Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Chapter 1.4: Family Ties (?)

   Wow, I am a derp. The first few pictures of the update are my old, ‘only-adjust-brightness-and-contrast’ style and after that, I switch to using soft glow, which is MUCH BETTER. Many thanks to the lovely Fallon_Carter on the Sims 3 forums who kindly enlightened me on the existence of soft glow. Yes, I didn’t even know it existed. I admit, I was a Photoshop virgin before starting legacy stories.
   In other news, I’ve been featured on The Mare’s Nest! I don’t know whether to be pleased or not haha. I might have overreacted when I saw this because I was always afraid of being put on that site xD I can’t tell if they like me or hate me or think I’m crazy. But I guess it’s thanks to them that I was spurned into asking around for Photoshop help, and I met some marvellous people when I was freaking out on the forums. So, it’s almost like a blessing.

Screenshot-41

Screenshot
   With very little money in the house, Clementine decided to help relieve some of the pressure off of her constantly tired and hungry mother, and try to earn some cash her own way. She thought about selling some paintings that she would draw herself but she would need an easel…

Screenshot-2
   “BOO CLEMENTINE WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT!?”
   Clementine jumped and thought her heart would stop from the shock when someone suddenly grabbed her shoulders and yelled by her ear.
   It was Azalea, needless to say.
   Clementine shot her an angry look, which Azalea merely laughed at, and ran off to play outside, with Clementine still glaring after.

Screenshot-4
   Even as a child, Nyra preferred to play with Frodo instead of hanging out with her sisters. Though it might have been understandable why she might not have preferred Azalea’s company, Nyra didn’t even want to play with Clementine, even when her sister invited her to play tag or pillow fight. Even worse, Nyra tended to pretend that Frodo was real and actually talking to her, which was something that worried the rest of her family.

Screenshot-5
   Even though all three were excited for their first day of elementary school, Clementine and Azalea still weren’t on speaking terms and didn’t want to sit next to each other on the bus. Although Nyra would have been rather sick or annoyed being stuck in the middle of her quarrelling sisters, she didn’t mind as long as she had Frodo.

Screenshot-12
   “Ugh, I hate doing homework.” Azalea muttered as she stared at a blank piece of paper. Their class was learn how to write essays and their teacher wanted the students to start making a brainstorm of the class topic, ‘My Family’. She looked at it and tapped her pen on the page. What to write about her family? All she could think about was her naive her mother is, how odd Nyra acts, and how annoying Clementine is.

Screenshot-14
   “Hi, Azalea.” Azalea looked up to see that Nyra had sat down to start on her homework as well. “Are you working on the brainstorm Mrs. Phillip asked us to do?”
   “Yeah,” Azalea replied, still glaring at the paper as if it was the workbook’s fault. “I can’t think about what to write. Our family’s not that interesting.”
   Nyra shrugged. “Our mom’s apparently from a fantasy island and we own unicorns. I’d say we’re pretty fascinating.”

Screenshot-16
   “No one’s going to believe that!” exclaimed Azalea angrily. “They’ll just think I’m crazy or making it up to get attention!” Azalea closed her notebook with a hmph and left the room.
   Nyra watched her leave and felt someone pull on her arm to get her attention. It was Frodo.
   “Maybe you should write about how much Clementine and Azalea argue. It’s more believable than your mom or the unicorns, and it’s pretty interesting!”
   “It’s not that interesting to watch Clementine and Azalea fight, you know!” Nyra exclaimed, though she was smiling. She was so into talking with Frodo that she didn’t notice Bryony watching them.

Screenshot-18
   Or rather, watching her speak to the air.
   Although Bryony was worried about Nyra’s state of mind (perhaps the effects of no father figure in her youth?), she was also concerned about what Nyra was talking about.
   Clementine and Azalea fighting? Her ‘Tines and Zay? She couldn’t believe it! She decided she would need to talk to the girls over the weekend, when the family all had a vacation.

Screenshot-22Screenshot-23
   The next morning, as a little practical joke for Clementine, Azalea woke up extra early to set up small surprises in the bathroom before hurrying outside again.

***

   “AZALEA! YOU GET YOUR BUTT IN HERE RIGHT NOW!”

