Monthly Archives: February 2016

Chapter Ninety Six : You Can Call Me Queen Bee

“I can’t believe my babies’ birthday is today!” Lola exclaimed.

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It was a strange feeling, the way this intense nostalgia and growing excitement all mingled into one big mish mosh of emotion. Her squishy-faced bundles of joy would soon be walking, playing, going to school, making friends, and inevitably needing her less and less each day.  Even stranger was that she missed those tiny fingers and toes already.  It wasn’t so long ago she dreaded their very birth, dreaded the responsibility of motherhood and the lack of freedom it would bring.  But now that her triplets were growing, Lola suddenly wished that they’d stop.

Coralie put her hand in front of her mouth, covering her smile. “Look at you, Lola.  A mom through and through! Who ever would’ve guessed?”

Lola shook her head, laughing. “I know, it’s strange the way life works out, isn’t it? I have to say, I’ve enjoyed motherhood far more than I thought I would. I’m going to miss having my smushy little babies around – it almost makes me want to have another.”

Coralie’s eyebrows shot up in surprise, to which Lola laughed.  “I said, almost.  I can’t say I won’t miss this part, but I’m ready for the next phase.  They’ll be more independent as kids, and it’ll be nice to get some time to myself again.”

Coralie nodded in agreement. “Triplets are a lot of work, especially when you weren’t even planning on one! And I thought twins were hard! But oh, Lola – just wait until they’re teenagers. If even one of them turns out like Jessalyn, you’re going to have your hands full.”

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves now! I need to get through today first! One step at a time, you know?”

Coralie turned to face her sister. “Well?” she asked. “Are you ready for this?”

Lola pursed her lips briefly, and then smiled. “Yeah. I’m ready.”


 

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Lola walked from crib to crib, taking in those squishy faces one last time.  There was an underlying sense of sadness, of time moving on, but overwhelmingly, Lola was ready.  She was eager to meet her children, to see how they would grow and who they would turn out to be.  Parenthood wasn’t about keeping her children to herself, but about raising them to be capable and unique individuals.  And unique they would be, if they took after her.

And as the family gathered around, and the bassinets began to shake, Lola grinned in anticipation.

Libby was the first to spring from her crib, natural born leader that she was. As an insider with the Social Butterfly aspiration, Libby immediately took to Jessalyn.  If anyone could help her achieve Queen Bee status, it was her cousin.

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Diego soon followed suit, bounding from his crib to join his sister.  Already he was an active boy, but with the Artistic Prodigy aspiration, it was clear that his energies would be used in pursuit of creative endeavors.

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And as the youngest, Celia was the last to leap.  Naturally creative with the Rambunctious Scamp aspiration, she was as different from her brother as a triplet can be.

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Lola stood on the sidelines and sighed.  Her triplets were triplets, as similar as any three children could be.  But already she sensed the differences, where their personalities would diverge and grow independently of one another.  And separately from her.


 

Here are the kids in CAS:

Libby Hasslich

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Diego Hasslich

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Celia Hasslich

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In another home, life with triplets might prove overwhelming, noisy, or even chaotic. But the Hasslich family was no stranger to multiples, and so the chaos was only more of the same.

The triplets were off to a running start, all three of them full of energy and personality. Diego, forever in pursuit of artistic excellence, spent most of his time at the his craft table.

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Day after day, his talent grew, not as a result of any natural ability, but as a product of his endless reserve of persistence and dedication. Diego worked hard to graduate from drawing shapes to vehicles, and though he loved his sister, he envied Celia’s innate creativity – especially because she rarely used it.

Celia never could sit still for long.

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But it was Libby – predictably – who emerged as the leader of the pack. There was nothing she loved more than people, than making friends, and being admired.  She idolized her cousin Jessalyn, and strove to walk in her very popular footsteps.  Indeed, there was nothing Libby liked more than people, unless it was being loved by them.

And so, while her brother and sister were happy in their individual endeavors, Libby was ready to surround herself with her very own subjects friends.

“I’m going to start a club,” she told Celia one day.  “A super-secret, super special, really cool club.  And since you’re my sister, I’ll even let you be in it!  Space is limited, of course, so I’ll need your formal acceptance letter by noon.” Libby smiled benevolently at Celia, as if she was doing her a great big favor.

Celia shrugged.  “Okay, sure.  But who’s in this club, anyway?”

Libby crinkled her nose.  So far it was only her, and Celia, pending that acceptance letter, of course.  But it wouldn’t sound very cool to say so.  “VIP’s only,” she answered vaguely.

Celia shrugged again. “Okay, sure. But what do we do in this club?” she asked, reluctant to commit to anything that might interfere with her monkey bar time.

Libby paused.  She hadn’t really thought about that.  “It’s a secret!” she improvised.  “If you want to be in it, don’t ask so many questions, Celia.”

“Whatever,” Celia muttered.  “But, Libby – ” she leaned in close, not wanting to be overheard. “Make sure to invite, Diego, too.”

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Libby did invite Diego – not that she particularly wanted to.  Her brother was kind of a geek, she thought, always hidden away behind his craft table with a big bag of glitter. But her options were limited, and she’d have to start somewhere.

And when the day of their first club gathering arrived, Libby was thrilled to find that it was an undeniable success. Not only did everyone listen to her as the club leader, but they even gained a member!

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Libby thought her cousin Amalie was almost (almost) as cool as she was, which was really saying something. If she played her cards right, Libby decided she might even grant her cousin with the coveted title of Princess-Bee (second in command, of course, to Libby’s own title of Queen-Bee).

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-Madison Hasslich, left (daughter of Isaac Hasslich) playing with Amalie Wahine (daughter of Xander Wahine-

But while Libby spent her day with her new wing-woman, Diego made a new friend of his own.

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Sheena Santander was her name, as Diego soon found out. But when he introduced himself as Diego Hasslich, Sheena gave him a funny look.

“Hasslich?” she said, like it was a dirty word. “My mom says the Hasslich men are cads, whatever that means. I don’t think it’s good thing, though.”

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Diego shrugged.  “I’m not a cad,” he assured her.  He didn’t know what that meant either, but it didn’t sound like a good thing. All Diego knew was that he only wanted Sheena to think good things about him.

“Her old boyfriend was some guy called Xander, I think,” Sheena went on.

Diego’s face lit up.  “That’s my Uncle Xander!”  He frowned, putting two and two together. “But my Uncle Xander isn’t a… a cad.”

Sheena shrugged. “My mom says he is, but she says that about my dad, too. My dad just says my mom is sad. He always used to say, ‘Janie, turn that frown upside down!’ But she didn’t, and now my dad has a new girlfriend, which is kinda weird, because my dad is REALLY old.”

Diego didn’t know what to say to that, but he did think it sounded like Sheena could use a friend.  As soon as he had the chance, he would ask Libby if Sheena could join the club.

Because all Diego knew was he wanted to see her again.

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The Fairfield Diaries : 1.1 Eva Capricciosa

Eva

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Two things you should know about me: 1) I never wanted to settle down, and 2) I’ve always had a soft spot for the bad boys. That’s why it’s so funny that I somehow became a married mother of three. What’s even funnier is that I love it.

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My husband is a far cry from a bad boy, but there’s this crazy, unpredictable side of him that drives me wild. I never know what to expect with Rez, and he always keeps me on my toes. Never a dull moment. That’s what drew me to him when we first met – my friends thought it was his distinguished good looks, or even his family name I found attractive. But really, I just liked that wild look in his eye.

