Tag Archive | leah

5.46 The Last Gasp of Fall

Winter was around the corner. The leaves had fallen from the trees, and there was frost in the morning.

Xia prepared Hunter’s garden for the first snow, making sure the sensitive plants had enough mulch around their roots to protect them from freezing.

Abby tried to impress Xia by pretending she was interested in gardening.

Xia knew it was just a ploy for attention, but she didn’t call Abby on it. She wanted Abby to feel loved.

As the sun rose on Saturday morning, Sky painted and Dylan tidied up. Sawyer’s sleep schedule was off from everyone else’s again.

For brunch, Sky made yet another attempt at grilled cheese sandwiches.

They came out golden brown this time, exactly as she’d intended.

She took a tentative bite….

And to her shock, they tasted pretty good!

“Hey everyone!” she called! “Brunch is on!”

“These are great!” Abby quipped. “They taste just like chicken!”

“I have big plans for today,” Sky said with her mouth full.

“Mama!” Dylan complained. “Do you have to do that? It’s disgusting!”

Sky shrugged off Dylan’s rebuke. “Winter is almost here, and I’ve been promising everyone a day at the park. This is our last chance until Spring.”

“Mama,” Abby said patiently, “it’s dark and rainy outside, not to mention almost freezing. I’m not going to the park in that.”

Sky smirked. “Thanks to your grandmother Veronica,” she said, “I can handle that.”

So they packed up and headed off as a family to the park.

“Come climb with me!” Abby said immediately. “They just installed a climbing wall. I bet I can beat you.”

Xia blinked. “Seriously? Which of us is training to be an astronaut?”

Xia took up the challenge, though, and it went pretty much as one would expect.

Worst, Abby seemed genuinely upset about losing.

“Hey now,” Xia chided. “I’ve been doing military exercises since you were in diapers. Give me a little credit here!”

Abby smiled. “I know,” she said. “It’s silly. I just like to win, I guess.”

“Can I invite Mum?” Dylan begged.

Sky froze. “I was thinking this would be a family day out,” she said.

“Mum IS family,” Dylan retorted. “And you said you’d invite her to things. I heard you.”

Sky nodded. “You’re right,” she said. “Call her.”

Sawyer tried to strike up a conversation with Adria Sword, an older girl from school who was hanging around on the basketball court.

He started by trying to explain the scientific principles behind the patented Veronica Sample Weathermaster machine that had allowed Sky to make the day so pretty.

Then he told her about how advanced his brain was. Grownups kept saying that he had learning disabilities, but they couldn’t do calculus in their heads.

Adria nodded a lot, but didn’t say much. Then she said she had to go. Sawyer didn’t think it had gone very well.

Leah came straight over from a champagne brunch at the Castle Marmalade.

She was delighted to see Dylan. It was the first time in a very long time that Sky saw firsthand how close they were.

It was to be expected — in fact, it was a good thing.  Still, it was hard not to compare the adoring way Dylan looked at Leah and wonder if if he felt that strongly about his mama.

She found ways to distract herself.

And it did get better.

As the afternoon wore on, Xia taught Abby the basics of basketball.

Sawyer gave up on the social stuff and began collecting, “specimens.”

Sky serenaded the park and brought in a nice collection of tips.

Everyone had a good time, and after the kids were in bed, Sky and Xia sat up and held each other tight.

“There won’t be very many more days like this one,” Sky said sadly. “Sawyer’s about to start high school, and it won’t be that much longer until Dylan graduates.”

Xia sighed. “I know.”

Sky nestled into Xia’s shoulder. “I hope I’ve done all right by them. I never imagined myself as a mom, but it just happened.”

Xia held her close. “You’ve done just fine,” she said.

———-

Just a slice-of-life character building chapter. I debated leaving this one out, but I just can’t let go of these little moments.

Since it was cold, they kept popping in and out of their outerwear, so some of the pictures are in different outfits. Ah well.

Also, Sky is floating again. Her and Charles’s walk styles set to a normal sim sometime while Sky was a teen, and I left it that way to show how human they’d become, especially since Sky was only 1/4 ghost. They could still walk over gaps and through walls, and with Twallan’s mod allowed her to teleport. However, I started experimenting with Showtime and Simports, and it turns out that ghost occults (or possibly any occult?) can’t Simport. So I removed her occult state in order to send her on Simport and then replaced it, which reset her walk style. I left her as human for a stretch later because of Simport, so she’ll be floating on and off. I figure, that’s probably reasonable for a 1/4 ghost anyway :).

