Monday, March 21, 2011

Chapter 36: That Guy

Instead of going home after school, Griffin is going home with Lucinda Merrick.

The stated purpose of the visit is to hang out and do homework.

But a strong attraction has been developing between Griffin and Lucinda, and as soon as her brother Silas wanders off to play on his own and they find themselves alone, their conversation turns to flirtatious banter.

"We aren't that related, Griff," Lucinda sighs. Lucinda is a Merrick, and she and Griffin both have Beau Merrick as a great-grandfather.

"In Victorian novels, people more closely related than us get married," Griffin agrees. But while the young couple have tentatively agreed to move forward with their romance, neither wants to tell anyone in their families about it.

They try to keep it a secret, pretend they are just friends, people who see them together quickly figure out what is going on between them.

"Archer, I think your brother is flirting with Lucinda Merrick," Megan observes, interrupting a dance. "Don't turn around!" she exclaims as Archer starts to turn his head, "They'll know we're talking about them."

Despite Mega's warning not to look, Archer got a glimpse of Griffin and Lucinda. 'I don't think they'd even we notice if we both just stood staring at them. They seem pretty wrapped up in each other."

Archer keeps an eye on his brother, and when Griffin disappears into the restroom, he approaches Lucinda to ask about the relationship. Griffin usually tells him everything, so he's surprised he would keep a girlfriend a secret.

Cornered, Lucinda admits the truth, she and Griffin have gotten romantically involved.

"How serious are you?" Archer wants to know.

"We're afraid of what people will say, because of the family relationship," Lucinda says, "We might not be able to ever really be serious."

Archer waves away her concern, "That's hardly an issue. Not in this town.'re a vampire. I don't want you sucking my brother's blood."

Lucinda's pale skin flushes angrily, "For one, I can't do that until I'm mature. And two, what Griffin and I do once we're adults will be none of your business."

"My little brother will always be my business," Archer answers. 

On his last day before he graduates, Archer visits Megan for one last teenage make out session. Despite a few bumps on the road, they've gone steady throughout high school.

"Archer, are we going to stay together when you graduate?" Megan asks when they come up for air, "Are we going to get married?"

"Yeah, sure, Megan," Archer promises half-heartedly, "We'll get married as soon as you graduate." That's what everyone does, after all.

The next day, Archer becomes a young adult.

That night, he goes out to party, finally free of the curfew that every teen in Twinbrook is subject to. He buys a drink for Sharita Lillard, who recently moved into town.

It's his birthday, and Archer wants to celebrate.

He and Sharita spend a few hours in the club's hot tub until the club closes in the early morning hours.

Sharita invites him back to her place to continue his birthday celebration.

They celebrate until late into the afternoon of the next day.

"We should do this again soon," Sharita sighs as Archer gets ready to leave.

"Sure thing, Sharita," Archer promises.

Before he goes home, Archer stops at the Red Rendezvous for a drink. The place is largely dead, except for his aunt Kalilah McDermott, who immediately lays into him about where he's been all night.

"Your parents called everyone they knew trying to find out what happened you," she informs him.

"Someone told them where I was, I suppose," Archer answers, not looking away from his drink.

"Darren Drudge saw you going home with that new girl girl...Sharona?"

"Sharita," Archer corrects her, "And this is really none of your business."

"But what about Megan Curious-Kindle? Aren't you going steady with her?"

Archer sighs. He came here instead of going home to delay this inquisition from his mother, and now he's getting it from an aunt he barely knows. Kalilah is a McDermott by marriage to Sonny McDermott, a grandson of Wyoming McDermott. Her relationship to Archer is on his father's side; she's Drew's younger sister. 

"Again, none of your business," Archer answers, and quickly finishes his drink. He might as well go home and face his mother rather than put up with this any further.

Briar questions him as soon as he gets through the door. "Where were you all night? Do you have any idea how worried we were?"

"I stayed with a friend," Archer explains, "You didn't need to worry."

"You could have called and told us."

"At 4 a.m.? I didn't want to wake you. I expected to be home in the morning, anyway. But I...overslept."

Briar rolls her eyes. "I'm not an idiot, Archer. You were out with a girl."

"And I'm a grown man, Mom. You can't hold me under a curfew."

After the confrontation with his mother, Archer makes himself another drink.

"You spent the night with Sharita Lillard? You know everyone in town knows about it, right? I thought you were going to stay with Megan and get married when she graduates," Griffin says.

