After Sawyer walked out on Manisha Kapoor for the last time, the chaos level in the Sample Estate skyrocketed, particularly for Victoria and Winston.
Someone sabotaged Winston’s jack-in-the-box.
Nobody found out for sure who did it, but the prank had Gamora’s name all over it.
Edmund was in the after school Artist Club. His new passion was sculpting. He had never been able to truly express the darkness in his soul with paint on canvass. He hoped he would be able to do more with hammer and chisel.
So far he’d made an end table.
Winston’s favorite time of the week was still dance practice.
He jumped at any chance to perform.
He was even pretty good at it. Mom and Dad couldn’t be prouder.
Schoolwork, on the other hand, didn’t come naturally to him. He persuaded some of his classmates to form a study group. At least then he could be social while he struggled with his math homework.
He was also starting to show affinity for magic, the same as Edmund and Victoria.
While the children were in school, Andria spent hours in the musty stacks of Monmouth Archive, pouring over forgotten books of fae lore.
She wanted to free her people from hiding, start a new chapter in the history of the fae of Avalon.
To do that, she needed to gain the favor of the Fae Council. Old tomes contained rites that might, if she was lucky, might encourage them to take her seriously.
She set about gathering the ingredients of the most challenging elixir she had ever brewed.
Study Club met at Percival’s Provisions Cafe to review for the history test.
“You know, Winston,” Gamora scoffed, “reading your homework would be a whole lot easier if you’d just wear your glasses.”
“I forgot them at school after basketball practice,” Winston admitted. “I’ll manage.”
The sound of shouting filled the courtyard.
“What is going on?” Mason cried.
Gamora lit up. “Fight! Fight! Fight!” she shouted. She jumped up and ran to get a better look.
“That was awesome!” Gamora cheered. “Kick her butt!”
“I don’t think I want him to notice me,” Mason said.
“Gamora, who founded the Duchy of Avalon Island?” Winston asked.
“Come on, Gamora,” Mason said, grabbing her arm. “Just turn and walk away slowly.”
“Oh, come on,” Gamora protested. “I want to see if she hits him back.”
One evening after dinner, Andria called her children to the back yard.
“I want to see you in your natural forms,” she told them. “We don’t have to hide tonight.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen everyone in doll form at the same time!” Victoria said.
“I’ve been consulting with the Fae Council,” Andria said. “They agree that we have been hiding ourselves too deeply. Our people have lost track of who we are.”
Three doll faces watched her intently.
“I want to begin by telling you some of the history of our race,” Andria began. “Some of it was told to me by my fae father, Sebastian Hodgins. A lot of what I’m going to tell you is information I learned from the Fae Council just this week. We owe it to ourselves not to erase our nature because we are afraid of how normals will treat us.”
“A lot of what I’m going to tell you isn’t pretty, but it’s part of who we are.”
“Tells us,” Edmund said. “I want to know everything.”
Andria talked all night.
The children listened.
By the end of the evening, they looked at the world and their place in it very differently.
I wanted to come up with more text for Andria’s lecture on fae history, but the important thing was really that the kids were learning about it. So I left the pictures to speak for themselves.
Also, I love the ghost story interaction so hard.
I don’t seem to have saved the popup, but Andria threw some invigorating elixirs on her kids so that they all had enough energy to interact at the same time, and those completed her Alchemy Artisan LTW. I believe only Sawyer is left, and he’s one promotion away.
I have played until all the kids are teens! I love them all! I now can’t proceed with gameplay until I hold an heir poll (PLEASE no three-way tie like the last one). But these guys are so interesting, and they have done SO MUCH STUFF. I am trying to get through the final posts as quickly as I can. Right. We’ll see how that goes.
“What is it?” Victoria asked. She couldn’t keep the disgust out of her voice.
“I have no idea!” Edmund answered. “Isn’t it amazing? Connery dug up the pieces and brought them to me. I assembled it. I can’t guess how old it is, but I’ve never seen any living creature like this.”
“I’ve never seen a dead creature like that either,” Victoria sniffed.
The prehuman skeleton stayed in the living room until Andria made Edmund move it outside.
Dylan’s nectar-making skills were improving.
At least, he was pretty sure they were.
He hadn’t forgotten his painting. His masterpiece was a pastoral landscape.
It made him feel peaceful to look at it. He hung it in his nectar cellar to brighten it up.
Bonehilda still emerged from her casket to handle most of the housekeeping. She even took over the care of Dylan’s bees.
Since her wedding anniversary date, Andria had been distracted. Things were wonderful between her and Dylan, but she was still unsatisfied.
When she thought no one would notice, she rehearsed conversations in front of the mirror.
“All this living in secret is pointless!” she told her reflection.
“More magic is coming out in the world every day. There’s no reason to be afraid. Let’s just make an announcement and come out!”
Dylan told Victoria the family story of the two music boxes that had been passed down in the Sample family for generations.
Victoria’s great-grandfather Charles had presented great-grandmother Veronica with a ballerina music box on the day they’d confessed their love to each other.
Much later, she had presented him with a ninja music box. Apparently he’d been a martial artist or something, and a ninja suited him.
“I just can’t get over how romantic our ancestors were!” Victoria cooed. She listened to the music boxes play over and over, sometimes at the same time, which drove everyone else in the family crazy.
Meanwhile, Gamora wondered what exactly she was.
According to her father, she was the first of her kind. What did it mean to be a sentient plant? Or a plant-like sim? Or whatever she was?
Whatever the case, she was sick and tired of all the fluffy romantic stuff that Vickie was burbling about all the time. Those music boxes made terrible music.
“Take me to see my mom now,” Gamora told her father.
Sawyer scowled. “I don’t know what you expect to happen,” he said, “but it’s going to turn out badly. I thought I could get her to change her mind, and I was wrong. Your mother is obtuse and irrational.”
Gamora shrugged. “Take me anyway,” she said.
Sawyer owed her that much, so he looked up her address and took her there.
Manisha had moved around several times since arriving in Avalon. She was currently rooming with a man she met through work.
Sawyer felt his throat constrict as he approached the door. Blood was pounding in his ears. It was difficult to breathe.
He had to stop and watch Gamora playing in the yard for a few minutes to calm himself down enough to press the doorbell.
He hoped Manisha would not be the one to answer the door. He rehearsed a message in his head for him to leave with her roommate.
He wasn’t so lucky. Manisha opened the door herself. “Sawyer,” she said. “This is a surprise.” She didn’t sound like she was surprised, but Sawyer had no idea what she was actually feeling. He’d never been very good at that in the best of times.
Manisha invited him inside, and Gamora silently trailed after them.
“This is where I’m living now,” Manisha said. “Have you met my roommate Eloy? Eloy Berg, this is my boyfriend Sawyer Sample. Sawyer, Eloy.”
What had she called him?
He had a hundred questions, but all he could manage to say was, “I don’t understand.”
“Uh, yeah, I guess I should explain myself,” Manisha said, avoiding Sawyer’s eyes. “You gave me a lot of time to think about everything. I guess I was wondering–“
She broke off, stepped forward suddenly, and grabbed Sawyer by the shoulder to pull him close. He felt her lips on his. He had forgotten how wonderful a kiss could be.
Gamora slipped upstairs while her parents were doing adult stuff. This was going so much better than her father had said it would.
Now they could all come together and be a family at last.
She could start figuring out how to be normal.
Sawyer came up for breath. “What just happened?” he asked.
“I miss you,” Manisha admitted. “I guess I couldn’t help myself. I thought maybe we could talk this out.”
Sawyer missed her too, more than anything. But Gamora was looking at him. He had to make this right. “You made it very clear that you didn’t want talk anything out the last time I saw you. Since then, our daughter has grown up. I’m only here because of her.”
“Oh,” Manisha said. “Maybe that was a good thing.”
Sawyer stared at her, completely confused. There was nothing rational about this interview at all, and yet all he wanted was to grab her and kiss her again.
“This is Tiger Lily,” Eloy said. “She’s a sweet kitty. If you’re gentle, she’ll let you pet her.”
Gamora didn’t answer. Mr. Berg was a nice old man, and he was trying to make her feel at home. She didn’t want to feel at home. She wanted her mother to come home with her.
Her parents were smiling at each other. Things were going so well. Now was the time to join in the conversation.