BTW: Adria Sw0rd is the late-in-life daughter of Sebastian Hodgins Sw0rd and Lynn Winslow Sw0rd. She got Sebastian’s coloring, but a lot of Lynn’s facial features. You’ll be seeing her again :).

5.41 Being Grown Up

Sawyer spent so most of his time in a world of his own that Sky couldn’t help but worry about him. She spent her life in the public eye, and as he grew older, he would have to deal with her growing fame even if he didn’t want it himself. Also, deep down inside, she couldn’t quite believe that he would want to spend so much time alone if he could see how wonderful it was to spend time with other people

That’s how she talked the family into throwing a huge party for Sawyer’s birthday.

The guest list was too big for the Sample estate, so they decided to close the Charles Sample Sim Fu Academy for the day. The family still owned the academy, though Charles named other masters to take over the responsibility of his martial art.

First to arrive was Xia’s older brother, Jian Wu.

With him was his new wife, Dragonwife, who he wanted to introduce to his family and in-laws.

Also among the guests was Raquel Mentary-Sword, who was now one of the academy’s Sim Fu masters.

Xia did the honors and brought the birthday boy to the party.

He then found a quiet corner and threw a fit if anyone tried to make him come out and talk to people.

At least he had his cow toy that his great grandmother Zahra had made for Charles a long time ago. He liked the bolts and screws on it.

Hunter showed up needing a shower. Again.

“What’s with this?” Xia demanded. “I didn’t think gardening involved so much self-immolation.”

Hunter blushed, but he wouldn’t tell her what the problem was.

Xia and Dragonwife really hit it off.

They spent a lot of time talking about Jian behind his back. Especially his rocky relationship with his baby mama, Brenna Ursine-Sample.

The party was a big success.

Everyone had a great time.

Even Sawyer, provided nobody asked him to join in. Trying to pull him into the noise and the crowd made him very upset, but he kept himself happy if everyone left him alone.

The afternoon wore on.

And someone else showed up.

Sky was spending so much time with Sawyer, trying to encourage him to have fun, that it was quite a while before she noticed someone looking at her.

“L-Leah!” Sky stammered.

“I got your invitation,” she said.

“Thank you for coming. Um– you’re just in time for cake!”

She gathered Sawyer into her arms and hurried upstairs to escape.

 

While the rest of the family was enjoying the cake,

Sky pulled Hunter outside to pour out her soul. “Everything I try to say to her her is wrong! What do I do?

Hunter thought about it for a while. “Have you tried not talking at all? Just listening?”

“Of course I–!” Sky began. Then, more quietly, “Maybe I’ll try that.”

After she made sure everyone had a slice of cake, Sky took a deep breath and headed downstairs to face the music.

Dragonwife was trying to start a fight with Hunter, though Hunter hadn’t noticed yet.

Leah was trying not to pay too much attention to her brother Raen macking on his husband, Mitchell Bachelor Mai.

“Um, hi,” Sky said. “We always invite you, but I didn’t expect you to come.”

“Yeah, I know I surprised you,” Leah said. “I think we should talk.”

“I– I can listen,” Sky said, knowing she probably wasn’t going to like what she heard. “Is here the right place? Should we go someplace more private.”

Leah shrugged. “I don’t think it matters where I say it.”

“You and I had something amazing,” Leah said. “You threw it all away. I don’t think I can ever forgive you for that.”

Sky gulped. “I know,” she said.

Leah nodded to Xia, who was dancing unconvincingly with Jian, watching Sky intently over his shoulder. “I guess it helps to know that you destroyed our marriage for more than just a one night fling. At least she was someone important. I hope she’s making you happy.”

Sky opened her mouth to protest that she and Xia weren’t really an item. Then she closed it. That was unfair, and untrue. She’d been with Xia now almost as long as she’d been with Leah. And yes, she was happy, but there are times when agreeing with someone is the wrong thing to do. She just nodded.

Leah dropped her eyes. “This didn’t go the way I was planning. I guess I still have issues. What I wanted to say is that I want to bury the hatchet. We can’t get out of each other’s lives. Dylan’s too important. If we can’t be friends, I’d at least like to try to not be enemies.”

Sky’s eyes filled with tears. For a split second, she had to fight the impulse to take Leah in her arms. “Yeah,” she said. “We really did have something amazing. Please let’s not fight anymore.”

They settled for an exchange of tear-filled smiles, and Leah promised to come the next time Sky invited her to something. She was a bit more vague about inviting Sky to Marmalade events. Sky wasn’t sure, but she thought there was an issue with Plum. Maybe Plum wasn’t ready to be so forgiving to Xia.

