for a job a the Sufficiently Advanced Tech Center.

Hunter and Forest hauled around furniture and bought a bed appropriate for Hunter’s new lifestyle.

Which was useful because it gave Sky a place to sleep other than the couch.

Sky and Leah were a far cry from sleeping in the same bed, but Sky had good reason to hope that they would again. As awful as it was to deal with the truth, it turned out to be so much better than hiding the truth. Now there were no more secrets. Sky worked hard to show Leah how much she meant to her.
Sky had been afraid her wife might treat little Abby as an intruder, either consciously or unconsciously. That didn’t happen. Leah had an affinity for babies, and it never seemed to occur to her to punish the child for the sins of the mother.

Abby and Dylan were the glue that held Sky and Leah together.

Though no one could appreciate the new baby more than her grandmother.

Once they started to build a new routine again, Sky went back to promoting Ghostwriter.

She and Adam started playing in clubs to light a fire under the fans the band had already built.

Hunter now had a girlfriend who worked regular hours, and he had to give up his nocturnal wandering. He couldn’t give up his search for the unicorn, though, and he started wandering again at dusk after dinner.
He didn’t find any magical creatures, but he did befriend a wild red fox.

Hunter felt connected to the little predator in a way he had only felt connected to Enigma before.

By the end of an afternoon together, they were fast friends. Hunter called him Blaze for his firey red fur.

Hunter had to keep Blaze outside until the fox was comfortable enough to submit to a scrub down for fleas and parasites. After that, he became a member of Hunter’s family.

He was very careful to make sure that Enigma knew she wasn’t losing Hunter’s heart.

Sometimes Enigma was so tame these days, you could mistake her for a big dog. Well, at least when she was with Hunter. When she was out with her pack, all bets were off.

Then, of course, there were two puppies to care for.

Riddle and Mystery were part of the family too. It was becoming quite a menagerie.

Flynn summoned Forest one night.

The beach was isolated, and the sand dunes swallowed up their footprints as soon as they made them.

Flynn didn’t waste any time. “Robbin Baerwyn tells me you have his daughter,” he said.

“In a manner of speaking,” Forest replied. “Really, my brother has her. She doesn’t want to go home, which doesn’t seem terribly surprising to me.”

“Baerwyn can’t reach her at your house.”

Forest drew himself up and met Flynn’s eyes without blinking. “I have her under my protection,” he said.

Flynn seemed to think about this. “I always knew you had power,” he said at last. “Very well. I’m losing patience with Baerwyn, and I don’t think he has anything else to offer me. If you want to take on the trouble of the girl, I will not take offense for now.”

Forest was so relieved, he felt his knees might give way. He kept his face unreadable. “I think that’s a wise choice,” he said.

One evening, as they were getting ready for bed, Eliana was hit with severe contractions.

Hunter rushed her to the hospital, and Ash Baerwyn was born shortly after.

As the two of then had discussed for months, Eliana listed Hunter on the birth certificate as Ash’s father. Weston Mentary knew that the child was his. He could ask for a paternity test if he wanted a role in Ash’s life, and Eliana would support him if he wanted to do that. But Weston had a new fiancee now, Raquel Sword. Both he and Eliana had moved on. Hunter wanted to adopt the baby, and this seemed like the easiest way for all involved.

Now there were two babies and a toddler in the Sample house. It was starting to feel like a daycare center.

It just so happened that Dylan and Abby’s birthday coincided with Love Day. Sky and Leah had so much fun planning a big springtime party in the park that Sky was ready to think the whole cheating issue was behind them.

Then the day dawned in a steady, dreary rainfall.

Veronica looked over Sky’s shoulder, out the window at the dismal day.

“Well, this won’t do!” she declared.

Leah sighed. “The only thing that could ruin this day was the weather,” she said.

“Now now,” Veronica said. “I never let a little thing like the weather ruin my fun. I change it! I think now is the best possible time to test my newest invention.”

“I call it The Weather Changer,” she said. “Watch and be amazed.”

She didn’t even bother to grab an umbrella when she marched out into the downpour.

When she was done, she looked over her dumbfounded family. “Well, pick your jaws up off the floor and let’s get going! We have a birthday party!”


The weather machine LTR is the most awesome animation I have ever seen in this game.

5.23 Knight in Armor

Forest received a phone call around noon one day, just as he was waking up.

