Abby had always known what she wanted to do with her life. As soon as her party at the club closed down, she headed to the Plumbob Pictures Backlot to apply for any modeling or commercial appearances available. Her resume was thin, but she’d done a lot of work for her school drama club. Hopefully it would amount to something.
Now was just a matter of waiting for the phone to ring, right?
Dylan had to abandon his idea of entering Riddle in shows. He was too territorial and stubborn.
Dylan did the best he could to teach Riddle some discipline, but it never worked that well.
Still, it wasn’t so bad to have a canine protector around, especially since they were still getting attempted break-ins once a week.
Dylan was still keeping Andria at a distance, so she decided to take an end run around him. She and Xia had no trouble bonding over plants. Soon, Andria was over almost every day, working in the garden with Dylan’s de-facto stepmother.
Once she discovered that it considered it within propriety to help her with her homework, she seemed to constantly having trouble with a math problem or a literature essay.
While he was making suggestions, she made sure their knees touched, or she leaned against his shoulder to ask for input.
Dylan began recording the days until Andria’s birthday on his calendar and counting them off every morning. It couldn’t come soon enough.
“You know, Xia’s garden is amazing,” she pointed out one day. “There’s so much more you could be doing to reduce your ecological footprint. Why have all these electronics getting in the way of the important things in life? We could live off the grid!”
Meanwhile, a lot of things were starting to break down around the house.
Dylan had to admit that their lifestyle, largely built around Sky’s living large, fame-driven sensibilities, seems a whole lot more complicated than it should be.
One night, Abby independently brought up how absurdly large and complicated the Sample estate was. It turned out that they’d been having similar thoughts for different reasons.
“I don’t want to make Mama feel bad, but this place is so neuvo riche,” Abby confided in Dylan. “Why don’t we live somewhere more simple and elegant? You’re the oldest and kind of becoming the head of the household. Do you think you could talk to her?”
Sky, meanwhile, was spending most nights out. Her performance schedule hadn’t slowed a bit as she grew older.
Some of her oldest fans were her best.
At one poorly attended evening in the park, Abby ran into Freddy Cagley. They immediately hit it off.
Freddy had kind of a crush on her, even in high school. Abby was charmed, but she made it clear that nothing was going to happen between them. He was such a sweet guy, but kind of a dork.
But the big topic of conversation wasn’t romance. It was puppies. His dog Dakota had recently given birth to a litter, and he was looking for homes for the little guys. Apparently Dakota had been spending a lot of time with Hunter’s dog Mystery. It wasn’t a big, well, mystery who the father of these pups were.
Intrigued to get a look at the little guys, Abby headed home with Freddy after the concert.
And immediately regretted the decision.
Freddy’s place had to be seen to be believed.
Freddy looked around as Abby stepped inside and had the good taste to look ashamed. “Hey, if I’d known you were going to come by, I’d have cleaned up a little,” he said. “This means you’re never going to go out with me, doesn’t it.”
“Could you just show me the puppies,” Abby choked out. “Are they outside?”
They were, and Abby immediately fell in love.
She named the little fellow Connery.
And got the heck out of Freddy’s place as fast as she could.
Meanwhile, Andria was working hard to find a home on the outskirts of Avalon that met Dylan and Abby’s surprisingly similar aesthetic.
She found it. It didn’t turn out to be that hard to get Sky to move. She was ready for a change. And Sawyer didn’t care where he lived so long as it had a science station.
The new place immediately felt like home.
Eh, not my best chapter, but here we finally move to the fresh copy of Avalon! I had to add all the lots back in, and I’m really happy with the new version. You’ll see more soon.
I really like Riddle, but I realized that for genetic reasons, I probably picked the wrong littermate. It seems like it’s kind of a bug that puppies/kittens end up with all their body sliders to minimum no matter what their parents are like. Mystery is a much better representation of Enigma’s genes. So I decided to have Abby adopt one of Mystery’s puppies.
I seriously have no idea what was up with Freddy Cagley’s house. But I dropped that house in the Avalon redesign and replaced it with something else.
Dylan had never felt so alive behind a camera as he did on his trip to Al Simhara. There was a quality to the light he had never experienced. Edges were crisp and clear. He could see for dozens of miles. And oh what there was to see.
His time on assignment flew by.
So clearly his artistic calling was in photography and not grilling. He could handle that.
He celebrated his return home with some rest and relaxation.
Meanwhile, Abby was struggling with her math homework. Sawyer was trying to help, but it didn’t seem to be sticking.
“Why do they need all these squiggly symbols?” she demanded. “Why can’t they use human words?”
Later, Sawyer caught her trying to copy answers from his homework.
“If you hand that in, you’re going to be very disappointed,” he pointed out. “It’s not the same assignment. We don’t even go to the same school.”
“I figured your math would at least look convincing,” Abby replied, sulking.
Abby did manage, against all odds, to pull a passing grade in math. It hailed the end of her high school career. Her birthday was finally here.
Abby was determined that her coming of age not be slighted the way her last birthday was. At her insistence, Sky and Xia rented out the La Palma poolside club.
Sky entertained the guests as they gathered.
Hunter showed the passage of time more than the other triplets.
Forest, on the other hand, didn’t look a day past his adult birthday. Nobody asked why.
Xia’s dear older brother Jin was also showing his age.
And Garry Crumplebottom too. Time was passing for everyone.
Abby made sure to carve out some time from her mingling to talk to her boyfriend Dion.
