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3.14 It’s All About Love

Adjo was ready to graduate from high school, and he barely had any romantic history. There’d been a brief thing with Kalylynn Langerak, and this flirtation with Darlene Bunch that never got past naughty glances in English class.

His heart just wasn’t it. Who wanted to be second fiddle to Shanni all the time? He wanted one great love. He wanted it to be the real thing. And he’d always known who he wanted that person to be.

He called Toya Ursine and invited her over.

He poured his soul out to her. “Everything I’ve done, everyone I’ve met, I’ve always known I wanted to be doing it with you.”

Toya was visibly moved, but she shook herself free of the spell.

“You’re a great boy, really,” she said. “But I think you might have the wrong idea about me. You know, my dad really isn’t a very nice person….”

That was the Understatement that Ate Cleveland. Rachel Ursine’s second husband Harvey was the lord of the Sunset Valley underworld. In a town not very well known for it’s gangs, he was the ganglord.

“He didn’t do anything to you?” Adjo demanded, breathless.

“Oh, no!” Toya cried. “Nothing like that. It’s just, well, I don’t want you to get mixed up in anything.”

“I know who I want to be with,” Adjo said boldly. “Nothing about your family is going to change that. No risk is going to scare me off. I love whom I love.”

“You… love me?” Toya gasped.

“I always have,” Adjo confessed.

This time, she wasn’t so quick to push him away.

“Oh, what the hell,” she murmured, almost to herself. “You only live once.”

(Adjo never did stop collecting romantic wishes about Toya. All I needed was to be a bit more persistent the first time, but this makes for more fun story anyway :). )

3.13 Who’s It All About?

Adjo and Mortimer Goth really hit it off at school, and Adjo invited him over after school to check out some video games.

The Goth family was a bit of legend in Sunset Valley, and Shanni’s eyes got wide when Adjo told her who was on his way over. “Goth?” she demanded. “Do you know how much money they have?”

Adjo honestly didn’t know. Less that the Landgraabs, more than the Samples. Something like that.

Shanni was there waiting for the two boys when they arrived home.

And she only had eyes for Mortimer. She asked him about his family and his opinions of their classmates. She hung on his every word.

Pretty soon, they only had eyes for each other.

Shanni didn’t even need to bother with meaningful glances in her brother’s direction. Adjo knew a lost cause when he saw one, and there was no point in getting between Shanni and her prey. He grabbed his guitar and went out.

Leaving Shanni to her important work.

Why did she keep doing this, Adjo asked himself. Shanni was more than just beautiful. She was smart and witty. She had a great sense of color and art. He’d even seen a few of her closely-guarded manuscripts, and she wasn’t a bad writer either. But she seemed to value herself only when she was grabbing the attention of some new guy.

Adjo wished she would find someone who really meant something to her and settle down. True love was worth working on. It wasn’t something to throw around.

Adjo set down his guitar. He knew what he had to do.

3.9 Moving On

Shanni thought long and hard about what might have gone wrong with Miraj.

The problem was, she decided, that she’d been too passive. She’d let Miraj come to her. She just needed to seek him out and tell him how neglected she felt. So, she took a deep breath and turned up at his doorstep after his shift at his after school job.

He smiled when he saw her at the door and invited her inside. That was a good first step. Maybe all of this was a misunderstanding.

Then everything started to go sideways. She started talking, and then she couldn’t stop. Her frustration and anger just kept pouring out until she wasn’t sure what she was saying. His job was keeping him from her. His family was keeping him from her. It was all THEM! THEY were keeping him from her!

(Wherein I discover the, “Talk about Conspiracies” option in her socialization menu. With that and “Freak Out,” I think I am in love with Neurotic sims.)

Miraj blinked. “Uhhhh,” he said. “I have no idea what you just said. Maybe you should sit down, take a deep breath, and calm down.”

Calm down? Calm down! That was enough. Shanni’d had it.

