Warnings: Suggestive humor.
“Are you okay?”
Dina looked up from the puddle she was submerged in to see a familiar face. “I just made §500, I’m great!”
Mike sighed. “Hello, Dina.”
“Hi, Mike! Fancy meeting you here.”
“This is my house; I just got home from work.” He knelt down so that his umbrella was over her head, though that wasn’t much use to her at this point.
“Oh, I was just delivering some stuff to the House of Fallen Trees. I had no idea you were right down the street!”
“They made you walk home in the rain?”
“It was just Gvaudoin, and she wouldn’t let me in the house. I guess she’s still mad about the funeral thing.” Dina shrugged. “At least she paid me.”
“She’s just like that whenever she can get away with it.” He held out his hand to help her up. “Come on, I’ll give you a ride, but first you can come inside and get dried off.”
“Thank you.” She glanced at the small house in front of them. “This looks nice!”
“You were expecting a cardboard box?”
“I can’t believe you still have this shirt. I remember wearing this before!”
“Looks better on you,” Mike said, starting up the hot cocoa machine. “I’m sorry the house is a mess. I wasn’t really expecting anyone.”
“It’s refreshing after living with two neatfreaks.”
“Yeah, I heard that Servo moved in with you now?”
“Yep! He’s going to have the apartment to himself for these next couple days, though. We really wanted to take him home to papa, but can’t afford to take a coffin on the plane. I think he’ll be okay, though. His vampire daddy invited him over for Turkey Day—night in their case. I think it’ll be good for him to interact with other people.”
“He can come to my poker game on Friday if he wants. I’d like to meet him.”
Dina was charmed but hesitant. “Would your friends be nice to him?”
“I wouldn’t be friends with them otherwise.”
“Sweet. I’ll pass along the invite.” She took a gulp of hot cocoa. “So do you have Thanksgiving with Bella? That must be amazing.”
“If you like having octopus instead of turkey.”
“I would if it was Bella’s octopus.”
“…so what are your plans? Strangetown?”
“Yeah, Olive invited us to dinner at her house so Nina doesn’t have to do all the cooking this year. I want to help but nobody will let me near the stove. Or the dishwasher. So sad.”
“KITTY!” Dina exclaimed.
“That’s Pola, the lady of the house—” Mike turned around to see Dina playing with the cat. “Whoa! That’s not a toy!”
Dina looked at the stick in her hand. “Then what is it?”
“It was my mother’s,” he said, cringing before he took it from her. “And no, I don’t use it. If I had a wand—which I don’t— it would not be a sparkly star wand.”
“Your mother left it to you instead of Bella?”
His eyes flicked over to a picture above the stereo. “The two of them never really saw eye-to-eye on magic.”
“I thought Bella took after her?”
“In talent, not personality. Our mom kept her heritage a secret, and when things finally came to light, Bella had a lot of trouble forgiving her for it.”
“She didn’t tell you she was a witch?” Dina asked, a little bothered by his wording.
“Not willingly, but I can understand why. Most normal people are either afraid of witches or they treat them like their own personal fairy godmother. My dad was the former, but she married him anyway and managed to hide it from him for almost nineteen years.”
“That’s a long time.” She could picture it though.
“He didn’t approve of magic or anything outside his narrow definition of ‘normality’. Bella found that unbearable, obviously. That's why she latched onto the Goth family and never let go.”
“And that’s why she likes to let her freak flag fly?”
“That’s why she likes to strangle people with her freak flag. The more she tries to impose herself on everyone, the more she reminds me of him. Especially when she judges everyone who doesn’t do things her way.”
Dina had sensed this bitterness before, but had never seen it go unmasked before. “What about you, Mike?”
Her question startled him out of his flashback. “Oh, I never bought into my dad’s ideology but I’d have done anything to make him proud.”
“Well you must have. You were the ideal son, right? Popular and good at sports?”
“Not always. There may have been a time when I was a puddin’ faced little boy with no friends,” he said with an unsettled smile. “But things changed once I got to high school.”
“Like your hair color?”
His eyebrows shot up. Eyebrows that were significantly darker than those of the doughy little boy in his family pictures. “That happens to a lot of people once they hit puberty. It’s not uncommon.”
“Sounds like you’ve have to explain that before.”
“What’s there to explain? I don’t dye my hair.”
“I know you don’t,” Dina giggled. She wasn’t quite convinced, but figured she’d already interrogated him enough already. “School was the opposite for me. It just kept getting worse and worse over the years until somebody put dye in my locker room shower head and my sister almost got herself expelled defending my honor.”
