The Science Center had opened all sorts of doors for Zahra.
These days she was in a hush-hush program devoted to crossbreeding creatures and robots. You had to be sure not to call too much attention to programs like these or the silly animal rights activists came down on your head. And let’s not talk about Equal Rights for Artificial Intelligence movement.
She spent a lot of her time looking for unique animal specimens for her experiments, and there was no better place to look for truly bizarre evolutionary life paths than in the sea.
So she was fishing on the beach behind the house when the old urn she kept on her dresser began to rattle.
She wasn’t there. She couldn’t have heard or felt it, and yet somehow as the sun went down, she knew to look behind her.
There he was.
Without thinking, Zahra dropped the fishing rod and found herself scrambling and sliding through the beach sand back toward the house.
“Wait for me!” she heard her voice rasp, but it was barely loud enough to carry.
Before she could even make it to the back door, he was gone.
She stood in the hallway, shaking. “No, she whispered. Don’t go away. Please, not again.” She was still standing there when Fabian wandered upstairs and found her.
“Are you all right?” he asked.
“Yes,” she snapped. “Of course I’m fine.” Even her voice was shaking.
“Zahra,” Fabian said gently. He pulled her into his arms. “You’ve been crying.”
She felt her defenses come crashing down. “He was here!” she sobbed. “I saw him, but he went back to the Netherworld before I could talk to him.”
Fabian stiffened. “Cyclone.”
Zahra nodded. “I know he’s not the same. I… I kept his urn all these years in hopes that his spirit would manifest and he could come back to me. But I know a lot more now. Traditional ghosts are just projections from the Netherworld, pale incomplete memories of the real person. There’s no way he could really come back to me. Still… I just wanted a chance to say goodbye.”
“I understand,” Fabian said, and he tried to. “Cyclone was your true love, and you lost him so young.”
Zahra buried her head in Fabian’s shoulder, the most vulnerable gesture he had seen from her in more years than he could remember. “Not true love,” she whispered. “Just first love. I know I’m hard on you. It’s just that I’m so afraid you’ll leave me too.”
Fabian held her close, and he felt a part of his heart heal that he hadn’t realized was broken. “You don’t have to worry about that,” he said. “I know all about first loves.”
“Who was yours, then?”
And they just stood there in the hallway for a while because there was nothing more to say.
This is the first and ONLY time Cycl0n3’s ghost has ever manifest. I’ve always wanted to have a complete collection of heirs and mates, though I can see that too many ghosts gets to be a real pain after a while. Still, it was great to see him!
I dropped the silly spelling for this post because it gets to be such a pain to type :).
And Zahra has made her LTW! Fabian is about 1.5 promotions behind her, despite getting about two ahead while she was stuck on endless maternity leave. Barring any promotion glitches like SimDjinn, he’s going to make it in plenty of time, though.
“Zahra! You have to come!” Fabian declared as he burst into the house after work.
“I have to go where?” Zahra demanded.
“There’s a new club opening in town called The Queen. Half priced drinks all week!”
“And why should I be excited that something I’m not going to drink anyway is half price?”
“I’ve heard a rumor that Vita Alto likes the place.”
“The Leader of the Free World? I didn’t vote for her.”
Fabian made puppy dog eyes. “Don’t you ever want to have any fun?”
Which is how Zahra found herself on her way to a disco dance club.
The Queen was creatively lit, Zahra could give it that.
Fabian had failed to mention that if the Leader of the Free World were showing up at a dance club for drinks, there would be extra security. But he sailed right by with his golden tongue and police badge.
“Hey there, Fabian Branch Sample with Sunset Valley’s finest. Keep up the great work!”
The bouncer didn’t even try to keep Fabian out. Zahra slipped through quickly before he changed his mind about her.
There she was: Vita Alto, the Leader of the Free World. Haggling with the bartender over how much vodka should be in her Bloody Mary.
It was as if stars were flashing in Fabian’s eyes. He was drawn to her like a bee to honey.
“Wow, Ms. Alto,” he stammered. “I was really amazed by that, um, speech you gave last week.”
Vita Alto raised an eyebrow. “The one about the trade agreement with Al Simhara, or the one about firefighters rescuing kittens?”
She laughed in a way that was not entirely friendly. “I thought so.”
Zahra sat at the bar and watched her dear husband make a fool of himself.
The food was greasy, but actually not too bad.
She tried to enjoy herself, but the flashing lights and loud sounds gave her a headache. Zahra had no sense of rhythm, and she hated to dance. This really wasn’t the place for her, and she persuaded Fabian to go home early.
“It’s all right if you go out without me,” she told him in the car ride home. “I know you have these… social… needs. I’m perfectly happy to stay home with my science and inventions while you have a good time with other people.”
Fabian’s throat caught. “Are you sure?”
Zahra nodded. “We’re different about this. It’s all right.”
Fabian had never been quite sure that she’d forgiven him for Agnes. It seemed he had her trust back after all.
Time passed, and Hank Goddard was promoted over Fabian. Fabian and Hank had been partners since the beginning of their careers, and it was odd to transition to reporting to him as his boss. There was a little bit of jealousy there too. Fabian was getting close to a promotion to his dream job as a Forensic Specialist, and it stung to know that Hank would get there first. Still, Hank had a list of ex-girlfriends as long as his arm and no real responsibilities, and Fabian and a wife and family. Dues had to be paid.
Fabian’s new partner was Willem Yo. The Yo family had changed since Willem was dating Shanni, however. Willem’s younger sister Michelle had gone into acting and had gotten some attention in martial arts films. Fabian was dying to meet her.
“Ada!” he declared one day as he burst into the house after work. “You have to come with me! I got an invitation to Willem’s birthday party!”
Ada clapped her hands. “Wow! So strange your partner would invite you to his party!”
