Romancing the Apocalypse Chapter 20 – Where Sleeping Dogs LieWelcome back to Romancing the Apocalypse! Episode 19 saw the ...
At Robin and Gordon’s cabin across the street, they made good on their promise to move in Craig and Brenda.
A smudge of eyeliner and lipstick for Brenda and a shopping trip for them both, and they were ready to face the world away...
“Now that we’re past the biggest hurdle, what now?” Brenda wondered out loud.“Sit tight and wait for them to call.”“Them? ...
Brenda had her choice of three beds upstairs, but she chose instead to catnap downstairs. Where the phone was.
“Hello?”
“Yes, we made it out! Craig and I are official grown-ups now... real graduates with real diplomas and some pretty mad skil...
“Of course I’ll be right over!”
“You’re such a sight for sore eyes!”“Brenda!” Rachel squealed, “you look more beautiful than ever!”
“But still the same Brenda. I’m so glad you didn’t change.”
They gazed at the cabin across the street.“So close, and yet so far.”“I hope for not too long, though. That is, if you wan...
Come to find out that Brenda is a Romance Sim, too. *Picture two +3500 over their heads* Don’t know why, but I always thou...
Not long after, Craig received his own invitation.“Gads, this place is becoming quite the little nest for you lovebirds.”J...
Craig, however, sprang away self-consciously. “How’s it goin’!” he blurted.“All right, you Tarzan she Jane, eh?” Rhea adde...
Jenny couldn’t help noticing a change in Craig’s demeanor.“Is this okay? It’s private, at least.”Craig turned his head sud...
Craig relaxed a little and sent a splash Jenny’s way.“Your sister’s a character.”“I’ve never seen Rhea be so nice to someo...
“I mean, who can resist it?”
“Not me, that’s for sure. In fact, I think I could pet it all night...”
“Hey, you’re awfully tense.”“Am I?” he replied distantly.“I thought... in the house... you felt it, too. Was I wrong?” She...
“Jenny...”
“We have to stop.”“Not on my account, I hope?”“There’s something I have to tell you.”“Please don’t tell me it’s something ...
They didn’t even make it to the car.“Really, Craig, Jenny? How dare you! My sister!”“I was going to come clean with you bo...
“I didn’t go after her, and I didn’t mean for it to happen, Rachel, it just... did.”“.....”“Please, I’m not the scumbag yo...
Jenny stood numbly, but still within earshot.Rachel continued after some contemplation, “This was a mess to begin with. Pe...
“I’d still like to take you out.”“I don’t want to anymore. Besides, what’s the point?”“I’m sorry.”“I don’t understand you ...
.
“You are not, and never were, second best,” he said, taking her hands in his.Yep, she was definitely a pushover, but how c...
With the Politics restrictions lifted, there were tons of things to keep a boy busy, and no kid in this family had ever be...
“Come," Rhea beckoned, "tell me about your wares.”“I’m selling the best lemonade on the block!”“Oh yeah? How much?”“Just f...
“How about a free sample?”“You can’t trick me. Money first, Auntie.”“I like your business sense, kid. You must come and wo...
“Ooh, how much?”“For my mom... just fifteen simoleons.”“I’ll take two.”“Yay, thanks!”
As Rhea’s incessant yammering about starting a business reached a fevered pitch, Juno read up on the wondrous benefits of ...
“Of course they like water, but not too much.”“Like this?”“Perfect.”
“Uncle, what’s that over there?”“Where?”“Back here!” Kai answered, trotting toward the far back corner of the lot.Juno saw...
“This! What is this?”
Kai came to an abrupt halt and stared.“Gray bread,” he said in a soft trance-like voice.
“What did you say?” Juno asked as he caught up.“Gray bread,” Kai repeated, louder this time.Juno gulped and tried not to s...
“My dad’s grave is the gray bread I saw in my head.”
“I remember when you said that, Kai. It does sort of look like gray bread, I just never thought you would... you were so y...
“But you’ve gotta know something! Please!”Juno’s heart ached at the crack in Kai’s voice.“Well, I do know he was a very fa...
“How did he die?”
“... I can’t say for sure, but I think it was a heart attack. And if you want to know anything else, you’ll have to ask yo...
“Do you like ghosts, Uncle?”“ *Brrrr* Heck no! And nobody in our family has been Knowledge for a loooong time.”“Maybe I’ll...
“Time to go back now, it’s going to get dark soon.”
“Come on, Kai!”
“Coming, Uncle.”
Juno wondered if the awareness of his father’s grave would affect Kai’s sleep and he started checking in on him before he ...
“No, everything’s fine, go back to sleep.”
Most days found Kai outside, and when increasingly distant cousins like Tara came over to play after school, all the bette...