Still, I never thought I’d marry him, or anyone really. Not until he came to me with this absolutely insane idea that we leave Willow Creek together, and create some new kind of society. One where looks don’t matter, he said, where no one knows his name or his family history.  It was all completely out of the blue, and it made no sense to me, but it didn’t matter. Love, he said, was about so much more than physical chemistry or impulsive lust. I laughed, of course, because Rez is a Hasslich! Impulsivity and lust are in his blood, and isn’t lust what brought us together in the first place? But Rez was serious – he was beyond passionate about the idea, about this traditional society where marriages are arranged and couples stay together no matter what.  It was crazy and harebrained, and just insane enough to excite me. So I said yes.

And so we eloped, Rez and I.  He took my last name, and the rest is history.

Beyond the success of Fairsfield, Rez’s biggest dream is to become a well-known comedian.  He’s on the bottom of the totem pole right now, but he’s working his way up.  For some reason, he’s required to learn to play music before he they’ll give him a chance to tell his jokes.  He’s not very good, but I like to listen to him play anyway.

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As for me, I’ve gotten a job in the tech industry.  That means I spend a lot of time playing games on the computer, so I can’t complain.  I’ve been out on maternity leave for quite awhile, but now that the kids are in school and our bills are increasing, it’s time for me to buckle down again.

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Our kids are growing up so fast.  Zelda and Zachary are always at the park, making friends with other kids their age.

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Well, Zachary is, anyway.  Zelda’s not much of a people person.

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But even our youngest, baby Myles, isn’t a baby anymore.

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But with the twins’ birthday getting closer every day, Rez and I spend time with the other Founders whenever we can. It’s important to Rez that we arrange Zelda’s and Zachary’s marriages now, so that we can surprise them with the news once they’re officially teenagers. Rez is sure they’ll be thrilled, there’s not a shred of doubt in his mind. But me? I can’t help but worry. Rez’s harebrained idea seemed exciting an interesting at the time, but my babies were only hypothetical back then. Now that they’re real, that they’re individuals with their own dreams and personalities, I wonder if arranged marriage is really what’s best.

But Rez has no doubts.  He spends hours on the phone, making the arrangements. He talks a lot with Tatiana Cloud, whose son is Zelda’s age and who Rez says is her best prospective match. They’re both loners, and will each respect the other’s need for space. Rez says he trusts Tatiana, and I wonder why he would rather talk to Tatiana than to me, but I remind myself not to be jealous.  It’s only business, so I keep my mouth shut.  I do think the Oulette’s new boy is a better fit for Zelda, though. I’ve been talking with Maaike, and we have plans of our own.

I’m sitting by the window, texting with Maaike, when I see Rez outside talking to a man I’ve never seen before. Well, they’re not talking exactly – Rez is furious, and I recognize that wild look in his eye.

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Something inside me stirs at the sight of it, and I’m filled with exhilaration.

I run outside to intervene, but if I’m honest I have no intention of breaking this up. If I know Rez, he’s said something offensive, he’s pushed too hard, he’s set the man off. And I don’t care because deep down, his wild side excites me.

But when I get there, I see that this altercation is escalating more quickly than I’d bargained for.  I like seeing Rez in caveman mode, but I don’t want to see him fight.  I step in and kiss his hands, trying to calm him down.

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But the man takes the opportunity to mock me, and Rez looses his cool.

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I standby helplessly, but luckily Rez emerges victorious, and the other man rushes away with his tail between his legs.

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And suddenly, I realize, I’m feeling frisky.

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On a whim, I throw caution to the wind.

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And a few days later…

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I’m pregnant again, and this time I hope for a sister for Zelda.

My pregnancy progresses healthily, but as the days go on, I become more and more exhausted.  The twins’ birthday is impending, and fortunately, Rez has things “under control” in the kitchen.

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He makes quite the mess, but at least the cake is actually edible.

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Zachary blows out the candles first…

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And Zelda goes next…

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And as Rez prepares to inform each of them of their betrothed, I see both of my children take a deep breath.  Rez opens his mouth, the eagerness written on his face, but just as he begins to speak, a cry escapes my mouth.

I’m in labor.

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Welcome to the family, Poppy Capricciosa!

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Zelda Capricciosa : loner, hot-headed, Fabulously Wealthy aspiration.

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Zachary Capricciosa: genius, slob, Bodybuilder aspiration

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The Bachelor Experiment : Day Eight

It’s Day Eight of The Bachelor Experiment, and Namika wakes up feeling confident.  I freaking love this girl, but she hasn’t rolled any whims for Corey overnight, and I’m wondering if that bodes well for their one-on-one date.

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A few of the other contestants have rolled whims for Corey, though.  Jessamine has rolled a whim to be friendly, so I send her to initiate the “brighten day” interaction.  Corey responds well, and Jessamine seems placated in the face of his date with Namika.  She’s feeling a little threatened, I think, because she gets the “moving boxes” thought bubble.   Jessamine needs to procure a date of her own if she doesn’t want to be sent packing.  She is one of only three contestants with a romance bar for Corey, but that won’t do her much good if she doesn’t get some alone time with him soon.

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Paige, too, rolls a whim for Corey, but she would rather “be funny.”  After their stargazing session the previous night, their friendship bar has skyrocketed, and they have become Good Friends.  I was hoping for a more romantic whim from Paige, but I send her to tell an inside joke, and their friendship blossoms just a little more.

It’s clear that Corey has always been attracted to Paige, but she’s determined to prove that there’s more her than a sexy hourglass figure.

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But Corey is feeling hungry, and he knows he’ll need sustenance before his big hiking date with Namika.  He says goodbye to Paige and heads to the kitchen, where he finds his date for the day.  They chat autonomously until Roskva enters the room.

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Roskva is determined to get Corey’s attention before he leaves for his date, and she rolls a whim to hug him.  She has literally wedged herself between the Namika and Corey, but Namika is unfazed.  She’s still feeling confident, and she knows she has the rest of the day to spend alone with Corey.  Roskva’s paltry little hug is nothing compared to what Namika has planned for Corey today.

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The hour is drawing near, so I send Namika and Corey to take care of a few needs before I send them off for their date.  Corey is using the bathroom when Colleen, suddenly desperate for a few moments alone with the bachelor, takes matters into her own hands – privacy be plummed.

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But Colleen loses her nerve at the last minute.  She wanted to ask him for reassurance, but now, she thinks that sounds needy and insecure.  And maybe – just maybe – approaching him in the middle of a poo isn’t exactly appropriate.  So she just whistles as she washes her hands, and pretends she doesn’t see him sitting there on the toilet.  She keeps her eyes averted, quickly dries her hands, and leaves the room.  Corey’s dignity is spared, and I’m pleased to see him leave for his date in a happy mood.


 

Namika and Corey arrive at a camp site, and Namika is thrilled to learn that Corey has planned their date in Granite Falls.  She is an active sim after all, and hiking is right up her alley.

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They chat autonomously for a few minutes, but it isn’t long before Namika flips into a flirty mood.  Maybe it’s the flowers, or the birds and the bees, or maybe there’s just something in the air.  But Namika rolls a whim to flirt with Corey, and I’m happy to oblige.

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Corey feels his breath catch in his throat.  Namika is more beautiful than he’d even realized, with those striking blue eyes and long dark hair.  This small flirtation – this iota of encouragement – is all Corey needs to start feeling flirty himself.

And this is all it takes for things to really heat up.

All I do from here is fulfill whims, and direct them to go on their hike (i.e., relocate for some prettier scenery).  The rest is absolutely autonomous.

