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title








Warnings: language, sexual situations, sim nudity (lots of partial nudity, and several butts), NSFW-ish stuff, implied abuse, talk of death, potential genocide



Chapter Forty (part one)


rbh

erin1

"They seem to be settling in well," observed Erin, as they looked out the window. Outside, the clones of Nervous Subject were working happily.


erin2

"Yes," said Leod McGreggor. "They're naturals. They've taken right to it." He was very pleased with these applicants. All three of his job ads filled in a single day. "Are they triplets?" he asked.

"Yes," she said, as she followed him. "Identical." She had prepared some follow up information. Perhaps not as airtight as she would have liked, but something. She at least had something to tell him. She waited, but if Leod had thought that anything about her story seemed off, he didn't let on.

"They fit in well here," he said.

"I'm glad."


erin3

Lazlo held back, not wanting to intrude on their conversation. Instead he walked over to the window himself and looked out to where the clones were working happily. He didn't want to even think it, for fear it would jinx things, but their plan seemed to have worked.


clones

Outside, the clones were busy planting one of the gardens.


clones1

I had a dream last night, Mani said, as he approached Linnea. With only the three of them around, there was no need to speak it out loud.

It was strange, he continued, Almost like a memory.


nervous1

nervous2

... I was on the streets, running away from home. Except it wasn't really my home, not really. And then I was there, at that place again, and they opened the front door and took me in.


clones3

I've had dreams like that too
, she said.

So have I, agreed Todd.

What are they like? asked Mani. When you have them, what are they like?

Like that
, she said. or when I'm younger still. At least I think it's me. Maybe it's one of you. And sometimes... A shiver went up her spine.


baby1

... Sometimes I'm a child. A baby, in a crib. With cold, dark walls all around me.


baby2

clones3

... And howling ghosts.



title

"Fucken Don Lothario, man."


tv1

tv2

tv3

"She’s taken him back like three times already," Ripp went on, "and then she brought him back from the dead and everything and then he goes and does that? I mean, really, Dude. Come on. Kaylynn isn't even that into you anymore."

"Back from the dead?" Ophelia raised an eyebrow. "That's a bit far fetched, isn't it?"


tv4

Nervous Subject fidgeted around, even more than usual.


tv6

The knitting usually helped with that. Ophelia had taught herself and Nervous too, in the interest of making some things for the baby. A blanket, and maybe some booties, and so on. Her cousin had really taken to it, and it was one of the few things that helped him find calm. But the mention of death seemed to set him off again, the needles clanking together awkwardly in his hands, his movement not quite within his control.


tv7

tv5

When Ophelia glanced over, his eyes met hers for a moment and she felt a chill go through her. Like their conversation from before. That night she... That night she was going to...

Back from the dead, she thought. That sort of thing doesn't actually happen.

Right?


For a second, his eyes almost seemed to answer her with their deep infinite darkness. Then he looked away. Twitched. Blinked.


tv8

"Hush, you." Ripp said, hardly missing a beat. "Stop ruining it with your logic."


tv8

tv9

tv10

“Niiiina! Noooo…”


tv11

tv12

“Oh, Cassandra’s going to kill him. And then bring him back to life and then kill him all over again.”


tv13

“Man, this is getting good,” he said, cramming a fistful of potato chips into his mouth. "I hope Lilith and Angela are in this episode."


tv14

"So which one's Don Lothario again?" Ophelia asked. "That guy?"

"Oh my god, you're kidding me, right?"

"Uh... yeah. Yeah, of course I am."

"Come on, Phi! Everybody knows who Don is! Ninety-eight year old hermits without TV know who Don Lothario is! Tank probably even knows!"


tv15

"I don't know!" She shrugged. "I can't keep up with this. There's like a hundred different characters and a million different convoluted storylines. How am I supposed to know? I thought he was married."

"No, that was like five seasons ago." Ripp sighed. “He’s been divorced and remarried and separated and reunited and separated again since then.”

"Oh, I see.” she smirked. “Silly me. Okay, but didn't they already do this storyline?"


tv16

"No, see… this is like a flashback. Sort of. It's like a memory, but you don't know whose memory it is. You see, they did this once before, but then they did a bit of a time warp, then a flash forward, then like a flash sideways or something, like an alternate reality sort of thing, and then they changed it and made it really, really dark and edgy and some fans complained, so then they did another version that was all sunshine and rainbows and everything was perfect but then the ratings dropped, and so then they made it all just a dream and it went back to the way it was in the beginning."

“Okay, well then that makes perfect sense…,” she laughed, rolling her eyes.

“If you paid attention it would," he said, tossing a couple of chips at her. She picked them up and stuffed them into his mouth. He continued to talk as he chewed. "Oh and it's partly a reality show. Sort of. The Pleasant twin parts were, back in like season one. Now it's done more in that mocumentary style..."


tv17

"I should take Wheezie for a walk," Nervous stood up and said all of a sudden, out of nowhere. He nodded goodbye, though with Nervous one was never quite sure if it had been intentional or involuntary. Then he promptly left the room, not waiting for a reply.


quickie1

Ripp and Ophelia watched him go. Nervous took a lot of walks around town, now that he wasn't trying to hide himself away from everyone quite as much. Walks helped him burn off his, well, nervous energy, of which he had a seemingly endless supply. Wheezie was one well-walked dog.

"Goodbye," said Ophelia. "Have a nice walk." He turned back and flashed her a shy and awkward smile, just for a moment, before bolting for the door.

"Well that was a bit random," said Ripp. "I mean, it's Nervous, so it's not that I'm all that sur--"


quickie2

As soon as the door shut behind Nervous, she pounced on Ripp.


quickie3

"Well hello there," he said.

"Do you think we have time for a quickie?" she asked.

He laughed. "Yeah, sure. I can be done in like two, three minutes tops, right? If I have to."

"Two or three seconds."


quickie3

"That is sooooo not funny."

