Tag Archive | xia

6.20 Ground Control

#sims3challenge #sims3legacy #sims3story #thesims3

Dylan and Andria doted on little Edmund.

But parenthood wasn’t too exhausting for them. Edmund didn’t lack for backup caregivers.


Xia in particular didn’t seem to care that he wasn’t biologically her grandson.

The only Sample who wasn’t standing in line to play with the baby was Sawyer.

He had other things on his mind. Residency at the hospital was exhausting. When he wasn’t on rotation, he was reading medical journals.

He attacked his job with his traditional laser-like focus, tuning out everything around him for hours on end.


All right, he had two things on his mind.

Manisha came to visit for long weekends, during which time they mostly stayed home. Manisha was a homebody, and that suited Sawyer fine.

Aside from watching movies in the tech den of the main house, they spent most of their time in Sawyer’s lab, doing whatever it is geeks do when they’re alone.


Manisha got along surprisingly well with the rest of the Sample. Xia, of all people, took to her the most.


“What?” Xia asked when this was mentioned. “Ground Control is filled with people like her.”
Andria’s farm flourished. She grew things there that none of the Samples had ever seen. And very unusual things seemed to happen there.

Andria treated the plants like her own children. When they were hurt, she felt their pain.

She shared a connection with growing things that was unlike anything a normal mortal could know.


Dylan gave in to his enthusiasm for nectar. He’d taken an introductory class in nectaring on his honeymoon. He imported some equipment and began to experiment.

He also spent time training Connery.


Dylan’s life hadn’t turned out anything like he expected, and yet he loved it.

“Funny how that happens sometimes,” Xia said sagely.

Sky’s solo career showed no signs of slowing down.

Demand for Ghostwriter performances was actually picking up.

Abby’s career, on the other hand, wasn’t finding traction. She was going to a lot of auditions, but nothing had panned out. She took her frustration out on the aging, broken dishwasher.

“I can help you fix it,” Xia suggested. “Electronics are part of my career.”
“Just let me do this,” Abby snarled. 

Dylan just worked with her in companionable silence.

Connery and Sky had a special bond.

He loved her music and would even “sign along” when they played it at home.

There was even a sudden drop in attempted break-ins once he began standing guard.

Andria had always wanted a big family, and biology was on her side. The next Sample was on the way before Edmund was even a toddler.

Not long before, however, Edmund’s birthday was upon them.

Here’s Edmund!

Xia proudly sat him at the table with the rest of the family.

He didn’t get to eat the cake,

but he was pretty happy with his celebratory bottle.

After the festivities, it was Edmund’s bedtime.

Dylan and Andria stole some time together after Edmund was finally asleep.

“Head to bed without me,” Xia said to Sky. “I have something to do. I’ll be right up.”

With Abby safely out of the way, Xia intended to finally fix that dishwasher.

The sound of the explosion woke up the household and brought them running.

But it was too late for Xia.

It all happened so fast. Sky never said a word. She just watched the love of her life disappear in stunned silence.

Grim’s job was done, and he turned out to be a fan of Ghostwriter music.

While the Samples grieved, he got his groove on.

Sawyer descended on him. “While you’re here, I want you to explain some secrets of life.”

“What? Oh, I’m late for my next appointment,” Grim said and was gone.

———-

And so comes the surprise end of Xia. She fixed the dishwasher autonomously, was zapped and nearly killed. I didn’t even know that sims could repair things autonomously. I admit that I sent her back for the second time. It was part curiosity about the legendary dishwasher deathtraps, and partly because I felt like Xia had told me how she wanted to leave the game. She becomes the second Sample to become a colored ghost. Well, she and Veronica always like attracting attention.

Putting in the Grim antics seemed in sort of bad taste, but come on — Grim antics.

Edmund got the best coloration of all Dylan and Andria’s kids IMHO. I mean, come on! He got Leah’s hair! Also Andria’s eyes. We’ll see how his face turns out.

Also, Andria can bring plants back to life! That’s apparently what happens when you max out your Gardening skill. Or maybe that combined with Green Thumb? At any rate, I’d never seen it before. Seems like the perfect power for a plant fae.

Dylan has topped out the Photographer career, so I’m going to see what he can do with nectar making.

6.19 Harvest

#sims3challenge #sims3legacy #sims3story #thesims3

Spooky Day was coming.

Xia found Dylan sitting outside at dusk. “Do we really need three jack-o-lanterns?” asked.

Dylan grimaced. “I got carried away,” he admitted.
Xia chuckled. “Move over. Let me show you how it’s really done.”

The Sample house was the best-decorated house on the street.

They got so carried away with the candles that Dylan ended up cleaning up after a little… accident in the den. Nobody was hurt. They had to replace the sofa.

The morning brought the Spooky Day Festival at the park.

Abby asked the mirror to tell her fortune. It told her the future was murky.





“Um, Abby? Did you have to stand right in front of us?”
“It was a crowded picture! Where was I supposed to stand?”
“OK, let’s try it again.”

“OK, that’s better.”

When they got home in the afternoon, Andria immediately started baking.

Xia, ever the Party Animal, invited everyone she knew to a feast.



And afterward, they put a Ghostwriter vinyl on the turntable, and there was dancing.

As Dylan, Sky, and Xia said goodbye to the last guests, Andria went to take a bath. Then the pains came.

“Don’t worry,” Sawyer said. “This is my line of work.”

He escorted Andria an incoherently frantic Dylan to Ygraine Memorial Hospital.

Where they welcomed Edmund Sample into the world.

———-

Welcome Generation 7!

Edmund was born with both his traits locked in. Neither was new, which disappointed me. One of them was Proper, which I felt like I’d done to death with Dylan. I have some ideas for it now that, combined with his later traits, should be a lot of fun. The question is Proper *what* :).

Those are the best pictures I could get of the usual clusterf*k of a large group of sims trying to eat together. Icarus_Allsorts has a mod for that now: Set the Table and Call to Meal. I’m going to give it a try. I LIKE my big parties, but this so annoying.

So, I’ve always enhanced the fireplaces to be fireproof for obvious reasons. I wanted to try out some of the OTHER enhancements you could add with Xia’s maxxed-out Handiness skill. I find it annoying that you can’t stack enhancements, even at level 10. If someone knows a mod for that, let me know.

I thought, “I know fireplaces can catch rooms on fire, but how often does that really happen?” It’d be nice to have the occasional dangerous event.

That was the third fire you see up in the picture in one week. I bought Fireproof Homestead.

6.15 Fresh Start

#sims3challenge #sims3legacy #sims3story #thesims3

Summer was drawing to a close. Some of the trees were already turning their leaves.

