Wednesday, September 13, 2017

1.06 Risk Taking


“Are you sure you won't regret going with me? I mean, you always talk about wanting to strike out on your own. I want you to be with me but not if you're going to regret your decision down the line. I don't want to hold you back or anything.” Dustin says seriously, raking his hand through his hair.



“Why do you sound worried again? I'm completely over it Dustin. I wanna be with you too, no more running around in circles. Besides, I'd like to see you perform, and be there to support you. How can I watch your star rise if I'm living somewhere else?” She asks nonchalantly.

“It... wouldn't be right of me to assume.” He explains, starting to smile.



She grins and pulls her phone out to load a website. “You're right about the research facility there by the way. It think they will be plenty of opportunity for both of us. All I ask is that we live a little ways away from the lights downtown so my stargazing isn't affected by too much light pollution. I'd like to have a lab at home eventually too.”

At home. The words make him feel like he's soaring. She just said that about living with him.



Across town Jennika is a bit disappointed, but not all that surprised when Loki tells her he can't be with her when she becomes a young adult. More than anything, he's annoying her at the moment. “You used to be a lot hotter when you didn't act like you cared about my feelings.” She tells hims plainly.

He has no idea how to respond to that comment, so he doesn't.



“You won't have to worry about it anymore, I just wanted to tell you. I'm moving out of town, it's not going to work between us. That's it.”



Well that made her mad. She balls up her seventeen year old fists and grinds her teeth. “Well I wasn't going to wait around for a dick like you to come back from college. You can stop pretending like you care and flake off.”

Loki shrugs. “Guess I won't see you around or anything.”

“Not if I have anything to say about it.”



Women are crazy, he thinks to himself. Jennika had constantly come on to him when he was dating Andrea, and now that he was single and being direct she wasn't interested at all. She'd had a crush on him since middle school when they were children, they'd even shared an awkward first kiss. But now it looks like all of that really doesn't mean anything anymore.

He was making the right decision by moving out on his own. This more than anything is what helps to convince him. He's never going to plan his life around a woman again.



Leon has apparently spent too much time by himself next to the family keg. He doesn't even socialize with his brother.



Then again, Everet has his own preoccupations...



Loki moves out several days after that without saying more than a few words to anyone about it. He tells Meghan because despite what he said about not being able to promise her anything, she still spins like a ballerina on the inner recesses of his mind.

He needs to get away from her, the sooner the better. She messed up so much in his life but that didn't mean he didn't still care about her. It was too much to process with her nearby.

And with a town this small and full of gossip, the only thing to do was get away. Far away.



He marvels at the distance there is now between people he once cared about. Dustin and he haven't spoken at all. Since the incident neither one can bring himself to forgive the other.



Meghan's getting pretty good at computers now to the point that she's confident in fixing small problems. She knows Loki leaves in the morning, but it wasn't meant to be. She doesn't go talk to him about it.

Time passes quietly after that. Loki moved out of town the next day. According to his family he went south, someplace known to be rural and quiet. Meghan hopes she finds happiness there, or a way to be happy. He isn't a bad person.



Dustin has been saving up and spends a bit of time with his girlfriend. They've been dating for months now officially. He hasn't worried that they're going too fast, and things seem indescribably perfect. It feels like Meghan and he want all of the same things.



So he asks her. He has to, they're getting ready to move and he can't keep a secret from her for very long, he wants her to know what's been on his mind. The ring isn't huge, it's from the few tips he's been getting and the resale of his college books. It's not worth thousands, but it's a cute style he really thinks she'd like.

The expression on her face is frozen for a while, and a kick of panic rises like bile in his throat. Did he just mess up?



She can't make eye contact. Her tone is grave. “Dustin...”

He rises to meet her eyes if she'll let him and says nothing; pensive, waiting. Please, he thinks. Please.



“Dustin I can't marry you.” She says after minutes of torturous silence. “I just... can't.”

He shakes his head, not knowing what to say. Was it too soon after all? They'd been through so much together. Should he have saved more, was the ring too small? It didn't seem like the sort of thing she cared about. “Why?” He whispers when he finds his voice.



“Because... I love you and- I can't.” She says softly. “I'm happy just being your girlfriend right now.”

