Author Topic: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley  (Read 88405 times)

Offline Cheezey

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Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley
« on: August 19, 2014, 07:50:14 PM »
Author's Note: This is my first time posting a Sims 3 story, based on my favorite family of EA premades, and my own head canon for them.  It begins a few months before the start of the game in Sunset Valley.  Any feedback you have is welcome and appreciated, and thank you for reading! 

Chapter List

Era I: Not So Ancient History

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8

Era II: Maywood and the Lofts

Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27

Era III: Ordinary to Extraordinary

Chapter 28 Part One
Chapter 28 Part Two
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Chapter 37
Chapter 38
Chapter 39
Chapter 40
Chapter 41 Part One
Chapter 41 Part Two
Chapter 42
Chapter 43

Era IV: Lifestyles of the Rich and Eccentric

Chapter 44
Chapter 45
Chapter 46
Chapter 47
Chapter 48
Chapter 49
Chapter 50
Chapter 51
Chapter 52
Chapter 53
Chapter 54
Chapter 55
Chapter 56
Chapter 57
Chapter 58
Chapter 59
Chapter 60
Chapter 61
Chapter 62
Chapter 63
Chapter 64
Chapter 65
Chapter 66
Chapter 67
Chapter 68

Era V: Golden Years and Opportunities

Chapter 69
Chapter 70
Chapter 71
Chapter 72
Chapter 73
Chapter 74
Chapter 75
Chapter 76 Part One
Chapter 76 Part Two
Chapter 77
Chapter 78
Chapter 79
Chapter 80
Chapter 81
Chapter 82
Chapter 83
Chapter 84
Chapter 85
Chapter 86
Chapter 87 Part One
Chapter 87 Part Two
Chapter 88 Part One
Chapter 88 Part Two
Chapter 89
Chapter 90 Part One
Chapter 90 Part Two
Chapter 91
Chapter 92

Era VI: Passing the Torch

Chapter 93
Chapter 94
Chapter 95
Chapter 96
Chapter 97 Part One
Chapter 97 Part Two
Chapter 98
Chapter 99 Part One
Chapter 99 Part Two
Chapter 100
Chapter 101 Part One
Chapter 101 Part Two
Chapter 102 Part One
Chapter 102 Part Two
Chapter 103 Part One
Chapter 103 Part Two
Chapter 104
Chapter 105
Chapter 106
Chapter 107
Chapter 108 Part One
Chapter 108 Part Two
Chapter 109 Part One
Chapter 109 Part Two
Chapter 110
Chapter 111
Chapter 112 Part One
Chapter 112 Part Two
Chapter 113
Chapter 114
Chapter 115
Chapter 116
Chapter 117 Part One
Chapter 117 Part Two
Chapter 118 Part One
Chapter 118 Part Two
Chapter 119 Part One
Chapter 119 Part Two
Chapter 120
Chapter 121
Chapter 122
Chapter 123 Part One
Chapter 123 Part Two
Chapter 124
Chapter 125
Chapter 126
Chapter 127
Chapter 128
Chapter 129

Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley
Chapter 1

On one of those beautiful warm days that Sunset Valley was known for, all over town the residents were out and about.   Even Boyd and Susan Wainwright, who were far more likely to be found parked in front of their computers or on the couch watching TV on a day off, had been pried outside and into the sunshine.  Susan was up on their rooftop patio repotting her flowers, while Boyd tended a semi-wild flame fruit plant in their front yard.  The flame fruit and the onion beside it seeded into their lawn naturally sometime the previous year, and when Boyd discovered the rare plant and its companion, he decided to just leave them where they were rather than build a flower bed around them or transplant them.  The unsightly stake in the lawn and random placement did not exactly thrill Susan, but as Boyd pointed out to her when she complained, he was a scientist, not a landscaper.

When he heard a car pull into the driveway, Boyd looked up and saw his daughter Blair returning from wherever she went earlier that morning.  Blair had recently graduated from high school, and with high honors.  Both Boyd and Susan were quite proud of her.  Their daughter inherited their intellect, even if not their geeky love of computers, electronics, and pop culture entertainment. 

Blair seemed happy about something as she approached him.  “Dad, can you come inside a minute?  Is Mom around?”

Boyd stood up and brushed the dirt off his knees.  “Sure.  She’s up on the patio.  I’ll text her to come down.” 

Blair was already inside by the time Boyd finished texting Susan, and when he caught up with her, Susan was only about ten seconds behind him coming in through the back door.  “What’s going on?”

“I’m so excited!  They hired me right after my interview this morning!  I got a job!”

“Oh, a summer job?  Congratulations.”

“Not a summer job, Dad.  It’s a regular job, a full time one,” Blair told them.  “I put in an online application to the Sunset Valley Police Department, and they called me in to interview this morning.  They said I was a great fit, got me signed up for the academy, and offered me a full time position as soon as I complete it.”

Susan and Boyd exchanged surprised looks.  “The police academy?” 

Blair nodded enthusiastically to her mother.

“That’s, uh… that’s great, sweetie.”  Boyd managed to keep his tone even despite his thought that that her joining a dangerous career, seemingly on a whim and without a degree first, was a terrible idea.  He and Susan had both been under the impression that Blair was going to start working on a degree at University next term.  As bright as she was, it was the most logical choice to them.  “But aren’t you going to University in the fall?”

“I was, but I thought I’d work on that later so I can do this now.”

Susan was no happier about the news than her husband.  “Blair, you know how important a solid education is these days, no matter what your field.  You’re at such a disadvantage if you don’t go, especially when you can easily get some sort of scholarship with your test scores.”  She frowned.  “Did you know that at Landgraab Industries, where we work, they start new hires around or just under your father’s level if they have a degree with a decent GPA?”

Boyd grumbled at the reminder.  “Yeah, tell me about it.”

“Mom, Dad, don’t worry.  I’m still going to get a degree someday.”

“Then you should do it before you start working.  Like your mother said, it’s a bigger advantage than you think.  We can both tell you how hard it is to find time to finish a degree when you’re working full time and have all the responsibilities of a household and bills,” Boyd told her.  “We started working just out of high school, and we’re still only halfway through our degrees.  You know when we started taking classes, fitting them in when time and money allowed?  When you started elementary school.”

Blair frowned.  “But it’s not really the same!  You didn’t go to University because you and Mom got married right after high school, because she was going to have me.  I don’t have a family to support, and I’m definitely not pregnant.”