“When will I get to see you?” he asked. “You’ve been so busy recently.”
“I’m sorry,” Abby said. “With drama club and finals and everything, I keep losing track of time. I’m sure it will be better after graduation.”
Then it was time for cake.
“This is it, Mum!” Abby crowed to Xia. “I’m an adult! I’m free!”
Xia could have warned her that adulthood wasn’t quite so carefree, but she didn’t see the point. “Yeah!” she said. “Let’s party it up!”
Dylan, Sawyer, and Andria escaped the loud dance music into the pool room.
Andria turned out to be a pretty good shot.
Sky had to leave the party early for a singing engagement.
Her birthday hit in the middle of her set.
She preferred it this way. No reason to call attention to growing older.
She went right on singing, just as she always had. If anyone noticed, she couldn’t tell.
Hey! This blog hit 40k views! That’s pretty cool. Nice to know some folks are reading it. Don’t be afraid to comment!
(I know I disabled anonymous commenting b/c I was getting so many spam comments, but there are so many options for logging in. Believe you me, I’d enabled anonymous comments if I could :-p.)
Since there are no animation for photography, I wasn’t sure what to do to blog Dylan’s work. I settled on taking shots similar to the ones he actually took and framing them in the blog. There isn’t a lot more for me to say about WA, so I let his trip pass in screenshots. I figure you got the idea ;).
Didn’t Abby grow up beautiful? I was pretty impressed!
The incident at Honeyduke’s seemed to set off a chain of erratic behavior in Sawyer.
He rendered the upstairs sink into a fountain of loose water pipes. When Sky demanded to know why, he claimed it was an important scientific experiment, and her primitive brain wouldn’t understand anyway. Xia had to spend an entire afternoon putting the thing back together.
Later, he disappeared into the same bathroom and emerged with a shaved head.
Then he began sneaking out in the evenings. His half-sister Rosie Winter caught him vandalizing the house she lived in with their mother Amy.
She called the cops. They found him throwing raw eggs at the front door. He didn’t even try hide his behavior, but he put up a fight when they tried to escort him off the premises.
Sky and Xia were at a performance of Sky’s when Sawyer returned to the Sample Estate in a police cruiser. Dylan was the adult on duty, and he took the whole thing very poorly.
“What were you thinking?” he demanded. “Do you know what you’re doing to our family’s reputation?”
Sawyer was practically vibrating with agitation. “You’re too stupid to understand!” he shouted back. “They’re all too stupid to understand my intellect! You pathetic mouse-brained ape!”
Dylan stopped suddenly. “Is this about Amy Winter?” he asked quietly. “Because she doesn’t want to be your mom?”
“She’s stupid anyway,” Sawyer said. “Talking to her would be boring.” But his tone of voice betrayed the lie.
Sawyer was a mystery to Dylan, but for a moment he saw an emotion he understood. “Look,” he said to his troubled little brother. “I get that you’re mad at her. I’m mad at her too. But we have to find a better way.”
When Xia and Sky returned home, they read the police report and had a long talk with Sawyer. Then Xia went to the computer and filled out an application. It turned out that she had already done the research, but she and Sky had still been uncertain it was necessary.
Sawyer started an experimental education program at the Sufficiently Advanced Technology Center the following Monday.
Time would tell if it was the right thing for Sawyer. It was supposed to give him extra power to direct his studies while providing extra focus on skills to survive in a social world.
In the short term, with Sawyer’s attention focused on something constructive, things calmed down abruptly in the Sample house.
Sky’s cooking had actually gotten pretty good.
When he wasn’t on photography assignments, Dylan spent a lot of time with Riddle.
Soon the old dog had learned a lot of new tricks. Dylan was considering entering him in a few shows.
Dylan was also doing more independent photography.
The local consignment specialist was eagerly finding homes for his more artistic shots. In fact, he was hoping Dylan would provide him more stock.
With the proceeds of his first large art photography sale, Dylan escorted Andria out on the promised night on the town.
Dinner was at the newly opened Camelot Cafe.
Andria was delighted.
“All right,” she said. “You pass this test. Keep treating me like a queen, and I’ll keep waiting for you.”
“Are you really still angry with me?” Dylan asked. “I’m not trying to make you feel bad. It’s just a matter of, well, honor I guess. And propriety.”
“I know,” Andria said. “With you, it’s always honor and propriety. If I didn’t love that about you, I should have abandoned this relationship a long time ago.”
“You make it sound a fool who only has your company at your sufferance,” Dylan said.
Andria gave him a brilliant smile. “Don’t worry,” she replied. “Your sense of honor may be inconvenient, but it’s also what makes you into the man I love.”
“But it makes me suffer to have to wait for you while you still consider me a child. You have to understand that it’s in my nature to make you suffer too.”
“Come on, dear. I’m going to beat you at Gnubb.”
After a rousing game that Dylan actually won, Andria thanked him for the lovely date.
Then, before he could step back, she took him in her arms and kissed him soundly.
Dylan should have jumped back. No matter who initiated the kiss, he was the adult who shouldn’t be taking advantage. Instead, he found himself kissing her more deeply.
Andria released him, laughing. “See?” she said. “A little suffering builds character.”
Dylan’s head was addled and his heart was racing. He said a quick goodbye and headed home.
The next day, Sim Life magazine called him with his most lucrative contract offer to date. They wanted a travel spread of Al Simhara.