He has to know. “Do you...ever want something like that?” It's hard to ask. This could be serious for them. His pride is hurt sure, but it feels so much more personal. He'd really risked a lot by asking, he just hadn't realized how much until she rejected him.

“I don't know, Dustin.”

“Even though there's nothing about you I don't love?” He presses forward. “And nothing that I wouldn't work hard to give you?”



She leans in to kiss him instead of answering: she's avoiding the topic. If he gives in now he can never ask her again.

He loves how affectionate she is, but this feels wrong. His heart is beating too quickly and he can't give into to the despair that swirls below the surface of his outer calm. He bites his lip.



"That's enough out of you you vixen," He tries to joke, holding her gently away.

She looks hurt and offended but he can't fix it.

“I think I need some time to think about things.” He says more honestly.



She can't fix him either.

He lets her walk away. It's never wrong to be honest, he tells himself in empty consolation. There can't be any more secrets between them, they've been open with each other about everything. He doesn't understand.



She leaves: he stays behind.



There's always someone there to witness when you're having a horrible day, he muses as he rolls out his sleeping bag at the rec center. He doesn't care about anything right now anyways. Let the woman in the stupid hat laugh at him.



Meghan tries to fix one of her problems on her own, but the facilities at the Sparrow residence are woefully unprepared for her experiments.



And the place is crowded, and everything is breaking down.

Dustin finally came home late the next day and just fell asleep on the rocking chair. She couldn't bring herself to say anything to him (plus she looked atrocious and was happy he'd slept miraculously through the explosion). She wasn't used to feeling like such a spaz, but her mind was... still off.

After a quick shower she decides to ask him out again so they can talk about things.



He wakes up and agrees. They head to the park.



“There's some things I'm not ready for yet.” She tells him. “I hope you don't think it means I don't care about you.”



“I was serious when I told you I wanted everything. I just thought, even though you've been using my last name all this time, it's all fake. And to move to a new town with your alias- well it just got to me, that's all. I wanted to make you Meghan Sparrow, not Andrea, not some girl who pretends she's related to me, but as my wife.” He inhales a breath of chilly night air: lets it out as slowly as he can. He says the next part carefully. “I think, if you don't want to marry me you should choose a different name. We could start over, blank slate if you want.”



She doesn't reply immediately so he adds to it. “If you don't-want to be dating either, if this was too much for you- I can try to understand. We can get separate beds, you don't have to move with me, you- you don't have to do anything.” He nearly chokes the words out, feeling heartbroken. He hates himself for saying this much, how could he let go of the best thing that's ever happened to him so easily?

He must be an idiot.



She swings back and forth for a moment, watching him warily meet her gaze. His silvery gray eyes shine a little in the starlight. But even though she can see every emotion as it flashes over his face he's not running away from the conversation.

He's so different from anyone else. He's willing to work through things. But did he have any idea at all how messed up she was?

“I'm sorry I was so blunt about it but I didn't know what to say. Can't we just date for a while, isn't that okay? I...didn't mean to hurt your feelings.”



“I'll mend.” He promises quickly, way too quickly. She still wants to date him! Is all he can think right now. “But... does that mean I can ask you again, in the future? If you still want to be together...” He trails off.

“Uhm, you can ask me again.” She says shyly. “I just think we should go out there and work and see how we are with living together first.”

“You don't think we can make it.” He says bravely. She shrugs, not sure if that's true. He goes on, more than that worry has been on his mind all day. “I don't want to rush into anything either. I just can't picture my life without you, and I'm sorry if you felt pressured. But you make me happy, more than that, I feel elated when we're together- I almost can't describe it. Even so... there are some things I'm not willing to do right away either.”



It was her turn to be brave. “You mean you don't want to have sex.” Some of the way he acted before, he always stopped before things got too heavy, even before she wanted to keep going sometimes. “Is that why you wanted to get married?”

He laughs. “What do you take me for? But yes, that's something I'm saving for my wife, it's not some candy I'm going to be handing out to just anyone, you know? It's like a ...pact. Something precious. So I am saving that.”

“So... as to why you asked me?”

