Tag Archive | victoria

7.29 Build a new narrative

One afternoon, while she was placing some of her diving discoveries for sale at the consignment store, Vickie heard a familiar voice call her name. “Victoria Sample, is that you?”

She turned around to find Danial Ibari.

“There you are!” he exclaimed when their eyes met. “How the heck are you? It’s been too long.”

Vickie took a half-step back. Was this really Danial. He was grinning from ear to ear. When they’d last spoken, he was a shell of a man after his wife Sandra died. She’d been giving him space. “Wow,” she managed. “You look amazing.”

“It’s great to hear that because I feel amazing,” Danial said. “Life is really looking up. I still miss Sasha, but there’s so much living still to do.”

“I can’t tell you how glad I am to hear that,” Vickie said. “I was really worried about you. You deserve the very best in life.”

She remembered how Danial had felt crying on her shoulder as she held him at Sasha’s funeral. They’d really had a connection then. Then she’d let Roderick monopolize her time. What a mistake that turned out to be.

“You were with me when I hit bottom,” Danial said. “I never got a chance to thank you.”

Vickie flushed. “I didn’t think about it that way,” she said. “You’re just… you’re a great guy, Danial.”

“I know you understand that part of me died with Sasha. I feel like I’m on my second life now. I have my beautiful daughter with Sasha. You have to meet her, Vickie! And now I’m getting married again!”

“I’m so glad–” Vickie began. “You’re what?”

“I know it’s kind of sudden,” Danial said. His eyes were alight, and the words came out in a rush. “I met Devon Marmalade right after my little girl was born, and we just clicked. She has a huge family, and they adopted me. It’s like all the loneliness was the price I had to pay for this moment.”

“Wow…” Vickie said. “I’m so happy for you.”

After she escaped from the consignment store, Vickie spent the rest of the afternoon with Connery. At least their love for each other was simple and easy to understand.

“You don’t think I missed out with Danial, do you boy? Of course not! I don’t need a guy right now. When I want a boyfriend, there are plenty of single guys out there to find.”

Connery was very supportive.

Was she ready, though? Vickie could never really remember feeling lonely. Attention from boys always ended up awkward. They seemed to want something she couldn’t give. But she could imagine what it would be like to have a partner — a real partner — and it was nice. It just seemed like such a remote fantasy.

The next day dawned bright and beautiful.

“When is the last time I took you out sailing?” she asked Andria.

“I think the last time was never,” Andria said.

“Well, that’s a mistake I plan to fix right now,” Vickie said. “Bring your fishing rods. There’s a lot more I want to learn.”

Edmund rang the doorbell at Marisela’s Flynn’s house and tapped his foot as he waited. She had invited him here, but he couldn’t help feeling nervous anyway.

The door opened, and a scowling man walked out onto the front step. He didn’t say anything.

“I’m looking for… Marisela?” Edmund said nervously.

The man nodded his head and stepped aside.

“Edmund!” Marisela said. “I’m so glad you could come! I see you met my partner Brock.”

Edmund’s eyes darted over to Brock, looming at them just out of reach. “I guess I have now,” he said.

“Things happened so fast when you… turned me back,” Marisela said. “I didn’t really thank you the way I should have.”

“The look on your face was all the thanks I needed,” Edmund said. “The truth is that I didn’t know if I could do it. The Fae Council didn’t know if it could be done. The whole thing might have come to nothing. I hope I could have avoided hurting you.”

“I was ready to take the risk,” Marisela said. “You’re the first sim who ever tried to release me from my undead cage.”

“Was it really a cage to you?” Edmund asked. “I have revived other vampires now, and they all seem relieved. I did not expect that.” He didn’t exactly say that he had been reviving them without their consent, but that understanding hung between them.

“You don’t know what it feels like to be a creature of the night,” Marisela said. Her face looked haunted.” Old sims who sought it out for immortality have had time to regret. I had given up hope.”

“I’m forever grateful for your trust,” Edmund said. “And, uh, Brock, can I help you?”

Brock pushed his way into the conversation. “Hey, did you hear the one about the sim who went to the park and put his car in his pocket?” he rumbled.

“It’s… a joke?” Edmund said.

“Oh dear,” Marisela said. “Don’t let my husband bother you. He has a strange sense of humor.”

“No, really,” Brock insisted. “I have a million of ’em.”

Edmund couldn’t remember when he’d laughed so hard. Some of it was relief, but the guy really was funny. “You’re a great guy, Brock,” he said.

“Because of you, we’re going to have a baby!” Marisela said. “We’ve wanted a family for so long. Please come visit when she’s born. If you’re willing, we’d like you to be our child’s godfather.”

“Wow,” Edmund said. “I’d be honored.”

[Brock’s face! He looked so scary, but all he wanted to do was tell jokes.]

After their house was destroyed, Manisha and her husband Ash had a messy divorce. They now shared custody of their adopted daughter and lived on opposite sides of Avalon — as far apart as they could manage on the island. Manisha reverted to her maiden name of Kapoor.

Ash Sample-Baerwyn wasn’t as easy to track down as she has expected. He had an active Internet life of conspiracy theories about asteroid threats, but when he left his house, his behavior was fairly random.

On evening after work, Gamora finally found him out dancing at a local beach club.

He and his date seemed to be getting on well, and that was inconvenient.

Gamora needed to get rid of her, and she wasn’t entirely sure what to do about it. While she was scheming, Ash’s date seemed to remember something and dashed away.

Well, that was much more convenient.

She remembered the disguise as if she’d used it yesterday. It was strange to pull this identity back on. She’d never expected to use it again.

“Mr. Sample-Baerwyn!” she called out. “I’m so surprised to see you here!”

Ash turned and stared at her. “Wow,” he said. “You’re the one who started it all. Where did you disappear to? What is your name?”

“I found your asteroid apocalypse page online,” Gamora said. “I never imaged so many people would believe that an asteroid was coming to destroy our planet!”

“You opened my eyes,” Ash said. “Did you know that my house was destroyed by a meteor a few days after I spoke to you?”

Gamora managed a believable gasp. “Oh no! Was everyone all right?”

“Nobody was injured,” he said. “I knew then that we are all doomed. We have to enjoy our last days as much as we can, and to heck with the future.”

Yup… that’s definitely how he ended up divorced.

Gamora grimaced. “Well, about that….” she said.

Ash looked alarmed. “Is it coming?” he demanded. “What do you know?”

She looked down and cranked up her pheromone release as much ash she could. Breathe out, breathe in, hope he would be suggestible enough…. “The asteroid has changed course. We’re all saved.”

“What!” Ash said. “How could that happen? We’re all doomed!”

“It’s the new Astrophysics research facility,” Gamora said. “Did you hear about it?”

“That place?” he said. “I heard about it. Great big deep space telescope by the science facility. Built from a grant from some rich science snob named Sample. We’re probably related. What about it?”

“It was founded because astrophysicists read your website,” Gamora said. “They believed you and went looking for a way to solve the planet. A new probe just reached the asteroid and pushed it on a course to the sun instead.”

“You’re a hero, Mr. Sample-Baerwyn.”

Ash was dumbfounded. “You. What. That can’t be right.”

“It is! You saved the planet! If you don’t believe me, send your followers to read the records at the Astrophysics lab.” If they looked, and Gamora wasn’t entirely sure they would, she’d left plenty of clues for good conspiracy-theorists to find.

“We’re not all going to die,” he said mechanically.

“We’re not going to die,” Gamora repeated. “Thank you for everything you’ve done. You gave us hope again.”

Ash blinked, as if the entire world was too confusing for him to understand anymore. “My wife and daughter…” he murmured.

