Tag Archive | shanni

3.35 In the Swing

Shanni was starting to get a grip.

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?

Agnes Crumplebottom.

“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!)

3.32 Odds and Ends

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!”

“Ouch! Grandad!”

“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.)

3.31 The Other Woman

“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.)

3.28 Expectations


Shanni worked harder at her new job than she’d ever worked at anything in her life.

Beau Andrews, the veteran stylist, took her under his wing. He was kind to her about her mistakes, but there were a lot of them.

Malika Williams wasn’t terribly thrilled with her new fun in the sun look.

But at least she was polite, which was more than could be said of Jamie Jolina-Alvi.

(A styled Sim exits the styler in the last outfit designed for her. I keep forgetting this and doing swimwear last because it’s last on the list. So my “after” shots are almost always in swimsuits! Argh!)

Shanni was terrified of damaging the salon’s business, but Beau told her not to worry. The salon was getting pretty popular and high-profile, and she wasn’t the only stylist there. That really meant that he kicked ass at his job, and he didn’t figure her screwups would damage his reputation. Besides, he was giving customers a trainee discount for her services, so they could take what they got and be happy with it.

Beau might seem a bit cocky, but he did know his stuff. A few days after Shanni started work, Governor Tori Kimura showed up to get a new look for her upcoming campaign.

She turned the whole thing into a little pre-campaign stop, complete with some prepared remarks.

Shanni was probably not going to vote for her.

Beau was so smooth about the whole thing, and Tori was delighted with the results. The salon was going to be in the news for sure.

And afterward, he passed out from stress, which left Shanni a little nervous about what she was getting herself into.

Looking to unwind, she walked to the park on her break and ran into Jake Roland. After what seemed like a nice chat, he abruptly ran off on her.

Jake and Mortimer were making a pattern, Shanni thought bitterly. She must have “Mankiller” written on her forehead or something.

But Jake called her the next day to apologize. He’d been paged for work. He was a social worker, and there was an incident with one of his kids. To make it up to her, he proposed a date at the art museum. Shanni’s low self esteem surged immediately, and she happily accepted.

Things sort of progressed from there.

Absolutely everyone loved Jake.

Dad must have congratulated her on her taste in men a dozen times. Adjo and Fabian made “guy time” for him whenever he dropped by.

(I can’t capture, this, but this is a traffic-jam of maleness when Jake walks through the door. Adjo, Lance, and Fabian (off-screen) all mobbed him autonomously with a stack of social wishes.)

After they’d been dating a little while, Shanni invited him to stay the night. He was very appreciative.

Then he slept chastely by her side, leaving Shanni to wonder what exactly was going on in their relationship.

He even got up before she did and did all the dirty dishes from the night before.

No wonder her family wanted her to keep him.

“You’re an amazing woman,” Jake gushed as she was getting ready for work. “And I’m so glad you appreciate that I want to wait for marriage before getting too intimate.”

“Um, what?” Shanni said. “Did we talk about this?”

“We did!” Jake said. “I’m, um, sure we did! Didn’t we?”

It didn’t take long for Shanni to realize what a terrible mistake she’d made. She was out to find men to have fun with. Jake wanted all the unfun parts as soon as possible; he was shopping for a wife and mother of his children. Talk about an encyclopedia of Things Shanni Sample Wasn’t Ready For.

She had to cut him loose before it got worse. She felt like an ass.

She had to get out of there before the oppressive air of ex-boyfriendness suffocated her. And Jake needed to get his stuff and leave with dignity.

Zahra gave her a rueful smile as she dashed out the door.

New rule: Check expectations BEFORE asking the guy to stay the night.

(Heh. So the story here is that I was testing out the “Moar Interactions” mod, and I instructed both of them to go to bed. I thought this was going to get them to both relax in bed so that I could access the on-bed interactions like Woohoo! Instead, it sent them both to sleep. Whoops. I looked up Jake, and he’s Family Oriented, along with Frugal and Neat, so this seemed like a good in-game explanation.)

3.23 Responsible Babe

Shanni woke up that morning in the bedroom she had shared with Adjo and Charles for most of her school years, and she knew something had to change. The breakfast of leftover birthday cake from Charles’ birthday just underscored the problem.

“Wow, you’re up,” it was Zahra. Or possibly two Zahras stuffed together.

Shanni shrugged. “It’s not exactly the crack of dawn.”

“You usually sleep till noon when there’s no school.”

Shanni sighed. “That’s the problem, of course. There’s no school forever. I have to figure out what to do with my life.”

Zahra nodded, trying to be sympathetic. She knew this had to be a hard decision, but she’d known what she wanted to be when she grew up from about the age of eight. “What do you think you’re good at?”

“I don’t know. I party pretty well. People say I’m a snappy dresser.”

Zahra raised an eyebrow. “People say you’re hot. I think they prefer the clothes off.”

Shanni choked. Should she blush or smack her?

“That’s not the kind of job I’m looking for. I need to support myself.”

Zahra looked up from her breakfast at met Shanni’s eyes. “You’re welcome to stay here as long as you need to. You know that.”

Shanni smiled wanly. “Thanks, sis.”

She took a deep breath and tried to calm her nerves.

