Saturday, January 31, 2015

Chapter 9: Like Every Other Couple

     "Have you given any thought to what you're going to do after graduation?" Manisha asks.

     "Of course I've thought about it. I want to go into game design. Even when I was a kid, I was always making up worlds in my head, adventure stories, heroes and monsters. The problem is, I worry that my passion for games will get lost in the bureaucracy of a money grubbing big game company. I've thought about starting my own company: my family certainly has the money to get me started, but I'm really not a leadership type. I'm just not sure which is the best path for me."

     Manisha taps her finger on her chin, deliberating her next move. "I actually know a couple of people who are starting their own game company. They're out in Cape Garner Islands, not far from here. They're looking for people to join their team. I could introduce you, if you're interested."

     "Cape Garner?" Kai asks, surprised to hear that name again in such a short span of days, "My Dad just took a consulting position there. He and my Mom are scouting out for a new house."

     "Well, I guess you won't want to relocate out that way then?"

     Kai's brows knit in confusion, "What? Why not?"

    As much as he'd loved his university experience, immersed in learning, preparing for his future, the separation from his family had been hard on Kai. Even having Alejandro with him, while it had helped him feel not so utterly alone, had not been the same as being in his childhood home, with his parents always there when he needed encouragement. Without them, the world seemed a little less safe, and he'd found himself worrying about whether he'd left the stove on or the faucets running, and he was driven to check them over and over, like a compulsion. 

     "Well, the way you and Alex pretend to keep separate bedrooms like you are just housemates, I just assumed you'd want to live away from your parents after graduation so you wouldn't have to hide your relationship anymore," Manisha says as she takes Kai's queen. "The game is mine."

     "Alex and I went to prom together," Kai answers with a laugh, getting up from the chess table to walk with Manisha toward the Student Union, "My parents have always known about us; his parents, too. Hell, the whole school, and the whole town knows we're a couple. That's never been an issue. The separate bedrooms isn't about pretending we're not lovers. It's just...Alex..." Kai sighs, wishing he hadn't started as Manisha looks up from the board, meeting his gaze, expectant, waiting to hear his story.

     "Alex has trouble sleeping," Kai says, fumbling over an explanation he doesn't always quite understand himself. "And he's just...he needs space. He prefers to sleep alone, most nights."

     When he falls asleep, holding Alex after they've made love, Kai reassures himself that it's all okay, that even if Alex slips out of his before morning to sleep by himself, that it doesn't mean he doesn't love him enough, that their relationship lacks some essential component that all other couples possess. 

     But when he awakens, alone yet again, he cannot deny the emptiness he feels, the longing for the inseparable bond his parents share, a partner to share his bed, his life.

     "I see," Manisha says. But, clearly she doesn't, not really. No more than Kai does. "What, ah, what kind of consulting work does your father do?" she asks, changing the subject to something less uncomfortable than her friend's love life.

     "He's an expert in genetics."

     Manisha's eyes grow wide as she makes a connection she'd failed to see in all the time she'd known Kai. "Your father is Julian Brannon?" she gasps, "The Julian Brannon?"

     "I guess," Kai answers, "You've heard of him?"

     "I've read all his articles, followed his research...I can't believe you never told me!"

     Kai laughs, "I really had no idea anyone even knew his name. Back home, it's my Mom who's the household name and local legend."

     "Really? What field is your mother in?" Manisha asks, clearly expecting a renowned scholar like his father.

     "Scuba diving. She beat up a shark. Everyone in Isla Paradiso still talks about it."

     "She...beat up...a shark?"

     "Yeah, I guess my Dad's research is ultimately more important than my Mom's contributions to society. But beating up a shark makes for a better story to tell the tourists. And I think my Dad actually prefers not being famous. At least, outside the kind of people that are interested in genetics."


     Kai comes home to find Alex in his bedroom, reading his comic books. Alex scoots back a little to make room for Kai to sit beside him on the bed.
     "I was talking to Manisha after class today," Kai says, "She says she knows some people who are starting up a game company. Out in Cape Garner Islands. She wants me to meet them. Maybe join their team."

     "That's great," Alex enthuses, "You'd be able to be near your parents, then. I know that's important to you."

     "I do want to be with my family," Kai answers, "But that's not the only, or even most important thing, Alex. You are. We are. If I go to Cape Garner, will you come with me?"

     "Of course I will," Alex says, and Kai lets out the tense breath he'd been holding in, "You know I want to be near you, always."

     "Near me?" Kai asks, "As in, not 'with' me?"