Dylan thought of Andria. He wasn’t sure what would happen when he saw her next, and the idea made him nervous. Every day he was on travel, the closer Andria’s birthday would get.
“I’ll do it,” he said. “When do you want me to leave?”
I am having SO MUCH FUN with Dylan’s LTW. But the complete lack of photography animations really gets to be a bummer.
Dylan got more opportunity to connect with family when Aunt Eliana wanted to do a photo shoot of their, um, horse.
Dylan had barely seen Meteor when Hunter adopted him, so he was unprepared for the power of just being in the creature’s presence.
He barely remembered to take any photographs, and most of the ones he took were overexposed. Some creatures are not made to be caught on film.
At home, Riddle fended of yet another intruder.
This was getting to be so routine that nobody even commented as the police took the intruder away.
Dylan did make a connection for more freelance photography work, though.
It turned out that the police department needed someone to work with the news media on crime fighting publicity.
Dylan’s business was becoming more varied and more profitable. He loved his work more every day.
Sky loved her work too, but not every minute of it.
Sometimes she just had to pay her dues.
Sawyer spent all his time at school, doing homework, or at his at-home science station. He never talked to anyone outside of the family as far as any of them could tell.
Worse, Abby caught him covering up bruises when he got dressed. That spoke volumes. He hadn’t complained of being bullied at school in a long time. It just turned out that he’d learned not to talk about it.
“You have got to get out more,” Abby told him in concern.
“There’s nothing interesting to see when I’m ‘out,'” Sawyer retorted.
“Let me show you,” Abby said. She hustled him out to Honeyduke’s to show him some fun.
He wasn’t terribly enthusiastic.
“The trick is to relax,” Abby said. “Get something fun to eat. Play some games! Maybe even talk to someone.”
“I don’t see how you can relax with all these people making noise,” Sawyer said.
Sky had been passing as human most of her life, blending in fairly well with the people of Avalon. As she grew older, this just didn’t seem as important as it once had. First she stopped being sure she walked on the ground all the time. As she saw her Elder birthday approaching, she let her opaque form drop more and more.
Her ghostliness turned out to have an extra benefit for night concerts.
She was a little more nervous to show this side of herself to Xia.
But Xia thought it was fantastic.
“I can’t believe you didn’t do this before!” Xia said. “I’m always discovering new ways that you’re amazing.”
Deep in Sky’s psyche was still the lonely child whom everyone thought was creepy. That child really needed Xia.
Things were a little rockier in Dylan’s love life.
“What do you mean we need to take a break until I graduate?” Andria demanded.
“Well, you see, now I’m an adult, and you’re still a teenager,” Dylan said. “It’s just not seemly for us to be in a relationship.”
“You have to be kidding me! We’re the same people we were before your birthday! Nothing’s changed!”
Dylan hated upsetting Andria. She was the light of his life. But this was too important. He had to stick to his guns.
“Look at it this way,” he said. “I’m now old enough to be your teacher at school. There’s no way a relationship between us can be conducted on equal terms while I am of legal age of adulthood and you are not. I would be taking advantage of you, and I won’t do that.”
Andria sighed. “Dylan, sometimes I don’t know what century you get your code of conduct,” she said. “There’s no way I can talk you out of this nonsense?”
Dylan gulped. “I’m afraid I’m immovable,” he said.
“All right,” Andria said. “We’ll play it your way. It’s only one more term of school.”
Dylan breathed a sign of relief. For a moment, he’d been terrified that he would lose her. “Thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “I’ll make it up to you as soon as you reach your majority.”
“You’ll start making it up to me before that,” Andria said. “You’re taking me out to dinner. As friends, of course. You’re going to make it nice, and you’re going to pick up the tab.”
“I always pick up the tab,” Dylan said.
Dylan’s career was going better. As soon as he was old enough to go into business, he started marketing his services as a photographer. He had a few contacts he’d built through the school newspaper, and they delivered some portfolio-building work rather quickly.
The Stemple-Mais wanted a photo shoot of their new baby.
They were living in the house once owned by Dylan’s late great-aunt Ada.
The house was incredibly crowded. Apparently, Garry Crumplebottom had maintained an open home policy with his step mother Jeanna and his half-sisters. After Shanni’s death, Jeanna remarried Miyuki Mai, and Miyuki had also moved into Chateau Crumplebottom. They never had children. Jeanna’s two daughters with Shanni had been enough for her.
Then, when Jeanna died, there’d been some kind of falling out, and the entire collection of Crumplebottom non-heirs had moved out as a group.
Miyuki lived here with her second wife, Charlotte Stemple-Mai (not pictured).
They also roomed with Shanni’s daughters from her marriage to Jeanna
Now there was a new generation, Miyuki and Charlotte’s daughter Monica.
It was interesting to spend some time catching up with his distant relatives and family connections. Dylan couldn’t imagine living in such a small house with so many people, but all he had to do was take pictures. That was hard enough to do.
Avalon held a Simfest at the park pavilion, and Sky decided to enter.
While she was waiting, she was roped into being a barely voluntary volunteer for a magician who was performing ahead of her.
It turned out to be useful that she was part ghost.
It protected her from the puncture wound.
Then it was Sky’s turn to perform.
The response was overwhelming.
Sky won the Simfest hands down.
The cheering crowd was heady.
Sky loved music of any kind, but the lure of stardom kept her performing solo.
After she calmed down from the adulation, Sky returned home, had a snack, and went to bed alone. A bit of an anticlimax. She wished she could share her victory with Xia.