“Why do you think it’s rash?” argued Blair. 

“Because it’s the first we’ve heard about it?”

“Mom, I spent a lot of time thinking about this.  I also talked to Officer Keaton several times before I signed up.  I thought about University, too.  SVPD has a really good tuition assistance program for when I want to start taking classes, and in the meantime I can start my career and save some money, and eventually find a place of my own.”  She straightened.  “I wish you’d trust that I know what I’m doing, and that I’m doing what I want with my life.  That’s what you always said you wanted for me, right?”

“Well, of course,” Susan said.

Boyd nodded with her.  “You know we want you to be happy.”

“We just don’t want to see you struggle when you don’t have to.”

“It’ll be fine.  Really,” Blair insisted.

Boyd and Susan still had some reservations, but it was clear that Blair’s mind was made up, and it was, as she said, her choice to make.  “If you’re sure it’s what you really want to do, then good luck with it.”

“Thank you, Dad.”  Blair pulled him into a hug.

“So, once you’re out of the academy, you’ll be a trained police officer?  What kind of work will you be doing?  Writing parking and speeding tickets?”

“Some of that.  I’ll also be out with my partner learning the ropes for basic police work like neighborhood patrols and checking out situations that are called in.”

“And you’re fine with doing that?  That sort of work seems a little,” Susan paused, looking for the right word, “mundane for someone of your intelligence?”

“Mom, I won’t be writing speeding tickets forever,” Blair pointed out.  “Sure, that stuff is boring, but that’s why it’s the starting work.  They put you on more important things once you have more experience, like any other job.  Eventually I’ll be able to transfer into the branch I really want to, the investigative special agent division.  They don’t accept you without a certain number of years on the force first, though.  I know I’ve mentioned a million times that I want to be a special agent someday.”

It was true.  She had.  However, Boyd and Susan had always chalked those statements up to Blair’s youthful exuberance and her watching a steady stream of sci-fi, crime drama, and super-hero themed shows with them all her life.  They never had any inkling that she was serious, any more than Boyd had been serious when at age ten, he told his parents that when he grew up, he was going to join Starfleet and be on the Enterprise.  Even when Blair had discussed going to University with them, what she talked about was a technology degree.  They figured that meant she would go into something like engineering or robotics.  Boyd mused that they should have taken that particular discussion farther at the time, so Blair’s decision to join the SVPD would not be such a surprise to them now.

“Yes, you have,” Susan said, thinking along the same lines as Boyd.  “I can’t say I’m thrilled that you want to do something so dangerous, though.  Have you thought about something like forensics instead?”

“Field work is the exciting stuff, Mom.  No offense, but I don’t want to be in a lab all day, every day, like you and Dad.  I want to be catching criminals.  I want to outsmart them at their own game, and put them behind bars.  I want to be out there solving mysteries and helping people.”

“I see.”  Susan realized that she should not have expected any other answer from her daughter.  Blair was as kind-hearted and idealistic as she was bright.

Boyd was more direct about it.  “It’s admirable that you want to make a difference and make the world a safer place, sweetie.  I mean that.  The SVPD would do well to have more recruits like you in it.  I also get how exciting you must think it will be.  But have you really thought about how dangerous that line of work is?”

“I have.  I know there are risks, but I’ll be fine,” Blair assured her parents.  “They train you to handle dangerous situations at the academy, and on the job, before they let you go into them unprepared.  I’m also going to start going to the gym every day to work out so I’m strong enough to defend myself.”

“That’s good, if you want to do that, I guess,” Boyd said, suddenly thankful that he had a job that never required him to go to a gym.  “But basic physics still says that your 110 pounds against someone weighing half again to three times that puts you at a severe disadvantage, no matter how strong you are.  I mean, unless you’re Awesome Woman, but I don’t think you have super powers you haven’t told your mother and I about.”

“Training will take care of that, Dad.  They’ll teach me how to handle someone bigger than me in the academy.  Don’t you think I can learn it just as well as anyone else in the program?”

Boyd sighed.  “I didn’t mean it that way.  All I’m saying is that we don’t want to see anything happen to you.”

“We love you,” Susan said, echoing his concern.  “So please, be careful.”

“I will.  I promise.”

“Good,” said Boyd.  “And just on the off chance you ever get to investigate something like a UFO or meteor crash, you’ll tell us, right?  Because I would love to see a real alien craft or technology…”

“Sure, as long as you remember to bring your tin foil hat,” Blair teased.

“You might want to be wary of any chain-smoking old men, too,” Susan said wryly.  “Just to be safe.”

“I’ll keep it in mind.”  Blair was glad to see her parents back to being their usual quirky selves, and to have the issue settled.  Although she wished they would’ve shared more of her enthusiasm about joining the SVPD, at least they had come to accept and support it, and that was enough.  She headed off to her room with renewed optimism, already making a mental list of what she had to get done before she started the police academy.

Offline NexttoNormal

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 1
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2014, 08:57:12 PM »
Good start! The Wainwrights are one of my favorite families so it's cool to see a story about them! Can't wait to see what happens next! :)

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 1
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2014, 01:55:03 AM »
I love SV townie stories, and yours certainly doesn't disappoint! The Wainwrights don't get enough screen time in my opinion, so I'll be reading for sure.  :)

Offline Magz from Oz

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 1
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2014, 07:55:49 AM »
Anyone who can reference Star Trek and X-Files in Chapter 1 has me hooked.  Bookmarked!
Where there is love - there is life. -- Mahatma Gandhi

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Offline RaiaDraconis

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 1
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2014, 08:36:53 AM »
Oh now this is awesome. What a fun way to start with a fun family! I can't wait to read more!

Offline Cheezey

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 1
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2014, 06:41:36 AM »
(Author's Note: Thank you all for the nice comments! I'm glad you're enjoying it so far. )

Chapter 2

Blair took on the challenge of the police academy quite well.  Her enthusiasm for it remained even on the grueling days, and before long, she graduated from it with high marks.  She was excited and happy, and Boyd and Susan were both proud of her.  While it was not what they imagined for her, like most parents, they were glad to see her succeed.

Blair continued to go to the gym every day, something that was no less than a Herculean feat in the minds of her parents.  Susan had been to the community gym exactly once in her life, way back when she decided she would try exercising to lose the few pounds she gained right after having Blair.  After falling on her face on the treadmill and making an utter fool of herself, she left and never went back, vowing to cut calories instead.  As for Boyd, the last time had been in a gym to exercise was back in high school, when it was mandatory and he had no choice.  Even after Dr. Landgraab told him that the back ache he got every so often was from being out of shape and middle-aged, and that it would improve if he did a few stretches every day, he still hardly ever bothered.

