Lance and Layla’s marriage has been going through what you might call a “rough patch” recently. Layla has been working long hours at the Bistro, and Lance has been taking long spirit journeys to China by himself. When they’re home together, Layla has taken to spending most of her time in her garden.
When they go to bed, they’re usually exhausted, and they only exchange a few words before going to sleep.
The woohoo has almost completely drained out of their lives.
To make matters worse, Layla’s flirtatious nature has gotten on Lance’s nerves more and more. Recently, he caught Layla flirting with Cycl0n3 of all people, right in their own study.
Lance absolutely lost it. He raved like a lunatic, and Layla had to just stand there and take it.
Layla got fed up with Lance’s possessiveness. He knew what she was like when he married her. She’s never once even thought about being unfaithful. Why couldn’t he trust her just the littlest bit?
Frustrated and insulted, Layla started expressing herself behind Lance’s back. She kicked up her very flirty friendship with Antonio Bauer, but she made sure they kept all the fun at work.
What Lancelot didn’t know about wouldn’t hurt him.
It’s Lancelot’s big day. He’s going to qualify for senior citizen discounts, and people will offer him their seat on the bus. If he ever took the bus.
Not to be outdone by his mom, Lance throws himself a party in the park.
That wasn’t so bad, really, especially after he got home and restored his beard. (Why is it that the Sims age-up routine will keep your old hairstyle if it applies to your new age range, but it always drops the beard? Argh.)
People came from all over town to wish him well.
He was certainly the man of the hour, except for poor Fabian Branch, who only had eyes for one person.
So what did this mean for a guy who prided himself on his physical prowess?
Lancelot felt his time running out. He had personal goals to reach, and while his joints weren’t creaking much YET, he knew he wasn’t going to have those firm abs forever.
He bade temporary farewell to his family and jumped a plane to China.
Though, this time he traveled in more style, since he managed to bring his car along with him in his luggage
At last, he was able to locate the fabled magic axe.
With some surprising results.
He put out an invitation to all challengers in all places at all times. That led him to find himself in combat in the strangest of places.
(This is the men’s public toilet at Lance’s hotel, splashing about in the water leaked from a broken faucet, while some poor guy is doing the pee-pee dance.)
And man, he hadn’t lost it. He could kick the snot out of people half his age.
Before he left, he had his mastery of Sim-Fu. His greatest life goal was complete.
When he finally returned home, he and his beautiful wife had only one thing on their minds.
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.
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.
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.)
(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.
Lance took some time to drop by Julian’s place one evening to congratulate him on his new marriage.
His new bride Elaina, however, turned out to be a whole lot of do-not-get.
It would be possible for Julian to have fallen for a creepier woman, but it was hard to see how.
Seriously. And with Rachel madly in love with Sunset Valley’s ganglord, maybe this corner of the family was just a lost cause.
(The Ursine family trait seems to be Mean Spirited. Jared was Mean-Spirited. Perhaps his baby-momma Claire was too. Rachel is Mean-Spirited and Friendly. Julian is Mean-Spirited and Good. WTF? Both of them appear to have Evil spouses. Also, it’s not at all clear how old Elaina is. She looks Elderly, but she didn’t seem to have the normal Elder stoop. She might just be an Adult with randomly-chosen gray hair. For whatever reason, she and Julian have no chosen to breed as of this writing.)
Elaina and Lance took an instant dislike to each other. Lance made his excuses and hightailed it out of there. Julia, old pal, was just going to have to come visit at the Sample place.
Layla, OTOH, got away from baby-wrongling to spend some of her maternity leave in the garden. She counted the days until she could head back to work.
And it finally came!
On her first day back, all of her coworkers rushed out to the pavilion to witness a terrifying sight. One of her coworkers had given up the ghost, quite literally.
The Grim Reaper did his solemn duty.
Then, his job done, he changed into a dinner jacket and had a nice dinner at the bistro.