“You should give them a call, Mr. Sample-Baerwyn,” Gamora said. “I’m sure they want to hear from you.”

“But, who are you?” Ash asked again.

“Don’t worry about me,” Gamora said. “I’m nobody. Just a concerned astrophysicist.”


Woo, this one wasn’t easy to write either, but a lot happened!

If anyone is curious about the Flynns….

7.28 Moving on

The next days were hard.

Every time someone walked into the house, they could feel the void of Dylan’s absence.

Andria threw herself into holding her children together. Whenever she saw them, she had a hug to offer or a kind word.

“You’ve been staying out so late,” she told Edmund. “You need to take care of yourself. It’s going to be all right.”

“I’m all right, Mum,” Edmund assured her. “It’s not really about Dad. I miss him, but there’s work I just have to do.”

“I hope it’s good work,” Andria said. “You’re looking so haggard.”

“It is good,” Edmund said, but he didn’t take the hint to tell her what he was doing.

Edmund was focused on cleaning up Avalon’s night. It was the most powerful affirmation of life he could think of.

He found Anton Pierce’s brother William at the beach house at midnight.

When Edmund walked into the building, he and William stared at each other for a long moment.

“Are you all right,” he companion Monica asked, looking frightened. “Should we leave? William?”

William suddenly nodded. “Anton said you’d come for me,” he said. “I’ve had enough. I’m ready.”

“I”m ready to sleep for the first time in many lifetimes,” he said. “Stand back, Monica.”

“William!” Monica said, her voice rising, “What are you doing? Are you sure?”

“I’m ready,” Williams said. He covered his eyes and waited.

Edmund called the magic to his fingers and whispered the words.

“It’s done,” he said. The one-time-vampire took a deep, shuddering breath — the first in a long time.

William said nothing more. He looked to Monica, who was watching wide-eyed from across the room.

They walked out of the beach house together, leaving Edmund alone.

Winston threw himself into his work.

The pub Fiddler’s Green offered him a contract for a series of Friday night performances.

He accumulated a few devoted fans, though he didn’t fill up the pub the way the proprietor was hoping.

Gamora didn’t consider herself terribly close to Uncle Dylan. She was buried in research in her new lab, and she didn’t learn of his passing until days later.

She emerged triumphantly, her eyes wild, holding a vial of glowing liquid.

“Now I just need to test it!” she declared. And who better to test it on than herself.

It felt good.

Aunt Abby found her standing on the grounds of the science complex. “We’ve been looking for you,” she said without preamble. “Why haven’t you been answering your phone? Wait — what did you do to yourself?”

“You look like in you’re in a bad mood,” Gamora said with a fiendish grin. “I can help with that.”

“Of course I’m in a bad mood. If you’d just answer your phone– Wait!”

It was too late. Gamora wasn’t really listening.

Abby stood for a moment, disoriented, as the effect washed over her.

“Does it feel good?” Gamora demanded. “I need to know. For science!”

“Groovy,” Abby said slowly. “Except there was something I needed to tell you about your uncle…”

Afterward, Gamora had some other ideas about what to do with her concoction.

“I bet I can blow the biggest bubble!”

“Whoa. I didn’t see that coming…”

Vickie escaped to the place she felt most at home. But she also was not quite herself. She knew what to do when she found a shark circling in the water — swim away slowly and nonthreateningly.

But just that moment, everything seemed pointless.

The shark swam away with a bruised nose, and Vickie with a few scrapes and a valuable shark tooth she sold in consignment.

It could easily have gone the other way, though. While her heart was still pounding from the fight, she stopped for a moment to take stock. She missed her dad, but she intended to live a good long time still.

She’d been locked inside her own grief for too long. It was time to think about someone else’s needs.

Vickie found her mom standing outside, fishing in a downpour.

“Hey mom,” she said. “You’re soaked to the bone. Come inside you catch cold, and I’ll make you some hot tea.”

“It’s all right,” Andria said. “The rain feels good, and the fish are biting. Look at this catch!”

“If you’re sure you want to stay out, would you like some company?” Vickie asked.

“You’ve never fished before,” Andria said.

“Could you teach me?” Vickie asked.

They returned home in the evening, soaked to the bone, and dried off over a warm dinner.

“You don’t have to be alone without Dad,” Vickie told her. “You’ve always been here for us, but we can be here for you too.”

“I know,” Andria said. “Thank you.”


Bummer of a post, but at least I’m through it.

Avalon gossip column:

Hunter’s unicorn pal has been kicking around in Avalon for generations, but all things come to and end in this game, even unicorns apparently.

Winston missed out on Paulette Callender. She got over her crush on him and married Java Weaver, my simself’s bastard kid with Tewl Langurd. I’m sure THAT will go well….

Java is in the Education career, and he sucks at it. I keep seeing him get promoted and then demoted. Paulette is in sports, and I haven’t seen anything about her in ages.

Townie adventures were all about the Langurds, it turns out. Sam’s simself also said goodbye in the most melodramatic way possible. She kicked her on-again, off-again boy-toy Stephan out of the house while she was on her deathbed.

And immediately after:

Sam has two young kids — a teen Claudia and a child Tammie. I think they were conceived by Sam’s male partner(s) at the time —  who might or might not have been Stephan. They both seem to be yellow hair and gold skin, which I’m pretty sure was Sam’s combination, so I’m not going to get visuals to tell me who their dad was.

At any rate, both got a nice nest egg.

As the simworld turns.

7.27 Time for Goodbyes

Using her new enormous wealth, Gamora founded the Avalon Astronomical Society and funded a deep-space research facility.

She also began a research program into the scientific underpinnings of fulfillment and happiness.

This involved a lot of experiments around laughter.

“Whatever that is, don’t point it at me,” Aunt Abby said, backing away.

“It’s not going to hurt you,” Gamora said. “It’s part of my observational research into laughter.”

“I’m to tired to laugh,” Abby said. “Our son Hans is running us ragged. I’m not sure what we were thinking, waiting this long to adopt.”

“None of us had any idea what you were thinking,” Gamora pointed out.

“”He’s a great kid,” Abby said. “We’re just…. really tired. A lot.”

Roderick’s face lit up when he saw her walking toward him across the market square. “You look amazing,” he said.

Vickie blushed. “I look the same as I do every day,” she said.

“That’s what I mean,” Rod said. “Amazing. Sometimes I just can’t believe you’re my girlfriend.”

“Come on!” he said beckoning her into the movie. “This movie is by an indie director who has really inspired me. His use of the colors red and blue are just revolutionary.”

Victoria hesitated outside and took a couple of deep breaths.

“Oh hey,” Rod said as she sat down beside him. “What kept you? The movie is starting.”

“I just needed a little air,” Victoria said.

“See what I mean about the color red?” he murmured to her as the film rolled. “The symbolism is really profound. And wait till you see what he does with blue.”

Rod continued his narrative about how the color filters and cinematography demonstrated the movie’s message. Vickie nodded at the right places. Her thoughts were scattered, and it was hard to track what was happening on the screen anyway. She was grateful Rod didn’t expect her to have any opinions on the director’s style.

When the movie was over, Rod sprang out of his seat. “Why don’t we have a drink at the bookstore coffeeshop and talk about the film?” he said. “I’ve been talking your ear off. I’d love to hear what you think.”

“Maybe a drink is a good idea,” Vickie said.

“It’ll be my treat,” Rod said with a grin. “I can still do some of that boyfriend stuff.”

Before he reached the barista, Vickie knew she couldn’t let this go on any longer.