“This is my big chance to meet Michelle Yo. She is going to be a big star, I’m sure of it. Why don’t you come with me?”
“Sure…” Ada said. “If Charles comes with me.”
Fabian flinched. He and Charles usually stayed in opposite halves of the house. “Why Charles?”
“He helps me keep from doing embarrassing things,” Ada said.
And so they all ended up at the gates of the Yo estate for an evening pool party. Fabian had known that the Yos had money, but he hadn’t really guessed just how much money.
Like any truly fashionable pool party, nobody was swimming. Guests stood around in their swimwear, sipping cocktails and having suave conversations.
Fabian barely spoke to Willem. They could do that at work. Instead, he downed two or three of the bright pink cocktails to get his confidence up to approach Michelle.
“I have all your movies!” he said. “I, um, watch a lot of television. You’re really stellar in Kung Fu Kazam. Sure, you don’t have many lines, but you deliver those kicks with such feeling. That’s acting!”
Michelle seemed to appreciate the adulation. Or at least she didn’t tell him to stop.
An hour and another two cocktails later, and Fabian’s praise was starting to take a more personal tone. “You know you’re an incredibly attractive woman. Do you mind telling me…. what’s your sign?”
Ada gasped and ran to Charles, who was making smalltalk with Michelle and Willem’s younger sister Jenna.
“Charles! Come quick!” she cried. “Dad’s flirting! You can’t let Mom kill him!”
Charles was there as quick as a teleport would let him.
“Hello there, I’m Charles,” he said, shouldering between Fabian and Michelle. “This a great party.”
Fabian seemed to realize that he was being rescued. He went pale. “Hey, um, Michelle, this is my stepson. You should have a lot in common. He runs the dojo in town.”
Michelle offered him a blinding smile, and Charles had a brief insight into what might have made Fabian act like an idiot. Not that it took much to get Fabian to act like an idiot.
“I’ve heard about the Spirit Sample Dojo!” she said. “The choreography in my next film is pretty challenging, and I’ve been thinking about showing up there to see whether you’d be interested in some personal training.”
Charles blinked. “You act in… martial arts films?”
Michelle laughed. “Obviously, you don’t watch as much television as Fabian.”
Actually, Charles never watched television. He didn’t see the point of staying indoors watching pictures of the outdoors when you could just go outside yourself. But he decided it would be rude to say so.
Still, listening to Michelle talk about her career was more interesting than Charles had expected. After quite a while, he was able to pull himself free of the conversation and escort Fabian to the car.
On the way, he picked up Ada, who seemed to have hit it off with Jenna.
“See, it’s not just me,” Ada said brightly as they piled into Fabian’s patrol car. “Charles keeps you from doing embarrassing things too! He’s just like that.”
“I’m a turd,” a sobering Fabian wailed as Charles eased the car out onto the road. Charles shrugged, focusing on the road.
“I’m a great big, stinky, slimy pile of –“
“Zahra ought to wise up and kick my ass to the curb.”
“You expect me to disagree with you? Look, I don’t know what Mom sees in you, but you make her happy. If I catch a whiff of you making eyes at another woman, and I’m going to tell her. You know she’ll divorce you.”
“You’re not going to tell her about this?”
Charles sighed. “Not this time. Once Mom knows, there’s no going back. So prove to me you’re not a turd.”
“Thank you,” Fabian said.
“Jenna kept rubbing my knee,” Ada said. “I wonder why. Is my knee more soft than the rest of my body?”
So, after everything Fabian’s been through with Zahra, he started rolling wishes to flirt with Michelle! Ack!
So that’s my Michelle Yo sim. She doesn’t look like Michelle Yeoh, but she don’t look too bad IMHO.
Losing Lancelot came down on the Samples like an anvil.
Everyone was struggling and trying not to drag everyone else down.
They all soldiered through the days. But it was Layla who found herself in that empty bed every night.
She tried to put on a brave face, but she wasn’t really fooling anyone.
Everyone wanted to cheer her up. Charles tried his usual fare.
But she barely noticed.
Ada and Fabian dragged her to the art museum to get her out of the house.
Ada was in her element. “It’s so golden,” she whispered, “and the tiny golden men are singing to me.”
Fabian ran into none other than Mayor Tamara Donner. He was so bowled over that he followed her into the bathroom to interview her.
And Layla tried. She really did.
“What’s this thing again? Dadaist? Dada is a movement?”
When she got home, she declared that all she really wanted was a nice bubble bath. Before anyone else could react, Charles had teleported to the to the grocery store to pick up some bath soap.
And got himself picked up for being out after curfew.
When he got home, Zahra really let him have it.
Zahra was terrifying and unforgiving when she was angry.
But Charles was only trying to help. He carried around his resentment until it exploded.
“Do you have any idea the kind of energy your research equipment is wasting? Do you even care?? We all have to live on this planet too!”
Layla listened to the arguing going on downstairs and wracked her brain.
The grief and tension were ripping the family apart at the seams. Lance of all people would have been crushed. She had to think of something to draw them back together.
“The twins’ birthday is coming up,” she told the household. “It’s been so long since we were all together as a family. I think we should throw them a party.”
Everyone jumped to make it so.
The next evening, the Sample house was busting at the seams.
“I don’t know if Agnes said anything,” Shanni confided in Toya as they arrived. “I’m pregnant! Zahra referred us to a doctor who does work for the Science Center.”
“That’s fabulous!” Toya crowed. “Now that money isn’t so tight, Adjo and I are thinking about trying for another one. Let me tell you about babies….”
Adjo slipped away while the women gossiped to pay his respects.