“Hi,” she said. “I’m Gamora. I brought my dad here to meet you.”
“Thanks,” Manisha replied. “I wanted to talk to him, but I didn’t know where to start.”
“Now that everything’s all right,” Gamora said, “maybe you can come home with us. You’re going to really enjoy being my mom.”
Manisha caught her breath. “Oh,” she said weakly, “about that.”
“Look,” Manisha continued, “Sawyer’s a wonderful guy, and he’s a great scientist, but he didn’t tell you the truth. I’m not your mother, and I don’t want to be. He’s not really your father either. You’re an experiment that didn’t work out the way we expected.”
“How dare you talk to Gamora like that! You are stupid, irrational, and obtuse! She doesn’t have to listen to you! I won’t allow it!”
“We talked about this before!” Manisha shouted back. “Stop trying to make me something I’m not!”
Sawyer took a deep breath. “I came here against my better judgment. It will never happen again. Gamora is a person, and you are not. We are going home. Stay away from us.”
Gamora did not cry as he escorted her out of the house. She turned baleful yellow eyes on Manisha. “You’ll pay,” she said quietly.
Sawyer didn’t hear her, but Manisha did, and something in the look on Gamora’s face made her turn pale.
Poor Gamora. I decided that if Sawyer had a Midlife Crisis AND he rolled no romantic wishes for Manisha, then he would go and break up with her. Otherwise, he would go work hard to patch it up. The date with Emily Doctor sealed the deal.
I figured that since Gamora was upset with Sawyer for cheating on Manisha, she’d be the one who wanted to go visit her. I let the interview run on autonomy, and it turned out pretty much the opposite of what I expected. Instead of immediately ending up in a fight, Manisha was all over Sawyer. She flirted with and kissed him autonomously. I sent Gamora to talk to her, though, and that was a big flop. So that was the end of that. Sawyer broke up with her.
Oh, and I am madly in love with My Friend Fred, which is one of the sculptures that dogs can find. Ha!
I have been on vacation for a week, and EVERYONE appears to have posted. I am slowly catching up. I haven’t forgotten about you.
Edmund knew that he lived in a bubble of luxury as the scion of an old monied Avalon family. He hated it. If he allowed it, his family connections would make everything easy. He would never need to work hard for anything. Money would mean nothing.
Edmund did not want to be that person. Once he graduated from school, he intended to live on what he earned and nothing more.
He took an after school job at Avalon Memorial Gardens as an assistant undertaker. He knew he couldn’t yet earn enough to cover his room and board, but it was a good start. He could learn the value of labor while he while he was still in school.
Many sims might hesitate to work at a cemetery, but it was the perfect job for Edmund. His work was filled with reminders of mortality, but also the spirits that lingered beyond death. It was a perfect place for magic.
At the cemetery, he was first inspired to experiment with his own magic.
Edmund fought a migraine for the rest of the day. His first experiment could have gone better.
Gamora was a force for chaos in the Sample household. Sawyer was the only sim in the house unfazed by her moods.
Not only did she dislike other children, she went out of her way to cause them trouble.
Out of everyone in the home, she seemed to get along best with Connery.
Other than her father, the human sim she seemed to do best with Victoria. She seemed to like Victoria in spite of herself. Everyone liked Victoria.
Or maybe Gamora just found it useful for them to get along. They shared a bedroom, after all.
Fall came to Avalon, bringing with it falling leaves and colder breezes.
When the weekend came, it was tool cool to go to the beach. Instead, Victoria persuaded Gamora to go with her to Persephone Hot Springs.
Gamora was much more interested in the hot springs than she was in the beach anyway. The springs were fresh water. Salt water made her sick.
“Come in!” Victoria shouted. “Whoever makes the biggest splash wins!”
She made a splash that would be hard to beat.
“Splashing isn’t really my thing,” Gamora said. “I like the water, though.”
Victoria paddled around in the crystal clear water.
Gamora treaded water until she’d soaked enough in through her skin, then lay in the sun to photosynthesize.
Almost immediately, the clouds moved in, and the skies opened up.
“Vickie!” Gamora shouted. “It’s raining!”
“It’s what?” Victoria called back from the waterfall.
“It’s raining!” Gamora said. “I’m going home!”
Victoria watched the water splash over her hands under the water, feeling baffled. Why did it even matter if it was raining?
Winston had big plans for the weekend himself. He’d been perfecting his baking skills for days, and now he was ready to show it to the world.
He prepared as best he could that morning.
The baking report was encouraging.
Then he ran to the town market as soon as Mom and Dad would let him out of the house.
At first, he set up shop in the old theater, Magical Moving Pictures. He thought it would be a great idea to offer an alternative to the movie concessions, but the result was disappointing. Nobody seemed to notice him. Perhaps that they were just too much competition.
He even tried outside the theater. It was out in the sunlight where he could get burned or bitten by bugs or all sorts of nastiness, but in theory it ought to increase his visibility. Still, he couldn’t attract a single sale.
Winston knew he was a good baker. Why weren’t other sims giving him a chance? Were his prices too high? Was it because he was a kid?
Finally, as the sun was beginning to set on a frustrating day, he moved his table inside the bookstore.
And that location turned out to be the jackpot.
There was no coffee stand in the bookstore, and apparently everyone was desperate for refreshments.
His muffins and cookies received lots of compliments.
When it was finally time to fold up shop and head home, he eagerly counted his simoleons.
Selling treats was not as profitable as he’d thought it would be.
Here’s a little snapshot of all the Generation 7 heirs.
I’m rolling all four traits for the Gen 7 kids, just to see how it goes. The bit with Edmund wanting to earn his own money is the Frugal trait he picked up as a teen.
I suppose now is the time to admit that Gamora’s traits are…. problematic. I suppose she’s her father’s daughter. Sawyer’s Forbidden Fruit plant surprised me when it grew to Horrifying quality. I did everything I could come up with to try to raise its quality. I even moved it into the greenhouse and had Sawyer talk to it with the megaphone. No good. I could have had him harvest the fruit and let Andria plant another one with all her bonuses, but those plants take FOREVER to grow, even with fertilizer, and the resulting baby would have been a good week younger than the Gamora we have. So I let him pick her, and she came with Evil and Dislikes Children locked in. Then when I rolled her child trait, she got Hotheaded. I’ve already played the Evil sociopath in Forest, so I intend to do something different with Gamora. Gamora is going to express her Evil trait in a much milder way, more chaotic than sadistic. I’m still waiting to see how Hotheaded plays out — she hasn’t had a single Hotheaded wish yet.
Woo, those baker’s stands are really persnickety. I spent the whole day trying to figure out how to to get Winston to sell some of his baked goods. It turned out there was was some kind of glitch in the bookstore rabbithole that was causing routing problems on the lot. When I found and fixed that, suddenly Winston had customers. But I tried to have him set up that stand two other times, and nobody noticed it. I even dropped the prices for his goods very low. It’s a bummer because it seemed like just the thing Winston would want to do.
Hey, Persephone Hot Springs is still up for download, for those who might be interested. It’s the prettiest community pool lot that I’ve ever seen, and I like the idea that there’s a story excuse for using an outdoor pool in cold weather. As I was writing this, I got the impulse to learn how to use a fog emitter so that I could add some steam around the water. I’ll see how that goes. The only downside I see is that I can’t come up with a good way to add a slide.
I looked again at the traits that came with Island Paradise, and there *is* a Loves to Swim trait, which would be the opposite of Hydrophobic. I guess I’m playing Victoria as a combination of Sailor (the trait she has) and Loves to Swim. There’s just not a whole lot to sailing by itself. She doesn’t get a moodlet for being on houseboats, and the only activity you seem to be able to do from regular boats is fish. I think of Victoria as having the imaginary trait Loves the Sea, but she’ll take freshwater if that’s the best she can do.
Oh, and I finally did it. I played to all four kids are teens. Now I just have to catch up on posting so I can get the heir poll going. Can you believe it?
Edmund was no stranger to solitude. Indeed, he sought it out. Solitude kept his thoughts from being drowned out other voices. Idleness created a place apart for him to ponder the eternal darkness of being.
Still, have after a few days of being confined to the house, even Edmund had enough. Edmund needed a plan to get his father to back off. As much as he hated to admit it, the traditional method would probably be most effective.
“Please let me off the hook, Dad!” he pleaded the next morning. “I learned my lesson!”