And Rhea took it upon herself to keep him in line with his homework.
“Kai Jones, what are you doing over here?”
“Just trying to catch some butterflies.”“Kai, look at me.”
“What?”“I don’t want you playing with Ratna’s... your father’s headstone.”
“But I’m not playing with it. It’s the only place the butterflies hang out!”“You’re not... here to be with your dad?”“No.”...
“That’s all?”“I’m sorry there isn’t more to tell. He told me once that being a Celebrity Chef was everything to him. That’...
“No. It’s kind of funny though, I sort of expected to by now.”“Do you like ghosts? Uncle Juno doesn’t.”“I’m kind of afraid...
Rachel hoped she was doing the right thing. She didn’t want to scare Kai, but at the same time she didnt want to encourage...
The balmy afternoon wore on as Kai’s giggles rang out and the butterflies continued to flutter by...
Meanwhile, Juno was having more Dream Dates with Lucy.
And Rhea was finally on the verge of getting the first of her five businesses.“Hell yes, it’s about time!”
Preparation for the businesses was a team effort. While Kai was busy at school, Rachel was busy making snapdragons.
And along her way to building a Servo, Rhea got the first inkling of a business idea.“They’ll be lining out the door for b...
Kai’s interest in catching bugs was further piqued one summer night when he saw a small team of fireflies milling lazily i...
“Come on, guys, just for a little while then I’ll let you go.”
So intent was Kai upon his mission, he wasn’t aware of just how far out he had ventured.
“Uh-oh.”
He dropped the jar, the lantern forgotten, as his mother’s and uncle’s warnings rang in his ears.
“What’s your rush, boy?”Kai froze in his tracks and braced himself to be approached by what he deduced could only be his f...
His mom had said ghosts weren’t a real danger now that they had plenty of food, and he was still full from the dinner he’d...
Only as he rounded the corner of the house did his instincts tell him he should go back inside, pronto.
“What did that mother of yours do with my bed, boy?”Too late! “Ahhhhh!”“Is that all you have to say?”
“Now, don’t look at me like that! That mother of yours always did bring out the worst in your old man...”
“Now you listen carefully. You tell that mother of yours I want my bed back! You got that, boy?”
“Go away, leave me alone!” Trembling from head to toe, Kai could barely manage more than a whisper.“Kai? Kai, are you out ...
The sound of his uncle’s blessedly familiar voice gave him the courage to open his eyes again. He looked up warily and fou...
“Here I am!” Kai huffed. “My dad’s ghost is out there!”He pushed his way past Juno, who did an immediate about-face...
... and barreled straight into the arms of his Aunt Jenny.“You saw his ghost? You know you’re not supposed to go too far o...
“Just one lousy bed, but no, she couldn’t even get that right...”
Up in his room, a feeling of excitement began to mingle with his earlier fear. It had been scary, but he had faced the gho...
But Kai was far from alone that night as his aunts and uncle kept vigil until Rachel got back from work.
“I don’t understand, why was he outside alone in the first place?”
“That’s the first time anyone’s seen his ghost. I guess that’s why we were kind of lax...” Jenny admitted sheepishly.“Yes....
“If our dear Ratna is going to cause a rift between my sisters, perhaps I can be persuaded to take him off your hands. I c...
“I talked to Kai about last night, and hes insistent that he doesn’t want us to move the grave.”“We should’ve kept a bette...
Rachel wasn’t inclined to push skilling onto Kai like her mother, and Kai was the first Jones ever who didn’t play chess, ...
Time passed and Kai grew stronger and bigger, as kids are wont to do.
But what about his birthday, you may be asking?Shoot me now. Jenny rolled a perfect want to throw a party and I thought it...
Whoa. Verrrry nice looking!
“This is it, boys... transformed from the dump formerly known as the Mercantile Mart.”
“Behold! I bring you... Mask!”
Things did not get off to a stellar start.“Sheesh, will you two get back inside? I brought you along to work!”
Rhea put Juno’s ten Outgoing points to good use and put him in charge of sales. Well, not literally in charge, as she insi...
“Son of a..!” How could something so basic be so bloody difficult to operate? No matter, Rhea vowed she would bash the thi...
It took a while, but Rhea got the hang of the register and Kai hustled to keep up with restocking the masks that were beco...
Gold sales badges were a cinch for all three to come by.
Thanks to plenty of espresso in the break room as well as snapdragons placed throughout the store, everyone was able to st...
A little too refreshed. Customers stayed and played kicky bag and stayed some more.
“Eeee! So many lovely loyalty stars and simoleons...”Don’t you mean customers?“Same thing. Tell me, what could be better t...