"Yeah it is."

"You're just never going to let me live that down, are you? At my fucking funeral, you're going to tell them all. R.I.P. Ripp Grunt. He was an okay guy, but he came too quick that one time. Put it on my headstone, it can be my--what do you call that thing again?"


quickie4

"Your epitaph. Listen! Do you want to get laid or not?"

"Uh, yeah. Hell yeah. How is that even a question?"


quickie4

quickie4

quickie4

"Okay, let's do this," she said, stretching out enticingly on the bed. “Come on. Let’s get some hot ‘woohoo’ action happening in here. Go on, have your way with me.”


quickie4

"You know, I gotta say. 'Horny pregnant lady' is an extremely good look for you."


quickie4

quickie4

quickie4

"Oh just shut up and do me already. What are you waiting for?"


quickie4

nerv1

nerv2

nerv3

quickie5

Taking more than her share
Had me fighting for air
She told me to come but I was already there



quickie6

nerv3

nerv4

nerv5

nerv6

nerv7

quickie7

quickie8

quickie9

quickie10

nerv10

nerv11

nerv12

wwjd

"What do you think... Johnny would do... if he were here now?" She said between breaths.


wwjd2

wwjd3

An evil grin spread wide across Ripp's face. "Well, let me see... First he'd burst through the door and be all like, 'Oh my god guys! Be careful she's pregnant you know,' and have that face on--you know the one. Then that sidelong glance he does, like he thinks we don't know what he's actually thinking..."

"Yeah, and then what? What does he do next?"


wwjd3

wwjd4

"Then he steps closer and takes off his jacket, then his shirt. All dramatic and shit. Puffed up like a peacock. You know the look. He's perfect, and he knows it. The abs. Oh, the abs. And those vee lines like an arrow leading down to..."


wwjd5

"Yeah, go on..."

wwjd6

wwjd7


“He starts unbuttoning his pants. And he's doing that eyebrow thing. Playing it cool, you know. Confident. Cocky, even.”


wwjd8

“Go on. Don’t leave anything out,” she said.


wwjd9

"... and keep doing the voice."


wwjd11

wwjd10

tf1

tf2

Frances sat there, frozen, processing everything Tank had just confided in him.

"Well say something," Tank said.


tf3

"That,” said Frances, “is the most horrible thing I have ever heard."

"Well that was my father. That was the sort of man he was. The whole plan was his baby. Isn’t that just lovely?"


tf3

Before he'd had a chance to think better of it, Frances realized that he'd reached out to place his hand on Tank's arm. He could see the touch register on Tank's face, and Frances watched as he took a deep breath.


tf3

"Well, not the latest stage of the plan," Tank continued. "Maybe not. I don't know. I'd like to think he wasn't quite that much of a monster, but who the fuck knows anymore."

"That's awful, Tank. I'm so sorry."

"Yeah, well..." Tank shook his head, as if to shake away any emotion that might sneak out there.


tf3

"What are you going to do?" asked Frances.

"Well this isn't what I signed up for, to say the least. I was okay with some sort of show of force to drive them out of our air space or something, maybe even direct combat. But that was the aliens. The ones invading our planet, coming here unwelcome..."

"For nefarious purposes?"

"Yes! They made the first "attack". But the thought... As for what he described... the thought that they may actually be contemplating killing off all of the hybrid civilians..."


tf3

An atrocity, thought Frances. He was happy to hear Tank use the word civilians. He'd picked up enough of Tank's military jargon over the years to know that when he said that he meant not only non-military, but sim. A person. "Did your... supervisor actually say that?" he asked.

"Not in as many words. But it was there."

"The implication..."


tf3

"Yeah, the implication was there. And they did that, with the virus. Here. In this very town. And they plan to send it out there into space, after them. Maybe that will be enough. I sure the fuck hope so."

Frances nodded, trying to think of something hopeful to say.

"He seemed like an asshole, anyway," Tank went on. "Probably talking out his ass. Trying to be a big man, scare me, you know? On my first day. I'll just have to take it for a while, then I'll get to the straight talk on the matter."


tf3

"You aren't seriously going to continue to work there, are you?"


tf3

"Can you see how I have a goddamn choice in the matter? They're going to do it, whether I'm involved or not! Frances, if I'm not there, some other schmuck will get the job. I don't know if I can do anything, but I can damn well stay there and try. At least if I stay, I can figure something out. Maybe I can somehow prevent it."


tf3

"Are you sure that's a good idea?"

"You got a better one?"

"No, but... just what exactly do you intend to do?"

"I have no idea. Take them down from the inside?"

"Tank, that's..."


tf

"I know. It's probably just as well I contemplate actual suicide, but I don't know. I'll figure something out. I'll find a way."

"I guess it goes without saying, but please be careful."

"Yeah. Without saying." Tank paused for a moment, his gaze down, cracking his knuckles one at a time.

"Tank..."


tf

Tank looked up to see Frances wrapping his arms around him.


tf

"Thank you for telling me," Frances said. "I won't breathe a word of this to anyone. Not even to Beau."

"Especially not him." Tank let out a deep sigh.

"Yes, especially not." Not that it would be easy, Frances knew. He smiled for a moment at the thought, but it soon wavered. "I just wish I had something better to--"


tf

With almost a waver in his voice, Tank launched into, "I'm just fucking relieved that Johnny Smith left the planet when he did. Now they won't be able to ask me to fucking kill him as some goddamn show of faith or something.” He sighed. “Fuck... Me."

The front door was flung open wide, with Beau arriving just in time to hear the last sentence.


tfb1

"Whoa! Did I just walk in on something here?" he asked. "Not to question your life choices or anything, Tank, but yeah. This would be really weird timing for you to decide you suddenly wanted to get into Fran's pants."

"That was obviously not what we were talking about," said Frances.


tfb2

"It's okay," said Beau. "If you do decide that you absolutely HAVE to cheat on me for some reason, I will expect no less than with Tank 'God among men' Grunt."