Dylan thought about it.
“I’ve probably been too hard on you son,” he admitted. “You are a good kid, and you’re growing into an upstanding young man. I know you just lost track of time at the library. But do keep in mind that even honest mistakes have consequence. Your mother and I were beside ourselves with worry when you didn’t come home.”
Edmund gave his father a chance to wind down, then jumped to the important part. “Does that mean I’m not grounded anymore?”
Dylan chuckled indulgently. “You’re fine, Edmund. Now go get ready for school.”
Edmund headed to the house before Dylan could find more wisdom to impart and ran into Andria watching from the other side of the garden.
Andria smirked. “A little humility goes a lot way with your dad,” she said.
“Dad’s never going to understand, is he?” Edmund asked. “I’m a create of the night. It’s in the magic that runs in my veins. I come home at night because he wants me to.”
Andria’s voice took a stern tone. “You’ll be responsible for yourself in time,” she said. “Until then, you must live by my and your father’s rules. That means you come home by bedtime.”
Edmund scowled, but he didn’t try to argue. While he was distracted, Andria threw something at his feet.
“Yow!” Edmund shouted. “Mom, what is this??”
“Elixir of bacon and eggs,” Andria said brightly. “Have a nice breakfast!”
One evening, while Sawyer was tutoring Gamora in advanced calculus, he got an unexpected phone call.
It was Dr. Emily Doctor, a resident at Ygraine Memorial Hospital with Sawyer. She wanted to meet to talk about something important, but Sawyer couldn’t figure out what. It didn’t seem to be related to an emergency at work.
“Can we take Connery out to play?” Gamora asked while he was trying to concentrate on the phone call.
That’s how Sawyer ended up taking his daughter and the family dog out to the dog park after dark in order to have a conversation with his coworker.
He found her standing by the ornamental fountain. “Thank you for meeting me so promptly, Dr. Doctor,” Sawyer said. “I couldn’t get a strong idea of your concerns over the phone. I hope you can give me more detail in person.”
(Note: Emily is descended from Chris Doctor, the Ninth Doctor Who simalike. Remind me NEVER to give a sim the surname “Doctor,” again.)
“I’m so glad you were willing to meet with me,” Emily said. “This isn’t the kind of think I’m comfortable talking about on company time. I’m having trouble with the new intern we hired this week, Rosalie Weaver. I caught her saying nasty things about me at the water cooler.”
Sawyer was taken by surprise. “I don’t think I’m the best expert to handle this problem,” he said. “I’m not terribly good with personnel issues.”
“Are you kidding?” Emily said. “I hear our colleagues talking trash about you at the water cooler all the time, and you always make them regret it. You’re the smartest person at this hospital, and everyone knows it. You’re even smarter than I am, and that’s really impressive!”
Sawyer stared at her. “Do you really see the value of my intelligence?” he asked
“Of course!” she replied. “It’s obvious. Just as obvious as mine.”
There, under the starlight, Sawyer saw his old colleague in a way that had never occurred to him before.
The conversation flowed after that. Sawyer was barely aware of what they talked about.
They commiserated about that hard latch on the microencephalograph that always broke your nail.
The stupid newsreel that ran on a loop in the waiting room.
The awful food in the cafeteria.
Emily said it tasted like dirt. Sawyer decided to do a comparison.
Emily was disgusted, but also impressed at his dedication to empiricism.
And, of course, they had an endless stream of complaints about their awful colleagues, none of whom appreciated their brilliance.
“I have to go,” Emily said. “I have a 7am spleenectomy.”
Sawyer felt his throat constrict. “I’d like to see you again,” he said hoarsely. “I mean, I see you every day, but I’d like to see you again like this.”
“I’ll call you,” Emily said like she meant it.
He watched her walk away, his throat and chest still tight, wondering what the heck had just happened.
Then he realized that he’d completely forgotten he had not come to the park alone.
“Dad! How could you!” Gamora cried. “What about my mom?”
This evening was just filled with conversational segues that made no sense to Sawyer.
“Your mother?” Sawyer said. “She doesn’t want to see us. How can she possibly matter?”
“I want speak to my mom,” Gamora said. “I bet we can work everything out together.”
Sawyer sighed. “I don’t share your optimism,” he said. “Let’s go home and talk about it.”
Dylan pulled the van up in front of the Sample Estate. He stepped down from the driver’s seat, took Andria’s hand in his, and bent over it to kiss her fingertips. “Please accompany me, my lady. Our carriage awaits.”
Andria, caught by surprise, caught herself blushing. She hid it with a laugh. “Of course, my prince!” she said. “I go wherever you go.” She looked Dylan up and down — he was dressed in the tuxedo they had been married in, and it fit him surprisingly well. “Just let me go change into something more appropriate.”
He took her to Serenity, the upscale dance hall where Dylan’s mother had often performed at the top of her career.
“You look beautiful,” Dylan said. “You’re beautiful in your overalls with dirt under your fingernails, but it’s still special to see you dressed up.”
“Wow,” Andria replied. She blushed again under his intense, admiring gaze. “I remember when you last worse that tuxedo. You look just as dashing in it now as you did then.”
“I brought some of my best nectar for the occasion,” Dylan said. “Lemon mead. It should be aged just right by now.”
Andria took the glass from Dylan and twirled it between her fingers.
“You put so much thought into this date!” Andria said.
“To many more years ahead that are as happy as the ones behind us,” Dylan said and clinked his glass to hers.
Suddenly, everything came into focus. Andria’s jaw dropped. “It’s our wedding anniversary,” she said.
“Of course!” Dylan said. “I hope you didn’t think I forgot.” Then he looked into her eyes and laughed. “You forgot, didn’t you? Well, that makes tonight an even bigger surprise than I intended.”
“I don’t know what to say,” Andria murmured.
“You don’t have to say anything,” Dylan said. “Just drink a toast with me to our life together.”
And stifled a gag. The nectar tasted terrible terrible.
Someday she hoped Dylan would get the knack of nectar-making, especially since he didn’t look like he was going to give up on the hobby. She slid her glass onto a nearby dining table in hopes that the waitstaff would clean it up.
Dylan set down his glass and took Andria’s hands.
“I haven’t wanted to put you under pressure,” he said, “but I noticed you’ve been distance recently. You’ve seemed restless.
“I’ve been thinking about what I said about being afraid that you and our children would leave me behind. What I said is true, but I think it’s incomplete. I think that fear is good for me. You have taken me in directions I would never have gone on my own. You have forced me to grow. I am a much better person because you are in my life. I want you to know that if you need to make more changes to be happy, I am ready to make them with you. You are, without a doubt, the most important thing in my life.”
Andria gazed into his eyes, and she felt as if she might lose herself in them. Dylan had always been there, hadn’t he? She just hadn’t been looking.
“It it isn’t you,” she said, and as she said the words, she knew they were true. “I think I need to make some changes in my life, but you’re the part I want to stay the same.
“In any endeavor you choose,” Dylan said, “you have my undying devotion.”
“Thank you,” Andria said. “For everything.”
“Now,” Dylan continued, “I have more in mind for this evening than drinking and talking. Come to the dance floor, my lady, and dance the night away.”
“You want to dance?” Andria asked. “We have a very bad track record with dancing.”
“I found the solution to that problem,” Dylan said. “I’ve been taking lessons. Come with me, and I promise not to step on your foot.”
“Lessons!” Andria cried. “Really? When?”
Dylan chucked. “You spend hours gardening,” he said. “It’s not difficult to take an hour away without you noticing. Come, let me show you.”
And he did.
“I love you,” Andria said.
“My heart is yours forever,” Dylan said.
And it was true.
This post took forever to write. I’m not sure why I found it so difficult….
Andria’s midlife crisis ended on her wedding anniversary! That sounded like as good a sign as any that she and Dylan were going to be all right.
Dylan has Nectar Making at 7 or 8 at this point, and he’s using a minimum of “great” combinations. The wine he served was either Excellent or Perfect quality, and it STILL gave Andria a nauseated moodlet for the whole evening. I have no idea when you start making good wine with this skill. It’s possible that it wasn’t aged enough.
