Sunday, 24 September 2017

2.23 Surprise

Not much happened at prom. Tula and Guy went home early, citing fatigue. In truth, Tula wanted to go home because it quickly became apparent that dancing was not something she was good at. All the missteps, the tripping, stepping on people's feet... she has several large bruises on her shins from falling so often. Damned clumsiness. 

Right now she's working on something far more interesting. She's read that certain chemical compounds can induce a temporary intangibility; or in simpler terms, make someone a "ghost" for a short period of time. So far she hasn't had much success; so far all she's been able to make is a short-lasting sleep syrup. 

Or explosive, flammable failures. 

Time to hop in the shower. 

The next morning, Guy wakes up early. He can't fall asleep, so he slips on his...flippers...and goes into the new study room upstairs and plays around on the internet for a while. 

Guy finds it very easy to lose track of time just surfing the internet. He originally was going to look something up for school, but that got boring very quickly. 

When Tula comes into the room, he assumes that she just wants to use the computer and exits out of the browser. He gets up to go, but Tula stands firmly in his way. 

"Is there something...wrong?" he asks hesitantly. The blank look on her face is making him uncomfortable. 

"It's just that I woke up and couldn't find you anywhere," she says sweetly, leaning closely to him. 

Guy feels himself blush, and takes a small step backwards, "Oh, yeah I just uh came up here to use the computer." Why is she acting so weird? He wonders. He's suddenly hyper conscious of the fact that he's not wearing a shirt. His blush deepens. 

Tula scrutinizes his reaction. In her quest to find out more about romance, she's been reading up and observing flirting in the halls of their school. She wanted to put some of the theory she read into practice. Not yet confident enough to try this on anyone at school, Guy seemed a suitable guinea pig; unrelated, her age, and close by. Interesting how such a subtle change in her behavior can garner such a strong reaction. She wonders if others would react in a similar fashion. It definitely warrants further investigation. 

But for now, she's satisfied with the results of her minor test run and pulls back. 

"Like, I looked everywhere for you. I thought you left for school without me," she pouts. 

Guy's face returns to its normal colour. I must have been imagining that, or just overreacting, he tells himself. He feels a huge wave of relief; the idea of him and Tula doing anything romantic together is just...ew, no. When they were younger, their classmates referred to them as siblings. He wouldn't call Tula his sister, exactly, but she feels like a cousin or some other close relative. 

He shakes his head a little. He would very much like to never think about this again. 

"Have I ever left the house without you?" he asks sarcastically. 

And it dawns on her that he hasn't, not even once. They have done certain activities separately, of course, but Guy has never left the house without her. He was bound to her once, before he became a flesh and blood sim. It seems that in a sense, he still is. 

This kind of dependency...bothers her. It's fine now that they're in school, but once they have to start working... Will Guy even get a job? she wonders. 

Tula's intense gaze causes Guy to squirm uncomfortably. "I'm just going to go downstairs and get ready..." he nervously walks around her, and all but dashes out of the room. 

Tula narrows her eyes. She'll have to make a plan. 

It's a day off for Paolo, which of course means fishing at the beach. Winter is slowly but surely encroaching on the small town. Paolo is a bit sad at the prospect of one of his new hobbies being taken away from him for a season. The serenity and solitude of the ocean calm him. He often wonders if his mother felt the same way. 

He never got to ask. 

Once night begins to fall, he makes his way over to his other regular haunt, the library. Today, however, he's being joined by Sun. They wanted to check out each other's favorite authors together. 

"I like the braid," Paolo compliments. 

Sun smiles, "Long hair gets in the way a lot during lab work. I wanted to try something a bit more elegant than the usual ponytail." 

Paolo smiles, "I think it suits you. It shows off more of your face." 

Sun blushes a little. She doesn't get flirted with very often, so most of Paolo's compliments make her feel giggly and blushy. "Let's get inside, I'm freezing." 

After checking out a few books, the couple takes a seat on the couch. 

"Hey, are you alright?" Paolo notices Sun's downcast expression. 

She sighs, "Not exactly. The house is getting too crowded, and we just had a housemate meeting this morning. One of us needs to go, and soon. Greta can't find somewhere big enough for her, her husband, and the baby, and the rest of us are stuck. I'm considering moving in with one of my siblings, but it sucks because they all have kids. I'd be imposing on them." 