During the time Blair was away at the academy, it began to really sink in to Boyd and Susan that their daughter would soon be out on her own for good.  It was a bittersweet feeling.  On one hand, it was nerve-wracking to think about their only child taking that step.  Even though Blair had always been independent and bright, she was also introverted and naïve, more so than many her age.

That bothered Boyd quite a bit.  As it was, he had a tendency to worry about all sorts of things, even unlikely and downright improbable scenarios.  Now that Blair was joining the SVPD, he could not help but remember every disturbing episode of every crime drama show he’d ever watched, especially the ones that involved young women living alone or in her line of work.  Susan spent an entire afternoon calming Boyd down after he researched Sunset Valley’s crime statistics on the internet, and then used them to calculate the likelihood of something horrible happening to Blair within her first five years on the job.

Although the dangerous nature of Blair’s line of work concerned Susan as well, she forced herself to remain logical and rational about it.  At the academy graduation she spoke to both Officer Keaton and Blair’s assigned partner, Hank Goddard, and asked them a number of questions.  Both of them did a good job at putting Susan’s fears to rest.

What Susan found harder to not worry about was who her daughter might meet and spend time with off the clock, once she did move out on her own.

Blair had an idealistic and romanticized outlook on life and love, and she was very trusting.  She was someone that could easily be taken in by a smooth talker or a sob story.  Susan could not help but think that it was inevitable that her daughter would be hurt, and hurt badly, if she did not have friends or family around to see warning signs she would be blind to.

Susan recalled how out of sorts Blair had been back when she and the boy she dated in high school for nearly a year broke up.  It was not even a bad breakup by most standards.  Her ex had been a grade ahead of her, and went away to University after graduation, so they decided to part as friends and move on when he left.  Even though Blair accepted that it was the right decision at the time, it left her heartbroken for days.  In the aftermath, Susan spent more than one late night with her daughter consoling her over a pint of ice cream.  That was a year ago now, and Blair was over it, but Susan knew it was only a matter of time before she would fall in love again.  She just hoped that whoever it was she fell for, it would be someone that genuinely loved her and not someone taking advantage of her.

Of course, there was also the simple fact that they would miss having her around.  Now that Blair was ready to go live her life on her own, both Boyd and Susan felt a touch of guilt about how little time they spent with her in the past, especially when she was younger.

It had been Boyd’s parents that taught Blair to walk and talk, not them.  Her grandparents babysat her while Boyd and Susan worked long hours at entry level jobs in the science lab, saving money for a place of their own. 

When Blair was a little girl, they bought her lots of toys and games, but they rarely took the time to play with her because they were always tired and stressed.  They just wanted to relax by the television or play around on the computer when they got home from work.  It wasn’t that they didn’t care, but as long as Blair was happy doing her own thing, they were just as content to let her be and do theirs.

Most of the time they did spend with her was when she joined one or both of them to watch their favorite TV shows.  Blair always kept up her grades and rarely gave them any trouble, so it was easy to be hands-off parents.  Boyd and Susan never missed the important things like parent-teacher conferences or award ceremonies, but looking back, they both realized that they could’ve taken more time to do little things with their daughter. 

Like the time Blair wanted to go ice skating at the winter festival, and instead of taking her herself, Susan just dropped her off with a friend whose family was going, so she didn’t have to stand around in the cold on her day off.  Or the time Blair wanted a cool cow plant costume for Spooky Day, and Boyd just ordered the best one he could find on the internet instead of helping her customize a unique one with touches only someone who worked with the things would think of.  Now, such opportunities to spend time with her were all but gone.

On the other hand, Susan and Boyd were excited about the idea of soon having the house to themselves.  Unlike most other couples, they had never lived together as just the two of them, alone.  Back when they married, they did it in a rush because Susan was pregnant with Blair, and they had only just graduated high school.  For the first few years, they lived with Boyd’s parents while saving enough money to get a place of their own.  After that, it had always been the three of them.  Now they had the time and the money to do the things they weren’t able to do back then, like travel or attend University, without worrying about babysitters or a school schedule.  Once Blair left, they would even have an extra room in the house to do something with.  They rarely had overnight house guests, so they didn’t need a spare bedroom.  Turning it into a dedicated computer room, a home lab, or even a home theater with a state-of-the-art sound system all sounded like potentially fun ideas.

Plus, there was the issue of privacy.  Their house was small, and ever since Blair was old enough to understand the birds and the bees, the ability to be romantic on a whim without being interrupted or overheard was a luxury.

Not to mention the freedom to just hop out of bed and mess around on the computer without having to get dressed first.

Blair had not left yet, though, and neither Boyd nor Susan wanted her to feel like they wanted her gone, so they kept such discussions to themselves and just enjoyed the extra time for their hobbies. 

Boyd spent a lot of time playing TarzWar, one of the more popular MMOs.  Over the last several months he’d become good online buddies with some of his guild mates.  One of them, Smack Pod, even joined an internet forum Boyd helped moderate that had nothing to do with the game.  Called The Tinfoil Hattery, it was a place where hardcore computer whizzes, occult-interested geeks, and assorted paranoid-but-intelligent personalities discussed things like conspiracies, science, the supernatural, aliens, and everything in between.  Boyd was known on both as Space Invader, an internet name he’d been using for years, inspired by one of the first video games he had ever played.

Susan had an account on that forum as well, but she found it a little too "out there" to participate in much.  She only joined in on threads that Boyd told her about, or to help educate the occasional ignorant and belligerent fool that would pop up.  As for TarzWar, it was not her kind of game.  She preferred games like chess to MMOs.  Susan had no patience for those who acted crass or stupid, and players like that didn’t last long on the competitive chess circuit, where intellect and strategy ruled supreme. 

Blair’s parents hid their mixed anticipation and dread of her moving out well enough that she didn’t notice anything too off in their behavior, but there were a few hints.  The day before, she asked her father to help her pick out a new laptop to buy.  Boyd not only jumped at the chance, but even offered to upgrade and optimize it for her once she got it home.  Although it was not unusual for him to get that enthusiastic when it came to a new computer, it did surprise her that he skipped a TarzWar raid to do it for her.

