So far in his short life, Zenith has failed at pretty much everything he’s tried. He wasn’t very good at ballet—inevitably quitting despite Nova’s protests—and he is always chosen last for any team in P.E. class. He’s failing math, despite Solaris providing weekly tutoring sessions, and Polaris has given up teaching him to drive after weeks of nightly lessons.
But Zenith is really, really talented when it comes to music He excels at every instrument, though he prefers guitar. It gives him a certain ethos among his peers. He may be the dolt who gets F’s on almost every exam, but he's can play more than just "Smoke on the Water."
Zenith is so focused on practicing the B7 chord that he doesn’t notice his mother’s yelping. Or the smell of the fire, or the other smell of singed flesh. Or the fire alarm blaring. Really, it’s safe to say that Zenith doesn’t notice about 90% of his environment when he’s not practicing. It goes up to 98% when he is practicing.
“Zenith! Zenith!! ZENITH!!” Polaris screams, “The fucking house is on fire! Get your sister and get out of here!”
“Oh my maker!” Zenith drops his guitar and, apparently misunderstanding his mother, runs towards the fire.
“Oh my maker,” he repeats himself, “should I call the fire department?”
“LEAVE,” Polaris commands, “get out! It’s not safe!” Fear roots her to the floor, or else she would grab Zenith and pull him out of the house herself.
“But I should call the fire department, right?”
“ZENITH BEE, get your ass out of this house immediately!”
Nova, drawn by the noise, bounds down the stairs. When she sees her mother and brother panicking over the fire, she grimaces. It has been a particularly cold winter, and thus her mother has been cooped up inside. She’s been dealing with that confinement by upgrading everything she could get her claws on. It was only a matter of time until she caught something on fire, Nova thinks to herself.
“Let me get some water,” Zenith declares, “that’ll take care of this!” He’s proud of himself for finally calming down enough to come up with a solution.
“No,” Nova says sharply, “it’s an electrical fire. That’ll just make things worse.” She pulls a fire extinguisher out from a nearby cabinet and aims at the base of the fire.
“Kill it kill it kill it kill it kill it!” Polaris has become hysterical. Her hysterics whip Zenith into a frenzy, and tears begin to stream down his face.
Outwardly, Nova looks calm as she sprays the extinguisher at the fire. Inside, though, she’s exhilarated. This is exciting—she’s looking death in the face and laughing!
“Take that, fire,” she mutters to herself, “take that! And that! And that!” She punctuates each ‘that’ with a spritz from the extinguisher. Finally, the fire dies down, Polaris stops ranting, and Zenith stops crying.
“Wow, Nova,” Zenith is really impressed, “you could be a firefighter!”
“Nah, I don’t think I’d care about saving anyone other than my dopey brother.”
“Aww, shucks,” Zenith grins, “I’m special.”
Each night, Nova runs for at least an hour before going to bed. With the heavy snow, she’s been forced to use a treadmill instead. As she runs, she thinks about what her brother said. Maybe she could be a firefighter. That might be fun, right? But Nova’s not quite sure about the amount of discipline that particular career takes.
Her gymnastics coach thinks she has a shot for the Simlympics team, but there Nova runs into the issue of discipline again. She’s not very good at taking orders.
Ms. Jenkins, her composition teacher, thinks she could maybe publish some of her work. “You could be a best-selling author,” Ms. Jenkins constantly reassures her. But when Nova re-reads her stories, she cringes. There’s no way people would pay to read her work.
Maybe she really will join the circus.
Once Polaris calms down, she takes a shower and assesses the damage. Her skin isn’t burnt—it seems that she was covered in soot, not burns--but her hair is singed at the tips. She takes a pair of scissors and shears off the bottom of her hair. Oops—now her hair’s uneven. Unsure of what to do, she finally gathers her hair into a bun and secures it. Good enough, she thinks.
“Where’d you find him?” Zenith asks his sister, “he’s adorable!”
“Her. She’s a girl. I got her from Mia. She found this dog outside and her mom wouldn’t let her keep her,” Nova replies.
“What’ya gonna name her?”
“I’m thinking Kiki. What do you think?”
Zenith smiles, “It’s cute. I like it. Kiki she is. What do you think, Kiki?”
“Do you think mom’ll be okay with it?”
Nova shrugs, “Maybe? I think we can convince her. Hey, can I play your drums?” Nova has been making eyes at her brother’s drum set for several minutes now. She rather likes the idea of being a drummer. Drums are loud and obnoxious. That’s right up her alley.
“Yeah, go for it.”
