“Forest.” Hunter slid into the seat next to his brother, looking troubled.
“I’m here,” Forest said.
“I just got off the phone with Eliana,” Hunter said. “She says her boss called her up right before work and laid her off with no explanation. Her dad is furious, and she’s really upset.”
So at least part of his plan had worked. “That sounds about right,” Forest said.
“You did that, didn’t you?” Hunter asked.
“I might have had something to do with it,” Forest admitted.
Hunter looked earnestly at his brother. “Was she in danger? I hate seeing her so upset, but if it was for her own good….”
“I think it is better for her to get as far away from that job as possible,” Forest said. “I don’t know what was going on, but I’m sure it wasn’t good for her.”
Hunter sighed. “Thanks, big brother.”
“I’d say it was no big deal,” Forest said bleakly, “but the whole thing was actually a pain in the ass.”
Hunter turned and really looked at Forest for the first time and was suddenly worried. “Are you all right? You look like you might be getting sick.”
Forest was suddenly torn. Hunter was such a simple spirit, and he needed to be protected from Forest’s life. But for the first time, Forest wasn’t even sure he could protect himself, much less Hunter. He had never asked anyone for help, not even his family, but now he really needed it.
Forest looked down at his empty plate. He thought of Ali, who might not be gone if he had confided in her even a little bit. He took a deep breath to try to explain.
Only a gurgling sound came out.
What had Flynn done to him?
He couldn’t describe what had happened last night. He couldn’t ask Hunter for help.
“I think I need to lie down,” he finally managed. He slipped off the barstool and fled downstairs to his bedroom.
Later that afternoon, Charles’s beloved cat Ghost said his final goodbye.
And little Dylan had his first birthday.
All that emotion was enough to make Charles restless, and he persuaded Veronica to go with him on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Egypt.
They got some much-needed time together.
And some even more needed peace and quiet.
And the spare time to focus on some important hobbies they hadn’t been getting enough of.
Then Veronica sent Charles off to satisfy his explorer blood.
While he was gone, Veronica discovered that news of her work in spiritism had spread all over the globe. Travelers from their camp were asking for her autograph.
Of of her admirers, a local named Tahiya, ended up becoming a pretty good friend.
They spent a lot of time playing games and talking.
And of course, she had enough pictures of Dylan to show everyone in town.
Charles’s adventures were a lot of work, sometimes grueling work.
And he never told Veronica the just how much danger he found there.
She would only have worried.
He might have felt his age in France, but not here. Here he was ready to take on the world.
Charles reached the end of his vacation feeling that he had at last found what he was looking for. He hadn’t even realized he was looking for something in particular before now. It was hard to put into words, but the best way he could describe it was that he had uncovered secret beauty that had been lost for thousands of years, and he would keep it with him wherever he went next. That granted these lost places another lease on immortality.
He returned from the tombs in high spirits, and for their last night in Egypt, he organized the explorers in the camp for a rousing battle of water balloons.
The laughter and companionship seemed like just the right way to say goodbye.
While Charles and Veronica were gone, Dylan learned his first word, “dumbbell.” Leah didn’t know what he meant by that either.
Forest spent most of his time in his room working tirelessly on some project he wouldn’t talk to his family about.
Eliana took Hunter home to introduce to her family.
The morning after Charles and Veronica returned, Dylan was up howling in the wee hours of the morning.
Sky and Leah held each other tight, longing for just a little bit more sleep.
So Charles slipped downstairs to give his little man some attention.
He felt so delighted with everything, he was floating off the ground the way he used to do when he was a teenager — before he’d gotten better at passing for a normal human.
Before the sun game up was the best time to fish, so he left Dylan with his toys where he could check on him through the window and slipped out to see what he could catch in the icy water.
He’d done this a thousand times before in dozens of different places, but he couldn’t recall ever feeling so content before.
Then he just knew it was time. He packed up his fishing rod.
And wandered into the house. It was suddenly very important that he see Veronica, and he knew he didn’t have much time.