Mike raised just one eyebrow this time. “Was it green dye?”
It was like the temperature in the room suddenly dropped, while the temperature in Dina’s face shot up. “Why would you ask that?”
“I noticed it seems to be a sensitive color for you. Like when Mortimer said ‘You look a little green’ and you…lost it?”
“Oh!” She had hoped that memory would be as foggy for the witnesses as it was for her. “Yes, it’s all because of that stupid high school prank. It scarred for me for life. I can’t even wear the color anymore!”
Mike scooted next to her and looked her in the eye. “Is there more to it than that?”
“What more could there be?” He had the same eyes as Bella. Chocolate eyes. She had to break the gaze before she got hungry. “Well, it’s stopped raining, I think I’m just gonna walk home.”
She leapt up and grabbed her purse, making sure her shoes were still in there. Mike and Pola followed her to the door.
“Please don’t try and apologize or argue or whatever. I just feel like I should go now. Please, just…let me go.”
He took a deep breath. “Okay.”
“Thanks again,” she sniffed. “I’ll have Servo bring back your clothes.”
“Have a nice trip.”
Dina could never understand why someone as glamorous as Olive had put down roots in Strangetown. Her job took her around the world; she could have made a home anywhere or nowhere. It was hard to see what sentimental value the town held for her. The little family she had was left was far and estranged, the locals here hardly warm and inviting to her. The girls had grown up hearing schoolyard tales of the Muenda Witch, but where most people saw terror, Dina saw beauty and glamour and sparkles.
Unfortunately, she was the master of awkward dinner conversations.
“I’m so sorry to hear about Mr. Big’s ‘abduction’, dear. He may have been my biggest rival, but he was always so entertaining.” If Dina didn’t know any better, she’d have sworn there were invisible finger quotes on a few of those words. “I can certainly sympathize, my ex-fiancé was ‘abducted by aliens’ as well.”
“I’m sure he’ll be fine, princess. Aliens don’t hurt people. He’s probably just having such a good time up there that he doesn’t want to come home.” Her father spoke as if being on a spaceship during his conception had made him some sort of authority on the matter, even though he hadn’t been on once since. Dina had to wonder why they hadn’t taken as much interest in him as they had in her.
“Speaking of that, Olive, do you think you could do an anti-abduction spell for my daddy?” She was suddenly reminded of a conversation from the other day. “I mean, not to be treating you like my own fairy godmother or anything. I’ll put Junior to bed for you or something.”
“It wouldn’t work, dear. That spell won’t take on alien blood.”
“Couldn’t you put it on his glasses or something?” Dina asked tentatively. She had nightmares of her bracelet turning out to be some sort of Bella-fied placebo. The ultimate betrayal.
“Ah, an amulet. Yes I suppose that might work. I’ll give it a go after dinner.”
Nina stopped stuffing her face long enough to speak. “Pass the meat pies?”
“…this is really far too big a house for the maid to handle by herself. The basement alone you’d have to see to believe.”
“I can’t believe they’re making you do all the work over there. You’re a guest!”
“It’s what I was made for, Nina. Mrs. Tricou is actually willing to pay me, so I can finally contribute to the rent and start pulling my weight around the house.”
“Servo, you do all the cooking, cleaning, and repairs. And you don’t eat. I would hardly call you a moocher.” There was a scream in the background on the phone.
“I’LL GET YOU, YOU FLYING RAT!!!”
“What the hell was that?” Nina asked.
“The family is starting to get restless; I better go and serve the food. Good night, Nina.”
“I miss you, too, Nina.”
“Just a ghost, my dear. Nothing to be afraid of except our own…”
“I’m sorry, Olive,” Nina breathed. “I’m not afraid, I’m annoyed. Is there any way to make him go into the light and leave me alone?”
The darkness only seemed to make Olive’s eyes brighter. “Depends on the kind of ghost. Is there unfinished business involved?”
“I think he’s angry at me.”
Olive nodded understandingly. “Did you kill him?”
“Uh…” The question caught Nina off-guard.
“Ohhh. Are you talking about Jon? Don’t worry, you didn’t. He probably just latched onto his last memory. Maybe he wants you to find the person who murdered him.”
“But he died of old age.”
Olive grinned. “Yes, and because he was in fact, old nobody suspects a thing.”
“I don’t quite understand.”
“Are you familiar with the Laganaphyllis Simnovorii?” She gestured towards the stone relief hanging over the fireplace. “Also known as the ‘cowplant’?”