There were also thank-you notes to write for their wedding gifts.

“Wait? Fabian Sample? Is he a distant relative or something?”
“I don’t know. The only person I know of by that name is dead.”
Andria worked tirelessly to get a small first harvest out of her fledgeling farm.

Dylan wasn’t enthusiastic about the dirtiest work, but he enjoyed the labor.

Andria made a deal with the local farmer’s market to sell some of her produce. There wasn’t much this year, but hopefully next year she would have a lot to sell.

And then there were the chickens.

And the bees.


Abby’s phone rang. The display read NEMO HODGINS. It was now or never.

“Hello?”

“Hey, baby! You didn’t return my calls! I hope everything’s all right.”

“Yeah,” Abby said. “I just needed to think.”

“I want to see you. Meet me at Performance Park tonight?”

“Of course.”

She hung up, took a deep breath, and headed out to meet her challenge.

There he was. “My rising star! I’ve missed you!”

He reached out to put his arm around her, and she scuttled out of his reach.

He didn’t immediately catch the hint. “Sorry,” he said. “I know it’s public, but you’re just so luscious I can’t keep my hands to myself. Look, I have a great opportunity! I want you to be my personal assistant. We can go great places, you and I.”

“Your assistant?” Abby said. “You’re kidding me, right?”

“Hey hey! Lots of actresses get their start in administration. Wait, you’re really not all right, are you?”

“I’ve been talking with all the other actresses you helped with their careers,” Abby said. “You’ve been hoping we’d never talk to each other, haven’t you? We’re all filing complaints right now. And giving interviews to the press. If you’re not scared of what you’ve done, you better be.”

Nemo froze. The friendly smile dropped from his face.

“You have got to be kidding!” he shouted. “Do you have any idea the favors I did for your talentless freaks? You wouldn’t have a career without me! Take me down, and you’ll never work again!”


For a minute Abby was afraid he was going to hit her. She took another step backward.
“It’s already starting,” she said. “Goodbye!”

She turned and walked away. Behind her, she heard Nemo shout, “Your career is over! You never had one, and now it’s done! I hope it’s worth it!”

When she got home, she stood in front of the mirror for the first time since Dion confronted her on Love Day. Did it hurt? Was she still ashamed of herself?

Maybe a little, but much less than before. If she could help any other actresses from making the same bad decision, then all of this would be worth it.

But Nemo was also right. She had acted only a few roles, and ever one of them was something he had handed her. Without him, she was back to square one. Worse, since she would get more publicity for trying to run a casting agent out of business than she’d ever gotten for her acting.



Was
 this the end of her career? Was it worth it?

Dylan found her there. “Did you meet him?” he asked.

Abby nodded. “Now I just have to brace myself for a lot of paparazzi and a bunch of horrible stories about me in celebrity journals.”

Dylan chucked her on the shoulders. “Think of it as research for your future starring role!”

Abby couldn’t help but giggle.

“Thanks for supporting me, big brother,” Abby said.

“Ahem,” Sawyer said.

Abby looked up in surprise. “What’s up Sawyer?”

“I was accepted to Sims University with a full scholarship,” Sawyer said. “I start this fall.”

Abby beamed. “That’s great! I never doubted it, though. I bet all the schools wanted you. I’ll miss you while you’re off growing your mind.”

“That’s just the point,” Sawyer said, scowling.
“What point?” Abby asked.
“You should come with me.”

“What? Me go to college?”

“It’s better than hanging around here while they make fun of you.”

“I — I never thought about. I haven’t applied to any schools. I didn’t take any standardized tests.”

“You’re not stupid,” Sawyer said. “They’ll let you in.”

Abby was touched. From Sawyer, that was the highest of compliments. “OK. I guess I’ll apply.”

The questions on the entrance exam were challenging, to be sure. But she came up with something.

And apparently, it was a good something. Her acceptance letter arrived quickly. She was surprised, but Sawyer just shrugged. “I told you. You can rent the truck. I have to pack up my research supplies.”



And that was how Abby found herself saying goodbye to her family

And heading off in a rental truck to Sims U to study Fine Arts.

———-

Woo. Stuff. I’m kind of burning out, but I’m still trying to plug at getting caught up.

I’m sure I could do myself a favor if I condensed. I’ll see if I can do University in one post.

6.14 Wonders of the World

#sims3challenge   #sims3legacy   #sims3story   #thesims3 

The next morning, the happy couple was on their honeymoon. Dylan had always wanted to see Champs les Sims, and Andria was hardly going to argue against a legendary lovers’ destination.

Dylan was determined to record all the most beautiful moments of their trip.

Dylan had a big adjustment to the idea of being married. Andria would catch him staring at his ring when he thought she wasn’t looking. If she made even the slightest suggestive remark, he would blush furiously and drop out of the conversation.

The honeymoon was just the right thing. With daily life far away, they had nothing to focus on but each other.

With patient coaxing, Dylan gradually relaxed when they were alone. Woohoo was the opposite of everything he had built his life around; the whole point was to be sensual, primal, and out-of-control. At first, he need reassurance that every intimate touch was appropriate and not crude or disrespectful.

By the time they returned home, though, it was hard to imagine ever sleeping alone again.

They didn’t spend their entire time at the hotel, though. There was too much of the French countryside to see.

Andria searched out a cafe off the tourist path so that they could sample some authentic French cuisine.

Then she puzzled out the recipe so that she could try to make it herself.

Dylan, on the other hand, plotted a photo shoot of one of the wonders of the simworld.

The Simfel Tower.

They went out nectar tasting.

And Andria was finally able to understand what Dylan liked so much about it.

One afternoon, when they’d tried maybe a few too many different nectars, Andria said in a low, husky voice, “Do you know what I’d really like to do at the Simfel Tower?”

Dylan, in spite of himself, leaned closer. “What might that be?”

She set down her glass and grabbed him. “Come with me and find out!”



And that would be how Champs les Sims chased the newlywed Samples out of the tower in nothing but their skivvies.

“This never happened,” Dylan said. “If you ask me, I will deny it.”

Andria couldn’t stop giggling. “What happens in France stays in France, right?” At the look on her face, she continued, “Oh, come on. Tell me those guys don’t chase a new couple out of the tower every night. They’ve seen it all.”

To calm himself down, Dylan took a nectar-making class.

Andria perfected her Bouillabaisse recipe.

Dylan had to admit that by the time she was satisfied, it was better than the original.

And then, all too soon, they found themselves on their last day of vacation.

“I wonder if your family missed us while we were gone,” Andria mused as they sat under the stars.