There had to be some guy in all of Sunset Valley who wanted to spend time with her.

Adjo, on the other hand, was still nursing a broken heart.

Lance, who had his nose in all of his children’s business since he hung up his adventuring duds, had plenty of advice to give. But mostly, he was willing to listen to Adjo’s sob story and take it seriously.

“Toya’s a great girl, but you know what they say about fish in the sea. There has to be a girl out there who appreciates a guy who wants to make a commitment.”

Adjo wasn’t ready to go looking for other girls, so he scheduled a guy’s night out with his best bud Malcolm Landgraab instead. Malcolm was an incredibly unassuming guy, considering that he was from the richest old money in Sunset Valley. The two of them got together to hang out on the strip and chat. Malcolm listened to Adjo play guitar for a while. Then they did their homework together.

Malcom listened to Adjo talk about Toya and Lance’s idea that he should look for other girls. “I don’t know,” Malcolm said wistfully. “I think she might come around. Not that you ought to hang around waiting or anything.”

At which point, curfew had passed without them even noticing.

(What happened to the rest of my pics of this outing? Well, whatever.)

So it was another trip home in a cop car, and another lecture, this time from Lance. Adjo was starting to get used to being the naughty kid.

3.7 Mixed Signals

It didn’t take Shanni all that long to get over Michael Bachelor. Her new flame was Miraj Alvi. She caught him watching her in gym class and invited him over her place. Soon they were going steady. He also had a part-time job, which drove Shanni crazy, but it was a lot easier to get his time than it had been Michael’s.

Shanni had visions of candlelit dinners at the bistro where Miraj surprised her with little gifts of jewelery. Despite his job, Miraj insisted he didn’t have that kind of money. They used to take long walks at Central Park instead and gaze into each other’s eyes.

She thought about him all the time. She wondered how far to go in their makeout sessions. She hated that most of the time, they hung out at her place where her parents were watching.

One day, she invited him to the park after dark, thinking they could find some real privacy in the shadows with no parents to watch.

Miraj showed up, but he was cold to her. Whenever she sat down with him on a bench to get cuddly, he jumped up and walked away. She felt like she was chasing him all over the park.

Then he said, “You call that a date? Call me when you grow up,” and walked away.

Shanni was stunned. What had she done wrong?

Adjo was crushed at the disastrous end to his date with Toya.

It took him days to bring himself to talk to her again. Once he got his courage back, he invited her to hang out at the community pool. That seemed like a neutral enough location.

They stayed there until after dark, talking about anything and everything. Adjo pulled out all the stops.

But when he finally confessed his feelings to her, she laughed nervously. She just didn’t see him that way. He was more like a brother to her. Couldn’t they still be friends?

Adjo forced himself to smile. Of course they could. No hard feelings. It wasn’t a big deal anyway.

He invited her into the pool and started a game of splashing.

And, hey, he was sure he could hold his breath underwater longer than she could.

Toya had a fantastic time. She wanted him to call her again tomorrow.

Adjo scraped up the pieces of his heart and headed home.

3.6 It Takes a Village

So…. what is a ghost’s baby? A baby ghost. Zahra’s mystery was solved.

In any other family, this would have caused a stir. Well, all right, even here there was a bit of a stir. But these were the Samples. Samples are brave. Samples love nothing more than to sit down and have a fireside chat with the ghosts of their dead relatives.

When Zahra told her father that she had married Cycl0n3, he blinked and said, “You don’t think he’s a bit old for you? Seeing how he dated your grandmother, and he’s dead and all?” One she’d convinced him that she was truly happy, he shrugged and gave her his blessing. Before that moment, he hadn’t really thought of Cycl0n3 as any different than Susie or Connor. Ghosts have a right to be happy too, after all.

That’s just a bit of context to describe why the freakout at the Sample household wasn’t particularly freaked or out.

Lance was particularly delighted with his grandson. He’d have been delighted if Charles were green with tentacles.

