Last time, Eleanor became a teenager, and the truth of Connie’s parentage came out. This time, family is difficult and El is anti-authority.
Jared is at a party hosted by Emma. Dwayne the crib-stealer is a toddler now, but his dad is still nowhere to be seen. Considering how things went down between Jared and Claire, he’s really not in a position to judge, but his recent conversation with Connie sticks out in his mind.
Jared: Emma, are you…alright? Really? I get you don’t want to talk about Dwayne’s dad, but, speaking from personal experience here, the kid won’t thank you for cutting the guy off, even if he is an asshole.
Emma: I’m not the one cutting him off, hon. He made that call. Says he’s “too old to pull the wife and kid routine all over again.” I mean hell, Jared, he’s got a granddaughter older than your kids! He’ll probably be dead before Dwayne’s even old enough to recognize him.
Jared awkwardly lets it drop. There’s only one man in town old enough to have a granddaughter older than El, and he remembers from Cheri Crumplebottom’s frequent visits that her grandpa Buster hasn’t been in the best of health recently.
He’d heard rumors about Emma and Buster Clavell being seen together, but he preferred that Emma confirmed it rather than assuming.
El drops in to pay Leo a visit; his house actually hosts two families, Leo and his mom Tori Kimura, and Monika Steel née Morris and her daughter Racheal. For whatever reason Monika and her daughter haven’t moved in with her husband Chris.
Sunset Valley has a lot of…interesting family dynamics.
El: Holy shit, Ponytail! Your house is, like, humongous. Plus I’m really digging this modern look.
Leo: I mean, I appreciate that.
Leo: But to be honest, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Monika and my mom are friends, but they can’t agree on anything when it comes to remodeling, and their compromise is to just let everything be as bare and impersonal as possible. The closest we get to decorating are some generic black and white photos.
El: Hey, at least you’ve never had to change a diaper! I’d trade shit hammocks for boring any day.
Leo: *laughs* I guess you’re right. I don’t think I’d mind if it was your sister, though. She’s a cute kid.
They eventually move beyond smalltalk about their families and onto some light flirting. El came here for a reason, after all – prom is tomorrow night, and Leo’s the only single teenage guy she knows.
It doesn’t hurt that he’s got some sexy eyebrow action going on.
El: Ponytail, your scrawny physique and kinda dumb-looking hair have won me over. I give in, I’ll go to prom with you.
Leo: But I didn’t ask you to prom?
El: Really, so sweet of you to go to all that trouble to ask me out, even though I’m clearly way out of your league. You’re lucky I like ’em adorable!
Leo: Are you kidding me right now.
El: Come on man work with me here!
Leo: *sigh* Eleano-
El: El, please. Eleanor is some crusty bitch from the middle ages.
Leo: Okay, El. Will you give me the distinct, immeasurable honor of taking you to prom?
El: Hell yeah, bucko! Maybe a little less with the sarcasm next time, huh?
Tori: So you’re the lucky lady taking my little boy to prom! Just a moment, dear, I have a little film to show you, won’t take but a moment-
Leo: Mom, you’re not showing my date The Miracle of Life.
Tori: I just want to make sure you’re both fully aware of the consequences of hasty decisions, that’s all.
El: Uhh, Ms. Kimura, you know we’re teens, right? We can’t do anything above steamy makeouts.
Leo’s mother casts a judgemental eye over El’s outfit and exposed midriff.
Tori: *sniff* I’m sure you would find a way.
Later that night, El finishes up her debut novel. Space Raptor Butt Invasion is a trashy hit, although some reviewers caution that it contains “questionable content,” which is putting it mildly. Inspired by the fulfillment of writing, El decides that this is what she wants to do for the rest of her life, and locks in the Lifetime Wish Illustrious Author.
When El’s complimentary copy of the book arrives in the mail the next morning, Jared quietly takes it upstairs to read in privacy. When he’s done, he tucks it away in a corner bookcase where Brienne will never, ever, ever find it, and ignores the way his eyes are misting up. That’s my girl.