Paolo reaches out, his eyes large and sparkling with concern and sympathy. It's so tender and affectionate of a gesture that Sun looks down, overwhelmed. 

"It's not that big of a deal, don't look so sad," she frets. 

"I'm not sad, I'm just worried about you. I don't want to hear that you died from hypothermia after a hard night on the streets," he says, only half-joking. 

Sun smiles, but his words hit close to her true fears. She's been stressing about this since Greta's baby was born. There don't seem to be any places in sight, not soon enough for her to be comfortable. 

But she doesn't want to scare him with such talk, so she kisses him instead. She could use the distraction herself. 

Paolo pulls back. Before Sun can kiss him again, he clears his throat. 

"If it's really that urgent," he begins hesitantly, "You could stay at my place for a while. I'm sure the kids wouldn't really mind. Just until you find a new place." 

Sun blinks, "Do you really mean that?" 

The expression on his face is enough of an answer. 

She laughs, mostly out of relief than amusement. "You sure? You might get sick of me real fast." She internally very strongly hopes that he doesn't take back the offer. She doesn't want to get kicked out with no place to go. 

"Of course I'm sure. I just...need to talk to the kids about it first, to let them know we'll be having a guest for a while. I'm sure it'll be fine." 

The next afternoon once Tula and Guy are home, Paolo surprises them by sitting down to eat. Guy quickly excuses himself, not really liking the serious look on Paolo's face. Besides, this is a rare opportunity to be alone in the house without worrying about Tula coming after him to make him feel uncomfortable. 

"So, to what do I owe this honor?" Tula asks, her words dripping with venom. From her observations at school, a lot of teenagers become snappy and hostile towards their parents. She figures she and Guy have far more than enough reason to be; even though they're getting along without him, Tula has to admit that this seems like bad parenting to her. 

Paolo winces. "Is it a crime to eat with my daughter in my own home?" 

"Crime? You want to talk about crime? How about never talking to your kids? How about never even looking at us? Half the time I think you don't even realize we exist!" she fumes. 

Paolo looks down guiltily. "I don't really have an excuse. But I can change. I'm going to be around more, I promise. And it won't just be me around the house anymore. My, uh...girlfriend's going to be moving in with us soon." 



True to his word, Sun does show up with her stuff only days later. 

"Nice...outfit," Paolo says in greeting, looking over her clothes skeptically. 

She smiles, "It's my moving outfit! Carrying around this stuff is tiring and makes me all...sweaty. Can't be wearing anything too frilly for that, right?" 

"I think this is the first time I've ever seen you wear a skirt..." 

"And it will probably be the last!" Skirts are rather impractical, even if they are pretty. Working in the lab for most of the day doesn't really let her wear pretty clothes. 

Paolo insists on carrying the heavier boxes, which gives Sun a chance to look around the place. It's very bright and colourful, so unlike where she used to live. All white and sterile. Like the lab. She definitely prefers Paolo's place. 

(AN: Ahhh her normal face! How I've missed it) 

After the bulk of her things are in Marko and Persis's old bedroom, Sun and Paolo unwind with a game of chess. 

"I asked if I could be assigned to maintain the robots at the lab," Sun informs Paolo on her work activities, "But they said no. Again. I hate working with plants! I don't think I can stand it there much longer." 

While Sun bitches about her job, Tula hovers nearby, ostensibly to do cardio exercises. She's very interested in their new housemate. They haven't lived with anyone else in quite some time. Tula's looking forward to getting to know the woman her dad's involved with; people are like fascinating puzzles, and they're all put together differently. What are the particularities of this puzzle? How do all the pieces fit together? It's up to Tula to find out. 

After Paolo wins their chess game, Sun and Paolo start unpacking her things. After that and a nice, long shower, the pair flops onto Sun's new bed. 

"This room really needs to be redecorated," Paolo sighs. His parents have been gone for a long time. Now that someone else is living here, it feels wrong to keep their things around. 

"Well, we did try," Sun points out, nodding to her various nickknacks from home. 

Paolo glances at them. A rabbit rug, a pull up bar, the terrarium, glass cat, and cow-plant statuette. 