I fulfilled all of Andria’s Midlife Crisis wishes except the one to divorce Dylan. It’s hard to get anything other than “Barely Fulfilled.” Grr. Dylan was the only sim in Gen 6 to NOT have a midlife crisis. I assumed he would because he holds himself to such impossibly high standards. But I guess he really is content. That removes an expected source of drama from this generation, but it’s hard to wish discontent on the poor boy.
But more excitingly — Sawyer has found his soulmate! Holy crap!
I noticed at some point that Sawyer’s highest relationship on his relationship panel wasn’t anyone in his family. In fact, it wasn’t someone I hadn’t ever seen him interact with. It was this coworker of his, Emily Doctor, with whom he had a completely maxxed relationship bar. I wondered if I ought to do something with that.
Then, the good old dating system kicks in, and she calls and asks him on a date — to the dog park. So I decide he should actually go with the dog. Gamora came to play with the dog. She and Connery actually get along very well, though I’m not sure why I don’t have pictures of them playing.
I left Sawyer and Emily interacting autonomously, and they were *adorable*. They even flirted autonomously. Not a single failed interaction.
Here’s the big secret: I thought Sawyer’s biggest problem was being Socially Awkward, and I couldn’t figure out what to do about it. Two Socially Awkward sims together are actually worse than just one. But two DIVAS — they spend all their time whining and complaining, and it raises their relationship! Finally someone understands Sawyer!
Edmund was assigned the dreaded group project in biology class. His teacher-assigned partner was Rosalie Weaver. She came home with him after school one day to get their presentation together on Avalonian genetic history.
His siblings joined him at the dining table to puzzle out their math assignment, so it was a regular homework party.
After a few hours of work, Edmund and Rosalie had something that Edmund didn’t think would completely embarrass them in class. Rosalie, strangely enough, seemed to be energized by all the hard work. “I think this is going to be awesome!” she said. “You’re lucky to be on a team with me.”
“I thought you were going to help me with my math,” Victoria whined at the same time.
Edmund winced. “My brain is mush,” he said darkly. “Can’t you do your own homework by yourself for once?”
“I can help,” Winston said. “If we get done quick, we can practice dance before dinner.”
Victoria did not look convinced, either about dance practice or about math help from her younger brother. Since there didn’t seem to be a better option, she accepted his offer.
When the kids had cleared out, Edmund offered Rosalie an early dinner before she left.
Rosalie smirked. “You know, your kid siblings are really adorable.”
“‘Adorable’ is not the first word I would use to describe them,” Edmund said grumpily, but he was smiling. He really had a high tolerance for the shenanigans of his siblings.
“You’re really lucky, you know?” Rosalie continued. “When I was growing up, it was just me and Mom. I never really knew my dad. Now that Mom’s gone, I’m living with my older cousins until I’m old enough to move out. I think it would be wonderful to have a big family.”
“Ahem.” The teens look up to see Dylan looming over them. “I think my son might has failed to mention that he’s grounded. The very last think you should be doing is inviting girls home.”
“Dad!” Edmund cried, mortified. “Rosalie’s my study partner! What did you think we were doing? She doesn’t even like guys, and she has a girlfriend!”
“I think you have missed the point, son,” Dylan said.
“Uh,” Rosalie broke in, “I think I’ll be going. I’ll see you at school, Edmund.”
Edmund tried to salvage his shattered pride and escorted Rosalie out.
“Dad!” he said. “Now you’re humiliating me in front of my classmates! How is that necessary?”
“I have the authority in this family,” Dylan said. “When I say you’re grounded, I mean it. Go to your room.”
Edmund opened his mouth to argue, then got a black look on his face and stalked upstairs.
He found Gamora playing by herself on the porch.
Playing with her lightened his mood a little bit.
He just needed a way to talk to his father, that was all.
And the one person who knew how to do that was his mom.
Sawyer was so successful at making his birthday a nonevent that he completely forgot about it too. He was caught unawares at the library while he researched an obscure neurological disorder.
His first experience of middle age was to autograph one of his journal articles for a medical student who recognized him.
Not too bad, all told. He was now being recognized as outstanding in his field.
Shortly afterward, he went to the dealership and came home with a new electric car. That seemed much appropriate to his newfound prominence than the family van.
The next day, Edmund and Rosalie gave their presentation at school, and Andria was experimenting with a new cake recipe.
“What do I make for a plantsim anyway,” she fretted. “That kid doesn’t even eat!”
“Well, then you can’t fail,” Dylan said. “She’ll appreciate whatever you bake just as much as anything else. The rest of us will appreciate your cooking genius.”
“Nice try,” Andria said, “but you still don’t get to lick the spoon.”
Dylan chucked. “You can see right through me.”
Dylan walked out of the kitchen. Andria stared at his back after he left. She sighed. “Can I see right through him?” she asked herself. “Is this all there is?”
So Gamora’s birthday had come around again, and Sawyer had to decide what to do about Manisha. After days of agonizing, he decided to send her an invitation to the party by mail. That was as inoffensive as possible, right?
At the mailbox, however, he found himself unable to send the letter. All his feelings of anxiety and abandonment came crashing down on him.
“I’ve had it!” he shouted at the air. “I’m not going to pander for her favor any more.”
“If she doesn’t want us, then she can’t have us. Gamora has me, and I’m twice as much parent as anyone needs.”
“There. It’s done.” He left the mailbox empty and walked back inside.
Abby arrived early for the family celebration. Chaim was on his way from work.
Sawyer launched himself at her out of nowhere. “Abby! Now that you’re gone, I never see you.”
“I love you too, Sawyer” Abby said. “I’ve been gone less than a week, and we only moved to the house across the street.”
Sawyer shrugged. He was trying to make light of it, but did a very poor job of hiding his resentment at losing daily access to his most trusted family member.
“How have things been going with you,” Abby asked gently.
“I’m cutting Manisha out of my life,” Sawyer growled.
“Wow,” Abby. “I guess things have been really bad.” She was pretty sure that Manisha had done the cutting out after Gamora’s toddler birthday, but she didn’t rub Sawyer’s nose in it.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “You don’t need her. You have this fatherhood thing nailed.”
“Chaim!” Andria exclaimed. “Don’t stand outside like a stranger! Come inside!”
Chaim grinned. “Whatever you say, ma’am. I’m just happy to be here.”
Sawyer went upstairs to get Gamora from her nap.
He looked into her toddler eyes one last time. She would never depend on him again the way she did now.
Gamora took the first slice of cake out of politeness.
But she gave up on it quickly.
While everyone else ate, she sat down and played with her doll.
“I just love watching children together,” Chaim said. “I hope that when we have our own kids, they’ll be half as cute as your nieces and nephews.”
“Hey now!” Abby retorted. “Just because I’m going to marry you doesn’t mean we’re going to have children!”
They both flushed, and Abby averted her eyes, giggling. “I guess that lets the cat out of the bag,” she said softly.
“I want you to know that I’m going to do my very best to be a good husband to your sister,” Chaim said.
“Did you say something?” Sawyer asked. “I’m about to beat level 100.”
“Don’t expect Sawyer to make sense,” Abby cautioned Chaim. “He’s…. Sawyer.”
Winston, on the other hand, thought the whole idea was fabulous. “So you’re going to by uncle, huh? Does that mean you give me birthday and Snowflake Day presents?”
Edmund wasn’t quite so eager to congratulate his aunt. “I really hope you’ve thought this through,” he cautioned.
“Don’t worry about me,” Abby said. “This isn’t a game to me. If anything, I’ve thought about this relationship too much.”
“I know it’s not my place,” Edmund pushed, “but I really think you and Chaim are moving too fast. I think you should wait to get married.”
“You’re right,” Abby said. “It’s not your place. Come back when you’ve had some experience of your own.
On the other hand, Winston and Chaim were well on their way to becoming best buddies.
Chaim listened to Winston talk about food for half the evening, and he even seemed to be interested.
By the time Abby and Chaim left, it was past the kids’ bedtime. Dylan and Andria hustled everyone to bed.
Sawyer stayed behind in the tech den to look at real estate listings on the Internet. Abby was moving forward with her life. Now that Gamora was growing up, maybe it was time for him to change too.
Welcome to childhood and autonomous action, Gamora!
I did the math a few days ago and discovered that all four heirs will be teens for one day. That makes the heir poll so much easier! Not the result, just the poll — I REALLY don’t know who I want to win.
