Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chapter 15: The One that Wasn't There

Hawke pays a visit to Li Feng and Quincy. His daughter had never shown much interest in music when she was growing up, but she's followed him into a career in the industry. Quincy went into science like his mother, but that's a surprise to no one.

Quincy smiles and nods indulgently  at his father-in-law when he tries to talk science with him.

When he's putting Allyriane in her crib for the night, Hawk suddenly feels his age.

Zhenzhen drops by, letting him know she's not in the least put off by gray hair and wrinkles. But Hawke has made up his mind and puts his foot down. "I'll never love anyone like I loved Sun," he explains, "Being with you has taken some of the edge off that pain, but it's time for you to move on, Zhen."

 Hawke spends the night with his piano. Music was his first love, but he'd neglected her through his youth. Now at the end of his life, he returns to her, begging her forgiveness.

Sunrise finds him soaking in the hot tub. Whatever regrets Hawke may have, he's not going to dwell on them now. Time is limited, and he's lost too much to pain and sorrow. The rest of his life is his to enjoy.

While Amelia is at work, Hawke takes care of Allyriane, taking her out to the park. Maybe he could have spent more time with Li Feng, but he can't do anything about that now. What he can do is step in for his grand-niece, whose own father is perpetually away.

Amelia goes to her bed that night and finds a surprise waiting for her.

"How do you just appear out of nowhere?" she laughs, jumping in to join him.

"Do you want me to explain, or do you want make love?" he teases. Amelia doesn't need to answer.

"Daddy's here for your birthday party," Tristan explains to his little sister. Birthdays are the only times they get to see their father.

Zhenzhen is a early arrival to the party. "I...I wanted to thank you," she says to Thierry, her voice halting, "If it weren't for you..."

"You've made peace with the family, Fox," Thierry hisses, "And I won't interfere with that. But I've given up too much in payment for what you've gained to ever see you as a friend."

Zhenzhen turns away. What answer could she give him?

"I brought Damian Archer with me. I hope that's okay," Zhenzhen tells Hawke, almost as hesitant to make this admission as she was to to try to make amends with the halfling. He's insisted that she find someone else, but her brief sojourn in the human realm has taught her that humans don't always say what they mean. They often don't even know what they are truly feeling.

Hawke smiles, "You're dating Rio's boy? Of course he's welcome here. And I'm happy for you, Zhen, I mean that."

Rio, as gray as his friend Hawke, was invited to the party as well.

Amelia made a point of starting the party early so her father would have time to spend with his grandchildren.

Allyriane becomes a child.

After the party is over and the children are in bed, Amelia and Thierry enjoy the hot tub.

"I don't mean to pressure you, but..."

"But you want to know how much longer I must be away," Thierry finishes for her, "Allyriane will be a teenager before Summerdream will release me." Amelia lets out a sad sigh. "I know it's hard, beloved," he whispers, wrapping his arm around her.

Amelia nods, holding back tears, "I can't blame you, I know why you did it."

"But the children don't understand. To them I will always be the one that wasn't there for them," Thierry speaks the words Amelia won't.

Thierry has another day to spend with his family. His cousin Gvaudoin brings her daughter Adele for a visit.

"I was hoping to broker a marriage between our children," Gvaudoin gets right to the point of her visit, "The purity of our line is at stake, cousin."

"Broker a what?" Hawke asks, stunned.

"Gvaudoin!" Thierry says sharply, his teeth clenched, "We aren't medieval royalty. We don't arrange marriages between children." Tricous do, of course, but Thierry would rather his wife's family not know this much about the twisted knot that spawned him.

"I'm sorry to offend, cousin," Gvaudoin draws back, "Just know that we would favor the union, should it occur. Naturally, of course."

Tristan and Allyriane entertain Adele, unaware of her mother's plans for their futures.

Amelia is also unaware of the conversation in the living room. The surprise visit was an excuse to try out the new grill.

Tristan's next birthday falls on the next Tuesday. His father is unable to attend, and his celebration is with just the immediate family.

Tristan becomes a teen.

But he's not too old to have a pillow fight with his little sister before school.

