24. Moving On

Aaaand we’re back! A lot of stuff has happened between last update and now, from moving to getting back to old projects to starting an LGBT pop up library with a friend here in Houston! Good news, I went ahead and got myself a brand new computer, which was basically the only solution to my crashing problem, and now I can keep updating you with what’s going on in this wacky neighborhood. Achievements will be updated every Tuesday as long as I have something to share. Let’s get back to it!

A lot of stuff has changed in the Rainard household. Roman can’t help but feel the house he and his wife bought to raise their family in is emptier than it was ever meant to be. Irene died, suddenly and tragically, and Rosemary ran away in the middle of the night, leaving behind everything she owned, including her journal. It’s been rough for the men left behind.

And men they are. Adam’s become a teen and gained the Mean trait. That along with his perfectionist nature means he’s got little patience for people around him. His time at home is spent mostly doing his homework and playing chess. On the few days they’re both home at the same time, Roman and his son share the table. Roman’s managed to get the Literal Genius achievement for me. He still goes to work every day despite making more than enough royalties on his books, but he likes being social.

Speaking of social, Roman decided to break it off with Dina. It’s not that he didn’t like her, but there’s no real spark there. After their first few dates, he’s looking for something more serious.

Dina is extremely chill about it and lets him know she understands. The two break it off on good terms, and hopefully neither have lost a gym buddy.

Adam’s social group as well has grown up with him, and now he spends more time with his friends.

Fallon and Natalie are still his best friends, and Lucas Munch has joined the table. There’s lots of nights spent at the burger joint, where the four of them can relax and hang out. Natalie’s pretty quickly become his bestie, and the two of them spend a lot of time at the chess tables at the park. But Adam can’t quite shake his crush on her twin sister.

Fallon is basically the coolest girl in the world. She’s funny and always has an interesting story to tell. She and her sister live in San Myshuno, so they know all the best foods and go to festivals every time they happen. Every time she talks, Adam feels his face get warm, and he desperately wants to make a move with her. He just wishes he knew how.

Dad always keeps some sappy romance books around. He decides to take the task of making Fallon his girlfriend the same way he does anything. He studies. There’s got to be something in here. He wants to make her laugh. He wants to buy her stuff. He wants to take her on the coolest date she’s ever been on.

He tries to talk to dad about it, but, well, things aren’t the best between them right now. Roman’s never really home anymore, since his job has him work late, and he’s been trying to stay social. And normally it’s not a big deal to Adam, who also stays out of the house, but when it comes to this girl stuff, dad always gets weird. Adam isn’t sure if listening to him is the best idea.

And at the end of the day, he can’t help but think this would be a lot easier if he had his older sister around. He and Rosemary were never close, but she is a girl. She’d have something for him. She might even take pity on her baby brother.

But lots of things are different now, even his room. He’s taken over the space Rosemary used to occupy, and part of him feels a little… guilty about that. Rosemary wrote in her journal that she didn’t feel like there was any space for her in the house, and now there’s kind of not.

He tries not to think about that, though.

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Achievement Roundup #2

I pulled off a big one this time around!

Whimsical Mischief Mastered Problem Child

Still plucking my way through the easy ones, though I plan to be more ambitious once the Rainard family starts to expand. Irene earned me Whimsical before she died, may she rest in peace, by playing the piano. I forgot Problem Child is one of those hidden achievements.

I’m going to pause updating this blog for a minute to focus on a few other projects, the most of which is the Accidental Vampire, a Sims story blog that needs a lot more focus from me. I started this blog to be something easy I could pick up and put together without much effort, so I don’t feel bad setting it aside for a while. If you’re feeling spooky this holiday season, I am updating my writing blog with five spooky stories centered around my Victorian monster mash, the first of which can be read here. Dabney Diaries, my other Sims blog, will continue through the end of October before I give myself a break from that as well. I’ve gone through a lot of real life stuff recently, including moving into a new place, which may be the most physically and emotionally exhausting thing I’ve done in a while, so I’m going to give myself a little time to recuperate and refocus.

I will get back to this family soon. Thanks for reading, and I hope you guys are ready for drama!

22. Mischief

Max has a surprise for Rosemary. Instead of sneaking out to spend all night being mean to people in a park, he takes her all the way to San Myshuno for their Humor and Hijinks festival.

Rosemary has never been to San Myshuno before. She’s enraptured by the bright colors, fascinating people, and diverse food stands. She’s not even ready for the festival, where fireworks wait on the edges to be set off, and people are laughing and joking with each other. Murals paint the sidewalk, lights glitter overhead, and the food smells amazing.

The festival asks them what they want to be: pranksters or jokesters. Rosemary doesn’t even have to think about it.