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These two seriously cannot keep their hands off one another!  They roll whim after whim for one another, to be flirty, friendly, and funny, and they both have the “Totally Digging Me” moodlet.  I keep waiting for one of them to roll a First Kiss whim, but sadly, the dates ends before it can happen.

But Namika is not discouraged.  This date has been everything she hoped it would be, and then some.  She sees the longing in Corey’s eyes when he looks at her, and she knows exactly what it means.  Namika can sleep easy tonight. She will get that kiss soon.  She’s sure of it.


 

When Corey and Namika return to the mansion, Colleen is impatiently waiting for Namika.  She enthusiastically asks for all the details, but really she’s just fishing for information.  Of course, she doesn’t like what Namika has to say, and she gets a thought bubble of Namika’s face with an X over it.  Colleen, like Jessamine, is beginning to feel threatened.

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But just as tensions are beginning to rise,  the fire alarm sounds and everyone rushes to the balcony, panic-stricken.

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Paige has started a fire on the grill.

Of course, we know by now that Corey is our hero, and he is quick to extinguish the fire.  The ladies huddle around behind him, and Jessamine clings to him, taking full advantage of the opportunity to press her yellow-underwear-clad body up against his.

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When the fire is out, the ladies disperse, but Corey is feeling confident from his heroics.  He rolls a whim to be flirty with Namika, and predictably, the interaction is happily reciprocated.  Still no First Kiss whim, but I think it’s only a matter of time.

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Corey turns and wanders off with a goofy grin on his face.  Namika turns to look at the charred remains of the grill.

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And she laughs.  No sense in taking things too seriously.  This girl knows how to keep things light!

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All in all, it’s been a good day for Namika.  She’s had a fabulous date with Corey, considerably upped their friendship bar, their romance bar, and her chances of obliterating the competition.  Elimination #3 is tomorrow, but Namika has nothing to worry about, and she knows it.

Suddenly playful, Namika heads off to play in the bath.

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But while Namika spends Elimination Eve feeling giddy and carefree, Corey still has a decision to make.  He feels confident in his top few choices, but as the days tick by and his relationships with the contestants grow, the question of who to send home has never been more difficult.

The bachelor has a tough night ahead of him, and even tougher elimination ceremony to face tomorrow.  But for now, Corey decides, the best he can do is keep calm and eat hot dogs.

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Fairsfield : An Uglacy Rotational

If you haven’t checked out The Elstree Prettacy yet, then you’re really missing out.   Sabreene’s story, which revolves around the adorable Merriweather Elstree, actually began with an uglacy – and if you’re reading my prettacy (The Hasslich Prettacy), you probably already know that Roxas Hasslich is currently married to Merri’s sister Beth (and lives on with the Elstrees!), and Coralie Hasslich is married to Merri’s cousin, Kody Wells. Having the chance to play with Beth and Kody, as well as my own cast of imperfectly perfect characters -and hearing more and more about Sabreene’s original uglacy – got me thinking about starting an Uglacy Rotational of my own.  So here we are!

Welcome to Fairsfield!  I have literally no idea how this will turn out, what my writing style will be, or how often this will be updated – but this seems like too much fun not to share. There are six founding families, all of which have already had in-game births to get things started.  All marriages will be arranged, and but I’m still trying to decide whether marriages can only occur between founding families, or if townies will be fair game.

So for today, I’ll just start with my founding families:


 

[The Capricciosas]

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This is Rez and Eva Capriciossa.  I’m sure you’re familiar with Eva already – she is hot-headed, materialistic, and romantic with the Serial Romantic aspiration.  You probably don’t recognize Rez, but he comes from my Hasslich save, and is the son of Axel Hasslich and his wife Peyton.  Peyton’s genealogy can be traced back to both Liberty Lee/Don Lothario and Travis Scott/Summer Holiday, so Rez carries all of their genetics as well as the Hasslich genes.  Rez is a geek, a goofball, and insane with the Joke Star aspiration.  I originally intended to marry him to another founder (Joselyn Beard, who you’ll meet later), but Rez and Eva got off to such a great start that I couldn’t keep them apart.

The couple are parents to twins (the very first children born to the uglacy!), Zelda and Zachary, and Eva has just given birth to their youngest, Myles.  As a longer with the Social butterfly aspiration, Zelda is a mixed bag.  Zachary is a genius with the Artistic Prodigy aspiration.

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[The Mavericks]

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This is Lee and Annabelle Maverick.  Lee was originally a townie here in Fairsfield, and Annabelle comes from another save, where she was born in game.  Annabelle Maverick (nee Pancakes) is actually descended of both the Pancakes and the Landgraabs – I think you can still see the Landgraab in her.  Lee is a clumsy, foodie, snob with the Renaissance Sim aspiration and Annabelle is gloomy, outgoing, and neat with the Bodybuilder aspiration.

Annabelle is currently pregnant with the couple’s second child.  Their oldest is Maggie Maverick, who is squeamish with the Rambunctious Scamp aspiration.

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[The Beards]

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This is Gordon and Joselyn Beard.  Joselyn is the townie from my Hasslich save that I originally intended for Rez.  She is materialistic, squeamish, and family-oriented with the Musical Genius aspiration.  Gordon is a slob, a bro, and self-assured and he has the Big Happy Family aspiration.

These two have a daughter named Bridgitte and an infant son named Joshua.  Bridgitte loves the outdoors and has the Artistic Prodigy aspiration.

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[The Clouds]

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This is Stephen and Tatiana Cloud.  They were both original Fairsfield townies, and Stephen was a cafe barista with a penchant for wearing hot pink lipstick.  Stephen is a neat, perfectionist, kleptomaniac with the Master Mixologist aspiration, and Tatiana is a cheerful, perfectionist, snob with the Bodybuilder aspiration.  These two can’t keep their hands off each other, but when I recently returned to the household, I found that Tatiana has somewhat of a fling going on with Rez Capricciosa!  So the drama begins…

Stephen and Tatiana currently have one son, Ryder (a loner with the Artistic Prodigy aspiration), and Tatiana is due with their second child any minute now!

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[The Oulettes]

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This is Gulliver and Maaike Oulette.  Obviously you recognize Maaike, who comes from the Free Spirits household.  She’s a creative, bookworm, snob with the Bestselling Author aspiration.  I picked Maaike (like Eva Capricciosa) for her strong, unique features.  Gulliver is an original Fairsfield townie – he’s a mean, self-assured geek with the Serial Romantic aspiration.  I think Maaike might have her work cut out for her with this one.

The couple’s daughter, Leilani, is cheerful with the Artistic Prodigy aspiration, and she definitely inherited her mom’s nose.  Maaike has also just given birth to their son Clifford.

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[The Painters]

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Lastly, this is Jose and Tianna Painter.  Both were original Fairsfield townies.  Tianna is good and Jose is evil, so these two make an interesting couple.  Tianna is also a music lover and a snob with the Mansion Baron aspiration, and Jose has the loner and squeamish traits and the Fabulously Wealthy aspiration.  Here’s hoping their mutual love of money will be enough to keep their marriage happy.

Tianna is about to give birth to the couple’s second baby.  Their first child is a son, Winston, who is outgoing with the Artistic Prodigy aspiration.

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So there it is!  The six founding families.  Next update I’ll be focusing in on just one of them (just don’t ask me which because I haven’t decided yet!).

 

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Chapter Ninety Five : Popular

The first days of high school were easy for Jessalyn, who made friends and drew attention wherever she went. She was a striking beauty in a non-traditional way, her unique features only adding to her allure. Boys followed her down the halls, carrying the school books she never opened, drawn in by her high energy and vivacious laugh. Girls buzzed around her, clamoring for her friendship, to be part of the in-crowd.