(When he walks he kicks up clouds of black shadow too.)
In due time, a triple-birthday came up. Zahra was turning into a teen, and the twins were ready to be toddlers.
Zahra had spent most of her elementary school days trying to attract the attention of Laura, who never seened to be interested in getting to know here. The afternoon of her birthday, she finally got Laura to come home with her.
It was a disaster. Laura didn’t like geek-talk at all.
And she was utterly creeped out by Cycl0n3.
That was just a deal-breaker. Nobody was allowed to diss Cycl0n3 in her presence.
Layla threw a big formal shindig for the triple birthday. Mostly, she invited her and Lance’s friends, including Layla’s dear Antonio Bauer, Kyra the amazing maid, and Rachel and Julian Ursine. But she did invite Fabian Branch, who had made it to high school just before she did, and Rachel’s son Jess Ursine. They pointedly didn’t invite Rachel’s second husband Harvey, a now legendary town gangster and all-around creepy guy. Rachel’s taste in men was just epic. Her enormous pink formal gown was doubly-epic.
They gathered about the birthday cake while Zahra blew out the candles.
At which point Julian discovered that Layla had set the grill on fire.
Layla? You’re supposed to be the responsible chef!
Lance was up on the nursery, entangled with the bables this time. Nobody who discovered the fire could do anything but panic. In fact, Jess Ursine fainted dead away. Cycl0n3 was his own brand of useless.
Soon it was a raging inferno that threatened to catch the house itself on fire.
Zahra, completely upstaged by the hellfire in the back yard, aged up alone.
She then raced to the back yard with a fire extinguisher, called the fire department on her cell phone, and got to work on the flames herself.
She’s a level-headed one, our Zahra.
And Kyra arrived!
Followed by Lance. All three of them attacked the fire to get it under control. It was a real father-daughter bonding moment.
After everything was under control, two (!) firemen arrived and admonished them to be more careful. No kidding.
With a big chunk of the back yard a smoldering cinder, Layla hastened to get the remaining guests, i.e. those who hadn’t already fled in terror, back into the house. (?) was never going to speak to Zahra again, but that was OK because the feeling was mutual. Fabian didn’t run off, and he was still her friend.
Cycl0n3 did his part by challenging Julian to a ranked chess match, during which time they did nothing but blather about the fire.
Zahra changed clothes, retrieved her glasses (forgotten by the age-up), and redid her hair. Much better. All that mauve didn’t really suit her.
Layla and Lance brought down the babies for their hopefully more sedate birthday.
With change of clothes, she looks like a heartbreaker in the making.
With his change of clothes.
(Not bad, either one of them, though they needed new clothes. The bald look suits Adjo, I think.)
Layla had a textbook pregnancy. Whe she wasn’t enraging spouses, she spent her maternity leave working in the garden. In due time, she went into labor.
It’s a boy! Adjo Sample was born at 12:04 AM.
And, um, it’s a girl too! Shanni Sample was born at 12:06 AM.
Lancelot spent both of Layla’s pregnancies pining for girls, so he was delighted at the second arrival. Not that he didn’t think Adjo was delightful. He just seemed to have fantasies about raising princesses.
Since they’d only planned for one child, there really was no place for two cribs. In desperation, Lance and Layla booted Cycl0n3 out of Jared’s old room to make a dedicated nursery. The ghost moved a bed to the attic and started sleeping there.
Time to do a lot of things in twos.
Time to get half as much sleep.
Good thing babies aren’t babies for long.
(OK, truth is that Layla has had Fertility Treatment since before she got pregnant with Zahra. So it was a surprise to Lance and Layla, but not so much for me.)
Layla had one in the oven, and it was a good feeling.
Still, she wasn’t as thrilled to be on maternity leave. She missed the bistro. Most of all, she missed her boss Antonio. The two of them had become incredibly close working in the kitchen, and it seemed unfair that she should have to go a whole Sim-week without seeing him. Maybe she could get him to come visit. When she called him, he was delighted to hear her voice, and he came right over.