“Rod, wait,” she said. He turned around in surprise at the sound of her voice. “I… I really like you, Rod, but this isn’t working out.”

Rod froze and stared at her. She could see the shock and the beginning of heartbreak plan on his face.

“Are you breaking up with me?” he asked.

“I– yes, I am,” Vickie said, trying to make her voice firm. “It’s not you. You’re a great person, and we’ve had a lot of fun, and–”

“It’s not me, it’s you??” Rod snarled. “You can’t possibly be using that line on me. If I’m so much fun, we could work it out. Just talk to me about what’s wrong.”

“I don’t think we have enough in common,” Vickie said quietly, unable to meet his eyes. “I think you’ll be a wonderful boyfriend for someone else.”

“So that’s it?” Rod cried. “I told you I love you, and you’re going to drop me like we’re nothing? We’re magic together. I won’t believe you don’t feel it. Whatever I’m doing wrong, I can fix it. Just talk to me.”

He reached for her, and she stepped back.

“I’m sorry, Rod,” she said, feeling tears well up in her eyes. “I’m so sorry. I have to go.”

She ran away from him and out the door. He didn’t try to follow her.

When she burst through the front door, Edmund was grabbing a late lunch at the breakfast bar. He looked up at her face and stopped mid-chew. “Are you all right?” he asked.

“No,” Vickie said. “But I’ll be all right. I don’t want to talk about it yet.”

“You broke up with Roderick, didn’t you?”

“I’m not going to confirm or deny right now.”

“All right, sister. Just let me know if you need anything.”

Connery jumped up from his bed and hurried up to meet her as fast as his old legs could take him.

This was the kind of companionship she wanted right now.

“Who’s a good boy?”

Later, she called Judith to tell her the news.

“I’m so sorry!” she cried. “You come over right now. I’ll make hot chocolate, and we can watch a sappy movie.”

“Please no movies,” Vickie said.

“OK, the hot tub then.”

“What about Mason?”

“Don’t worry. It’ll just be us, like old times. Mason works nights.”

There was an odd tone to her voice as she said it, but Vickie didn’t have the heart to ask right then.

While Vickie was visiting Judith, Winston was not having his best performance.

He went home and soaked in the tub for a long time. At least most of his hair survived.

With all their kids gone, Andria and Dylan had plans for the evening. But the received a surprise.

It was Dylan’s time.

Dylan had no regrets. He greeted Grim with a bow and shook his hand before fading away.

Andria was left alone.


Well, that ends the post on a low note.

I adored Dylan, and I’m so sad sad to see him go. Not as sad as poor Andria, though.

In lighter (?) news, Roderick is taking his breakup hard. He threw himself right to the rebound queen of the town, Claire James. I have no idea what her traits are, but I believe she has gone steady and broken up with every single sim in town for two generations. Oh, dear.

 

7.26 A different kind of person

Andria was waiting on the steps when Winston and Vickie returned from Barnacle Bay. “How was your vacation?” she asked, a sly look in her eye.

“The diving there was beautiful,” Vickie said. “I’ve never seen crystal caves like that…”

“And what about that boy of yours? Roderick is his name? Did you have fun with him?”

“Yeeeess… What are you getting at, Mom?”

“I just think he seems like a nice boy,” Andria said. “Maybe the kind of boy to settle down with and, you know, give me some grandkids.”

“Mom!” Vickie said. “That is way too personal!”

“I’m just not getting any younger,” Andria said. “I thought you could use a reminder.”

Vickie decided to go sailing for the rest of the day.

On the spur of the moment, Gamora called her dad and invited him to dinner. She and Sawyer didn’t see each other nearly as much as they used to.

“It’s nice to see you, but you don’t have to eat food to keep me company,” Sawyer said.

Gamora shrugged. “I like the irony of a plant chewing on meat.”

Gamora caught up on Sawyer’s genetic research, and she shared some carefully curated insights from the future. Neither of them brought up Gamora’s mother Manisha or the asteroid that had strangely hit her house. Gamora had to admit that it felt good. Her father was the closest she really had to a loved one, and she was aware of that in a way she’d never been before.

“We should do this more often,” she said as they got up to leave. “I want to know what the rainbow radiation does to your siminovium bacteria cultures.”

Sawyer opened his mouth to share more bacteria trivia when a fanfare erupted on the patio.

“You played the lottery,” Sawyer said. “And won?”

“I did!” Gamora crowed. “Isn’t it amazing?” She looked very pleased with herself and not nearly surprised enough.

Sawyer, on the other hand, didn’t look pleased at all.

“You did this with knowledge from the future!” he shouted at her. “Do you know what this could do to the space-time continuum? We could all dissolve into our component molecules? How dare you take that risk for some extra funding!”

“Oh that’s just great!” Gamora shouted back. “Can you give me a little credit? How stupid do you think I am? When is the last time you solved a tachyon combustion equation anyway?”

“I don’t do research that could blow up human lives,” Sawyer snarled.

“You did with me!”

They stood there for a long moment, staring at each other. Gamora could tell that underneath Sawyer’s scowl, her barb had hit home.

“I didn’t grow you to hurt anyone,” he said quietly. “I grew you because I wanted a child. A child who was just as special as I could make with science.”

“Wait,” she said. “I don’t want to fight. It’s not what you think.”

Sawyer let out his breath with a whoosh. “If you give me more data, I can think something else.”

“The future has already been contaminated,” Gamora said. She couldn’t bring herself to admit that it might be her fault. “I want to fix things, and the lottery is the first step. I wasn’t even sure that I’d be able to use information from the current future to inform this present. This experiment proves that the rest of my plans should work.”

Sawyer pondered this for a moment. “If what you say is true, it has enormous consequences to the Theory of the Immutability of Time Travel,” he said. “I won’t interfere with your scientific work, but I’d appreciate it if none of us die of time paradox.”

“You won’t,” Gamora said. “I’m going to make sure of it.”

Sawyer nodded. “1.5 million simoleons is a lot of money,” he said.

Gamora grinned. “Yes. It’s a lot more than I was expecting. With this kind of funding, I can expand my project.”

She bade her father goodbye and jumped on her hoverboard to return to her lab. She thought about Sawyer and Manisha and Manisha’s husband and their adopted kid. She heard Emit’s accusatory voice and remembered the trash piled up in the polluted haze of the future. She wondered which exact choices she had made were the most important to this time stream.

If she’d been a different kind of person, perhaps one who placed more value on her impact on others, what might have gone differently?

She wondered.

Vickie ventured back to the house around dinnertime. She found Winston in the living room, ready to leave for an evening performance. He looked anything but psyched to perform.

“Still no word from Luisa?” she asked?

Winston shook his head. “She’s not going to call,” he said. “I don’t know how I misread that whole situation. Why didn’t she just say she wasn’t into me? I thought… wow, I thought we really connected. I wish I knew what I did that drove her away.”

“Maybe she didn’t want to fight for your attention from all the other girls,” Vickie tried to tease him, but the look on his face told her that was a bad call.

Winston scowled. “I’m not that much of a player,” he said.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with you. I know you’ll find someone, and she’ll be lucky to have you for a boyfriend. Maybe… Luisa didn’t think she could handle something long-distance, but she didn’t want to wreck the moment when you were both having a such a good time. …Maybe she couldn’t facing hurting you when she could see what a great guy you were.”

Winston gave her a probing look. “Things are not going well with Rod, are they?” he asked.

Vickie cringed. “I didn’t mean to make this conversation all about me.”

“Here’s to two wrecks on the love train.”

Edmund waited patiently at the market until nearly midnight. The plaza was nearly deserted, save for a few sims who drifted in and out according to the theater’s schedule.