And Jessalyn basked in the limelight. In a matter of weeks, she’d rocketed to queen bee status, idolized by her classmates and forever at the center of attention.  Jessalyn was born for this – she was a burning ball of energy, and the universe seemed to orbit around her. High school was everything she dreamed.

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Theodore, on the other hand, led a quieter existence.

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Where his sister blew off her homework, Theodore lived in the library. When she slipped out the bedroom window out at night, begging him to come along, Theodore opted for a peaceful night alone. Jessalyn had countless friends, and Theodore had but one.

One friend was all he needed, really, outside of Jessalyn. The twins were closer than ever, despite their differences. While their personalities led them in different directions, the thread that bound them together was always present, connecting them no matter where they were or who they were with.  Still, Theo was glad to have met Stanley.  Jessalyn was his best friend, his confidant, his other half. She was even a bro! But in the end, she was a girl, and even a geeky guy needs a guy friend. And Stanley Lawson was just the friend Theo needed – they even had the same sense of style.

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Theodore and Stanley sat in the living room, deciding what to do next. They’d finished their homework as usual, and packed their books away, but it was Friday night and the world was their oyster.

“The park?” Theodore suggested. The park was their usual haunt.

But Stanley was quiet, and didn’t respond. There was a blank, wistful look on his face, and Theodore knew his friend hadn’t heard a word he’d said.

“Earth to Stan!” he laughed, waving a hand in front of Stanley’s face, snapping him out of his trance. “The park? Yes or no?”

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Stan looked at him sideways. “Maybe not today,” he said slowly. “You know, I’ve been thinking that maybe I should take up gardening….”

Theodore followed his gaze to the window, where Jessalyn was outside with her gardening club. She was already angling to take the thing over, Theo could see it in her eyes.

He looked back at Stanley, and knew exactly what he was thinking. He could see it in his eyes – that same look that all the boys got – that everyone got – when they looked at Jessalyn.

Theodore laughed and raised his eyebrows. “Oh no you don’t!” he chuckled. “Don’t even think about it, Stan. My sister isn’t the girlfriend type, you know what I mean? She’ll chew you up and spit you out! Not that I wouldn’t be thrilled to have you in the family, but Jessalyn is a tornado, man. Not saying you don’t stand a chance, but uh… you don’t stand a chance. And even if you did she’d only break your heart.”

Stanley frowned. “Somehow I don’t think I’d mind it so much if she broke my heart.”

Theodore pointed to Jessalyn outside. She was standing now with Lucas Munch, giggling and twirling her blonde hair.  Even from here, Theodore could see she was covered in dirt and grime, but Lucas stared at her in awe.

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“See that blonde guy?” he asked Stanley. “You don’t want to be that guy. I love my sister. She’s freaking awesome. But that guy is a goner, Stan. You don’t want to be that guy.”

“I might give my right arm to be that guy,” Stan answered wistfully.

“All right!” Theodore threw his hands up in surrender, but he was smiling. “Be my guest, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!”

Stanley grinned and jumped to his feet. That was all he needed to hear. He winked at Theodore and squared his shoulders. “Time for me to be that guy.”

Theodore ran to the window and hid behind the curtains to watch. He had no doubt his sister would encourage Stanley’s flirtation – Jessalyn never could resist attention. The only question was how long it would last.

Secretly, Theodore hoped that maybe – just maybe – it would last. That Jessalyn would give Stanley a real chance. He was a good guy, Stan – and Theo wanted only the best for his sister.

He watched as Stanley took a deep breath to gather his courage.  Stanley tapped her on the shoulder, they exchanged smiles and a few brief words, Jessalyn nodded, and offered a hug.

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Then Stanley turned, grinning, and headed back for the house. Theodore rushed to the door to meet him.

“Well?” he asked. “Looks like it went well..”

Stan did a little happy dance before regaining his sense of composure.

“Yeah, man,” he said coolly, but his eyes were twinkling. “I’m taking her out next Saturday night.”


 

Jessalyn sailed through her week at school as usual. It was easy to get through the school day when homework was a non-issue. True, her mom would be less than thrilled the day her report card came, mottled with C’s and D’s. But Jessalyn lived in the moment, and at this moment, her cell phone was buzzing. She discreetly looked at the screen (phones were not allowed at school), hoping it might be Stanley about their date Saturday night. She’d always thought he was cute – Theo’s friend with the stunning blue eyes.

But it wasn’t Stanley – it was Lucas:

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Jessalyn smiled to herself – blue eyes were her downfall.

And at the next opportunity, she crept out the back door of the school and boarded the train for Windenberg.

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Later that night, Jessalyn fell asleep, dreaming of blue eyes. But in the morning she wondered – did they belong to Lucas or to Stanley?


 

On Saturday night, she had her chance to find out.

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Afterward, Jessalyn returned home feeling equal parts confused and delighted. She liked Stanley, but she liked Lucas too. How could she choose between them? And why did she have to choose between them? Why were there all these rules and emotions involved? She thought she had high school all figured out, but Jessalyn never counted on this. She thought being a teenager meant having all the answers and none of the rules, but it turned out she couldn’t have been more wrong.  Right now it felt like being a teenager meant having none of the answers.

When she returned home, Jessalyn found her brother waiting for her, eager to hear the details.

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“So?” he asked hopefully. “How did it go? Is Stanley my brother-in-law yet?” He grinned teasingly.

Jessalyn sat down heavily. She never kept anything from her brother – there were no secrets between them. Theodore knew her better than anyone. But she couldn’t tell him about Lucas, not when Stanley was his closest friend.

“It was good!” she said truthfully. “Stanley is… Stanley is really great. But -” she looked at him sideways, unsure of how much to say. “You know me, Theo. I just want to have a good time. I think Stan might want me to be his….girlfriend.”

Theodore cringed. “I did warn him,” he told her. “I mean -he knows who you are and he took the chance anyway. You can’t change yourself or how you feel, Jessa. You’re a tornado.”

“That’s what Elsa calls me, too.”

“Sounds like she knows you pretty well, then,” Theo said quietly. He knew his sister had many friends, but he always prided himself on the fact that he knew her best. Theodore had never worried about sharing her.  Not until now, anyway.

But Jessalyn seemed to read his mind.

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“You know, it’s funny,” she said. “I have all these friends, but they’re not really all my friends. They’re just people I know, people I hang out with. Most of them just want to be around me because they think I’m cool or something. Elsa’s my only real friend, besides you. She listens, you know, and she doesn’t care about being cool. She’s quiet and she thinks a lot. She’s a lot like you, actually. I think that’s why I like her so much.”

Theodore heaved a sigh of relief, and Jessalyn nudged him in the side, smiling.

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“You know no one could ever replace you, right?” She rested her head affectionately on his shoulder. “But now that I think about it, I did promise I’d find you a girlfriend, didn’t I?”

Theodore glanced down – Jessalyn was smiling mischievously.

It just so happens – ” she said, grinning. “Elsa is coming by tomorrow to return my shoes. But I have to be at the Paragons meeting at noon! Would you mind terribly if I told her that you’d be here when she knocked?”

She waggled her eyebrows suggestively, and Theo couldn’t help but laugh.

He’d been swept up in her tornado again – and just like always, he liked it.


 

And though Jessalyn still didn’t have the answers she needed, it turned out she did have the answer for her twin, and it came in the form of a beautiful, sweet-natured blonde.

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She might not be so good at this teenager thing, but Jessalyn was pretty plum good at the twin sister thing.