Adjo couldn’t stop tickling and cuddling the new arrival.

All-in-all Zahra had plenty of help. Whenever Charles whimpered, someone was there with a bottle and a diaper, and for all that nobody really had to lose much sleep.

And of all of the Samples, Cycl0n3 was the most beside himself with pride and joy. Charles was his son. He’d made a new life, if a life was what this was, and if it wasn’t who cared anyway?

He’d longingly cared for Zahra, then Adjo and Shanni as babies, always figuring that his time was past. Now he had a wife and a new son. All was right with the world

3.4 Love in the Wrong Places

Adjo and Shanni were still joined at the hip. They did as much as they could together.

But now that they were teens, their personalities began to really diverge.

Shanni took up cooking.

Adjo discovered his grandmother’s guitar in a closet, dusted it off, and started to strum.

It turned out he had a natural talent. He hadn’t been able to keep his little hands off the xylophone when he was a toddler.

But most of all, Shanni discovered *men*. Every day, she came home from school raving about some hot boy in homeroom or gym class.

The first boy she talked about two days in a row was Michael Bachelor. She virtually stalked him on the phone to get him to go out with her.

Adjo, on the other hand, just liked people. He was particularly popular with married women with children. He developed such a platonic entourage of older women that Layla started to get nervous.

He also loved his family in a way that Shanni couldn’t seem to understand.

Once Shanni was able to get Michael to answer her calls, it wasn’t long before she had him wrapped around her little finger.

They couldn’t keep their hands of each other.

The problem was, most of the time when Shanni called, Michael wasn’t home. He claimed he had a part-time job at the bookstore that ate up all his time. Adjo also had a part-time job at the grocery store for about three days before he quit from stress. (Dude. Part-time jobs for teens SUCK. They get no time to do more than school, work, and homework until the weekend. AND they get stressed out.) He saw Michael hanging around talking to his friends after work when he was supposed to be visiting Shannni.

When Shanni found out, she freaked out.

She broke up with Michael then and there. She didn’t have time for men who didn’t have time for her.

Adjo, on the other hand, developed a show, shy crush on Toya Ursine. Sure, she was his second cousin, but that just made the connection deeper on, like, a family level.

He got her to go out to the movies with him, and he was just starting to get her to warm up to him when the POLICE showed up.

Instead of a girlfriend, he was treated to a lecture from his mom about staying out after curfew.

3.0 Passing the Torch to Zahra

In due time, Zahra’s birthday came around. Along with Adjo and Shanni’s, all together in one big pile of aging up.

Layla threw a huge joint party for her beloved brood. Three birthday cakes were arrayed on the back lawn.

First Zahra.

Meanwhile, on the back patio, Layla’s dear Antonio Bauer, who was a little late to the event, decided to cash it in.

While Shanni had her moment to blow out the candles, half the guests were distracted by the arrival of Death behind her.

Antonio had no regrets in life, though he’d have been glad for more time. The sly dog left behind a young wife and a toddler, for heaven’s sake.

Shanni aged up surrounded only by close family.

Almost certainly NOT the look she’s going to stick with.

Death, having done his duty, stuck around to cheer Adjo on and get a slice of cake.

Now that she was of age, Lancelot passed the deeds to the family investments over to Zahra as his designated heir. His own life ambitions complete, he made ready to step to the sidelines.

After a wardrobe change, here we have…



(The first was his final look, but this pic has a great expression :).)

And our inheritor of the Sample line, Zahra, who decided to get a haircut. I do say, it looks good on her.

2.28 The Land of Their Ancestors

The new place was looking pretty nice, and there was plenty of space for everyone.

Lance took advantage of the amazing view to inspire his art.

Cycl0n3 made another pass at a chess opponent, this time at Margarita Landgraab, a woman he’d known while he was alive.

Poor Cycl0n3.

The family ghosts made themselves at home.