Finally his quarry arrived.

Edmund placed a bookmark in his book and rose deliberately. “Anton Pierce!” he called across the plaza.

The other man looked around to see who was calling him. “That’s my name,” he growled. “Or so they tell me.”

“You’ve troubled Avalon for more than three generations,” Edmund said. “Your time is up.”

Anton met Edmund’s gaze with unnerving, luminescent eyes. “Oh. Now I understand. I heard of you and what you did to Marisella Flynn. I wondered when I would see you.”

“I’m going to clean up this town, one vampire at a time,” Edmund said. “Now is your turn.”

Before Anton could react, he raised his hands.

Anton was caught mid-strike. Terror flashed across a face that had not shown fear in a very long time.

As the magic enveloped him, color returned to his deathly skin, and the glow in his eyes faded. He let out a surprised sound, half-grunt, half-growl.  “Yarrrrgh… that–”

“This feels amazing…”

“I– I never thought I’d be saying this,” Anton stammered. “But thank you. I had forgotten what it was like to be alive. It’s wonderful.”

Edmund smiled. “I didn’t expect to say this either, but you’re welcome.”

Anton took a deep breath, clearly relishing the air in his lungs.

Without another word, he got back into his car and drove away.


Andria met Victoria at the front steps after her return from vacation travel to ask her for grandchildren. Way to go, mom. LOL.

The whole winning the lottery animation is bizzarre. You get showered with confetti and a gigantic check appears from nowhere. There are no other sims involved. There wasn’t much of a way to build a story around that, so I just hung a lampshade on it.

Edmund is actually using the strong cure elixirs made by Andria to cure vampirism. Cure elixirs are supposed to apply to his Healer LTW. Unfortunately, it appears that the ONLY thing that applies to this wish is reversing transformation curses. Too bad. So out-of-story his doing a lot of transforming sims in and out of frog state.

7.25 All the romance

Dawn in Oasis Landing was pretty much the same as dusk – orange-gray hazy and the stink of pollution.

Gamora was ready to put this place behind her. Permanently.

Gamora rose early, not that early and late looked all that different. She had one more place to go before she returned to the time machine — the Oasis Landing Library.

She needed to now a lot more about the future history that brought her here.

That errand finished, she found herself on the roof of the visitor’s center, staring again at the enigmatic glow of Emit Relevart’s little holiday project.

“All right,” she said to herself. “I hope this works.”

And then she was home, with a backache this time.

“Are you here for the Simfeset?” the asked the proprietor of Coffee Under the Sea. “What name should I put on the list?”

“Twisted Tiberious,” Winston said brightly. “Maybe you’ve heard of me.”

The proprietress chuckled as she pocketed his entry fee. “Nope, and I never heard of that guy either. You’re up after the magic act.”

Winston had to admit that Josie Sample-Ursine’s performance was getting pretty polished these days.

The vanishing cabinet routine still could use some work, though.

Winston hated to admit it, but watching Josie screw up made him feel more confident. If the vanishing-cabinet-that-wasn’t was the best he was up against, this contest was his to lose.

Which he did.

The prize went to Daniel Ibari.

When Winston trudged home for a shower, he found Gamora and Victoria’s boyfriend having a shouting match on the porch.

“I don’t care who you’re sleeping with, you step on my flowers, I will cut you!”

“So, you live her too? Vickie didn’t say anything about a wicked — is your hair made out of leaves?”

“None of your business!”

Winston shoved his way between them. “Pardon me, I actually do live here.”

When he made it through the door, he found Victoria standing in the middle of the living room, glowering at her phone. “I have got to get out of here for a while,” she declared.

“I’m coming with you,” said Winston.

“Did someone say vacation?” Roderick chimed in. “I’ve heard you plan some truly amazing vacations.”

So she took them to Barnacle Bay, a lovely seaside village turned resort town.

Gamora was not invited, but she made it clear she had other plans anyway.

Victoria found them rooms at The Blue Bridle Inn, a cozy bed and breakfast that had been renovated in recent years and now billed itself as a luxury hotel.

“Let’s drop our bags behind the counter and get out on the water!” Vickie exclaimed as they burst through the front doors.

Rod grabbed hold of her hand. “Let’s check out our rooms first,” he said. Vickie shrugged and allowed him to lead her up the stairs, hauling her rollerbag behind her.

He opened the door with a flourish, and Vickie looked around. Rod puffed out his chest. “I slipped the receptionist a 20 and got us the honeymoon suite,” he said.

“This is our first trip away as a couple. I want us to have all the romance.” He pulled her into his arms.

Victoria fumbled with her bag. “Um, just give me a sec,” she said, finding a corner to stash it behind her. “Now I’m ready.” Roderick grinned a pulled her in for a kiss.

“You sure you want to go back outside?” he murmured in her ear. “The bed looks so comfortable.”

Vickie hesitated, processing what he said. Sure, the room looked nice, and the bed might be more comfortable that the one she had at home, but it wasn’t SO different. Why would she go on vacation just to stay inside?

“A bit later?” she asked sheepishly. “We can’t go sailing after the sun goes down.”

Rod’s smile didn’t falter, but his eyes showed his disappointment. “Sure, make me wait,” he teased.

They changed quickly and ran out the back deck to the semi-private beach. Victoria’s face lit up. “They have windsurfing!” She dashed down into the stand where the resort offered complimentary surfboards. Ankle deep in the water, she looked back to Roderick. “Join me?”

“I’ve never windsurfed,” he admitted.

“I could give you some pointers,” Vickie suggested.

“That’s all right. I’m still a bit jetlagged. I’ll just watch you.”

She was on the sea with the wind in her hair within minutes, feeling free as she never did on the shore.

Rod grabbed a cocktail from the bar and sat down to sun himself. As he sipped his drink, his eyes drank in Victoria’s expert movements too and fro across the waves. “She’s amazing,” he whispered to himself. “I’m so lucky.”

Edmund settled for some lower-key swimming.

Winston, on the other hand, was distracted before he made it out the door.

“Hey there,” the hot blonde called as she caught him as he walked past the bar. “New to Barnacle Bay?”

He took in her face and body in a glance and moved closer. “Never been here before in my life. Do you have advice?”

She smirked. “My friend and I were just heading to the hot tub.”

“You know?” that sounds like a great idea to me too.

The rest of the family never really missed him.

The sun was well below the horizon when Vickie returned to the short, and Rod was waiting for her.

“Did you have a nice time?” she asked. “You didn’t have to stay sitting around the whole time.”

Rod waved her worries away. “Not at all. The sun felt wonderful.”

“Well, I’m famished,” Vickie continued. “I wonder what’s at the buffet.”

“So… I was thinking,” Rod said with a twinkle in his eye. “What say we call room service? It’d be nice to get some time alone together on our first night.”

That didn’t seem like such a bad idea. Vickie met his seductive glance with one of her own.

“All right then,” she said. “I think I can be persuaded.” She blew him a kiss.

“Is it getting hot in here?” Rod asked, fanning himself. He took her hand, and she could barely get up the stairs fast enough.

At the top of the stairs, Roderick held the door to the honeymoon suite open for her. “Ladies first.”

Vickie laughed. “Don’t be full of such crap.”

He looked into her eyes, the teasing crinkle smoothing from the edges of his to show the longing he tried to keep hidden. He adored to the depths of his soul, and she could feel it. He drew close to her, and she nestled into his arms. “Is it all right?” he asked in a small voice. “I don’t mean to be a jerk.”

She rested her head on his shoulder and breathed in the scent of him. “No,” she said. “You’re being sweet.