“It’s one of the most dangerous plants in existence. Illegal, of course, but you can sometimes find seedlings on the Magictown black market. It takes a real green-thumb to get it to full-size though; I’ve never been able to get one past the calf stage.”
Nina’s eyes widened as she stared at the carvings. “Illegal?”
“Most famously, it swallows people whole and produces milk from their life force, but that’s only the plant’s most primitive use. It provides the key ingredients in a number of powerful potions, as it’s one of the few things in this world that can meddle with the sands of time” On the mantelpiece was an hourglass encased in glass. The top bulb was full, but the sand was motionless. Or perhaps moving too slow for the human eye to perceive.
“Let me get this straight. There’s a giant plant that eats people, and then you can basically drink them to make yourself younger?”
“No, no, no. The cowplant’s milk doesn’t actually make one younger; it just slows down Death’s hourglass, extending one’s life and delaying old age. But you can also use it to create Elixir of Death, a parallel concoction that will speed up the hourglass until the sand runs out.”
“And that’s what happened to Mr. Tricou. He drank the Elixir of Death?”
“That’s my theory, but I have no way of proving it.” Olive lowered her voice to a sultry whisper. “Unless you know anyone who’s got a cowplant.”
Summertime and the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high
It was actually the end of autumn, but Junior politely refrained from correcting her.
Oh, your daddy's rich and your ma is good-lookin'
So hush, little baby; don't you cry
It was dark outside; the ghosts of the Muenda Cemetery were out and about. The Black Friday sales would be starting in a few hours, but for once Dina was unmotivated to take part.
It had been too long since Mr. Big had taken to the sky.
“What do you want?”
Curious eyes were on Dina as she walked in, some of them glaring, but Jenny greeted her with a huge smile. “Dina! What a pleasant surprise!”
“I’m sorry to intrude, but I need to talk your husband.”
“…and then I said ‘I can make you disappear’ and…he did. A big beam of light came down and grabbed him until he disappeared into the sky! There’s no way it could have been a coincidence. They must have heard me!”
Mr. Smith nodded. “That’s quite possible with alien technology. We do keep records of our offspring and theirs.”
“But why would they care about me? They’ve never cared before!” It felt so weird to be seeking advice from Mr. Smith. They’d never spoken to each other outside of ‘nice to meet you’, ‘congratulations’, and ‘hello’.
“I can’t speak for all aliens, Dina. I’m not part of that world anymore. But if I were to hazard a guess I’d say you caught their interest for some reason, and this abduction was a poorly thought out favor to you. To get on your good side.”
“Isn’t it obvious?” said a voice from the corner. “They’re trying to recruit you.”
Dina would have laughed if Chloe didn’t look like she was about to bite her. “Why? Is there a shortage of cosmetic salespeople on their planet?”
“Look at you! They want a spy. A skinny, orange spy who understands human culture and can do things that technology can’t.”
Dina could barely reply. “Why me and not my sister then?”
“She’d punch them in the face for suggesting it and you’d do it for a wad of cash; don’t pretend you wouldn’t!”
“I wouldn’t. I don’t want anything to do with them! They ruined my life!”
“That’s enough, girls!” Jenny raised her voice and everyone looked ashamed. “Chloe, we will discuss this in the kitchen. Lola, I’d appreciate it if you could come, too.”
“She’s had a rough week,” Mr. Smith said, as his wife led her half-sister/stepdaughter out of the room. “She’s been trying to find a job in the city, and it’s not working out.”
“Is what she said true? Is that what they want from me?”
“Once again, I don’t know. I haven’t kept in touch with them.”
“Why me? Just because I’m distantly related? There’s no difference between me and a human!”
“Yes there is, Dina,” he said, still polite but very firmly. “Maybe they’re recruiting all the second generational hybrids now.”
“There have to be a hundred better people out there for the job.”
“Sometimes it’s a case of who you know.”
“You’re the only alien I know!” Dina knew she was long past the ‘hysterical whining’ threshold at this point but couldn’t stop herself.
“I mean, people you know that they want to know about.”
“Dina, I don’t know,” he cut her off. “Why don’t you just ask them yourself?”
“…and the swimming pool is going to behind those, and then the rest is just going to be lush green all over!”
“Sounds beautiful.” And hard to maintain, but green had always been Jenny’s favorite color.
She handed Johnny back to Jenny. “He’s beautiful.”
Jenny was about to reply when a green light appeared over the horizon and Dina started screaming her head off.