Challenge Notes:
Tristan is Over Emotional, Loves the Outdoors, Great Kisser and Friendly. Most of those are random. I gave both sibling Loves the Outdoors.
Allyriane is also Friendly and Loves the Outdoors. Her child trait is Family Oriented (her roll is for 4 kids, so...)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chapter 14: Birthday

"I don't feel right about this, Zhen," Hawke says as he greets Zhenzhen at the door, "I don't want you tying yourself down to me. You should see other guys, at the very least."

"How many guys do you want me to date?" Zhenzhen asks, her voice edged with bitterness, "What if  I only want to be with you?"

"You have thousands of years of experience, but now you've got just one human life. You're cheating yourself by trying to spend it with me. Find someone younger, someone you can have a family with, grow old with. I can't be that for you."

"Hawke, I don't care about that," Zhenzhen protests.

"Maybe not now, but you will."

Hawke has done his best, but Zhenzhen persists until he allows her one more night.

Li Feng becomes a young adult.

She'll spend one more night in this house before moving in with Quincy, who became an adult a few days before she did. Li Feng spends as much of that time as she can with little Tristan. She adores children and hopes to have several of her own.

Over breakfast the family discusses their living arrangements. Hawke bought this house for himself and his daughter, but now she's moving out, leaving him with his niece and her son. Of course half the money used to purchase it came from selling the house he and Eleanor had bought together, so the property belongs as much to Amelia as to himself.

"Are you sure you want me to stay?" Hawke asks Amelia, "I could move out with Li Feng, if you prefer."

Li Feng smiles woodenly. She'd love to have her father live with her, but Quincy was adamant about being n their own, with no live in parents.

"Of course I want you to stay," Amelia says, "Tristan adores you. And I grew up with you, I'd feel weird not having you around."

"I'm sorry I wasn't the best parent," Hawke apologizes as he hugs his daughter once more before she leaves.

"Stop it, Dad," Li Feng says, "You did the best you could."

Li Feng makes one final goodbye. Thierry's last visit left Amelia pregnant.

Thierry himself has only recently got the news about his second child, and makes another visit on time to see it born.

"Is that a tattoo, on your forehead/" Amelia asks.

"That wasn't there the last time I was here?" Thierry asks, "I feel like I've had it forever. It's not a tattoo, exactly. Living in the fae realm...changes you. My mother has similar markings, from the time she spent with Summerdream, as well."

"How long have you been there?" Amelia wonders, "When can you come back to me?"

"It's been too long away from you, and it will be too long before I can return. But I am here now, for the birth of our child,  and for Tristan's birthday."

Their second child is a girl, Allyriane.

Thierry enjoys his toddler while he can; tomorrow Tristan will become a child.

Family and friends gather for the birthday party.

Just like when she was growing up, Amelia's father Emilio can only stay for a short time to celebrate his grandson's birthday. Though he's gone gray, he hasn't retired yet, and has to leave early for his game.

Tristan gets his first taste of cake. Thornton would prefer to not be called 'Grandpa'.

Tobin Archer is here for the cake.

Zhenzhen decides it isn't a party until someone is dancing on the counters.

As the other guests leave, Li Feng stays to tuck Tristan into her old bed, and read him a story before he goes to sleep.

She misses Amelia's son more than she misses Amelia, or even her own father. She and Quincy have married, but her new husband prefers to wait a bit before they start having children.

Allyriane becomes a toddler before Thierry must take his leave and return to Summerdream.

Challenge Notes:
Allyriane is the heir. She does have both the Can Salute and French Culture hidden traits.
About her name...I did a search for French girl names, hoping to find one that would suit both the French and 'fae' sides of her ancestry. Allyriane, from the first list I checked, seemed perfect. Supposedly it derives from the word 'lyre'. I'm not an expert on French names, but I was completely unfamiliar with it, whereas ever other name on the list was one I'd seen before. So I googled it to see what else I could learn about it. Every hit I got on it was from a French name list, and they all had identical information. These baby name sites must all copypaste from each other. And I tend to wonder if someone just made up this name and put it out there, claiming it's French, and it's made it's way into every list of French names.
But, whether or not any French woman has actually been named Allyriane, it definitely rings as a Fantasy Novel Heroine name, and thus suits her fae ancestry, so I decided to use it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chapter 13: While We Have the Time

"Life just kicked you in the nuts, didn't it?" Rio commiserates with his friend. Hawke turned to him for consolation and support. His sister would no doubt just point out how it was all his own doing, and that she'd warned him about Zhenzhen.