There was hustle and bustle of catching up on everyone’s lives. Adjo and Toya had weathered the lean times, and Adjo was now in business for himself again as a local band manager. “These kids have talent like you wouldn’t believe,” he said. “All they need is one break, and we’re talking national attention, big name label, their voice on every radio station. This is for real.”
While the blood Samples were laughing and comparing notes, Agnes drifted up the stairs alone. Fabian watched her go. He followed and found her sitting on the upstairs couch, staring into space.
“This seat taken?” he asked, not waiting for an answer.
“You!” Agnes said. “What are you doing here? If your wife finds us alone, she’ll cut your balls off.”
“Yeah,” he said amiably. “So she tells me. So what are you doing here all alone?”
“It’s just a little intense down there. I needed a breather.”
“Tell me about it. How’s married life?”
Agnes sighed. “Complicated. It was so much easier with Erik. Or maybe I never got a chance to find out how hard it would be before he died. Don’t get me wrong. I love Shanni. But she’s… intense. And Shanni pregnant is almost more than I can handle. A woman with such a delicate mood should never have a condition that gives her extra mood swings.”
“I know what you mean,” Fabian said. “Monogamy is a lot of work, isn’t it? You might have noticed that Zahra’s the irresistible force AND the unmovable object. I wouldn’t change a thing, but sometimes I wonder how my life could have been different.”
“Yeah,” Agnes said. “I hear you.”
“So we’ve come to this,” Fabian said softly.
Agnes flinched. “Come to what?”
“Old friends. Sometimes old lovers make the best kind.”
She laughed. “Especially old lovers you’d never take back.”
“I deserved that. I think the cake is ready down there. Let’s get going before someone comes looking for us, and I lose my balls.”
And there were laughing, cheering, wishes pondered, and candles blown out.
Under the gaze of old loved ones.
“The thing about the orbital mind control lasers is that most people can’t see or hear them,” Ada told Shanni. “Except me. When the lasers are on, I can feel the heat on the back of my head.”
“I know just what you mean,” Shanni answered eagerly. “Like the invisible words the government inserts into news articles to control the way you think about them.”
“I had no idea you’d understand!”
It was early morning before they could bring themselves to say goodbye. The cloud had lifted from the house. There was cleaning to be done in the morning, but now was the time to unwind.
Layla headed to her empty bedroom with a feeling of peace and contentment. The feeling grew inside her until she realized it was something else entirely.
Layla’s time had come too, and she was ready to embrace it.
It was hard to say goodbye.
But this time, the ones left behind were ready to take comfort in each other.
Who is remembered, lives.
And then there were four. Layla left the household also at age 104 with Lifetime Happiness of (sob) 190,000. If I’d really processed how long she was going to live, I could have nudged her to 200,000. I tried at the end, but it wasn’t soon enough. Plus, she went the last day and a half without generating any wishes. Her last big wish was to throw that birthday party. Still, I don’t think there was enough time to get to the goal even if she’d been more helpful.
This is the last post for Generation 3. It seems kind of fitting that it should end with the farewell of Generation 2.
Generation 3 has been by far the most engaging generation so far. Everyone became a well-rounded personality. Everyone had a story arc. It felt more like a story than either 1 or 2. And you can certainly tell by how many posts I managed to generate for them. 45. Damn.
Oh, yeah, and it turns out that both Insane and Neurotic sims have the “Talk about Conspiracies” conversation option, and it gives them a relationship boost instead of a hit. Shanni and Ada really do understand each other in a special way :).
Zahra wandered out of the bedroom, down the hall, and into the kitchen. She was ravenous, and it had been a long night.
Fabian relaxed on the sofa with a book on logic. “Morning dear,” she said absently to him as she passed.
“Morning, love,” Fabian said, looking up. “You don’t happen to think that something is different do you?”
“Different?” Zahra asked, flushing. “What do you think is different?”
“It’s just that we seem to have misplaced the entire kitchen.”
Zahra looked around. “Oh, it’s not that bad! It’s just a few counters… and a stove… and the coffee maker… The refrigerator’s fine!”
“Have you been playing with the space-time continuum again?”
“No! Well, maybe just a little.”
Fabian sighed, setting down his book. “I understand your dedication to science and everything. It’s great. But would you please keep the experiments a the lab?”
“It wasn’t just an experiment,” Zahra began defensively. “I needed– AIGH! Charles! Would you stop that!”
“Ha, Mom! It gets you every time.”
Fabian glanced at the science book he’d left on the sofa. “I’ve been reading up on this stuff. All the mad science is making this place unstable. I think it’s time we moved. There’s nothing about space-time damage on the disclosure form, so we shouldn’t have not declare anything dangerous when we put it on the market. If we wait until the place HAS collapsed, our homeowner’s insurance won’t cover a thing.”
Zahra deflated. “All right. Let’s go house-hunting.”
Fabian grinned. “I have a better idea. Why don’t you collect up your experimental equipment and take it back to the lab. The kids and I will go house-hunting.”
So Fabian, Ada, and Charles picked a place to live.
And soon they were all packed and on their way.
The new place was an old estate in the architecture of the English countryside. It was directly on the beach and surprisingly close to downtown. Fabian had done a pretty good job.
They arrived on the evening of Ada’s birthday, with just enough time to celebrate properly.
And after a makeover:
Ada was…. changed after that birthday. The artistic vision that had always dominated her personality now seemed to take on a life of it own. Sometimes she started talking to the furniture, or walking around outside in her underwear.
“Don’t worry,” Fabian told Zahra uneasily. “It’s a phase. She’ll grow out of it.”
(Ha! Ada rolled Insane for her teen trait! I was totally not expecting that!
And the upcoming Gen 4 has a new house! It’s English Country Estate at ModTheSims. It has a few issues. The 2×1 gothic arches used don’t seem to exist anymore, one of the upstairs beds was unroutable, and so was one half of the dining table. I tweaked the walls a bit to fix those things, and I replaced the arches with some not-as-pretty columns.