Sky waved goodbye to Leah as she left, and Xia almost pounced her. “You look like you’re all in once piece,” she said. “What happened?”

Sky smiled weakly. “I think we’re both trying to grow up a little bit,” she said.

Xia laughed. “Who wants to grow up? Now is the time to party!” She grabbed Sky and started to bust a move.

It helped. Xia knew how to make Sky relax.

Meanwhile, Eliana found Sawyer dancing alone in an empty practice room. “Hey there,” she said kindly. “Would you like some company?”

Sawyer tossed his curls and glared at her. “I came out here so I could have less company,” he said. “Why does everyone always tell me I should be lonely? What’s wrong with you normals?”

Eliana blanched. “Sorry!” she said. “I’ll just be on my way.”

———-

So the last toddler is done. This is where Sawyer picked up Socially Awkward to go with his amazing combination of Loser and Diva. I didn’t realize until he aged up into a teen this week, but Loser is incompatible with Brave, so he can’t have the family trait. I have mixed feelings about this. It seems like being a Loser would require you to be MORE Brave just to get through the day. Or at least that’s how I intend to play it :-p.

Trying to keep this on the fast track, but man am I wordy.

5.31 Wedding Bells and Sad Farewells

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

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

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

Hunter blinked. “Right now?”

“Yes. Right now.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And she had one more wedding to attend.

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

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

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

And Leah was fairly glowing.

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

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

Leah and Plum posed for pictures before the ceremony.

And the vows went off without a hitch.

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

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

Leah looked lost at first.

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

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

And ran into Xia on the way into the chapel.

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

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

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

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

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

“Yeah,” Xia said wistfully.

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

Sky gulped and said her goodbyes.

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

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

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

Instead of being lost, she could be free.

———

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

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

5.28 When You’ve Hit Rock Bottom

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The what?” Sky said, blanching.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And she was right. It was pretty magical.

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

Amie even did her hair.

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

She realized what was missing.

Guilt.

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

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

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

———-

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

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

5.27 All Fall Down

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



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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hunter and Eliana were happy to watch Abby and Dylan.

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

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

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

It was so nice to feel like a celebrity.









At some point, enough was enough.

———-

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

5.26 Paths Apart

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

Hunter had finally made it. His business was successful.

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

The puppies continued to be adorable.

Abby was learning more every day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plum seemed delighted to see her.

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

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

Plum took the news very, very badly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

———-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5.25 All You Need Is Love

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

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

Ada.

Alberto.


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

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

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

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

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

Leah caught up with Miyuki.

“He’s a beautiful kid,” Miyuki said.

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

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

Leah wasn’t sure what to say to that.

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

Happy birthday was sung with great gusto.

Then came Abby!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Sky watched Adam go. Then her eyes fell on Leah

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

———-
For Amhranai, who likes it when I post a lot πŸ™‚ :).

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

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

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

5.24 Silver Linings

Eliana moved into the Sample estate that night.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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

Flynn summoned Forest one night.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then the day dawned in a steady, dreary rainfall.



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



“Well, this won’t do!” she declared.

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



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

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

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



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

———-

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

5.22 Hope

Sky found that it was a relief to have all the ugliness out in the air at last. The reality of Leah’s hurt and anger, while bad, could not live up to the monster she had created in her head.

And she found that it was impossible to work on patching up her mistakes without admitting them first. In retrospect, it was obvious.

She didn’t want to push Leah, who made it clear she needed to take things slowly. So Sky spent a lot of time alone with her thoughts. It was uncomfortable. When she looked back on that night with Xia, the first thing she remembered was how much fun it was. Those were not the kind of thoughts that would save her marriage.

Garry fit right in with the rest of Ghostwriter, and as the only one of them with formal musical training, he was able to nudge the band to make more ambitious music.

The band’s gig at Honeyduke’s became a regular thing. They played every few weeks and began both bringing in a decent amount of money. Some nights, attendance was a bit embarrassing.

But on others, they drew a nice crowd, including some repeat customers who were turning into fans. Sky found the whole idea of having fans incredibly exciting.

Garry usually brought an attractive redhead with him. She seemed to enjoy the music, but she was mostly there for Garry. He introduced her as his fiancee, Arya Bookabet.

Sky found her more than a little bit odd. She wasn’t sure what Garry saw in her.

Hunter, on the other hand, seemed to connect with her immediately.

Sometimes they would stand in the corner and laugh at each other’s jokes instead of really listening to the music.