 

 

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The Bachelor Experiment : Day Seven

It’s the morning of Day Seven and the contestants are reeling from Elimination the night before. No one expected Sandy to be the one to leave, and to make matters worse, she’s been calling them all incessantly since her departure.  The ladies all know they’re not allowed to answer, but they miss their friend.

For Colleen, however, the emotional roller coaster of the morning goes beyond Sandy’s departure from the mansion.

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I think she’s regretting the way she rebuffed Corey last night.  She knows the public rejection has only hurt her chances with the bachelor, and she’s clearly distraught.

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The other women chin up, though, and use the morning to fulfill their Corey-related whims.

Roskva rolls a whim for a friendly hug.  Still trying to work up to that kiss.

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Jessamine rolls a whim to tell him a joke…

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And Paige rolls a whim to be friendly.  She tries, but Colleen (in her copycat yoga pants!) wedges her way between the two of them.  She wants to apologize for last night, but Corey only looks past her to Paige.

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But it’s Namika that Corey seeks out autonomously.  She’s working out in the gym, and Corey is more than happy to watch keep her company.

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Corey just hopes she doesn’t tire herself out too much, because he knows that she’ll need her strength for today’s challenge.

At noon, he calls all the contestants out to the lawn for a test of stamina.  Corey’s aspiration is for a big happy family, after all, and he’s looking for a woman who can keep up with a football team of kids.

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I put the game on pause and direct all the contestants to “workout” on the treadmill.  Only Namika has been working out all morning, so her only option is “push the limits.” I wonder if this could be a detriment for her, but Namika is up for the challenge.

I press play, and they’re off.

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Right off the bat, Colleen is looking exhausted, but she’s trying to hang in there.  She needs to make a good impression today, to make up for her behavior last night.

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Paige is looking tuckered out too.  Our not-so-charming princess isn’t used to much physical activity, and she’s disgusted by the sweat that’s dripping down her neck.

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For awhile it looks like a toss up between Paige and Colleen, and in the end, it’s Paige who gives up first.  She’s not proud of herself, but we all knew that exertion is just not her thing.  No man is worth B.O., as far as Paige is concerned.

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But she only beats Colleen by a hair.  Colleen hung in just long enough to not be dead last.  By the look on her face, I think she considers that a personal victory.

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Meanwhile, the rest of the contestants are going strong.  Show off that she is, Jessamine makes a point of running at a steep incline.  She’s sure she’s got this one in the bag.

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And sure enough, Roskva falters next…

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And it’s down to Jessamine and Namika.  Namika, who started at a disadvantage, is going strong.

And as it turns out, slow and steady wins the race.

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Corey congratulates the winner, and the other girls gather around.

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Jessamine does not take well to losing.  She gets the dumbbell thought bubble, and launches into an animated story.  She tells everyone that the only reason she “lost” is because her workout was so much harder than Namika’s.

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Namika just looks at her like, Yeah but no.

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Jessamine randomly flips into a flirty mood at this point.  She’s working awfully hard to get Corey’s attention, but he seems not to notice.

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Shortly thereafter, Corey goes to find something to eat, and Jessamine takes this as an opportunity for some alone time.  She initiates a “deep conversation.”  My guess is she’s voicing her concern over the intensity of his feelings for her.  In typical Jessamine fashion, she gets a fishing thought bubble and I take that literally.  She’s definitely the type to go fishing for compliments!

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Jessamine is not satisfied with the outcome of this conversation, though, because she leaves the table in a tense mood.  She goes and finds Paige, who is also feeling tense, and they attempt to relieve some stress with some yoga.

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Apparently, it works for Paige, because as the sun begins to set, she rolls a whim to go stargazing with Corey.  Elimination Three is tomorrow, and Paige knows her fate is hanging in the balance.  It’s time to make a move.

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Chapter Ninety Four – Tornado

On the day of her teenage birthday, Jessalyn bounded out of bed, full of excitement. She was ready for this – more than ready, really. She’d been counting down the days on her calendar, waiting impatiently for the day to arrive. Jessalyn watched enough TV know exactly what it was like to be a teenager, and she couldn’t wait for the parties and the flirting to begin.

She ran straight into Theodore’s room, and found him still asleep.  She pounced on him. Her twin brother jolted awake, gasping for breath – not that Jessalyn noticed.

“Are you ready? Mom said we can can have cake for breakfast! She said we can spin in the morning! Get UP, Theodore! You know she won’t let me do without you!” She jostled his arm and shook the bed, ripped his blankets straight off him.

But Theodore turned over in slow-motion and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He groaned, and Jessalyn huffed in impatience.  Waiting was agony.

“Don’t be such a baby, Theo,” she chided. “It’s going to be such fun being teenagers! We can do whatever we want now !  I mean, teenagers are practically adults. We’ll go to high school and go to the coolest parties and sneak out at night – and oh! – you’ll get a girlfriend!”

He looked at her skeptically.

“Okay, fine. I’ll get you a girlfriend, then.”

“Why don’t you get yourself a girlfriend and leave me out of it?”

“Maybe I will! Or a boyfriend! Or both! Who knows what will happen!”  Jessalyn tugged on his arm.  ” I’ll tell you who – no one. Not until you get your butt out of bed and come blow out the candles with me!”

But Theodore sighed.  He was not like his popular, adventurous sister.  Theodore was thoughtful, introspective, and cautious.  He liked his school and his teachers, and he liked playing astronaut after school with the space club. He liked knowing what to expect and he liked his routine.  But Jessalyn?  Jessalyn was a tornado – unpredictable and wild and never ignored.  It was funny, he thought, that they could be so different, and still be twins.

Funny or not, she was his twin. No one knew the tornado better than he did – and there’s no point in arguing with a tornado.  Theodore nodded, finally, and watched the excited grin spread across his sister’s face.  That grin – as always – was contagious, and Theodore found himself – once again – swept up in the chaos of his sister’s tornado.

Jessalyn squealed, dragging him out of bed, and when she ran down the hall, past their parents’ bedroom, and down the stairs to the kitchen, Theodore was laughing at her heels.

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Their laughter rang through the house, and when the commotion tore her from her sleep, Coralie shot up in bed. Her eyes flew open as she looked at the clock – she’d overslept!  She’d meant to get up early, to bake the cake before the twins were up!  And she’d promised Jessalyn they could celebrate first thing!  Coralie jumped to her feet – she had a cake to bake, and by the sounds of it, she’d need to make it quick.

But when Coralie reached the kitchen, the first thing she saw was a perfectly iced birthday cake, sitting, waiting on the kitchen table.  The shock must have registered on her face, because the next thing she heard was Leo’s voice.

“Is it okay?” he whispered conspiratorially.

Coralie’s eyes widened at the realization.  Leo had made the cake?  Her eldest son?  Leo usually kept to himself, locked away in his room, oblivious to workings of the family around him.  Sometimes Coralie thought she heard him talking to himself at night – talking in his sleep, she assured herself.  But when he did come out, Coralie noticed that the twins gave him a wide berth.  Leo’s version of “playing” with his siblings typically included nasty comments he called jokes, or physical torment he called “wrestling.”  Leo just didn’t know his own strength, that was all.  He was quirky, and had an odd sense of humor.  He meant well.  He had a good heart.  Right?  Of course.  Of course he did, Coralie told herself, over and over again.  There was something strange – something off, maybe – about Leo.  But wasn’t that to be expected?  There was something strange in the way he came to this family to begin with.  But he was no less her son than Theodore, no less her child than Jessalyn.  Leo was a strange bird, yes, but he was theirs.  And he was good.