"Umm," said Tank.

“I, uh, never said that,” Frances said, looking away. He could feel a faint flush coming to his cheeks.


tfb3

tfb4

“No, but I did," Beau said with a grin. "Just then. I said it. Hey, I’m just calling it as I see it. That’s okay, right? We're all friends here. I can speak plainly. You don’t mind, do you Tank? It's a compliment, after all.”


tfb5

“So what’s up with the glasses?” Tank asked, hoping to change the subject as quickly as possible.

"Yes, those are new," said Frances, eager to do the same.


tfb6

“Oh, these?” He adjusted them with a flourish. “Nice, right? Very distinguished! They’re my ‘working glasses’. For when I’m doing important business-related business.”

“Do you actually need those for reading?” Frances asked. He thought he’d have heard about it by now if that were the case.

“No, they just make me look smarter. Gives more of an impression that I know what I’m doing.”

“Heh.” Tank remarked.


tfb7

“Is there anything at all that you do that isn’t a pointed manipulation?” Frances asked.


tfb8

“Well, since you're asking…” He waggled his eyebrows.

Frances sighed. "Come here, Beau."


tfb9

tfb10

“They make me cuter too, don’t you think?”

"Is that even possible?"


tfb11

tfb12

To his credit, Tank observed the embrace with far less discomfort than he once would have. Before turning to leave, he said, "Umm well, I guess I'll leave you guys to your, uh... you know."

"I have no idea what you might be referring to," Frances said, smiling.

"Dicks?" offered Beau.

"Not what I was going to say," said Tank. "But, yeah. Sure. Dicks. Whatever."


tfb13

"We're heading out of town this afternoon,” Frances said, “so there will not in fact be any penises involved in our activities."

"Wieners."

"Yes he gets the idea, Beau."

"Danglers. Dongers. Ding-dongs..."


tfb14

"Where are you going?" Tank asked. Completely ignoring Beau was usually the wisest course of action.

"Well, I'm finally going to go visit with Charlotte in Bluewater Village, which I've been dreading as you know, and Beau is heading out to Pleasantview to see an old friend."

"And Mom."

"Yes, and his mother."


tfb14

"Frances is going to come, too." Beau beamed. "Big step! Meeting the parents. Or parent, anyway."

Frances smiled. "We have a busy day ahead of us. Hopefully nothing too, too eventful. We might even have the opportunity to look at some apartments in the city on the way back, if time allows."

"Oh," said Tank, "That reminds me. Ripp said his friend Jasmine knew of something that might work."


tfb15

"Jasmine, as in Jasmine Rai? Jaxy Rai?" Beau gasped. "The Jaxy Rai?"

"That'd be the one," Tank confirmed.

"Oh, awesome! I'll bet she'll find you something really, really great, Fran."

Frances shrugged. "I'll take any help I can get."

"Yeah, she's super awesome cool and grew up in the city herself, so I'm sure she knows all the best places."

"He's a bit of a fan," Frances explained.



tfb16

"Of Ripp's band?" Tank asked, incredulous.

"Yes, I know," said Frances, "There’s just no accounting for taste is there?"

"Ripp's nonexistent band?"


tfb16

"Oh they exist!" Beau declared. "They totally exist and they are totally amazing!"


tfb16

"Speaking of...," Frances trailed off just before saying his name, "How is everything going with him and Ophelia? Is she doing okay?"

"Oh RIGHT!" Beau cackled with laughter. "She's preggers, isn't she! Your brother, the Daddy-to-be! That poor, poor unborn child..."


tfb16

"My God, can you imagine having Ripp as your father?" Frances asked.

Tank cracked a smile. "No. No, I cannot."

Frances obviously couldn't either. "Though, to be fair," he said, "that might not be entirely a bad thing."


tfb16

Frances certainly felt it might be worth trying nearly any other sort of father than his own, and considering their previous conversation... but even before that, Tank hadn't exactly painted him a picture of General Buzz Grunt as someone he'd trade his own for. And that was saying something.

He met Tank's gaze, and saw his recognition of same thought.


tfb16

tfb16

Tank let the thought sit for a moment, then said, "Now that you mention it, I should probably go give him a call. See how everything's going. It's been a while."


tfb16

"Aw, he's such a good brother," Beau said. "I like to see that. Seriously. Good brothers are everything. Even when the other brother happens to be Ripp."

"Be nice," Frances said.


tfb16

"Ohhhhhhh, defending your boyfriend, are you?" Beau laughed. "Well, we all know how you feel about--"

“I never said..."


tfb16

tfb16

tankphone

Tank left them to their banter and walked out into the kitchen to dial his brother’s number.


tankphone

Good brother.

Tank tried that on for size. He liked the idea that he might deserve that title. He hadn't been a good brother to Ripp in the past. He'd been... terrible. A flash of memory, the pulp he'd made of his brother's face. And for what? For what...

Well, maybe he could be good. He could be a good brother. Were sims defined by their history, their past, or by their current actions? He could move forward, do better. Couldn't he?

He could be a good brother now.


tankphone3

rippphone1

"Hello?!"

"Yeah, hey. It's me."

"Oh, hey Tank," Ripp said, gasping for air. "I was just. Running. To get. The phone."


tankphone1

"And you're that out of breath? God, you really need to work out more."

"I was! I was just. Working out."

"Oh, well then good for you. You really should be taking better care of yourself."


rippphone2

"Oh I'm well taken care of. Believe me."


tankphone2

"Good to hear."

“So, uh. What’s up?”

“Nothing. Just calling to see how everything’s going over there.”

“Good! Good. Everything is, uh... good.”

"Hey, have you heard back from Jasmine yet? About the apartments?"

"Jax? Uh, yeah. Yeah. Just tell them to call. I think Beau's got their--"


rippphone3

"Oh you have got to be kidding me..." Ripp muttered under his breath. "I'm talking to--"

"Huh?"