“Well you know you're the only one I want.” He rolls his eyes. “I'd probably still not be dating anyone if you hadn't told me yes. We can date as long as you want, but I know I won't be able to stop myself from asking you again. As- stupid as that probably sounds.”

She shakes her head. “It's not stupid.”



“Thanks for asking me out here.” He says. “I get it if you need time, I'll do my best to understand.”

“I don't know... how long I'll make you wait.” She cautions.

He smiles faintly. “Yeah, it's okay. Thanks for the warning. But I'm in this to find out what we have between us too, and so far I think it's been good.”



She gets up and holds her arms out to hug him, he cradles her head gently. It's almost like no more words should be spoken now.

She does whisper in his ear. “It's been more than good.”



“Should we try to catch a movie or something now?” He asks her before letting her go.

She shakes her head and smiles. “Nah, there's supposed to be a rare comet passing by soon and I thought we could watch it together.”



So they do.

But not before Dustin makes fun of the way she decides to sit. “That's really ladylike. Are you trying to tempt me after everything I just said?”



“Not that I don't mind the view...”

“Stop staring you pervert there's a once in a lifetime occurrence happening right over your head.”

“There's more than that happening I can assure you.”

“What do you- ew! That's... kind of gross.” She rebukes when she realizes what he means.



He laughs and watches the sky with her. “It's not gross that I find you irresistible.” The warmth of his hand covers hers and it feels like all of her worry from the last few days melts away. He's forgiving her, after she hurt him so badly.



“I think- when you aren't being disgusting- that you can be overwhelmingly charming too sometimes. In an awkward, never grew out of being a teenager sort of way.” She admits as they both lean back.

“Do you think you included enough qualifiers in that?” He asks dryly. “Can''t you just admit how great we are together, or how much you love me? Not for my sake of course, I'm already well aware, but for yours.”

She tries to laugh sarcastically but it's funny and she just enjoys the moment. “Don't be too full of yourself.”

“I'm not, I'm thankful.” He says with conviction.

She smiles widely. “Then I can admit that I want everything with you too. Just... not as quickly as you do.”

The comet is far away but still it's streak of blue and pink crawls patiently across the indigo sky, as if there wasn't thousands of miles passing it by every second. On the ground the young couple feels as if they are flying.



She does totally try to see if he was actually looking at anything though after the comet rolls by an hour later.

“I guess I am flashing my underwear at the park- good thing no one else is here to see it.”

“Well thanks for showing me first I guess.”

“Ugh. Shut up.” She grumbles in embarrassment getting off the grass and dusting herself off.



Dustin laughs. “Thanks for taking me out here again. It really was a great view.”

She shoves him in the shoulder. “Let go pack.” She says, her voice bossy. “We leave in the morning.”

“Anything you say Miss Sparrow.” He was going to be insufferable the whole way there, she had a feeling already.

“After you, Mister Suspicious.”

“Ooo, that's a good one. Really put me in my place.” He grins as they walk home.

“I'll put you in your place.” She promises darkly.

But he grins all the more. “Yeah?”

She blushes red. “I didn't mean it like that!”

And it goes on all the way home.


------------


I can't resist a good joke at my sims expense.

So things are finally moving again. But yeah, she did reject him on a date, after finding him something like irresistible. Meghan is always throwing wrenches into my plans and trying to live life her own way. The nerve of this girl!

But whatever! I never get tired of their moments of bitter-sweetness. It's gonna suuuck when I have let them age up I already know it. But, they can't stay stagnant forever! Time to move the story along... and just for those counting (and why would you be?) I've taken 2,400 pictures in this game up to the point of this update (XD). There are many more yet to be written about, this is something like 60% of what I've played that has been blogged. 


Stupid house I stupid built for them is up next. You're gonna love it.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

1.05 Come with Me


Early the next morning (or is it late that night?) the boys arrive back at the Sparrow residence in Aurora Skies. A thin veneer of slush layers the ground and gets into their shoes and socks, but neither really pay it much attention. The mood remains a mixture of melancholy and anticipation.



Meghan had taken her own taxi into town claiming that she needed to stop somewhere and would join them later. She spends several long moments in the public bathrooms at a beach to assess the damage done by all that testing.

