1. Romancing the Apocalypse Chapter 18 – No Weddings and a FuneralWelcome back to Romancing the Apocalypse! Part 2 of Episode 17 ended Romance twins Robin and Rachel’s pursuit of their twentysomethings at Sim State University. Now it’s time for them to return to Apocalypse business at hand, and a difficult decision must bemade: Will bad news Celebrity Chef Ratna Miguel be moving in?For the most complete set of rules for Pinstar’s Apocalypse Challenge, as well as the Apoca-borg’s proposed set of rules for the FreeTimeand Apartment Life expansions, check out http://apocalpysechallenge.boolprop.com.Note: I have installed and am playing this Apocalypse through the Bon Voyage expansion only, so none of the new Borg rules apply.
2. But first, back at Uni...Robin had never had any unwelcome fears of Gordon languishing in her aspiration panel, but she struck while the iron was hot anyway.“Gordon, sweetie?” she said, whipping out a box from her skirt pocket. “Just so we’re clear that you are my one and only guy?”“Is this where I get to say ‘yes’?”“This is definitely where you get to say ‘yes’.”“Then most definitely yes.”She tossed the box back over her head and sprung up as lithely as any cat.
3. As she held him, rocking a little, a little snippet from The Platters popped in her head.“Only you... can make this change in me,” she sang softly against his shoulder.“.....”“Your turn,” she whispered.“Youre my dream come true, my one and only you.”
4. “Nicely done!” Rachel laughed. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt...”“That’s quite all right, sis, Gordon was just leaving.”“I was?”“Yes, dearest, you were. I has preparations to make to, um, celebrate. If you get my meaning?”“That’s right, yes I was.” He leaned over and gave Robin a peck on the cheek. “Until later, dearest. See you, Rachel. Congratulations.”“Thanks.”“I’ll call you later,” Robin said, smacking his butt on the way out.
5. “I did it, sis! I’m officially engaged!”“Robbi, congratulations! I take it you suffered no ill effects?”“Not a one.”“Congratulations again! What I came to tell you is I’m throwing my party tomorrow morning, early.”“Early morning? Who wants a party early in the morning?”“I do. Ratna doesn’t work in the mornings and I want to be sure he can make it.”“It’s your funeral, I guess.”“Robbi, please try to get along with him.”“Can I avoid him like the plague instead?” Robin said, only half joking. At Rachel’s beseeching look, she sighed and capitulated. “For you,sis, I will try to get along with him.”
6. Next morning bright and early Rachel’s guests arrived. She had invited some of her special favorites from Sim State and her family.
7. “I’m so happy you could make it, Brenda!”“I wouldn’t miss this for the world. I’m afraid, though, that this get-up makes me look plainer than ever.”“Classic. It’s classic, remember?”“That’s right, classic,” Brenda said with a smile. “You’re looking extra classic yourself.”“Why, thank you,” Rachel laughed.“And now you’re going to leave us to help save the world.”“That’s me, saving the world one party at a time.”Brenda laughed and then sighed. “You won’t forget about us, will you, Rachel?”
8. “Oh gosh, no! I’ve met so many wonderful people here at Sim State. Truly, Brenda, this has been the best time of my life! I love you, Ilove you all! I could never forget you.”“Rachel, I...” Brenda sighed again. “Never mind, it isn’t important.”“Sure?”“Yes, I’m sure.”“I won’t be much of a host if I continue to neglect my other guests,” Rachel said, then turned away and slipped out her cell phone.
9. Because there was one conspicuous no-show, much to Rachel’s disappointment and chagrin.Come on, I scheduled this whole thing around you...
10. She put on her best game face, however, determined not to let Ratna’s absence ruin her party. Her disappointment changed to concernwhen she saw Brenda again.“I’m sorry, I can’t help it. It just isn’t going to be the same here without you.”
11. “Brenda!”“No, I’ll be all right,” she sniffed before heading to the bathroom.
12. Rachel dragged Craig into the bedroom.“Did you see Brenda? I’m worried about her.”“She’s going to miss you. We’re all going to miss you.”“I’m going to miss you all, too. In fact, I think I might... miss you most of all.”Craig cleared his throat and took a step closer, much closer.
14. He took a step back and said softly, “That’s kind of what I thought.”“Please enlighten me,” she said, pinching his chin.“That was very enjoyable, and you are so lovely,” he smiled, a bit sadly.“I enjoyed it too, and you are too good-looking for your own good. Robbi said she finds comfort with Gordon, and I... find it with you.”“How can I put this? Perhaps there’s a little too much comfort, and not enough... heat?”Rachel frowned and withdrew her hand. Was that why she hadn’t gone running straight to Craig?“Craig, I think you might be on to something. There wasn’t much heat there for me either.”
