Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chapter 15: Teenage Dreams

Lily gives a makeover to August Grapevine, Phillip's son. Apparently, August thinks he's smokin' hot.

Darren Wattson, the "coolest boy in school" (according to himself),  has the hots for Beatrix.

Beatrix finds the attention flattering, but his advances make her nervous. She grins awkwardly at Darren, not really sure what to say.

As things heat up between Beatrix and Darren, Paxton watches them anxiously out of the corner of his eye. Pax doesn't think Darren is good enough for his sister, and besides, he's got someone else in mind for her.

Ethan, who practically lives at the West household these days, doesn't really know what to think about the new man in Bea's life.

Closer than ever, Ethan and Beatrix have come up with a devious plot to find Paxton a girlfriend. One of Bea's good friends (and Darren Wattson's younger sister) just started high school, and she's still single. These best friends are not above matchmaking.

Beatrix throws a slumber party. She invites every teenager in Riverblossom, but her guest of honor is Jacklyn Wattson. She grins mischievously as Paxton introduces himself to the lovely young woman.

Darren makes an appearance as well, but after chatting with Bea for a few minutes he complains about a headache and leaves.

Out of all the topics of conversation, Jacklyn and Paxton choose to chat about Paxton's mom. Jacklyn is a budding fashionista and quite enamored with Lily's work as a stylist.

In the background, Ethan quietly eavesdrops on their conversation, trying to see how they are getting along.

"You know, I think my sister and her friend are trying to set us up," Paxton whispers to Jacklyn.

"Yeah, I kind of got that impression," Jacklyn whispers back.

"And they think we have no idea!" Paxton laughs.

"Gee, what idiots!" Jacklyn says as they both break into giggles.

Beatrix and Ethan decide to hit the hot tub, and as part of their master plan they invite Jacklyn and Paxton to join them. As soon as Jacklyn and Paxton start to get comfortable however...

The best friends make a quick exit.

"Hey where are you guys going?!" Jacklyn exclaims with a laugh.

Paxton glares at Ethan, silently begging the vampire not to leave him alone with Jacklyn. Pax thinks that was a mean trick.

However, by the end of the night Paxton decides to buy them each a very large and expensive present...

Or perhaps two large and expensive presents.

After spying on Jacklyn and Paxton, Ethan and Beatrix head back to the room they've shared since childhood, Bea's bedroom.

"We did it, Ethan!" Bea shrieks excitedly. She's very happy for her brother.

Ethan smiles as he gazes into her eyes. "With one of the West twins taken care of, what shall we do about the other one?"

The purposeful look on his face makes Beatrix's heart skip a beat. "Well, there's always Jacklyn's brother Darren..." Beatrix begins.

Ethan makes a face. "I think you deserve better than that Bea," he tells her.

Beatrix laughs. "Oh yeah? Like who? Guys aren't exactly knocking down my door..."

Ethan smiles shyly. "Like me," he says softly, his eyes locked on hers.

And before she can even respond, he leans in and gently presses his lips against hers.

As he slowly pulls away, he looks at her anxiously, trying to read her expression. "Beatrix, I'm sorry. I just..." he begins.

Bea smiles and puts a finger on his lip. "What took you so long?" she asks playfully.

Ethan sighs, relieved. Gingerly, he pulls her toward him and wraps his arms around her waist. She gazes into his eyes, savoring the feeling of his body so close to hers.

"I love you Bea," he tells her. "I always have."

She kisses him. "I love you too Ethan," she whispers.

"Be my girlfriend," he says it more as a statement than a question.

She quietly nods her head yes, and they share one last kiss before going to sleep.

Before long, it's time for the prom. Ethan surprises Beatrix with a bouquet of her favorite flowers.

Really, really surprises her.

The happy couple poses for prom night photos.

Paxton and his date Jacklyn decide that they don't feel like getting their photo taken.

While the kids are out with their dates, Leo decides he and Lily can have a little date of their own.

With their own prom picture prominently displayed on the nightstand, Leo and Lily enjoy some quality time together. It's the first time in a long time that they've had the house to themselves.

After a fantastic evening at the prom, Paxton immediately heads to bed. Over the course of the night, he and Jacklyn decided to go steady, and to everyone's surprise (well, mostly just Beatrix) Paxton won prom king.

With Bea's parents fast asleep and Paxton dead to the world, Ethan and Bea decide to sneak out of the house and get some alone time of their own.

For a while, they sit together under their old tree house contentedly watching the stars.

"Have I told you that I love you, Bea?" Ethan asks her.

"Once or twice," Beatrix teases.

"I want to be with you. Forever," he whispers.

Beatrix blushes. She can't imagine spending her life with anyone else.