"I am," Archer answers, "I'm just having a little fun in the mean time."

"Don't be that guy, Archer," Griffin sighs, "I'm so disillusioned."

Challenge Notes:
Generation 9 has begun. To recap the roll, it's couple with 5 kids (heir is child #4), Law Enforcement (spy) career with Farmer as secondary. The goal is property mogul and Misc. Fun is Partier.
I already got Archer into his career and have bought partnerships in the bookstore and theater. Next I'll have him buy a venue, probably the Red Rendezvous. The family has boodles of money, Drew takes in 46k a week in royalties.
Megan will become a YA in a couple of days.
Archer's birthday celebration at the club was actually a party (an epic party, lol) though I treated in the blog as just a night out. So that's one down.
Drew has reached level 9 of the writer career. He'll be an elder in 1 day. He only needs to write 2 masterpieces to each level 10. They take about a week to write, so I think he can do this before he dies. He has sacrificed any kind of life for this, lol. He writes all day,  with a few breaks to get the fun meter up once his stress level maxes out. I've given him all the happiness rewards for his needs (Hardly Hungry, Steel Bladder, Trance Sleep, etc so he doesn't have to get up from writing to eat or pee.) 
Griffin will be a YA in a few days. He and Lucinda are only Romantic Interest rather than going steady. I'm going to leave it up to story progression to decide where that relationship goes after he moves out. (With all my other spares who had steady relationships, story progression married them up as soon as they were both YA.)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Chapter 35: Love Kills Slowly

Violet's grave is placed beside Lyle's, and decorated with a top of the line serving dish to commemorate her culinary career.

The death of his grandparents hit Archer hard. Even getting their old bedroom for himself is no consolation for his loss.

Their parents are completely devoted to their work, and Archer and Griffin are pretty much on their own without their grandparents to take care of them.

Archer misses Lyle especially, and spends a lot of time in his old office, playing on his old laptop.

Briar's most recent tattoo.

Griffin grows out of the toddler stage and into childhood. Though time has passed, the death of their grandparents remains the dominant influence in their lives.

For the first time, the family has need of outside help. Though Drew stays at home all day, his time is completely absorbed in his writing, and he has none to spare for housework, so a maid is hired to clean up after them.

Much like his great-great-grandfather Shepard, Archer is a born dancer.

Archer becomes a teen.

Briar gets another tattoo.

The long family tradition of defending themselves from burglars is broken when the police show up to apprehend the thief this time.

Briar is disappointed to be cheated out of a fight, but it's probably just as well. The burglary alone was enough to make Drew faint. Watching his wife get into a fight might have put him into a coma.

Griffin becomes a teen.

Archer has been courting Megan Curious-Kindle.

He's not sure he would call it love, or even a crush. He just wants a  dancing partner, really.

He spends most of his free time trying new hobbies, like mixology.

And martial arts.

Another tattoo for Briar Rose.

While no one's looking Andre the maid tries some of the plasma juice leftover from Violet's days as a vampire.

He regrets it by the time he's throwing the empty juice box into the trash compactor.

Briar heard about the death of Beau's wife, Lea, and went to pay a condolence visit. She found him wandering the swamps around his house.

"It's daylight, shouldn't you be inside?" she asks gently, seeing his fragile state. He bursts into sobs upon seeing her, and cannot answer her with words.

She leads him back to his house, getting him indoors and out of the burning sun, and his sorrow turns quickly to fury.

"Why? Why do you humans insist on dying on me?"

For one who has claimed to be immune to love, Beau is clearly deeply affected by the loss of his wife.

"It's what we are," Briar says gently, "You know that. Lea didn't abandon you, it was just her time."

"I should have turned her. She said she didn't want to be a vampire, and I was happy enough to feed on her human blood. But now she's gone, and I miss her, Briar Rose."

Since Griffin wasn't making effort toward getting himself a girlfriend, Archer decided to help out by inviting Megan's younger sister, Lilah, over for a visit. Instead of greeting her himself, he sent Griffin out to do it. 
Lilah picked up on Archer's plans intuitively, and accuses Griffin of putting his brother up to inviting her over on false pretenses.

The situation doesn't improve when the teens settle in for some TV watching. Anything Griffin says, Lilah argues against. Archer decides not to try to play matchmaker in the future.