I had a lot of fun with this party. I’ve been leaving sims on autonomy a lot more often just to see what happens. Dylan, Andria, and Victoria all went off to do their own things during the party, but everyone else congregated in the tech den and had entertaining conversations.
Abby and Chaim were only living together for about three days before NRaas announced that they were engaged. Abby was the first spare I moved out unmarried. I wanted to see how her relationship with Chaim would progress without my help. I guess it went pretty well!
In fact, she asked him.
I have no idea what caused Sawyer’s emotional outburst when he went to check the mail, but it made for good story fodder. As you might guess, he had a midlife crisis, and his two big wishes were to buy a car and move out. Don’t worry about him moving out…. he’s going to “move out,” but he won’t actually move out. I’m going to play with the ability for a single active household to own two pieces of property.
It was nice to see my simself’s daughter with Forest in a cameo. Since Forest really should not be reproducing, I think that for story purposes Rosalie will not be related to the Samples.
Ah, Sawyer’s amazing changing hairstyles. His hair keeps changing on me. I’m certain I have “locked” his hairstyle at least twice, but I keep ending up with different styles on different outfits anyway. I thought the more severe comb-over suited his personality best, but the longer one he wore as a teen WILL NOT go away, so I’ve decided he likes it best after all.
I included those adorable tender shots of Edmund and Gamora just because I couldn’t bear to see them go to waste. I wish I’d been able to get anything as cute between Gamora and Sawyer.
With the fierce filming and promotional schedule for Free World Dreams behind her, Abby was finally in a position to take some time off. She celebrated by taking Connery to the park for some quality time. Connery had stood by her and supported her when she had no time for him. A day just for him seemed like the least she could do.
While they played, Abby’s thoughts kept wandering to what Chaim had said at the beach. Was she ready to take the plunge with someone?
What if she moved in with Chaim, and the relationship worked out like all her other relationships? Let’s face it. Her track record with men wasn’t exactly encouraging. Her relationships didn’t just fail. They failed with style.
Her acting career was incredibly hard work, but at least she’d always know what her goal was. Not so much with men.
By the end of the afternoon, both Abby and Connery were exhausted, but for different reasons
As a toddler, Winston had always been a picky eater. Now that he was older, he bugged his parents until they gave him a route to experiment with his own food.
His Easy Bake oven was a creative outlet in a way that the designers had never intended.
Of course, most of his experiments tasted terrible. But that was just the path to greatness.
And somehow all his experiments, even the worst ones, were eaten.
When he wasn’t cooking, Winston beat the high score on Grand Sim Road Racer IV.
“You know the problem with video games?” he told his mother. “Too much sitting around. I need to get up and move.”
Andria looked at him sideways. “Well, yes, that’s what I’ve been trying say. You shouldn’t keep yourself cooped up in the house all day.”
Winston made a face. “Oh, I don’t want to go outdoors,” he said. “I have a much better idea than that.”
His idea turned out to be dance class after school. He even talked Victoria into joining him.
“It’ll be great!” Winston insisted. “Girls love to dance, don’t they?”
“I don’t know,” Victoria said. “Ballet looks like a lot of work.”
“Of course it’s a lot of work!” Winston said. “That’s what makes it awesome.”
As time passed and Gamora grew, she seemed more and more like any other toddler.
Except, of course, the fact that she never needed to eat or
Sawyer was perpetually overwhelmed. He came home from work, focused entirely on Gamora until she went to bed, and then crammed in as much preparation as he could for work the next day.
His fatigue left him open to more of the same harassment from his peers that he’d lived with all his life.
(Sorry for the rollover artifact.)
You would think that a group of medical research specialists would be a bit more mature. You’d be wrong.
Still, Sawyer’s dedication to Gamora never flagged. She was his daughter, and he was determined to raise her to be exceptional in every way.
When he could teach her no more at home, they began to spend their evenings at the library.
They spent an hour before bedtime each night reading Introduction to Calculus for Infants and My First Neuroscience Text.
It wasn’t clear how much Gamora was really picking up, but she devoured each page with her intense eyes. For her, the most important part was her time with Daddy.
Edmund also started spending time at the library, down in the musty basement stacks, seeking answers to questions long unasked.
He spent so much time doing that one night that the police caught him leaving the building long after curfew.
Dylan was livid. Nobody had ever seen him so angry.
“We had no idea where you were!” he shouted. “Do you have any idea how your mother and I worried? We were sure you were dead in a ditch somewhere!”
“I’m sorry, Dad!” Edmund protested. “Really sorry! I won’t do it again!”
“You’ll think about how sorry you are while you’re grounded, young man.”
Andria stopped by the farmer’s market to stock them with the best of her autumn harvest.
There she ran into a man she vaguely remembered.
“I couldn’t help but see you there,” he said smoothly. “I’m Thomas Mosely, celebrity reporter.”
“Oh!” Andria said wryly. “I do remember you now. You’re that paparazzi that was always stalking Abby!”
Thomas smiled. “Well, I might have been photographing Abby, but it was hard to keep my eyes off you.”
“Aren’t you the flatterer,” Andria said. “I’m sure that line will get lucky with some other married woman.”
But Andria’s heart fluttered, and she felt her face flushing at Thomas’s attention. She hurried away from him and headed into the woods. She could still feel the heat of the flush on her skin.
Thomas Mosely was a skeez. So why did his amorous gaze make her heart race?
The thought of going home to her husband felt so…. boring.
Unaware that he was the boring husband, Dylan was looking after Connery when Abby found him outside as she was getting ready for yet another Plumbob Studios reception.
“I was hoping for some brotherly advice,” Abby admitted.
“Me?” Dylan said. “That’s a surprise. I don’t think you’ve ever asked my advice for anything.”
“You know more about, well, domestic stuff than I do,” Abby said awkwardly.
Dylan frowned. “I’m not sure if that was a compliment.”
“Relationships, all right?” Abby said. “I know you always wanted to settle down, but how did you know you wanted to do it with Andria? How did you figure out if she was the one?”
Dylan thought. “I wasn’t sure for a while,” he admitted. “But the truth is that no matter how alarming it was to think about living with her, the one thing I couldn’t face was living without her. It turned out that I was capable of accepting a lot of things I never thought I could because she was too important not to.”
“Were you ever afraid?” Abby asked.
Dylan gave her a wry smile. “Sometimes I’m still afraid,” he said.
Abby smiled back, and the smile broadened to a grin. “Thanks,” she said.
The Plumbob Studios limousine came to pick Abby up for the reception, and she thought hard about Chaim and Dylan and Andria and what made relationships work.
Dylan and Andria looked like the perfect couple to Abby. Their example was an intimidating one to follow. Knowing that her brother could find commitment frightening somehow made everything better.
She picked up her phone and called Chaim. “Hey, it’s me. When do you get off duty? Would you like to meet me after this networking thing?”
Chaim wasn’t terribly comfortable with the celebrity set, so it was convenient that his shift ran late enough that everyone would already be gone.
“Do you want to go get a drink or something?” he asked. “There’s no reason to hang around work now that your thing is over.”
Abby grinned. “I had something in mind,” she admitted. “I hope you don’t mind hanging around for a few more minutes.”
“Sure,” Chaim said. “Whatever makes you happy.”
Abby stepped forward and swept him into her arms. He yelped.
“You make me happy,” she said. “I think I’m finally ready to take the next step with you.”
“You want to move in together?” Chaim asked. “For real?”
“Do you still want to?” Abby asked, suddenly chilled.
“Are you kidding?” Chaim exclaimed. “Pinch me so I know I’m not dreaming! I still can’t believe a woman like you wants to be with a man like me.”
Abby giggled, feeling young and free for the first time she could remember since she began acting. “Then tonight is the start of something new,” she said. “I wanted to do something special to celebrate.”
“I am yours to direct,” Chaim said.
“Come on,” Abby whispered in his ear. “I want to show you something.”
She led him around the back of the studio to where her dressing trailer sat waiting to be towed to its next location. “This is mine,” she said. “We can do whatever we like here. Let’s celebrate.” She led him inside.
“Wow,” was all Chaim could say later.
“Come on,” Abby said. “Let’s start our new life together.”
So we say farewell to Abby, at least as a sim in the active household. She left with 210k happiness points!
That was a nifty thing I discovered. Andria bought an elixir at the elixir store that doubled lifetime happiness points earned for 24 sim-hours. I was curious as to whether it would work for the LTW, and it did! So Abby really raked in the points for this legacy!