Dylan chuckled. “I wonder if they noticed we were gone.”

Meanwhile, Sawyer had grown up and graduated from high school.

There was no party. That was the way he liked it.

He asked to be excused from giving a speech as class valedictorian, but the administration insisted. He ended up reading someone else’s speech about the importance of intellect to overcome adversity.

He immediately began applying for college scholarships.

Xia and Sky caught yet another break-in.

It was becoming clear that these burglaries had nothing to do with organized crime in Avalon. That was why Forest couldn’t do anything to stop them.

Sky found a secret webpage hosted by one of her fan sites. Hardcore fans were trying to buy and sell her clothes! She contacted the police department to try and get it shut down. They’d just have to try to tighten their security even more.

Xia nudged Sky in the ribs as the police carted off the latest offender. “There’s an icky side of celebrity if I ever saw one,” she said.

Sky shuddered. “At least he only wanted to take the clean underwear…”

Abby was training for her next role and trying to prepare herself to take the next step against Nemo Hodgins.

Eventually, she told her parents the story. They were shocked, but supportive. As a show of solidarity, Abby and Sky took a revitalizing day at the salon and invited the press.

“I guess if my fans want to buy my old clothes, it won’t hurt to show them a little skin,” Sky mused.


They even both got tattoos.


Sky continued to do a few, very select, personal appearances. One of them was Forest’s boyfriend’s husband’s birthday.

It made her head hurt. But at least everyone behaved well.

———-

This isn’t the greatest stopping place, but I realized that I had laid out another ENORMOUS post. So a second one should come shortly.

The Sing-A-Gram popups never cease to crack me up.

I was using the Eiffel Tower replacement from MTS and the accompanying Woohooer extension, but for some reason it never seemed to work completely. There were supposed to be heart petals showering from the tower, and they didn’t happen. Ah, well. That would have been awesome. Though seeing Dylan kicked out of the tower naked was pretty awesome too. πŸ˜‰

6.13 Do

Dylan and Andria Sword Sample were married at First Church of Avalon.




As evening fell, Dylan and his new wife… wife… found themselves back home. They left for Champs le Sims on their honeymoon tomorrow, but they would spend tonight in the room that had belonged to just Dylan this morning. Now it belonged to both of them.



He tried to keep his hand from shaking as he lit a romantic fire in the fireplace.

“So I guess this is the moment we’ve been waiting for,” Andria teased as she sat down on the bed.

“Right,” Dylan said weakly. He cleared his throat. “I, uh, know that a first woohoo can be uncomfortable for women. I want to be sure not to–“

“Hush, my love.” Andria pulled him close and silenced him properly.

“But I don’t know what to do now,” Dylan said.

Andria took him her arms. “You know,” she said, “you’ve set the terms of our relationship from the first time we dated. I’ve had to trust you that it would turn out all right.”

“I’ve always tried to do what’s best–“

Andria shook her head. “Hush.” She leaned gently against him, helping him slide down against the pillow.

“Now,” she said, “I think it’s time me to take charge. Do you trust me?”

“Of course I trust you.”

“Then you know it will be all right.”

#sims3challenge   #sims3legacy   #sims3story   #thesims3  

———-

I present to you Andria Sword Sample

In addition to being an Imaginary Friend, she is:

Ambitious
Pefectionist
Technophobe
Green Thumb
Nurturing

And something else I’ll have to look up :). Bizarrely, her favorite color is hot pink. I decided that anyone who loves hot pink is a bit of a closet fashion diva, and I’ve tried to express that in her clothes.

The Nurturing trait means that you need not worry about producing a Generation 7. In fact, if the household weren’t stuffed full from legacy play, they’d probably have had more children.

Her LTW was Perfect Garden, but the first thing I spent her LTH points on was a new LTW. It is now Alchemy Artisan. Since she’s fae, story-wise, this seemed like a good time to introduce more stuff from the Supernatural expansion. Also, since I’ve already taken the point for Perfect Garden, the next most logical use for the Green Thumb trait is growing Alchemy ingredients.

I figured they’d have a pretty traditional wedding :). I had a lot of fun with the church. I have no idea why everyone sat on one side of the aisle though. Also, the game is really annoying about having random sims drop actions from their queue. Sky, I think, dropped the wedding action, and I had to just make her sit down every time she stood up until the ceremony was over.

One thing that entertained me greatly was the digital photo frame on the wall by the bed in the wedding night scene. It showed a new picture of Dylan’s almost every screenshot. Sadly, most of these didn’t make it into the final cut.

6.12 Stern Talking

Sky headlined at Llama Music Center.

The stands were packed. She had never imagined she had so many fans.

In the sea of faces, she could easily pick out Forest’s. She didn’t even think he liked her sort of music. Whatever else he was, he was a loyal brother.

She sang her soul out.

In the morning, she was almost afraid to read the reviews.

“It was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had as a musician!” she gushed to to Xia when she returned home after midnight.

“I wish I could have been there,” Xia said, pouring her girlfriend a glass of juice. “The pre-mission mission ran really long. It’s really a routine excursion, but this will be my first trip into space!”

“I’m going to miss you, but I’m so excited that you’re finally going to reach your dream. You’re literally reaching for the stars, huh?”

Xia smirked. “For a couple of old geezers, we’re sure not slowing down, are we?”

Sky snorted. “You’re doing a great job at being an embarrassing old woman. Now you need to get to bed, or you’re going to nod off during blastoff.”

“That’s right! I have to get my beauty rest. Not just for me, but for geezers everywhere!”

It was after dawn before they finally got to sleep.

Abby was a wreck. She’d been trying to soldier on, but it just wasn’t working. After the casting director stopped her in the middle of an audition and asked her not to come back, she lost her last grip on composure. She burst into tears and fled home.

The sound of her sobs brought Dylan running. “Abby! Good heavens! What’s wrong?”

“Everything!” Abby said. “I made a horrible mistake. Now I’m publicly humiliated. My career is a joke. Even Dion thinks I’m disgusting, and I think he’s right.”

“Whoa, whoa! You are not disgusting. Please tell me what happened.”

“I woohooed a casting agent,” she said. “And then someone found out and reported it to a gossip magazine.”

“Oh my gosh,” Dylan gasped. “Why would you do something like that?”

“Because I want to act!” Abby cried. “Do you know how hard it is to break into acting? Do you know how many people start their careers on the casting couch?

“But woohoo? You don’t have to compromise your body to reach your dream!”

“I was so frustrated showing up at audition after audition and seeing that bland smile. I thought it was just a sacrifice I had to make. Now I’ve ruined my career and everyone’s respect. Especially mine. I can’t even look at myself in the mirror!”
“Stop!” Dylan exclaimed.