15. “But I do love you, Rachel, lack of heat and all.”“I love you too, Craig, lack of heat notwithstanding.”“Don’t be a stranger, okay?”“I won’t, I promise.”
16. Craig left the party, glad at least that there we no lingering doubts about him and Rachel.
17. And before Rachel forgot, she pulled Rose into the bedroom as well.
18. “So, thanks to my generosity I see you managed to survive.”“I really appreciate it, Rose, I’m not sure what I would’ve done otherwise.”“What was it, something stupid like expect a bowl of cereal to last all day?”“Something like that.”“... Nope, you’re hiding something,” Rose asserted. “Come on, you can tell me.”
19. “Anyway, here’s it back,” Rachel said quickly, eager to change the subject. “It would be awful to leave it behind accidentally.”“Heh.” Rose snatched the snapdragon back into her own safekeeping. “You’re not gonna tell me, are you?”Rachel couldn’t tell Rose. How could she when she couldn’t even tell Robbi?“S’okay,” Rose continued, “I know I’ve never been one to inspire confidences with my sisters...”
20. Rachel stepped up and surprised her with a hug.Rose stood, stiff as a board.“Thanks again, Rosey-Posey.”A strangled sound came from Rose’s throat. Hesitantly she raised her arm and gave Rachel an awkward pat on the back. “Okay.Sheesh.”
21. Once the party was over, Robin caught up with Rachel to see her off.“Ooh, nice!” Robin laughed. “I’ll stay here just a liiittle while longer. Long enough to have my own little party with Gordon.”“I’m happy for you, Robbi.”“So I’ll see you tomorrow, Rachel-san.”“Funny.” She was still wondering why he hadn’t made the party.Robin gave her sister a kiss and her tone turned serious. “I miss you already, Rach.”
22. “What’s a geisha..?” Rose said groggily. “Oh, you’re back.”
23. “Yes, I’m back.”“Where’s your sidekick?”“She’ll be here tomorrow.”“Keep the racket down, will ya?” Rose said huffily. “I knew this wouldn’t work,” she grumbled, flopping back onto her pillow.
24. “Gee, that outfit looks awfully familiar,” Jenny said.“Possession is nine-tenths of the law.”“So I’ve heard. What do you expect me to do?”“Are your hands painted on? Open the closet... okay, admittedly it’s full of crap, but so what? That’s what shopping’s for.”“Since you’re so fond of clichés, I’ll make you a deal. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. Or vice versa.”“As in..?”“See that pile over there? Handle me.”
25. “That’s for snitching.”“Yeah, well, I would so do it again.”
26. “So, this is how she’s ‘handling’ you, Jen?” Juno asked pleasantly.“Correct, Jun. That, or I go boohooing to Mom.”“Psh, like this stuff is difficult...”
27. Back at Sim State...
28. “I figure we have two things to celebrate.”
29. “The first is a number. A very special number.”
30. “The only number that matters. That number is You.”
31. (Okay, a couple of other numbers, too...)
32. “I gather this is the next thing we’re celebrating?”“Correctomundo.”
33. “I do have to tell you, Gordon, it might be a while before we can get our own place. I mean, if Rach is serious about Ratna, and I’m afraidshe might be, I can’t leave her until I’m sure she’ll be all right. Are you okay with that?”“If she were my sister, I’d do the same thing.”She sighed in relief. “Thank you for understanding.”
34. “Not that we can’t see each other whenever we want. You can even spend the night. Just not, uh, with the parents around.”“As long as I get to see you.”
35. “Are you ready to celebrate again? You can even spend the ni-ight.”
36. Once Robin returned from Uni, the twins’ first order of business was clothes shopping.“What are you looking for, Rach?”“A Professional Party Guest should be flirty but sophisticated. You?”“Hmm, for an Artist... I think I’ll go for eccentric.”
37. With the house full again, the sleeping arrangements for poor Rose were bordering on the ridiculous.
38. “Enough of this, peoples, I’m off to Planet Hoopty.”(Credit: DrSupremeNerd)
39. Where they immediately got the hell out of Dodge.
40. And over to an ocean-view lot in Bluewater Village.
41. If Rose thought she hit the jackpot after Hoopty whipped some Grecian Formula from his arsenal, she ain’t seen nothin’ yet...