Earlier that day, Susan set up a chess board near the computer desks.  She had been thinking about getting one for a while, and she finally treated herself to it.  While Boyd tinkered with Blair’s brand new bright pink laptop that had specs he considered “decent” for the sale price she got, Susan asked Blair if she’d break in the chess table with her in a friendly match.

“Mom, your computer chess would probably be better practice for competing than me.  I’ve hardly played a match since I was a kid, when I used to play with Grandma.”

“If you ever managed to beat her, you’ll see why your mother wants to play you,” Boyd said while updating drivers on Blair’s laptop.  His mother, a former teacher and someone whose grasp of logic would have done Mr. Spock proud, had been in the third tier ranking of the chess circuit when she passed on.

“Actually, an opponent who doesn’t have a predictable strategy presents its own type of challenge.  Besides, I want to try my new table.  So how about it?”

“Sure.”  Blair set up the pieces with her mother.  Susan let her go first, and then she took her turn.  “So, how was your day, Mom?”

“Oh, the same old same old.  I was crunching data from the salt tanks in lab four most of the day.  Nothing as adventurous as what your father got into with the new tech.”

Boyd grumbled.  “Don’t even get me started.”

“What happened?” asked Blair.

“Well, let’s just say that I have no idea how this new girl they hired got cleared to be in the Laganaphyllis simnovorii area.  She’s nice enough, but she’s clumsier than a juiced up llama.  She almost knocked me into the 48 hour-fasting pen while I was holding a swordfish for a plant in the control group!”  Boyd shuddered and made a face.  “The two cow plants below me grabbed the swordfish and tore it in half, almost getting my arm in the process.  The one that finished first went for my foot right after, and it ate my shoe!  I’ll never complain about the safety boot mandate in there again, I’ll tell you that.”  He shook his head.  “I’m going to have a word with Judy about whoever’s doing the training.  They need a refresher.”

“Wow,” Blair said, wide-eyed.  “And you said my job was dangerous?”

Susan moved a pawn.  “Well, things like that don’t happen all that often.  I bet we’ll get stuck having an extra safety meeting this month because of it, though.  That I could live without.”  She looked at Blair.  “Your move.  How was your day?”

Blair studied the chess board and picked up a bishop, then paused.  “It was all right.  Mostly reading.  Hank was going over some recent cases with me to get me familiar with the routine procedures.”  She smiled.  “I like him.  He’s really easy to talk to, and fun, too.”

“He seemed rather charming,” Susan remarked, glancing over at Blair after catching the upward lilt in her tone when she spoke of Hank.  “And the type that has a way with the ladies.”

“Well, maybe.  I mean he is pretty good-looking, but he’s engaged.”  She finalized her move and then looked at her mother.  “Your turn.  Oh, and that reminds me!  Guess who I heard from today?”

“Who?” Susan asked, contemplating her move.

“My ex-boyfriend.”

Offline chetanhaobijam

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 2
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2014, 07:17:03 AM »
Like this story. And I love reading Sunset valley townies stories. So, Bookmarked for further reading. Looking forward for next chapter.
P.S. Can't stop guessing, who is her ex-boyfriend?
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Offline karlissa

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 2
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2014, 02:26:10 PM »
My guess is that this is a reference to a video of the sims 3 before it was released and the ex-boyfriend will be Mr Sw0rd. and my my he is a hottie without those glasses.
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Offline Magz from Oz

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 2
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2014, 05:29:37 PM »
I love this.  I've played Blair dozens of times but her parents very rarely.  You give them such a clear voice and personality.   :)
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Offline Cheezey

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 2
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2014, 08:17:58 AM »
Like this story. And I love reading Sunset valley townies stories. So, Bookmarked for further reading. Looking forward for next chapter.
P.S. Can't stop guessing, who is her ex-boyfriend?

Thank you!  I love the Sunset Valley townies and stories about them are my favorite type to read in the Sims-verse.  As for the ex, the next chapter will focus on that!

My guess is that this is a reference to a video of the sims 3 before it was released and the ex-boyfriend will be Mr Sw0rd. and my my he is a hottie without those glasses.

There is a distinct possibility I may have drawn inspiration from said video, but that is all I will say for now. ;)  I also agree that Cycl0n3 looks much better after a makeover.  It bugs me when I can't see a sim's face clearly in their default look, unless there is some compelling reason for it.  I hope no one has found the hair and wardrobe changes I did to the characters too jarring, by the way.

I love this.  I've played Blair dozens of times but her parents very rarely.  You give them such a clear voice and personality.   :)

Thanks! I find them pretty fun to play, aside from having to frequently kick them in the pants to get off the computer or multi-tab to accomplish something, or even go to bed.

I'm hoping to get the third chapter of the story up in a day or two.  It's mostly done, but I have a super busy weekend coming up.

Offline Cheezey

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Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 3
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2014, 11:29:29 AM »
Chapter 3

Susan pulled her hand back from the pawn she was about to move when Blair mentioned her ex-boyfriend.  She hadn’t said anything about him in quite a while, so it took her by surprise.  “Really?  What did he want?”

“He said he was back in town for the summer.  He got a temp job checking automated spell checkers, or something like that, over at the towers,” Blair said while her mother finished her chess move.  “I hope I can hang out with him before he goes back.  I’m going to be working a lot, though.  You don’t mind if he comes over to visit on a day off, do you?”

“That’s fine with me.  What about you, honey?” Susan asked Boyd.

“I don’t mind, either.”  He paused.  “Although I’d prefer it if you kept the door to your room open if he’s in there with you, still.”

Blair flushed with embarrassment.  “Dad!  Really?”

“Yes.  Really.”

“I’m not sixteen anymore!  I’m an adult!” she said, indignant.  “Besides, he and I broke up ages ago.  We’re just friends now.  Why would you even think something like that?”

Susan raised an eyebrow at Blair’s defensive reaction, while Boyd answered her.

“Why would I think that?  Because I can cite you a number of examples of guys your age I know on TarzWar that talk about their female friends and how much they’d love to get into their skimpy virtual armor if they could.”  It was clear from his tone that Boyd found the conversation just as unpleasant and awkward as Blair did.  He would have preferred that the whole issue of his daughter having a boyfriend while she still lived there as an adult never come up, but since it had, he pushed through it as succinctly as possible.  “And I’m well aware that you’re an adult, Blair.  What you do on your own is your own business, but here, please just humor me.”

“Fine,” Blair said, rolling her eyes.  “But you’re worrying over nothing.  Like I said, we’re just friends.  You used to like Cycl0n3.  You should know he’s not like that.”