(Ghost Connor is missing his beard, damnit.)

Now that Shanni and Adjo were older, Layla started to feel homesick. She wanted her children to see their homeland and meet their aunts. Lance, always eager for another vacation, packed with her for a trip to Egypt.

Their first destination was the Lufti sisters’ house.

Layla’s sister Meena was home. She and Shanni and Adjo bonded pretty quickly.

Aisha was manning her shop as always.

She and Zahra seemed to get along well.

Meanwhile, Lancelot the eternal adventurer found an, um, secret stair in the master bedroom…

…that led to a master spy center?

What? Was Layla some kind of a spy?

A few minutes reading in the empty control center reassured Lance that they didn’t have much interesting information to show for all the flash and dash.

2.27 Bustin’ at the Seams

Time passed so quickly that nobody was really ready when Adjo spontaneously aged into a child.

The prospect of two adults, two elementary-aged kids, a teenager, and an um ghost living together, a three-bedroom Victorian, no matter now lovely, started to feel incredibly cramped.

The Samples hastily began house-hunting for something with a bit more room. They happened on a contemporary home on a cliffside lot overlooking the sea.

Zahra admittedly had a lot of voice in this decision. She was more level-headed, and her parents were pretty frantic to get the extra space. All the artsy-fartsy quaintness of the Victorian had really started grating on Zahra (who can’t stand art). The modern home was just about as bland inside as you could get. Everything, and I mean everything was done in eggshell and brown.

Still, it was a great place, and a great space, and they could redecorate at their leisure.

Layla stayed behind to sell the old house while Lance moved the kids into the new place, where there was actually enough space for the beds Shanni and Adjo were going to need to sleep.

Once everyone was settled, they held a late-night, family-only celebration of the twins’ birthday.

Lance and Layla bid each other a temporary farewell.

It would be hard to sleep apart, but they’d be able to reunite in a day or two when all their affairs were in order.

It actually only turned out to be one day. The Victorian sold like a hotcake. Then Lance and Layla got busy making the new place their own.

(What really happened here is that Layla had a really high-point gardening wish that was just about to be fulfilled. I put off moving the family into a more appropriate-sized house for twin children in hopes that the last plant would mature and fulfill the wish. But Adjo aged up earlier than Shanni for some reason, and I had to get them into someplace with an appropriate number of adult beds before nightfall. I decided to keep Layla in the house until the wish was fulfilled, using a standard hack to let them keep their wishes as I switched between houses. But somehow I managed to screw it up ANYWAY. Layla lost the wish, so the whole finagle was completely pointless, so I moved her into the new house the next morning.)

2.26 On the make

(Hey. It’s been a long time. Like, almost a year to the day since I last played Sims 3. About this time last year, I learned I was pregnant. Now I have a lovely 5-month-old baby girl. I recently got the Sims bug back, and I’m going to see if I can pick up where I left off. We’ll see.)

Life gets into a fresh routine for the Samples. There’s lots to teach the new new toddlers.

Cycl0n3 helps out when he can get away with it.

Zahra isn’t much of an extra mom, but she does take some time to get to know her new much younger siblings.

Shanni’s first word is, “dragon.”

I see an active fantasy life in her future.

Adjo, on the other hand seems to be the marrying type. Hmmm.

(Note from the future: Wow, the twins’ first words TOTALLY forecasted their adult personalities. Like, with eerie precision. Ha.)

Zahra’s school chum Fabian invites her to the park for a date.

They stay out late talking about the best sorts of geek stuff.

But in the end, perhaps they’re better off as friends.

Cycl0n3 is on the make, but the prospects are not great for a man in his… unique situation. One of his ranked chess partners turns out to be especially hot.

It’s not too hard to direct their meeting from business to pleasure. This is a party girl.

When the time is right, he makes his move.

Denied. Ouch. At least he beat her at chess.

At least Zahra and Cycl0n3 understand each other.