"Nothing! I just... Oh god..."


tankphone4

"Are you okay? What's going on?"

"Nothing--NOTHING! Listen, Tank. I gotta go."

"Umm... Okay, I guess."


rippphone4

"Yeah, Ophelia's... going uh, downtown. Yeah, to Sim City! And she wants me to come--uh, with her! She wants me to come with her! Yeah, she needs me to go down. Town! Go downtown... to, uh, 69th street." A small sputter of laughter escaped him.

"Uh, alright," said Tank. "Well, good luck I guess. Sounds like she's really keeping you busy."

"Oh you have no idea."

There was a puzzled pause. "Alright, then. Bye, Ripp."


rippphone4

"Bye!" Ripp yelped.


rippphone4

And then in the background before he managed to hang up Tank could hear someone else laughing and, "... Really, Phi? Really? With Tank on the phone? Oh, you are so getting it now..."


tankphone

Tank took pause. "Wait... 69th Street? What the--"

tankphone

"Seriously? But why would he even answer the phone?"


tankphone

But that was his brother for you. His brother, and Ophelia Nigmos. Who would have ever thought? Not Tank, that's for sure. Such an odd pair, he thought. His brother, settled down? And Ophelia... Ophelia. He thought back on that. The sting had gone out of the memory, but he remembered the feeling.

In another life, that might have been me, he thought.


tankphone

tankphone

tankphone

I miss having a girlfriend.


nervtrans1

nervtrans2

nervtrans3

nervmem

nervmem2

nervmem3

"I'm going away for a while, Nervous."


nervtrans4

Pascal.

He was going away, to find someone. That woman in the red dress.

Nervous didn't like that memory. He tried his best not to think it. He tried to push it down, down as far as it would go. Nervous was good at hiding away things in his mind. Except when he wasn't.

He shuddered. He began to shake, just a little.

He felt a cold wet nose nudging him. It helped to bring him back to the moment.


wheezie

"Wh-wheezie?"


wheezie

"I-I'm. I'm okay."


wheezie

wheezie

nervtrans4

nervtrans5

jennychloe1

“So you’re good?" asked Chloe, "You sure? I’m heading out anyway to get some stuff for the restaurant.”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Thank you,” said Jenny.

“Things are really coming along. Should be able to open soon.”


jennychloe2

“Lola would be very pleased about that."

Chloe didn’t respond to that, but Jenny could tell from her smile that she liked the thought.

“Have you spoken to Vidcund lately?”


jennychloe3

“No,” she said, “Can’t say I’ve talked much with VidCUNT. Nor do I care to.” She’d gone out of her way to avoid him since their shouting match over dinner. Without Lola there to mediate, Chloe didn’t trust herself not to punch him right in his insufferable face.

“Chloe…” Jenny sighed.

“What?”

Jenny gave her one of those looks.


jennychloe3

“He’s probably off busy being a miserable, unbearable asshole! As usual!”


jennychloe4

Jenny kept looking.

“Listen, if he wants to apologize to me, he’s more than welcome to!”

“You’re both acting like children.”

“Oh, who cares! Seriously. It’s not like we were ever on great terms. No love lost there!”


jennychloe5

“Well then, do it for me?” Jenny pleaded. “For my sake? We're a family. We need to stick together, now more than ever.”

Chloe sighed in exasperation. “Ugh! I guess so...”

Jenny pulled her into a hug.


jennychloe6

“You know,” Chloe continued, “You’re even worse than Lola!”

“I’ll take that as the highest of compliments,” said Jenny.


jennychloe7

Once she'd released Chloe from the hug, Jenny added, “You miss her.”

She shrugged. “Missing her won’t bring her back.”

“I’m sure she’s doing fine out there. She always does.”

Chloe nodded. “Yeah. I’m sure... Listen, I’ll drop by again tomorrow, okay? Call me if you need anything.”

“I will. thank you.”


jennychloe8

jennychloe9

Jenny watched her leave. She'd noticed that Chloe hadn't mentioned Johnny when the opportunity had come up, but then her sister had never been the sort to follow such social niceties. Lola would have. She'd have brought it up before Jenny had. It wasn't hard to miss Lola, and also her tempering influence on Chloe. Jenny missed her every day.


jennychloe9

Jenny turned and went to check the time. The twins would be coming home from the pool soon, and she was having Ophelia and Ripp over for dinner that evening. It would soon be time to get started on that. The thought of cooking dinner reminded her of P.T., something they'd always done together, and she felt that familiar tinge of pain in her chest that she still felt so many times throughout each and every day. It was slowly getting easier, a little at a time, but it was hard for her to imagine a time when it wouldn't hurt.


jennychloe9

She'd make spaghetti. She knew they liked that. At least, they always seemed to linger around on spaghetti day, and never once turned down an invite. She smiled.

She supposed there would be plenty of time to talk about Johnny once those two arrived. That would be hard, she knew, but it would be good to speak to them. Good to see them. She would've hated it if Johnny's absence had meant that Ophelia and Ripp wouldn't be in her life anymore. They felt like family to her. Johnny's family.


jennymemories

As much as she had known that Johnny had needed to do what he had, and how she trusted that he'd take on and succeed at any task he set himself to, she felt like a part of her heart been removed and had gone into space with him.

Her firstborn. Strong-willed and always wanting to do the right thing, and still so much like that little boy running around with his cape flying out behind him. Golden hair in the sun. Laughing. It was so hard to let him go.


jennymemories

jennymemories

jennymemories

jennymemories

jennymemories

jennymemories

jennymemories

jennymemories

jennymemories

jennymemories

jennymemories

jennymemories

She gathered her thoughts back to focus on her other chick that had recently left the nest. She picked up the phone and dialed that new, yet already familiar number.


jill

“Hi Mom,” Jill answered, before Jenny had even spoke. Before she'd even looked at the phone. She didn’t need call display to know it was her mother. Her calls were like clockwork. Sometimes annoyingly so.