Whatever Boyd was going to say next was completely de-railed by the name Blair used to refer to her former boyfriend.  “Wait, what did you call him?”

“Oh.  Right.  You didn’t know about him changing his name, did you?  He did that last winter at University.  He officially goes by his internet name now.  Cycl0n3 Sw0rd.  But if you write it out, the o’s are zeroes and the e is a three.  You’ve probably seen him on my SimBook.  I’ve shared some of the funny things he’s posted.”

“Are you serious?”  Susan was somewhere between horrified and fascinated.  “He actually changed his legal name to that?”

“It’s weird, but yeah, he did.  He filed paperwork and everything.  He showed me a scan of his driver’s license to prove it.  He said they acted like he was trolling them when he went to City Hall.”

“Can’t imagine why,” Susan quipped.

Boyd still had a funny look on his face.  “So his name is Cycl0n3 Sw0rd now?”

“Yeah.  You get used to it after a while.”

“Heh.  Well, I’ll take your word for that.”  Susan returned her attention to the chess board, and her eyes lit up when she saw a move.  “Ooh!  And I think this is… yes, it is!  Checkmate.”  She placed her piece triumphantly.

Blair looked over the board and smiled.  “Looks like you’re right.  Good game, Mom.”

“Good timing, too.  Your computer’s about done,” Boyd said as he closed the lid on Blair’s laptop and handed it to her.  “It should run a lot faster now.  Let me know if you have any issues with it.”

“Thanks.”  She picked it up.  “I’m going to go to bed so I’m not dead at the gym tomorrow morning.  Good night.”

“Good night.”

“‘Night, honey,” Susan called after her.  As she was about to get up from the chess table, she noticed that Boyd looked as though he was contemplating something now that Blair had left.  “What?”

“Did you know that one of my TarzWar guild mates is named Cycl0n3 Sw0rd, with zeroes for o’s and a three for an e?”

Susan was intrigued.  “Really?  Do you think it’s him?”

“At first, I figured it had to be a coincidence, but then I remembered that the Cycl0n3 I know said when he was last on that he was heading home for summer and wouldn’t be on much for a few days.  I’m pretty sure I also remember him saying he was a Sims U student at one point.  That’s too many coincidences for it to not be the same guy, don’t you think?  I haven’t seen Cycl0n3s spelled just like that all over the internet as a particularly common name, and I’ve been on the internet since before it was even called the internet.  So how likely is it that it’s not him?”

“Not terribly,” Susan agreed.  “What do you think of him from how you know him online?  Is he much different than he was back when he and Blair were in high school?”

Boyd moved from the now empty desk where he had worked on Blair’s laptop to the desktop computer on the opposite one.  “Not really.  I mean, he was quieter around us, but who wouldn’t be when hanging around his girlfriend’s parents?”  He paused to type something, and then resumed.  “In game he seems okay.  He plays his class well.  He doesn’t mess around during raids, and aside from shooting off his mouth sometimes, he’s not a bad guy to group with.  I get along with him fine, but I have a thicker skin than some of the bigger egos on the server.”  Boyd paused.  “Of course, I doubt he has any idea who I am any more than I knew who he was until tonight.  It’ll be… interesting… to see what he says in casual guild conversation when something about life outside the game comes up from here on out.”

After deleting some spam from her inbox, Susan loaded up a forum thread she had been following.  “You aren’t going to say anything, then.”

“I wasn’t planning to.”

Susan looked up from her screen and over at her husband.  “So, you’re going to troll Blair’s ex-boyfriend?” 

Boyd stopped typing for a moment.  He knew that look and tone.  They were the same ones Susan used when he did things like use a paper plate instead of emptying the dishwasher because there were no clean dishes in the cabinet.  A combination of disapproval and amusement over something that wasn’t argument material, but something she couldn’t quite let slide, either.  “I wouldn’t call it trolling, honey.  It’s just a little experiment comparing someone’s online persona to their real life one.  Out of curiosity.”

“Because this someone used to date our daughter, and now he wants to hang out with her again.”


“Mmm-hmm.”  Susan closed her browser and shut down her computer, feeling sleepy now that she was done with what she’d wanted to do online.  “Well, when you’re done not-trolling, come to bed.  You’re going to be miserable at work tomorrow if you stay up until two again like last night.”  She gave him a quick kiss good night, and headed off to their bedroom while he logged into the game.

Across town the following day, the subject of the Wainwrights’ late night conversation was not having a great day himself.  Cycl0n3 Sw0rd had endured a long and painfully dull shift at work proofreading things that he found boring to read in the first place.  When he got home, he wanted nothing more than a little downtime and mindless entertainment in the form of killing monsters on a console game.  He got a grand total of five minutes of it after changing out of his work clothes and settling down to play.  Then he got a phone call from his roommate—well, former roommate, now—and that ended that.

He headed toward the kitchen area and found his two remaining roommates, Emma and Tamara, at the table.  They looked just as stressed as he was.

“What’s up with you two?  Did you hear the same great news I just did?”

Tamara glanced up at him.  “News?  You mean about how we can’t pay our bills?  Yeah, it’s wonderful.  Makes me feel like those long hours at City Hall are totally worthwhile when the rent eats this much of my monthly income.”  She sighed.  “Kyle needs to get back here soon.  He still hasn’t paid his share for this month.  If it wasn’t for Emma being able to take leftover food from work most nights, we’d have nothing to eat but a couple of cheap boxes of macaroni and cheese for the rest of the week.”

“At least the food makes up for my not-so-filling paycheck,” Emma joked before growing serious again.  “I’m sorry I can’t chip in more to help cover the stuff he was supposed to pay, but I make squat, too.  I can’t afford a third of the rent on this place.  I signed on for a fifth, and a fourth I can do for a month or two, but that’s about my limit until I get a raise.”

“It’s not your fault, Emma,” Tamara assured her before turning back to Cycl0n3.  “Tell me you weren’t being sarcastic, and your great news actually is good news, and not another three hundred simoleon electric bill or something else we can’t afford.”

“I wish.  No, it was a call from our missing roommate.  I asked him if he was on his way back finally, since he was supposed to head back with me, and he told me he called to say he wasn’t coming back.  He’s decided he likes it there so much he’s moving in with Randall for good.  Like I said, great news.”  He flopped down into one of the empty chairs at the table.

Tamara was furious.  “What?  He can’t just do that to us!  He agreed to stay here until the fall!  We held his room!  That’s bull!”