Of course, I ended up moving before I’d intended to AGAIN. This is another elaborate Simfail associated with Shanni’s wedding. Why is it that nobody can get out of this household without there being major game issues???
This time, right after Shanni and Agnes got engaged, I started having major game slowdowns. It literally took Shanni all night to get to her bureau and then to the mirror to fix her wedding dress and hair. I actually tried to do the wedding in this state, which is where the pic of bodiless Parker came from, but it was slow and messed up, and nobody came except the immediate household and Parker for some reason. And then I clicked Agnes and there was NO “GET MARRIED” OPTION.
So I downloaded a utility I read about on ModTheSims that would locate corrupted CC, and the utility flagged the entire custom kitchen from the house they were living in. I don’t know how this could have been the problem, since I’ve been playing in that house for like six months of real time, but it’s possible that there was some cumulative problem. I deleted the kitchen, and things improved immediately.
So I figured it was more fun to roll that into the story :).
I wanted to get the household out of the corrupted house as fast as possible, so I actually moved them out before the wedding and staged them in Condor Museum Lofts for the duration of Shanni’s wedding. Then I moved them to the new digs. So, for your Simantic viewing pleasure….
Here is the whole family standing around in the basement of the loft building.
Shanni was so excited that walls could not stand in her way.
And I close with a cute pic of Shanni calling to schedule her own wedding party.
When work nudged her toward more work with vertebrate life forms, Zahra discovered another common interest with Charles.
They’d never needed conversation, which was good because Zahra was so bad at it. But their silent time together said paragraphs.
When he wasn’t fishing, Charles got Granddad to train Jabari Keaton in Sim-Fu.
Finally, someone his age to spar with.
(With the train ability, you can compel random NPCs to learn skills! Awesome!)
Ada, on the other hand, discovered her Easy Bake Oven.
When she had all the muffins she could carry, she went and found Fabian, who was sitting at the computer as usual. “Come on, Dad! You’re going to teach me entrepreneurship.”
“Queen to queen 4… What? I’m going to teach you what?”
“Oh, come on, Dad. I need an adult with me.”
So she dragged Fabian to the square and set up shop. Once Fabian got over the unpleasantness of being dragged out of his nice comfortable house, he found a wealth of opportunity.
Harvey Ursine, for example, couldn’t avoid talking to a guy whose brother-in-law just happened to be married to his daughter.
(And Fabian becomes the first character to actually MEET Harvey.)
Harvey was waiting for his new squeeze, Zelda Mae, to get off work. He took up with her within days of Rachel’s death. But you had to give the old bastard one thing — he never stepped out on her while she was alive. At least not so that anybody found out.
Mortimer Goth showed up at the theater on a date with Madison Langerak.
But he spent most of it complaining about Shanni.
Ada was a born saleswoman, and the crowd around her muffin stand lasted stretched down the block.
Fabian had to drag her home past her bedtime. “But there are still muffins left!” she cried.
And in all of this ebb and flow of daily life, Shanni was nowhere to be found.
She’d barely been home since things started between her and Agnes. She certainly hadn’t slept there.
There was a whole world to Agnes that she never let people see.
It only took a visit to the dark, half-decorated second bedroom to set Shanni thinking on the life Agnes had expected before her husband’s unfortunate accident turned her world upside down. No wonder she was so bitter now.
As she was coming down for breakfast, Agnes dashed out of the downstairs bathroom, looking embarrassed. “Don’t go in there dear. I’ve already called a repair man.”
When the repairman arrived, though, Shanni was in for a surprise.
“Adjo!” She gave her brother a big hug. “It’s been too long. Since when are you fixing toilets?”
(Seriously. If I knew Twallan was going to appoint Adjo as the down repairman, I would have taken a screen shot of Agnes breaking the toilet. It was funny.)
“Since Toya had another baby. You heard, right? Another girl. Her name is Starr.”
Shanni nodded. “Yeah, I heard.” She held her tongue on Adjo’s choice of names. “Congratulations! But appliance repair? I thought you were going to stay with busking and avoid working for The Man.”
Adjo looked to the floor. “Well, that doesn’t exactly pay for a growing family, does it?” The edge to his voice was something Shanni had never heard before. “Toya’s home on maternity leave, and I don’t want her asking her dad for money. I got work as a Roadie at the theater, and I’m picking up odd jobs where I can.”
There were bags under Adjo’s eyes, and he seemed pale and wan under his dark complexion. Shanni could barely find her voice. Adjo had always been so sure of what he wanted. She’d never entertained the possibility that things would be less than perfect for him. “Wow,” she said at last. “I’m sorry.”
Adjo forced a smile that quickly became the real deal. He was tired, not beat. “But enough about me,” he said. “What the hell are YOU doing here?”
Shanni flushed. “Um. About that. I’m kind of here with Agnes.”
Adjo blinked. “With Agnes? You meant WITH with?”
“Yeah. I haven’t told any of the family. I didn’t know how.”
“If you and Agnes are a couple, what’s so hard to say?”
“Well, it’s just that, I don’t know. People expect me to behave a certain way. And good grief, Zahra’s so straitlaced. She’ll completely freak out to see me with another woman.”
Adjo took her by the shoulders. “Look, the real question here is whether she makes you happy. If she does, then we’re all happy for you. Simple as that.”
After he left, Shanni kept on thinking. Adjo might be having a hard time, but he was still people-wise in a way she would never be. He’d taken all the confused thoughts dancing around in her head and made everything clear.
She was happy.
Shanni had dated cops and criminals, nice guys and bastards, smart and dumb, relaxed and ambitious. Nothing had ever stuck. Maybe she hadn’t found the right guy because he wasn’t a guy.