She doesn't feel right, but she doesn't feel wrong now either. It's disorienting, that she enjoys being outside so much when it normally plagues her with worries and fear.



She hopes she can remember the way to Eugene and Lize's place, but complicated natural concepts like directions and spatial relationships are starting to feel inconsequential. She spends a long time outside just enjoying the atmosphere.

But anticipation builds when the sun is ready to rise and she doesn't want to miss it, in fact she'd probably buy tickets to it if it was a marketed event. How strange.



Eugene is predictably where he can always be found in the pavilion out back, hanging out with little Everet.

Dustin only covers roughly how things had gone at school, and does share his decision not to return to University and to instead begin his intended career. His cousin isn't surprised by this.

“What about Meghan?”

Dustin shrugs. “I'm not sure yet. She and Loki aren't together now and I don't think classes were what she expected them to be, so she has a lot to consider I guess.”

Eugene smiles that knowing smile of his. “She and Loki broke up?” He says, waiting intently for a reaction.

When Dustin's mouth turns up in an small smile that he can't hold back he gets cuffed on the shoulder roughly. “You told her!? It's about freakin time, kid! So are two together now?” Eugene is apparently still the gossiping busybody he always has been, fishing for information.



Dustin's smile falters. “I- I don't know what it means yet, and Loki and I aren't on speaking terms anymore. I think I'm the bad guy for him...”

Eugene laughingly shakes his head. “You're so cautious. Stop worrying and just enjoy spending time together for now. If Loki's a good friend, he'll still be around.”

“Yeah I don't need him to do that either.” Dustin grumbles darkly.

Eugene's journalistic instinct kicks in. There must be a story there. “...really?” He inquires, only to be interrupted by the appearance of Loki.

Oh yeah we all came back here, Dustin remembers, annoyed.



Seeing Dustin's discomfort Eugene immediately changes topics to the weather. “Snow started early, we might head out to the festival later on if you want to come with us...”

“There's a festival in town now? Well I would but I plan on checking out the local talent at a show tonight and maybe getting some practice in while I can. Starlight Shores is no laughing matter and I plan on succeeding there.”

Loki, completely ignored, considers hitting up a bar later. He really needs to meet new people.

And to have a plan for his life, definitely.

He sighs out of the side of his mouth in a quiet huff. He should spend the day catching up with family and admitting what he had lost. He could hear his mother's voice echoing already in his mind: 'No son of mine is going to give up on his education...' He needs a plan if he's going to avoid going back to University and that place was nothing but hard days and bad memories. Ambitious or not, he is not going back there.



Meghan is lost in some new bliss she could not have anticipated ever experiencing in her life. The sun doesn't just engulf and surround her: she is bathing in it. Some form of instinct overcame her when the first few rays of red light grazed her skin and she quickly found herself digging deep in the ground- it was almost as if roots pulled her- happily- in.

Her normal worries and concerns are gone, nothing matters right now except this new feeling of fulfillment.



She's not sure how she did this, she only knows it was needed. She can't recall being so unrestrained before in her life. Flexing her now rather spindly muscles, she spirals effortlessly out of the ground after another hour and flicks soil from her skin. She'd never understood what a mud bath was before, and now she gets it. One with nature. Nourishment. Peace.



Where was she going, before this? What was she doing? Nothing matters right now.

She spends most of the day at this makeshift beach on the outskirts of town, reveling in the freedom of the moment.

After the sun tucks itself behind some high northern clouds she gains a semblance of awareness back and realizes that something is dreadfully different- it was as if the sun had entranced her, but also as if she wasn't herself anymore.

She doesn't need one more way to become lost, so she calls another cab and gives the driver directions quickly, before the sun comes back out from behind the clouds and changes her course.



Dustin gathers his courage and heads out to try his hand around town as Element the Suspicious. It's kind of a relief that nobody happens by as he messes up most of his tricks and the props aren't doing what he wants.

How hard is it to release a bouquet of cloth flowers from a hidden latch with a spring? A five page leaflet hard. Don't overthink it though, it's probably all in the wrist or something.



He meets Meghan inside for the show but is unable to pay attention to it. “Are you sure you're okay lately?

She smiles. “I feel amazing actually.”