“Seriously!” agreed Emma.  “If he was going to stay there, he should’ve said so and given us a month to find another roommate to pick up his share.  Or at least pay us his share for this month since he didn’t bother to let us know.  We could’ve run an ad for two new roommates instead of one.”

“Hey, I’m not arguing.”  Cycl0n3 leaned back in his chair.  “When’s that Stiles guy who answered our ad supposed to move in, anyway?  At least he’ll make four again, and keep us from learning the fine art of dumpster diving to get by.”

Emma sighed.  “Not until the middle of July.  He said he was stuck in his lease where he lives now until then.  We said it was okay because we thought Kyle would be back with you and we could get by with four of us until Stiles moved in and put us back at five.”

“That and he was the only one who answered who didn’t seem shady or skeevy,” muttered Tamara.

Cycl0n3 couldn’t help but laugh.  “Coming from someone who hangs around upstanding guys like Xander Clavell, that’s saying something.”

“Shut up, Cycl0n3,” Tamara retorted.  “I’m being serious.  If you can chip in any extra, we need you to.  I covered what I could, but it’s not really enough.  I’ll pay you back out of what Stiles gives us when he moves in.”

“What, do you think I’m making a fortune as a newsroom peon?  Anyway, I don’t have much right now, because I didn’t expect to have a roommate bail on me and stick me with his share of the bills.  I upgraded my laptop with a better hard drive with most of my last paycheck.”

Tamara sighed.  “Great.”

“Look, there’s got to be something we can do, right?  Maybe try putting an ad somewhere other than SimsList?” suggested Emma.

“Putting one in the paper costs money, which we’re lacking,” Cycl0n3 pointed out.  “I tried asking Victoria if there was any kind of employee discount back when we put out the first one, and she told me they didn’t do that.”

“What about friends?  Do either of you two know anyone that might be looking to move, or heck, even stay here for a month or two while looking for somewhere better?”  Emma looked over at Tamara.  “What about Xander?  Doesn’t he still live with his parents?  He can’t be thrilled about that, right?  Think he’d want to move in?”

“No way.  Xander still lives with his parents because he doesn’t have to pay rent and his mom makes him dinner every night and still does his laundry,” Tamara said.  “If he moved in, he might cough up the rent once or twice, and then it’ll be late because he blew it all partying, and he’ll ask if we could cover him or help him out ‘just this once,’ except it’s never only once with him.  Trust me.  Been there, done that.”

“And wore his t-shirt the morning after, or so I heard,” Cycl0n3 quipped, waggling his eyebrows. 

Emma snickered, while Tamara snapped at him.  “That’s not funny.  It’s also not relevant.  We’re talking about finding a roommate, not ancient history.  Xander’s not on the list of candidates, so we need to figure out someone who is.  Okay?”

“Fine.  Bite my head off, why don’t you?” Cycl0n3 was about to say something else when his phone beeped with a text.

Emma looked up as Cycl0n3 responded to whoever it was.  “I hope that was Kyle, and you’re telling him what he can do to himself for screwing us over like this.”

Cycl0n3 chortled.  “Nah.  Just my friend Blair.”

“I don’t suppose your friend might be interested in a room in an avant-garde industrial style loft complex in downtown Sunset Valley?” Emma said, parroting the wording they had used in their SimsList ad.

“What?  No.  I mean, I don’t think so.”  Cycl0n3 was caught off guard by the question.  It had never occurred to him to think of Blair in terms of roommate material until then.  “She still lives at home.”

“Another Xander?” asked Emma.

Cycl0n3 made a face at the comparison.  “No.  She's nothing like him.  She's younger than us.  She only graduated high school this year.  She’s not a loser mooching off mom and dad at almost thirty.”

Tamara raised an eyebrow.  “Isn’t she also your ex-girlfriend?”

“I thought this wasn’t about ‘ancient history,’” he replied sarcastically.

“Well, if they’re friends now, what’s the harm?” asked Emma.  “It means you’re past any awkward stuff, right?”

Cycl0n3 nodded.  “Oh, yeah.  Sure.  I mean, I haven't seen her since I first left for University last year, but we’ve been talking on SimBook for months now.  Everything's cool with us.”

“If you say so.”  Tamara shrugged.  “I’d find it a little weird to live with someone I was with for like a year and then broke up with, but that’s just me.  I’ve got no problem with it if you don't, though.”

“Ten months and thirteen days, actually.”

Emma gave Cycl0n3 a surprised look.  “What?”

“That’s how long we were together.  What can I say?  My mind is a precise instrument.”

“Except for when you can’t find your car keys,” quipped Emma.  “You lose them more often than anyone I know.  But back to the subject here, does she work or have some kind of income?  Do you think she might want to move out of her parents place?”

“I don’t know.  She might.  She does have a job.  She joined the SVPD after graduation.  I could ask her.”  The more he thought about it, the more he liked the idea of having Blair around.  They had always gotten along well, and had been friends for some time before they ever dated.  Cycl0n3 figured that was why he had been able to stay friends with her after their relationship ended and he went to University.  Blair Wainwright was one of the few individuals he had ever met that both got him and accepted him on a level most others didn’t.

“Sounds good to me, then.”  Emma leaned back in her chair. 

“Me, too,” Tamara agreed.  “Let us know what she says.”

Offline RaiaDraconis

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 3
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2014, 11:49:41 AM »
The exchange between the roommates was fantastic! You captured their personalities perfectly. I wonder how Boyd and Susan will react to the idea of Blair possibly moving out... ;)

Offline Magz from Oz

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 3
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2014, 04:21:02 PM »
This is a great backstory for the Roomies.   :)  I love your makeovers Cheezey.  Cycl0n3 does scrub up well, doesn't he. 
Where there is love - there is life. -- Mahatma Gandhi

My Stories:
1. Duty Calls
2. Duty Calls Sequel: Islands of Sunset Valley
3. The Lady of the Lake
4. The Secret Time Traveler

Offline NexttoNormal

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 3
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2014, 04:51:53 PM »
I love the banter between the Roomies. Like everyone before me said, you did a great job capturing their personalities! Tamara sounds exactly like how I imagine she would. And Cycl0n3 is probably my favorite nerd sim in the game, he's just so hardcore nerd. I also like the backstory for him and Blair, it'll be interesting to see them interact later on!