Yes! This business was approaching level ten!“Here’s a special star for being incredibly gorgeous,” I said.
And we have one down, four to go!Final stats for Mask:Four RL hours (not bad!), I-lost-count-of-how-many Sim days and one ...
“Good job, boys!”Unfortunately for the guys, the lemons and strawberries hadn’t been ready to harvest yet. “I need a date ...
“Ooh, such perfection.”
She carted the Servo up to the privacy of her room to begin the activation process.
And indeed, she had never laid eyes on anything so incredible... a work of art to rival any of the Masters’... masterpieces.
“You are the mirror of my perfection and shall be known in this neighborhood as... Bender.”
Awkward Dating, Step 1:Invite simself over and watch as she greets Juno with a very sweet Caress. Aaww.Simself then procee...
Step 2:“Interesting... trunks you’ve got on there.”
“So what do you think of all these flowers?”“Ooh, lovely, I love the botanical look!”Whew, nice recovery!
Step 3:Naked hot-tubber gets fully dressed while simself stays in bikini.
Step 4:Fix a good strong drink.
Step 5:Be joined by nephew.
Who exhibits no tact whatsoever.
Step 6:Just shy of a Dream Date, simself repeatedly refuses to roll anything but woohoo and engagement wants.
Step 7:Obtain Dream Date while preserving simself’s virtue at all costs!
Step 8:Apologize and offer congratulations to simself.
Thanks to Juno’s Law Enforcement lift, Jenny was able to adopt a couple of puppies, Grover on the left, and Ripley on the ...
I don’t know much about dogs, but I’m guessing our girl Ripley here is a Schnauzer.
And our boy Grover looks part Chow, part... Wilford Brimley?(I’m a cat person and have only had one dog, a Chow/Rottweiler...
A quick internet search on how to cope with the Raise 20 Puppies or Kittens LTW took me to Phishy Tutorial Pages which rec...
And now this rather odd-looking couple is expecting... can’t wait to see the puppies. I think.
And now I leave you with our dear Bender with Grover in his cuter days.Stay tuned for more businesses, more puppies, more ...
Romancing20
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Romancing20

  1. 1. Romancing the Apocalypse Chapter 20 – Where Sleeping Dogs LieWelcome back to Romancing the Apocalypse! Episode 19 saw the “triplets” lift the Criminal, Law Enforcement and Politicsrestrictions, leaving Journalism for their nephew Kai. Will Kai’s mother Rachel find happiness at last with Brenda? Will Rhea get herfive top-level businesses? Will lucky Juno find perma-platness dating the lovely LucyPeppeR? Will Jenny raise her twenty puppies orkittens and satisfy her Family-oriented soul with pettably-cute-mohawk guy Craig, despite his past with Rachel? Will I have anymarbles left when this generation of my Apocalypse is over?For the most complete set of rules for Pinstar’s wonderfully diabolical Apocalypse Challenge, as well as the Apoca-borg’s proposed set ofrules for the FreeTime and Apartment Life expansions, check out http://apocalypsechallenge.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. 2. At Robin and Gordon’s cabin across the street, they made good on their promise to move in Craig and Brenda.
  3. 3. A smudge of eyeliner and lipstick for Brenda and a shopping trip for them both, and they were ready to face the world away from SimState.
  4. 4. “Now that we’re past the biggest hurdle, what now?” Brenda wondered out loud.“Sit tight and wait for them to call.”“Them? Who’s them?”Craig gripped the edge of the sink, admonishing himself to be more careful. “I mean Rachel. Just Rachel.”“Rachel...” Brenda sighed. “Are you sure I can’t call her just once?”“Nope, it’s against the rules.”
  5. 5. Brenda had her choice of three beds upstairs, but she chose instead to catnap downstairs. Where the phone was.
  6. 6. “Hello?”
  7. 7. “Yes, we made it out! Craig and I are official grown-ups now... real graduates with real diplomas and some pretty mad skills, if I do say somyself!”
  8. 8. “Of course I’ll be right over!”
  9. 9. “You’re such a sight for sore eyes!”“Brenda!” Rachel squealed, “you look more beautiful than ever!”
  10. 10. “But still the same Brenda. I’m so glad you didn’t change.”
  11. 11. They gazed at the cabin across the street.“So close, and yet so far.”“I hope for not too long, though. That is, if you want..?”“I want,” Brenda replied without hesitation.
  12. 12. Come to find out that Brenda is a Romance Sim, too. *Picture two +3500 over their heads* Don’t know why, but I always thought she wouldbe Knowledge.
  13. 13. Not long after, Craig received his own invitation.“Gads, this place is becoming quite the little nest for you lovebirds.”Jenny giggled, and Rhea continued to gawk, tact not being one of her strong suits.