As they get to their feet, about to turn in for the night, Ethan suddenly pulls Beatrix toward him, kissing her passionately. He feels restless, and he doesn't want to say good night just yet.

"What was that for Ethan?" Beatrix pants, trying to catch her breath.

"Bea, I want tonight to be special. Extra special."

She looks at him, confused. "But I thought it already was..."

"No, Bea," he says, trying not to sound pushy. "I want to make tonight something neither of us will ever forget."

Beatrix frowns. "Ethan, what are you talking about?"

He grins as his eyes flit over to the large tree house just behind them.

"I love you," he tells her firmly. "And I want to be with you, forever. I just want forever to start now."

Beatrix feels her stomach go all tingly. The idea excites her, more than she would like to admit.

"Ethan, I don't know. What if we get caught?" she asks nervously.

"Sweetie, we won't," he reassures. "Everyone is asleep, and we are completely separated from the house..."

Bea still feels unsure, but when Ethan gives her that pleading look, his big blue eyes full of hope, she caves.

And she can't say that she doesn't enjoy what comes next.

Challenge Notes:

I just re-read this chapter's ending, and I realized that it isn't obvious from the picture what is going on with Bea and Ethan (although I think the text is pretty helpful). They are in the tree house, alone, with little pink hearts flying around everywhere. There, if you don't understand now, then I can't say I didn't try.

I am curious what you all think about Ethan. When I was playing the game, I had a different image of his personality than what I wrote about in this chapter.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chapter 14: As Time Goes By

Right after the wedding, Paxton and Beatrix have their birthday. As children, they continue to spend most of their free time in Leo's daycare, helping their dad with the tots and doing their homework.

Pax and Dakota bond over the afternoon homework ritual. Dakota is getting older now, but she still loves to help out with her grand-kids whenever she can.

Ethan von Hagen, Kristopher's son, aged up shortly before Beatrix did. As a graduate of Leo's daycare and a good friend of both of Bea's parents, he finds himself frequently coming home to Beatrix's house after school.

Despite his father's quick rise to the top of the business career, Ethan and Kristopher still live in a run-down shack on the outskirts of town. For the most part, Kristopher largely ignores his son, leaving his upbringing in the hands of teachers and neighbors. Ethan's always been jealous of Bea's family, but especially Beatrix's dad Leo. He idolizes the man and longs to be just like him one day.

"My husband is going to be ripped," Beatrix tells Ethan one afternoon.

"Yeah? Well my wife is going to be a model," Ethan brags right back.

"Hah, good luck with that!" Bea laughs. Always quick to say what's on her mind, Beatrix never bothers to think before she speaks.

Ethan frowns. "Well, my dad says I don't even need to get married. He says that marriage is for suckers!"

"Is not!" Beatrix retorts.

"Is to!" Kristopher sticks out his tongue at her before going over to play with Pax.

Beatrix gets her revenge later by whacking him with a pillow. However, she forgot one vital bit of information when planning her attack...

Vampires hit H.A.R.D.

After some more pillow fighting, Beatrix invites Ethan to stay and have a sleepover with her and her brother.

Ethan readily agrees.

"Adult vampires seriously can't be out in the sun?" Bea asks Ethan as they get ready for bed.

"Nope, not for very long. Dad says it burns our skin."

"Will you burst into flames?!" Beatrix sounds excited at the thought. Fire is cool, but spontaneous combustion is even cooler.

Ethan shrugs and goes to change into his pajamas. He's learning to ignore Bea's off-the-cuff remarks.

Ethan sleeps in Beatrix's room in the only extra bed in the house. While Bea dreams of her future husband's six pack, Ethan doesn't dream at all.

The next morning, Beatrix heads downstairs to find Ethan already awake and eating breakfast with her dad. As Leo chats with the young vampire, Bea looks on in embarrassment. Whether it's because her father just got through explaining, in detail, Beatrix's struggles with potty training or because he's sitting around talking to Ethan in his underwear, who really knows. One thing's for certain though: Bea is mortified.

That morning, while Paxton, Beatrix, and Ethan are at school, the reaper pays a visit to their house. Dakota was working on one last painting, a portrait of her daughter, when death came knocking.

Knowing that she's lived a full life, she willingly goes with Grim.

Despite their rocky relationship, Lily is heartbroken to lose her mother.

Grimmy decides to hang around for a little while after collecting Dakota's soul. Leo thinks this is a fine opportunity to introduce himself.

The reaper likes Leo's house. Leo is quite taken aback by the compliment but grins in appreciation.

After Grim leaves, Leo immediately heads to the bathroom to check out his newly formed wrinkles. Age is starting to show on his once youthful face, and confronted with the reality of his own mortality Leo is experiencing a full-blown midlife crisis.