Screenshot-24
   Clementine looked in horror at the frightfully bright neon yellow colour her hair had been dyed into. She had been so proud of her beautiful chestnut hair! What if the dye doesn’t wash out?!
   Thankfully, it did and thankfully, Azalea pulled her prank on a Saturday instead of a school day. Clementine ignored these little hints of her sister’s kindness; even if Azalea had thought it through so that her prank wouldn’t socially impair Clementine, it still wasn’t something she should be doing around the house!
   “Ugh, why can’t she use her brain and energy for something more useful? Like helping Mom around the house or trying to earn some money?” grumbled Clementine as she squeezed out the last hints of dye in the shower.

Screenshot-27
   Clementine stormed out of the washroom in search of Azalea and passed by her mother on the way. Bryony, who had been woken up by Clementine’s angry screaming, looked at her daughter in mild worry before proceeding to the bathroom. To her great surprise and slight annoyance, the toilet started spouting out water like mad after she flushed it and she looked down at herself.
   Her pajamas were soaked and large puddles of water were already forming on the tiled bathroom floor. It wasn’t anything too major like a fire, but Bryony had wanted to spend her Saturday morning in peace and quiet.

Screenshot-29
   After Bryony had finished changing and was preparing to cook some breakfast for the family, Clementine walked up to her. She had seen Bryony emerge from the bathroom covered with water and scowling, and correctly deduced that it was thanks to one of Azalea’s pranks.
   “Hey, mom,” Clementine said as casually as she could. “I know who was the one who set booby traps in the washroom. Just today, when I took a shower, my hair got dyed bright, sunflower yellow thanks to a prank.”
   Bryony’s eyes widened. So that was the source of Clementine’s angry yelling that morning!

Screenshot-30
    “Well, Clementine?” Bryony asked her daughter. “Who was it?”
   “It was Azalea.”
  Bryony wasn’t quite sure what she should do in such a situation; she didn’t think Hank would be much help and she had never had any similar problems with her own family. She decided to go with what she had learned about how Sunset Valley would deal with disobedient children.

Screenshot-31
   Bryony headed outside to where Azalea was cleaning the horses’ hooves and demanded, “Azalea Summers, just what do you think you’re trying to do?!”
   Azalea didn’t even look up. “I’m cleaning the horses’ hooves, mom.”
   But Bryony was not to be placated. She felt that Azalea was doing whatever she pleased because she thought that Bryony with her soft Cake Island upbringing wouldn’t be much of an authority figure around the house. Well, she had to quell that thought immediately! Who knew what else Azalea would pull if she continued to think that way!
   “Azalea Summers, I want you to look at me when I’m talking at you! What you did was very immature and thoughtless! Have you ever thought about what I have to do and how many hours of work I put in so you and your sisters have a house to stay in and food to eat? I think I’ve deserved my Saturday morning and I didn’t want the first thing to happen to me to be getting sprayed at by the toilet! And the joke you pulled on Clementine wasn’t very nice, either, just so you know! Clementine is very upset! You should be happy that the dye washed out immediately, otherwise you would have been in much bigger trouble, missy!”
   Bryony paused to take a few breaths; she had yelled out her lecture in almost one go and she wondered if her speech got through to Azalea.

Screenshot-32
   Startled by Bryony’s ferocity, Azalea raised her arms up to try and calm Bryony down.
   “Whoa, mom, slow down. Relax. I’m sorry that I ruined your weekend morning and I’ll never do that again.” Azalea made sure she didn’t promise not to tease Clementine again though, but Bryony didn’t catch up on that.

Screenshot-33
   Nyra and Clementine were getting along quite swimmingly and became quite good friends. They loved to talk to each other and play tag with each other like normal kids, unlike Azalea, who seemed to like causing trouble for her sisters and mother.
   “When I get my own room,” Nyra declared to Clementine one day. “I would get it painted spiceberry and I would like a loft bed. It must be great sleeping on the top bunk, Clementine.”
   Clementine, who did indeed sleep on the top bunk while Nyra slept on the bottom, merely shrugged. “Eh, it’s fun at first but you get tired of it after a while!”
   “Aren’t you ever worried you might fall down?”
   “Of course not! There’s a railing there to prevent you from falling anyway, Nyra. Don’t be silly!”
   Bryony listened to the giggling and conversation of the two and felt proud of Clementine for managing to bring Nyra out of her shell. Nyra had been a loner even in the house, preferring to play with ‘Frodo’ but now that Clementine had managed to befriend her, Nyra became much more lively and talkative in the house.Screenshot-35
   Clementine looked around and saw that Bryony and Azalea had both gone back inside. She leaned over to Nyra and told her about the prank Azalea had pulled on her and Bryony that morning. Nyra didn’t seem very surprised.
   “Well, I heard you yelling about how you were going to kill her this morning,” Nyra said wryly, smiling when Clementine blushed at this. “But I’m sure Azalea will grow out of it.”
   “But she’s just so mean! The first thing she did the morning after our birthday was grab my shoulders and yell into my ear. Plus, have you seen her just walking around the house and laughing? I have to admit, Azalea scares me in a way. She doesn’t seem normal!”
   Nyra shook her head and waved a hand dismissively in the air. “You’re overthinking it, ‘Tines! Come on, Azalea’s just going through a phase.”