They fit together so well that Sky almost expected them to drop their other commitments of the heart and run off to elope together.

Maybe they’d be a couple in another time and place somewhere.

Amie Engel was especially appreciative of the crowds Ghostwriter was drawing. And perhaps something else, too.

She slipped Sky a scrap of paper one evening with her payment. “It’s my cell number. Give me a call if you want a little excitement after hours, if you know what I mean.”

She gave Sky a broad wink and chucked her on the shoulder.

Sky got out of there as fast as possible. She was more than a little freaked out. What had made Amie do that? Had Sky been flirting without intending to?

When she got home, she sat and pondered her life and the nature of love.

Perhaps her own love life was a mess, but so, unfortunately, was Adam’s. He still was lonely and not even trying to date. Sometimes Ari showed up at performances and stood in the very back out of Adam’s line of sight.

Ari’s transgression was kind of like Sky’s after a fashion. Perhaps if she could get the two of them back together and help Adam be happy again, she could also gain some hope for her own life.

So she invited Ari over one evening to chat.

“I don’t understand why you’d want to see me,” Ari protested on the phone. But she showed up anyway out of curiosity.

“I was wondering if you’d like to have a cup of coffee and talk about Forest and Adam,” Sky admitted. “Maybe I’m nuts here, but I think you still have feelings for Adam.”

Ari gave Sky and angry look, then dropped her eyes. “Look, he’s the one who won’t answer my phone calls. I get it. He won’t take me back.”

“Ari!” Adam said as he arrived at the door for rehearsal. “What are you doing here?”

Ari looked at him, and her jaw dropped.
“What do you think you are doing?” Ari shouted. “Just leave us alone!”
Sky reached out to grab her and convince her to stay, but she pushed past and ran down the sidewalk.

Sky was left with Adam looking at her accusingly. She felt a fierce pang of regret. Maybe they were all doomed to be lonely.

The pang came again, stronger. She suddenly realized it wasn’t a pang at all.

Sky and Leah agreed that Leah would stay home and watch Dylan. This was not the best time for them to share the intensity of labor together.

Veronica took Sky to the hospital. At least labor was faster and less difficult than Dylan’s had been.

Soon, they were home with Veronica’s newest granddaughter, Abby.

Leah came down the stairs to meet them. Together they gazed at the bundle in Sky’s arms.

“She’s beautiful,” Leah said.

Sky smiled. “Thanks. I think so too.”

Leah’s eyes were softer than she had seen them in what seemed like forever. “You must be exhausted,” Leah said. “Come to bed. I’ll take the first feeding.”

Sky lay little sleeping Abby in her crib and dared to hope that things would be all right.

———-

And here we meet the newest Sample!

Hey, I was trying to track it, but the last post (5.21) was the 250th post on this blog! That includes all my posts apologizing for not posting, but still — 250. Good Grief.

I hope you enjoyed the shout-out to Hunter and Arya, Jo. This was the first time they met in my game, and they throw intense attraction notifications here too. Perhaps if they had met earlier, they’d be together in my game too. As it is, Hunter’s heart is pretty gone for Eliana, and Arya’s engaged to family. What can you do?

5.21 Enough Hiding

Late in life, Veronica discovered the joys of domesticity, especially playing with her only grandson.

Her commitments to the Sufficiently Advanced Technology Center seemed more and more to just be inconveniences. It was starting to feel like she had, well, a job. She was sure she would continue to work until her dying day, but she realized that she didn’t have to work FOR anyone. She had plenty of independent research to keep her stimulated these days.

So she made the decision to retire.

“Wow!” Sky said when she heard the news. “I really think you ought to have a party.”

Veronica laughed. “You know what would be the best way to celebrate? Get the family out of the house so I can work on my weather regulator in peace.”

That was how everyone BUT Veronica ended up going to Honeyduke’s Sweet Shop for ice cream to celebrate Veronica’s retirement.

Well, Forest wasn’t there either, but he was at work. For a businessman, Forest worked very strange hours, and most of the family chose not to ask him for details.

“I’ll take Dylan,” Hunter said. “You two newlyweds should get some time to yourself.”

Sky beamed. “You’re the best brother in the world.”

“Don’t tell Forest that,” Hunter replied. He watched Sky strut into the candy shop with a look of concern, but he didn’t say anything.

“Let me buy you a banana split, Mrs Sample!” Sky said.

Leah giggled. “Certainly, Mrs. Sample!”

They at their ice cream together, making eyes at each other.