OK, maybe I’ve been making these posts too long…. It’s starting to take me a long time to write them. I’m kind of embarrassed that the last two generations took up more than 50 posts each, and I’ve been trying to be sure that there’s some major life change in each post of Gen 6. But there’s so much STUFF.
Oh, and dude, the library for reading toddler books. How did I not know about this until now? The reading bonus from the library makes the books read almost instantaneously.
Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find which bookshelf generates toddler books online, so Sawyer could only read her the books he owned.
Introduction to Calculus for Infants is a real book, and we own it because the title was hilarious. The story of geeky x and his fabulous friend f, who explore the amazing things they can do together. It’s really just a cute kid’s alphabet story with a bunch of advanced math words in it. OTOH, our daughter started recognizing graphs in one of my husband’s books on Bayesian analysis, so I’d say that maybe it does serve a purpose — it helps your kid think of math ideas alongside Mickey Mouse and the Cat in the Hat.
Now that Winston was out of his crib, Victoria and Edmund finally had a good reason to get out of the same room. Winston took over Victoria’s place.
His sense of style didn’t match Edmund’s either, but they seemed to reach an uneasy truce all the same.
Victoria moved into the nursery with little Gamora.
She didn’t mind being in the nursery. After spending so much time in Edmund’s “lair,” as she called it, the bright colors cheered her up immediately.
To sweeten the pot, her parents let her pick a new bed.
Edmund took his role as responsible big brother very seriously.
Of course, he took everything very seriously.
He and Victoria had never gotten along better. Now that they didn’t have to reconcile their sense of style anymore, they were great friends.
Winston spent most of his free time in front of the television: sometimes watching, sometimes playing video games, and sometimes working out. He claimed it was a good life balance. Dylan and Andria were more skeptical.
Gamora never had trouble finding ways to play by herself. And she did it quietly — with some notable exceptions.
Bonehilda started training Connery to play dead.
She was uniquely qualified.
Victoria had big plans for Leisure Day.
It was the perfect day for the beach. She invited a half-dozen of her best friends to join her.
She also managed to drag along her entire family — including Sawyer, who usually just viewed the great outdoors as a source of dirt and microbes.
Morgana Beach had been build up quite a bit in the last generation. When the Samples of old moved to Avalon, it was just a stretch of shoreline. Now it was a a beach park with a clubhouse.
Angelina Winter came with her brother Roderick.
Also Cortney Pierce-Hodgins.
Winston, who was just starting at Chivalrous Preparatory School, did his best to get to know his new classmates.
But then the heat of the sun and the uncomfortable grit of the sand drove him into the nice, air-conditioned clubhouse, where he played with the karaoke machine.
Dylan found a nice place in the sun to relax with a book.
Sawyer found a place in the shade to play with Gamora.
Wherever her feet touched the ground, she left a trail of flowers behind her — quick explosions of spontaneous vegetation generated by some side effect of her sim/plant biology.
Sawyer thought she was magnificent. Truly a higher order life form. And he had created her.
Victoria took to the water.
She rented a board from the clubhouse and tried out windsurfing for the first time.
It was as if she had always known how.
As if the sea were in her blood.
Chaim met Abby at the beach. They greeted each other enthusiastically.
“I can’t believe I only saw you yesterday!” Abby said, flushing. “It seems like we’ve been apart so long.”
“I know what you mean,” Chaim said. “A whole day seems too long.”
“We… wouldn’t have to wait that long,” he suggested awkwardly. “We could get a place together.”
Abby stared at him for a moment in shock. “You want to move in together?” she asked. “That’s really serious! Do you think we’ve been dating long enough?”
Chaim shrugged. “I know who I want to wake up to every morning,” he said.
Abby laughed out loud. Then she grabbed him.
“I’ll think about it,” she murmured into his ear.
“Mmmmph,” Chaim said.
Meanwhile, Edmund sought out Dylan. “I think it’s about time that I learned to drive a car,” he said. “I was hoping you could be the one to teach me.”
“You want to drive?” Dylan said. “That’s a serious responsibility. Do you think you are ready to take it on?”
“You won’t be disappointed,” Edmund said.
Dylan nodded. “All right then. Let’s go get the van.”
“Wait,” Edmund said. “I have a better idea.” He led his father out to the parking lot.
“You want to learn to drive in Abby’s sports car?” Dylan asked. “How is that responsible?”
Edmund smirked. “I might never get another chance,” he said. “She’s busy. She’ll never notice.”
“She’ll never notice if you return the car in the same state you found it,” Dylan said severely, “and this is not a good start.”
“Relax, Dad,” Edmund said. “We haven’t picked up any speed yet.”
“Yet?” Dylan said.
“You’ve spent the entire party in the clubhouse!” Victoria complained to Winston.
“I like it in there,” Winston said. “Out here, you can get stand stuck in your clothes or sunburned.”
“It’s cooler if you get in the ocean,” Victoria said. “It’s so much fun!”
“Then you end up with salt dried in your hair,” Winston replied.
“Give it a try?” Victoria pleaded.
It was impossible to say no to Victoria when she decided to be persuasive.
Winston tried out paddleboating, but he couldn’t see a lot of point to it.
In spite of himself, though, he had a pretty good time.
“Time to celebrate a successful driving lesson,” Dylan said.
He had a strawberry ice cream cone.
That almost immediately fell on the ground.
“I’m glad you’re better with the car than I am with my ice cream,” he told Edmund ruefully.
“Too bad, Dad,” Edmund said.
“I’d share, but that would just be gross.”
Eventually, Chaim and Abby unlocked from each other and played in the ocean.
Abby turned out to have a pretty good knack for catching waves.
The gray creature slipped under the water and was gone.
“Hey, what’s that? A kid?”
The voice was like an ugly grating sound from the childhood he’d tried to forget.
Sawyer turned around to see Whitney Ursine-Wu, the chief bully who had tormented him in grade school.
“You stuffed me in my locker fourteen times and stole my lunch money every day for a month,” he snarled. “Why would you ever say a word to me now that we’ve graduated?”
“Hey, hey,” Whitney said. “I was just curious about the kid. Besides, I’m sure it wasn’t fourteen times.”
“I remember every one,” Sawyer retorted. “You also ground gum into my gym shorts twice, knocked my school books off my desk seventeen times, and knocked me into the doorframe while you were running in gym class.”
“I wouldn’t have done all that if you weren’t asking for it!” Whitney said. It was either a plea or a taunt, but it wasn’t clear which.
“Don’t pretend you have the right to talk to me,” Sawyer shrieked. “You bottom-dwelling microcephalic sea slug!”
Then he did what he’d imagined every night in grade school.
He struck back.
That attacked the lifeguard. “Is there a problem here?” he asked.
Sawyer was not to be contained. “You stay away from my daughter!” he shouted. “If I see you come close to her again, I’ll slap you with a retraining order!”
Whitney stared at him, slack jawed. His face was turning red from where Sawyer had hit him.
Then he turned and ran away.
Emily Doctor, a resident who worked at the hospital with Sawyer, watched the old bully run away.
“I saw it all from the clubhouse,” she said. “Way to go, Dr. Sample. I didn’t think you had it in you.”
Sawyer was breathing too hard to answer, so he just watched her as she walked away.
Victoria’s party continued until the sun began to set and everyone had to go home for dinner.
Not a bad Leisure Day, all told.
I had to write this post !@#$ two times because I rebooted my computer with the *saved* draft still open, and Chrome restored it from some previous cache and saved it over the original. Imagine a whole lot more profanity here. This wasn’t an emotionally draining post, but I had to do a lot of image organizing to get the various threads into something readable.
I have to say that I’m not super-thrilled with the way a lot of the water activities work. Windsurfing, paddleboats, etc. are treated like cars — you pick some place you want to go in the water, and the vehicle appears while you’re moving and then disappears when you get there, leaving you suddenly swimming in the water. Who goes windsurfing or paddleboating to GO PLACES anyway?
A whole lot of the action here was autonomous. I left Abby and Chaim on autonomy almost all the time. They spent almost the whole day standing by the water, making out. It was adorable. I thought they might try to woohoo in the showers, but they never did.