“I– what?”
“Don’t you see? You’ve fallen into a trap,” he said. “I dare say it’s exactly the trap that this sorry excuse for  a human being hoped you would fall into. If you made a mistake, it was provoked, and I can only begin to guess how many other worthy actresses have the same story to tell. 

“You can’t let this strike you down. You’re stronger than that. I know. You’re my sister.”

“Dylan…” Abby murmured. “I thought you of all people would be horrified.”

“I am horrified,” Dylan said gravely. “I’m horrified that you must fights wolves like this agent in order to pursue your dreams. It shouldn’t be like this.”

“You’re right,” Abby said. “It shouldn’t be like this. Thank you. You won’t tell my moms?”



“Mama reads gossip mags to find the stories about herself. She might find out anyway. But I won’t tell her. Abby… I’m sorry you’re going through this, but I want to set your mind at ease. You have never done anything to make me respect you less. I don’t think you ever will.”

“Thanks, Big Brother. I guess you’re so, well, old-fashioned that I was sure you’d think less of me.”

Dylan smiled a little. “I think we have different definitions of ‘chivalry,'” he replied.

Plum Marmalade seemed to be having a bit of trouble with reality.

She surprised Sky with a bouquet of purple roses one day at an autograph session. “They were so bright and beautiful, they made my heart sing! And that made me think of you.”

Sky’s eyes darted to Leah, who was watching nearby, as she accepted the flowers. “I think maybe these would be better for your wife?”

“Ah yes, my wife! Have you met my darling Leah? Doesn’t she have the most sparkling blue eyes?”

“I’m sorry,” Sky said to Leah. “I didn’t do anything, I swear! Is everything all right with Plum?”

“It’s not as bad as it looks,” Leah said with a grimace. “Plum’s on a new medication, and it seems to make her a bit loopy. We’re working with the doctor on a better dosage.”

“If you need any help, let me or Dylan know.”

“I think we’re all right. Thanks anyway!”

“Don’t let’s leave without an autograph!” Plum gushed.

Sky scribbled on a scrap of paper. “That, at least I can do,” she said.

Xia, on the other hand, was in a break in her astronaut training. She was prepped and ready for her first mission, and now all there was to do was wait.

“I don’t know what to do with myself!” she confided to her friend and boss, Anita Bookabet.

“We are both women of leisure,” Anita said with a chuckle. “We should find some fun way to waste taxpayer money.”

So they went outside and played football.

Xia also took up fishing and could be found by the pond on the Sample estate at odd hours. “I’m just practicing for the long hours I’ll have to be alert when we blast off.”

A phone rang while Sawyer was irradiating a life fruit seed. He had to look around for a moment before he realized it was his phone. His phone never rang.

“Why are you calling?”

“Hello? Is this Sawyer Sample?”

“Yes I am.”

“This is Sharon Leonard. I was wondering if you’d like to go out.”

“Go out? Go out where?”

“To Fiddler’s Green?”

“I guess so.”

His mom was always telling him to be more social. He guessed it couldn’t hurt. While he was driving to the pub, he finally placed the name. Sharon Leonard was a girl in his science class.

She was waiting for him as he stepped out of the car. “Hi there.”

“You’re the one who laughed at me when I got into a fight at Honeydukes,” Sawyer said when he saw her.

“Yeah, about that. I didn’t really mean to make fun of you. Besides, you should have seen what the other guy looked like when you hit him!”

“He was a real moron.”

“I could tell. A real mouth breather. Anyway, I was mean to you, and I was hoping I could make it up to you.”

“How would you do that?”

“I could buy you dinner?”

“I’m not sure if that would make it up, but I’m happy to eat.”

So they did. Sawyer was able to find hot dogs on the menu at Fiddler’s Green. That made him feel better. Then Sharon suggested that they go upstairs and play shuffleboard for a while.

Shuffleboard was a pretty dumb game. He could analyze the velocity of the pucks, but his analysis didn’t have much effect on the outcome.

Sharon kept talking, but it was repetitive stuff: what he thought of his teachers, whether he had any hobbies. Pointless drivel like that.


Finally, Sawyer had to stop. “I’m sorry, but this game is boring. You’re pretty of stupid. I think I’m going to go home and find something more interesting to do. Thanks for inviting me anyway.”

He left her gaping at the shuffleboard table as he headed home.

Dylan found Andria surveying the living room with a distressed look on her face.

“Is there something wrong with our decorating?” Dylan asked. “You look offended.”

“So much electronics!” she said with a scowl. “All out in the open where everyone has to see them!”

“Have you ever thought of living off the grid?” she asked eagerly. “We totally have the resources. All these technical doodads destroy our connection to the land.”

“Good heavens! I had no idea you felt so strongly,” Dylan said. “I have no particular love for electronics. They seem kind of garish. I don’t think the family would be too eager to move to a farm, however.”

“We have enough land to do it here!” Andria said. “I’m certain of it. There’s so much untapped potential in this property. Even through all the interference from technology, I can feel the pulse of the land. This is a beautiful place.”

“This is about your true self?” Dylan asked awkwardly. “About being, uh, fae?”

“I guess so,” she admitted. “Our magic springs from the land. Electronics make me feel uncomfortable. It’s hard to describe, but it’s like one of my senses is muffled. Almost like a buzzing in my ear that won’t go away.”

“I can’t ask you to move into this home if it makes you feel that way,” Dylan said. “But I believe we’ll have to find some sort of compromise. Sawyer will never accept a limit on his scientific equipment.”

“Is Sawyer really going to live her after he graduates from college?”

“I honestly do not believe Sawyer should live on his own. He taunts us and complains, but it’s the only way he knows how to interact. He is special, and he needs us. I will not turn him away.”

Andria smiled wanly. “I was pretty sure you’d say something like that. All right, then. We’ll work something out.”

“On an unrelated subject, have you seen Abby?”
“She was reading something on the computer, and then she left. She looked like she’d been crying. Is she all right?”

Dylan scowled. “It’s her story to tell, but it involves the foulest of knaves,” he said. “It’s been all I can do to keep myself from tracking down this villain to give him… a really stern talking to. Oh, Andria, none of my experience in life has prepared me to defend my sister’s honor. What should I do now? Challenge him to a duel?”

Andria folded him into her arms. “You can’t defend her honor, my love. But she can, and I think she will.”

“Thank you so much for agreeing to meet,” Abby said. “This is a really awful subject. I wasn’t sure you would talk to me. When I started looking for celebrity tell-alls about me and Nemo Hodgins, I started finding articles about you. I guess we’re in the same boat.”