When they were finished, Sky heard bass music wafting down from the performance space upstairs. “There’s music!” Sky exclaimed.

“Actually, I was thinking maybe Hunter and I could go home and work in the garden,” Leah admitted. “We’ve been too busy, and the plants really need love.”

Sky blinked. She’d never really been able to understand the appeal of working in the dirt. “Do you mind if *I* go up and check out the music?” she asked forlornly.

Leah laughed. “Go ahead. We can meet up at home.”

So Sky headed upstairs to find Garry Crumplebottom jazzing out on the Honeydukes candy apple string bass.

His face lit up when he saw here. “Sky!” he cried. “Grab an instrument and join in!”

So she did. Suddenly, she was transported back to teenagerhood, when she first really discovered the beauty of making music together. Garry had been central to her self-discovery.

They played for hours, attracting a crowd of listeners.

When they at last took a break, Sky took the time to catch up with Garry. He was living by his music these days, mostly playing in theater pit orchestras and recording movie soundtracks. Money hadn’t really begun to flow yet, but he was upbeat. He had Crumplebottom money to live off of while he was making a name for himself.

Feeling suddenly a bit shy, Sky told him about Ghostwriter. “We’re could really use someone like you in our band. What do you think?”

“I think it’s a marvelous idea!” Garry agreed. “I never get to play jazz like this. If the others will have me, I would love to join!”

Eventually, Sky headed downstairs to go home. Amie Engle, the proprietress, waved to her from behind the bar. 

“You make some beautiful music,” Amie said. “We’d love to have some love music in here on a regular basis. What would you think about a regular gig for your band?”

Sky was so thrilled she almost couldn’t find the words to say yes!

At home, Leah and Hunter spent a quiet afternoon in the arboretum.

The garden was full of weeds, but the plants underneath them thrived. Leah relished the the quiet time with her hands in the soil. It gave her time to think. She’d done the right thing in pushing Sky to make a commitment, hadn’t she?

“Do you think Sky and I were really meant to be?” she asked Hunter.

Hunter was quiet for a while. “I think you’re both good people,” he said.

“That’s not an answer,” she said.

Hunter shrugged. “I don’t think I can answer. I think you’re good people, but I’m not in your relationship. I can’t tell if you can make it work or not.”

Leah smiled wryly. “Touche,” she said.

Meanwhile, Forest looked after Dylan.

Which might not have been the best idea.

Leah ended up having to leave the garden to rescue Dylan from a full-blown temper tantrum about the candy that Forest wouldn’t let him have.

Once she had Dylan fed and to bed, the phone rang. She answered, expecting it to be Sky.

Instead, it was one of her close friends from high school, looking to catch up.

“Emma! So good to hear from you. How are you doing? I heard your name is Voss-Lorien now! I hope Veltig appreciates you. Did you hear that I go by the name of Sample these days?”

Then there was dead silence on Leah’s side of the conversation.

At last, she choked, “You saw what?”

Dylan was in bed, but Leah was waiting up for Sky when she returned from Honeyduke’s that night.

“I had a fabulous time!” Sky sang as she stepped through the door. “I think Garry Crumblebottom is going to play bass with Ghostwriter! Just wait until you hear him play–” The look on Leah’s face stopped her dead in her tracks.

“I talked to Emma Voss-Lorien this afternoon,” Leah said. When Sky continued to look blank, she continued, “She was at The Garden Gnome while you were having your fun with Xia Wu.”

Oh. Oh dear.

“Leah,” Sky began. “I tried to tell you –“

“How could you have tried to tell me??” Leah demanded. “I am not that hard to talk to!”

“Dad just died, and I felt so alone. Xia had a crush on me in high school. It just got out of hand. We both know it shouldn’t have happened. I didn’t tell you because I was so terrified you’d hate me.”

Leah froze, trying to decide how to react. It hadn’t been hard to see how Charles’s death had crushed Sky. But… this?

“Is the baby mine?” she asked.

Sky cringed. “I don’t know,” she admitted. “I hope so. It was just the one time.”

Sky’s unusual biology made it a lot more likely that one time had been the time, though, and they both knew it.

———-

Sorry for Leah photobombing the trip the Honeydukes in her wedding dress. I didn’t realize she was still wearing it when they headed to the hangout, and I didn’t have any other outside shots for transition.

Emma was at the pub when Sky and Xia got together, but I think I somehow managed to list her in all the pictures. She and Leah are actually friends on their relationship bar, though I’ve never done anything with it. So this seems like a reasonable way the gossip would have reached Leah.