Nova bounces over to the drums and plops down on the stool. Picking up the sticks, she surveys her canvas. This should be simple enough.
She begins by beating a single, loud beat on the snare drum. Then she hits the cymbals a couple of times. Finally, she settles into a rhythm: kick-drum, kick-drum, cymbal. Kick-drum, kick-drum, cymbal.
Kiki jumps at the noise. Her hackles raise, and she cautiously circles the drum set, slightly jumping at each strike of the cymbal. She tilts her head left, then right, and then, after a moment of hesitation, wags her tail and howls a little.
“Look,” Nova points towards Kiki with a drumstick, “she’s singing along!”
“Well then let’s sing a song for her,” Zenith grins and picks up his guitar. He begins to hum a tune, then starts playing the melody on his guitar. Nova manages to pick up the beat. Her clumsy drumming doesn’t match his dexterous strumming, but the twins are having too much fun to care. With a wide grin, Zenith sings. His voice is immature—not quite a man’s voice, but not quite a boy’s—and he sounds like he has a bad cold. There’s something charming about it, though.
“Kiki, your leash is too long,
You go where you don’t belong.
You’ve been diggin’ in the rubble,
Gettin’ into trouble,
Kiki, your leash is too long”
Kiki howls along, her tail swaying from side to side as if she understands that the song is about her. At the next chorus, Zenith takes a break from singing so Kiki can have her solo.
“We should start a band,” Nova yells over the noise to her brother, “We could call ourselves ‘Kiki and the Kooks!”
“There’s already a band called the Kooks,” he yells back. Kiki punctuates that statement with a howl, as if to say, ‘Yeah, pick a different name, girly!’ Maybe Kiki and the Rest?
“That’s why I added 'Kiki and,'” she retorts.
The trio is so loud that Polaris has no problem entering Zenith’s bedroom without the twins noticing. “I thought I heard a dog,” she remarks.
“What’s that, mom?!” Nova yells. She doesn’t stop drumming, though.
“I THOUGHT I HEARD A DOG.”
“Oh yeah, a dog! We got a dog!” Nova is pretty good at playing dumb. She uses her brother for inspiration.
“And where did this dog manifest from, dearest children?”
“HUH,” Zenith shouts, clueing in on his sister’s desire to play down the new dog.
“WHERE’D YOU GET THE FUCKING DOG?”
“Oh, Mia gave her to us,” Nova smiles brightly, “gee, ma, can we keep her?”
Polaris sighs. She has no problem with a new dog, but her children need to learn to ask her for these kinds of things, first. She’s supposed to at least act like an authority figure.
“Please, mom!” Nova shouts, “please mom, please mom, please mom,” she beats the snare drum each time she says please, and stomps on the kick-drum pedal on each mom.
Zenith joins in, strumming his beloved B7 chord.
“Oooh, oh! Oooooh oh!” Kiki howls. She turns in a circle and then sits at Polaris’ feet, her tail moving from side to side. Her doggy smile invites Polaris to pick her up.
Polaris is surprised by how pleasant the dog is. She expected the little monster to be vicious, given her toothy mouth, strangely shaped head, and suspicious triangular eyes. When she picks Kiki up, Kiki begins to wiggles and licks Polaris’ arms. Her heart melts as she pets the furry little beast.
“Fine—but you get to take care of her! I ain’t pickin’ up no mess.”
“Victory!” Nova declares with a strike of a cymbal.
Zenith celebrates with a wicked guitar solo.
Things are going equally well for the triplets. Elysia is steadily climbing the ladder at The Sunset Valley Times. Her editor is impressed by Elysia’s uncanny ability to get tons of information out of her sources. It’s almost supernatural.
For years, Elysia has used her telepathy to find out people’s secrets. Now she’s getting paid for it—it truly is the perfect job for her. She dreams about becoming a world-renowned investigative journalist, a dream that seems to get closer when she spots Geoffrey Landgraab at the bistro one day.
“Hello,” she has an easy time approaching him. Men usually don’t complain when she strikes up a conversation with her. “I don’t believe we’ve met—I’m Elysia Bee.”
“Elysia—what an exotic name for a beauty such as yourself,” Geoffrey purrs, “You can call me Geoffrey.” Elysia tries not to gag. Does this geezer really think she’d be interested?
“Your wife is Nancy Landgraab, correct?”
“Women aren’t usually interested in discussing my wife,” he deflates.