It took her a second to realize what was different about this spaceship.
“Gwyr wants to talk to you!” Mr. Smith shouted from across the yard.
“Who’s Gwyr?” Dina shouted back. “Is he my grandfather?”
“No! Come over here and find out yourself!”
The tiny saucer let out a beam of green and blue light. Inside was a humanoid silhouette, as transparent as a ghost. Dina took a shaky breath and started towards it. As she drew closer she began to make-out more details of the figure, and as she came close enough to see the face…
…the saucer immediately crashed to the ground.
Dina gaped as it wriggled at her feet, smoking and sparking.
“That’s not supposed to happen,” said Mr. Smith. “Did you do that?”
“HOW COULD I HAVE—” The answer came to her in mid-sentence. “It’s magic. Magic protection! It actually works! It’s not just an anti-abduction charm, its anti-technology! HA!” She pumped her fist and gleaming bracelet towards the sky.
“Well, you’re going to have to take it off for this to work.”
“No! I can’t!” Dina cried. “Not out here!”
Jenny and Mr. Smith stared at her, as if trying to convince her with their respectively angelic and mellow vibes. Finally, Jenny put a motherly hand around her shoulders. “You know if that thing breaks the holo-saucer, you’re gonna have to pay for it?”
“OKAY, I’LL TAKE IT OFF!”
She ripped it off, like a band-aid and handed it to Jenny who started back towards the porch. The holo-saucer sprung back to life and spit back out the hologram.
It was a recognizable face, but the hair and clothes surrounding it were so different that she didn’t comprehend who it was until he spoke.
“OCEAN! Oh my goodness, are you okay? Are—are you…?”
“It’s Gwyr now. And no, I have not been pollinated. That is the one part of this culture that I will not take part in, and they have respected my feelings on the matter.”
“How…nice of them?” Dina was taken aback. “Ocean, I never meant for this to happen. I am so sorry. I’ll talk to whoever thought this was a good idea and convince them to bring you back home as soon as possible.”
“You really think a spaceship could hold me against my will?” he laughed. “I can leave any time that I want. I have chosen to stay and make a new life for myself. I was wrong, Dina. These are a wise and noble people, far more civilized than vulgar humankind.”
“Ocean, they abducted you against your will.”
“So that I could become a better person.”
“I’ve been worried sick about you! Why didn’t you at least tell someone you’re okay?”
“My friends tried to contact you multiple times, but have been unable to even see you with their technology since you started taking up with witchcraft, let alone abduct you like a normal person.”
“GOOD! I don’t want them spying on me! And no more abductions! You tell them if they want to talk to me they have to come down here and knock on my door. With a hostess gift!”
“You’re not being very respectful of their culture, Dina.”
Dina had to hold her breath to keep from screaming at him. “What happened to your eye? What happened to your hair?”
“Nothing. My fiancée just gave me a makeover. She really likes with playing with my hair because she doesn’t have any.” He winked. “Did I mention I met someone up here?”
“Yes. I’d have sent you a wedding invitation but, again, your witchcraft blocked it out.”
“Goodbye, Ocean.” She reached up and grabbed the saucer’s tail, pulling it down so the hologram was distorted. “Here’s a wedding present!”
“You found my mirror!”
“I stole it.” She shoved it into the saucer’s hole and Ocean’s image flickered out before he could get a last word in. As soon as she let it go the tiny ship soared up into the air and back towards its home.
“Enjoy your Stockholm Syndrome!”
Author’s Notes: So I’m having fun attempting to reconcile the different Sims games with each other. The Bachelor family of T23 was a big letdown in their normality, but they always seemed a little bit too normal too me. Here are the bios and traits from the game, so you can see what inspired some of this:
The Bachelors are a tightly knit family and Simis sees to it that everything - and everyone - is in its place. Now if only the other neighborhood kids were as well behaved as his Michael and Bella.
Although he has strict rules that he expects his family to abide by, Simis is mostly kind.
Neurotic, inappropriate, handy, family-oriented, frugal
A dutiful wife and mother, Jocasta enjoys the arts, but her real hobbies are gardening and keeping her family happy by providing for their every need.
Over-emotional, loner, green thumb, coward, angler
Michael, the ideal son, has lots of friends at school and loves to be outside, playing any sport.
(NOTE: In the actual game he only has one friend: A little kid named Mortimer.)
Loves the outdoors, schmoozer, athletic, friendly
The cut text is a Katy Perry song, the video of which features an alien girl in love with a robot.