"I was just maybe getting to a point where I wasn't thinking about Sun all day, every day. And then I get seduced into some fantasy where I saved her from the infection and we were living together. It's like she just died again.

"She's been gone a long time," Rio says, "Your daughter is almost a young woman. It's past time you let go, and let yourself live."

That's what Zhenzhen said to him, Hawke thinks. "It's not like I can just forget her."

"You won't ever forget, but you can go out and have a life. Even if it doesn't feel right at first, it will come eventually."

Thierry and Amelia try to be a normal happy couple celebrating their pregnancy, but the deadline that comes with this birth looms over them.

Even though he will have to leave when the baby is born, Thierry reads up on parenting.

No one will tell Li Feng what happened with her father, why he was shut up in his room for days, or who the green-skinned woman was and what she did to make her father come out again. No one will tell her what happened to Zhenzhen. Li Feng suspects her former imaginary friend did something to, or with, her father, but they all jusy smile and change the subject when she asks questions. Her father is particularly taciturn lately, and barely talks to her at all. Li Feng'a paintings begin to take the colors of her agitation and worry.

Quincy picks Li Feng up for their prom. Her father is out somewhere, as are Amelia and Thierry, no one is here to see her off to her prom. It's like they don't even know she's here. She wishes she had a family like Quincy's.

Li Feng is surprised to be greeted by her father when Quincy drops her off after the prom. "I'm sorry I missed you earlier," Hawke apologizes, "I had a sound check, but I should have blown that off. You look beautiful." Hawke is surprised by the rain of tears that falls on his neck.

"I thought you didn't care," Li Feng sobs.

He's been too absorbed in himself, Hawke thinks, it's time he pulled his head out of his ass and saw to his daughter.

Amelia places her newborn son, tristan, into his crib, and looks down him with regret and sorrow. If she could have somehow delayed this birth...but there's no point thinking about what ifs.

She has one more night with Thierry before he must leave her, and she doesn't know when she'll see him again.

One more embrace after they make love. "I'm sorry," he whispers, "I wish..."

"I know," she sighs, "I'll miss you. Come back as soon as you can."

Thierry makes one more goodbye before he leaves.

Hawke is a rock star, and he thought it was high time he started living like one. He bought a house large enough for his extended family, and invited his niece and her newborn child to move into with himself and Li Feng. He even invited his sister and Thornton to join them, but they declined, being more than satisfied living with just themselves.

Needing something to do, to feel like she was part of something greater than herself, Amelia responded to a military recruitment poster. Getting up at dawn to rush off to basic training keeps her mind and body occupied, so she doesn't wallow in self-pity.

Her growing son also helps to keep Amelia happy. Looking at him does sometimes give her pangs of regret, reminding her of the husband she misses, but she's determined to never let Tristan se anything but a mother who is happy to be with him.

Since he doesn't party like  a rock star, Hawke has a lot of free time to help out with Tristan.

And Li Feng absolutely adores her little cousin. She can't wait for the day when she has children of her own. She even suggested to Quincy that they get started right away, but he insisted they be adults and married before they start having kids.

Hawke decided it was time to meet his daughter's boyfriend. Quincy gets along fine with his potential future father-in-law, but Li Feng winces in embarrassment anyway.

She changed her hair since he last saw her, but as soon as he caught her eyes, Hawke recognized her.

"Zhenzhen, thanks for meeting me."

"I was surprised you called me," Zhenzhen says, "You have every reason to hate me, but you don't."

"I don't hate anyone," Hawke says.

"No, you are too much of a lover to carry hatred like that," Zhenzhen says, smiling a little sadly. "But you said you never wanted to see me again. I remind you of things that bring you pain."

Hawke hugs her fondly, "I was in a bad place them, Zhen. I'm sorry I said that. How are you doing, out here in the world of humans?"

"I'm well, Hawke. Especially now that I know you can forgive me."

Hawke asks her to join him for lunch, but she has to leave soon for work; she's taken on a career in sports. "I get off at nine," she says, smiling hopefully, "Maybe we can meet for drinks."

"My agent set up a publicity gig for me tonight," Hawke says, "I'll be at the Coco Bongo if you want to meet up."

His agent made a bad call on the publicity gig; the Coco Bongo is nearly dead. But when Zhenzhen shows up, Hawke at least has a dance partner.