Aminali Ibari was the newest rising star with Plumbob Pictures. She’d recently completed filming a supporting role in the film adaptation of The Dog Barks for Thee, which would hit box offices next month.

“Don’t read those articles,” Aminali said seriously. “They’ll drive you crazy. I want to put all that behind me and focus on acting.”

“But is it true?” Abby asked. “Did Hodgins offer to exchange woohoo for jobs with you?”
“If you really want to know my story, I’ll tell you,” Aminali said. “You promised to buy me a drink.”

Over the course of the evening, Abby and Aminali shared their stories with each other. They were surprisingly similar. Or perhaps not so surprising. They shared the same passion for acting and faced the same barriers to making their career. And they both had Nemo Hodgins in their past…. Aminali further in the past, but not much further. Realizing how recently Nemo had passed from Aminali to her filled Abby with another wave of shame.

“We can’t let him keep doing this to young actresses,” Abby said. “We have to do something.”
“What can we do?” Aminali demanded. “He has all the power. Young wannabe actresses are interchangeable, and he knows it. Nobody is willing to risk their careers to go after him.”
Abby took a deep breath. “I think I am.”

Aminali just stared at her. “Do you realize what you’re saying? If you accuse someone in the industry, you could be blacklisted. He might come out smelling like a rose.”
“I just can’t sit back and let him prey on any more women,” Abby said. “I think it’s worth the risk. If I lose my chance at a film career, maybe I can save someone from what we went through.”

“You’re a pig-headed woman,” Aminali said. “Take that as a compliment. If you go public against Nemo Hodgins, I will back you up.”

“Oh, thank you so much!” Abby cried. “I just wanted to know your story. I didn’t expect to find an ally!”

“It’s about time we started standing together,” Aminali said. “Good luck to you.”

———-

I didn’t expect the big show venue to be so awesome. If you get close, you can see how artificial the big crowd looks, but it’s a still a fabulous effect.

Abby looks like she’s wearing too much makeup. I could have sworn it looked more tasteful when I was playing it. Ah, well, I’ve played weeks ahead of this, so we’re stuck with it.

Sharon Leonard invited Sawyer on a date. It was the only time he was invited on a date while he was a teen. I thought it was pretty funny that it was the same girl who made fun of him earlier. They had an attraction of 0. He couldn’t stand her.

6.11 Love in Light and Darkness

Note: This is crazy long, but I just couldn’t find any way to break it up that wasn’t clunky. It was just a very busy day!

———-

Love Day dawned in an inauspicious manner.

Riddle was itchy, and he thought it was time Dylan did something about it.

Considering that the itches were fleas, Dylan had to decontaminate both of them.

Xia wasn’t there that morning. He had risen before dawn and was already at Tintagel Keep.

Love Day was a big day for her, but not for the usual reasons. She was scheduled for an experimental flight test. The outcome could make or break her career.

“All right,” she said to her copilot, Mitchell Bachelor. “Here goes everything. Let’s set this plane on fire!”

“So, do you and Andria have anything special planned?” Sky asked her eldest son over breakfast.
“Of course I planned something,” Dylan replied. “It’s Love Day. I thought we’d take a romantic balloon ride at the festival.”

“I was thinking of something really special,” Sky said. “You and Andria have been seeing each other for a very long time. What’s holding you back?”

“Everything that didn’t hold you back,” Dylan snapped. “The last thing I need is romantic advice from you.”

“Wow,” Sky said, stung. “I know I didn’t always think ahead, but I think my kids turned out all right.”

Dylan sighed. “I’m sorry Mama. It’s just that we view our relationships very differently.”

“I can see that,” Sky said.

Dylan offered an awkward smile. “I have to go pick up Andria,” he said.

The sky was clear and blue. The sun was bright. It was hard to imagine a more perfect Love Day.

Dylan and Andria didn’t waste any time.

Abby had called and left a message for Dion, proposing that they go out to celebrate Love Day in the evening. Dion hadn’t called back yet. That was all right, though. She had landed the part that Nemo Hodgins promised her, and that had led to a much bigger part in a different production.

Her career was finally taking off. It was hard for her to complain about the huge stack of scripts she needed to learn.

Sawyer, on the other hand, would rather read scientific journals. He was willing to humor his family and read them at the park.

Sky ran into Forest. As usual, he quizzed her on any unusual behavior or break ins at her house. She assured him everything was fine.

Then Xia burst onto the scene.

“Take a look, baby!” she cried. “You’re looking at Avalon Island’s newest astronaut! Woot! Woot! Woot!”

“Really!” Sky exclaimed. “That’s fantastic!”

Xia swept her off her feet, literally. “We better make this moment count. Who knows when they’ll shoot me into space!”

She didn’t give Sky a chance to protest. Not that Sky would ever protest.

“Would you do me he honor of accompanying me on a little balloon ride?” Dylan suggested. “I rented it it out for an hour just for us.”

“Wow!” Andria said. “I’ve never been up flying!”

“Never? We need to travel together,” Dylan said. “Up we go!”

“Wow! This is beautiful! You can see so far!”

Dylan reached down into a cabinet at the base of the basket. “I brought a little something to mark the occasion.”

POP!

“Champagne! I should have expected you to so something dashing.”

“To many years together.”

“Mmmm. I love the bubbles. They tickle.”

“Now, my dearest, let’s see where this balloon will take us.”

“You mean we don’t have to stay at the festival?”

“Absolutely not! We just have to bring it back in an hour.”

“Wow! Then let’s explore!”

Xia, meanwhile, decided to learn how many hot dogs her stomach could hold.

When Hunter saw her entering an eating contest, he couldn’t help but try it himself.

Xia won. Hunter nearly made himself sick.

“The prize is more hot dogs,” Xia told Sky afterward. “I never want to see another hot dog for the rest of my life.”

Abby’s Love Day was lonely and getting lonelier. Dion still hadn’t called back, and the sun was getting low.


If there were a problem, he’d tell her, right?

“Wow….” Andria breathed. “It’s breathtaking.”


“I was hoping it would be,” Dylan said.

He held her hand while she looked all around her. They were, for all intents and purposes, completely alone, above a small cove on a corner of the island.

That was exactly what Dylan had intended.

“Andria,” he began, sinking to one knee.

Andria reached forward to pull him up. “Dylan? Are you all right?”

“I’ve never been better,” Dylan replied. He pulled something out of his pocket.

“Dylan! Is that–?”

“Andria, my lady love, you’ve been patient enough with me to be the noblest woman on the face of the Simearth. If you will allow me, I wish nothing more than to spend the rest of our lives making it worth your while. Please be my wife.”