Taken aback by her son’s surprising display of thoughtfulness, Coralie blinked back a tear and threw her arms around him.  It felt so good to hug him, she thought.  She couldn’t remember the last time he’d let her touch him.

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“It’s perfect, Leo,” she told him.  “Thank you.”

She pulled back and looked him in the eye.  If she’d expected to see her own emotion reflected there, she was sorely mistaken. Coralie checked herself.  Leo had made a cake for his siblings, and that was enough.

Coralie looked around the room and smiled as her youngest children bounced excitedly off the walls.  Today was bittersweet, her babies becoming teenagers now!  But she couldn’t hold onto them forever, and she didn’t have the heart to make them wait any longer.  She winked at Kody.

“Are you guys ready?” he asked.

Theodore nudged Jessalyn in the side.  “You go first,” he told her.

And of course, Jessalyn was happy to oblige.

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Jessalyn has acquired the Bro trait.  Here she is in CAS, after a little style makeover:

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“Come on, Theo, your turn now!” Jessalyn encouraged her brother.  He approached the cake hesitantly, and shot a glance at his father.

Kody smiled.  “Go ahead, Theodore.”

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Theodore, following in his sister’s footsteps, also gained the Bro trait!  Finally something they have in common!  Here he is in CAS:

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Happy Birthday, Theo and Jessalyn Hasslich!


 


 

The heir hoped that the cake had meant something – Leo knew that much.  She hoped it meant that he cared for his “siblings.”

Of course he did not care for them.  They were not his siblings.

But this was what he wanted the heir to think.  It meant he would succeed.

Leo had waited long enough.  He had waited his whole life.  He had listened at night -every night – when he received his instructions from Sixam.  He asked questions, quietly, so no one would hear.  He took notes.

The time for Stage One was upon him.  He picked on the the boy and the girl twins.  Especially the girl twin – she might be an heir.  He angered her intentionally, and found it was easy.  The girl was a tornado.  She was an easy target.

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And when the girl twin disliked him sufficiently, when he heard her complain to the heir of his misdeeds, Leo moved on to Stage Two.

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“Everyone hates me here,” he told his Uncle Xander on the phone. “They don’t want me here, and I don’t fit in.”  He made his voice sound pitiful.

As predicted, Stage Two was also a success.  He knew it for sure a few days later, when the heir came to him and said he should go to live with her brother in Windenberg.  There was pain in her eyes – a mother’s weakness.  But he’d forced her hand.  He did it on purpose.  How could she hold him here, when he caused so much turmoil?  How could she doom him to misery?

Manipulation was so easy.

When the heir walked out of the room, Leo rejoiced.  Stage Three was at hand.

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He packed his bags, went to the train station, and arrived at his new home.  The brother and the wife welcomed him happily.  The wife was pregnant, again – the second time now.

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But it was the first child Leo was after.

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Amalie.

The pawn.

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“Such a beauty!” he told her. “I’m sure you’ve heard about my mother and my sisters.  About their silly legacy and how the prettiest one will be the very next heir?”  He stooped to her level, watching her face carefully.  “But let me tell you a secret, Amalie.  None of them are as pretty as you! If you ask me, the next heir is in this very house!”


 

And that night, once the house was asleep and Leo tiptoed out the front door, he slunk down the alley to the designated meeting spot.

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“The plan is in motion now,” he assured his co-conspirators.  “Destruction is inevitable.”

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The Bachelor Experiment : Day Six (Elimination 2)

It’s 4am on the morning of Day Six, and Roskva is already awake.  She gets up and takes a look around the house.  It seems that everyone else is still asleep.  Everyone besides Corey, that is.  She sees a light under his door and hears the fall of his footsteps, so she knows he must be up,too.

Roskva’s date yesterday landed her firmly in the friend zone, and with Elimination #2 only hours away, she knows this might be her last chance make an impression on Corey.  Roskva woke up in a flirty mood with a whim to use the hot tub, so she slips into her skimpiest bikini and heads out to the hot tub, where she knows Corey can see her from his bedroom window.

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Sure enough, Corey takes the bait.  They are good friends now, after all.  That, and he isn’t blind. The orange bikini is Corey catnip.

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Roskva flips her hair and fans herself, eyeing him flirtatiously.  She’s still working on that kiss, but she won’t throw herself at him.  Corey will need to make the first move.

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But Corey doesn’t seem to know what he wants.  He joined Roskva in the hot tub autonomously, but he can’t take the heat .  Our fickle bachelor gets out just as quickly as he got in, and Roskva’s hopes are (temporarily) dashed.

She’s not giving up, though.  Roskva is a woman on a mission.

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She throws him her sexiest look, bedroom eyes and all.  Roskva is really turning it on now.  The sun is coming up, and the other girls are bound to be awake soon – her chance is slipping away.  Roskva bats her eyelashes, tosses her hair, pops out her hip.  She’s pulling out all the stops.  Surely Corey will feel something romantic for her now!

But Corey only cracks a joke, spoiling the mood.

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Roskva laughs, but she cringes inwardly and walks away.  She’s at her breaking point, and when she runs into Sandy her frustrations boil to the surface.

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Sandy listens sympathetically, but she has a plan of her own.

Meanwhile, the other women are waking up with their own whims to interact with the bachelor.  Jessamine rolls a whim to be funny with Corey, and so she meets him by the pool to tell him a joke.

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She cracks herself up!

But Paige is swimming nearby, and she’s not about to let Jessamine play the comedian.  She’s rolled her own whim to be funny with Corey, and she promptly swoops in.  Since she’s in a flirty mood, I direct her to tell a dirty joke.

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Corey sits and chats with Paige on the edge of the pool, but when she gets up and leaves, she is quickly replaced by both Jessamine and Colleen.  Colleen has rolled a whim to flirt with Corey, and she’s more than happy to fulfill that whim in front of Jessamine.

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And while Corey can’t tear his eyes away from Jessamine, he responds very well to Colleen. This flirt interaction finally establishes a romance bar between Colleen and Corey.

Jessamine is quick to notice the chemistry between the two, and uncharacteristically removes herself from the situation without a fountain of tears.

With Jessamine gone, Colleen decides she’s done what she set out to do, and she too heads back inside the mansion.  This is just as well for Sandy, who finally gets her turn to flirt with the bachelor and fulfill her morning whim.  She looks upset that the other women beat her to the punch, but late is better than never.

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She quickly changes into her bikini and sits down next to him with a flirtatious wave.  But Corey is not having any of it.  He brushes Sandy off flippantly, the disgust plain on his face.  I don’t know what she did to him, but the bachelor sure is running cold with Sandy right now.

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Mortified, Sandy breaks out into a nervous rash.

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Elimination #2 sure isn’t looking good for Sweet Sandy right now.  She immediately gets up and runs off in embarrassment.  She finds Roskva eating lunch, and they commiserate about their bad luck with the bachelor.  Roskva sympathizes, but she is secretly happy to hear about Sandy’s epic flirt fail.  Roskva is sure she’s on the chopping block at Elimination tonight, but maybe Typhoid Mary will go home instead.  She tries to hide her smile.

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Elimination is just a few hours off now and I realize that two of our contestants are neck and neck.  Corey has a decision to make, and so I direct him to initiate the flirt interaction with each of the contestants.  Hopefully this will be effective as a tie-breaker.

The first contestant he runs into is Jessamine, so I have him stop and flirt with her first.  She’s glad he hasn’t forgotten about her, and is predictably receptive to his advances.

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But when Namika passes by a moment later and I direct Corey to initiate the flirt interaction with her next, Jessamine is less than thrilled.