Screenshot-37
   Further sibling drama was postponed the next day to grieve the loss of Milly Summers, who died of old age. Her grave was placed in the backyard and was to be moved to the local pet cemetary on Monday.

Screenshot-38
   Bryony was heartbroken; Milly had been a wonderful mother and mate to Thunder and she was sad to see her go. She was even sadder for poor Thunder, who had dearly loved Milly. She had tried to hide this from the girls, not wanting them to have to deal with such grief at their young age, but it didn’t work very well.

Screenshot-40
   Bryony went out and gave Thunder a big hug around the neck to comfort him. She decided that instead of relaxing that day, she would take Thunder out for a ride around town to let him take his mind off of things. She left a message for the girls so they would know where she was when they wake up and lead Thunder out.

Screenshot-41
   Bryony deeply regretted her decision of not ever buying a saddle for Thunder. The unicorn charged down the streets like a bullet; obviously, he wanted to put Milly’s death out of his mind and get away from the house as well. Unfortunately,  he didn’t seem the realize that Bryony, a rather inexperienced rider, would be having a hard time just staying on his back.
   Many citizens of Sunset Valley that day were treated to the sight of a handsome black unicorn galloping through town with Bryony on his back practically clutching onto his body instead of the reins to avoid being thrown off.

Screenshot-42
   Meanwhile, back at the house, the girls had waken up and were going about their day. Clementine was headed to eat a breakfast of toast and jam when Azalea cornered her in the kitchen, with an angry scowl on her face and her fists clenched at her side.
   “I can’t believe you told on me to Mom!” Azalea exclaimed to Clementine.
   “Why are you blaming me for this?!” Clementine yelled back. “As if you’re an innocent in this mess! You’re the one that brought this down on yourself! Why did you even booby-trap the bathroom?!”
   “Well, someone had to make the house interesting!”
   Clementine looked at Azalea in confusion before realization dawned on her. “Wait, Azalea, are you serious? You pranked Mom and me just so you could do that brainstorm homework about your family?” Azalea didn’t say anything, which Clementine took as a ‘yes’. “I can’t believe this! You could have written about Thunder and Heartwood. You could have written about Mom being from Cake Island, or her working as a paramedic. You could have even written about Nyra’s Frodo!”

Screenshot-43
   “I can’t believe you ruined Mom and I’s weekend just so you could work on that stupid class project! What would the subject have been anyway? ‘The Summers: Super Blonde Sister And Toilet Impaired Mother’? That’s just bringing shame on all of us!”
   “Okay, chill,” Azalea muttered.
   “No, I will not chill!” Clementine continued. If Nyra and Bryony were too afraid to risk Azalea’s anger or dislike to teach her what was right and wrong, then Clementine would step up to the plate. As the older sister, that was her responsibility after all. “It’s not right of you to do that, Azalea. Sure, pranks are fun every once in a while, but not like this! Not when it ruined our hardworking mom’s Saturday or could have ruined my hair. You know I love my hair! And anyway, why are you even so worked up about this? Milly died today, you know!”
   And without another word, Clementine stalked off toward the fridge to eat her breakfast, while Azalea merely left the house to go outside.

Screenshot-44
   Azalea went across the street, borrowed the neighbour’s toy oven and lugged it all the way back to the Summers home, where she decided to bake a plate of vanilla muffins. She remembered Clementine gushing to Nyra about how much she wanted to help around the house by earning money in their own way.
   Although it did feel like it was almost like an apology to Bryony and Clementine, Azalea continuously told herself that this wasn’t it and she wanted more money for the house so she could buy more things for herself.