  14. 14. Craig, however, sprang away self-consciously. “How’s it goin’!” he blurted.“All right, you Tarzan she Jane, eh?” Rhea added a Three Lakes chest pound for effect.“Rhea, Craig. Craig, Rhea,” Jenny introduced a mite tersely.“Jenny and I were just, ah... I mean...” He was knee-deep in it now, and sinking deeper by the second. Just what? Oh, nothing ofconsequence, unless you counted falling in love with a lover’s sister something of consequence...“Cool ’hawk,” Rhea said, reaching out a hand. “Let me feel that...”But that’s my ’hawk! Jenny thought childishly. She put her hands on Craig’s shoulders and pulled him out of Rhea’s reach. “You couldn’teven feel it with your gloves on,” she sniped. “Craig, I’d like to talk to you. In private?”“Yeah, go for it, guys!”
  15. 15. Jenny couldn’t help noticing a change in Craig’s demeanor.“Is this okay? It’s private, at least.”Craig turned his head suddenly. “What’s that?”“Why so on edge? We’re quite alone.”“I thought I heard something.”“Well, sometimes there’s weird sounds around Ratna’s grave, but that’s probably just my imagination.”That wasn’t what he had meant, but now that she mentioned it... “Does he haunt?”“Not so far, thank goodness.”
  16. 16. Craig relaxed a little and sent a splash Jenny’s way.“Your sister’s a character.”“I’ve never seen Rhea be so nice to someone right off the bat.” Jenny splashed him back. “Must be that ‘cool ’hawk’ of yours.”
  17. 17. “I mean, who can resist it?”
  18. 18. “Not me, that’s for sure. In fact, I think I could pet it all night...”
  19. 19. “Hey, you’re awfully tense.”“Am I?” he replied distantly.“I thought... in the house... you felt it, too. Was I wrong?” She closed her eyes and rested her forehead against the back of his neck.
  20. 20. “Jenny...”
  21. 21. “We have to stop.”“Not on my account, I hope?”“There’s something I have to tell you.”“Please don’t tell me it’s something bad?”“Not how you mean. But yes, it’s bad, especially the way I handled it. But I don’t want to go into it here.”“Not here in the hot tub?”“Not here at your house.”“Because?”“Get dressed and I’ll take you out. I’ll explain everything. Heh, or try to, at least.”“But you do love me?”“I do.”Jenny sighed. “I guess we go out then.”
  22. 22. They didn’t even make it to the car.“Really, Craig, Jenny? How dare you! My sister!”“I was going to come clean with you both tonight, I swear!”“Craig?” Jenny squeaked.“You mean Jenny doesn’t... you didn’t say anything about us?”“Us? Rachel... Craig..? You’re..? But why didn’t you say anything..? I never would have...” Jenny’s eyes welled up and she turned awayand went to the other side of the room.“Now see what a royal mess you’ve made?!”“I know, I screwed up! I’m sorry. Jenny... Rachel... I’m sorry.”
  23. 23. “I didn’t go after her, and I didn’t mean for it to happen, Rachel, it just... did.”“.....”“Please, I’m not the scumbag you think I am.”“.....”“I’m not, I swear. I love your sister.” The placating tone lessened and he said with conviction, “I love Jenny.”“.....”“Like you love Brenda,” he added deliberately.“Juno, can you stop that infernal drumming for one minute?!” Rachel snapped.“Sorry, I was trying to be discreet.”“How did you find out?” Craig asked.“Rhea was rattling on about how funny it was that Jenny Craig were all gaga over each other, ‘your friend with the cool ’hawk,’ herwords. Then when you two walked in...”“I was going to take Jenny out and tell her everything tonight. And then I was going to ’fess up to you.”“.....”“I never wanted to hurt either one of you, but you’re right, I have made a royal mess.”
  24. 24. Jenny stood numbly, but still within earshot.Rachel continued after some contemplation, “This was a mess to begin with. Perhaps ending it this way was best, at least for us. Now Iwon’t have to go pussyfooting around you with Brenda either.”“Really? Does that mean we’re square?”Rachel glanced at Jenny. “Yes, I think you can consider me the least of your worries now.” Her tone went from half-teasing tocompletely serious. “Unless you hurt her again. Then I should expect your ass will be getting the boot to kingdom come.”Craig exhaled the breath he wasn’t aware he’d been holding. “Thank you, I accept.” He turned in Jenny’s direction. “Jenny?”“.....”“Jenny, please, come outside with me. We have to talk.”Jenny wished she could storm over and tell him to go to hell. She was hurt, and jealous, but that was also the strangest breakup she hadever heard, or ever imagined she would hear.“Come on, Jenny,” Rachel cajoled, “Craig’s a great guy. I’m sure he’s going to be really good at groveling for forgiveness.”“.....”“That’s okay, Jenny, I’ll go. I don’t want to push you.”That was her, all right, a big pushover. Unable to stop herself, she followed him outside.