She could do this.

It was no big deal to support youself. Everyone did it. Well, almost everyone.

She needed something to symbolize the new, stronger person she was going to be. So she turned into the tattoo artist’s office instead of the styling salon, as she’d planned.

She was emerging from her cocoon.

And she was the new stylist at the salon. Start time 9am. No problem.

With Zahra’s permission, she moved out of the kids’ room and took over Cycl0n3’s old room downstairs. It had been empty since Cycl0n3 married Zahra and moved upstairs.

She wasn’t going to live with her family forever, but better to stick around until the time was right.

3.20 Shanni Becomes a Woman

Adjo and Shanni’s birthday was fast approaching. Shanni kept good grades and would be graduating on the honor roll. (Yeah, Shanni’s always been a better student than Adjo, believe it or not.) But she was all-too-conscious that her twin had one thing she wanted terribly: someone to share it with.

She floated a family birthday to him, but he rejected it soundly. He had important plans with Toya. If she didn’t do something about it, Shanni would be aging up by herself.

She spent the last couple of days before graduation talking up guys, in search of a date for the important day.

But it didn’t go too well with VJ Alvi. Apparently, he wasn’t too thrilled with how things had gone with his brother.

Arrrgh! It wasn’t fair! How dare he reject her!

As the day approached, it was looking very much like Shanni would be ringing in her birthday alone. She couldn’t believe it. She worked so hard to be appealing to men, and here she was without someone who cared about her. Adjo, who always seemed to slouch through life, had what she wanted most in the world.

Then she remembered Mortimer Goth!

They’d hit it off so well when he came over to hang with Adjo, but nothing had really come of it. She grabbed the phone her birthday evening and gave him a ring. He was glad to come over.

He romanced her with stories of his family’s money, and Shanni hung on his every word. She imagined moonlit cruises in the Bahamas and sparkly, gem-incrusted gifts. It was good to have a boyfriend with money. Not that he was her boyfriend yet, exactly, but she was sure he would be soon.

Then it was time to celebrate her birthday.

“Oh,” Mortimer said. “I didn’t realize you were so much older than I am.”

“I really have to be, um, somewhere else right now. Sorry to bail so quick! I’ll call you.”

So Shanni aged up alone after all.

Also not a look she’s likely to keep.

When she’d dried her eyes from crying all night, she made a resolution to herself. She would never let a man make her feel like that again. Boys were for fun, and she’d have fun with them. The new adult Shanni was not going to be anyone’s booty call.

And here we have Shanni’s adult look:

Shanni Sample
Brave, Great Kisser, Neurotic, Mooch, Hopeless Romantic
Likes: Chinese Music, Key Lime Pie, Yellow (though red looks so good on her)
Lifetime Wish: Heartbreaker

3.13 Who’s It All About?

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

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

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

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

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

Pretty soon, they only had eyes for each other.

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

Leaving Shanni to her important work.

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

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

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

3.11 Aftermath

(Hey there! I’m trying to get past my writer’s block and get back to posting.)

You couldn’t call it death for someone who was already dead, could you? In the end, it didn’t really matter. Cycl0n3’s loss hit the Sample family like a ton of bricks. Everyone did their best to cope in their own way.

Shanni lost herself in Zahra’s best friend Fabian’s younger brother, Richard Branch.

(Yes, they’re brothers. Ida Branch has a dark skin tone, while Mr. Branch — whose name I forgot — had a light one. Here we see the non-subtlety of Sims 3 skin tone genetics.)

He was one heck of a kisser.

He also turned out to be one scary dude. There they were, making sweet nothings at each other in the hallway of the Branch house, when he suddenly started screaming at her. Something about ants. And aliens. Hoooboy. Shanni just stood there and took it, too frightened to say anything.

And he was holding his baby brother at the time.

At last, he stormed off, talking loudly to himself. Shanni got out of there right quick. She wanted comfort, but not that much.

(I failed to get the really good pictures of Richard ranting to himself. He did in fact go off at her in a dangerous-looking way in the middle of flirting. I’m guessing he’s Hotheaded, and he’s definitely Insane.)

(Also, it’s probably not obvious, but this scene happened in the old Frio house where our story began. The majority of the Branch clan has moved in here. Their father died of old age, and Fabian, the eldest, is also living elsewhere, with a roommate I think. So I think think Ida Branch and the three younger brothers Richard, Connor, and Tyrone are all living here together. Mamma Branch didn’t make no girls.)

Lance and Layla clung to each other. Life was short, and they were in their golden years. Zahra’s loss was just a grim picture of what they faced too.

(Spontaneous affection between Sims is so cute. Lance and Layla can’t get enough of each other these days.)

Everyone wanted to be there for Charles.

(This is Lance, tapping his foot, waiting for Adjo to finish playing with Charles so he can have a turn.)

And they tried to be there for Zahra, but she didn’t want to talk about it. She threw herself into her work, climbing the promotion ladder at the science center with alarming speed. After the first couple of nights, she never let any of her family see her cry.

Late at night, she whispered to Charles about his father.

Charles, as little as he was, seemed to understand.

3.9 Moving On

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.7 Mixed Signals

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shanni was stunned. What had she done wrong?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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