When Beatrix gets the news that afternoon, Ethan does his best to cheer her up.

While she feels a bit better after talking to Ethan, what truly brightens her day is dumping a bucket of water on her brother. That really lifts her spirits.

Ethan spends the night at Bea's house again. He hangs out at her place most of the time anyway, so it's generally just easier for him to sleep there too.

"Why are you drinking that?" Beatrix wants to know.

"I may as well get used to plasma now. I'm going to have to live off of it when I'm an adult," he replies.

"Aren't you going to miss real food?" Beatrix finds herself intrigued by her vampire friend.

"Nah, I'll be able to drink blood too. That'll more than make up for it."

Beatrix makes a face. "Yuck!"

Ethan just smirks. It's fun grossing out Bea.

Paxton, Beatrix, and Ethan play in the tree house. Paxton likes to pretend they are the three musketeers. Bea thinks Pax needs to get a life.

Lily carves some time out of her busy schedule to get to know Ethan. She worries about the boy and wants to know what his home life is like. Ethan keeps his description pretty vague, as he doesn't want Mrs. West to worry about him.

Lily adores Ethan, but she thinks of him as a wild card. She worries about the influence he's having on her daughter.

Not that there is any cause to be concerned. Beatrix is simply wondering if Ethan is going to randomly burst into flames.

Paxton wants a girlfriend. Too bad the girls in town don't want Paxton.

Trying to play the overprotective older brother, Paxton corners Ethan one afternoon to discuss his intentions with Beatrix.

"If you hurt her, I will hunt you down and beat you with my musket," he tells the vampire.

"Dude, go away or I will pound you," Ethan replies, annoyed.

"Oh yes, right. Okay." Paxton poses no threat to the older and stronger vampire, and he knows it.

Paxton enjoys playing with the toddlers in Leo's daycare. At least they don't make fun of him.

Lily throws a party for Pax and Bea's birthday. By now, she's used to the folks around town crashing her parties, but one particularly unwelcome guest shows up as well.

"What are you doing here Kristopher?" Lily asks furiously.

"Ethan invited me," he responds coolly.

"If it weren't for Ethan, I would have run you out of town years ago," Lily hisses.

Kristopher smirks. "Well, it appears the boy is good for something after all."

Lily looks at him with outrage in her eyes. Before she can even respond, however, Kristopher vanishes with vampire speed. Lily is glad he left.

Paxton blows out his candles first. He wishes for a girlfriend.

Paxton, the teenager. He develops the flirty trait.

Beatrix goes next.

Ethan, now a teenager, is on hand to cheer Beatrix on.

Beatrix, the teenager. She becomes a hopeless romantic, although she vows not to tell anyone. She's going to keep her tough image alive if it's the last thing she does.

Challenge Notes:

Just to be clear, Bea is pronounced "Bee", as in a bumble "bee". I was really worried when I saw Beatrix as a child. I thought she was going to end up looking rather plain. I was pleasantly surprised at her teenage self, though. I quite like the shape of her face, and the fact that she is not identical to Leo or Lily helps a lot too.

Ethan the teenager looks different than I thought he would. I haven't decided if I am going to keep him dressed like that. I was trying to make him look rebellious without edging into the punk, but his outfit seems a bit sloppy to me. His original clothes, before I changed them, were hilarious.

After Makeover
Before Makeover

Considering his traits are brave, rebellious, disciplined, and daredevil (all randomly chosen by the game), I really didn't think that outfit suited him at all. It made me giggle though.

Oh yeah, as for the challenge, Dakota met all her requirements before she died. She didn't even get close to maxing her artist career (she got to level 7 I think), but she did complete her lifetime wish (Renaissance Sim). I was happy about that, as she barely made it before dying. She lived off of homemade food her whole life, even after Lily's generation took over.

As for generation 2's goals, neither Lily or Leo have completed their lifetime wish, but they are both close. Leo's wish is to master the mixology skill and buy a bar. I have more than enough money to buy the bar (or I will shortly when Lily completes that lucrative painting opportunity), and he is on level 8 of the mixology skill. Lily's goal is to reach the top of her stylist career, and she is on level 7 or 8, so she should get there no problem. They've been throwing a party every week (sometimes 2/week depending on birthdays/weddings), so I am definitely on track with those two.

The title of the chapter comes from the movie Casablanca (one of my favorite films, ever). It is the name of the song that the character Sam sings at Rick's bar. (I realize the song itself has nothing to do with my chapter, but I thought the wording of the title fit the theme of my chapter, even if nothing else does. Besides, I love Casablanca, and I will find any reason to talk about it. :)