  25. 25. “I’d still like to take you out.”“I don’t want to anymore. Besides, what’s the point?”“I’m sorry.”“I don’t understand you and Rachel at all.”“At Sim State, I loved her. A lot of people loved her. And it wasn’t about sleeping around, either.”“.....”“It’s kind of something that defies explanation. Maybe Rachel can.”“Why couldn’t you have just told me?”“Things happened so fast, I never knew what hit me. I couldn’t think of a way to tell you without it ending, and I didn’t want it to end. Idon’t want it to end.”“I can’t help feeling what we have is a lie.”“I love you, and that isn’t a lie.”Jenny scowled. “I want to be mad at you, so stop it!”“Not until I make one thing perfectly clear...”
  26. 26. .
  27. 27. “You are not, and never were, second best,” he said, taking her hands in his.Yep, she was definitely a pushover, but how could she help it when he was reading her mind?“Just shut up and go home. I’m supposed to be teaching you a lesson and you’re ruining it!”“Is that what you want? Me to go home?”“I think I’m entitled,” she said with a pout. “I have my pride, you know.”“Then as you wish, Princess Buttercup. By the way, I want to graduate three kids from college. You?”“...Raise twenty puppies and kittens,” she admitted.“That’s some pair, huh? Sounds like heaven.”She bowed her head, but not before he saw her smile.He took a step closer and gently kissed her forehead. “Take pity and don’t make me wait too long, okay?”She looked up and watched him go, knowing it wouldn’t be long at all...
  28. 28. With the Politics restrictions lifted, there were tons of things to keep a boy busy, and no kid in this family had ever been as busy justbeing a kid as Kai.
  29. 29. “Come," Rhea beckoned, "tell me about your wares.”“I’m selling the best lemonade on the block!”“Oh yeah? How much?”“Just fifteen simoleons.”
  30. 30. “How about a free sample?”“You can’t trick me. Money first, Auntie.”“I like your business sense, kid. You must come and work for me someday. If someone would ever let me get even one business off theground.”
  31. 31. “Ooh, how much?”“For my mom... just fifteen simoleons.”“I’ll take two.”“Yay, thanks!”
  32. 32. As Rhea’s incessant yammering about starting a business reached a fevered pitch, Juno read up on the wondrous benefits of fresh juicesand set to planting a small orchard and garden, as businesses were known to be very trying to one’s Aspiration level.“I did the fertilizing already, now we get to plant!”“Like this, Uncle?”“Yeah, but be sure not to pack the dirt down too hard. Just go over it lightly like this.”
  33. 33. “Of course they like water, but not too much.”“Like this?”“Perfect.”
  34. 34. “Uncle, what’s that over there?”“Where?”“Back here!” Kai answered, trotting toward the far back corner of the lot.Juno saw where he was headed and hurried after him. “Kai, wait!”
  35. 35. “This! What is this?”
  36. 36. Kai came to an abrupt halt and stared.“Gray bread,” he said in a soft trance-like voice.
  37. 37. “What did you say?” Juno asked as he caught up.“Gray bread,” Kai repeated, louder this time.Juno gulped and tried not to sound too shaken. “This is where your dad is buried.”
  38. 38. “My dad’s grave is the gray bread I saw in my head.”
  39. 39. “I remember when you said that, Kai. It does sort of look like gray bread, I just never thought you would... you were so young, just ababy, really.”“I saw it right after I drank the Smart Milk. Maybe it was the Smart Milk.”“I bet you’re right. And now you’ve discovered what it meant.”Kai nodded.“Are you okay?”Kai nodded again. “What was he like, Uncle?”“To be honest, I barely knew your dad. He didn’t... he wasn’t here very long. Your mom can tell you much more about him than I can.”
  40. 40. “But you’ve gotta know something! Please!”Juno’s heart ached at the crack in Kai’s voice.“Well, I do know he was a very famous Celebrity Chef for a long time. And before he moved in with us, we didn’t have much to eat. Fish,hamburgers and hot dogs, sandwiches, cereal and salads were about it.”“No spaghetti?”“Nope.”“Mac and cheese?”“No mac and cheese either. And no chili or pork chops or pancakes either.”“No pancakes?!”“No pancakes.”“So we have all that stuff to eat because of my dad?”“Yes.”“Then he was a hero, right?”“... Yes, you could say he was a hero.”
  41. 41. “How did he die?”