Screenshot-45
   Clementine, in the house, stood by the window and looked outside. It was peaceful in the house; Bryony and Azalea were both outside, and Nyra was writing homework on the bed. She wondered if she had been a little too hard on Azalea and whether Azalea’s habits and personality was a result of a lack of a fatherly figure in her life. But no, Nyra and Clementine turned out fine and weren’t as strange and mean-spirited as Azalea. She didn’t have much time to think about it when she heard a commotion from the entrance hall.
   “What, Frodo? Azalea baked muffins!?”
   Clementine turned around to see Nyra race out the door. Curiously, she followed her outside.

Screenshot-46
   And sure enough, standing proudly in front of a toy oven she must’ve borrowed from the neighbours, Azalea had baked a batch of vanilla muffins. To Clementine’s surprise, they weren’t even burned, but were perfect in appearance (and most likely, taste).
   “Wow, is this for us?” Nyra asked happily, reaching out for a muffin but Azalea rapped Nyra’s hand lightly with her knuckle.
   “No. I’m going to the park today and I’m going to sell these. I’m hosting a bake sale today.”
   “A bake sale?” echoed Clementine.
   “Unlike some people around the house, I’ve actually got a skill I can use to help earn money for the family,” Azalea replied, keeping her voice light and friendly as she looked in Clementine’s direction. At first, Clementine’s gaze hardened but she soon picked up Azalea’s tone. It was Azalea’s own way of offering an olive branch.
   To ordinary people, it might have seen like she was picking a fight, but Clementine knew her sister. She pretended to think about it and smiled. “Well, okay. Try not to get home too late; Mom would have a fit if you get picked up by the cops.”
   Nyra was bouncing on the balls of her feet. “Ooh, a bake sale? That sounds like so much fun! Azalea, can I go?”
   Azalea looked at the enthusiastic Nyra, and nodded curtly. Clementine offered to stay at home in case Bryony came home while they were gone.

Screenshot-47
   The two girls rode their bikes to the park and once they got there, Nyra noticed one of the ponds was practically frothing with fish. She looked at it so eagerly that Azalea caved in.
   “Here, I’ll get set up but it might take a while with all the extra blueberry muffins I baked before we left. Why don’t you fish over there to pass the time?”
   Nyra shot her a grateful look, and ran over to fish with a fishing rod she borrowed from a nearby man. It was surprisingly fun and relaxing compared to the somewhat tense atmosphere she was used to at home. Letting out a sigh of happiness, she wondered if she had just found her true calling.

Screenshot-48
   It was getting late and very few people came by to buy Azalea’s muffins, though they all complimented her on the great baking job she did. Instead of getting frustrated or angry though, Azalea remembered to avoid 6 o’clock at night on Sundays, as it appeared to a time when most Sims were at home eating dinner and preparing for Monday.
   She started making calculations in her head as to when Sims would usually want to be out and about, when would be the best time to sell chocolate muffins and when would be an opportune moment for a batch of vanilla muffins… for a small child, Azalea was quite sharp and she had already started jotting down notes on a piece of scrap paper. She was going to be the best muffin seller in all of Sunset Valley!

Screenshot-49
   At home, Clementine had also found her own way of earning money for family funds. She just read an article in the newspaper about how the science lab in town was giving out cash prizes as well as naming rights to people who discover new celestial bodies. Eagerly, she signed her name down and sent it to the science lab to get a mini-contract with them. Without even waiting for their reply, she raced to her mother’s telescope and started scanning the skies.
   When Bryony eventually got home from a tiring night of trying to wrestle control back from Thunder and collapsed on the front steps of the house, she was proud and amazed at what the girls had accomplished in the short while she was away. Clementine and Azalea seem to have reached some manner of truce; Nyra had completely broke free of her shell and seemed a completely different, happier person, and the three of them had all become self-employed in a way in order to help their mother relax a bit.
   It was times like these that made Bryony feel proud to be their mother. More specifically, their mother.

6 comments:

  1. Very nice chapter!
    The whole things is wonderful :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much! :D I'm glad you're enjoying the Summers! :)

      Delete
  2. This is so beautifully written! I love this! Not many people go into depth about each sim's personality and this gives a great light on who people would rather choose for the heir/heiress. It gives your legacy some personality in which many other legacies don't have!
    I like your style of writing were it's amusing but not over the top on the funny bone. Keep writing (Y) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much! Most of my other legacies focused mainly on my personal favourite and I felt that was really ruining it for the readers! >< This time I made an effort to include all three and I'm glad you enjoyed it!
      I'll most likely be playing and posting a chapter this weekend to stay tuned!

      Delete
    2. Hope you update soon!

      Delete