He wasn’t quite fast enough. As he stood at the foot of the stairs on his way to their bedroom, the Netherworld called to him.
And this time he had to go.
Veronica slept on and dreamed sweet dreams.
When she woke up, Charles wasn’t there. It was strange but not unheard of.
So the Samples carried on their routine through the morning before Veronica decided to go looking for her husband.
It didn’t take her long to find him.
The buried Charles’s ashes in the family cemetery with his ancestors.
He may have been one of the most successful members of his family, but he hated fancy monuments. His marker was small and modest, nestled in the earth.
The Samples would never be the same without him.
Goodbye, old friend.
Sob. Well, we knew it had to happen sometime.
Charles got sucked back to the Netherworld at the age of 92 with Lifetime Happiness of 370,000. Yes, my friends, that’s THREE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY THOUSAND.
He almost didn’t finish his lifetime wish. I got tired of going on vacation, and he had one more trip to finish to get the Visa 3 in Egypt. He needed an extra trip there because he didn’t get some Visa points that he should have gotten when he was a teenager traveling with Lance.
This trip was filled with entirely unnecessary drama. I sent him for 8 days, since that should have been more than enough for him to get the points he needed. He spent four of them in one really fun enormous tomb. Then he got to the end of the tomb, and the OPPORTUNITY GLITCHED OUT. He couldn’t return the relic to the townie to collect the enormous pile of Visa points it was worth. Apparently, there is a glitch where if a townie gives you an adventure and then dies before it’s completed, the game doesn’t always assign the opportunity to a new townie. This tomb was the end of a fairly long quest chain that started on Charles’s last trip to Egypt. Apparently EA StoryProgression killed the relevant townie in the interval. I tried everything, and there didn’t seem to be any way to fix it. I still have the stupid relic (Relic of Eternity I think), and you can’t even sell it for money. Argh.
So now he had four days left to get the points he needed, and time was very tight. I sent him on the Adventure chain for the Tomb of Queen Hapshepsut, which is supposed to be pretty cool. But before he even got into the tomb, he was given a task to take a portrait of a townie, and I couldn’t get it to register as a portrait. He had a camera, and he’d ask the girl to pose, but when he took the picture it was listed as being something near her — the fountain, the shopping area, a group of people standing in the background, whatever. I read up on Photography and couldn’t figure THAT out. Maybe he needed to have the skill??
Now we had MORE time lost. I gave up exploring tombs and sent him on the dumb adventures to pick up minerals and deliver messages to people. He can do that very fast because he can teleport. It still looked like he might not get enough Visa points, and while I’d had a fantastic time exploring that tomb for the glitched Adventure, I am really done with World Adventures and REALLY didn’t want to take another trip. Besides that, Charles was 90, and I didn’t want to assume he’d get another chance.
He got to the Visa point total halfway through his last day in Egypt. His Lifetime Wish was complete. I heaved a huge sigh of relief and sent him to base camp for a water balloon fight he’d been wishing for.
And then he really did die before he was eligible to travel again.
92 is the exact age I have my Sim lifetime set to. I had to use Twallan’s SP to set Charles to age again because EA in its infinite wisdom decided that playable ghosts should be immortal. Apparently SP sends ghosts back to the Netherworld the *instant* the lifespan runs out rather than just giving them a chance of death every day like mortal sims.
Whatever the case, he might have died “young,” but I think he doubled his actual life lived with all the travel, so he doesn’t have much complaints. The Seasoned Traveler LTW is one of the highest-point ones in the game — 60k — so I was going to try to see if I could get him to 300k points. Then he spent his last two trips rolling absolutely insanely high-point wishes. He had at least 4 1500-point wishes to defeat mummies who were attacking him anyway. Something like *12k* to reach Visa Level 3, which he had to do anyway. Etc. So he was over 300k before he even reached his lifetime wish.
Charles has been my favorite sim so far. I guess it seems only right that he died the happiest.
However, playable ghosts carry their gravestones with them, so they get the gravestone of someone with 0 happiness points. I think Charles would have appreciated the modesty.