  42. 42. “... I can’t say for sure, but I think it was a heart attack. And if you want to know anything else, you’ll have to ask your mom.”“... Okay.”“And I think it’s best if you don’t come here at night.”“Because of his ghost?”“Yeah.”
  43. 43. “Do you like ghosts, Uncle?”“ *Brrrr* Heck no! And nobody in our family has been Knowledge for a loooong time.”“Maybe I’ll become Knowledge and want to see his ghost.”“Why don’t we cross that bridge if you come to it, okay? And until then, I don’t want you coming here at night. It’s very important.”“I won’t, Uncle.”
  44. 44. “Time to go back now, it’s going to get dark soon.”
  45. 45. “Come on, Kai!”
  46. 46. “Coming, Uncle.”
  47. 47. Juno wondered if the awareness of his father’s grave would affect Kai’s sleep and he started checking in on him before he went to bedhimself.“Is something wrong, Uncle?”
  48. 48. “No, everything’s fine, go back to sleep.”
  49. 49. Most days found Kai outside, and when increasingly distant cousins like Tara came over to play after school, all the better.Tara Berry, youngest child and only daughter of 3rd (!) generation spare Haley and Blue(BerryPie360).
  50. 50. And Rhea took it upon herself to keep him in line with his homework.
  51. 51. “Kai Jones, what are you doing over here?”
  52. 52. “Just trying to catch some butterflies.”“Kai, look at me.”
  53. 53. “What?”“I don’t want you playing with Ratna’s... your father’s headstone.”
  54. 54. “But I’m not playing with it. It’s the only place the butterflies hang out!”“You’re not... here to be with your dad?”“No.”His denial sounded genuine, to Rachel’s relief.“What was he like, though?” Kai asked.“He was a very famous Celebrity Chef.”“Yeah, Uncle Juno said he brought back all the good food.”“That’s right.”“What else?”“You, um, know nobody’s perfect, right? I mean, I’m not perfect, and even your aunts and uncle aren’t perfect. And your dad... he wasn’tperfect either. But he gave me you, and you’re the best of both me and him.”
  55. 55. “That’s all?”“I’m sorry there isn’t more to tell. He told me once that being a Celebrity Chef was everything to him. That’s what he was for a very longtime, way before I ever knew him, and really, I didn’t know him all that long.”“How long were you married?”“We... never got married.”“Didn’t you love him?”“I did,” she said, and that was only partially a white lie. “Especially for giving me you.”Kai frowned up at his mother, who began fidgeting under his scrutiny. The truth and tact didn’t always go hand-in-hand.“Anyway, it’s okay to catch butterflies here, but it’s really important that you don’t come here after dark.”“I won’t.”“That’s not a request, it’s an order. Understood?”“Yes, Mom. Have you ever seen Dad’s ghost?”
  56. 56. “No. It’s kind of funny though, I sort of expected to by now.”“Do you like ghosts? Uncle Juno doesn’t.”“I’m kind of afraid of them, but they can’t really hurt us now that there’s plenty of food. You know, we could take his grave to a nicecemetery in town.”“No, I want him to stay!”“Only on the condition that he doesn’t scare you. Otherwise, we’re taking him into town and we’ll visit him there. All right?”Kai nodded.“I have to work tonight. Do you want to have an early dinner?”“Can we stay a little longer?”“... Sure.”
  57. 57. Rachel hoped she was doing the right thing. She didn’t want to scare Kai, but at the same time she didnt want to encourage the notionof forbidden fruit. If Ratna continued to behave, she didn’t see the harm in him staying. As long as Kai wanted him here, anyway.
  58. 58. The balmy afternoon wore on as Kai’s giggles rang out and the butterflies continued to flutter by...
  59. 59. Meanwhile, Juno was having more Dream Dates with Lucy.
  60. 60. And Rhea was finally on the verge of getting the first of her five businesses.“Hell yes, it’s about time!”
  61. 61. Preparation for the businesses was a team effort. While Kai was busy at school, Rachel was busy making snapdragons.
  62. 62. And along her way to building a Servo, Rhea got the first inkling of a business idea.“They’ll be lining out the door for beauties like these!”
  63. 63. Kai’s interest in catching bugs was further piqued one summer night when he saw a small team of fireflies milling lazily in the yard."If you can catch enough of them," his Uncle Gordon had once told him, "they will light up your jar like a lantern!"
  64. 64. “Come on, guys, just for a little while then I’ll let you go.”
  65. 65. So intent was Kai upon his mission, he wasn’t aware of just how far out he had ventured.
  66. 66. “Uh-oh.”
  67. 67. He dropped the jar, the lantern forgotten, as his mother’s and uncle’s warnings rang in his ears.