'Vivum Plantae Personae ...Simulationis...' she had time to stop by the hospital on the way to meeting him here. The doctor said her new condition was extremely rare, and effected only minuscule populations in tropical and desert climates, he had never even seen a real case of it. Then again, this was a small northern town so maybe it wasn't surprising.

A key ingredient of that new sunscreen she had been subject to came from the Rosary Pea (Abrus precatorius), one of the most poisonous plants in the world. Its berries were known to induce... changes if used or applied directly to the skin. If she had ingested them, she very well would have died. Mostly it's seeds were dried and used in jewelry, not ground or crushed and applied to the skin in cremes. She escaped something horrible and should be terrified.

So why did she honestly feel so good?



Dustin is sweaty from spending the afternoon trying to figure out how to be magic, and it turns out that Meghan had spent the afternoon getting dirty and discovering that she is, in some small way actually magic - or was it all merely science?

She tells him about her meeting with her doctor.

Dustin carefully studies her expression as she explains how it went. If she feels okay and he's no authority on the subject he doesn't think his opinion is going to be worth a whole lot. “Is there a cure?” He asks the most important question.

“There is... but I feel really great right now, better than I have in a really long time...” She leave out the part about how she can now somehow absorb energy from the sun directly and hasn't been hungry since yesterday. She really wants to runs some tests on herself as soon as possible. “And the cure is something like 3,000 simoleans, which I don't really have right now, so I think I'll wait a while.”

He frowns. “Are you sure you want to wait though, I could take out a loan or something- it's what I have to do anyways to move...”

“I don't want to owe you any money.”

He sighs. “Just let me help you sometimes, you know how worried I get...”



She moves towards him and plants a small kiss on his lips. Her taste is different, earthy but still hers. It makes him a combination of excited and wary. She takes too many risks, when was he going to be able to protect her?



They sing karaoke after the show and discover that their singing voices have only marginally improved since they were teenagers. Like usual they have fun together, and this time nobody boos them, so progress!



They head back to the Sparrow place after their date and clean up.

Meghan gives Dustin an ink blot test, but at the same time is trying to gauge what's different with her own mental state, taking the test silently to herself. This test still seems redundant and subjective.



She also really likes flowers now for some reason, so the timing of this gift is perfect!

Eugene is ignoring the young couple, hoping to solve an intermediate problem. Both Kings are in check and black has the upper hand unless white's bishop can cover some distance and move to flank the black king.



Nevermind: he is getting distracted. Kids these days! Eugene's cleans up the game and goes downstairs to check on dinner.



“So how did you do around town, did you make anything?” She asks after they're alone again.

Dustin yawns and stretches his arms over his head, working any kinks out. “Yeah the realization that I have a lot more to learn.” He's smiling though so he can't be that upset about it. “I'm mostly glad that it's going to take skill more than bluster, if that makes sense. Once I have my own flair for it it should be easier than I thought to make myself stand out. There are so many different ways each trick can be used.”

She smiles. “That's awesome. I mean it, I happy to see you so excited- since I dragged you to college and you know-” She trails off, not wanting to get into detail about how much of an ordeal everything had been. She changes the subject instead. “So when do you think you'll be going?”

“To Starlight?”

She nods.



His face falls and he stops making eye contact. Is it too soon to ask her to go with him? Didn't his cousin lecture him just this morning about how he was overly cautious?

He decides to at the very least tell her about the decisions he had made. “I'm not sure.” He says, leaning lightly on the frame of their bunk bed. “I worked out with Eugene that I can stay here for a few months, maybe over the winter and get started saving up money for the trip out there. If I don't have enough by early summer, the plan is to take a loan out and make up the difference.”

“It's late fall now so- four months or maybe five?” She asks. He nods, tersely.

She rolls her eyes at him, looking so dramatic about it all. If he was close to his dream he should be letting himself celebrate a bit more.



“So why do you seem stressed out about it?” She presses him. “Aren't you happy to finally be on the path to doing what you want?”

He furrows his eyebrows and looks over her face, she seems genuinely confused. He works his jaw: wills the words to come out of his mouth but they don't come. “It's a lot to plan.” He says instead as if that was all that was bothering him.