She pulled away and drew them to the bed.

This part, this part felt good. They fit together so well.

Vickie had to admit that Rod had been right. This place, and this bed, were a very nice place to spend part of her vacation.

As they came up for air, Roderick drew back and gazed into her eyes. “Oh, Victoria,” he whispered. “I love you.”

She froze. “You… I mean I…”

“Shh,” Rod said, “You don’t have to say anything.”

So she didn’t. She let her mind shut off and fell back into the easy part, the part that always felt right.

But she lay awake, curled against him, long after she could feel the gentle rise and fall of his breath as he slept.

He loved her. What did it mean? What should she do? What was she supposed to feel?

Was this what love felt like?

She rose at dawn. Rod murmured muzzy nonsense against her lips as she kissed him.

Then she grabbed her gear and made out to the beach for an early dive.

The air was chill, and thick mist rolled in from the sea.

But the fabled undersea crystal canyon glittered with its own light.

It was just as beautiful as she’d been led to believe.

Back at the hotel, Winston made it downstairs as far as the masseur.

Then he spent some time at the bar, which was hosting a karaoke night…. well, karaoke afternoon.

After a few drinks, he teamed up with a local sim to sing a few ballads.

He thought she’d said her name was Luisa Libros. She was pretty hot. Oh, and she had a pretty good voice.

At least he thought so. The peanut gallery wasn’t so sure.

He thought he felt a connection, but there had been so MANY hot women at the resort he’d connected with. She headed out before he could ask for her number.

Edmund took in the view from his room and pondered the meaning of life.

When Victoria returned from diving, she found Roderick in an alcove off of the dining room.

“Did you realize they have a  screening theater here?” he told Vickie excitedly. “The proprietress says they host a film festival in the fall. We should totally come back then! Here, you should really see this. This director uses light like I’ve never seen. It’s almost film noire, except not really.”

“Oh, wow,” Vickie said. “I’m so glad you had a good time. But did you go outside at all?”

Rod blushed. “Well, I… no, no I didn’t. Their film collection has some classics I’ve never seen before.”

“Wow,” she said.

He patted the seat beside him. “You should sit down and rest. I’d love to share this film with you.”

“Thanks,” she said, “But I’m pretty tired after diving, and I’m crusted with salt. I’ll see you at dinner.”

They called an early night.

Which was a good thing because a couple of drunk regulars woke everyone up with a loud pillow fight at one AM.

Winston was back in the hot tub for the evening when he was met with a surprise.

“Luisa? I thought you went home!”

“I did go home silly. It wasn’t far away. I thought I’d come back and see if you were still around.”

“I’m still around,” Winston said. “Definitely still here!”

She turned out to be just as fun as she was hot. They were up late, laughing and talking.

He couldn’t imagine the vacation could go better.

In the morning, Vickie caught Winston at breakfast. “How was the night?” she asked slyly. “You sure seemed to be having a great time when I went to bed. Who was the girl?”

“Luisa,” Winston said, “And… I think I need to spend more time in this town. Maybe a lot more time.”

“My wild and crazy brother couldn’t be taking some girl seriously?” she asked.

“Come on,” Winston wheedled. “I’m not that wild and crazy.”

“Says you.”

“I’m really not feeling so hot,” Rod admitted. “I think I’m coming down with something. Air travel, the hotel, you just never know what you might be exposed to.”

“Don’t worry about me, though. There’s a special screening this afternoon, and I hear they booked the mayor.”

Vickie leaned in to kiss him, then thought the better of it. “Just so long as you’re having a good time,” she said.

“Don’t worry about me,” Rod said. “Everything your brothers told me about your vacationing is true. I’m having a fabulous time.”

So she left him watching a science fiction robot thriller

and went cave diving.

Winston spent his last evening in Barnacle Bay out under the stars with Luisa.

“I’d really like to see more of you,” he told her earnestly.

She gave him a secretive smile. “Well, you have my number.”

“I’ll call as soon as I get home.”

“I’ll be here.”

He did call as soon as he was back in his room. The phone number she gave him connected to a local restaurant.

He never saw her again, and he never found out why.


I wrote a post! I wrote a post!

Yeah… so Winston and Luisa REALLY hit it off. I thought he’d finally found The One and was going to get into a serious relationship.

The NRaas Traveler erased their entire relationship when he returned home. Sadly, the whole travel process was glitchy going and coming.

I’m sure that if I sent him back, the whole romance would have been right there waiting for him, but I took it as a sign that the story was going somewhere else.

7.23 The Butterfly Effect

It had worked. Edmund had cured Marisela’s vampirism. Edmund was on top of the world.

High on his own success, he found the courage to call Joy Reacher and ask her out on a date. He felt most comfortable in darkness, he suggested a walk under the stars. She seemed to like the idea.

They walked to Persephone Hot Springs and stopped to gaze at the sky.

And each other.

Edmund had never felt so at ease. Even with Joy, who always left him feeling tongue-tied and cloudy-headed, he had fresh confidence.

Joy stood up suddenly. “It’s clouding over. I thing it’s going to rain. This is probably a signal we should call it a night.”

Edmund moved close to her. “I’ll see you again soon, I hope?”

She reached up to touch his face, tentatively, as they drew together. “Sure,” she said. “I had a nice time. I don’t find that many people who appreciate a long walk and some silence.”

Rain began to fall on their shoulders.

“Do you want me to go?” he asked. “I don’t mind the rain.”

She laughed softly. “You’ll get soaked,” she said, “And it’s starting to get colder.”

“I’ll call you,” he said.

 

Winston’s mentor, Tyrone Biggs, decided Winston was ready to begin performing his own shows. The only good thing about his debut was that almost nobody had showed up to see it.

He managed to keep a smile on his face until the end, through all the stumbles and failed stunts, but it felt like plastic molded onto his face.

When he dragged home, he found Vickie outside, having returned late from sailing.

“Wow, you look like your dog died,” Vickie said. That might have been a big close to home. Connery was getting old. “Are you all right?”

“It was awful,” Winston admitted. “I think maybe I made a big mistake. What if I’m not cut out to be a performer.”

“Hey,” Vickie said. She grabbed his shoulders and pulled him into a hug. “I’m sorry it sucked so much,” she said, “but I don’t believe for a minute you’re in the wrong career. You’re amazing.”

“Thanks,” Winston said. “I needed that.”

“Get some sleep,” Vickie said. “You’ve got to be exhausted.”

In the morning, Winston blew off steam by dueling with Edmund.

That probably wasn’t the best choice. He was out of practice, and let’s face it — Edmund was scary. But at least it made him eager to get back to acrobatics training.

Vickie still loved the feel of working with her hands. When she wasn’t out on the water, she was repairing or tinkering with something.

Either the traditional way, or the more creative Sample way.

She even took on the repair of her cousin Gamora’s weird sleep contraption. Considering there were no plans and she could identify half of the components, she thought the whole thing went off pretty well.

It was a good thing for Gamora. She was reminded several times that she could go back home to her dad, but she didn’t like being so far from her lab.

A shipwreck was discovered off the coast of Avalon. It was the Mango Marauder, a legendary pirate vessel that disappeared two hundred years ago with its hold full of treasure. Victoria couldn’t resist the chance to explore it before the site became a tourist site and all discoveries had been looted.

The wreck was in incredible shape. She could almost see what it was like as it sunk. And it was filled with beautiful sea life.

Dylan felt that his lifelong passions — photography, painting, and nectar making — were missing something after all the time. He decided to take up the guitar. “It’s never too late to pick up a new hobby,” he declared.

Andria and Connery appreciated his efforts, though the tunes were simple. “I love a man who isn’t afraid to learn a new skill.”