She didn't like to admit it, but she sometimes didn't answer her mother's calls. Jill felt a little guilty about that, but she did it anyway. She was an adult. She wanted her own space.


jill

“Hello, dear. How is everything going with your first week of classes?”


jill2

“Oh good, good. You know…”


jill2

Jill began to recount some of the highlights, the things she figured her mother would want to know about. The edited version of her life that she shared with her mother, for her own sake.


tattoo

Not the tattoo, for instance.

A dolphin, on her ankle. She'd always loved them, and often pretended to be one while swimming around in the pool. She knew her mother would spot the tattoo soon enough, but she wasn’t in the mood to have that scene play out just yet. It was a tiny thing. No big deal. And nobody's business but her own.


model

Or the modeling, for life drawing classes.

It was a job, like any other. The hours were short, the pay good. And she had wanted to know if she could do it. To get up there in front of a room of people. Just for herself. She'd been nervous at first, but it felt exhilarating to do something like that. Freeing.


model2

She'd done it before, with Buck, so it really didn't seem like that big a deal.

Would she tell her mother about the modelling? Perhaps. But not today.


friends

She'd met some people. From the life drawing class, actually. Potential friends. It was amazing how easy it was to make friends when you got naked in front of them. She'd been invited to a fourth-year party, too, during one of the breaks. A good icebreaker, for sure.

Her mother had been happy to hear that she'd made some friends. She said as much. Jill knew her mother had been worried that she'd be lonely at Académie Le Tour. Worried about her out there all alone.


campus

She'd been a little worried, herself. The campus had seemed so huge and empty at first.


campus2

But she'd gotten the hang of it quickly enough.


campus2

There were the other things, too, like her break from Buck. That was something she didn't feel like talking about, especially not with her mother.


campus2

campus2

campus2

campus2

That had been hard, but she still felt it was for the best. They'd been together since they were children. Babies. They needed to find themselves. Find their own way. And then they could come back to each other, knowing that it was a deliberate choice. Not something they fell into and never questioned until it was too late.

Maybe she was following her brain instead of her heart. But what was wrong with that? The heart would still be there to consult later. It wasn't a definite, final thing. It was a break. Sims did this sort of thing all the time.

They were fine. She was fine.


jill3

“I’m okay, Mom. You don’t need to worry about me.”

“That’s my job. That’s what mothers do. You’ll see one day. Well, perhaps. I hope so.”

“Sure, Mom. Maybe one day, but that day’s not coming anytime soon.” She thought again about Buck. It could have been a lot sooner than even her mother would have expected.


jill3

“No no, of course not. You've got plenty of time to worry about that later. But you know I’d love to have some grandchildren to spoil one of these days.”


jill3

“Mom, you still have children at home.” Jill groaned. Like that mattered to her mother. She was a Family sim to the core.

“Well, I’ll let you get back to your day. I’m sure you’re very busy. I have a busy day ahead of me, too. I've invited Ophelia and Ripp over for dinner.”


jill3

And Ripp. Ophelia and Ripp. Ophelia was pregnant, with Ripp's baby. Again, pregnancy seemed to be everywhere all of a sudden. Why was it that things always seemed to work that way? Something mostly off your radar, and then once you're aware of it... there it is. And she'd put all that behind her ages ago, and yet...

"That sounds nice," she said to her mother, hoping she hadn't said something else since that comment would've be relevant. It was easy for her mind to wander, especially with her mother.



jill3

"I wish you could be here, too," said Jenny. "All of you kids."


jill3

"We're not kids anymore, Mom." Her thoughts also drifted back to that time they'd all been there for dinner, back when she was still a teen. Up on the balcony. With Ripp.

Ophelia and Ripp. God, their kid will be frigging gorgeous.

"Yes, you're all growing up." Jill could hear her mother's smile through the phone.

“Bye, Mom. Thanks for calling. Love you.”

“Love you, too. Goodbye.”


cat1

Jenny took a seat on the couch. Had she been too aggressive about the children thing? Sometimes it just slipped out. She didn't want to be overbearing, wanted to let her children live their own lives, but it was easy to forget and project yourself onto them. To fall back on old habits, things passed on to you from your own mother. Jenny Smith thought about that a lot those days.

She was getting better, wasn't she? She hadn't asked Chloe if she was seeing anyone special. The thought had crossed her mind, but she'd left it there. That was progress. It was harder with Jill. She felt more like a younger version of herself, an extension of her. But she wasn't. It was easy to forget.

Jenny turned on the TV.


cat2

Catherine Viejo, of "Sex Chat with Cat" fame, was in an interview. Jenny had taken to watching her show recently. Cat was a former health teacher, turned sex educator in her golden years. Jenny felt inspired to see someone her age doing something so bold and unconventional, and the content... well...

For all her open-mindedness in marrying an someone of an alien species, she'd inherited a lot of hangups from the generation before her. She'd suffered for that herself in her early years, in her own sexuality, her own body. And then, despite that, she'd fallen into many of the same pitfalls as her mother before her.

Well, she supposed, it wasn't too late to change. To bring that sort of openness to the table. She was learning.


cat3

She'd even tested Cat by sending in a question of her own, regarding alien sexuality. She'd gotten a rush out of seeing her sex life with P.T. not only featured on air, but handled with care and respect.

"... and regardless of species or personal anatomy, remember that lube is always your friend."


Jenny giggled again, thinking of it.


cat4

In the interview, Cat was currently addressing the idea that she, as an elder female sim, was talking about sex. "Yes, kids, Granny can still 'woohoo'. And not all elders are 'grannies' either. And enough with the euphemisms! Let's not call it woohoo and blur it out with pixels. Let's be frank about sex. We all deserve that much."