Suddenly, she knew what she wanted.
“Shanni, where are you?” Agnes called. “Come have breakfast.”
“Agnes,” Shanni said from the foyer. “Could you come here? I wanted to ask you something.”
When she got down on one knee, Agnes went white. “You don’t want to. You can’t possibly mean it.”
“I’ve never meant anything more in my life,” Shanni said, and she meant it. Agnes held her breath while Shanni put the ring on her finger.
“But you might change your mind. When you meet my husband’s ghost–“
“Hush,” Shanni said. “Wait till you meet my nephew.”
(I’m so glad you guys enjoyed Shanni’s big reveal! So here’s the gameplay story behind it. Shanni is a Hopeless Romantic. It turns out that if you ever want to play a Wishacy with no challenge to it, make your heir a Hopeless Romantic. Shanni had tons of romantic wishes, but they were almost never for specific people. The only guy she ever spontaneously had a romantic wish for was actually Michael Bachelor, her first boyfriend. All other times, she just rolled high-point wishes to be in a relationship, and if she talked to anyone for very long, she’d roll a wish to kiss him. So she wasn’t going to tell me who she wanted to settle down with after she fulfilled her LTW. I had to look for cues from the story.
And, well, Agnes was one great big cue. She kept popping up in Shanni’s life. More than that, her “secret” trait is ALSO Hopeless Romantic. It seemed like the two of them were a perfect match that was just a little bit less than obvious.
Now, the Heartbreaker LTW is phrased, “Be the girlfriend of 10 different sims.” It does NOT say, “Break up with 10 different sims.” So I figured that once Shanni became Agnes’ girlfriend, her LTW should be fulfilled. Except that once they made a commitment, she didn’t get it. I was getting pretty ticked off. Agnes was the choice. I didn’t want her to have to break up with the love of her life, wait for things to cool down, and then start the relationship up again. And it wasn’t FAIR because that’s not what the LTW said. Even more annoyingly, her commitment tally was 10/10. She needed to be the girlfriend of 10 different sims; the tally SAID she was the girlfriend of 10 different sims, and yet she hadn’t been granted the wish.
In a fit of impulse, I had Shanni propose, since that’s what she was going to do anyway. And lo-and-behold, as soon as Agnes accepted, Shanni got her LTW. It appears that the actual wish is to STOP being the girlfriend of 10 different sims. How you stop being a girlfriend can go either way :).
But wow. Heartbreaker is one heck of a LTW to try to complete with spare. She barely went to work the last couple of days because I was ready to be done and just rolling her through the relationships :).)
Zahra didn’t give up inventing when she went back to work, though it did have to be put on the backburner. One weekend, she found herself out of scrap and headed to the junkyard to scavenge.
While she was working in a corner, she heard voices in the office.
“Hey, hon. We were looking for some privacy. I was hoping you’d remember who helped you buy that new car.”
It was Toya’s voice.
Then Harvey. “So the mayor appreciated our donation to her campaign…”
Zahra slipped out the back. This was definitely not her fight.
(I TOTALLY DID NOT STAGE THAT. While Zahra was at the junk yard, the Ursines walked in to the office. Toya talked to the only other person in the room, and she left. Then Harvey sat down at the desk, and they started talking. Awesome. Jess isn’t even Harvey’s kid, and I figured he was clean. Heh.)
She returned later that evening to find that Fabian had invited Hank over.
“He’s totally not over that thing with Pauline cheating on him,” Fabian whispered behind his hand. “I figured this would cheer him up.”
Shanni came home from work, and they played a game on the lawn.
During which time, Shanni and Hank got to talking.
Fabian couldn’t believe it. Shanni and Hank? Seriously?
He tried to head things off at the pass, but Hank didn’t appreciate his concern.
“I know it hurts that Pauline cheated on you–” Fabian began in his best sympathetic voice.
“Sort of like Zahra felt when you cheated on her?” Hank demanded. Fabian had to let it go.
Meanwhile, Charles pulled Zahra aside.
“I’m old enough to learn herbology,” he said. “I want to learn all you can teach me.”
Zahra started him off on helping with the harvest.
(I thought that Charles harvesting the huge garden would teach him a gardening skill, but no. I had to send him to a class after school later. Bah.)
Things got late, and Fabian and Zahra headed off to bed. They had to be up early to work the next day. But Hank lingered.
Shanni didn’t mind listening to him rant about Pauline. She really seemed to appreciate what he was saying.
And things went to the logical conclusion.
Hank lay beside Shanni and dreamed of Pauline.
In the morning, he felt terribly guilty.
“About last night –” he began awkwardly.
Shanni laughed. “You can tell her you got back at her,” she said. “I knew this was a fling thing. You never lied to me about how you felt about her.”
“Wow,” Hank said. “I didn’t expect you to be so understanding.”
She gave him a hug and felt good. It was the first time she’d ever been friends with an ex.
Later, Fabian ran into Pauline while on plain clothes patrol outside the theater.
They were old friends, and they got to talking.
“Hank and I broke up,” Pauline told him.
“I know,” Fabian said. “I think you should know that he and Shanni–“
“Oh, I know all about that,” Pauline said. “We got back together after that. Then we broke up again.”
(Hank and Pauline are SO VOLATILE in my game. As of this writing, they’ve given up on each other and are dating other people. I’m considering pollinating Pauline with Twallan’s mod because I don’t think either of them are going to manage to reproduce, and I’d like to have their genes around. It’s not at all unbelievable that they’d produce an illegitimate child, since they’ve gotten together and broken up at least a half-dozen times so far.)
In fact, she wasn’t too bad at this job at all. Beau Andrews promoted her!
