Chapter 3.23 – Mother

Honestly, I don’t know quite how to begin this. Calling you “Mother” just doesn’t feel right, and “Mom” just seems so ordinary, when you were never anything short of  amazing. I found this diary inside the box of research Dad had collected on our ancestors. It may have been put there accidently, though I suspect that it wasn’t. Building up the nerve to actually read it was not easy. You took such care in writing to dad and keeping the letters carefully bound together, it seemed almost sacrilege to disturb them. There is almost a sense that you knew the letters would … Continue reading Chapter 3.23 – Mother

Chapter 3.22 – Legend

Mark paces back-and-forth in the hospital’s lobby.   He had been at home, setting up for Hope’s birthday party, when the phone call came. David had collapsed at work and was being treated for chest pains. He tries not to think about a similar phone call he received not long ago, but he cannot prevent that terrible day from being conjured in his mind.   Hannah Dempsey, one of David’s oldest friends from the hospital, finally emerges and puts Mark’s mind to rest. David had only suffered an acute anxiety/panic attack. She rubs the back of her neck, as if … Continue reading Chapter 3.22 – Legend

Chapter 3.21 – Surveillance

David cheerfully plays with his granddaughter, Hope, before running off to work.   His hands are not nearly as reliable as they were during his youth, so his days as a surgeon have come to an end. Now his is work day consists mostly of diagnosis, consulting, and administrative nonsense. The nine holes of virtual golf he plays helps to break the day up nicely, however.   His routine is interrupted, one particular morning, when his secretary breaks in over the intercom and nervously announces that he has unscheduled visitors. David, in the midst of a crucial shot for a birdie on … Continue reading Chapter 3.21 – Surveillance

Chapter 3.20 – Caretaker

Having lost his son Jacob at such a young age has forced David to reevaluate is priorities in life. He decides to shift his focus more toward raising his remaining children, rather than on his career.   — Mary and Elizabeth were born very late in the marriage. Having so many adults in the house, both girls have become independently strong-willed and amazingly self-sufficient. But they have gravitated toward Mei with surprising ease, treating her more like a mother-figure than a sister-in-law. David wonders if the arrangement is healthy so soon after losing their mother, and he fears that they are trying to make Mei into … Continue reading Chapter 3.20 – Caretaker

Chapter 3.19 – Bittersweet

…if Mei had a word to describe the day after marrying Mark, it would be that …bittersweet.   Their night together had been something for poets to write about, and their morning together was likewise poetic. But the phone call from an “Aunt Yuki” after breakfast changed everything. Mei had seen many emotions play across her lover’s face before. But not this. The color drained out of his cheeks, and the tears fell like streams from his eyes. But his expression was that of an emotionless statue. Something was wrong; something terrible and crushing.   His mother and brother, Jacob, … Continue reading Chapter 3.19 – Bittersweet

Chapter 3.18 – Cultures

The sim-world is a colorful aggregate, where rich and fascinating cultures have developed over the centuries; each culture with its own beliefs, values, customs, and practices. When two or more of these cultures come into contact, the result can be a dynamic sharing of history and identity that produces an amazing new fusion of ideas. A marriage of their traditions is the best possible outcome any sim can hope for. And when those who participate in the exchange find that they have grown as a result of the experience, it makes the effort that much more satisfying. — Mark nervously bows … Continue reading Chapter 3.18 – Cultures

Chapter 3.17 – Balance

In the days that follow his  birthday, Mark makes the decision to begin his career in law enforcement. He had considered it in the past as well, but he would have done it for all the wrong reasons then. Mark has come a long way since his early teens, and he feels like his mind and heart are in the right place for this. He knows his father will be disappointed that he did not choose a medical career, but Jacob and Deirdre are much better suited for medicine than he is.   Mark gains his first promotions easily as the … Continue reading Chapter 3.17 – Balance