“Dylan! I– I don’t know what to say!”
“Yes, I hope,” Dylan replied. “You’ve come this far. It seems premature to abandon our affair just when it could be most worthwhile.”

“Could you be any more over the top? Of course I’ll marry you!”

“You may be a crazy man, but I love you anyway.”

They dallied too long on the balloon ride, and Dylan had to pay a steep fee for returning late. And they almost missed the point of the party. They came dashing, hand-in-hand, back to the park just in time to see Xia blow out her candles.

“Here’s to being the most embarrassing old lady you ever met!”

“I gotta tell you, this has been one hell of a day!”

“Here we go!”

[It’s not my fault! I had a series of crashes here and replayed this birthday about three times. I have NO PICTURES after transition! I don’t know why! Xia’s new look is pretty much exactly like her old look, though.]

As everyone cheered for her mum’s birthday, Abby looked up to the park entrance and saw the one face she’d been most hoping for.

“Dion!” she cried. “I was starting to worry! I hope everything’s all right!”

Something in his eyes stopped her cold. “Dion?”

“Did you think I wouldn’t find out?” he shouted. “You didn’t even try to keep it secret!”

“Oh no,” Abby gasped. “No! No! No! Dion, it’s not like that. I didn’t mean–”

“Are you going to try tell me that you’re NOT woohooing with your boss? Do you think I’m that stupid?”

“It wasn’t supposed to be–“

Dion stared at her. Abby trailed off, unable to find words.

“Please, go on,” Dion snarled. “I’d love to know how you plan to finish that sentence. What was it supposed to be, and what do you think it looks like? What can you possibly say that makes this all right?”

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “It wasn’t supposed to hurt you.”

“You know where I found out? A gossip mag at the grocery store.”

Abby didn’t think she could be more shocked, but she was wrong. “They wrote about me?”

“Yeah. All publicity is good publicity, right?”

“Dion, please…”

“You disgust me. I never want to see you again.”

Abby watched him walk away, unable even to cry. Then, mechanically, she picked up a slice of cake and sat down with her family. The cake tasted like sawdust.

“Was that your boyfriend?” Andria asked. “He looked kind of upset. Everything all right?”

“Yeah,” Abby said. “He was kind of upset.” She didn’t elaborate.

“He should have stayed for cake!” Xia declared. “Everything is better with cake!”

Dylan caught Abby’s arm as he was cleaning up. “You all right?” he asked. “You want to talk about it?”

“Not yet?” Abby choked out.

“Come on!” Xia called. “You don’t want to miss the best part! Dylan, you’re on fire duty. I think I’m too buzzed to be safe.”

Dylan chuckled and grabbed the lighter.

“To many, many more years making fools of ourselves,” Xia shouted over the sound of the rocket.

“The very best kind of fools!”

———-

This post took me like a week to write :-p.

I have to say that the hot air balloon was the glitchiest piece of Sims premium content I’ve ever played with. Also, it only rises about the height of a sim off the ground, which makes it look kind of dumb in the air. Good thing I didn’t buy Aurora Skies for that thing. The champaign animation is absolutely adorable, but the proposal didn’t even work until I used MasterController to remove Andria’s Imaginary Friend occult status. I’ve noticed a few other interactions that don’t work for occult for no good reason. Somebody inherited from the wrong object someplace ;-p.

Xia’s LTW is now complete, which I believe finishes all the goals for Generation 5. It’s all Gen 6 now, and of course Gen 7 in the not-so-distant future.

I don’t feel like I’ve ever given Xia’s Party Animal trait enough attention. It’s flipping hard to throw a ton of parties in this game and get anything done. She’s always trying to throw a party autonomously, and I cancel it out. I always wanted to have her get drunk and dance on a table in one of the bars, but when I tried that at The Garden Gnome pub, it told me the ceiling was too low. I guess you can only do it in a place with two-story ceilings :-p.

Imagine she did more partying.

6.9 Fairies and Demons

The day was finally here.

Andria was aging into adulthood.

The whole extended family and then some turned out for her birthday party. Also, her half-brother Clifton Hodgins, who was the keyboardist in Ghostwriter. Her Uncle Arma had to work.

But nobody was happier than Dylan. Andria gave him a knowing wink as she blew out her candles.

Now was the first day of the rest of their lives.

Let the party begin!

As everyone settled down for cake,

Sky goofed around with Clifton.



Abby’s unsettling boss wandered around the place like it belonged to him and got into their private stuff.

Dylan was finally offended enough to ask him to leave.

“Do you think I’ll get grandbabies out of this?” Sky whispered to Xia.

“Shh!” Xia warned. “Not your business!”

Meanwhile, Dylan caught Andria away from the crush of people just as soon as their responsibilities as host and hostess were complete.

They stole out together to the quiet of the back yard to watch the stars and snuggle in a way they hadn’t done since they were kids.

“Do you wish upon stars?” Dylan asked.

“Sometimes,” Andria laughed. “That one looks like it’s listening.”

“What would you wish for?” Dylan asked.

Andria whispered in his ear.

Dylan blushed flaming red.

Meanwhile, Ghostwriter set up for an impromptu performance on the front lawn.

The might be a bit long in the tooth, but they still knew where their sound was.

Xia grabbed a chance to catch up with her son.

And party a little bit.

Dylan got out his birthday present for Andria.

“You’re old enough to drink it now,” he said. “I thought this was pretty fine stuff. Perhaps we could share a toast to a fresh start together?”

“I think that’s a lovely idea. I’ve been curious to know what nectar tastes like!”

They clinked their glasses and each took a sip. Andria made thoughtful noises. “It’s, um, a lovely color,” she concluded.

The sounds of the raucous party were still going on the front lawn. “Do you think they’ve even noticed we’re gone?” Andria asked.

“Mama’s never needed me to party,” Dylan replied. “Usually I just slow her down.”

“So tell me, my knight of propriety,” Andria asked archly, “are we cleared to cuddle on the sofa now?”

“Of course!” Dylan replied. “I’ve been looking forward to it!”

He put his arm around her.

And very quickly

Things got out of hand.

Andria pulled herself away. “Let’s take this upstairs,” she panted.

Dylan, unable to speak, just nodded. He let her lead him back to his bedroom.

Dylan was almost incapable of thinking at all. Never before had he felt desire like this. Never had he needed someone the way he needed Andria at that moment. Her touch trailed fire over his skin. His chest was so tight that it was almost hard to breathe.

Then, suddenly, he came to his senses and yanked himself away.

“Andria! What are we doing?”

Andria just stared at him. “Isn’t it obvious what we’re doing?