Jenny nodded. She'd been a nurse in obstetrics all her life. She could so easily be frank about the body in that way, in the functions of childbirth, so why not with everything else? For herself, too. Cat's take on things was very enlightening, and inspiring.


cat5

And she was pretty, too.


glow1

glow1

"You okay?" he asked, still a little out of breath.

"Yes, very." She smiled, and then patted him on the chest. "You did good." She looked up to see his grin, knowing he'd like that. "And you?"

He leaned forward and kissed her head. "With you, always."


glow2

"Oh!" she gasped. "I think the baby kicked!"

"Woah, really?"

"Didn't you feel something move?"

They waited, breathless, for something else to happen. But nothing did.


glow3

"It might've been my imagination," she said, "but I was sure I felt something."

"Probably telling us to knock it off with all the commotion out here."

"Oh, don't be silly."

"No, really. Imagine if like you were inside there and there was something out here doing that to your home. Right up to your front door!"

She laughed.

"With like, a battering ram."

"Okay, Ripp. Let's not get carried away."


glow4

"But seriously, though," he said. "That was, uh... quite the workout. I don't know if you noticed. I'm not sure what you think a 'quickie' is, young lady, but that was certainly not it. And like, this morning, too. And yesterday. And--"

"Are you saying I've worn you out, Ripp?" she purred. "You, the 'insatiable' Romance sim?"

"What?! No, I..."

"You're tired. It's okay. You were working pretty hard."

"Well, you've been a bit of a handful lately. To say the least."

"Have I been?"



getup

She got to her feet. “Come on, now. Get up. It’s time for us to get ready. We’re going to go see Jenny today, remember?”

"No," he groaned. “I can’t get up. I can barely move.”

“Yes you can. Come on.”

“Ugh. You’ve killed me, woman.”

“Oh, stop being such a drama king. You're fine. Come on and get up now.” She went digging in “the pile” as Ripp fondly referred to it. “Here, lazy bones, I’ll even pick your clothes out for you. This shirt seems acceptable.” She sniffed it. “Maybe.”


getup

“Hey, you know that thing you did? The last time…”

“Huh?”

“When you… you know.” He gestured towards the general area where it had taken place.

“Oh, you mean…?” She gestured the action.

“Yeah… that. That was good.”


getup

“Oh you know.” She shrugged, smiling. “Just trying things out.”


dressing

dressing2

dressing3

Experimentation had been a positive byproduct of sleeping with the same sim over and over again. Ripp had figured he'd tried a lot of things with a lot of different women, but repeat attempts brought many benefits. Trying new things. Trying the same thing until you got it just right, or discovered something new. And Ophelia always seemed to surprise him, at just the moment he needed surprising.

Like when they'd found Olive's costumes. In addition to being generally terrifying, her aunt had been a party guest, professionally, according to Ophelia. Costume parties, it seemed. She had everything in there, including a bunch of uniforms. Even a maid uniform.

Always something new.


dressing3

“Well that one’s a keeper,” he said. “Like, if I’m ever about to die, just do that to me again. Like maybe 20 or so times.”


dressing3

“If you’re ever about to die, I probably won’t be thinking about that. I’ll probably be trying to save your life, or crying or something like that, don’t you think?”


dressing3

“No, you’ll be the one killing me. With your body.”

“Get up," she said. "Now.”

“You’re not the boss of me.”


dressing3

dressing3

“Yes I am.”


jacket3

jacket3

“Damn straight.”


dressing3

dressing3

dressing3

jacket

jacket2

jacket2

She moved towards him, and climbed back onto the bed and onto his lap. “Come on. We’re going to tell her. We need to take a shower and look presentable.”


jacket3

“Aren’t I always presentable?”

Smirking, she inspects his face. “Maybe a shave? And fix your hair?”

“That’s how it’s supposed to look. All messy and shit. Like I just went for a roll in the sheets.”

“Well, that's convenient," she said. "And accurate.” She moved her hips around slightly. “Want to ‘play in bed’ again?”


jacket3

“He’s dead, Phi. Let him rest in peace.”

“So I’m bringing him back from the dead.”

“That’s far-fetched, remember.”

“I have my ways...”

“Yeah you certainly do,” he said


jacket3

"I can do the voice too, you know," she said, in her best attempt at a Johnny Smith.

Ripp smiled, but shook his head. "That's not even close, Phi."



jacket3

jacket3

She adjusted the jacket, unfazed. “So what do you think you would do right now? If Johnny were here?”


jacket3

"Well, first I might... like, tag him in, or something." They both laughed.

"Like in wrestling?"

"Yeah. Let my partner take over... so I can like, take a nap."

"You're funny," she said.


jacket3

"No, I'm not joking."


jacket3

jacket3

She reached out and took his face in her hand, and brushed back through his hair. She could see the sadness in his eyes. Even when he kept it pulled back, hidden deep, she could always find it. Was it the same with him, for her? It seemed he always knew when she needed silly, and when she needed him to be serious. Sometimes tender, and sometimes rough. Somehow, he knew.

She lay down on the bed next to him.


kickbutt1

kickbutt2

She cuddled into him, and lay there for a moment in silence. Then looked up at him, and smiled. "If he was here," she said, "he'd kick your lazy butt into gear, and you'd already be getting ready by now."

Ripp laughed at that, made a face at her, and got up.


kissass

"Tell him he can kiss my ass."












Notes:

It's been a while, folks. To say the least.

As always, thank you for reading, and especially to those of you who keep coming back to this story after such long breaks between updates, those who re-read it, or who read through such a long unfinished work for the first time. And especially to those who comment! <3 It means so much to me. I always love to hear from you.

It's been ten years (!) now, and I'm still writing this story. Hard to say what the future holds, but hey, I'm still moving it forward. This is easily the longest running project I've ever had, and it's still quite dear to my heart. It's changed a lot over the years, and I look forward to seeing how it might grow and change in the future.