"You're smiling, Hawke," Zhenzhen observes, "Are you happy?"

"I guess I am," Hawke says, only now realizing that he'd been having a good time all night. He'd dropped his burden of grief somewhere on the dance floor. They stop dancing, then, as Hawke leans forward to kiss her. After a long, passionate kiss, Hawke's forehead drops to her shoulder, "I'm sorry," he whispers, "You could do so much better than a broken, middle aged man. I shouldn't..."

"I'm thousands of years older than you," she laughs, "I've been with more men than you can count. There has never been one like you."

It's nearly dawn when they get back to his place. Hawke sends her up to his room while he checks on Tristan, and when he joins Zhenzhen, he finds her asleep in his bed.

They sleep through the morning and into the afternoon. For once, Hawke's dreams are not nightmares about losing Sun.

When they wake, Hawke tries one more time to talk her, and himself, out of this rash involvement.

"I love you, Hawke," she insists, "Love me while we have the time." In the end, he gives in.

Li Feng comes up to his room to check on him. Luckily, she arrived after they had dressed,  but she still suffers from acute embarrassment.

Amelia almost didn't believe it when Li Feng told her Hawke had brought Zhenzhen home with him, but when she goes for her daily swim, she sees her for herself. She wants her uncle to be happy, but she lost her husband to get him out of Zhenzhen's grasp.

"Is there any way to get a message into the fae?" Amelia asks Fricorith, Thierry's older brother, "I need to speak with my husband." Fricorith is a firefighter, and Amelia dropped by the station after work to talk to him. He also happens to be the husband of Amelia's commanding officer, ShamekaTricou.

Her brother-in-law looks uncomfortable. "I try getting away from all that fae crap, but it just keeps coming back," he sighs. "I'm sorry they snatched Thierry out from under you like that. He never wanted any part of it, either. I can talk to Moth, and get a message to him for you. You don't talk to my wife about this stuff, do you?"

Amelia laughs, "Hardly. She gives orders, and I follow. We don't chat at the water cooler."

"You need me, beloved?" Thierry asks, and doesn't wait for an answer before pulling her into a deep kiss. "I've missed you so."

"Hawke has been seeing Zhenzhen," Amelia tells him, "After what you did to get him away from her...I don't want it to have been for nothing."

"She's human now, she has no power over him," Thierry explains, "Well, no more powerful than a human woman has, anyway. The worst she could do to him is break his heart. What I saved him from...whatever goes on between them now, my sacrifice, your sacrifice, was worth it."

He came at Amelia's call, and he has the night to spend with her, and their son.

For one night, they get to live as a normal couple.

"Are you going to stay with s now?" Li Feng asks as Thierry cleans up after dinner.

"I wish I could," Theirry answers, "But I must return to...France...tomorrow."

Amelia and Thierry make the most of their one night together.

In the morning, he must say goodbye to his wife and son again.

Challenge Notes:
Since there isn't any 'fae' for me to send Thierry into, he lives with his mother. Sad, I know. He and Amelia are still married, he just doesn't live in the house.
Oddly enough, Amelia doesn't get many opportunities. (Her goal is Opportunist) I do them all when they come. Her meeting with Fricorith was from an opportunity. A Charismsa skill opportunity to use 'Get to Know' on a random Sim. It worked into the story.
She also doesn't roll many wishes related to her Athletic trait, the trait I picked for her Live Your Trait fun roll. Sheridan used to roll 4 or 5 workout related wishes a day, but Amelia doesn't. Still, I fulfill the ones she does roll, and make her swim, jog and/or workout everyday for that.
She needs to have one more kid for this generation.

My roll for Gen 3 is couple, 4 kids. Primary career is Political. Secondary is Job Hopper. The ten rolls for that are Music/Rock - None- Author- Busker- Freelance Science- None- Mixologist- Busker- Farmer - Farmer.
The goal is Living Green and the misc. fun it Tattoo Addict.
So, yay, a hippie politician. I look forward to that.
Tristan will not be the heir. I didn't roll for it, because I want to keep any hidden traits I can, and Tristan was born too early for the 'Can Salute' trait that Amelia will pass to the second child. Both kids will have Thierry's French Culture trait.

Li Feng facepalms more than any Sim I've ever played.