But Xia had other plans. Abby had persuaded her to go out mother-daughter clubbing.
Without Sky to hold her back, Xia’s party instincts got out of hand. Abby had never seen her mum let go like this, and she liked it.
Xia used her ID to buy Abby some juice, though only one glass.
They even did the bubble bar together.
Abby had to admit that she didn’t care for the taste. It was just the whole naughtiness of underage bubbling that excited her.
After a while of bubbling, Xia could barely walk straight.
“I am so pumped!” she shouted to no one in particular.
“Now I gotta go pee!”
Sky ordered some shrimp cocktail at the bar while she waited.
But Xia, who was juiced and bubbled half out of her mind, never came back. She left the club and staggered home instead.
When Xia returned home without Abby, Dylan came looking for her.
“This is what comes of a night of debauchery,” he said severely. “Maybe you’ll think about this sort of thing the next time you decide to let it go at a nightclub.”
“Thanks, big brother,” Abby said sincerely. “I’ve learned my lesson.”
She meant it — it was so comforting to know that she had a responsible brother looking out for her. And she had learned a lesson, just not the one Dylan wanted her to learn. She’d learned to always carry cab fare when she went out.
Don’t be too hard on Xia! It was a group outing fail!
I totally should have used MC to change Andria’s dress for her argument with Dylan. I can’t see that dress without thinking, “Pregnancy!” Of course, she’s a teenager, and I have no plans to ever turn on teen pregnancy.
I keep wanting to type “Sinfest” instead of “Simfest.” Whoops.
Sky’s solo career continue to rise. She was recognized more and more often. People stopped her on the street, in restaurants, and at the bookstore to ask for her autograph.
Her popularity got inconvenient and added time to everything she did outside of her own home, but Sky had to admit that the thrill of celebrity never died. She knew that for every fan, there was some other gossip columnist mocking her behind her back, but in the end, both her fans and her detractors were interested in what happened to her. Sky’s broken marriage and sex life had already been the subject of gossip, and she was over being embarrassed. Even negative interest was a form of fandom.
This was her state of mind when she rented out the Mirror Mirror Art Museum for Dylan’s birthday party.
Everyone turned out. Much to Sky’s surprise, even Sawyer’s biological mum, Amy Winter and her daughter Rosie who was almost the same age as Sawyer.
Sky was not at all sure how this would go. Sawyer knew of Amy, but he had never shown any interest in meeting her. Moreover, Amy had offered financial support but had never taken any initiative to communicate with him herself.
And, of course, Leah wouldn’t miss this for the world.
Life was so complicated.
Dylan and Andria arrived together, arm in arm. They’d been inseparable for days.
“Pardon me for being so forward, but this is my last chance for a while,” Dylan said. Then he stepped in to close the distance between them.
Andria sighed, her eyes alight. “I was wondering when you would be ready to do that,” she said.
“But wait! What do you mean by ‘last chance’?”
But the crowd was already here.
It was time for Dylan to cut the cake.
Uncle Hunter needed a shower again.
In the crush of guests, Dylan found himself sitting with Amy Winter rather than Andria after the cake cutting.
It wasn’t a total loss. She seemed interested in talking about the post-impressionist paintings on the second floor.
Then his own mum found him. “Thank you so much for coming,” he said. “I know it isn’t easy to get away from the rest of your family.”
“Don’t ever think I would miss something this important. You *are* my family, Dylan. I don’t love anyone more than you.”
Dylan couldn’t help but blush. Leah was busy, and and Plum were raising four children — three half-siblings of Dylan’s and one half-brother of Abby’s. She never made him think she forgot about him, but it was still good to hear it.
Xia’s brother Jian showed up ready to party.
He and Xia started cutting up the floor by the kitchenette.
Abby cranked up the charm on her half-brother Stanley.
And Sawyer and Amy found their way to each other through the crowd — drawn together in spite of reluctance on both sides.
Sawyer made the first move. “Hello,” he said. “It’s time that we met. I understand that you provided the other half of my genetic makeup.”
“Um, I guess you could say it that way,” Amy replied uncomfortably.
“My mom, Sky Sample for clarity, gave me some pictures of you,” he went on to explain. “That’s how I knew who you were when I saw you. I assume she sent you some pictures of me.”
“Yes… she did,” Amy said awkwardly.
“But hey,” she continued. “Did the lights just go out?”
It turned out that Gina Sample-Baerwyn had decided to take center stage.
Amy headed off to listen, and Sawyer followed. He didn’t stay very long, however. Ghost stories weren’t his thing.
Most of the rest of the party was spent telling stories.
Andria waved as she headed home. “We’ll talk soon!”
“Absolutely,” Dylan replied. “I’ll call you tomorrow.”
Now wasn’t the time to get Dylan to explain what he meant by “last chance” to kiss her, but she intended to have answers soon.
Sky’s solo performances were really in demand, and it led her to be away from the home at some unusual times.
When she found herself with an early morning gig over breakfast, the younger Samples had to fend for themselves. With mixed results.
It turned out that Sawyer was better with the microwave than Abby was with the stove.
The maid seemed appreciative of Abby’s handiwork.
Which would have been nice, except she wasn’t on break.
After school, Dylan invited Andria out for dinner and a movie.
Abby invited her boyfriend Dion out to see one of her Mom’s performances at a frontier-themed club called Hillbilly Harry’s.
Sawyer irradiated a butterfly.
And was delighted with the results.