Chapter 3.16 – Happiness

Author’s Note: The Barimens return from China to an incredible new home. It is as close to a mansion as they have ever seen. Looking back through the legacy, it is kind of remarkable considering how David grew up in the old cabin. The household income is simply astronomical, with David earning nearly 6000 simoleons a day, plus the 30,000 a week from properties. My goal is to get Mark a level 3 visa in China and purchase a mansion there as well.   —   — The funny thing about happiness is that some sims treat it as a … Continue reading Chapter 3.16 – Happiness

Chapter 3.?? – Voices

Some days are better than others. Today is a good day. The pain that had been a constant companion has finally subsided, and the noise in her mind seems to be subdued. She is able to begin moving her arms and legs. Her internal injuries have somehow healed, and she can once again flex her abdominal muscles without causing more damage. She still has no recollection of how she ended up here, but the name of her doctor seems to cause some reaction deep in the recesses of her jumbled mind. David Barimen; the name seems like it should be … Continue reading Chapter 3.?? – Voices

Chapter 3.15 – Grandfather

Mark arrives at the academy early in the morning, just as he had been instructed.   When he approaches the academy entrance, he can hear Mei’s voice drifting on the quiet morning air and speak the word “Grandfather”.  Upon entering, he finds her bowing toward Jiang Xi as she prepares to leave.   When they pass each other in the courtyard, Mei shoots a weary and distrusting glare toward Mark. He ignores both and makes his way to the training floor where Jiang Xi waits for him. Remembering his lesson on respect from the day before, Mark bows to his instructor and greets him good … Continue reading Chapter 3.15 – Grandfather

Chapter 3.14 – Dummy

Mark spends the next day training with the other students in the Academy. Jiang Xi had told him that he must master his silence; whatever that means. He is paired with a young local girl named Mei. She regards him coldly and speaks only to let him know when he is doing something wrong.   For the first part of the morning, Mei has him hitting a wooden dummy. She is very pushy about exactly how his feet, arms, hands, and body should be positioned. When he laughs at her request to shout when he hits the dummy, she frowns … Continue reading Chapter 3.14 – Dummy

Chapter 3.13 – Conflict

Unhappiness has become status quo for Mark Barimen.   It has been with him since his earliest memories. He knows there is no justification for it. He lives a charmed life in every way, and has every reason to be the happiest sim in Sunset Valley. But his happiness drains away like water through a sieve, and he has no explanation as to why. He has learned to accept it, and the detriment that comes as a result. But truly, Mark can remember no time he has been more unhappy than now.   He feels as if he has been … Continue reading Chapter 3.13 – Conflict

Chapter 3.12 – Respect

Claire is awake early to check on Mark after a very restless night’s sleep.   Deirdre should have realized that inviting both Melissa and Charlotte to come with their dates was going to cause problems; she can be so dense about these things. But what really kept her awake was the fact that she also didn’t notice Mark’s discomfort, until the damage was done. He had been talking to Aunt Yuki, when the next thing she realized he was gone and wasn’t answering his phone. After the party, Deirdre seemed not to care one way or another where Mark had gone, only that … Continue reading Chapter 3.12 – Respect

Chapter 3.11 – Clarity

The house is a buzz of activity as twin girls, Mary and Elizabeth, arrive weeks before Ciara’s due date.   David has saved up quite a bit of vacation, so he takes the time off to help Ciara care for the newborn girls. Mark, grateful for the distraction, learns quickly how to cook for the family. And after a few burnt meals, his food becomes mostly edible.   Since the fight with Jayson at school, Mark has been avoiding just about everybody. He never really gave Melissa an answer about going steady. His opinion of Melissa changed when he heard her shouting … Continue reading Chapter 3.11 – Clarity

Chapter 3.10 – Stud

She awakens in a dimly lit room with the steady chirp of a heart monitor somewhere behind her.   After straining to pull together bits of random mental images, she gives up. Her insides hurt and her head throbs. She can feel the grip of heavy bandages around her torso, and the tightness of stitches underneath them. It is then that she realizes she is in a hospital bed …but why?   She assess the damage by flexing various muscles. Her legs and arms seem fine. But her midsection screams when she tenses her abdominal muscles. The pain is searing, … Continue reading Chapter 3.10 – Stud