Saturday, 28 September 2013

Chapter 1.16 - Gifts

Life settled back into a routine after their vacation. Chantia remained true to her word and stopped pulling pranks on her mother. The relationship between Chantia and Mia had also increased slightly; not much, but enough that the girls worked on their homework together whenever they were both at home for an afternoon.

Unfortunately for Mia though, Chantia’s promise to her mother didn’t include the younger girl. While it didn’t happen often, Chantia liked to prank her sister every now and then. In general though, Mia didn’t mind and Evelyn knew it was just harmless fun, so she let it slide. Nothing ever seemed to faze the quieter child of the two.
It soon became apparent that Mia loved books just as much as she had as a toddler. The younger girl was very inquisitive and most of the time she could be found reading up on advanced logic and obscure philosophical theories.
The turning point in the two girls’ relationship came one day when Chantia exited the school after her Scouting Club activities and saw five girls picking on Mia, Mia’s book lying on the ground. Mia didn’t say anything to the girls surrounding her, but Chantia could see the hidden sadness on her face as the girl stared at the book that had clearly been thrown on the ground. The girls surrounding Mia were all either laughing or mocking the younger girl.
“- going to say anything, huh? Too bad your precious books won’t be able to get you out of this situation,” the leader of the bullies, Debbie Childs, mocked Mia. Chantia scowled heavily when she heard that statement and saw the expression on Mia’s face. While she didn’t like her sister, nobody was allowed to hurt her! The only one allowed to mock Mia was her!
She ran towards them, eager to give them a piece of her mind.
Back off, you harpies!” Chantia ordered vehemently as she threw herself in front of her sister. The girls immediately closed ranks as they assessed the new threat that had appeared.
Debbie cocked her head and planted her hand on her hip, giving Chantia an arrogant stare.
“Or what? What are you going to do, huh? I bet you’re just as useless as she is,” the bully stated. Chantia scowled heavily before she lashed out. She was a couple of years older than the brats in front of her and there was no way she was going to let them get away with their words.
She lashed out at them, calling them every name in the book and insinuating that they were both too ugly and too stupid to let live. Every retort from them she countered with additional insults and threats until the girls finally decided they had had enough.
“If I ever hear about any of you picking on her again, you will regret it so much you’ll wish you were never born!” Chantia snarled at them, causing every single girl to scowl at her. “Now bugger off!”
After another couple of insults, Debbie tossed her hair over her shoulder and walked away, apparently tired of the confrontation. The rest of her pack stalked off with her, leaving the two sisters alone.
Chantia scowled after them for a second before turning around and facing Mia. She picked up the book lying on the ground and offered it to her sister. Mia stared at her with a shocked expression for a couple of seconds before hesitantly taking the book from Chantia.
Her voice, when she finally spoke, was very soft and hesitant.
Chantia gave her an are-you-stupid look and a nonchalant shrug. “Because you’re my sister, dummy,” she declared. “I’m the only one allowed to hurt you.”
Mia looked down at the ground again, but a rare smile appeared on the girl’s face. The girls didn’t say anything else, but that was okay. They understood each other. As they walked home, both of them knew that something in their relationship had changed.
It wasn’t long after that event that they became best friends. Of course, neither of them was willing to admit that they saw the other as a friend, but it was obvious to anyone who saw them together. There were still a couple of rough patches, but unlike before, the girls actually started to enjoy spending time together.

Evelyn was beyond happy with the development. To celebrate the achievement, she bought the girls both a gift of their choice. Mia was obsessed with all things science, so she got a set of vials and chemical solutions. At first, Evelyn was a bit hesitant to buy such a dangerous object for the child, but Mia’s calm attitude and her knowledge of standard lab safety practices eventually persuaded Evelyn to buy the set. Needless to say, Mia took to it like a fish to water.

Chantia on the other hand, finally got her dog. They were limited on space, so Evelyn placed some limitations on the size dog Chantia could get, but Chantia was happy with the conditions. After visiting a couple of breeders and shelters, Chantia finally made her decision and Luna joined the household.
Little Luna was still a puppy and very clumsy, routinely tripping over her own feet, but Chantia loved the puppy to bits.
Of course, the gifts Evelyn bought the girls brought their own problems. Although Mia had perfect knowledge of lab safety and none of the chemicals were too dangerous, Evelyn still had a minor heart attack the first time Mia’s experiment blew up in her face.
With Chantia, it wasn’t long before Evelyn found the puppy chewing on the furniture. Chantia believed that Luna couldn’t do anything wrong, so it fell on Evelyn to scold the puppy.
Still, despite the problems the gifts caused, Evelyn could honestly say she didn’t mind. The girls grew closer every day, apparently having settled on fighting their disagreements out with pillows or water balloons.
Soon, the end of summer arrived. Evelyn suggested going to the park to visit the summer fair, but both of the girls were more than content to stay at home. Evelyn made sure to spend time with each of her children, playing chess with Mia while discussing obscure topics that Evelyn didn’t really understand and helping Chantia get rid of her excess energy when the girl challenged her to a pillow war.