Dion picked Abby up at her door, just as she’d asked him to do, and took them both to Hillbilly Harry’s Frontier Club.
“I just can’t wait for you to see Mama perform!” Abby said. “She’s such an inspiration to me.”
“Don’t you think it will be kind of loud?” Dion asked.
“Well, yes,” Abby said. “That’s the point, isn’t it?”
Sky’s voice echoed over the sound system, thanking all her fans for coming.
“That’s Mama!” Abby said. “We have to hurry to get a good place. Mama has so many fans we could be crowded out.” She turned and hurried into the club.
“Isn’t she amazing?” Abby said breathlessly as Sky took her encore, raising her voice above the cheering fans. “I can only hope that I’ll have half the stage presence when I get a chance to act professionally. She’s such an inspiration. Don’t you think so, Dion?”
It turned out that Dion had found an entirely different way to pass the time.
Alarmed and insulted, Abby flitted around the club looking for her date. She eventually found him in the arcade corner, playing Caveman Dino Invasion 3.
“Dion!” she said sharply, trying to keep the hurt out of her voice. “What are you doing? I thought we were on a date!”
“Oh, hi Abby,” Dion said, dropping the game immediately. “Don’t be sore. It just got so loud in there, and it’s really not my kind of music.”
“You could have told me,” Abby said.
“I kind of tried to,” Dion admitted. “It was just, you know, loud. And you were having such a good time watching your mom. I figured we could talk after. I, mean, it’s no big deal, right? I had a good time, and so did you. We don’t have to like all the same stuff to be a couple.”
He offered an apologetic, lopsided, adorable smile, and Abby for once was at a loss for words.
Dylan’s date went a little more smoothly.
After returning home from dinner and independent film showing, they just lingered out in the snow, gazing into each other’s eyes. The next words ought to be goodbye, but neither of them could bring themselves to say it, so they said nothing.
Andria at last fell into Dylan’s arms. “You’re the best thing that’s happened to me since Dad died,” she whispered in his ear. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
Dylan held her close. “You make every day brighter than the one before,” he said. “I can’t imagine how dark my world would be without you.”
Dylan took her hand and willed himself to do this right. “My dearest Andria,” he said. “Please don’t take this request as any sort of pressure, but I’d be honored if you would consider wearing my pin.”
“You want me to be your girlfriend?” Andria’s face lit up. “Of course!”
“You’re an amazing man,” Andria said. “You treat me like a fairytale princess.”
Dylan chuckled, blushing. “You make me feel like a fairy tale prince.”
Andria sighed. “Have you ever wished upon a star?”
“No, but I guess this would be an appropriate moment.”
Andria leaned her head on his shoulder. “Don’t tell,” she said, “or it won’t come true.”
“Grandma!” Sawyer said. “I want to know everything about death. What does it feel like? Is it preventable?”
Veronica Sample’s ghost merely smiled and waved, seeming to look right through her grandson.
“Wow,” Sky said when she finally made it home from the club. “This was the best crowd yet. My hand is cramped from signing autographs.”
Xia clapped. “Bravo! I know you always wanted to be a superstar.”
Sky, safely away from her fans, couldn’t help but giggle. “I know! Isn’t it amazing.”
“Not half as amazing as you are,” Xia replied.
“I think we should take this upstairs,” Sky answered huskily.
“At the risk of ruining the moment,” Sky added as they made their way to the bedroom. “Do you know what tomorrow is?”
“Dylan’s birthday,” Xia answered promptly. “I do actually track what’s going on with your kids.”
“My baby’s going to be a grown man,” Sky whimpered. “That makes me officially old.”
Xia shrugged and gave Sky a wicked look. “There’s nothing we can do about it except be really embarrassing old women.”
“All right then,” Sky replied. “Let’s get started on that.”
And they did.
This is Sky’s last post as the patroness of this legacy. The next post begins Dylan’s reign. It’s always sad and exciting to pass the torch.
Turns out there’s no option to watch a Showtime performance WITH someone. Dion never considered watching the performance like *everyone else* on the lot. He just wandered around the club alone doing other stuff. Then when the date ended, I got this notification:
Sky and Xia slept in the next morning, leaving the mess for later. Which meant they really left it for Dylan to clean up, since he couldn’t bear the sight of the kitchen when he came down for breakfast.
“How can we live like this?” he demanded, half to himself. “It’s just not civilized!”
Sawyer shrugged. “Mom’s sushi is better on the second day, I think.”
Sky was delighted to see the house sparkling clean when she woke up in the late morning. It gave her extra time to work on a new song, something with a beat.
This did not set well with Sawyer, who was struggling with remedial reading comprehension homework. Math was easy. It was these fluffy pointless things like themes and emotion that seemed like so much nonsense on the page.
“Stop that offensive noise and teach me how to drive,” he said. “I need to be able to leave this house when it’s too loud to hear myself think.”
It wasn’t the best way to ask, but Sky took what bonding time she could with her youngest son.
To Sky’s surprise, he turned out to not be too bad at driving. He applied his laser focus and picked up the skill fairly quickly. Sky still wasn’t entirely sure he should be allowed to drive by himself, though. The problem was when that laser of concentration got focused someplace else while Sawyer was behind the wheel.
Later, she got a surprise call from Forest, who wanted to catch up. She didn’t here from him often, as opposed to Hunter, who she talked to almost daily. So she dropped Sawyer off with the car and headed over to see him.