Sawyer’s confrontation with Whitney Ursine-Wu was also autonomous. The two are “Old Enemies.” Whitney isn’t in the medical profession, so their relationship must date from school. I kept waiting for a full-on fight to break out, which I’m sure Sawyer would loose. But Sawyer hit Whitney twice. Whitney fired back a lot of insults, but he never got physical. Then he ran away. I guess Sawyer won just from sheer intensity.
Dylan and Edmund autonomously picked Abby’s car to teach Edmund to drive. I wouldn’t have thought of Edmund as the sports car type, but perhaps he was drawn to the dangerous black styling.
It was a fun, very busy Leisure Day, where I got to try out a whole bunch of bits from Island Paradise.
The Anton Pierce film Free World Dream, was released mid-summer. It was a heartrending story of a girl’s rise from humble beginnings to become the Leader of the Free World, starring up-and-coming actress Abby Sample in her first headlining role.
The critics loved it. The masses didn’t like it quite as much as the critics, but well enough to go see it and talk about it a lot. Suddenly, Abby became a household name.
She was in demand as a speaker, as a mentor, and even as decoration at local nightclubs — word-of-mouth marketing that she might stop in for a drink brought customers in droves.
It was exactly what she’d always dreamed of, but it was also very intimidating. She spent a lot of time rehearsing in front of the mirror just for casual social appearances.
Then the biggest news came down. Free World Dreams had been nominated for a Simmy Award in ten categories… including Best Actress.
Abby was in shock.
Sawyer’s life, on the other hand, had narrowed down in scope. When he was not at the hospital, he was with Gamora.
Fatherhood involved all sorts of things that made he short of temper. Gamora was so helpless. He had to work hard to understand her and be understood. It was so social and so outside his comfort zone. When Gamora was in bed, Sawyer would disappear down to his basement lab and refuse to talk to anyone.
Still, the progress was more exhilarating than anything he’d ever experienced. Gamora surprised him with something new almost every day.
When she spoke her first word, “color,” he talked about it nonstop to everyone in the family for a week.
Still, Sawyer worked long hours at the hospital, and he assumed that Dylan and Andria would look after her while he was gone. This didn’t turn out to be terribly difficult. She was the most self-entertaining child either of them had ever seen. She almost never cried. She spent hours singing to her dolls and speaking to them in her own special babble.
And she literally never needed a bottle or a diaper change, a fact that made both Dylan and Andria nervous. Sawyer said she photosynthesized, but to both of them she just seemed to live on air.
That was a good thing, since Winston was by far the pickiest eater of the four children of the Sample Estate. It took more effort to feed him than it took to feed two children.
Edmund continued to work hard at school
And wage his war of interior decor with his sister.
Andria was on her eternal quest for elixir ingredients.
She caught Abby the day of the Simmy Awards. “Stand still!” she announced. “This will help!”
“You wha–?” Abby cried.
“Trust me,” Andria said. “It’s an elixir of Asian day spa. It should help you stay calm and collected at the awards.”
“You really need to learn to give me warning before you throw one of those things,” Abby said.
At first, it didn’t work.
Abby was so overcome with anxiety that she threw up on the pavement outside the Magical Moving Pictures Theater before she’d even set foot on the red carpet.
All she could think was that every gossip magazine in Avalon would have an article about her losing her lunch.
All right, she said to herself, that’s enough. If you can act in front of a camera, you can act in front of a crowd.
Whether it was Andria’s elixir or not, she finally felt ready to take on the world.
And take it on she did. She even got a chance to give the acceptance speech she had been rehearsing for days, just in case.
Abby Sample was the proud recipient of a Simmy Award for Best Actress.
She slipped away early from the awards reception to returned home to a cheering family.
“What have I always told you?” Sawyer crowed. “You now have the Nobel Prize for acting. You’re a genius in your field.”
Abby laughed. She was already high as a kite. “I never thought about it that way. ‘Abby Sample: Acting Genius.’ I like the sound of that.”
“I always said you were smart. You could have picked something more useful than acting for all of your intelligence, like I am with neuroscience, but at this point you might as well keep going with this. There’s nothing you can’t do in acting.”
Abby couldn’t help but smile. Sawyer was trying. He really was.
While her brothers were congratulating Abby and patting her on the back, Andria was pulling her latest creation out of the oven.
“Don’t forget!” she exclaimed. “We have a lot more to celebrate tonight!”
“Oh, Mom!” Edmund whined. “I told you I didn’t want you to do anything for my birthday!”
“You told me you didn’t want a cake,” Andria corrected him, “so I didn’t bake you one. I baked you a pie.”
It was Winston’s day too.
Andria set the table and called everyone in. “It’s time to celebrate with sugar!”
So they did.
And it was good.
Abby reached her LTW! It wasn’t the award ceremony, but that was very close. The real reason Abby threw up was because she arrived by LLAMA transporter, and it made her nauseated. Andria’s elixir was one that doubled happiness points for wishes for 24 sim-hours. She found it at the elixir consignment shop when Abby was just about to get her LTW. I wondered if it would double her LTW points, and it DID! So I get another point for Abby reaching 200K happiness points before leaving the household. Haha!
Abby did actually get the Simmy for Best Actress. I ended up playing the award ceremony twice due to a game crash. The first time she got a third-place award of some kind. The second time she got the Simmy. So, it was just random, but still nice.
This is the FINAL post from all the playing I did in October. I stopped playing the night of Edmund and Winston’s birthdays and didn’t play again until March. Wow. I can’t believe how long it took me to get through all that.
The next post will be from gameplay that’s a month old or less. Dang. You’ll be able to tell because both Victoria and Winston got makeovers.
Avalon itself was changing. The city completed an enormous restoration project on the palace at Camelot, restoring it to its former glory.
The effect was beautiful, but going down to City Hall to file routine paperwork became sort of intimidating.
Edmund’s Sim Scouts troop had a badging ceremony to mark the end of the school term.
Dylan stayed home with Winston, but Andria managed to strong-arm Sawyer into attending with his niece and nephew.
The troop commemorated the event with family pictures.
Edmund had been working hard, as always. He earned the highest number of badges in his troop, including a rarely awarded in in Nihilist philosophy.
Dylan continued to work on his nectar.
With varying success.
Abby was almost never home. Filming for Anton Pierce’s movie was consuming all available time. Pierce was an exacting director. Scenes required dozens of takes to capture the perfect moment. Abby had never worked so hard in her life. Often she arrived home after everyone was in bed, only to rise for a casting call before dawn.
On the final day of shooting, Abby rose while the rest of the family was asleep. Connery was waiting to see her off, though.
He gave her a big kiss, which was the best vote of encouragement she could have asked for.
She was off to play the Leader of the Free World.
Like Abby, Sawyer was also shorting himself sleep. Gamora was a preternaturally easy baby, but he still obsessed about every aspect of parenting. In addition to his worries about fatherhood, he knew that his daughter was like no other baby.
He kept a collection of parenting and infant biology books handy to consult whenever he had a question. Sometimes this was in the middle of walking down the street.
Andria was baking again.
For the even that Sawyer had been anticipating for ages.
“Yes? Yes, I know. We haven’t talked since the fight. My family is having a small gathering tonight, and I wondered if you might join us. Perhaps afterword we could compare status.”
Manisha sounded more nervous than angry. She agreed to attend the party. Sawyer was so relieved that he became lightheaded and had to sit down.
When Manisha arrived, Sawyer was was pacing back and forth in the nursery, lecturing to himself, while baby Gamora watched him. Abby set herself to calming Sawyer down while Dylan went to welcome Manisha into the house.
“I can’t describe with words how happy we are to have you back,” Dylan said.
“You always know how to make a girl feel like a princess,” Manisha said.
Then Sawyer came down with Gamora, with Abby close on his heels. It was showtime.
Sawyer set Gamora down at the table, where she could be the guest of honor. She didn’t get a slice of cake. Gamora didn’t eat human food, even pureed. She absorbed nutrients through her skin, much like the roots of a tree.
This was only one of the many ways she was a unique creature.
First and foremost, however, she was a toddler at the moment, and she was delighted at all the attention.
Sawyer hovered by Gamora expectantly, watching Manisha. Manisha ate her cake with singular focus. She never looked at Gamora or Sawyer once.
“Are you all right?” Dylan asked. “You look exhausted.”
“I’m fine,” Sawyer said tightly.