Briar gets invited to a party Bree and Bennie Merrick are hosting. Though she doesn't socialize much with her vampire relations besides Beau, Briar accepts this invitation and uses the opportunity to get to know her vampire aunt. Or rather, to grill her aunt for information about growing up with Beau, because she's decided she want to write an article for the paper about her grandfather, a human interest piece that will help people understand vampires better.

"He was cold and unforgiving," Bree says, her own voice cold and unforgiving in the description. "He dumped my mother as soon as she showed signs of aging and seduced my best friend, your grandmother, right out of high school. He treats humans like cattle, and is incapable of love."

Briar has heard all this said about Beau before, and wonders why her own experience with him seems so different from his daughters'.

On her days off, Briar makes occasional attempts to tend her father's abandoned garden. This evening she's interrupted by a visit from Beau.

She invites him inside, where he immediately begins crying on her shoulder.

"You are the only family I have, Briar Rose," he sobs, "Lea wanted children, but my children all rejected me. Oregon told me I was a failure as a father, and she was right. I couldn't go through that all again."

"You were younger then," Briar says, "Maybe now that you've gotten in touch with your emotions, you could try again?" Though he's her grandfather, he doesn't appear to be any older than she is, so Briar assumes could conceivably marry and start a new family.

Archer's romance isn't going very smoothly.

But despite the rocky relationship, Archer still believes in romance, and questions Griffin about his continued single status.

"Dude, I don't want a girlfriend," Griffin says, "Everybody hooks up in high school, then gets married and pops out a bunch of kids. It's totally depressing. Don't you want to do something different? Or do you seriously want to marry Megan as soon as you graduate?"

"Well, I hadn't thought that far ahead..." Archer admits. "But it's not like there are a ton of girls out there who aren't our cousins. If you don't act fast, you could lose out altogether."

"That's depressing," Griffin sighs.

Challenge Notes:
Gen. 8 has been kind of boring to play. I'm trying to get Drew to achieve a perfect career, so all he does is write all the time. He's currently at level 8 of the writer career. He's got max writing skill, and achieved all the writing skill challenges. He's 5 days to becoming elder.
He's now got the ability to write masterpiece novels, which take longer to write but pay really well, so he might just be able to get the perfect career before he dies.
Briar has achieved her perfect career, level 10 of journalism with max writing and charisma skills. And she's gotten a new tattoo every Sunday since she turned YA. Archer will be turning YA the next Saturday, so at that point the generation changes and she will no longer be required to get more tattoos. And I will then be having to have a party every week for Archer's partier requirement.
Most of the other teens are related in some way to Archer and Griffin. Most are still eligible to be romanced by EA standards, but I feel creepy about hooking them up with Carter Sargeant's (Oregon's brother) granddaughters, or any of the Merrick girls (vampire or non), or anyone with McDermott or Carlton in their names. So that leaves them with little choice.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Chapter 34: Turn, Turn, Turn

Being shot at by lasers is a total rush!

All the time traveling has been wearing out the old time machine. Luckily repairing it is far easier than building it was, and Lyle will be back to the future in no time.

A week after getting her first tattoo, Briar Rose got the urge for more ink, this time choosing a butterfly design for her ankle.

Dermott graduates high school. His girlfriend Candy Greenwood is a bit younger and still a teenager. The youngest of three, her older siblings have all moved out with their spouses, and with the recent death of her mother, she's been living alone with  her elderly father. Right after Dermott gets a job at the science facility, he moves into Candy's house to help her take care of father, who won't be around much longer. They plan to marry as soon as she graduates.

The paper sends Briar out to inteview Cletus Lorenz. She has no idea why the paper would want to do a story on a loser like Cletus, he's best known for not paying the child support he owes to the mothers of his children. 

Allyson and Ewan have a nice afterlife chat.

Ghosts! Again! Drew is having a hard time living in this haunted house. Briar has assured him numerous times that they are perfectly harmless, that she grew up with them and they never do anything worse than temporarily possess household objects. But nothing she says can prevent Drew from fainting every time he sees one. Or two, in this case.

Because Briar is so career oriented, she and Drew waited to start having children. Their first is a son, Archer.

Lyle was gone a long time. He hopes he remembers how to live a contemporary life.

Dermott comes by for a visit, and discusses his work with his father.  He and Candy have married and are expecting their first child.

Briar never misses an opportunity to do an interview. 
"I'm a fertilizer analyst, Briar. What could you possibly want to know about analyzing fertilizer?"