The fact that he now owned the house they’d lived in as children was way down the list of Forest’s weird behavior, but it led to complex feelings whenever she visited.
The house was definitely not the strangest thing about Forest.
Not by a long shot.
She and Forest exchanged pleasantries at the door, but instead of inviting her in out of the cold, he escorted her up to the patio for a longer chat.
Never much for pleasantries, Forest began by quizzing her on the security precautions she had in place at the Sample estate and made suggestions on how to make them more effective.
“What, exactly, are we protecting ourselves against?” Sky asked.
Forest grinned, his fangs glinting in the fading light. “My enemies, of course,” he said. “But don’t worry too much. You’re under my protection.”
Sky didn’t think that helped her worry at all.
“High five?” Forest said as she got ready to go home.
“You’re such a bastard,” Sky said.
“No more than you,” Forest replied.
The same evening, Xia took her boss, Anita Bookabet, out for drinks.
Xia and Anita were pretty good friends these days. Spending days flying upside-down with your hair on fire tended to lend themselves to bonding.
That night, they shared the dance floor of The Garden Gnome pub with Xia’s brother Jian and his love Dragonwife.
Xia liked seeing the steamy looks Jian was always sharing with his wife.
She was not so fond of Jian’s new look, though. “Do us all a favor and shave it off!” She whispered to Jian as she headed to the bar for a refill.
It was a nice evening, but what Xia was really hoping for was a promotion.
Anita knew how to keep her personal and professional life separate, though. No amount of cocktails and buddy stories got Xia any promises.
Eventually Anita packed up a well-buzzed Xia and sent her home to sleep it off with no promotion.
At least the dancing and drinks were fun.
“Would you do me the honor of accompanying me on an evening of dinner and dancing this Friday?” Dylan held the phone awkwardly to his ear.
“Is that a real question?” Andria Sword asked at the other end.
Dylan dug his heel into the carpet of his room, blushing furiously. “I’m quite serious. If you’re amenable, I would be delighted to share your company.”
“Are you asking me out on a date?”
Andria laughed. “I’d love to!”
He took her to the nicest club he knew that would allow teens, The Sphinx. And there they finally spent enough time talking for him to relax just a little.
“I hope this isn’t too forward,” he suggested after dinner, “but would you like to dance?”
“I’d like to,” Andria admitted. “But you might not like dancing with me. Are you a strong lead?”
Dylan opened his arms as invitation. “I’m more than willing to learn together,” he said.
Andria flushed. “All right then,” she said. “I’ll give it a try.”
“Wow,” she whispered later. “You really do know to dance.”
Sky returned from Forest’s house and found herself with the evening free. It was a good time to get the band together.
She tuned her guitar while she waited for the boys to arrive, but the sound of shouting outside made her dash into the yard.
“What — what’s going on?”
Adam kicked a young man to the curb. “I think you better call the cops,” he said. “I caught this guy trying to break in the bathroom window.”
So this was why Forest was still so worried about security. “Wow,” Sky said. “Thank you for looking out for us.”
“I can’t believe this happened again!” Xia, still tipsy, stumbled into the scene.
Adam thumbed over his shoulder. “Be glad Garry wasn’t first to the scene,” he said.
“I’m lucky you’re my best friend,” Sky said.
Adam shrugged. “Don’t worry. It was fun.”
Where ARE Forest’s fangs in that shot of him grinning. Art fail, EA. Yes, he’s still a vampire.
Not a whole lot of action in this post, but character development moves along. There’s a lot to catch up on.
I never had a burglar in my game EVAR, and the Samples have gotten 4-5 in the last few play sessions. Sheesh.
“I need to relax,” Xia said after the last guest had left. She hummed as she poured out the last of one of Lancelot Sample’s priceless bottles of well-aged nectar. “Come join me in some liquid relaxation, Sky.”
Sky sighed. “You know, I don’t mind if I do.”
While Sky and Xia were sipping and contemplating a a good party,
Abby was sure that her parents wouldn’t mind if she joined in the fun. She was, after all, almost an adult.
Sky gave her an amused look that said, “I see what you did there.” But she let Abby try it. Perhaps fine nectar would spoil Abby’s refined tastes against juice keggers at university.
“We are one hot middle-aged couple, if I do say so myself!” Xia announced. She sounded like maybe she’d had enough nectar for one evening. “Come over here and preserve our love for posterity.”
Sky giggled at the picture. “You know, we really are.”
“Told you,” Xia said smugly.
Abby realized that she could probably use the moment of distraction to refill her nectar,
but instead she decided to make her escape before her tipsy parents heated up any more.
Dylan had a Snowflake Day gift for Corrina. He’d asked her to meet him after everyone left the party so that they could exchange gifts in private.
While he was waiting in the foyer, Sawyer accosted him with some complaint about the party guests stomping on his research specimens in the back yard.
Dylan had no idea what Sawyer was talking about, but that was pretty normal.
“Why don’t you go do your science someplace else?” Dylan complained. He was so nervous about seeing Corrina he was almost sick. He didn’t have the time or energy for Sawyer’s eccentricity.
To Dylan’s surprise, Sawyer paused. “I think I will,” he said, with no hint of irony.
So he set about assembling a research center in his bedroom.
He was much happier. Scientific observations made so much more sense than people.
Dylan’s gut knotted when he saw Corrina on the doorstep.
“I came as fast as I could!” Corrina said breathlessly. “The Butterfield-Bookabets called and asked me to babysit. I told them I had plans with you for another half-hour. That ought to be enough time for gifts, right?”