  68. 68. “What’s your rush, boy?”Kai froze in his tracks and braced himself to be approached by what he deduced could only be his father’s ghost. To his surprise andrelief, it drifted not toward him, but farther away.
  69. 69. His mom had said ghosts weren’t a real danger now that they had plenty of food, and he was still full from the dinner he’d had not toolong ago...He couldn’t resist following the apparition, albeit at some distance. He stopped whenever the ghost did as it appeared to be agitatedabout something, and then drifted farther still.Kai continued to follow.
  70. 70. Only as he rounded the corner of the house did his instincts tell him he should go back inside, pronto.
  71. 71. “What did that mother of yours do with my bed, boy?”Too late! “Ahhhhh!”“Is that all you have to say?”
  72. 72. “Now, don’t look at me like that! That mother of yours always did bring out the worst in your old man...”
  73. 73. “Now you listen carefully. You tell that mother of yours I want my bed back! You got that, boy?”
  74. 74. “Go away, leave me alone!” Trembling from head to toe, Kai could barely manage more than a whisper.“Kai? Kai, are you out there?”
  75. 75. The sound of his uncle’s blessedly familiar voice gave him the courage to open his eyes again. He looked up warily and found his fatherwas gone... for the moment, at least.“I-I’m coming!” he called back and darted to the back slider.
  76. 76. “Here I am!” Kai huffed. “My dad’s ghost is out there!”He pushed his way past Juno, who did an immediate about-face...
  77. 77. ... and barreled straight into the arms of his Aunt Jenny.“You saw his ghost? You know you’re not supposed to go too far out at night! And alone!”“Sorry, Auntie!”“Did he scare you?”Kai thought he was already in enough trouble, and he sure understood why now. If they knew what he had done out there...“N-no, I was catching fireflies and saw his ghost and I ran back to the house as fast as I could.”“Oh, thank goodness! I want you to go straight up to your room. We’ll stay up and keep watch tonight, just to be safe.”“I won’t ever do that again, I promise!”
  78. 78. “Just one lousy bed, but no, she couldn’t even get that right...”
  79. 79. Up in his room, a feeling of excitement began to mingle with his earlier fear. It had been scary, but he had faced the ghost of his fatherand survived! Quite handily, too, the sudden urge to pee the main physical side effect of the encounter.But just to be safe, he sought out a friend he hadn’t given much thought to since his toddlerhood.“I’m glad you don’t want to sleep alone tonight either,” he whispered.
  80. 80. But Kai was far from alone that night as his aunts and uncle kept vigil until Rachel got back from work.
  81. 81. “I don’t understand, why was he outside alone in the first place?”
  82. 82. “That’s the first time anyone’s seen his ghost. I guess that’s why we were kind of lax...” Jenny admitted sheepishly.“Yes. You were.”“Excuse me, but now that we know his ghost is around, maybe you should find a job that doesn’t keep you out all night,” Jenny retorted.“.....”“Ladies, please!”
  83. 83. “If our dear Ratna is going to cause a rift between my sisters, perhaps I can be persuaded to take him off your hands. I could make ahaunted house and charge admission, for instance...”Rachel and Jenny gasped in unison.“Thats sick!” Jenny squeaked.“This is not a joking matter!” Rachel responded crossly.“You two are no fun,” Rhea said, hiding a smirk.
  84. 84. “I talked to Kai about last night, and hes insistent that he doesn’t want us to move the grave.”“We should’ve kept a better eye on him,” Jenny admitted.Rachel sighed. “You were right at breakfast. I’m going to quit.”
  85. 85. Rachel wasn’t inclined to push skilling onto Kai like her mother, and Kai was the first Jones ever who didn’t play chess, but he loved hisgreat-aunt Sara’s punching bag.
  86. 86. Time passed and Kai grew stronger and bigger, as kids are wont to do.
  87. 87. But what about his birthday, you may be asking?Shoot me now. Jenny rolled a perfect want to throw a party and I thought it would be great to celebrate Kai’s birthday at the top of thesafehouse-playhouse, complete with fireworks and sparklers. Of course, he was in his pajamas and I sent him to get dressed, not realizinghow late it already was, and the next thing I knew, Kai emerged here, already grown, and Jenny’s party dove from Good Time to TotalDisaster without the birthday boy present to blow out his birthday cake. Nice looking kid, though!
  88. 88. Whoa. Verrrry nice looking!
  89. 89. “This is it, boys... transformed from the dump formerly known as the Mercantile Mart.”
  90. 90. “Behold! I bring you... Mask!”
  91. 91. Things did not get off to a stellar start.“Sheesh, will you two get back inside? I brought you along to work!”