By the time the sun set and dark settled over Sunset Valley, Evelyn allowed her rigorous rules to relax slightly and decided that it would be alright to have cake for dinner. They talked about everything and nothing, including the subject of table manners of performers. They concluded that said performers should go back to school to study some.
The rest of the conversation was dominated by giggles and laughter, bringing a smile to Evelyn’s face.  For the first time in a long time, the Marquel house was filled with laughter again.
I originally wanted the conflict between Chantia and Mia to go on for longer, but they both conspired against me. -_- They had a relatively bad relationship (not terrible, but bad enough that they disliked the other), but whenever I took my eyes off them they would do their homework together, chat or play tag, which meant their relationship would improve drastically. So I gave up making them hate each other and allowed them to reconcile. :P
About the summer fair: I kinda forgot that Evi promised Chantia that they'd attend the next fair, so when the summer fair arrived I just ignored it. None of my sims rolled the wish to attend in any case, so I think I can get away with it >_<.
I never mentioned the girls’ traits, now that I think about it. Chantia is Brave, Friendly and Virtuoso while Mia is Brave, Genius and Bookworm.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Chapter 1.15 - Heritage

By the time the family’s trip to Champs Les Sims arrived, Evelyn was at wit’s end. Chantia had started to ignore Evelyn completely and not a day went by when the girl didn’t get into a fight with her adoptive sister. Evelyn had planned the trip to be a relaxing vacation to introduce Chantia to her heritage, but it appeared the trip would be anything but.
As they travelled towards the airport, Evelyn couldn’t help but hope that Gustave might be able to get through to Chantia.
Soon enough, they arrived at Champs Les Sims, where Gustave waited eagerly for their arrival. He immediately took Evelyn into his arms before turning towards the girls. He greeted both of them, but Chantia was rewarded an extra smile and a pat on the head.
“Welcome to Champs Les Sims,” Gustave welcomed them. “Please, come in,” he invited them inside. The girls immediately entered the house, eager to investigate the large house. Evelyn took the time to have a quick word with Gustave.
“Please, I don’t know what to do anymore,” Evelyn explained. “Chantia’s been a right nightmare and nothing I do or say seems to help anymore. Please, can you talk to her? See if you can manage something?” Evelyn begged and explained the entire story to Gustave. Gustave listened attentively before agreeing, promising to have a word with Chantia.
The rest of the day was spent rather leisurely. Mia wanted to visit the art gallery, so the entire family took some time to tour the museum. Chantia was especially fascinated by the sarcophagi.
Later that day, when darkness had fallen over them, they spent the night at the fire-pit, the girls trying out weird combinations to roast and telling tales. Gustave told them about local myths and legends, keeping his entire audience captivated by his rich description and Chantia took great pleasure in freaking Mia out by telling the younger girl ghost stories. The ghost stories were harmless fun, so the adults did nothing about it. For the first time in many days, Evelyn finally managed to relax.
Before long, it was time for the girls’ bedtime. Chantia pouted and tried to argue with her mother, but a stern look from her father caused the girl to retreat obediently inside with Mia.
After making sure the girls were in bed and sleeping, Evelyn rejoined Gustave at the fire-pit. They sat in silence for a while, merely enjoying each other’s company and staring at the bright stars in the sky above them.
“I didn’t think you’d tell Chantia that tale,” Gustave confessed after a minute. “You know; the one about the Wilds and the Damned?”
Evelyn leaned away from him, staring questioningly at him. “I didn’t,” she stated, a hint of confusion in her voice. “She’s far too young to hear such a tale.”
Gustave raised his eyebrows in surprise at the admission. “Really? Then how did she know about the ‘Damned’? The story she told Mia definitely mentioned the Damned,” Gustave stated, causing Evelyn to frown in confusion.
“I have no idea,” Evelyn admitted. “I’m telling you, something is different about her. She’s got this major fascination with the moon and sometimes, I find her talking to empty air,” Evelyn explained and relayed every strange event that had happened with Chantia ever since the girl had been born.
Silence fell around them after she finished talking, a slight frown marring Gustave’s face. He gave her hand a small squeeze before smiling at her.
“I’ll talk to her,” Gustave suggested. “See if I can’t get any explanation from her. If I can’t, I’ll do some digging around in the archives. Maybe we’ll be able to find some answers then,” Gustave promised. Evelyn smiled at him and leaned into his embrace, glad to have someone willing to help her.
The next day, Gustave made good on his promise and took Chantia for the day to spend some quality time with her. Mia expressed an interest in learning to fish, so Evelyn took the girl to the river where they spent the day catching frogs and falling on the slippery bank, but it made Evelyn smile to hear a rare laugh from Mia.
Gustave took Chantia to numerous places, including the old Landgraab mansion (where he was very careful not to let the girl get into any contact with the dangerous traps the paranoid old Landgraab patriarch had installed) and the Champs Les Sims graveyard.
During this time, he made subtle enquiries from the girl, hoping to find out what made his daughter different. Her answers intrigued Gustave to no end. Ghosts? An old, perfectly preserved house filled with fog where said ghosts lived? A song telling of life and death? The more he listened to his daughter, the more he found both similarities and differences from the tale he told Evelyn back when Chantia was still only a toddler. Her answers both frightened and excited him. Was everything Chantia told him just her imagination, or was there actually a basis of truth in her statements? Were the tales he heard over the years actually true?
Chantia was just glad that someone was willing to listen seriously to her. When she had told her mother about Charlotte the very first time she had met the ghost, her mother had just smiled and patronizingly patted her on the head.