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Namika responds well to the flirt, but Jessamine gets the money suitcase thought bubble and starts flapping her mouth.  I’m pretty sure she’s trying to convince Corey that Namika is a gold-digger.

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Namika shoots an amused glance at Corey while Jessamine drones on.

Corey heads into the next room and flirts with Paige, who responds positively.

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Colleen enters the room a moment later, and Corey winks in her direction.  They gain a few romance points, but Colleen looks like she’s on to him, and Paige bristles in indignation.

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Corey seems to notice Colleen’s suspicious stare, and so he heads off to flirt with Roskva instead.

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Only Roskva doesn’t take well to his advances, either.  Given the earlier friend-zone treatment, she’s skeptical and doubting his sincerity.  Roskva doesn’t like this hot-and-gold game he’s playing, even if he is the bachelor.

But Corey is oblivious, and next he sets his sights on Sandy.  Maybe his earlier rejection of her was a little harsh, after all.

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But Sandy must still be reeling from her humiliation earlier.  She’s in a happy mood now, but she sure hasn’t forgotten the way he turned her down by the pool.  Her temper flares and she throws a hand up in his face, brushing him off in a dramatic huff.  Sassy Sandy strikes again!

But has she sealed her fate?  Or will she skate by on the heels of friend-zoned Roskva?  Or will Corey surprise us all and keep them both?

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As Elimination 2 begins, the contestants gather in the ceremony hall.

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Jessamine and Colleen are both feeling flirty, and remarkably, Sandy looks hopeful even after her altercation with Corey…

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…but Paige becomes visibly tense as the moment draws near.

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She’s tired of being picked third, or fourth, or… anything but first, really.

Corey takes his place, looking dashing in his new suit, and the room quiets when he clears his throat.

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Unsurprisingly, he calls Jessamine first.  She was the first of the contestants to establish a romance bar with Corey, and their friendship bar is also strong.  I decide that Corey will offer a rose to the contestants he is already romantic with, and that he will use “compliment appearance” on any contestant he hasn’t established a romance bar with yet.  Unfortunately, the “offer rose” transaction isn’t available yet, so I settle for “embrace” instead.

Jessamine comes forward, thrilled that she’s been called first this time around.

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She squeals and falls into Corey’s embrace, before heading back into the mansion.

The next to be called is Colleen.  Corey knows now that his feelings for her are deeper than friendship, and his attraction to her has only grown, as evidenced by their brand-new romance bar.  Colleen comes to the front, but when Corey attempts to embrace her, she shocks everyone an refuses!

 

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I think she’s peeved she’s slipped in the standings and that she just had to witness him embrace her biggest competition.  Colleen tries to ease the blow with a selfie (which is strange, because I keep free will off for the ceremony, and I did NOT direct this)…

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But when she turns and walks back into the mansion, she leaves a mortified Corey in her wake.

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With Sandy, Paige, Roskva, and Namika left, Corey surprises everyone when he calls Roskva’s name next.  She’s been yapping all day about how she’s been friend-zoned. But while she and Corey have still not developed a romance bar, they are on the brink of becoming best friends.  Corey is looking for his soul mate, and he knows that sometimes, love begins with friendship.  Maybe this thing with Roskva deserves a closer look.

Roskva smiles and gets the bassinet thought bubble as she approaches the front, but when Corey compliments her appearance, Roskva is visibly annoyed.  From the look on her face, I think she’s beyond frustrated with his games by now.

 

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Still, she accepts the offer to stay and gives him a friendly hug before she wanders back to the mansion.

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Paige, Sandy, and Namika are left, and all three of them are beginning to worry.  Namika heaves a sigh of relief when her name is called next.  This has nothing to do with her melons, I swear.

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Fortunately, Namika knows how to accept a compliment, and when Corey tells her she looks beautiful, she responds very well.  So well, in fact, that this interaction spawns a romance bar for Corey and Namika.

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She walks away looking smug…

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Leaving just Paige and Sandy alone with Corey.

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Corey seems a bit turned off by Paige’s nasty streak, but since her face has never been X’ed out in his thought bubbles, the choice here seems clear.

Corey calls Paige next.  I think she’s so relieved to be called at all that for now, she’s not too ticked off about being picked last.

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Paige walks back into the mansion and Corey is left with Sandy.

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Are you sure about this? she asks with a seductive look.

Corey falters for a moment.  He remembers watching her Best Butt walk away after the painting contest and almost changes his mind.

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But Corey stands his ground.  He doesn’t feel it for Sandy, and their timing is all wrong.  Maybe in an alternate universe somewhere, but in this reality, Sandy is not for him.

Sweet Sandy packs her bags and says her goodbyes, and she leaves the mansion for good.

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The Bachelor Experiment : Day Five

It’s Day Five of our competition, and Roskva springs out of bed.  Today is her one-on-one date with the bachelor, and she is determined to make it count.  Last night, Roskva rolled a whim to have her first kiss with Corey.  She does not have a romance bar for him, and he does not have one for her (I checked).  I think maybe Roskva is jumping the gun, but she wants to get that kiss before any of the other ladies can beat her to it.  The first kiss is the key to winning Corey’s heart, she’s sure, and this date is her only chance to get it.

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But the other contestants know what Roskva has in mind, and they are already plotting against her.

Corey is eating his breakfast alone when Jessamine sits down to join him.  She comments on the beautiful day they’re having, and asks innocently what’s in store for his date with Roskva.  Corey gets the book thought bubble, and I think this is appropriate – Roskva is quiet and creative and the library seems like a suitable setting for their date.  When Corey tells Jessamine this, she laughs.  Such a shame to waste this gorgeous day inside a library with Roskva, she says.  How boring!

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But Corey doesn’t bite.  He tells Jessamine that he quite likes the library, actually, and that he looks forward to getting to know Roskva.  As the only contestant who has a romance bar for Corey, Jessamine is visibly annoyed.  He has a romance bar for her, too, she knows, and she was sure this one-on-one date was only for show.  Now she’s not so sure.

Jessamine gets up abruptly and leaves the table.  If he would rather spend his day with boring Roskva and boring books, then she wants no part of it anyway.

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With Jessamine gone, Corey finds himself a sitting duck once again.  Paige spots him from across the room, and promptly swoops in, spotting Roskva as she takes a seat.

She’s wearing that on a one-on-one date? Paige thinks.  Does this girl ever change her clothes?

Paige is pantsless again and she thinks this gives her a leg up.  She gets a speech bubble with Roskva’s face.

Nice granny skirt, Paige says pointedly, hoping to embarrass Roskva in front of Corey.

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Corey only looks at her and frowns.  He doesn’t seem to like this side of Paige.  He tells Roskva to meet him outside after breakfast, and excuses himself from the table to change.

When Corey and Roskva arrive at the library, Corey knows right away that this was the right venue for their date.  Roskva stares up at the old building in fascination, a wide grin fixed on her face.

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They walk inside together, and Roskva wastes no time, immediately going in for a hug.  She needs to establish a foundation for physical contact if she’s going to get that kiss.  She keeps him close for just a hair too long, but Corey doesn’t seem to mind.

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These two get along very well, and they immediately delve into conversation.  They tell engaging stories and get to know one another…

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Roskva tells a joke about aliens, and again impresses Corey with her wicked sense of humor.  He really seems to laugh harder with Roskva than with anyone else.

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Still giggling from Roskva’s jokes, Corey becomes playful and shares his mischievous side…

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Roskva laughs at his crazy eyes, as Corey knew she would.  Roskva might come off serious, but she’s a closet goofball and he knows it.