     "That's not what I meant," Alex answers, "I am with you, you know that. And I will always be with you. I just need my space."

   Kai turns away. "So what you mean is you want to be my boyfriend, but it's never going to be more than that," he says, the bitterness of his doubts finally coming forward.

     "We already are more than that," Alex insists, sitting up to caress his shoulder. "I know it's not a normal kind of life, and I know you want what your parents have. But we aren't them. I've been trying, mi amor, to live like every other couple does, together all the time..."

     "But we aren't living like every other couple," Kai protests, "We don't even share a bed half the time."

     "I know, that's my point," Alex says softly, "Even having my own bedroom, it's not enough. I need a place of my own that isn't just one room in a shared house. I need a place where I can be really and truly alone, the way you need to be close to your family all the time. We've both been a little crazy here, haven't we? You need your family, I need solitude. We both have to work around that, and I'm willing to live anywhere in the world you need to go for your career, to be near your parents. But wherever we do go, I am yours and yours alone, even if I do need to live on my own."

     It comes down to a simple choice, as Kai understands it, take Alex on his terms, learn to live with the compromise, or give him up and hope to find someone else someday, someone who wants the same things he wants from a relationship. But that's something Kai cannot imagine, finding anyone else in this world that he could open himself to as he has with Alejandro.

     "I wish I could be that guy, for you," Alex whispers as Kai turns into his embrace, "If I could change myself for you..."

     "I don't want you to change," Kai sighs, "I love you, Alex, not some imaginary guy who will fulfill all my fantasies."

     "I hope I fulfill at least some of them."


     Sorry for the very long hiatus I took there! But I'm back, and I hope the sudden jump forward in time isn't too jarring.
     As I expected, I'm not a big fan of the university experience, but I felt that doing it would be a necessary transition to set up Gen. 2. I sent Kai for 2 terms and he had 18 units from taking the aptitude test, but it wasn't enough to get him a degree in just the one trip. I'm really not interested in going back, so if he has enough points, I'll buy him a degree with points later. Meh.
     If it's not obvious yet, Kai is the heir, and the legacy will be moving to Cape Garner Islands, where Kai will start on his rolled career of Video Game designer (artistic branch, I forget the official name). And Julian and Jillyan will be coming along. Dylan will be left behind. I intend to play her and Luther separately in a non-legacy game so I can try out the Lifeguard career with her. I will likely document that on my tumblr, though I might make occasional mention of her life here. Since I used Traveler to move the family, Dylan still exists as an out of world relationship, so I may even be able to invite her as a houseguest.
    Once the move is official and I get a nice picture, I'll update the header image and the sidebar to reflect the generation change.
     Kai's YA trait (rolled randomly) is neurotic. I made mention in the chapter about the compulsive stove and faucet checking that comes with his new trait. He maxed his Nerd status while at Uni and picked up the Handy trait from that.
     The Misc Fun for his generation is the Opposites Attract/Perfect Match. Alex actually fulfills both of those, with a matching Loner trait, and an opposing Absent-Minded trait to Kai's Genius. I'm making a bigger deal about the Loner trait in the story.
     Interestingly, while Kai is a loner, too, he rolls social wishes all the time to interact with his family members, and Alex. So that's where I'm getting his clinginess from, character wise.



  1. Oooh, interesting! Is this a way to handle a single parent roll while still making sure the heir has a fulfilling love life? ;D

    You always put me in suspense, not revealing those rolls. :)

    1. Yes, it is a single parent roll. And it's funny, because having single parent & opposites attract, I thought I'd be finding an opposite trait partner and making that a cause of conflict that would break the pairing up. But after Kai was born (and I went ahead and risked random rolled traits, or maybe I got assigned a trait at birth, I forget now) I started scoping the neighborhood out for other recent births to see if I had any good prospects. And there was Alejandro with his matching Loner trait. And the whole thing just fell into place in a way that would allow me to make a big deal about the special trait as the thing that makes the single roll happen. The opposite trait wasn't even a factor: Alex picked up Absent-Minded as a YA, much after I settled on the story, and I haven't really dealt with it in the narrative at all.

      So I guess that's less suspense now. But, I do have something else planned for the roll that has not been revealed but will be a major part of fulfilling the roll. So, there, more suspense! Ha ha!

      I hope Kai has a fulfilling love life. I imagine he's going to popping a lot of unfulfilled wishes to get married at some point. For a loner, he does really throw a lot of social wishes for his loved ones.