Offline Cheezey

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 3
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2014, 12:38:53 PM »
The exchange between the roommates was fantastic! You captured their personalities perfectly. I wonder how Boyd and Susan will react to the idea of Blair possibly moving out... ;)

Thank you! I enjoy all the Roomies' characters. Tamara has some fun traits to put into play with hot-headed, flirty, and mooch, so I see her as the one who probably gets the worst and the most of Cycl0n3's inappropriate remarks, as she leaves herself open to them.

This is a great backstory for the Roomies.   :)  I love your makeovers Cheezey.  Cycl0n3 does scrub up well, doesn't he. 

Thanks!  I'm glad you like the story and their new looks.  The hair Tamara has is one of my favorite store styles.  Cycl0n3's hair is one I rarely pick for a sim because it's one of the more unusual styles, but it seems to suit him.  He's one of those sims I almost always have to send into the stylist, even if I'm not playing him.  Sims whose default outfits involve a coat when the game is in summer are a nit-picky thing that drives me nuts.  Same with Boyd's snakeskin jacket (which I've decided has to be a leftover from a mid-life crisis he would have had some time before Sunset Valley's default start) and Jared Frio's leather coat.  I can't see the Seasons summer temperature and not feel like the poor sim is roasting wearing something like that.

The backstory for this story is taking on a life of its own.  Back when I started the game this story is based on (which was played from the game's start and relatively unscripted, going off the sims' wishes, with Nraas story progression handling the unplayed households) I figured the backstory would be 3 chapters, tops.  Now, as I write it out and flesh out the details, I'm guessing it will be more like twice that.

I love the banter between the Roomies. Like everyone before me said, you did a great job capturing their personalities! Tamara sounds exactly like how I imagine she would. And Cycl0n3 is probably my favorite nerd sim in the game, he's just so hardcore nerd. I also like the backstory for him and Blair, it'll be interesting to see them interact later on!

Thank you! Cycl0n3 is lots of fun. I think the inappropriate aspect of his personality is what puts him over the top. While Boyd is just as nerdy in that computer geek/scientist kind of way, he knows better than to say and do some of the things that Cycl0n3 would.  That said, those two and Justin Kayes from Twinbrook are my three favorite sim nerds.  Oh, and Evangeline Finch from Lucky Palms also gets a mention, because an old lady who once hacked into a military base and got run out of town for it is just awesome.  I have a bit of head canon that Boyd knew her when he was a teenager, back when she still lived in Sunset Valley, and that he learned a few things from her.

As for Cycl0n3 and Blair, they're pretty much the whole next chapter.  I'm hoping to get that up tomorrow.

Offline Lisa46

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 3
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2014, 06:11:54 PM »
That is an absolutely perfect roomies representation.

Offline Cheezey

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 3
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2014, 04:40:29 PM »
Chapter 4

Cycl0n3 was not able to reach Blair when he called her, so he just left her a message and went online into TarzWar to blow off some steam.  He teamed up with his friend BlizzEgo and spent the next half hour ranting and killing monsters with him.  After that, he headed back to the kitchen to get something to eat.

He found Tamara staring into the fridge, looking disgusted.  “I think that spaghetti Emma brought home last night went bad.”  She looked at it up close, sniffed, winced, and threw it in the garbage.  “So much for something other than macaroni and cheese.” 

Cycl0n3’s stomach growled its disappointment loud enough for Tamara to hear it as well.  “I think I’ve got enough cash to get food at the diner.  How about you?”

“Are you treating?” Tamara asked hopefully.

“Are you a cheap date?”

“Hardly.”  She was not sure if Cycl0n3’s rude wording was intentional or not, but she decided to be magnanimous and let it go.  “I guess I have enough for that.  Vita treated the group to lunch this afternoon, so I didn’t have to buy my own.”

“Lucky you,” Cycl0n3 said as they headed for the stairs.  “I can’t mooch a free lunch off my boss.  Guess it proves the Altos aren’t all bad.”

Blair got off duty later than usual.  She and Hank were out on patrol when ten minutes before the end of their shift, they were dispatched to investigate a report of “suspicious items” in a new shop that opened up in town.  The store, Aleister’s Elixirs and Sundries, was on Water Lily Lane in a former house that had been fixed up and converted to retail space.  At first, Blair thought it was some sort of pharmacy or dispensary for alternative medicine and folk remedies, but she found out otherwise when she and Hank went in.

It looked like something straight from a movie, with bookshelves full of musty-looking tomes, other shelves with bottles and flasks of all shapes, colors, and sizes, containers with dried herbs, and a fireplace with a rocking chair.  There was even a stone altar with occult symbols all over it, well-used candles along the top, and a giant cast iron cauldron beside it.  The place reminded her of the Goth manor.

Hank quickly discovered what the call had been about.  There was a skull on display that belonged to some kind of animal neither Blair nor Hank could identify, and jars of preserved oddities on the counters and tables.  The clerk assured them that everything in the shop was legal to own and sell, and had been obtained through proper channels from her supplier in Moonlight Falls.  Hank let Blair check the paperwork while he took a look around the back garden.  Everything turned out to be in order, and after a chat with the clerk about what the elixirs on the shelves were, Hank wound up buying a flask of something called a “Vial of Bliss” for himself.

Since they racked up some overtime, Blair and Hank clocked out and decided to treat themselves to dinner at the diner before heading home.  They were still talking about the unusual things in the elixir shop when they finished eating.  “Well, you’ll have to tell me if that stuff actually works,” Blair teased Hank.  “If it does, maybe I’ll give that Invigorating Elixir a try next time I get a double shift.”

“Sure.  I’m going to save it for the weekend, though.  Pauline and I are throwing a party, so why not break it out then?  The guy said it was pretty much life of the party in a bottle.”  He grinned.  “You should come by.  Cut loose with us.”

Blair gave him a nervous smile.  “Thanks for inviting me, but… well, I’m not really good at parties.”

“What?  Don’t worry about that.  If I didn’t think you’d be fun to have around, I wouldn’t invite you.  Come on.  My friends will like you, and I know Pauline would love to meet you.”

“No, it’s not that.  It’s just that crowds aren’t my thing.  At all.”  Blair gave him a contrite look.  “I’m sorry.  It was nice of you to offer, and I do want to meet your fiancée sometime.  Just not at a big party.”

“Okay, but if you change your mind, you’re still welcome.  If not, well, I guess I’ll have to let you know what happened with the Vial of Bliss on Monday.”

Cycl0n3 and Tamara showed up at the diner while Blair and Hank were talking in the parking lot.  He spotted her before she spotted him, and he stopped short in his tracks.  “I don’t believe it.”