42. For he indeed had stuff up his tie-dyed sleeve, Lord Byron as an example, to make a girl feel special.“She walks in beauty, like the nightOf cloudless climes and starry skies;And all thats best of dark and brightMeet in her aspect and her eyes.”“.....”“Or not?”
43. Well, in Bluewater they sayThat Rosey-Posey’s small heart grew three sizes that day!
44. And the minute her heart didnt feel quite so tight,She whizzed with her kiss through the bright morning light.(Begging Dr. Seuss’s pardon.)
45. Back at the main lot, where the promotion doodads make a comeback!Rachel entered the Slacker career at level 7 (A- GPA at Uni) and topped it in a week, no thanks to three days off in a row.“Through my charm and influence as a Professional Party Guest, I helped repeal all the effed-up labor laws. Days off: no problem. Getfired: go back in. Chance Cards: take ’em or leave ’em. Vacation days, maternity leave and retirement for Sims and Pets alike: restored.Hmm, what else..? Oh yeah, the Hydroponic Planter thing.”
46. And just two hours later...Ha, that’s two for two, Rose!Robin’s climb up the Artist career almost mirrored Rachel’s: she entered at level 7 and had three straight days off.“As a Visionary, I’ve brought back the finer things in life – musical instruments, artwork, rugs, and decorations. Oh, and I mustn’t forgetto try out that Luminous Pro Antique Camera sometime...”
47. “Hello, I hate to be the bearer of good news...”
48. Across the neighborhood at a cute little almost-Apo cottage*...(*Backdoor Lane 25 City Starter by plasticbox at MTS)
49. “What news is that?”.....Mel gulped. “Omigosh. Thank you, sweetie. Thank you so much!”
51. “Hi Jake!”“Hi yourself. What has my Melissa ‘blub-blubbing’ like a little girl?”“A call from Rachel.” Mel cleared her throat. “And today, call me Macc, for short.”
53. Rachel had been ticked at Ratna since her graduation party, ticked enough that she had waited an entire week before breaking downand calling him.When he arrived at the house, she waited expectantly.“What’s with the look?”“I planned the whole thing around your schedule and you stood me up!”“That’s what the cold shoulder is about?”“Yes! Graduating from college is a big deal, in case you haven’t heard.”“Maybe for you,” he said in a bored tone.Rachel was nonplussed. “Fine. If that’s how you feel, then...” She started to walk past him, but he grabbed her arm.“Look, I have nothing in common with your friends and your sister despises me, so you tell me how that would make for a good time.”“I...” Maybe he was right. He did tend to monopolize her thoughts and energy, and she probably would have spent most of the partyworrying about trying to please him. And now here she was, behaving a bit like a brat throwing a temper tantrum.His next words just reinforced that.
54. “I’m not interested in immature girls, Rachel... no matter how beautiful they may be.”He turned and to Rachel’s consternation, each step he took away from her increased her desire for him to stay.And he called her beautiful.“Ratna, wait. Don’t go.”“.....”“I... would you like to go upstairs?”“... Depends on what’s upstairs.”
55. “Here?”“... Here.”
56. It was done. The last baby of the Apocalypse had officially been conceived.It was just this once. She could do anything once.
57. “I have something to tell you,” Rachel said.Ratna’s eyes travelled downward with hers and came to rest on her belly.“Well? What do you think?” she asked, breaking the awkward silence.“I think you just got what you wanted.”
58. His hands were gentle but felt more like an examination than a loving gesture for mother and baby.“Ask me nicely and I’ll move in.”Rachel was stunned. “What?”“This offer is going... going...”“I’m sorry, I’m just... I wasn’t expecting..?”“Unless you aren’t committed, in which case I never want to see you again.”“No! I’m committed. I just... what about what you want? Why do you want to move in? Because I really don’t know.”“Ask me nicely and I’ll tell you.”Rachel hesitated, but in the end couldn’t resist the carrot. “Please, will you move in?”“I thought the answer was obvious, my darling Rachel.”
59. “I haven’t had my fill of you yet.”She was gasping for air as he took her hand and pulled her up the stairs...
60. There really wasn’t enough room for Jenny to start raising her hoards of puppies and kittens yet, everyone’s skills were maxed, and shewas rolling all sorts of Family wants like first kisses and going steady. When Tyson “I want to see aliens” started looking good to her, sheknew the pickings were slim.
61. Tyson was besotted with Rhea, however, and it was plain he would do anything to please her. Today it was, “Say hi to my sister.”“Hello.”“Hi,” said Jenny. “I’m Family, what are..?”