The Académie Le Tour lots are makeovers by Katatty. Thank you for your lovely work with these! :)

Thank you to Sophie for beta reading as always, and also to Meetme, W, Pixel, and Holley, for your input on this update over the three years or so that this was in some stage of WIP. Your help and feedback is very much appreciated.

There were a bunch of posts on Tumblr with Ripp and Phi's costume exploits. I might add some links to them here later.

Ripp's "mood music" was You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC.






Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
timberwolfoz
Nov. 15th, 2017 09:00 pm (UTC)
Haven't even read past the first two pictures yet, but wanted to say your pictures are amazing. Have you updated your graphics card or is it down to the new print capture tool?

Will be back to comment when I've read it and digested it!
mdpthatsme
Nov. 15th, 2017 09:53 pm (UTC)
AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!

OK, I think I'm done freaking out...

This chapter was hilarious! And very well written, by-the-way. I really like Tank's development throughout this story and how he is noticing that he's become more comfortable with Francis and Beau.

And Jenny, poor Jenny.

And Ripp and Ophelia. They are hilarious. I love that Johnny is still apart of their relationship even though he's gone away.

OK, I'll go back to freaking out now.
morgaine2005.wordpress.com
Nov. 15th, 2017 09:57 pm (UTC)
OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD.

UPDATE!!

I'm not sure I can get a coherent comment out, but WOW! YAY! So great to hear from everyone again!

I loved Jenny getting more interested in her own sexuality via Sex Chat With Cat.

"And enough with the euphemisms! Let's not call it woohoo and blur it out with pixels." <-- best line ever

Ripp and Ophelia's sexytimes were, on the one hand, sexy, and on the other hand, incredibly poignant. Especially with "what would Johnny do if he were here." *sniff* Johnny needs to COME HOME. Like NOW.

Hopefully around the same time that Tank figures out how he's going to stop an impending genocide.

... Has he considered alerting the media?

Also - I am THRILLED that Tank wants to STOP the impending genocide. It shows a HUGE amount of character growth from when he started. YAY!

I wish I had something coherent to say. But your update MADE MY DAY. My week. My month. Maybe even my year!
(Anonymous)
Nov. 15th, 2017 10:15 pm (UTC)
Katatty
Clicked on this as soon as I saw you updated, congrats on getting this chapter out there!

I love all Ripp and Phi's sex antics, haha. Phi coming onto him the second Nervous leaves the room (that picture of him walking past the window!), talking on the phone to Tank, the constant dirty talk about Johnny... the tag-team line got a big laugh out of me :)

I love how Johnny is still such a strong presence in their lives with all the sex chat, his pictures everywhere and of course the baby. It never feels like he's out of the picture.

I'm also loving what you're doing with Tank! It's nice to see him gradually starting to open up emotionally, and his big plan with the military - OMG! I wasn't expecting him to have made up his mind like that. I like Jenny a lot too, excited to see her opening her mind a little... maybe dating again? We'll see.

And Jill! I've probably said this to you before but your Jill is my favorite,
I find her so relatable in so many ways! I was a dolphin kid too, had similar experiences at university, and now her hair is really similar to mine and she's going to uni at my ALT, haha. All your characters are so fleshed out and feel really real to me somehow.

Last thing - I love the facial expressions in this! Especially those shots of them watching TV, Frances Tank and Beau's silly banter, and Phi's "come hither" looks. I really enjoy seeing the more "maxis-y" expressions and I love that you're not shy about using the sillier ones.

Again, well done for getting the chapter done - I was totally rooting for you! Keeping the story going over so many years is such an achievement, you should be proud :)
ias_d
Nov. 15th, 2017 11:27 pm (UTC)
I don't even know where to begin.
This was such an awesome chapter! You are such a great writer, and the part about Ripp and Ophelia still having Johnny in their life somehow was such a sweet thing.
I wish I could give you a better comment, but I'm emotionally spent from reading this, it was so well worth the wait!
7thavenger
Nov. 16th, 2017 05:49 am (UTC)
Yay!
First, I just have to always commend you on the stellar pictures, they're always great... Second, I have to commend you and thank you for sticking with this story for so long and still keeping it fresh and interesting :) I know I wouldn't have the patience and I admire your dedication.
This was one of the first fanfictions I've ever read and I'll stick with it to the end of the line. Its early chapters inspired me and the next chapter will always be worth the wait.
I have to take a moment to simply melt over Nervous Subject and the knitting.
Also, I see Pascal's got some salt and pepper going on with his hair :)
And oh my gosh Tank's going to try to help fight the evil project! He's grown so much! I'm so worried!
Plus, always interesting to see the clones, and I love the dream/memory pictures of Nervous...
Great writing as always, I'm a bit fuzzy on the plot because it's been so long, but hey, that just means I get to reread it like new xD I kind of forget what Lola's doing...
Anyways, stellar writing! Stellar dedication! Stellar photos!
Man when did I start saying stellar??

Lastly where did you get all this cool cc?:
Chloe's hair, Jill's hair, Nervous' hair, Francis' outfit, Beau's shirt...
I like a lot of the makeovers :)


(Anonymous)
Nov. 16th, 2017 11:51 am (UTC)
Just had to say that I loved this update! I thought it would be just about Ripp and Ophelia but I love that it had a mix of the other characters to almost remind the readers what they've all been doing and where their storyline is going. Loved the pictures and the dialogue. Loved it all!
Thank you for coming back to this again and again :)
(Anonymous)
Nov. 16th, 2017 07:42 pm (UTC)
Awesome .. as always :D Thnak you for keeping on the releases :D

We love you... you know that right ? :D
(Anonymous)
Nov. 22nd, 2017 01:23 pm (UTC)
Finally!
Hi, I have discovered you last summer and read it all in one take. You are absoutely brilliant! I can't wait for the diner at Smiths, visiting Brandi and especially Chloe talking to Vid. Which reminds me: more Vid and Bottom, pretty please! I have a giant crush on him since I started playing the game eleven years ago, so anything with him involved would be my second Christmas :)

Jenny stole the show for me this time, but everybody as great as usual. Keep up the great work,

Lázlo.