“Well, for heaven’s sake, sit down.”
Sawyer didn’t say anything. He just went to get a slice of cake.
While Andria cleaned the table and Dylan put Winston to bed, Sawyer caught Manisha in the living room.
“I don’t know how to do these interpersonal things,” he said. “We used to be comfortable together. Now we’re not. I want things between us to be the way they used to be. How do I do that?”
Manisha’s expression was frightened, vulnerable. “I liked things the way they were, too,” she admitted.
The possibility that she still cared made Sawyer’s chest tight. He hated these involuntary expressions of emotion. They were so uncomfortable.
He reached up to touch her forehead in a gesture of affection they’d been using since college. Touching people had always been uncomfortable, except for Manisha. He had always wanted to touch her.
“My mind to your mind,” he murmured.
It felt — wrong. Instead of the sense of physical comfort he was used to feeling with Manisha, he wanted to snatch his hand away.
“I guess your mind stays with you,” he said weakly.
“Look,” Manisha said. “You didn’t tell me that this was going to be a birthday party. You ambushed me. What do you expect me to do?”
“I expected you to make an empirical observation and adjust your hypothesis regarding the nature of our daughter,” Sawyer said. “I hoped to discuss our relationship, if we still have one, and how it relates to our parental responsibilities.”
“Would you just get off it!” Manisha shouted. “You just called me over to guilt me into changing my mind. I’m done being a pawn in your experiments. I’m leaving.”
Sawyer knew he should have said something to defend himself, but the fire in Manisha’s eyes terrified him. All he could do was step back and let her storm past him.
When Manisha was gone, Sawyer watched Gamora quietly playing with her dolls. If she had any idea that it was strange for her parents to shout, she gave no sign. In fact, she seemed more pleased and comfortable than he’d ever seen her.
Sawyer picked up his daughter and carried her upstairs to bed.
“I’m sorry,” he said softly as he tucked her in.
“I thought she was smart.”
Erg. Sawyer and Manisha were not that bad on autonomy this time, but they sure didn’t warm up to each other. Sawyer had a wish to mind meld with Manisha, but his attempt failed. They both attempted romantic interactions and were rebuffed. It was painful to watch. It appears that Sawyer’s going to be a single father.
I love Gamora’s face. She’s a great blend of her parents. She has Manisha’s unusual eyes, which makes me very happy. Looks like Manisha’s eyebrows, Sawyer’s nose and cheekbones. I think those cheekbones might actually trace back to Veronica. I’m not sure on the mouth or face shape. I’ll have to do another comparison when she’s a teen.
It’s so hard to capture Dylan’s adorable Proper bow when he greets someone. Manisha’s arrival sequence is the best I’ve managed so far.
Abby caught Sawyer when he came home from another long shift at the hospital. “Victoria told me what happened,” she said.
Sawyer scowled. “I figured it would be Dylan. He was ready to jump up and fight for Manisha’s honor. He and Andria think I’m a Neanderthal.”
“Why did you get so out of control?” Abby asked softly.
Sawyer stared at the floor. “She doesn’t want Gamora. She doesn’t even want to believe Gamora is real. She says I conducted the experiment without consulting her.”
“But’s not true!” he continued desperately. “Manisha and I designed that experiment together. I didn’t do anything she didn’t approve. Dylan is too small-minded to see the flaws in his white knight complex.”
Then he launched into a technical explanation of gene splicing that was way over Abby’s head.
“Hey,” she said, keeping her voice low and soothing. The last thing she needed was to give Sawyer any more sense of persecution. “You don’t have to convince me. I believe you.
“Look, if Manisha wasn’t expecting a baby, then this has to be a big shock. Maybe she just need to adjust to the idea. Give her some time.”
Sawyer paused, thinking about it. Then he hung his head. “I’ll try,” he said.
Abby had never seen Sawyer so forlorn. She wished she could give him a hug, but she knew better. “Look, Sawyer,” she said. “Ask for help if you need it, okay? I care about you.”
“Thanks,” Sawyer said. “I recognize your intelligence.”
Spring transitioned into summer, and the longer daylight brought a steady stream of children home to play with Victoria.
It was a party almost every evening.
Sometimes with extra entertainment.
Edmund continued to pester everyone around him with his musings on the natural of magic. Was it just another set of scientific rules? Was it a performance art? Was it something else? What did it all mean?
He even pulled the ear of some of Victoria’s playmates. Victoria complained later that he was boring her friends.
Middle age finally struck Andria.
She wanted a small family celebration. Victoria insisted on bringing a friend.
Sawyer did his best to take Abby’s advice. When he wasn’t caring for Gamora, he threw himself into his work.
Much to the dismay of his patients. It’s not like Sawyer had an inspiring bedside manner on the best of days.
Andria wasn’t doing much better than Sawyer. Ever since her birthday, she had been sour and short-tempered. She went about her work and tended her farm with the same dedication, but she didn’t seem to enjoy any of it.
She stood in front of the wardobe and tried on outfit after outfit, examining herself in the mirror.
It wasn’t clear what she was looking for. Even Andria herself didn’t seem to know.
Finally, Dylan called her on it. “You look miserable,” he said. “I’m worried about you. Please talk to me.”
“I don’t know what there is to talk about,” Andria said — in that tone of voice that said, I really need to talk about this. “I thought I was being so progressive when I decided to marry you over the Fae Council objections. I thought I was standing up for our right to make our own decisions without living in fear.
“But here I am. Half my life is gone, and nothing is any better. Now we have three children caught in the same wedge I am between the mortal world and the magic. They have no support to do anything but live in hiding the way I always have. All I’ve done helped pass my problems onto them. I’m helping the system deny magic.”
“You haven’t exactly been denying magic,” Dylan said. “You raised an animated skeleton to clean our house.”
“That didn’t exactly build a new world for our children,” Andria snapped.
“I don’t think you’re giving our children enough credit,” Dylan said. “They all seem to be happy, though it can be difficult to tell with Edmund. They’re strong sims who can make their own way.”
Andria turned on him. “You say that, but you’re afraid of them!” she cried. “I see the way you look at our children when they’re in fae form. You try to hide, but you think they’re monsters. How can they grow up believing in themselves when their father doesn’t?”
Dylan took a step back as if he’d been struck.
Andria caught her breath. “I didn’t mean it like–“
“You meant it exactly as you said it,” Dylan said. “I had no idea you thought such things about me.”
“I know you’re trying your best,” Andria said.
Dylan, who was never aggressive about anything, advanced on her with a glint in his eye. “I am not afraid of our children,” he said. “I don’t think they’re freaks or monsters. Our children have gifts I will never have. They go places I can never go. I wonder ever day how I can protect and nurture them when I will never be able to completely understand them. I don’t understand you either, and I know it. I am always two steps behind my entire family.
“So there it is. My inherent selfishness. I’m not afraid of them. I’m afraid for me.“
Andria stared at him in silence for a long moment. Dylan wondered what she was thinking and whether he should say something more.
He took a breath, but she reached her hand to his lips to silence him.
Then she kissed him with a passion that rivaled their courtship.
She pulled him up to the treehouse and had her way with him.
Dylan didn’t argue, but he didn’t stop worrying about her either.
And here we have it. Another midlife crisis. Dylan’s the only person who hasn’t had one so far. Sawyer’s still a few days away.
I had a lot of trouble writing this post. He had two really personal, anguished scenes in it. I also really wanted to get an idea of where Andria’s crisis was going to go before I tried to write it.
This last scene was entirely autonomous. Andria had a wish to break up with Dylan. Sheesh. If I followed every Midlife Crisis wish to break up, I’d have no happy couples in my game. I’ve heard that sims often wish to get right back together with the sim they just dumped, but that seems like a bit too much without a good story excuse.
At any rate, I decided the wish was a hint that Andria had built up resentment toward Dylan. I decided to pick a fight between them and then see how it fell out. They fought for a while on autonomy. Then Andria dip-kissed him and woohooed him in the treehouse. I decided that whatever troubles they had, they weren’t divorce grade :).
The scenes with Victoria were primarily from a party she threw that was supposed to be a sleepover. The game forgot that part halfway through and sent everyone home. I wanted someone to tell ghost stories, but the option didn’t come up on the interaction menu. ARGH.
Also, Bonehilda autonomously returned to her coffin. I gotta get her out again.