  2. Yay, the Brannons are back. I like the set up with the story you are going with. Sad to hear that it's a single parent status this gen. Makes me sad for Kai.

    1. Thank you!
      The single parent rolls make me a little sad, because there's bound to be some heartbreak in there. But Alex will at least be around, and he does love Kai even if he does need to have his own place. So, there's that.

  3. I'm so happy to see you back! Yay! Not that you were gone, but sims you is back! Yay! lol

    Aw, Kai. That's a tough compromise. Then again, perhaps Alex's absent mindedness might have meant someone actually would leave on the stove or faucet, driving Kai's compulsion even further. Sometimes love doesn't look like we expected it to. Here's hoping they can not only make it work, but accept it without beating themselves up. Can't wait to see how the video game career goes, and babies! Let's see them babies!

    1. Thanks!
      That is true, I can just imagine an absent-minded partner could drive a neurotic one even a little more crazy.
      Kai and Alex won't be having a conventional relationship, and hopefully Kai will be able to see past that and accept the relationship for what it is.
      I hope the video games is fun, I've never played it before. I am going to build Kai a sweet game room in the house they're moving to in Cape Garner.

  4. Wooo!!

    So. Is the fact Julian an expert in genetics means there will be biological children? Or surrogacy perhaps? I would enjoy a good old male pregnancy though.

    Helena Botham Carter and Tim Burton lived in separate houses connected by tunnels (or similar) and it worked for them? Mostly. I could see it being alright for Kai and Alex.

    1. , Ha, I think maybe all those times I licked your brain must have melded our minds, because you see where I'm going. Julian's expertise will be very useful for when Kai decides he wants babies.

      HBC & Burton are getting divorced though, right? Still, though I do believe a non-conventional partnership can work. And hopefully it will for Alex & Kai.

    2. I thought I had felt a tickle in my brain a little while ago...

      And yeah, HBC & Burton are getting divorced, but not because they lived in separate houses... I would assume... As long as Alex and Kai like the arrangement, let the (pixel) neighbours talk. I can see it being an issue which could possibly cause arguments from time to time though.

    3. It certainly might be an issue for Kai. He's chosen to accept the compromise, but he's not entirely happy with the situation. So I can see him sort of fluctuating between trying to be happy with it and pushing Alex for more. We'll see how it goes; while I do have some events planned for the generation, Kai and Alex's relationship arc is not one of them, so really anything can happen.

  5. Yay for an update!

    Aw, I'm kind of sad that Dylan is being left behind, I really liked her. There are a few fun things with the lifeguard career, but it loses it's appeal pretty quickly, lol I'm glad that Julian and Jillyan will still be around.

    It is an interesting start to Kai's story. It's always nice when the game cooperates and arranges things so well for the story/challenge, lol And Julian being an expert in genetics---automatically I think clones, ha! I know, I know, no clones in this

    *crosses fingers* Now that you are on Gen2---would you consider uploading Julian and Jillyan?

    1. Thanks, Nirar!
      I adore Dylan. But that's why I didn't want her to become an extra in this legacy. I want to play her, but since I can't really switch households during a legacy challenge, she has to live somewhere else. I'm having issues going back to IP from here though, using Traveler. I tried both going back with no Sim, and moving in a random Sim and traveling back with him, but once I get to IP, I can only be in Edit Town, it won't let me choose a household to play.
      So I'd have to either play Dylan & Luther in IP with the rest of the family still there, or move elsewhere with just Dylan and Luther. Which is what I'm thinking of doing. I've actually started thinking of a story for them in Angel City. But I'm not doing anything with them until I finish the renovations on the Brannon house in Cape Garner. One major project at a time, lol.

      I was really happy to find baby Alejandro with that matching Loner trait. It gave me a great way to make the 'perfect match' roll work with the 'single parent' part.

      Ha ha, yeah, no clones. But Julian does have expertise in DNA manipulation. And that could certainly help.

      Sure, I can upload Jill & Julian. I'll do that later today after I'm done with work and stuff.

    2. Hey, Nirar, just to let you know, I uploaded Jill & Julian to the Rolls page on my blog.

    3. You have made my day! Thank you! =)

  6. I actually like that they're an unconventional couple like that. Accepting what someone needs can be very difficult when it conflicts with your own; hopefully they will both be able to make some compromises.

    1. Hi!
      It is nice to write an unconventional couple sometimes. It is always difficult when people have different ideas about what they want from the relationship. Hopefully Kai and Alex will be able to be happy with the compromise.