P.S.: Hope you didn't abandon Circe's revenge, because I am still waiting for it!

(Anonymous)
Dec. 2nd, 2017 12:15 pm (UTC)
Oh wow. This made my week. Fall. Year. To find a new chapter of this story here after visiting every few weeks here to check, like a routine. And while waiting I think I read through the whole story again 2-3 times after the previous chapter. It was fun, again, and I always discover or realize something new. This story is the most wonderful thing anyone has done with Sims. Like magic beyond the game's limits for ordinary simmers. The pictures, characters and writing are all so great. I'm so glad that you continue with this story. I will wait however long it takes for you to finish this. I have partly grown up with this story, since I really found this in 2008. I learned English with it, this is one of the first things I started reading in English apart from school. I have lost count how many times I have already read through this. This is just so wonderful and I'm so happy I got to read this new chapter. Take your time with this story.
(Anonymous)
Dec. 9th, 2017 08:03 am (UTC)
Thank you!
I've been reading this marvelous story of yours since 2013, and wanted to finally comment and show some appreciation. I've read and reread the story up to this point, and I'm sure I'll do so again. No matter how much time has passed since the last update, I check back pretty regularly. Thank you for keeping this story going! Whatever the future holds I look forward to reading it for years to come.
(Anonymous)
Dec. 24th, 2017 03:19 am (UTC)
Anon
I've been meaning to leave a review ever since I saw your update in November, and I've been waiting for the right words to come to me ever since, but re-reading this tonight I realised the right words will never come, so I'm going to go ahead anyway....

This story is fantastic, and has possibly changed the way I think about writing and transformative fiction forever. I truly feel it has real value and can actually change lives for the better just by telling stories not driven by a paycheck or a claim to fame, but a love of the material and real passion and empathetic understanding of the human condition. I'm so glad to have found this story when I did, and I am elated you are continuing this work. Thank you so much!

(P.S. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels like this and like me people really cannot find the words to express their gratitude. I hope this in some small way amends that!)
(Anonymous)
Dec. 28th, 2017 06:11 pm (UTC)
I came across the update today and was really happy about it! It is well written and honest! Thank you for sharing it with us.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 4th, 2018 06:32 pm (UTC)
I'm still processing it.

It was such a thrill seeing another chapter! Coming back to this story is like coming back home, so I don't mind the long times between chapters. I like them, even. And it's everything because of how fleshed out, how real feel all of the characters. It's just beautiful.

Your images are also becoming more and more beautiful capturing gestures and expressions that express just what your delicate text says. Should I ask, have you been adding more details to your sims since the last update, or is it the byproduct of your editing?

Anyways, keep on your good work!
(Anonymous)
Jan. 21st, 2018 04:59 pm (UTC)
Hi ST... I no longer have an LJ but I thought I'd revisit your story today because I was feeling nostalgic. I was so happy to find this update! I have been here since almost the beginning and your story has meant so much to me over the years. I was in high school when I first started reading, grad school now. I always find such comfort in your work. So thank you for this beautiful story.
wanting_draco
Jan. 24th, 2018 04:40 pm (UTC)
Every now and then I come back to reread this story, and when I saw you updated I was sooo happy! This was one of my fave chapters because it had all of my fave characters in it (Ripp, Ophelia, Tank, Frances, Beau) I enjoyed watching them evolve throughout the story. Tank’s transformation is phenomenal, he went from being just like his dad and now he wants to help the aliens. Frances and Beau are so adorable. All their scenes with Tank are hilarious. I loved all the Ripp and Phi scenes of course. It’s both sweet and a little heartbreaking that they still think of Johnny even in their intimate moments. I hope Johnny can return back from space and help fill the void. You are an amazing writer, keep up the great work! I can’t wait to see the next chapter. : )
rozenerami
Jun. 27th, 2018 07:34 pm (UTC)
I recently stumbled upon this story like a week or two ago and I literally made an account to comment and tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed it! You even made me blow the dust off of my own Sims 2 game and play again. I used to write my own stories/legacies on the exchange before the site went down ;;

Anyways back to your story, honestly all the characters are amazing and your plot line is well thought out. It’s very evident the amount of time/effort you put into this.

You’re awesome and I hope to see a new update eventually :) <3
emicattt
Oct. 30th, 2018 10:19 pm (UTC)
Hi :)

I used to read Strangetown, Here We Come when I was 14. The last chapter I recognise is chapter 30 part 2. I started rereading from the prologue last week and caught up last night. I'm 23 now. I can't believe it's still going after all this time! I'm really glad it wasn't abandoned, like so many of the things I used to read.

I also read the post where you said you were pleased about your story being mentioned on the TV Tropes Woobie page - I saw it on a different trope page which prompted me to start reading again. Did you know that S,HWC now has its own page on TV Tropes? It says "This fic is often considered the standard for Strangetown characterisation".

I haven't read all of your non-story blog posts, but I hope life is going well for you. I don't really know what to say, apart from you're great!

Bye!
Emily
(Anonymous)
Nov. 2nd, 2018 12:27 pm (UTC)
<3
Hi,
I love this story and Strangetown in general. I hope some new updates are coming, but that's not why I am writing this. Does anybody of you guys know the song Light from Sleeping at Last? If you don't, listen to it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7egYKkIKqDs

And after you listen to it, imagine Pascal singing it to his newborn daughter and then listen to it again. I promise, you won't regret it.

I just had to share it and thought someone here would appreaciate it. Please write on and peace among the worlds,
Petra
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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Hi there! Most of my activity is now on my Tumblr, so please head over there if you'd like to see what I'm up to. Story updates will still be posted here.

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