She and Max toast to their victory, as assured as it is. They glance around for the first fun activity to try, and Rosemary sets her eye on the souvenir stand.

Snowglobes and t-shirts and fireworks! She snags a t-shirt for herself and gazes longingly at the fireworks. There’s no harm, is there?

A spinner looks the most fun. She places it on the ground and lights it. This’ll be fatastic, she thinks as a few onlookers start to gather. It’ll go off and–

–strikes her right in the face! She jumps back as she nearly catches fire, gasping as her clothes are ruined. The spinner continues its spin as she wipes the soot off her face.

She tries not to let that phase her as she enthusiastically shares an urban legend with this strange crowd. She’s still got a contest to win, and she’s not skipping out on it just because she’s a little burnt up.

I clean her up best I can, but the game won’t let her not be covered in ash. Max, to his credit, doesn’t seem to notice as she eats some dinner. Eventually it does manage to wash off as she goes off to continue her mischief streak.

She gets a few other jokesters with the whole “the tea is poison” trick, and regales them with her conspiracy theories. I debated having the whole club here to help up her mischief skill even more, but I want tonight to be special.

Rosemary and Max watch as the fireworks go off, announcing the Pranksters to be the winners, meaning they all get a voodoo doll and five hundred simbucks. But Max isn’t ready for the night to be over, and he takes Rosemary by the hand, leading her to karaoke bar.

She embraces him, thanking him for the night. She’s been in such a funk lately, and no one’s been this nice to her in a long time. They find a quiet place to sit together.

“This was really fantastic,” Max says as they hold each other close. “I can’t believe we have to go back to that little town.”

“Maybe one day,” she says. “We can move out here, get an apartment–”

“Not have to listen to our stupid parents.”

She bites down on her lip. “I can’t wait to leave that house.”

“We shouldn’t have to,” he insists.

She laughs. “What’re we going to do? Rent a place? We’re teenagers.”

“So? We can get jobs. Take care of ourselves. I’d take care of you.”

“And just leave?”

“Forever.”

Common sense tells Rosemary it’s a bad idea, but she doesn’t often listen to her common sense. She listens to Max instead, thinking about their life together. It’d be better than the quiet of the house and always feeling like someone was behind her. It’d be better than the constant reminders of everything she did wrong. Anything would be better than this.

“We should do it,” she says, squeezing his hand. “Let’s go somewhere together. Anywhere.”

He laughs and kisses her. It feels right.

As dawn threatens the sky over San Myshuno, Rosemary pulls out her voodoo doll and tests it out. There’s an innocent bystander playing guitar.

She takes out the doll and fiddles with it before finally giving it a tickle.

The guitarist gives a giggle right in front of her. Emboldened, she tries again.

She plunges the pin into the voodoo doll, but nothing happens. ¬†Ah, well. You win some, you lose some. The important thing is, Rosemary has completed the Master of Mischief aspiration, and her mischief skill is at level 10, meaning she’s also completed the Problem Child achievement for me. A successful night, all around.

21. Haunted

This is going to sound bad, but I think Irene dying is the best thing that could’ve happened to this story. I struggled to find footing with Irene and Roman as characters. I didn’t offer them any goals or give them much to do. Now I have conflict. Now Roman can grow.

He seems to be doing a lot better these days anyway. He tries to get out more. Meet the neighbors.

He says hi to the people he passes on the street. He’s starting to make friends.

There’s the elephant in the room that neither he nor Rosemary talk about. There aren’t any arguments or offhand comments made. Just silence.

Now it’s Adam I worry about. The poor kid never really dealt with his mom’s death, and I think he’s getting mean. He seems angry all the time, or tense, or annoyed. I’m trying to give him some friends and things to do. Mostly he’s by himself.

Rosemary’s been struggling a lot as well, though her outlet is the Renegades. She can’t help, feeling, well…

Haunted.

Sometimes it’s a cold chill in the middle of the night, and dreams filled with paintbrushes dipped in red pigment brushed across a canvas.

Sometimes it’s the sound of feet on the stairs when no one else is home, or her mother’s voice in her head.

Sometimes it’s the faint feeling that someone should be in the room, and the hollow space they leave is like an old stain she steps around.

10

And sometimes…

9

It’s a little too real.

20. Starting Over

Three sim days can feel like three years at times. Those sad moodlets started dropping off, and I wasn’t sure how to play this. On one hand, Roman has lost the love of his life, the star of his ocean, the peanut butter to his jelly. On the other hand, he’s a romantic sim, and almost immediately started getting tense moodlets for not being romantic to anyone while mourning his dead wife. I never intended to play up Roman’s romantic aspects, but I thought maybe a little time has passed. Maybe Roman is feeling better these days. Maybe he’s ready to get back out there.