She was no longer a trainee, and she could do in-home makeovers. She was really started to enjoy her job.
Of course, you couldn’t please everyone. Iqbal Jolina-Alvi wanted a new hairstyle with his new look, and he wasn’t at all happy with what he got.
Shanni didn’t have the heart to tell him that he just didn’t have enough hair to style.
As she was getting ready to leave work for lunch, her phone rang.
“Our little girl was born this morning!” Adjo crowed on the other end of the line. “We named her Charmaine.”
Wow. Adjo’s life was moving forward so fast. She knew that was what he wanted, and she was happy for him. She didn’t want to jump into commitment and responsibility. She wanted to have fun. Right?
Fortunately, she ran into Willem Yo in the park, He made her feel a lot better about her life’s decisions.
(Willem is the son of Michelle Yo, my attempt to make a look-alike of Michelle Yeoh. Man, my game is just madly in love with that hairstyle. He started a conversation with her in the park bathroom while she was neurotically checking out the sink, and I couldn’t come up with any way to get them to leave, so they decided to go steady standing in the bathroom.)
To celebrate her promotion, Shanni bought the family a hot tub.
Willem showed her a whole new world of uses for it.
He was a ton of fun, even if he did have a bit of a fashion problem.
The new hot tub led her to spend a whole lot more time lounging around the house in a bikini. Fabian would never let anyone know just how much he enjoyed that.
Hey, he could look, right? So long as he never let Zahra know he was looking. She’d probably still cut his balls off.
The thing with Willem faded after a while. He was a police officer, and he and Fabian turned out to have more in common than Shanni and WIllem did. Eventually, they just stopped calling each other.
Which was convenient when Israel Bauer called her up and asked her out on a date. Shanni barely remembered Israel from school, but she was game for hanging out at least. She arrived at the theater before he did and sat down to wait.
And who was hanging out by the bookstore?
“Wow,” Shanni said nervously. “I didn’t expect to run into you again.”
Agnes smiled sourly. “I’m around, you know. I didn’t vanish in a puff of smoke when your brother-in-law dumped me on my ass.” She threw up her arms. “What a world! What a word!”
“I don’t think you’re a witch,” Shanni said. “Fabian did all the damage.”
“Thank you,” Agnes said. “I didn’t set out to wreck your home. I’m glad you know that.”
“We should do lunch sometime,” Shanni said on impulse.
“I’d like that,” Agnes agreed.
Then Israel showed up, and Shanni had to go.
The thing was, Israel kind of lied about his age. By the time the movie was done, Shanni had clued in. He hadn’t graduated from high school yet. When she nudged him on it, he just said, “Well, I’m the same age as Mortimer Goth, and I knew you were dating him for a while. So I was kind of hoping you’d be cool with it.”
Well, he was right, but somehow dating a high schooler now that she was out in the big world didn’t feel right. She let him down gently. It wasn’t hard. All she had to do was talk with him until curfew hit.
And then Xander Clavell just happened to be around.
Xander’s reputation preceded him. He was a true bad boy. Harvey Ursine’s right-hand man. Just talking to him made Shanni feel incredibly naughty. She couldn’t help herself.
Then whole time Xander was talking her up, this girl kept watching.
“Who’s that?” Shanni asked after a while.
“Her? Nobody. Don’t worry about it. Maybe we should go someplace, you know, more private-like.”
It wasn’t until later than Shanni realized that he’d probably dumped that other girl for her.
(Which is, I believe exactly what happened. I think Xander was at the theater on a date with Bebe Hart. Bastard.)
So Shanni took him home, which was much more private.
What WAS a true bad boy like in bed?
Not terribly remarkable, it turned out. Willem had more flair.
By the time morning came, Shanni’d had enough with her walk on the wild side. Xander wasn’t much for conversation, and he wasn’t much for conversation alternatives either. She tried to cut him loose. That’s when the trouble happened.
“Nobody walks out on Xander Clavell,” Xander told her with tight lips. “You stay with me until I tell you otherwise.” He grabbed her wrist, and she knew he was too strong for her to fight. What could she do?
“Hey there,” Fabian said as he headed off to work. “Didn’t I just let you out of jail?”
“You live with a cop?” Xander exclaimed. “You didn’t tell me!” He got lost immediately after that.
Shanni could barely meet Fabian’s eyes. “Don’t say anything,” she said. “I’ll be more careful.”
(I’m back and trying to get back into the swing of things. My daughter has been sleeping much better this week. Woot!)
Zahra had been sleeping beside Fabian and going through the days as his wife, but something wasn’t right, and she knew it. The more she thought about it, the more it seemed impossible for this marriage to work. The glue that bound them together, their mutual passion for science and logic, paled in comparison to their social differences. Fabian was at his best in the situations that frightened her the most. In a room filled with people, he bloomed while she wilted. How could she believe that a man who was ultimately so alien to her could ever be faithful?
It had to end. The question was when and how.
“Fabian?” she asked one evening. “Do you have a minute? I think we need to talk.”
“Sure thing!” he said. “Did you know our whole family is having a birthday this weekend? I wanted you to know I planned a party and invited everyone!”
“You what?” she asked.
“A party! Shouldn’t there big a big shindig with so many birthdays happening together? Wait, did I do something wrong? Why do you look like that?”
“No, it’s OK,” Zahra said quietly. Then she slipped into the office to escape.
The next day, it really was quite a party, and everyone really was there.
Charles’ best friend Jabari Keaton made it. So did Genvieve Goth, a nice girl from his class. (She managed to avoid every single picture, I see, but trust me. She was there.) Jake Roland even crashed the party to pine over Shanni, but he didn’t bother her.
Adjo and Toya were expecting their first child already. It was going to be a girl! Adjo told everyone who would listen. He did everything but hand out cigars.