Dylan gulped. “I guess we ought to be fast, then,” he said. He produced the package he’d spent an hour wrapping yesterday evening. Inside was a brightly-colored pendant he’d painted himself.
“Wow!” Corrina said. “This is amazing! You make such beautiful things, and you’re so smart! I’m so much happier when I’m around you.”
Dylan blushed. “Wow,” he said. “Thank you.”
“Oh dear,” Corrina continued. “I forgot your gift at home! Is it all right if I bring it to school tomorrow?”
He had to do it, and it had to be now. “Corrina,” he said, his voice cracking, “I just don’t think this is working out.”
“What?” Corrina said. “I don’t understand.” Then her eyes widened. “Wait! You don’t mean–! You can’t!”
“You’re a really nice person!” Dylan said lamely. “But think about it. We barely ever see each other. Sure, we’re both busy, but if we were happy in this relationship, we’d be making time. I just don’t think we’re right for each other.”
“I can make time!” Corrina said. “I’ll call the Butterfield-Bookabets and tell them to get another babysitter. It’s just that I need the money to get to university….”
Dylan felt like his heart would break. “Don’t give up your college savings for me!” he cried. “It’s just– it’s more than that Corrina. I know there are guys out there who are better for you than I am. I’m really sorry.”
Corrina’s eyes brimmed with tears. “So this is it,” she said. “You barely gave me a chance, and now you’re kicking me to the curb. I thought you were a nice guy.”
Dylan blinked back tears of his own, but he couldn’t think of anything to say. The last thing he wanted to do was break Corrina’s heart, but he knew now that she wasn’t the right girl, and the worst thing he could do would be to pretend he had feelings he didn’t.
Corrina let out a sob and dashed down the steps, past Abby and Sawyer’s melting snowmen. Dylan watched her go, his heart aching, wishing it could have been different.
“This has to be the dumbest idea you’ve ever had,” Sky giggled. “I’m freezing!”
“Nectar makes everything better!” Xia insisted.
“We are so drunk!”
“Xia,” Sky said. Her slight slur didn’t mask the earnestness of her voice. “I’ve been thinking about what you said. About love and commitment.”
Xia looked at her with a sudden intensity. “Yes?”
“I think I want to try an exclusive relationship.”
Xia sighed. “As you wish, my love.”
“Now stand up!” Sky insisted. “I can’t feel my knees!”
She staggered to her feet and pulled Xia up with her. “You’re the strong one! You should be doing this!”
“I’m also the drunker one!” Xia laughed.
“Would you not marry me for the rest of your life?”
Xia didn’t even blink. “Of course,” she said.
“Come on!” Xia said. “I’ve never tried this, and I’m just drunk enough that it looks fabulous!” She grabbed Sky by the arm and pulled her along.
“Are you kidding me? It’s freezing!”
“I’ll warm you up, baby.”
And she did.
This is literally the last screenshot in my folder. I am caught up!
Sheesh. The last few posts are just FILLED with indoor snow. I didn’t notice how bad it was until I went back and reviewed.
We made it to the heir poll! Now I just have to post it!
Abby meant well. She really did. All she wanted to do was explain to Sawyer ways he might behave that would make it less likely for his classmates to pick on him.
Sawyer didn’t take it that way.
He let loose a torrent of verbal abuse on Abby.
“Everyone keeps trying to change me! THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH ME! There’s something wrong with you. You and Mom and Mum and Dylan and everyone at school and everyone who thinks they can call themselves ‘normal.’ You’re all idiots!”
Abby was stunned. “I had no idea you felt this way,” she said. “I thought you wanted to learn how to fit in better.”
“I don’t need to fit in,” Sawyer said. “I’m smarter than all of you anyway.”
There was no use arguing with Sawyer that there were different kinds of intelligence. He had no way of visualizing social intelligence. And there was no denying that he was already showing a genius for the sciences that his artistic and musical family couldn’t comprehend. “Of course you’re smart,” Abby said. “Can you help me learn what you really want?”
This is how Sawyer roped Abby into his plans to build a snowman army.
Abby never did understand why Sawyer was fascinated by snowmen, but she realized that the only way to get to know her strange little brother was on his own terms.
He was right — even his family wasn’t very good about letting him call his own shots. For all that they worried about him, did any of them understand him? Was it even possible to understand Sawyer?
Building snowmen turned out to be a lot of fun. Sawyer tweaked their construction technique with each one and kept notes on something or other. Abby just rolled big snowballs and followed his directions.
After a while, they were laughing together. Abby didn’t think she’d ever seen Sawyer look that comfortable with anyone. It made her feel good — special, even — to see this side of him.
It turned out that the lawyer route was, in fact, a much more effective way to get through to the Marmalades. The attorney Sky kept on retainer took Xia’s long, ranty complaint and turned it into a businesslike challenge. Xia demanded a parenthood test, with Sherman Marmalade, but in the end Plum ceded the parenthood issue without a fight. There wasn’t much point in denying it. Sherman’s conception was recorded in Dr. Sebastian Hodgins’s notes.
Xia was granted visitation rights. The first time she met with Sherman as his mum was at Tinkerbell’s Beautique and Spa. Xia had thought that maybe they’d go for a spa day together, but in the end, they spent most of their time outside talking.
To Xia’s disappointment, Sherman didn’t bear a lot of resemblance to her. His skin and eye color were Plum’s. His hair was black, which didn’t match either of their families. He’d have to grow up a little more before she had a chance to see her face in his.