“Let’s take that new creativity upstairs,” she suggested.

The family received a surprising phone call from Dylan’s sister Abby and her husband Chaim.

“We’ve adopted a little boy!” they crowed in unison on the other end of the phone line.

“Wow,” Victoria said, stunned. “What led you to decide to do that… now?”

“We talked about it for a long time,” Abby admitted. “We couldn’t have children of our own, and then there just never seemed to be the right time with my acting career and Chaim’s work in law enforcement. We decided to finally do something before it was too late.”

Woo. Victoria hung up the phone and shared a look of astonishment with her mom.  Chaim was quite a bit younger than Abby, but he also retired from the police force quite a while ago.

“I hope he’s a good kid,” Andria said, “and that they know what they’re getting into at their age. I’m glad your dad just decided to take up the guitar!”

The next phone call that arrived was not nearly so much of a surprise. Judith wanted Vickie to be her Maid of Honor.

It was a small, intimate ceremony with just a few friends and family. After everyone recovered from the wedding and reception, the Jameses invited Vickie and Roderick out for their first night on the town as a married couple.

“Not bad for some bling I plan to wear for the rest of my life!” Mason declared as he showed off his wedding ring.

“I always knew you two were perfect together,” Vickie said. “You make such a great couple!”

“I’ll have your most romantic drink,” Mason said. Judith just grinned.

The bartender busted out his best moves.

“Late as usual,” Judith teased as she finally saw Roderick wander in the door.

“Thanks for saving a drink for me at least,” Rod said. “I have a good reason, since you didn’t ask.” He winked.

Rod drew himself up and puffed out his chest. “You’re looking at the new personal assistant to renowned director Derik Simborg on his new project Lizards Take Sim City!”

“Wow!” Victoria gasped. “That’s amazing! I’m so happy for you!” She had no idea who Derik Simborg was, and that sounded like a terrible movie, but Roderick was clearly proud enough to bust his buttons.

Across town, Winston got his parents out to the festival grounds for some summer fun. “Come on!” he shouted, “What kind of aim was that? You all need glasses!”

“Just you wait,” Dylan announced. “I already have glasses.”

“I think it’s starting to rain,” Cristina Pierce announced.

“I’m too wet to notice,” Andria said.

The evening at The Sphinx ended as it should have — with dancing.

Judith and Mason never stopped looking in each other’s eyes, and they kept up their romantic, swaying dance no matter what music was playing.

Victoria wondered how they must feel. Was love what she felt for Roderick? He was a fun dancer and good company, but the look in Judith’s eyes left her with a longing sadness. If she mentioned her feelings to Rod, he’d be crushed.

Then Mason stepped on Judith’s foot, and the mood was broken.

Just as well. This was more fun.

Meanwhile, the Time Machine crackled, and Emit Relevart stepped unexpectedly into Gamora’s basement lab.

“Hey there!” Gamora said. “You’ll never guess what I invented! Did you know that meteors can be attracted by –”

Emit’s face was livid. “What did you do?” he demanded.

Gamora’s stopped mid-sentence. “What are you talking about?”

“I warned you not to play with the time stream,” Emit said. “We created Oasis Landing as a safe future destination for travelers like yourself to visit so that you wouldn’t be tempted to experiment with things you don’t understand. Whatever you did, my timeline is now in catastrophe.”

“But… but I didn’t do anything with the time stream!” Gamora said. “I just invented a meteor magnet right here in the present! I was looking for a way to punish my mom…”

“I’m really not interested in your personal grudges,” Emit said. “Can you swear to me that your interplanetary invention contained no technology you learned from the future?”

Gamora froze. “I didn’t realize.”

“It looks like you better spend some time thinking about it,” Emit said. “When you’re done, meet me in what’s left of Oasis Landing, and I’ll see if I can clean up the literal mess you created.”

He turned around, jumped back into the Time Machine, and was gone.


If some of my previous posts seemed too short to me, this one probably should have been two posts, but I’m not going to take the time to break it out now :). At least everyone got a bit of screen time.

Story Progression went on a kind of crazy adoption spree, including some pretty old couples. It was nice to see Abby and Chaim have a kid. I was kind of surprised that they didn’t make one the traditional way, since neither of them had any counter-indicating traits, and kids are half of what this game is about. I don’t see how they can possibly live long enough to see this kid to adulthood, though.

Also, I tried to get Victoria et. al to dance ON THE DANCEFLOOR at the nightclub, but even though I clicked the dancefloor, they all decided to dance behind the bar. I took pics dodging the bartender. Sims.

7.22 Ashes to Ashes, Life from Death

Sasha Saunders-Ibari passed away after long illness. Daniel was by her side, holding her hand at the moment Grim was called.

The funeral was held at the local Cemetery.

“I’ve never known someone so passionate about living every day to the fullest,” Danial shared in his eulogy. “I’m blessed that she was in my life. The hole she leaves in my life will never truly be filled.”

Victoria was there to give her respects. Danial had been a treasured friend over the years. Her heart ached for Danial, and yet she was privately hopeful that now his life could begin again. He’d spent so much time setting himself aside to take care of Sasha, she wasn’t sure she fully knew himself anymore

When his eulogy was over, Danial finally broke down.

Vickie rushed to him and wrapped him in her arms.

“Sasha was blessed to have you too,” she said. “Never forget that. You stood by her even in the hardest moments.”

“Thanks,” Danial said. “We had so many plans we could never begin. I’ll let you in on a secret, though. We froze some of her eggs when she was healthier, and I’m considering carrying her child. We always wanted kids, but it didn’t seem like something we could take on while she was hospitalized. Maybe someday, her ghost will haunt us, and I could introduce our kid to their mom.”

“Wow,” Vickie said, internally shuddering at the thought of kids. “That’s a lot of responsibility to take on. Don’t go too fast, ok? Just be you for a while. You have time.”

Danial offered her a crooked smile. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

“When you’re ready, let’s hit the the club sometime. You’re a great dancer.”

 

“I think I found it!” Edmund whispered.

Buried in the Fae Council’s ancient tome, the last piece of the puzzle lay in the middle of a boring paragraph on ghosts and Ambrosia.

If it was right about the conflict between lay lines and the undead, all he needed to do would be….

Perfect.

He called Marisela Flynn immediately. “I’m sorry it’s late, but I think I have it. When can we meet?”

“I’ll make time right now,” Marisela said. “Meet me by the the entrance to the forest outside Vetinari’s Restaurant.”

Edmund blinked. “Now? Outside?” He looked out the window into the darkness. “You realize it’s pouring rain?”

“I don’t want my father involved,” Marisela said. “He won’t think to look for me there.”

“I can see why…” Edmund said. “All right. I’ll be there.”

He traveled as fast as his broom could take him.

They stood, sopping wet in the downpour, and Edmund tried to describe to her what he’d discovered.

“If I’m right, the shackles that have bound you will drop almost immediately.”

“All right then,” Marisela said. “What do you want me to do?”

“Give me a moment to connect with the lay lines running through your body,” Edmund said.

“Well, now I feel like an idiot,” Marisela said. “I hope this works.”

“Me too,” Edmund admitted. “Are you ready?”

“I’ve been ready for years,” Marisela said.

“Then…. NOW!”

“What…!” Marisela began as the blast of magic force struck her in the gut.

She stood transfixed as the glow in her eyes dimmed and the pallor of her skin gave way to the healthy, natural glow of blood pulsing beneath her skin.

She opened her mount to take a deep breath of air, revealing teeth remarkably devoid of points.