Toya, when Adjo wasn’t watching, showed a bit of her unsavory side.
(I didn’t realize until after they got married that Toya is, in fact, Evil like her dad.)
Hank Goddard had just found out that Pauline was cheating on him, and he had a long sob story for anyone who would listen.
Fabian was first to blow out his candles.
As he made his wish, he looked at Zahra and winked. She looked away. It hurt to know everything was wrong when he was so sure everything was right.
He inherited his father’s nose.
And with his genes, it wasn’t terribly surprising that he needed glasses.
(I think I am in love with teen Charles. He’s just the most adorably geeky-looking sim I’ve ever seen. Though his personality is almost as far from geek as you can get.)
(Random toddler and ghost spam :).)
She was beautiful, and the spitting image of her father.
As the party wound down, Zahra took some time with Adjo alone. “O I don’t want to rub your nose it in, but do you know your wife and her dad have a ballot-stuffing racket going on? They’re going to throw an election to get Toya into office.”
Adjo just smiled blandly. “I love whom I love,” he said. “Did I tell you we’re going to have a baby girl?”
Meanwhile, Israel Bauer, Layla’s dear boss Antonio’s orphan son, was picking Toya’s brain about Shanni.
“Is she seeing anyone? I know I’m younger than she is, but she was dating Mortimer, and he’s my age!”
When the guests left, Charles immediately pulled Lancelot aside. “Teach me everything, he said.”
So he did.
(The Train ability is awesome.)
“It’s your turn now,” Fabian pointed out to Zahra. “Don’t you want to blow out the candles too?”
“No, that’s all right,” Zahra said. “Celebrations are really your thing, not mine.”
So she aged up alone.
The day was over, and here she was in bed with Fabian again, no closer to telling him the truth.
And she couldn’t help but see Fabian in her daughter’s face every time they spent time together.
Charles had lost his father forever. How could she do anything like that to Ada?
At last, Zahra’s maternity leave was over. As they prepared for work in the morning, She told Fabian the truth.
“I’ve decided I’m going to stay with you.”
Fabian blinked. “I didn’t know it was still in question.”
“I don’t understand you,” she said quietly. “I don’t think you really understand me. But we have a beautiful daughter who I can’t bear to hurt.”
“That doesn’t sound like an expression of deep confidence in our marriage.”
“I’ve never really dated,” Zahra said. “I don’t think I know how to be married. I know you’ve tried, but I don’t know how to trust you.”
“What can I do?” Fabian asked. “When I was dating Agnes and Laura and Marie, I said… I should just shut up now, shouldn’t I?”
Zahra looked down at her plate. “What you just said is the whole problem. You’ve been happy with so many people. How can I ever believe that you are happy with just me?”
The carpool honked. Zahra dashed off. Work at last!
Fabian couldn’t leave it like this. He couldn’t stay with Zahra while knowing that she was so unhappy. But what could he do?
After work, he found himself heading to the spa.
“Make it big and bright,” he told Mildred the tatoo artist. “I want everyone to see it.”
Zahra’s name, across a heart. That shouldn’t be too ambiguous.
“I don’t know what I can do to earn back your trust,” he told Zahra that evening. “This might be a stupid gesture, but it’s not a wedding band I can take off or a commitment I can forget to mention. Anyone I see will know I’m with you. The past is the past, but going forward, you’re the only person I want to be with.”
“I love you so much,” he whispered in her ear as he held her close.
Zahra was silent for a long time, but she clung to him with something words could never express. “I love you too,” she said at last. “All right. Let’s start over. But if I ever catch you stepping out on me, I’m going to cut your sensitive bits into little pieces.”
And Zahra didn’t usually use metaphors. She might mean that literally. Fabian gulped. “All right then,” he said. “Let’s start over.”
And so they did.
( Zahra and Fabian’s cheating thread is finally resolved! What really happened here is that I THOUGHT their relationship had been repaired, but in the middle of the party, the betrayal moodlet expired and the game announced that she had decided to divorce him. The “Break Up” action stayed in her queue for a while, but it was superseded by the series of birthday cake age-ups, and eventually it was dropped. I decided that the birthdays had made her change her mind, but that didn’t seem to be enough to get their marriage back to a good place. So here you go.
If she’d divorced him, I don’t think she’d’ve been able to make him move out. Barring any contradictory wishes, I figured he’d stay in the house, help raise Ada, and keep trying to get Zahra to take him back.
Fabian and Zahra didn’t wish to be mean to each other or any of the stuff that happened to other people. I realized later this is because they are both Good, so they can’t wish to do mean things. They just didn’t have any wishes about each other at all, except that Fabian started wishing to have another child — NOT the time for that! I was lulled into a false sense that everything was OK. I also learned that breaking it off with a romantic interest once the cheating accusation has been made doesn’t actually help. Still, it made for nice story. We’ll be seeing more Agnes.
Oh, yeah, and when I dug through Fabian’s memories, I found out that he was a PLAYER. He was with three women other than Agnes who were not current love interests. Thus the throwaway line to Zahra. I have a custom mod to keep important and romantic memories b/c there are some things about the memory system that are actually pretty cool.)
So, I said before that law enforcement didn’t pay, and that Fabian only brought about 1100 Simoleons into the family. But I failed to mention that he brought 1100 simoleons and a TOFUNDA WAGON. The two Sample vehicles now cancel each other out in terms of fuel efficiency.
Law enforcement does pay, apparently. It just doesn’t pay for money management classes.
So what HAS everyone been up to in the Sample house?
Zahra was still on maternity leave. She tried to stop fighting it and relax.
Then she gave up relaxing and took up inventing.
Charles asked Lance for some help on his homework, and Lance dragged him to the park instead.
“It’s evening, m’boy! That’s your best time! Let’s throw the old pigskin around!”