Roman is just a little vain, and he’s been going to the gym lately to work out, rather than just jog around the neighborhood. His little world isn’t so little anymore, and he likes being around people. He’s trying to get out there.

He works out for a while. My favorite part of his design is his bro tattoo I imagine he got in his younger days, and he’s mildly embarrassed by it now. He at least wants a better one.

Once he’s beefed up his arms a little, he wanders around the gym. He meets the instructor and his wife. He says hi to Nancy as she keeps up her generous physique. He talks to a handful of people and then runs straight into Dina Caliente.

I have to admit, she’s his type. Romantic, ambitious, and she likes to work out and stay active. He talks to her a while, mostly sharing workout tips.

Dina laughs at his jokes. She’s got an easy-going personality but doesn’t hold back.

And, somehow, the conversation turns romantic. They’re both flirty people by nature, and they flirt a little with each other, mention how they don’t have plans on Friday night, how they were looking for something fun to do and someone fun to hang out with.

Which is how we end up here.

Roman didn’t tell his kids his plans this evening. He off-handedly mentioned his book club to Adam and told Rosemary she was babysitting, not that he can be certain she’s even at the house now. No need to rush things. They’re still fragile. He’s not sure he isn’t, and to be honest, he’s not sure if he’s ready for this whole Two Adults Getting Dinner thing. He and Irene were together in high school, when a date constituted a walk around the mall and drinking slushies while sitting on the trunk of his car. Their quick to the point marriage didn’t leave much time for real dates. He’s new to this whole thing.

He starts with the basics: “You look lovely.”

She grins. “This ol’ thing? It’s not like I wanted to impress you. You saw me at the gym. I’m past pretense.”

He laughs. “I’m impressed anyway.”

She looks at her phone while they talk. Not the best sign. He wonders if that’s normal, or if he’s just boring, but she quickly tucks it aside and smiles at him.

“Have you had the food here?” she asks.

He shook his head. “We–I used to go to Villa Bovine. Have you eaten there?”

“It’s fancy, isn’t it?”

He sighs, remembering the high priced wine. “It’s amazing. Though I am a very big fan of seafood.”

“You know all about that stuff, huh?” she says.

“I like food,” he says. “I like good food.”

“Order for me.” She says it like a challenge. “Tell me what’s good.”

He knows if he wanted to, he could spend all night talking to the waiter and picking out the perfect meal, but he opens the menu instead and looks at their options. It doesn’t take long for the food to arrive.

“I had to go with the house wine,” he says as their plates are set in front of them. “I’ve never had this one.”

She’s suitably impressed. “This looks amazing.”

“I could get us dessert, too.”

She picks up her fork, looking at him as he swirls the wine to let it breathe, and her lips quirk up.

“No dessert tonight,” she says. “But next time.”

The food is good, the conversation flirtatious, the drinks gone quickly. It’s been a while since Roman has felt good like this. He doesn’t feel guilty talking to her, except maybe for not telling his kids, and it doesn’t feel like a betrayal to share wine with another woman. This is normal. Sane. Enjoyable. He’s not sure the right word, but it’s satisfying.

A waiter arrives to take their dishes, and Roman is so buoyed with good spirits, he calls the waiter over.

“This was a fantastic meal,” he says. “Please, tell the chef he’s doing everything right.”

The waiter nods and promises to pass the message along. Dina leans forward, her eyes narrowed at him but her smile still there.

“Do you do that on all your dates?” she asks.

“This is my first in a while,” he says. “But I like to give compliments where they are due.”

He knows she wants to ask about the first part of that statement, but she doesn’t. He’s relieved. This has been fun, and he didn’t want to damper the night with tragedy.

He pays the bill and they get up to leave. He takes Dina’s hands and thanks her for the company.

“You are a gentleman,” she says, and her tone is slightly suspicious. “Most guys would talk me into coffee, at least.”

“I’d like to take things slow,” he says. “As long as that’s okay. I had a great time tonight.”

“And we should do it again.” She squeezes his hand. “Don’t wait too long to call me.”

“Trust me,” he promises. “I won’t.”

19. Going Clubbing

Poor Adam is so neglected by me. His aspiration is Whiz Kid, so I barely focus on his social, so he doesn’t have any friends and he sits upstairs in his room all the time playing with his science lab. I decided to make him a club to give him a boost towards his mental skill.

These are all the kids he knows. I think they may be all the kids in my world? The story progression is a little weird, and I’m still not sure how MCCC actually works. Adam looks happy anyway.