It was Valerie Ursine-Mentary, one of Flynn’s inner circle of advisers. “I think it’s time to talk about my situation,” Valerie said. “I’m going to be at the Crypt Club before work if you can make the time.”

So Hunter made the time.

The Crypt Club was deserted at 4pm in the afternoon. When he arrived, he only had the bartender to keep him company. In most cases, he wouldn’t be concerned about that at all. With the kind of business that went on at the Crypt Club, bartenders knew to keep their stories to themselves. But this was different — he had a feeling this conversation was going to intrude on the Emperor of Evil’s private business.

When Valerie appeared, he held up his drink and gestured with it back toward the stairs. “It’s stuffy in here,” he said. “I’m going to take a walk, and you’re welcome to join me.”

Valerie gave him a wry smile. She knew how the game worked.

[Sorry. They really did talk, but I had a screen snap fail. As in I failed to take screen snaps.]

They strolled down back paths together for a while, not bothering to make smalltalk. When Forest decided they were as safe as they were going to get, he spoke. “You have a problem I can help with?”

Ursine-Mentary gave an expressive shrug, though she didn’t stop walking. “I seem to have my foot caught in the door, and I think you have personal interest in my current assignment.”

Forest said nothing and waited for her to continue. If he had any reaction, it was hidden behind his mirrored glasses.

“You know I am personally assigned to Robbin Baerwyn.”

Forest nodded. “I hear you two are engaged. Congratulations.”

Valerie looked daggers at him. “It’s not much of a risk. He’s 92 with a weak heart. He enjoys having a younger woman to hang on his arm, and it keeps me in his confidence.”

“Go on.” Forest kept his face impassive, but he knew that was hardly the whole story. Valerie was a young widow because her first husband, noted scientist Dr. U. Mentary, hadn’t been much older than that when she married him. She had a thing for older men. Much older men. And these days she had a son to support alone as well. Whatever she felt for Baerwyn, it couldn’t hurt to have access to his assets.

“Robbin is obsessed with finding immortality, and he’s trying to sell his family out to do it. He has struck a deal with Flynn over his daughter Eliana. I don’t know all the details, but I know Flynn was keeping her as a receptionist and late-night snack for a while, and something changed his mind. Now that Robbin’s health is really starting to fail, he’s getting desperate, and he plans to try again to get Flynn to accept Eliana as payment for Flynn’s favor.” None of them ever said vampire aloud, but Valerie knew just as well as Forest what Flynn was. Baerwyn wanted Flynn to turn him.

“Flynn is never going to do it, you know,” Forest said. “He doesn’t need the competition.”

Valerie offered a mirthless smile. “Of course,” she said. “But Robbin doesn’t know that, and Eliana doesn’t know what end is up. I know you have some kind of personal interest in the Baerwyn family. Eliana could use a white knight to ride in to her rescue right about how.”

Forest let out a chuckle in spite of himself. “Nobody,” he said, “has ever accused me of being a white knight.”


Every since Hunter had seen that sparkling white fairy tale create, he’d been obsessed with finding it again. The owner of the Alchemy Academy knew him by sight now. He had read every book they had on unicorns, and now he had even more obscure ones on order.

Unicorns were powerful nature spirits. They appeared mostly in the darkest night in places away from civilization. Hunter could work in his garden at any time, so he moved to a nocturnal schedule and began roaming the woods and the seashores with Enigma at night.

He was scouting an old medieval ruin called Dragon Rock the night he ran into Eliana Baerwyn.

She had climbed to the top of the highest remaining rampart and was looking down into the remains of the moat with empty eyes. Hunter’s chest squeezed with pity at the sight of her. “Eliana!” he called.

Eliana jumped. Then she saw him. “Hunter!”

“I know I’m being kind of a jerk,” Hunter said. “But I’ve seen stones up there pull loose without reason. I couldn’t bear it if you fell in and got hurt.”

Eliana’s eyes were so filled with despair that it scared Hunter just to look at her. “I didn’t think you’d care that much,” she said.

Hunter scuffed his foot in the dirt. “I, um, well, look. I was leaving messages on your voice mail, and then you changed your phone number. I thought it was you who didn’t care.”
“I’m sorry!” Eliana whispered. “It’s just that after I took you home to meet Daddy, he said he didn’t want me to talk to you again! I didn’t know what to do!”