Surrounded by literary masterpieces, Roskva becomes inspired.  She shares her ideas, and Corey is receptive.  She has brains as well as beauty, he thinks.  Combined with her sense of humor, Roskva is the whole package.

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Why, then, is he not feeling a romantic connection?

Roskva and Corey have not rolled any whims for one another, and they have not initiated any romantic interactions.  However, they have both rolled a whim to dance to stereo music, and so I send them outside to do just that.  Their date is ending soon, and I think maybe this is the push they need.

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But for some strange reason, neither of them makes a move to slow dance.  Color this awkward.

Roskva takes the reins now, and I think she’s angling to get that kiss.  She asks him to take a selfie to document the occasion, and leans close while she snaps the photo.  She makes sure to touch her cheek against his, but Corey doesn’t take the bait.

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But Roskva is not deterred, and as she thanks him for a wonderful date, she pulls him in for another close hug.

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Can I tell you something? he asks.

Roskva nods .  This is it!

I had a great time with you today, Corey says.

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She looks up at him, batting her eyes.  She tilts her face to his.

Corey smiles at her.  You’re smart and funny and beautiful, he says.  And I’m glad we’ve become such good friends!

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Roskva is not thrilled with the outcome of her date with Corey.  They became good friends in the process, and Roskva’s friendship bar with the bachelor is now higher than anyone else in the mansion.  But she didn’t get her kiss, and she is sure she’s been friend-zoned.

Still, Roskva’s not quite ready to give up.  She came home from her date feeling tense, but after a relaxing yoga session, Roskva is feeling energized.  She runs up to Corey and the words tumble out in excitement.  Maybe she misinterpreted his feelings, after all.

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Or maybe not.  Corey, who has just gotten up from a nap, invites Roskva for a “friendly game of foosball.”

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Roskva bristles at the word “friendly,” and tells him to find someone else to play.  She’s not in a very friendly mood right now.

I leave everyone to their own devices for the evening, and Colleen is the first to roll a whim for Corey.  She’s feeling particularly frisky, and rolls a whim to flirt with the bachelor.

 

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Corey happily accepts her attentions, and they engage in a autonomous conversation even after I cancel their initial interaction (I always cancel the interaction that follows a directed action, to keep things fair).

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They are chatting away when I notice that Namika (who is wandering around the house somewhere unsupervised) has rolled a whim to be friendly with Corey.  I send her to fulfill the action, and watch Corey chat with Collen while I wait for Namika to arrive.

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Looks like someone’s been skinny dipping?!

Colleen’s shock is written all over her face, and Corey – gentleman that he is – tries to avert his gaze.

Free spirit that she is, Namika doesn’t blink.  She stands in front of them in all her glory, and then sidles up close to Corey.  She has a secret to tell him.

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I saw your hot dog yesterday, she whispers, giggling, So now you get to see my cantaloupes!  Fair is fair!

Colleen stares at them.  She’s not sure if she’s furious or merely uncomfortable, but she knows she’s fed up.  She can’t hope to compete with a naked girl – but Colleen isn’t willing to compromise her values that way.  Not yet, anyway.

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Alone at last, Namika pulls Corey in for a long, tight hug.  She’s playing innocent, like this is perfectly normal.  Perfectly natural.

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But Namika knows exactly what she’s doing.

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Just look at that face.

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Chapter Ninety Three : Going to the Chapel

Coralie had never felt more in love with Kody than she did right now. The kindness he’d shown her sister was a prime example of the type of man he was – generous, thoughtful, and caring.

And of course, handsome.

Oh, so handsome….

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Moreover, Kody was a good influence on Leo, and an attentive and affectionate father to the twins (Watcher knows how important that is to a child on the brink of their teenage birthday!). And Coralie knew the value of an involved father first hand.  Her relationship with her biological father was non-existent, of course, Lamont’s jealousy and anger toward Aurora ruining any chance of a relationship with his daughter.  But family is chosen as well as genetic, and Palani had chosen to adopt her as his own.  Growing up with Aurora for a mother, Coralie was never bothered by Lamont’s absence.  And so when Palani proudly proclaimed himself her father, the keen sense of belonging that washed over her came as a shock.  She remembered vividly the first time Palani had called her his daughter, back at his wedding to her mother. Coralie felt special and wanted, and so honored that he’d chosen to claim her as his family.  Palani protected her and looked out for her until the day he died.

Palani was exactly the kind of father she’d needed.  And now, watching Kody with the children, he reminded her so much of Palani.  Her father would approve of him, Coralie knew.  He would give them his blessing and he would give her away at the wedding – if he was still here.  She only regretted they’d waited so long, that her father hadn’t lived to see her say “I do.”

Coralie thought about this one morning, laying next to him in bed, watching him sleep.

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Impatient, she nudged him awake.

“I don’t want to wait another day to marry you,” she said. She squeezed his hand and looked him square in the eye. “I mean it. Not one more day.”

Kody laughed indulgently. She obviously wasn’t serious. “Okay,” he teased. “Right now then. Right this minute!  Not a second to waste!  No time to brush your teeth!”

But Coralie surprised him. She grinned and shot up in bed. “Really? Right now? Okay!!”

Kody stared at her slack-jawed. Okay. So maybe she was serious.

“Coralie….” he started, shaking his head. “Weddings don’t plan themselves overnight! There’s a guest list to make, invitations to send – we have to book a venue and you have to buy a dress!”

But Coralie sprung out of bed, fluttering around the room excitedly.

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“We don’t have to have any of that, do we?”

“But don’t you want a wedding?” Kody asked. “I thought you wanted a big party – like your mother’s!”

“I don’t want a wedding, Kody. I want a marriage. And we don’t need fancy china or pigs in a blanket for that.”

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She glanced over her shoulder at him as she rooted around in the closet. Her smile faltered at the sober expression on his face. She stopped and turned around.

“What’s wrong? I thought you’d be happy!”

“Nothing! I am happy. Couldn’t be happier, sweetheart.” He smiled again, but Coralie wasn’t fooled. She sat next to him on the bed.

“What’s wrong?” She asked again. “Whatever it is, you can tell me.”

He sighed, avoiding her gaze. “It’s nothing. It’s stupid really…”

His voice drifted off, and she only looked at him quizzically, and cocked an eyebrow.

“I guess…. It’s silly, Cora.” He stared at the ceiling. “I guess I just had this vision of you in a white dress, you know?” He glanced at her sideways, and continued on quickly. “But it’s not important! As long as I get to marry you – ”

He stopped abruptly. Coralie was laughing.

“Is that all?” She asked. “I’ve already got my dress, had it for ages actually, see?”
She was rummaging through the closet again, frantic.

“NO!” Kody shouted. “I don’t want to see it! It’s bad luck to see the dress on the wedding day!”

Coralie shut the closet door and turned back to him. “So today is our wedding day, then?”

He nodded, beaming. “I think it is.”


 

They waited all day, keeping their secret. With everything going on in the house, Coralie wanted their wedding to be a private moment between her and her husband-to-be. No hubbub. No fuss. Just the two of them, and her white wedding dress.

Once the house as asleep, she tiptoed down to the reflection pool and found Kody there waiting, according to plan. He gasped audibly as she entered the room, and she smiled at the tears that sprung to his eyes

“Do you like it?” she asked, hoping it lived up to his vision of his bride.

Like it? Coralie, you’re perfect.”

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They didn’t need an audience or wedding cake.  They didn’t need a first dance or even a honeymoon.  All Kody and Coralie needed was each other

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