Brienne’s job gets trickier every day; as a triple agent, she’s working undercover in the local criminal syndicate, where her job is to spy on cop patrols and movement. Of course, her criminal ‘compatriots’ don’t know that she’s actually there to spy on them for law enforcement. And what neither the criminals nor the police know is that she’s actually been contacted by the government to keep tabs on both groups.
El: Connie, this conversation is going nowhere. Look, plumbob knows I don’t like it, but if you want to skip out on Catherine’s birthday party just because of dad that’s your call. Alright?…Alright….Fucking alright already, goodbye.
Jared and El: Hneh-heh-heh!
Brienne: *deep breath* Would you please not.
Catherine ages up with the equestrian trait, meaning her full personality makes her an excitable, horse-loving virtuoso. So, your general upper-middle class to upper class American child, except she actually enjoys her
violin piano and horseback riding lessons. Or she will, once she’s old enough to do either of those things.
Prom starts right after the party, so El invites Leo over. Her prom dress is an eccentric mix of rags and thrift store finds, but I dig the overall effect.
Leo: You know we’re going to prom, not a club, right?
El: Shut up, Ponytail. I’m an inappropriate sim, you’re lucky if I don’t strip to my underwear and start yodeling.
Too bad she changed back into her everyday outfit before going. *sigh* That inappropriate trait is gonna be the death of me, I swear.
At any rate, El does get elected prom queen – I got a neat bit of flavor text which said that she high-fived the crowd while she ran up to receive it, which fits her pretty well IMO. She also got her first kiss from Leo during the slow dance, and they agreed to go steady.
Immediately after prom, she decides to turn around and take advantage of the chaos to pull a little prank – students coming in the next morning were stunned to find the school mascot wearing a neon pink bra with a graffitied mustache drawn on with blue lipstick. Everyone and their grandmother made the obvious connection to the only girl in school who wore blue lipstick, but since there was only circumstantial evidence the school administration was forced to let El off with a warning.
Jared hangs out in the library studying cooking a lot. He and Vita Alto each pretend not to notice the other. After all, what do you say to the husband of the woman who keeps looting your rubbish? Or to the woman who your cop wife keeps finding incriminating evidence on?
Connie comes home with Eleanor after school most days, and the sisters get into a habit of doing their homework together. Unfortunately for Catherine, El and Connie are already best friends and partners in anti-establishment crime by this point, and there’s not much room in their dynamic for another, much younger and more rule-abiding girl.
Connie doesn’t make things any easier for the poor girl, shooting Catherine down every time she starts to talk about her interests.
Catherine: Mom says that if I’m really good and I do my chores and I get good grades in school, then when I’m old enough to ride she’ll get me a horse.
Connie: God, you are such a cliche. There’s no way in hell you’re ever getting a pony, dumbass. That’s just a con to get you to do what your mom wants.
Maybe an activity that doesn’t involve talking will be better?
Or maybe not.
Catherine: GAH WHY CAN’T ANYTHING GO RIGHT FOR ME?
Catherine: El, why does Connie hate me?
El: Mm, too complicated. Playing game. Ask later.
The dogs age up to elder, and to reward them for their years of service I officially stop sending them to hunt collectables. They’ll spend the rest of their days clogging up doorways and barking at passers by.
For those who don’t know, Space Raptor Butt Invasion is a real book by an author named Chuck Tingle(WARNING: NSFW), and yes, all of his books’ titles are that amazing.
Blech, El/Leo was kind of rushed, sorry about that. Prom is a fun little event, and the first kiss/going steady pop-ups can save a ton of time, but it’s a little anticlimactic to basically read the cliff notes version of someone’s first romance.
I feel so bad for little Catherine. 😦 All she wants to do is talk about horsies, and everyone’s reactions amount to “God, who caaaaares.”
Anyway, that’s this chapter done! I’m going to have a couple of Interlude mini-chapters up later tonight, because I actually have the time to proofread my rough drafts!
Thanks for reading!