Hunter was perplexed. “You didn’t call me back because your dad said not to? Why do you let him have that kind of power over you?”

Eliana trembled. “You don’t know my father.”

Hunter took a moment to let that sink in, then his face turned cold and hard. “I don’t know him, but maybe I should learn. You should never be frightened Eliana. Let me protect you.”
“Protect me?” Eliana echoed. 
It had misting lightly all evening, but now the skies opened up and began raining in earnest. Hunter’s watertight leather jacket was good protection, but not for Eliana. Enigma let out an impatient bark. “We could go someplace more comfortable,” Hunter suggested. “Would you consider coming home with me?”

“Lead the way,” Eliana said.

They ran for the Sample house together and dripped on the doormat. The house was dark. Everyone was asleep except Forest, who was at work.

“This is beautiful,” Eliana breathed. “I had no idea you lived in a place like this.”

Hunter blushed. “The Samples were kind of a big name in Sunset Valley, where we moved from,” he admitted. “There’s money in the family. But I never wanted to live on that. Come on. I want to show you something.”

He took her hand and drew her into the arboretum. “This is mine,” he said, gesturing to the rows of fruits and vegetables. “I’m making a business at it, and it’s almost self-sufficient.”

“You’re amazing,” Eliana said. “These are beautiful.”
Hunter gazed into her eyes. “Why didn’t you return my phone calls?” he asked. “Was it really about your father?”
Eliana started to say something. Then, without warning, she fell into his arms and clung to him as if she were terrified that he would melt away.

At first, Hunter could barely breathe. Then he breathed into her hair. “You’re trembling. You shouldn’t be standing in the night air soaked through like that.” He forced himself to pull away and fetch her some warm sweats.

“I’ve never met anyone like you,” Eliana said. “You’re so caring and kind.”

Hunter blushed and shrugged. “Thanks,” he said.

Eliana looked at him, and her eyes brimmed with tears. “You’re too good a person to get involved with me,” she said. “You should give it up.”

Hunter scowled. “Why do you said that?” he demanded.

“Hunter,” she said, “I’m pregnant.”

That was one thing he hadn’t been expecting to hear. “What?” he said. “How? I– If you– I would never get in the way–“

She shook her head violently. “It’s Weston Mentary’s. He’s an OK guy. We dated in high school. My dad is engaged to this woman Valerie, and he’s her stepson. Since my mom died, dad’s gotten really frightening. He goes nuts if I leave home for very long. After he told me to stop talking to you, Weston was the only guy I saw much of outside of the family. I guess I just got lonely. I was stupid.”
“Don’t talk like that,” Hunter said sharply.
“I just want you to know that it’s all right that you don’t want to be involved with me.”
Hunte reached out and took her hand.
“Eliana,” he said. “I’ve loved you since I first met you. If you want me with you, your father can’t stop me. Weston Mentary can’t stop me. A baby certainly isn’t going to stop me. If you need help, I can help you. Please let me try.”
“Do you mean that?” Eliana gasped?
Then Hunter did something that terrified him far more than facing down a wolf. 
It turned out to be exactly the right thing to do.
When they came up for air, Forest was standing behind them. “Nice technique,” he observed.
Hunter was mortified. “Forest–!”

Forest shook his head. “Please don’t let me interrupt,” he said. “If you can keep Ms. Baerwyn entertained down here, I’ll see what I can do to find her someplace to sleep.”

“What?” Hunter and Eliana said together.

Forest lifted his glasses and gave Eliana a look that chilled her blood. “Ms Baerwyn,” Forest said seriously, “I think it’s a fortunate coincidence that you ended up here. Here we can offer you protection. I don’t think you should go home.”


Well, THIS post got a little bit away from me.

StoryProgression hates me. Just as Hunter is getting ready to ask Eliana to be his girlfriend, I get the notification that she and Weston Mentary had a little “unexpected software failure” or however that notification is phrased. I’d intended to ask her to move into the house while Hunter finished his LTW, but now we have a baby too. With all of Hunter’s pets and Veronica still alive and kicking, the household got overstuffed and crazy.

But, hey, Eliana turned out to be a Great Kisser, so Hunter really did have the time of his life :).

She’s also an Angler and a Loser, which seems like it ties into becoming the victim of her father’s plots.