He jumps on the chess table with his friend, and Fallon watches them play. Bjorn is also slightly off camera. He stood there forever while I let my kids take up the space, and finally I told him to get out. I need to figure out what’s going on with NPCs in this save. Every single time I go somewhere with an NPC, they start jogging, which is very annoying.

Fallon sits down with Adam and they start to play. The two of them get along pretty well. I need to invest more time in their friendship meter.

Adam is pretty focused though. There is a decent chance he’ll be going into the scientist career in the future. He’s so single minded.

But homework and chess isn’t the only thing that interests Adam. When that Sims 4 sale was going on, I went ahead and purchased the Kids Room Stuff pack and finally got to try out voidcritters for myself. Since I started this after that purchase, I actually get to figure out what to do with it. So I started Adam a second club.

All of the same kids (again, I think they may be the only ones in this world right now) meet up at Adam’s house to play voidcritters together!

Adam’s fairly good at it, despite investing no time in his cards. His dad bought him a few booster packs to start out on, since Adam doesn’t really want to dig through trash. Luckily all his friends also have cards to play with.

Though only two can play at a time. I may have to build these kids an arcade…

Rosemary, of course, spends her nights out with her club. Purchasing the rally the troops interaction is a major help with that. She does have to get to level 10 mischief before her birthday, and I think the easiest way to do that is to have her sit down at a computer and troll the forums all night.

It’s not the most exciting. Her club gets a little anxious too, and for some reason tonight there was no one else in the library. Did they scare everyone else away?

Wolfgang gets in on the action too. Normally they break every other computer in the place, but they left these up. Maybe they’re too antsy, because in a minute, a fight breaks out.

Rosemary had been attempting to rally the troops when she saw the dust cloud. To her horror, her boyfriend looks to be the instigator, and he has poor Billie in a headlock.

Everyone rushes out of their seats to get a better look. Max doesn’t play fair, but Billie’s no slouch.

She gets him back as much as she can. Unfortunately it’s not enough.

Max emerges victorious. Billie’s dazed. Max goes to brag to his friends, and Billie sits down after all that.

Rosemary checks on her club member. To her credit, Billie doesn’t look that mad. Rosemary doesn’t want to play favorites, and part of the club rules is to do mischief on others, not on themselves.

Billie doesn’t indicate that she feels any rules were broken. Sometimes you just fight in a library. It’s just what happens.

Rosemary at least tries to get Max to apologize. She calls him over and asks him to try and fix things up with Billie.

She laughs as he begs for forgiveness. Oh, Billie. You’re such a strange character in this play.

She does forgive him, at least it seems like. They don’t share anymore mean interactions, so I’ll assume this worked.

The kids aren’t the only ones going out into the world. Roman finds himself suddenly alone, with few friends, and with no one to talk to. I’d planned to have this story start primarily in Willow Creek and then expand out, but Roman calls up the Avant Gardes, and they ask him to meet in Windenburg.

Roman’s a little nervous being around a new group, especially because they seem so young and trendy. Not that he’s old, but he’s never been anything but a dad.

He explains this to Gunther, who looks uncertain how to console someone in this situation. The best he can do, Gunther thinks, is offer him a place in this club. After all, Roman’ll fit right in.

Roman goes straight to the small blocky computer and continues his work. He’s pouring his heart and soul into the Lost Lenore. He wants it to be good.

Club activities go on around him. He doesn’t notice.

Yuki sits on the table beside him, setting down her coffee cup and mystery novel. She glances at him as she sits.

“You look pretty serious,” she says.

There are very few times in Roman’s life where someone told him he looked serious. He wonders how old he looks to young Yuki, especially as he pours over the pages of his heartbreaking novel.

“I’m working on something,” he says, trying to smile at her. “It’s personal.”

She nods as though she understands. “I figured. Gunther always says he’s working on his memoirs, and I’m like, of what?”

He laughs a little at that. “You don’t write?”

She offers a shrug. “A couple of fanfics, little pieces of things. I like reading a whole lot though. And my real passion is video games.”

“I’m at a loss for those,” he says. “Maybe you can share some with me.”

Yuki smiles. “Don’t get me started.”

Eventually the day drags on, and Roman picks himself up and gets some food and a coffee from the cafe.

The barista girl is cute and smiles at him as she hands him his scone.

People are gathered around, talking and laughing with each other as they share their own snacks. A few of them wave at Roman, but he declines, choosing instead to sit at the window with his snack.

He watches the town center as he chews thoughtfully. He doesn’t feel so lonely, not here, and writing somewhere else has helped the story breathe. He thinks about the people he’s met today, the stories they probably have. He’d love to write about them.