Dylan sat up. “We could have — we almost — how can we disrespect our relationship like this? We’re not even married yet!”

“Dylan!” Andria cried. “I just passed through one hoop for your propriety. How many more do I need?”

Dylan sat at the edge of the bed, shaking. “My parents came together just like this,” he said. “They were young. They didn’t know what they wanted. All they thought they were doing was having fun. They made ME, by accident, and it almost ruined their lives. I can’t do that. If we’re not sure that we will stay together, how can we take the risk?”

Andria laid a hand on his shoulder. He ran his fingers over hers, reverently, then took a deep breath and pushed her hand away.

“Do you want to marry me?” Andria asked softly.

“I… can’t imagine myself with anyone else,” Dylan said. “But is that enough?”

“Before we go any farther,” Andria said in a wavering voice, “there’s something you should know.”

She swung her legs over the side of the bed, stood up, and… shifted.

Dylan gasped. “What are you?”

“They call us machina fae,” Andria said. Her voice was strange, higher pitched and ethereal. “We live in your world in secret, using a glamor to make us look human. My father, Doctor Hodgins Sword, was fae. He taught me about it in secret. My mother never knew. I was supposed to keep it secret from you too, but I just can’t live like that. I need you to know who I really am.”

“You’re not human.” Dylan’s voice was flat, stunned.

“No,” Andria said. “If you can’t live with knowing that… I understand.” Her voice broke, just a little, as she said it.

Dylan sank to the bed and held his head in his hands. “I need to think,” he said. “I just need to think.”

———-

Andria is an Imaginary Friend! WTH?

I first discovered this when Dylan took her portrait, and the photograph subject was identified as “Imaginary Friend” rather than “My Main Squeeze,” which was what I was going for.

I looked at her parents in the mausoleum, and she inherited this from her father, Sebastian Hodgins, not her mother, Lynn Winslow Sword. I have no idea who Sebastian inherited from because his parents are long since purged. Gwynn? I don’t remember anything about IFs from the Hodgins Wishacy.

So that’s Andria’s big secret. She’s a part of a secret fae society living among the Avalonians.

6.8 Mirror Mirror

Finals were coming up at school, and Andria was a bundle of stress. At least, she said her stress was all about finals, and she spent a lot of time hitting the books. She began more and more time at the Sample estate until she was there all of her free time — arriving straight from school and leaving late at night to go to bed. She said her Uncle Arma made it impossible to study at home.

It wasn’t such a bad deal either. When Andria was stressed, she cooked, and she was pretty good at it.

Dylan held up his end by cleaning up after her. The kitchen was spotless and smelled delicious most of the time.

For the most part, everyone treated Andria as family.

Even Sawyer. Of course, that meant he accosted her whenever he was in a bad mood to complain that the smells of her cooking were distracting him from his studies.

Andria tried to give as good as she got.

“I saw you eating my cupcakes. It didn’t bother you then!”

“If you weren’t such an idiot, you’d know the appropriate times to cook.”

“Right, right,” Andria retorted. “Smart like you. You’ve already reminded everyone about that.”

Dylan worried about Andria, but she assured him that she wasn’t taking Sawyer’s theatrics too personally.

Instead, he worked on Connery’s training regimen.

Connery was a wary dog, even as a puppy. It wasn’t that easy to gain his trust.

On the other hand, he didn’t seem to be terribly destructive, and he took well to house training.

Riddle, on the other hand, was as loyal as could be.

Dylan wished he could take the old fellow to a dog show, but it wasn’t Riddle’s loyalty that was the problem — it was what was likely to do to anyone he WASN’T loyal to.

It was hard to get the mailman to bring by the mail any more.

Despite his complaining, Sawyer was at the top of his classes in everything. Everything except physical education, but he insisted that shouldn’t even be a school subject.

As Andria’s finals approached, Dylan got more and more excited about her birthday.

He spent time at the nectary, trying to find the perfect gift to celebrate her entry to adulthood.

He came for a gift for his once-and-future-girlfriend, but he stayed for the flavor.

A lifelong passion for nectar was awakened. Nectar was truly the most civilized drink in the Simworld.

Xia was offered a position as an experimental test pilot. She was transferred to the military base at old Tintagel Fortress.

“They keep making me wear this flying monkey suit!” she said to Abby. “I keep saying, ‘More flying! Fewer meetings!’ but nobody listens to me. Don’t you think this hat is absurd?”

“Am I allowed to say yes?” Abby asked, giggling.

“There’s something I want to ask you, Mum,” Abby said, becoming more serious. “You always go out there and get exactly what you want. Have you ever done anything that you were ashamed of?”

Xia gave her daughter a long look. “You want the truth?”

Abby nodded.

Xia signed. “I don’t know if I should admit this to you, but you’re a grown woman. I did a few things that I’d rather not talk about, but I don’t think I’m ashamed of any of them. Very few sims get a chance to shoot themselves out of a cannon at the moon, and I intend to be one of them. When you’re playing those odds, sometimes you have to break the rules, and you absolutely have to make sacrifices. The thing that matters most in the end is your self-respect. You’re the one who has to look at yourself in the mirror.”

Xia looked deeply into the eyes of her only biological daughter. “You’re a good person, Abby. I know that, and I hope you know that. If anyone wants to judge you for your choices, they can answer to me.”

Abby flushed. “Thanks, Mum. It means a lot to me.”

“Don’t mention it,” Xia said. “Seriously, don’t mention it. I’m a military woman. Tenderness is bad for my image.”

“No offense, but your house is getting to be almost as bad for studying as mine,” Andria told Dylan. “I’m going to go study at the library.”

Dylan looked surprised. Things were actually pretty quiet at the Sample Estate that afternoon. “Sure. If you want to drop by for dinner, you’re welcome.”

Andria flashed him a smile. “Sure. I’m pretty sure you’re going to be eating the leftovers I cooked anyway.” She hopped on her bike and headed to Monmouth Archive.

There weren’t many other people there, so she didn’t have to worry about anyone following her down into the stacks.

The stacks were the oldest part of the building, and it was was a very old building. Every wall was covered with old video recordings or much, much older books.

Andria walked directed to the very oldest part of the basement.

She hadn’t been here since her father brought her as a child.

But it didn’t take long to remember where the trick book was.

The switch clicked into place, and the door swung open, slowly and silently.

Andria stepped through to a chamber so old that it made the library look sparkling new. Ages old. You could smell it in the air.

She took a breath and walked past the witchfire torches to the gate of the Vault of Antiquity.

She could barely see the elders, but she knew they were there. “I’m going to tell him,” she said. “If you want to stop me, you’re going to have to do whatever you’re going to do right now.