“Well, I’m with The Sunset Valley Times and I’ve been trying to contact her for weeks, but her secretary keeps giving me the run-around. I’ve been trying to contact her about her recent meetings with the CEO of a rival company, a Mr. Lawrence Parker—“
“I’m going to stop you there, Elysia. My wife wouldn’t want me talking to you, and frankly I’m not into busy-body reporters.” Elysia rolls her eyes—she wishes she didn’t have to peek into people’s heads every time she needed information.
“Listen,” she locks eyes with Geoffrey, “you chinless bastard. I also run the gossip column, and I don’t think your wife would like to read about your trysts with…Emma, is it? And Molly? And Claire?”
“H-how did you know about that?!”
“I’m quite resourceful, Mr. Landgraab. Now, I believe you were going to give me your wife’s direct phone number?”
“Yes, I believe I was….”
Meanwhile, Luna and Quentin’s relationship is progressing quickly. Luna’s career as an artist is also taking off, though she finds that the tastes in Sunset Valley have shifted from paintings to sculptures.
“So you helped pick these pieces out?” Quentin asks, his arm around Luna. She brings him to the art museum every time there’s a new exhibit, but he doesn’t mind.
“Yeah—they might accept some of my work next season, but right now the curator wants to focus on ‘sellable art,’ whatever that means. He says my style is too fringe. I guess that’s what happens in a town where the only people who enjoy art like it for its ability to diversify their financial investments.”
“I’m sure your pieces will be accepted soon,” Quentin replies, “You’re more talented than this hack.”
“Well this ‘hack’ is rolling in the dough. I wouldn’t mind some dough, especially with the baby coming.”
“Don’t worry about it, Luna. We’ll manage. I can always go to my parents if we really need some cash.”
“I think it’s about time we left,” Luna changes the subject, “I told my mom we were coming by tonight.” Quentin nods, but inside he’s terrified—the thought of meeting Luna’s mother is almost too much to handle.
But Polaris has forgotten about Luna’s promise to visit. Ever since the fire, she’s been working out like mad. She can feel herself getting old, withering away. Maybe this will delay the inevitable.
Luna can see her mother inside, but she still rings the doorbell. Quentin, meanwhile, hangs behind at the bottom of the stairs.
“Come up here, you dweeb!” Luna calls down at him.
“Are you sure she’s not going to bite my head off?” Quentin can’t explain why he’s so afraid of his girlfriend’s mom—they’ve never even met.
“Well, no, but I’ll be there to play mediator.”
Polaris finally opens the door and ushers them in. “Sorry, Lulu. I couldn’t hear you over the TV. Please come in. Oh, is this Quentin?” Quentin notices that when she says his name, she makes a face.
“Yes, this is him,” Luna gushes, “the man of my dreams!”
Quentin grins like an idiot.
And he continues to grin.
And he grins some more, until Luna finally nudges him.
“Quentin Parker,” he extends his hand, “Pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Bee.”
“Miss,” she corrects him, “I’m not married. I’m just an old hag.”
“Aw, mom, why are all these dishes out! Do you not keep a clean house now that I’m not here?” Luna bustles to the kitchen so she can clean up the dishes.
“Oh, Miss Bee, you’re not old at all! You’re a spring chicken,” Quentin laughs awkwardly.
“Are you mocking me? Can’t you see these wrinkles?”
“No, I mean you look good for your age—“
“My age? How old do you think I am?”
“Well, Luna said you had her pretty young—“
“Oh, so you think I’m some kind of slut then, don’t you?”
“No, Mrs. Bee! Not at all!”
Luna looks in through the room divider and senses how lost her boyfriend is. She sighs and decides to rescue him.
“Mom, we have some big news,” she interrupts. Quentin pretends to look lovingly at his girlfriend, but really he’s just trying to avoid eye contact with Polaris. She’s going to kill me when she finds out…
Luna pauses for appropriate effect before finishing: “We’re pregnant!”
“Yeah! We just found out,” Luna squeals, “I’m in the second trimester.”
“Oh, honey! That’s great news,” she hugs Luna tightly, “have you told your dad yet?”
“No, not yet. Mom, I really have to pee, stop squeezing!”
“Oops, sorry Lulu,” Polaris lets go over her daughter.
“Be right back,” Luna calls over her shoulder as she waddles to the bathroom.
Silence smothers the room. Quentin stands awkwardly, trying to avoid eye contact with Polaris. Polaris clears her throat.
“So, Quentin, what do you do for a living?”
“I would like to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage,” he blurts out. Polaris blinks, but doesn’t respond, so he continues. “I love your daughter. I’m deeply, madly in love with her, in fact. I can’t stop thinking about her. I know it’s crazy fast, but I want this more than anything else, and I’m sure Luna does, too. Please, please gives us your blessing.”