“You did it!” she exclaimed. “The vampirism is gone. I’m truly alive!”

Edmund looked more relieved than pleased. But her joy was infectious, and he couldn’t help smiling back at her. “I’m glad it worked,” he said.

“The curse is broken. I feel amazing. I can’t wait to tell Brock! We can have a family at last! Thank you. Thank you so much!” She threw herself at him and wrapped him in a tight hug.

“You’re welcome,” Edmund said puffed. “Enjoy the rest of your life.”


I haven’t felt much like writing, but I’m playing like crazy. Hopefully this breaks the most recent block.

I managed the funeral using Ani’s “Have Coffee With Me,” following a tutorial she posted on YouTube long ago about staging a community meeting. The University podium has great animations, but I wish sims would spontaneously sit down and listen without the unwieldy lecture all tables.

7.20 Chicken Little Was Right

Roderick called Vickie the morning after their movie to invite her out for bowling. Vickie had never been bowling, but how hard could it be?

“You know who is a naturally born bowler? This girl!”

“All right,” Rod said with a raised eyebrow, “Show me.”

“Grace in action. Watch this.”

“My foot slipped! What kind of floor is this??”

Roderick choked through his laughter, “You know you’re supposed to use special shoes for this right?”

“OK, Mr. Pro Bowler, show me how it’s done.”

“Yeah! That’s how it’s done!”

Vickie gaped at the score. “You hit like three pins! If that gets you excited, you can’t be much better at this than I am!”

Winston hadn’t given up on his teppanyaki performance.

This was his dream skill — performance cooking. All his practice was paying off.

It also kept the household in a backlog of food that they could barely eat before it went bad.

“You know,” Winston mused over his teppanyaki breakfast, “I bet I could work this into my act. A bit more knife-throwing, maybe, and a treat to hand out to the audience at the end. I wonder…”

Manisha and Ash Sample-Baerwyn moved into a new house. Gamora knew where it was as soon as they set foot inside.

There was talk of adopting a child. Manisha hadn’t been interested in the child she HAD — the weird leafy one — but she’d consider becoming a mother to a normal kid.

She gathered fallen stardust. This would improve double the strength of the cosmic magnet.

If Gamora had any qualms, learning about the kid resolved them.

She was ready.

Manisha’s new husband Ash wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box. He didn’t know what she looked like, so she didn’t need much disguise to be sure Manisha wouldn’t guess who she was from anything he said.

The most important part was to be sure her leafiest bits were well covered.

Earning his trust was child’s play.

Across the courtyard of Percival’s Provisions, Gamora’s sort-of mentor watched. His eyes were hidding, as always, but a sardonic, approving smile crossed his lips.

Then she gasped in almost-authentic terror. “Look at that! In the sky!” she cried.

“What!” Ash echoed. “What is it!”

She pointed to some gray-shadowed, lumpy clouds in the distance. “You see those! They’re headed straight for us! The sky is falling!”

Ash’s eyes widened as he looked where she pointed. “I’ve never seen anything like that! You think we’re in danger?”

“I don’t know how much longer we have left before it hits,” Gamora hissed. “Get your family to safety.”

She MIGHT have used just a little bit of psychedelic pollen to help convince him.

On the other side of Avalon, Winston had upgraded to an audience of two.

“If you think this is good now, just wait until you see me slice vegetables while juggling!”

Late that night, Gamora crept back to the Sample-Baerwyn house. She could hear Ash and Gamora arguing through the closed window. She couldn’t make out the words, but she could guess what they were arguing about.

From the cover of the hydrangeas, she lifted the cosmic magnet and pointed it to the night sky.

It was time to prove Ash’s fears correct.


Gamora’s revenge on her mother finally starts coming to fruition. It’s been fun to working that in with her objectives for her LTW.

I fired up my game for the first time in years. I am determined to finish this legacy!

7.19 Out of the Blue

Annnnd…. The “new” Gutenberg drag-and-drop editor freaked out at my external image links. Figured out how to disable it, and away we go!


As soon as they returned home, Winston insisted on installing a teppanyaki grill in the kitchen so that he could show off his new skills.

It didn’t work out quite as well as it had in class.

Training with Tyrone Biggs was uncompromising, rain or shine. “I think I’m ready to book my first gig,” Winston told Tyrone, standing in a mud puddle in a downpour after a training session.

“Is that really your best move?” Tyrone asked. “I think you need to work a little harder first.”

Inspiration struck Gamora.

She could use her father’s research contacts to increase the power of her space magnet.

The equations wrote themselves.

This was brilliant.

The possibilities were endless.

WHAM.

Hmm.

Perhaps the parameters needed a bit more adjustment.

“Vickie. I didn’t expect to see you here!”

“What can I say, Rod?” Victoria said. “Even I have to go grocery shopping sometimes.”

“Maybe it was fate that we both needed to grab a jug of milk at the same time,” he said.

“Do you think so?” she asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Do you have some extra time,” he asked, “or do you have to rush home to pour milk on your cereal?”

“I might have be free for the evening,” she admitted.

 

“Come on then! There’s a movie you just have to see!”

“I took a class from this director at film school,” Rodney said. “This is his debut work. He use of light and closeups just really grabs me every time.”

“Film school?” Victoria said. “I don’t think you mentioned that before.”

 

“Oh, wow,” Rodney said. “I didn’t? I’ve been studying so hard that sometimes I forget there’s life off the screen!”

“Take a look at that shot,” he continued, reverence in his voice. “Some day, I am going to make a film with this kind of power, something that reminds us that deep inside we’re all romantics.”

“Did you like it?” he asked as the credits scrolled, his voice a bit brittle.

“I thought it was beautiful,” Victoria admitted. “I guess I don’t think that much about romance, even though I like to flirt. This movie did touch something in me.”

“I’m so glad!” Rodney exclaimed. “It’s hard to share art. You never know how people are going to react to things that–”

“–mean so much–”

“Oh, Victoria….”

 


Hey, it’s not as long as some of my posts, but it moves things forward!

7.18 Surf and Sail

Restlessness descended on the Sample household. Perhaps it was inevitable for a well-to-do family where nobody had a steady job.

It was late in the morning, and two young adults without steady jobs were engaged in a vicious table tennis championship.

Dear old Connery’s food bowl was almost empty, and he wanted everyone to know.

Victoria came downstairs after loosing to Winston in 3 games out of 5 and launched into a snippy conversation with Edmund about the noise he made casting spells at night while she was trying to sleep.

In the middle of all of the drama, Dylan brought in the newspaper

and found the only quiet spot to read it.

At noon, and still in her nightgown, Victoria was struck by inspiration.

“I know just the thing we need!” she declared. “A vacation! Tickets to Sunlit Tides are on sale. We should jump on it while they’re still cheap.”

“Another tropical vacation?” Edmund said. “There are other places we could visit, you know.”

“If you have a better idea, you can make the travel arrangements yourself,” Victoria said.

“Hmmm,” Edmund said, “I think there might actually be some research I could do in Sunlit Tides.”

“You don’t mind if we sit this out?” Dylan asked his daughter. “These old bones just don’t enjoy airline travel as much as they used to.”

“Sure, Daddy,” Victoria said. “You take care of yourself!”

Once they were gone, Dylan and Andria let on their real plans. “The whole house to ourselves!” Dylan said.

Andria gave him a sultry look. “Whatever will we do with ourselves all alone?”

Victoria’s discount vacation package was good for a suite at the Holiday Village Resort.

“Quirky,” Winston said as he surveyed the outside.

“What’s wrong with quirky?” Victoria demanded.

“I didn’t say there was anything wrong, did I?” Winston said.