62. “Wait, where are you going?”
63. Pickpocket Security Guard InternSuffice it to say, all three became overachievers.“Where’s my...”You didn’t get one. And no, life isn’t fair.“You owe me... again!”Why is it always the mean ones...
64. With Rose out and Ratna in, the house still felt about ready to burst at the seams.Thus, it was time for more to move out.
65. Mark re-entered the Music career and since he would eventually be going out on tour anyway, he moved out to make room for the baby.Jane kept a watchful eye on Ratna and could see that despite not being a great match for Rachel (not that Rachel would ever admit it),he was aloof but harmless. All he really seemed to care about was his work and kept to himself when he was at home. She offered tostay as support anyway for when the baby arrived, an offer Rachel politely but firmly refused.So then there were six, soon to be seven...
66. Juno thought if he wanted to move up in Law Enforcement, he’d better work on toughening up his image.“Ooh, tough guy! You’re in our way, little bro.”
67. “Do you really think I’m cut out to be a cop? Maybe I’m too nice to be taken seriously.”“But you have to, Juno! Who is more suited to be the good guy? Right, Robbi?”“And who better to keep the future Criminal Mastermind in check?” Robin added.“I guess you’re right. Thanks!”“Can we be of any further assistance?” Rachel teased.“Um... can I have a car?”“Um... sure, why not?”“Really?”“Why not?”
68. “What is that? Where are you going?”“Taking a spin in my new car.”“No way! How did you swing that?”“I wanted one and I asked.”“You’re not going anywhere without me, bub.”“Count me in!” shouted Jenny.
69. Rachel was more confused than ever. Now that she “had” Ratna, she also had to admit she didn’t care much for his brand of woohoo – itcertainly couldn’t be called lovemaking – and took what comfort she could find in the family’s old bed.
70. Not that he seemed to mind. There was a bar on the roof, and since he was mostly left to his own devices, that was pretty much wherehe stayed until motive desperation forced his hand.
71. What Ratna lacked in enthusiasm for the baby was more than compensated for by future Auntie Robbi.
72. “It’s a boy!” Robin squealed. “We got a boy, we got a boy, we got a boy!”
73. “Well?”“It’s a boy. I named him Kai.”“What kind of a name is that?”“The perfect kind. It means ‘rejoice’. He is after all going to end the Apocalypse for good.”“Good for you.” He shrugged. “Me too, I suppose.”“Would you like to ho..?” Rachel began, but Ratna was already heading back up the stairs.What the hell are we? she wondered.
74. “There’s your daddy, Kai. Would you like him to finish feeding you?”“No, I’m not feeding him. Just keep him quiet, I have to work tomorrow.”“Did you hear that?” Robin asked sweetly. “Your daddy’s the only one in this house who has to work.”
75. “Why are we still using the crappy grill?”Rachel gave it a cursory glance and shrugged. “Too much on my mind to bother with it, I guess.”“Why are you looking all doom and gloom?”“I... might be asking Ratna to move out.”“You’re gonna break up with him?”“Maybe. The only reason I’m telling you is... you seem to like him and I know he likes you.”“He’s nice to me. I think he likes that I like his cooking. He is a really good cook.”“Well, don’t get too attached, okay?”“What about Kai?”“Believe me, that’s the only reason he’s still here.”“This sucks.”“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have laid this on you. Don’t say anything, okay?”“I wouldn’t do that.”“Because I...” I’m afraid “I haven’t made a final decision yet.”
76. “What do you think of an outdoor kitchen, huh, Tut-Tut? Think a stove will catch fire outside?”“ghhh”“Yeah, I hope not too.”Rachel stopped short when she heard a car approach and then stop in front of the house. “Let’s see who’s down there.” She went to theedge and, holding Kai tightly against her, took a quick peek down at the street.
77. “Ratna, what happened?!” she cried.“Don’t come down here,” he warned in measured tones.“Are you..?”“SHUT UP!” he bellowed.Rachel shut up.
78. “If you know what’s good for you, stay out of my way.”
79. Rachel took a deep breath and concentrated on Kai’s face, once again trying to decipher which parent he favored most. It was hard forher to tell. He had an exotic look to him, almost like an ancient Egyptian baby.“Come on, we don’t want to be down here. Let’s get you upstairs,” she whispered.