  92. 92. Rhea put Juno’s ten Outgoing points to good use and put him in charge of sales. Well, not literally in charge, as she insisted on being INCHARGE of everything.His first customer was Steph aka PetTech, author of the wonderfully plotty “A Corporate Conspiracy” legacy.“I don’t get the mask thing myself, especially when they stare at you at night,” Juno said, honest to a fault.“What kind of a sales pitch is that!” Rhea snapped from the cash register.Steph considered telling Juno about things much more disturbing than masks at Hudson House... such as disappearing bachelors.Nah.“I like them. I’ll take one of the red ones.”
  93. 93. “Son of a..!” How could something so basic be so bloody difficult to operate? No matter, Rhea vowed she would bash the thing intosubmission if need be...
  94. 94. It took a while, but Rhea got the hang of the register and Kai hustled to keep up with restocking the masks that were becoming morepopular by the minute.
  95. 95. Gold sales badges were a cinch for all three to come by.
  96. 96. Thanks to plenty of espresso in the break room as well as snapdragons placed throughout the store, everyone was able to stayrefreshed.
  97. 97. A little too refreshed. Customers stayed and played kicky bag and stayed some more.
  98. 98. “Eeee! So many lovely loyalty stars and simoleons...”Don’t you mean customers?“Same thing. Tell me, what could be better than this!”
  99. 99. Yes! This business was approaching level ten!“Here’s a special star for being incredibly gorgeous,” I said.
  100. 100. And we have one down, four to go!Final stats for Mask:Four RL hours (not bad!), I-lost-count-of-how-many Sim days and one tent in the back (but mostly they drank espresso)Rhea: silver register and gold sales badgesJuno: bronze register and gold sales badgesKai: silver restocking and gold sales badges
  101. 101. “Good job, boys!”Unfortunately for the guys, the lemons and strawberries hadn’t been ready to harvest yet. “I need a date with Lucy, bad.”“I need a date, period, bad.”As excited as Rhea was over the success of Mask, she was, if possible, even more so to go home, for something very special awaited herreturn.
  102. 102. “Ooh, such perfection.”
  103. 103. She carted the Servo up to the privacy of her room to begin the activation process.
  104. 104. And indeed, she had never laid eyes on anything so incredible... a work of art to rival any of the Masters’... masterpieces.
  105. 105. “You are the mirror of my perfection and shall be known in this neighborhood as... Bender.”
  106. 106. Awkward Dating, Step 1:Invite simself over and watch as she greets Juno with a very sweet Caress. Aaww.Simself then proceeds to head for the hot tub.
  107. 107. Step 2:“Interesting... trunks you’ve got on there.”
  108. 108. “So what do you think of all these flowers?”“Ooh, lovely, I love the botanical look!”Whew, nice recovery!
  109. 109. Step 3:Naked hot-tubber gets fully dressed while simself stays in bikini.
  110. 110. Step 4:Fix a good strong drink.
  111. 111. Step 5:Be joined by nephew.
  112. 112. Who exhibits no tact whatsoever.
  113. 113. Step 6:Just shy of a Dream Date, simself repeatedly refuses to roll anything but woohoo and engagement wants.
  114. 114. Step 7:Obtain Dream Date while preserving simself’s virtue at all costs!
  115. 115. Step 8:Apologize and offer congratulations to simself.
  116. 116. Thanks to Juno’s Law Enforcement lift, Jenny was able to adopt a couple of puppies, Grover on the left, and Ripley on the right, whichhopefully should give her two toward the twenty she wanted to raise.
  117. 117. I don’t know much about dogs, but I’m guessing our girl Ripley here is a Schnauzer.
  118. 118. And our boy Grover looks part Chow, part... Wilford Brimley?(I’m a cat person and have only had one dog, a Chow/Rottweiler mix named Buddy, who lived to the age of ten. He was gorgeous and reallysweet with both cats and kids, with everybody really, and with him I learned to love dogs... as long as I don’t have to live with them.)
  119. 119. A quick internet search on how to cope with the Raise 20 Puppies or Kittens LTW took me to Phishy Tutorial Pages which recommendsand illustrates an enclosed area to keep the animals with gates locked to disallow pets, and that sure makes things easy! The animalskeep each other happy and the only thing you have to do is make sure they’re fed, have your Sims praise them for being playful witheach other, and get a high enough relationship with them to encourage breeding. If I’d have known this strategy earlier, I would’vestarted right after Jenny became a teen.
  120. 120. And now this rather odd-looking couple is expecting... can’t wait to see the puppies. I think.
  121. 121. And now I leave you with our dear Bender with Grover in his cuter days.Stay tuned for more businesses, more puppies, more dating and of course, more Kai. Thanks for reading and Happy Simming!

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