Polaris glares at him, and Quentin feels his heart drop. They can marry without Polaris’ blessing, but he knows that would make Luna unhappy.
After what feels like an eternity, Polaris finally speaks. “You’re asking me if you can marry Luna? You idiot, you’re supposed to ask her,” she says, “not me!”
Quentin looks confused. “What do you mean?”
“I can tell you make my daughter happy—of course you have my blessing! Ask her to get married, not me! And the sooner, the better.”
“So that’s a yes?”
“Yes,” Polaris laughs, “of course! Welcome to the family, Quentin.” Her words are genuine.
“Thank you, Miss Bee.”
“Call me Polly, dear. I’m serious—propose soon. And please feel free to make tons of babies. I want at least five grandchildren.”
The couple visits with Polaris for a while longer before retiring for the night. Polaris asks them to tell Solaris to visit soon, and she gives a knowing wink to Quentin before they depart.
This particular night, he’s on call. Rather than waiting at home for the inevitable page, he decides to spend the night in the on-call room, working on patient reports. He’s so focused on the screen that he doesn’t notice his attending doctor, Dr. Covington, enter the room.
“Bee,” she barks, “good work earlier on that tracheal intubation.”
Solaris doesn’t look up from the screen. It’s not out of disrespect; he just needs to finish these reports as soon as possible. “Thank you, Dr. Covington. That means a lot.”
“Please, call me January. Do you have a moment?”
“Of course, Doctor,” Solaris shuts his laptop and pushes it aside, “do you have an assignment for me? A new patient, maybe?” Despite the long hours, Solaris really enjoys the medical field. He’s eager to help wherever he can.
“No,” she laughs, “but I appreciate how eager you are.” She sidles around the table and leans against it. Solaris notices she’s wearing fresh lip gloss.
“Then what can I help you with?” Solaris shifts in his chair and turns to her.
“I’ve never seen such a capable intern,” she speaks softly, “the way you handled that intubation—you were so gentle but firm at the same time. So dexterous.”
“Well, I was just using the technique you taught me,” he smiles. Why is she acting so weird?
“You’re a very quick learner, aren’t you?” Her voice is breathy. Solaris feels her foot rub against his inner thigh.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” he says, shift a little so her foot isn’t touching him.
“No need to apologize, Solaris,” she looks at him with hunger in her eyes. She rubs her foot against his thigh again, a little more aggressively.
“Please, call me January. Or Jan. Whichever you prefer.”
“January, then. I believe this is inappropriate behavior,” he can feel himself blush and—even more embarrassing—harden.
“Inappropriate? I’m just giving special interest to a special intern,” she purrs and lean towards him. Solaris panic and forcefully leans back in his chair. The strength of his attempted escape throws the chair back, and he tumbles to the floor.
January, seeing her chance, pounces on him. “Oh, don’t move. Let me take care of you.” She leans in, her lips slightly parting.
Solaris knows this is patently inappropriate. He even thinks this exact scenario might have been used in the sexual harassment training on his first day of work. But one kiss can’t hurt, can it? He’s never even dated a girl before, much less kissed one. Her lips meet his, and he doesn’t complain.
But it turns into much more than kissing. As Solaris reclines on the call room couch, Dr. Covington wrapped in his arms, he tries to remain calm. No one saw them. The door was locked—probably by the cunning Covington—and he wasn’t paged that night. It was a one-time thing, and it’ll be their little secret.
"Fido, Your Leash is Too Long"--The Magnetic Fields
Author’s Note: Story progression has done a lot. Elysia is rapidly climbing the ladder at her job. I think she’s already at level 4, and she aged up like six days ago. She’s dating Ethan Bunch, but since she has commitment issues I doubt it’ll go anywhere. Quentin and Luna are having a baby, and they seem to be in love (though Quentin/Luna hasn’t proposed yet).
January Covington is a sim I made, not a pre-made. I did NOT make her for Solaris, though. I also randomized her name, which is why it’s so amazingly dumb. I wanted to make a friend for Nova and Zenith when they were still children, so I made a spunky girl named Mia. I had to make a parent for her, and thus January was born. She is Solaris’ boss at the hospital, and they hooked up like the day he was hired. She’s also approximately the same age as Polly. What a cougar.
Also, I just realized that I forgot to upload the sims I promised. Whoops. I got too caught up taking pictures for this chapter. I’ll make sure to upload them tomorrow after work.