The sigh of the elders was like the wind through dry leaves. “We know,” they said. “Maybe it’s time. You have our permission.”

Abby was outside, watching the sunset and thinking, when her phone rang.

“I was just going out for a drink,” Nemo Hodgins said on the other end of the line. “Want to join me. I have great news I’d like to discuss in person.”

“Really?” she asked. “Where do you want to meet.”

“You know the Priest’s Pub?”

Abby was in the car and on her way before she hung up the phone.

“What did you want to tell me?” she asked when she saw him. “Did I get the part?”

Nemo grinned. “Let’s sit down and talk over a drink. My treat.”

So Abby had a couple of cocktails. She wasn’t that accustomed to juice, but she knew she’d have to get used to it to live the life she wanted.

She liked the burn, really. But it didn’t take long until her head was swimming just a little.

Nemo strung her along with a teasing light in his eye. Every time she tried to talk about work, he changed the subject.

After drinks, they headed upstairs

And played darts for a while.

Not a game she was best at when she was tipsy.

Nemo trounced her.

“OK, I can’t take it any longer,” Abby said at last. “Stop teasing me. Did I get the part?”

Nemo grinned. “I know a guy who knows a guy who’s doing casting for the new film For Whom the Dog Barks. They have a trainer role you’ll be perfect for. He owes me a favor. I think it’s as good as yours. This could be your big break.”

“What?” Abby asked. “I haven’t auditioned for that film.”

“They’ve seen your other auditions,” Nemo said. “But you’re still going to have to read for the part, and we need to knock it out of the ballpark. Do you have time to meet with me to go over the script?”

Abby nodded. “I’m free whenever you are.”

“Is tonight too soon?” Nemo asked. “I have the script back at my office.”

So they headed back to Nemo’s house once more. They ran into Police Chief William Pierce, in the foyer.

“Abby, meet my roommate,” Nemo said graciously. “He was just on his way out. Weren’t you, Will?”

“This really is a lovely home,” Abby said as she looked around.

“Thanks. It’s William’s, really. He’s old money. Very old, actually. I rent a couple of rooms from him. Now, have a seat in the living room. I want to whip up a little snack for us to study by.”

Abby was left alone in his living room, pacing nervously. She’d been working so hard to get a break. Could this possibly be it? How well did Nemo know the casting team?


She found her way to the bathroom and stared at herself. “You know you want this,” she told her reflection. “What are you willing to sacrifice for it? Have you come this far just to give up? You can make this happen! And you will!

So long as she could look at herself in the mirror, she would be all right.

She made her way back to the living room. Nemo was already there. “I set a fire in the fireplace,” he said. “I hope you don’t mind. It just makes the place so much more cozy.”

“It’s lovely,” Abby said. And it was. The whole house was beautifully decorated.

“Here’s the script,” Nemo said. “It’s not the most brilliant work you’ve ever seen, but right now what we need is to get you some screen time.”

Abby laughed self-consciously. “I know,” she said. “I’ll take what I can get.”

So they ran the rehearsal scenes several times. Abby tried out different character styles. Nemo gave her thoughtful feedback. She slowly grew more confident. The part wasn’t terribly complex. She could do it. It was just a matter of doing it better than anyone else.

On the dozenth run through, Nemo leaned close to her as he recited the lines, and suddenly their lips were touching.

He drew back quickly. “I’m so sorry,” he said. “That was so unprofessional. I just — you just have this incredible presence. I’ve never been so affected by anyone before.”

He drew closer again, caressing her nose with his own. “You’re an amazing woman, Abby. And so beautiful. If you want me to stop, say it. Nobody ever has to know.” His hand was beneath her skirt, stroking her inner thigh as he spoke. It was hard to think.

Then he was kissing her again. Abby’s heart was pounding, her mind racing…

She shut of her thoughts and let it happen.

———

Argh. I’m getting close to the end of this generation in gameplay, and I’m SOOO far behind in posts!

Yeah, when Abby’s boss heart-farted for her the first time they met, it was hard not to let this plot happen.

6.6 Tasteful

“This place is a bit stuffy, don’t you think?” Xia pointed out as she surveyed the living room. “It could really use some livening up.”

“The word you’re looking for is ‘classy,'” Abby said. “You don’t need chrome and disco balls to liven up a home.”

“Hey,” Xia retorted. “I never had a disco ball. Actually, that’s a really good idea.”

“If you have to be tasteless, can you keep it in your room?”

Everyone settled in to their new space. Sawyer set up his science station in his room

and a telescope on the second floor deck, where he began scanning the skies for galactic phenomena.

Connery was cute.

Riddle tried to puzzle out Connery.

The Arcane Institute contacted Dylan to commission some photography.

They were also interested in consigning some of his more unusual freelance work for sale to their rather unusual and discriminating clientele.

The Arcane Institute folks set Dylan’s weird-sense tingling, but this looked to be a very nice business relationship.

Sky had a surprising work day.

Plum Marmalade hired her to sing for Leah as a wedding anniversary present.

Was this some kind of sick joke? Sky knew she should turn down the job, but morbid curiosity made her accept.

The whole thing backfired, almost literally. Her effects gear blew a fuse. The whole performance was a disaster.

“I’m so sorry!” Sky said. “This is so humiliating.”

Leah laughed. “It’s all right. Plum has a… unique…. sense of humor. Sorry you got tangled up in it.”

“Happy anniversary,” Sky said, and she meant it.

Leah beamed. “Thanks. I hope you’re happy too.”

Sky nodded thoughtfully. She was surprised at how easy it was to talk to Leah. So many years of heartache had faded to a sort of comfortable, shared experience.

“I’m really happy with my life,” Sky said. “Did you ever thing I’d get there?”

Leah looked embarrassed. “Not really, but I’m so glad you did.”

Abby got a visit from a local casting agent named Nemo Hodgins.

“I have to say that I was just blown away by your head shots!” Nemo said. “I know potential, and you have it. I have some parts in mind for you. Nothing big, but it would get you on the screen. Your audition was a little rough, though. I think it’s going to need some polish.”

“Tell me what I need to do!” Abby cried. “I’ll do anything.”

Nemo grinned. “I’ll have my people call you, and we’ll do lunch.”

Andria disappeared after school on a quest of her own. Since she spent most of her time at Dylan’s house but didn’t sleep there, nobody even noticed she was gone.

“I know my relationship is frowned upon,” she told the soothsayer, “but I love him.”

The soothsayer was silent for a long time. “Love is a powerful thing,” the she said at last, “but is it worth the risk?”

———-

Still not my best post, but time is moving forward!