She tilts her head and leans in, trying to lure him into looking at her for more than a few seconds. “Well what else? Even I can tell there's more to it than that.” She finds herself becoming impatient. “This isn't like you, you're worrying me a bit. For once.” She tries to joke about it. “How are you going to keep me from being worried about mundane and dumb things if you're too busy being worried about things yourself?”

“I don't know.” He answers honestly with a small shake of the head. “I don't know what you want me to say.”



“Say whatever.” Meghan mumbles, her voice a little too quiet. This is the most serious she's ever seen him and she's not sure if she likes it. The laughing, easygoing Dustin is the one she feels she knows and understands.

He stays silent. Obviously mulling over whether she can handle what he's about to reveal or say. Or was he going to ask her something? His eyes are fixated on some small point on the wall over her shoulder and not on her. As if she wasn't even here right now.



Unable to wait for him any longer she levels her gaze and steps directly into his line of sight. “If you don't say something soon I'm going to pinch you.” Her voice is light but the real threat is in her ocher eyes. She rubs her fingertips together lightly in anticipation. “I don't want to but I will.”

He looks her over finally and makes a long-suffering sigh. “Alright, so pinch me.”



She lowers her hand and gives in. “I'm not going to pinch you but you really don't want to talk about what's bothering you?”

He makes a face. “I sort of thought you'd get it by now.”

She shrugs. “Well I think you'll do well out there and you're going to be very successful-”

“I'm not talking about that.”

She raises her voice. “Then what in the heck are you talking about already? I can't just make things up and hope I'm right- talk to me about this!”

“Fine. I asked you to go with me, to consider it at least. Before that I told you how I feel, how I've felt for a long time, we've been together, you've let me hold you-” He moves to embrace her.



He continues, murmuring softly in her ear. “It seems like you care about me too. But you haven't really answered me on any of it.” He frowns. “It's seems like- well I get worried that we don't want the same things. That you could be humoring me. And even now that you have this new condition, you won't even let me help you-” He squeezes a little tighter, not wanting to let her go now.

“Because, I don't really know what to do about that.” She whispers back. “And I know I haven't said it, but I thought you knew how much I care about you. I mean- I love you, Dustin.”

He lets out a breath he hadn't realized he's been holding and leans back to look at her face. “Say that again?” He asks with a sly smile.



“I love you.” She shrugs her arms up above his shoulders and leans back in. The kiss is gentle and lingers and it warms.



They spend more than a few minutes gazing into each other's eyes after that. “Do I have to ask again about-”

“I'll go with you to Starlight Shores.” She cuts him off, smiling shyly. “I want to have a future with you.” She feels incredibly glad to be talking about things in such an open way for once.



The look he gives her makes her heart melt.



Then they talk about everything, begin making plans, and promises. It's the first time they're doing things with each other in mind and it feels like they'll be able to face anything together.



They really don't even notice that there's other people in the room now.



Everet giggles openly. Lize just wanted to use the rocking chair to have a peaceful moment resting after dinner with her baby.



Eugene is being a nosy fly on the wall, as usual. He had been right about these two all along. He's going to sit here all night until they notice enough that he can laugh at them more directly.




----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I felt really bad for Loki being ignored like that, but it just keeps happening and nobody's talking to him.

I think it's hilarious that I wasn't intending to write about supernatural sims in this blog, and now they are everywhere. The rolls were random for the fandom trait they both have so I had to write it in, they met some at Mayfield Springs, Meghan becomes a freaking Plantsim, it's as if I'm being driven in the supernatural direction. Not that I mind those stories I quite like them, but I don't play them at all in my games so it should be interesting if they get more prominent as I'll be working it in as it goes along. I'm not even sure if I'll have everyone be able to see ghosts. But for now the Plantsim is being treated as a mindless sort of natural state. 

Seeing a sim crawl out of the ground with dirt (and possibly maggots) flying everywhere was one of the creepiest things I have seen in this game to date (although let's be honest the imaginary friends always win the creepiest thing award). And yes, I have a BS degree in latin, thank you for asking. And Dustin's really happy to be dating a supernatural sim. >.>;

Sorry if there was too much tense Dustin. It makes me happy for some reason.

If Eugene gets anymore smug he's going to end up buying a Prius.