But really, the most important thing was that Sherman wanted to know her. He’d always known he wasn’t really Leah’s kid. Finding Xia seemed to bring him an answer to a lifelong question.
Now they just had to get to know each other. No big deal, right?
Xia wasn’t done being angry at Plum, but she at least felt less helpless. When she returned from her visit with Sherman, she felt like partying.
Snowflake Day was coming, and what would be better than a gift exchange! Xia used to party all the time in her youth, but parenthood, life drama, and work stress had slowed her down. Suddenly, Xia realized how long she’d spent focusing on responsible goals. There needed to be more fun in the Sample/Wu household!
She got on the phone and called everyone she knew.
Sky was surprised but pleased when Xia told her they were going to be hosting a huge open house. “I’ll make hors d’oeuvres for everyone!” she cried. “Starting with sushi!”
The idea of Sky making sushi made Xia a little nervous. Sky had old master grilled cheese in the last week. But she decided not to rain on Sky’s parade. What was the worst that could happen? Food poisoning? Ermmm….
Instead, on the day of the party, she herded the kids outside for a massive snowball war.
It was a gloomy. cloudy morning, but it was bright with bonding and laughter.
Then, after he’d showed and cleaned up after the fun in the snow, Sawyer quietly dropped his bombshell.
He’d decided it was time to age up.
“Now?” Sky cried, rushing up to meet him on the landing. “But I was going to throw a party!”
“Mama, I don’t *want* a party,” Sawyer said. “I knew you wouldn’t believe me. It’s better this way.”
So, around lunch time on Snowflake Day, standing on the stairway landing, Sawyer Sample became a teenager.
Abby cheered when she saw him.
She, at least, thought the surprise was delightful. “High school will be better,” she confided. “You’ll see.”
There wasn’t much more time to talk about it because the guests were starting to arrive. Dion Callender-Doctor showed up early, hoping to get a little quality time with Abby.
That was not to be because Uncle Hunter as not far behind him.
“What is WITH you, Uncle Hunter?” Abby demanded.
Hunter cringed. “I told you, it’s unicorn stuff,” he said. “Um, could I use your shower?”
The Samples had some well-aged nectar that Great Grandpa Lancelot had gathered on his travels. Xia decided it was time to uncork one to lubricate the conversation.
Nobody could remember inviting February Callender.
Dion really wanted to get some time alone with Abby, but Abby wouldn’t hear of leaving the party. There were too many wonderful conversations to be had and fun people to charm.
Forest made an appearance. His reputation preceded him.
For some more than others. Cousin Ash in particular spent the entire party as far from Forest as he could get.
Dylan arrived late. To everyone’s surprise, especially Xia’s, he brought Sherman.
“He called me and asked if he could come?” Dylan admitted.
Sherman didn’t have much to say, but he was never far from Xia.
Corrina Shepherd actually made it to the party!
Dylan’s heart squeezed, somewhere between delight and guilt. He’d also invited Adria, and she was also there.
“Let’s get this party rollin’!” Xia declared. “Don’t be shy! There are gifts for everyone!”
Sky’s sushi didn’t turn out half bad, and some of the guests had also brought treats.
Adria chattered with Dylan about an artistic layout she had in mind for a special edition of the paper.
It was a totally chaste conversation, right? Why was he so nervous?
Dylan was relieved when Adria decided to sit down to eat. Until she sat down and started chatting with Corinna.
Sky and Forest caught up. Forest spoke about his life almost entirely in vague euphemisms, but Sky was used to it.
The crowd got to be too much for Sawyer, though. He escaped to the back yard for some peace and quiet.
Unfortunately, Cousin Gina saw him go.
She had other plans entirely.
“I’ve had enough of all you crazy people,” Sawyer declared. He headed up to his room to set up some science experiments, and he stayed there until the party was over.
“Come, sit down with me!” Corrina pleaded with Dylan. “I know we’ve barely seen each other since prom, but my work schedule is changing. I’m really hoping that will change.”
She and Dylan sat down with some sushi. Dylan wondered what romantic couples were supposed to talk about. It was so much easier in letters.
He settled on he thoughts about the class president elections, which were coming up fast. Some of his friends on the paper had suggested that he run, but he couldn’t imagine anything less appealing than a campaign. He thought Abby should run.
Corrina laughed and agreed with him.
But then Dylan’s words trailed off as he watched the mess she made as she ate.
She was just like his mom.
“Um, I’ll be right back,” Dylan said. He had to get away from the crowd for a minute to think.
Sawyer’s a teen at last!! I don’t know why he aged up on the stairway. I triggered age-up a couple of days early, but I didn’t want a cake because the Snowflake Day party was about to start.
I had Xia buy the jukebox so there could be dancing. Then I forgot to turn it on. Whoops!
GINA GOT CHARLES’S HAIR! Now I feel kind of guilty for giving it to Sawyer. Maybe I should have given him his mum Amy Winter’s hair. It was cool purple and indigo, which you didn’t get to see because all my surviving shots of her were elder.
I was pleased that we finally got Corrina to show up for something. She’s a really interesting/bizarre looking sim. I think I know who her genetic father is, and he’s an MTS sim with Commitment Issues who never had any actual kids. So this makes his genes worthwhile :).
I have one more post before we finally make it to the heir poll. One more!! And I even have the pics laid out for it.
I need to log into the game and get some CAS shots for the poll.