“Well?” Sugar asked onez. “What did the thousand mommies say? Is Alder going to be a baby-daddy-mommy or not?”
“Oh, I think not,” onezero answered. “You know how they feel about the requirement of a gentle heart. We both know that Alder has a good heart–but gentle? I’m not so sure about that.”
So it seems that we won’t be having any blue or purple side-shoots, at least not at present.
Alder, the one Sim at Cradle Rock without the glutton trait, has decided to go through with his adult birthday.
“Somebody’s got to mark the passage of time,” he told Red, “and if our fool of a father insists on eternal youth, I’ll just have to pass him on the fast lane of the one-way highway to Kick-the-Bucketville.”
Alder has decided that he doesn’t like their father, and poor Nathanael gets “Stranger Danger” whenever he’s around his own son. It isn’t easy being the loner father of a son turned mean, but Nathanael isn’t letting it get him down. He sees this as just another of life’s challenges–something he can face, learn from, and grow from. Besides, his daughter Red is still the apple of his eye, and his aunt-in-law onez is the blueberry of his heart. Families contain all the flavors–the bitter and the sweet.
Blinded by his affection for onezero, Nathanael doesn’t realize that she’s not that crazy about him either. At least she rarely yells at him. She keeps her dislike of him to herself, and Nathanael remains free to nurture his affections.
Perhaps onezero’s favorite family member is Alder. In spite of his meanness, she loves his artist’s soul. The two have spent countless hours painting together, not talking much, but enjoying shared creativity.
“Congratulations!” she told him on his birthday, before wrapping him in a big hug. “You’re almost the oldest one of all of us!”
We don’t know if we should be measuring age in number of days or life-stage. Alder wants us to measure it in life-stage, and if we do, it’s true that it won’t be too long before his dad drinks from the white cup again, and Alder assumes the role of eldest.
At his birthday party, Alder marched right up to his cake to make a wish, without hesitation. Part of being an artist, he feels, is to experience all of life–not just youth, but maturity, too. He’s ready to become an adult.
The family cheered and threw confetti. The guests, having recently gone through elderspin, were none too enthusiastic. The next-to-last birthday just brings the last one that much closer, they feel. But for onezero, who’s decided to bypass her own birthdays, the birthday of her favorite nephew is something to celebrate!
Red blew the horn hard, announcing to the world that he brother had moved on ahead of her. Are they still twins if she remains a young adult while he’s become an adult?
They decided when they were kids to become BFFs, and the second “F” stands for “forever.” Red and Alder know that being twins doesn’t depend on being the same age, but from having shared the same womb.
At every party, Red’s got the same shadow, Park Boy Clarence. He looks on fondly wherever she is. By now, he must be awfully familiar with the back of her head.
Always the first guest to arrive, Clarence has taken to also being the last to leave. After the party is over, he takes another bowl of ice cream and sits somewhere, not too far from Red.
“I can hear your fingers on the keyboard,” he says. “Must be a great novel, huh? A best-seller this time, for sure!”
Red, in spite of her enthusiasm, maxed writing skills, and prolific output has yet to pen a best-seller, and writing three of those is all that stands between her and the completion of the writer aspiration. Once that aspiration is done, I’m stepping in with a legacy-intervention and choosing “soul-mate” for her next aspiration. I figure she needs a little nudge towards romance if we ever expect to see gen 9.
If Red paid attention to such things as friendship meters, she’d notice that hers is most full with Clarence. But she never notices that.
She might notice, too, if she had a mind to notice such a thing, that Clarence has begun feeling a little flirty lately. Especially when it’s just the two of them. And especially when her conversation bubble deals with the topic of “Moving in.”
Oh, I have loved Clarence since we met him at the park so long ago! That first night when he, Jamie, and Paris came over–Clarence was the last to leave then, too–and he laughed and laughed at Red’s jokes, I think he won me over then.
If Red doesn’t choose him, Clarence won’t be the only one heart-broken. I will be, too!
The two maiden aunts watch their niece’s lack of interest in romance without much concern.They trust the forward movement of the legacy to ensure that there will be mates and children, that we’ll make it through gen 9 and 10, even if it takes a few more autonomous helpings of youth potion.
They’ve been filling the evenings with parties. The night before Alder’s birthday party, they threw a Black-and-White.
“I never knew elegant clothes could be so comfortable!” onezero said. “Maybe I’ll dress up more often!”
Alder, who’s working on the ridiculously wealthy aspiration right now, enjoyed dressing up and talking with the elegant woman who was the mixologist at the party Sugar had thrown the night before.
“Everything looks so much more expensive in black and white!” she said.
“I know!” Alder replied. “Isn’t it awesome?”
The night before that, Sugar threw a Spooky party.
She dressed to type in the Trojan warrior uniform.
onezero, perhaps anticipating the next night’s Black-and-White, wore the black and white maid uniform.
Building on the NPC theme, Alder dressed up as a mailman.
“Are you looking to attract female attention in that costume?” Red asked. “I’m pretty sure Sugar just invited the Park Boys.”
“Naw,” said Alder. “I’m just dressed to honor our great grandpa and great granduncle.”
The whirlwind of parties leading up to his birthday party didn’t make the birthday party feel less special to Alder.
House parties, costume parties, dinner parties, spooky parties, and black-and-whites–they’re all just something to fill the chain of days linking cradle to grave.
Alder’s decided to follow that chain from one end to the next. Let his crazy glutton family ride the loop, never getting any older, circling through the same old events they moved through the day before, shifting to a new set of party guests as the old generation passes.
That’s not Alder’s way. He wants a beginning, a middle, and an end. He’s moved into the middle now. Looking down that chain, he can already see the hooded one waiting for him at the end.