"Why the pull up bar? You don't strike me as someone who likes sports," he says. It's by far the most confusing item she owns. 

Sun shrugs, "Every so often I like to pretend that I care about my body, ok?" 

"Though, there is a much more fun way to exercise," she purrs suggestively.

Paolo grins, "Really? Well, let's give it a try."

Sun smiles back. She is definitely going to like living here.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

2.22 Ignored

No one is quite sure how to deal with the newfound quiet and emptiness in the house. Throughout their entire lives, Persis has been around, at least in the background. She was always gardening, painting, or resting quietly somewhere in the house. Now that she's gone, Paolo spends very little time at home. Guy and Tula have been mostly self-sufficient since entering high school, already used to Paolo's relative lack of involvement in their lives. Without a second parent, and now without Marko and Persis, the teens have the house to themselves most of the time. 

Guy doesn't like it. Tula acts so differently alone, it's confusing. Talking to her makes him feel like he's going crazy; which version of Tula is the right one? Is he just imagining it? 

"What's wrong? Sit down and eat cake with me," Tula says in a teasing voice. When he doesn't move, she pins him with a stare. "I said sit." 

Guy flinches; half the time he doesn't know if she's really mad at him or just messing around. 

He misses Persis and Marko. He misses Krista. 

He misses Paolo. 

Why aren't they here? 

But no matter how hard he wishes, they don't appear. So he sits down and quietly pokes at his food, suddenly not feeling hungry. 

"What do you think happens when people die?" Tula asks suddenly. 

Guy glances up at her, unable to tell what kind of response she wants. He used to believe in ghosts as a kid, and that maybe he was one, but now he's not so sure. 

"I don't know," he replies honestly. 

Tula considers his answer. After her last sighting of the Grim Reaper, she's been contemplating this deeply. The dead must go somewhere, or else the Grim Reaper wouldn't need to collect them. It's a fascinating idea; a place no living being can go. 

The school bus honks impatiently outside, cutting her pondering short. The pair quickly cleans up, then rush outside. 

They pass by Paolo, and almost do a double take. He's normally at the library or the beach on his days off. They didn't realise he was even home. 

They quickly climb onto the bus, and Paolo doesn't seem to notice them leave. 

Truth be told, he's engrossed in his gardening. He's let his mother's garden begin to wilt and is now desperately trying to reverse the damage. She wouldn't want to see her cultivated and carefully cared for plants to wither and die. 

Though he spends hours toiling away, some of them are a lost cause. 

The kids come home from school and sit down at the dining table. They're doing their homework quickly; tonight is prom and they won't have time to do this assignment later. 

Tula gives her homework a long stare. She got in trouble with her Simlish teacher for not doing her last few (disgustingly easy) assignments and was consequently assigned "makeup" work. Tula is not angry, but instead dumbfounded. If the work is so obviously below her capacity, why does she need to bother with it? It doesn't make sense. 

"This sucks," Guy says, erasing a misspelling. Simlish is a weird subject; why does he need to analyse fictional people? How is this going to help him to do anything in real life? 

"It really does," Tula agrees. 

They (more or less) make it through their homework, and pile into the limo. The nights are getting colder and colder, meaning no long, impractical dresses for Tula. Guy follows suit and wears warm, comfortable sweat pants. 

As the limo pulls away, Tula glances out the window. Her father doesn't pause to even wave at them. 

Hours later, when his fingers are almost too numb to move, Paolo's phone rings shrilly. He clumsily pulls out his mobile and presses answer. 


"I...uh...yeah, it has been a want to go Uh sure. See you there in twenty minutes." 

Twenty minutes later, he's at Varg's Tavern as agreed. 

"Hi Sun," he says, avoiding eye contact. Since he kissed her in her living room, Paolo hasn't seen or talked to her. Her hair, once barely touching the base of her neck, now flows over her back. It's been a long time since then. He only realises this now, and can't help but feel guilty. He must seem like such a jerk. 

 "You don't see me for the better part of a year and that's all you have to say?" she replies dryly. He can see annoyance, and even worse, a bit of hurt etched deeply in her features. "I know we weren't dating or anything, but that was pretty...mean."