“You’ll get the hang of it, kiddo! Just don’t give up!”
Fortunately, there were some things were Charles already had the upper hand.
“Stop! I call uncle! That’s a mean game of tag! You sure know how to wear an old man out.”
Fabian spent some time trying to connect with his wife’s Egyptian roots.
Which was probably a lost cause.
Layla had truly become one with her golden years. She had never felt so comfortable and fulfilled.
She had the best private garden in the city. (I totally failed to note when she achieved her Perfect Garden Lifetime Wish.)
She had a wonderful husband, successful children, and amazing grandchildren who loved her.
(The No Jealousy reward definitely helped her marriage.)
She had his and hers running NFL Madden 12
(These really were taken at the same time.)
Ada was into everything, of course.
As she grew older and could communicate better, she and Charles had more fun together every day.
Grady Elfman the maid hit on Shanni a couple of times, and she agreed to meet him in the park.
Big mistake. The guy couldn’t stop talking about his hair gel.
But there she ran into the Ursines out on a family picnic.
Including the elusive Harvey.
Family was a good excuse to get out of a date gone bad, so Shanni ditched him and spent the afternoon with them. And she was glad she did. That evening, Rachel’s precarious health took another turn for the worse, and she died the next day. She must have been over 100. RIP, Rachel.
(I’m back! Ah the Simfail I have to rant about. But first we needed some cheerful stuff after all of the relationship drama.)
“Oh, hey,” Fabian said in surprise as Zahra stumbled into the room. “Wait a minute and I’ll have breakfast ready.”
“Thanks,” Zahra said distantly. She sat down at the counter and blinked at him while he flipped pancakes. “You don’t have to cook for me.”
Fabian shrugged. “I didn’t expect to see you up so early while you’re on maternity leave.”
Zahra offered a wan smile. “That’s assuming I’ve been to bed.”
“Oh. I guess that solves the problem of who sleeps in our bed.” He served the pancakes up on a plate for Charles and Shanni to grab on their way out. “Zahra, is this the best we can do? Forgive me or throw me out, please. I don’t think I can handle the waiting anymore.”
Zahra sighed at looked at him with eyes that were suddenly vulnerable. “I know,” she said. “I’m still trying to figure out what could convince me to trust you again.”
Those eyes were still flashing before his vision all the way to work.
“Give me a second, Hank,” he said to his partner as they were getting ready to go out on patrol. “I need to make a call.”
(Yeah, Hank is still Fabian’s partner, despite the fact that he’s supposedly been promoted to a desk job.)
His fingers dialed the familiar number by reflex. “I was wondering if you wanted to meet up. You know, the same old place after work.”
The voice o the other end sounded so cheerful that it made his heart ache. “Fabian! I thought you’d never ask.”
Shanni had survived the morning, and she was starting to think she had this job under control when SHE walked into the salon courtyard.
“I believe I have an appointment for new formalwear,” Agnes Crumplebottom said. She gave Shanni and awkward smile. “I have a hot date tonight.”
“Surely you don’t mean me!” Shanni squeaked. “Beau is much more experinced. He could–“
“You’re the trainee with the discount, right?” Agnes demanded. “I prefer to get the discount.”
Fabian’s amazingly rich heiress girlfriend was a tightwad. Great.
I can do this. I can do this, Shanni repeated to herself as she escorted Agnes into her studio. I can be completely impartial and give her the best look I can possibly give. And I won’t think once about who she has a date with. All right, I thought about it once, but that’s it.
In the end, she felt she outdid herself.
Agnes thought it was acceptable enough not to demand a refund, at least.
Agnes smiled at Shanni. “You seem like a strong, hardworking woman. I’m glad you were the one to do the work. I’m not the easiest person to work for, nor am I the prettiest face to paint up. Thank you.”
She left Shanni to pick her jaw up off the floor as she left.
It was Fabian’s jaw that hit the floor next, as they met up at dusk at the bistro. “Agnes, you look… you look amazing.
“I’m glad you appreciate the change,” Agnes said. “I hear the salmon is especially good tonight.”
Fabian started to walk into the restaurant with her, but then he stopped himself. “Agnes, the real reason I’m meeting you like this it tell you we have to stop meeting like this.”
“Why on earth?” Agnes demanded. “Did you suddenly notice you were married?”
He looked at her with miserable, puppy-dog eyes. “I’ll always value your friendship.”
Her face clouded over. “That’s exactly what it is, isn’t it? You never minded our relationship with any of your other girlfriends, but now it’s different?”
“Yes.” Fabian tried to hold his voice firm, but he heard it crack, and he cringed. “Now it’s different.”
“You bastard,” Agnes snarled. “Don’t pretend this somehow makes you a good, faithful husband. You’re just a bastard with a pile of guilt. Have a good time with it.”
And with that, she stalked out of the bistro and out of Fabian’s life.
He headed home, feeling numb. He and Agnes had been a thing almost since Fabian had graduated from high school. She’d never asked anything of him, and now he couldn’t even give her what little she wanted.
He consoled himself the best way he knew how.
When Zahra came in from the garden, he told her the news.
“It’s through between us. I made that clear.”
Zahra flashed those vulnerable eyes at him. “Thank you.”
And when he went to bed that night, she joined him, without explanation or promise.
It was Fabian who lay awake that night. It was nice to feel Zahra close to him again. That meant the danger zone was past, right? Right?
(So, a little creative license there, since of course there’s no way for a Sim to set a date later in the day, silly folks. But this was the first afternoon after work when Fabian could have met with Agnes to ask her to just be friends, so I’d decided that’s what he was going to do. And who do you think shows up looking for formalwear? It was pretty awesome synergy. So it all really did happen the same day, without me planning it.)