Archer becomes a toddler. The family hasn't seen black hair in two generations, though it used to be quite common. Drew's father had black hair.

Archer gets a little brother, Griffin.

Briar celebrates the birth of another son with another tattoo.

"Can you see it okay in this blouse? Maybe I should wear something more revealing?"

"I can see it fine, Briar," Drew says, "But I think it's okay for you have some areas only I get to see."

"You're so sweet, Drew. I promise my next tattoo will be just for you."

This is what happens when you send Lyle out to get the mail.

Briar and Drew both work hard. Archer and Griffin are largely raised by their grandparents.

Griffin becomes a toddler. He's got Violet's hair.

Lyle usually stays up all night and just sleeps a few hours during the day. Today his daily sleep is the final one. Lyle has had an amazing life, and is as fearless in death as he was in life.
"All right, let's do this!"

Grim's visit is more than Drew can handle.

Lyle's grave is decorated with one of the widgets he invented. Briar was checking out a lead at City Hall when he father died and learns of his passing when she gets home.

"I should have been here," Briar sobs on her husband's shoulder.

"You didn't know," Drew soothes, "And he understood how much your career means to you. He was proud of you."

Archer's birthday is the next. Briar had wanted a party, but with the death of her father, she invites only a few close family members. Dermott was invited but his wife Candy comes without him, saying her husband was too deep in grieving to come out. Over her mother's protests, Briar also invited Beau Merrick.

As she sits down for some birthday cake, Violet feels a tingle. "Lyle?"

The birthday party becomes a funeral. Beau is horrified to watch his daughter die.

Lyle had only been gone for a day, but that was one day more than she wanted to be without him, and she's quite ready to meet him on the other side.

At this moment Candy realizes she'll have to tell Dermott that she watched his mother die.

Briar was not expecting such a fierce reaction from Beau. He's not taking this death well at all.

Briar takes him aside, and he does apologize for the outburst. "It shouldn't have been this way. She was born vampire, she should still be a young woman. I shouldn't be watching my daughters die of old age! Briar Rose, I beg you, let me turn you now while you are still young. I don't want to outlive you, too."

Briar is moved by his show of emotion. He had kept his feelings repressed for so long, denying even to himself that he felt anything at all.

"My mother chose to be human, knowing it would shorten her life. She loved her life and met death with grace. It's hard to lose loved ones, but even while you grieve, you should be happy for the life they lived, for what they accomplished."

Challenge Notes:
This generation is whizzing by. Drew is focused on writing, he rarely does any thing but write. Briar's career is less demanding, but there are interviews to do, venues to review and articles to write. So a lot of game time passes with nothing to blog about.
Drew will be turning Adult the day after Archer's birthday party, and Briar will be the next day. She's currently on track to achieve perfect career before turning elder. She'll need to max Charisma and Writing. She's at 8 and 9 on those.
Drew just reached level 6 of the author career. It gets progressively harder. I had to spend 10k of his happiness points to change his LTW to professional author. And now he's achieved it. I then spent 20k points to change his traits. Well, I only swapped his Kleptomaniac., which he doesn't use, for Bookworm. As much as I don't love Coward and Shy, I didn't want to change his personality, just give him a bit more of a professional edge.
He has reached level 10 of writing skill. He's focused on SciFi and Fantasy novels. The Fantasy pays more, but SciFi are quicker to write. He's currently working on getting the 'prolific writer' skill challenge, to write 20 books. 
About tattoos: I'm using the expanded master controller tattoo module that adds better tattoo placement options. While adding the third tattoo I accidentally hit the 'remove all' button' and then had to reapply the original tattoos. I think I put the butterfly on the wrong ankle second time around, lol. Briar gets a new tattoo every Sunday.
My roll for generation 9 is Couple with 5 children (mimi will be pleased). Law Enforcement, Spy branch career, with secondary Farmer. My goal is property mogul and misc. fun in partier. First child will be heir, so it's Archer. Archer's traits are Brave, Genius and Party Animal.
Griffin got Artistic and Loves the Outdoors as a random roll.
So, this is the second time I've given my heir a name that's a last name of someone else's legacy family. I don't do this intentionally, lol. I was fishing around for a name a Fantasy writer would use for his son. I thought of Hunter, but I already used that. Archer came up next. I thought 'cool name!' and went for it. Interestingly enough, Archer's favorite color is the same as R&R Legacy Founder Randy Archer's hair color.