The rest of the afternoon, Gustave disappeared, leaving the girls to spend time with their mother. Gustave had talked to Chantia about her behaviour, managing to make the girl feel guilty.
“I’m sorry,” Chantia apologized while they visited the cafĂ©, refusing to look at her mother. “I won’t do it again,” she promised her mother. Evelyn stared at her for a moment before pulling the girl in for a hug.

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep,” Evelyn warned her daughter, but her arm around Chantia’s shoulders told the girl that she had been forgiven.
That night Gustave joined them at the fire again and they all spent time roasting marshmallows and telling each other about their days. The atmosphere was much more relaxed now that Chantia was the same sweet girl Evelyn grew used to.
Later, when the girls both retreated to their beds due to fatigue from the busy day, Gustave informed Evelyn of the results of his afternoon. He had spent the afternoon doing research and digging through archives to try and find more information about the things Chantia told him about. He didn’t manage to find much, but what he did find out was…interesting.
“You know that girl Chantia told us about – Charlotte Ainsworth – the ghost girl? What do you make of it?” Gustave questioned. Evelyn frowned slightly before shrugging.
“I don’t really know what to make of it,” Evelyn admitted. “At first I thought she was just an imaginary friend, but now I don’t know anymore. Chantia’s insistence that she exists is…she’s a bit too convinced.”
Gustave nodded in reply. “Well, that’s the thing,” he stated. “I found mention of a Charlotte Ainsworth in the archives; a young girl who died from polio early in the last century. She was the youngest daughter of the Ainsworth family; a family that belonged to the upper echelons of society at that time. It is said that at the time of her death, she begged with an unseen figure not to die,” Gustave informed Evelyn. “Now I don’t know; it could be coincidence, but some of the information I found corresponds to the info Chantia gave us.”
Evelyn sat in silence while she mulled over the information. “So you’re saying you think Chantia’s tale is true?” Evelyn enquired. At his nod, she continued. “But ghosts don’t exist! How can it be true?”
Gustave shrugged. “The only reason people think ghosts don’t exist is because nobody’s ever seen them, or nobody ever believe those who claim they have,” he reasoned. “I’m not saying you have to believe everything Chantia says; I’m just saying you should listen to her with an open mind.”
Evelyn nodded thoughtfully. “I’ll try,” she promised.
Gustave had work the next day, so he wouldn’t be able to see them off. Evelyn made the most of the night reconnecting with Gustave, knowing that she would be deprived of his company once she returned home.
The next day brought an end to their trip. The girls both took advantage of the bathtub to splash around and go on underwater adventures while Evelyn made the girls a proper meal before their flight departed.
They paid a quick visit to the nectary, but they didn’t have enough time to do anything else. Soon enough, the time for their flight arrived and they returned home, all of them refreshed from the visit, but all of them very glad to be home. While the vacation had been a lot of fun, there was still no place like home.

:( Evelyn looks so old, especially in the fire pit shots. While I'm really looking forward to getting to Chantia's generation, I kinda don't want Evelyn's to end. I know I'm still a little while off before hers will end, but her older looks remind me that she won't last forever.