80. Meanwhile, at the almost-Apo cottage across the neighborhood...
81. Jenny felt bad for Ratna, doubly so after what Rachel had recently told her. Little did she know she was about to stumble onto the darkside of Ratna Miguel.“I’m sorry, that really sucks about your job,” she said, leaning in to give him a friendly, commiserating hug.He batted her hands away. “Get away from me, little girl.”Jenny was stunned by the rebuff, positive their relationship had been high enough. And actually it had been... on her side. She sniffed asshe bolted up the stairs, thinking, I don’t care if he does move out!
82. He hadn’t meant to snap at Jenny like that, but he had been out-of-his-mind upset, still was, and... well, she should have known to leavehim alone.He was never going to be able to show his face in public again. He had no friends. He had no appetite.He had nothing.Scratch that... he had the bar.
83. He could sense Rachel’s approach from behind.“I told you to stay away,” he said dully.“I, uh, just want you to know that I’m truly sorry.”“.....”“I... think I know you well enough that being a Celebrity Chef meant everything to you. It was your identity, your life.”“You would be right about that.”
84. She had no idea what to say next, so she remained silent.“You’re just dying to know what happened, aren’t you?”Rachel stood rooted to the spot, wondering why she had bothered coming up, and worse, why she couldn’t bring herself to leave.“Okay, why not? I have nothing to lose,” he continued.She almost said, “You have me,” but didn’t. Because, she suddenly realized, he didn’t.“It was a chance card.”“But why would you..?” He slammed his glass down on the bar, making her wince. “Sorry,” she whispered.“Those bastards sprung a last-minute competition on me. Obviously I wasn’t prepared. Out of the blue an anonymous caller dangles asecret recipe for the right price. I took it. I won, but Anonymous Caller turned informant. The rest...” He threw back the rest of his drink.“Is all over the news.”“So that’s it. I’m done. Finished. The end of the road.”“You could get back in, rebuild your reputation.”“As a Prep Cook?” He laughed derisively. “I’d sooner die first.” He looked her up and down suggestively. “You trying to cheer me up?”Rachel blushed. “I don’t know what I’m doing. Probably. I just... I’m sorry,” she said and stepped away.“Where do you think you’re going?” he demanded hoarsely, grabbing her hand roughly and pulling her down the stairs.
85. “So you think you can cheer me up?” he said, desperation in his kiss. “Go on then, Rachel, do your worst.”
86. “Make me forget all about it...”
87. Rachel never knew what to say after their... times with each other, and this time was no exception.
88. “As consolation prizes go, I could’ve done a lot worse. You were magnificent, baby.” Ratna’s tone was surprisingly chipper.
89. “I’m taking a shower.”The smile faded. “You do that.”
90. Did they really think he would willingly fade into obscurity as his empire crumbled around him?To hell with them. He’d show them all, every last one of them.
91. Ratna strode down the stairs with a purpose, his lip curling when he saw once again the tramp was never far from her sister’s side.“Turn that goddamn refrigerator back around!” he roared.“My, aren’t we cranky this morning,” Robin said for Rachel’s ears only.Rachel was too on-edge to be amused, but before she could placate him, he was gone.Well, she was done chasing after him. “Come on, Robbi, help me turn it around.”
93. “What are we gonna do about that daddy of yours?” Kai’s Auntie Robbi asked, nuzzling his nose, breathing in his sweet baby smell.An icy draft wafted up the stairs and a shiver rose from deep within her soul. Something was terribly wrong...She put Kai back in his crib and ran down to the platform, scanning the lot.
94. Noooooo...Robin mourned not for Ratna Miguel, but for her sister and especially for her nephew, who would never know the love of his father.
95. “Rachel, you’d better get down here!” she screamed as the voice of Death began to intone its brief chronicle of Ratna’s life:
96. Ratna Miguel Celebrity ChefBrought unlimited and unrestricted food, cakes, coffee, cooking appliances, the juicer, restaurants and fast-food delivery back to the region. Sentenced to fend for himself and died in infamy after messing with the wrong family. Survived by an infant son, whom he never once touched.
97. “Selfish prick bastard! How could you do this?!” Rachel wailed. “You had a son! What do I tell him? WHAT DO I TELL HIM?!” It is done.
98. Rachel wept and cursed over what remained of Ratna Miguel as the poison of their relationship came spewing forth, seemingly withoutend, until a nightmare vision of Kai someday finding and playing with... them flashed before her, at which point she gathered enoughcomposure to pick up the scissors and tuck them safely away in her inventory...
99. ... while across the neighborhood, a new Celebrity Chef’s star was on the rise – for she had resisted the anonymous caller and emergedvictorious with her five-course meal complete with eel-flavored sorbet – reveling in her victory in the Eco Guru’s vision of paradise.