They stood out on the front deck in the sunlight and flirted.
Which didn’t go very well at all.
Lance shot Layla a heartwrenching look and reamed Antonio out for presuming things about his wife’s virtue.
“But it’s only a game!” Layla insisted. “We don’t mean anything by it. I’d never do anything ot hurt you.”
Antonio decided that discretion was the better part of valor and headed away. Lance, however, was not to be put off. He followed Antonio in hot pursuit.
The bicycle, as much as he loved it, was probably not the best choice of vehicles. Antonio was gone to work by the time Lance got to his his house.
He came home, hurt, sputtering, and humiliated, and set himself to venting his frustration.
Maybe the top branch could be Antonio’s head.
Layla set herself to calming his pride. Look, she was pretty obviously carrying his baby. Did he really think, even if she was so inclined, that she’d be stepping out on him in this condition?
The next day, when things had calmed down, she headed to Antonio’s place to apologize for the fiasco.
Antonio was thrilled to see her and the almost-baby.
And he mentioned, casually, that he’d just gotten married.
Had she met his lovely, um, incredibly young wife, Devin?
Antonio, you dog.
At least it was good to get some time to hang out together without the green-eyed monster looking over their shoulders.
Or maybe not.
Maybe there was no place for them to really spend time together except at work. Spouses just didn’t understand.
Zahra was the light of Lancelot’s life. He hadn’t realized how badly he wanted to be a parent until he was one. Layla was not quite so excited about the prospect of more children. She was enjoying her job, and she was good at it. She had really missed her coworkers while she was on maternity leave. Four days off essentially wiped out a whole Sim-week of her career.
Lance could also tell she was homesick, though she didn’t talk about it. With a demanding toddler in the house, she couldn’t exactly claim time to go to Egypt, and Zahra was too young to travel herself. So he offered her a trade — they would take separate vacations and trade off the child care. Layla agreed.
Lance took the first turn and headed to China to study Sim Fu at his dojo.
Ah, one of the hot married chicks he had hit on while he was wife-hunting!
Lancelot started up the kind of easy conversation one has with a hot woman he doesn’t feel any need to sleep with. He challenged her to a sparring match.
And kicked her ass. Not bad for a newbie! She seemed to really appreciate a man who could best her at Sim Fu.
Warning, Lance! You have a loving wife at home! Be careful!
So he talked her into an athletics training session.
Layla, you have nothing to worry about. Nothing, I tell you.
He sparred some more, then started *another* training session with the same girl. It was certainly chemistry, but not exactly romantic.
At least he scored a green belt.
There’s a better look at his new goatee. I’m think it suits him. Opinions?
After a bit of adventuring, he was challenged by ANOTHER hot married chick he had hit on while single.
She kicked his ass, but she offered him some great technical pointers. Then she showed him pictures of her children.
Layla, you really have nothing to worry about.
His adventure master, who had a serious fashion problem, asked him to return to China soon.
Then talked him into a training session.
Ah, you single-minded athletic Sims.
Then it was Layla’s turn. She returned to Egypt and made a beeline for her family home. An unfamiliar child answered the door.
Her sister Aisha had married Sekmet, not long after Layla left home. This was their son Kazim. He was home alone while his parents were at work. He was even a little older than Zahra. Aisha hadn’t wasted any time. How time passes when you aren’t paying attention.
Kazim was a great kid. They got along swimingly.
In fact, he wanted to follow her everywhere.
She headed to the bazaar to meet up with her sisters and catch up on their lives. Aisha thought she looked wonderful. Glowing. They talked about family and the march of time.
As she recounted it to Aisha, Layla saw anew what great life she had to return to. She loved Zahra. She loved Lance and the home they had made. She even kind of liked Cycl0n3. She missed her sisters, and she wanted to be a part of their lives, but she didn’t want to return to Egypt.
She was eager to get home and play with her family.