There certainly wasn’t anything wrong for Winston. The receptionist walked into the room to check them in, and it was clear she liked what she saw.

“Room for three!” Victoria said. “Under Sample.”

“Sample,” the receptionist said, looking over Victoria’s shoulder at her brothers standing behind. “You’re siblings, right? Not a romantic getaway? Just asking so we… give you the right experience. Right.”

Victoria got the room key and eagerly headed upstairs to see their suite.

Winston, on the other hand, was caught with the sudden need to show off his physique.

After all, now he had an audience.

In the morning, Winston was still flirting.

And his audience was almost too appreciative.

Edmund spent his time at the buffet, trying to pretend that he and Winston were not related.

Winston wasn’t the only one who turned heads, though. He was just the only one who was excited by it.

“What are we going to do with our first day?” Victoria said, trying to ignore the stares from the tourist who had sat down, uninvited, at their breakfast table.

To her relief, he finally took the hint.

“So guess, what?” Winston said, “There’s a culinary school here that specializes in Asian and Polynesian cuisine. I’m going to take a cooking class!”

Victoria’s face lit up.

“You know, Winston, that gives me a great idea!”

“Both of you have fun,” Edmund said. “I have some books to read.”

Winston rolled his eyes. “You know how to have a good time, brother.”

Edmund was indeed off to read books. The Fae Council had turned him on to an archive of the arcane arts hidden in Sunlit Tides. Such things were always hidden unless you were taught to look for them.

He had to plead with the proprietor to convince him that he was qualified to access the collection. The names of the Fae Council of Avalon didn’t hold much power out here. But Edmund was persistent.

He wasn’t disappointed.

There was information here on vampires that he’d never guessed at.

But he also found himself… lonely. It was an unfamiliar feeling. He wondered what Joy thought of him, if she thought anything at all.

The sky opened up in a tropical downpour, but Victoria was undaunted.

She enrolled in a sailing class at the marina.

She hoped it wasn’t too touristy.

She wanted to learn some serious sailing.

She wasn’t too disappointed in the class, but she had exceeded all they could teach her by the time it was half over. She was a natural.

It was just her, the ocean, and the wind. It was like a dream come true.

But the best part was the unlimited boat rental that came with the class.

Now she could go anywhere on the island, not just the parts reserved for tourists.

True to his word, Winston enrolled in a Teppanyaki class.

It was like someone had designed a culinary tradition with Winston in mind.

Part cooking.

Part showmanship.

And plenty of excuse to relax with a resort massage.

 

All three returned, exhausted, to their suite at night.

Tired or not, Winston had plenty of time to spend texting his admirer before bed.

While Winston was absorbed in his phone, Victoria and Edmund drifted out to the balcony to look out at the ocean.

After a while, Victoria turned to watch Edmund watching her. “You want to ask me an uncomfortable question about talking to people, don’t you?” she said.

“Not this time, really,” Edmund said. “I’m try to ask myself instead.”

Victoria smiled at him. “You’ll do better that way. You can’t get that girl out of your head, huh? The one you want to help?”

“Actually,” Edmund admitted. “I was thinking of someone else.”

Victoria raised her eyebrows. “Wow, two girls in your life. You’re turning into a social butterfly.”

Edmund chuckled. “What about you? Whenever I see you in public, you have at least one man following you. Why is it you haven’t found true love by now?”

Victoria sighed. “That’s just the problem, isn’t it? I don’t even know what they like so much about me.”

“That’s because you can’t see yourself,” Edmund said.

In the morning, when his brother and sister headed down to breakfast, Edmund found a private room to write.

He wasn’t sure how to express to Joy the way he felt about her, but he hoped that if practiced writing them out, he could get better at it.

Victoria made good use of her freedom of the sea.

To find the treasures hidden under the surface.

Sunlit Tides was home to some awe-inspiring aquatic antiquities sites off the beaten path.

And in the dark depths of old ruins,

she was sure she saw someone watching her intently.

She tried to wave, but the figure swam away.

Winston discovered his admirer worked evenings at the resort bar.

So he took a sudden interest in exotic drinks.

“I’ve never had a drink that smoked before!”

“Here goes!”

“Wow, it’s pretty good!”

“I was sure you wouldn’t lead me wrong!”

At that, even his captive audience had to roll her eyes.

“Ok, sorry, that was laying it on a little think, even for me.”

She had to laugh at that.

One evening, Victoria came down to see what the fuss was about.

“How are you doing, brother dear? I wanted to know where you’ve been disappearing to all this time.”

“Enjoying some great drinks! Try something. I didn’t know you could do such crazy things with juice!”

“OK, I do have to try. Make me something.”

“Do you have a favorite drink?” the bartender asked.

“Not really. Surprise me.”

She was surprised all right.

She sneaked off to pour the rest of the drink in a planter and headed to bed.

Winston didn’t come up to the room until after Victoria and Edmund were sound asleep. He seemed to be doing just fine with his vacation romance.

They spent their last day together, lounging at the boardwalk.

Enjoying each other’s company.

And playing in the ocean.

Winston even tested out some new moves.

Which went over very well.

After the afternoon on the boardwalk, they took in dinner and a show at a tiki bar near the resort.

The performer turned out a be an acrobat, which Winston seemed to find complicated — he wasn’t sure if he felt threatened or wanted to take this as an educational opportunity.

But someone unexpected caught the acrobat’s eye, even as she performed on the stage.

Edmund couldn’t have been more surprised.

The show was popular, and the waitstaff seated a solo guest at the table with the Sample trio. That turned out to be unfortunate.

Victoria wasn’t quite sure what she’d said wrong, but apparently her smalltalk wasn’t up to snuff.

The stranger was incredibly insulted.

“Hey, I didn’t mean it,” Victoria said awkwardly. “No harm no foul?

“You can stop kicking me under the table any time now.”

“Get your hand out of my face!”

The whole thing could have been a whole lot more fun if it had been just the three of them.

After the show, Winston went over to introduce himself to the performer. It was always good to network in his profession. Plus, she was cute, and Winston always noticed cute.

“It’s so nice to meet you!” she said. “But isn’t that your sister in a fistfight over there?”

As a matter-of-fact, it was.

“Get her, Vickie!” Edmund shouted. “Don’t let her push you around!”

He never knew he had it in him.

Vickie didn’t start the fight, but she knew how to finish it.

And she couldn’t resist the parting shot.

“Take that!”

“Eeek! What did you do to me??”

“Just a little cold shoulder,” Victoria said.

“Come on guys. I’m tired. Let’s go home.”


Ha! This one was hard to write. I took WAY too many pictures of a vacation that wasn’t terribly plotty to begin with, and then they ended up all mixed up and hard to sort out. I didn’t bother to track the names of the walk-on characters, and I’m afraid I’ll never publish this if I make myself go back to look.

The lovely resort was “The Village” Holiday Resort.

On the first night, I saw a Showtime performance at one of the venues I’d dropped in Sunlit Tides, but then I had the class problem of no performer on the stage. So then I went back to NRaas and figured out to get some performers so that it would work properly. It’s a mod interaction with something in the NRaas suite such that there are no Showtime performers assigned. It annoys me that this is default behavior. Sure, Showtime recruits way too many performers, but I do like a few!

This doesn’t advance much in the way of plot, but Vickie has a dive-based LTW, and I can’t bring myself to have her do all her diving in the one dive lot I’ve managed to plant on Avalon. So, more vacations in store! I did love some of the autonomous adventures the characters got themselves into. The fight on the final day was classic.

Also, Edmund has it bad for Joy. He rolled a wish to send her a love letter :).