He thinks of all the texts from her and Greta that he's ignored over the months, the times he looked at his phone and just...didn't answer. He looks down guiltily.

"I was going through a lot... I'm sure Greta told you about my mom."

Sun's face softens, "She did. And I'm so sorry Paolo. I just wanted to tell you that to your face. That's really all I wanted to meet you for."

Paolo sighs. He and Sun may not have been in a relationship, but ignoring her was a horrible thing to do. He should have at least told her what was happening and not waste her time.

"Want to go inside at least?"

Once in the bar and in front of a foozeball table, Sun's mood lifts dramatically. She likes games. 

Paolo looks at her lab coat. It's different from the one she wore when he first met her. 

"Did you get promoted?" he asks. 

Sun grins, "Yeah, actually! Though I still can't work among the robot-fish crossbreeders." At the last few words, she pouts, "I'll probably work in there for years and not get to be around the fun stuff." 

They talk about her job, then about the mechanics and biological logistics of crossbreeding a robot and a fish, until Sun breaks their tie and wins the game. She smiles deviously and laughs heartily, happy to be the victor.

"Good game. I'll buy you a drink," Paolo says, smiling at her. Sun nods, and gestures to the bar, wanting Paolo to lead the way.

There isn't a bar tender, so Paolo tries his best to mix a cocktail. He looks at the man sitting unassumingly at the bar, and his face hardens. 

Rocky pretends not to see his former brother-in-law staring him down. Like the other Parrott siblings, he did not come to Krista's funeral. With Pablo, Keith, and a whole smattering of their relatives and accomplices in neighboring towns in jail, Rocky has kept a low profile. The evidence linking him to their crimes as a get-away driver was only circumstantial, and hasn't been able to put him behind bars. Since he's lived in Appaloosa Plains his whole life, and has a wife, children, a house here, he hasn't felt the need to move. 

But he has to admit that this is uncomfortable. 

"Quit staring at me," he snaps. 

"Gladly," Paolo grumbles. He's avoided the hell out of the Parrott family in town. He wants to keep it that way. 

Instead, he focuses on his cocktail. He hopes it turned out alright... 

Taste test. 

Result: acceptable. 

Sun glances at Rocky as he gets up to use the bathroom. She knows who he is. 

And Paolo knows that. "Forget about him. Try the drinks instead. They probably won't kill you." 

Sun smiles, and reaches for a drink. After a small sip, she  tilts her head back and drains half the glass. "Pretty good," she agrees. 

After a few glasses, they're tipsy enough to try publicly slow dancing in a seedy bar. 

"I'm pretty sure you aren't supposed to be leading," Paolo says, his eyebrow arched. 

"Shhh," Sun shushes him, "Trust me, I'm a scientist." 

Giggling and stumbling slightly, they attempt some daring underarm turns. Paolo only gets halfway through a spin before collapsing against Sun. 

"I have a really low alcohol tolerance, the room's spinning a bit," Paolo admits, using Sun for support as much for the embrace. 

"I won't complain about this," Sun says, squeezing his hands.

The bar eventually closes, forcing Sun and Paolo outside. 

"I'm sorry for ignoring you for so long. But I will definitely call you later. If I don't, ring me up sometime. Even if it's just to tell me to fuck off," he says a bit drunkenly. 

Sun giggles, "Will do." She looks down shyly, playing with her hair uncertainly. It's girlish, and almost sickeningly cute, but he knows what she's trying to hint at.

He kisses her, more deeply than all those months ago at her house. His inhibitions lowered by the alcohol, he doesn't really care that they're technically in public and pulls her to him as close as possible. 

Definitely have to call her later, he thinks to himself as he runs his hands over her back. 

Before they can become entangled at the quantum level, Sun pulls away, her cheeks flushed. 

"You better call me," she says almost breathlessly. 

"No doubt about it." 

They kiss one last time, then go their separate ways, waving goodbye with smiles on their faces. As far as dates go, Paolo thinks that one went pretty well. 


I had a weird glitch with Sun. She wouldn't age up to adult normally, and kept getting replaced with genetically re-rolled versions of herself. It's fixed now that I've noticed it, but in the next chapter her face is still...weird. It returns to normal before long.