“That’s Blair.”

Tamara followed his gaze.  “The one you’re going to ask about moving in?”

“Yeah.”  Cycl0n3’s expression darkened when he saw how familiar Blair seemed with the guy she was talking to.  Back in high school, Blair had always been a quiet girl who kept to herself and never said much to anyone she wasn’t close with.  For her to be that at ease implied that she knew whoever she was talking to rather well, and Cycl0n3 had no idea who he even was.  “I called her a little while ago, but I guess she’s been too busy with Muscles over there to call me back.”

“You mean Hank?”

“You know that guy?”

“I recognize him,” Tamara said.  “That’s Hank Goddard.  He hangs out at Mick’s sometimes.”

“Doesn’t seem like the kind of guy I’d expect to see Blair with.” 

“You said she’s a cop, right?  So is Hank.  I was out with Emma and her friend Ayesha a while back, and I saw Hank and mentioned that I thought he was pretty hot.  Well, you know the kind of stuff Ayesha does, right?  Turns out he arrested her once, and she went on a whole rant about him.” 

Cycl0n3 gave Tamara an unimpressed look.  “You think that guy is hot?”

“Uh, yeah?” she said, as if it should have been obvious.  “Nice body, nice tan, looks like he knows how to have fun…”

“Looks like he spends too much time in the gym and bumming around on the beach to me.  He’s probably one of those guys who can’t count any higher than the pounds he can lift or juices he can knock back.  Like those dumb jocks at frat parties at University.  Why would Blair waste her time hanging out with someone like that?”

“Maybe she thinks he’s hot, too,” Tamara said with a shrug.  “Or they were working together and went out afterward.” 

“Heh.  You’d think they’d hit the donut shop downtown, then,” Cycl0n3 muttered, just as Blair caught sight of him.  As soon as they made eye contact, Cycl0n3 immediately headed toward her. 

Oh, yeah, everything’s cool with you and her, all right, Tamara said as she watched him go.

“You’ll definitely have to tell me how it goes,” Blair told Hank.  She was about to say something else when she saw a familiar face on the other side of the lot.  Cycl0n3 is here?  “Excuse me a second, Hank.”  She was about to wave when she saw that Cycl0n3 saw her as well, and was on his way over.  As soon as he got there, she gave him a big hug.

“Cycl0n3!  It’s so good to see you again.”  Although they had been talking over SimBook and online, they had not seen each other in person since the day he left for University months ago.

“Hey, Blair.”  He smiled at her as they broke apart.  “How’s life serving and protecting the citizens of Sunset Valley?”

“Interesting.  Today especially, right?” she said, looking over at Hank.

“Yeah, I can say that today I saw some things I’ve definitely never seen before.”  He paused.  “And that I’m not so sure I’d like to see again.”

“Cycl0n3, this is my partner, Hank.”

“Your partner on the police force,” he said, looking at Hank and then back at Blair.  “Right.  Looks like a good match.  Brains and brawn.  Mind and muscle.  Beauty and the Beast.”

Hank was not sure if he had just been insulted or not, but Blair knew from experience that not everyone quite got Cycl0n3’s odd sense of humor, so she stepped in to make sure there were no misunderstandings.  “Thanks, although Hank’s pretty sharp, and I like to think my trips to the gym are giving me a little muscle.  Hank, this is Cycl0n3.  I’ve known him since my first year of high school.”

“Nice to meet you, uh… Cyclone, she said your name was?”

“Cycl0n3 Sw0rd.  Pronounced like the weather phenomenon and melee weapon, respectively, but spelled with the vowels replaced with the numbers 0 and 3.”

“Uh-huh,” Hank said, giving Cycl0n3 a strange look.  “That’s not your real name, though, right?”

“Want to see my license and registration, officer?” he challenged sarcastically.

“It really does say that on his license, believe it or not,” Blair told Hank.  “It’s his legal name.”

“Wow.  That’s… unique.  School must’ve been fun for you with a name like that.  Not to mention finding a job.”

“School was a monotonous and miserable experience, where I endured constant mockery and humiliation from my intellectually inferior peers, but my name had nothing to do with it.  I changed it after graduation.  As for job hunting, I like to think my chosen name highlights my innate ability to think outside the box.  The smart ones appreciate that, and I’d rather not work for anyone too dumb to get it.”

“Right.”  For some reason Hank felt like he had just been insulted, although he could not say why.  “So where do you work?”

Cycl0n3 gestured in the general direction of the business complex.  “Over at Doo Peas in the news office.  Who knows?  One day I may be editing a story on a case file of yours.”  He looked at Blair.  “Not that I’ll need to fix your spelling or grammar.  But the rest of the SVPD...”

Hank couldn’t let that last remark slide.  “So, your ‘outside the box’ thinking landed you a job spell-checking press releases?  Wow.  How impressive.”

“It’s a temp job, not my career,” Cycl0n3 retorted.

“He’s still in University.  He just came home for the summer,” Blair explained.  She had no idea why Cycl0n3 seemed determined to needle Hank, but she did not like the direction the conversation was going.  She was about to bring up a subject change, but Cycl0n3 beat her to the punch.

“Oh!  That reminds me.  I left you a message earlier, but I’ll just tell you now.  You know how I moved into the loft complex with a bunch of roommates last summer?” 

Blair nodded.

“Well, a few months back one of them moved out, and while my other roommates tried to find a replacement, another one bailed on us.  Long story short, we need a new roommate fast, or we’re going to be forced to make fun choices like whether we start pawning our stuff, or have repo-men stopping by.” 

“Oh, no!  That’s awful.”

“Yeah, that’s one word for it.  So, I was wondering, now that you’re officially on the force and working, if maybe you were looking to move out of your parents’ place yet?”

Blair was shocked.  “You want me to move in with you?”

“Well, me and Tam and Emma, and that Stiles guy they found whenever he’s able to move out of his old place, but yeah.”  He gave her a hopeful look.  “You’d have your own room, and split five ways, the rent’s not that bad.”

“I—well, I don’t know.  I was thinking I’d save a little more money and start looking this fall, since my parents were pretty insistent about me not moving into a bad area or a ‘roach-infested hovel’ as my mother put it.  I have some saved, so I could, I guess, but I’d have to think about it and let you know.”

“How soon?” Cycl0n3 asked.  “Sorry to drop it on you so fast, but it’s really kind of urgent, and… I can’t bear the thought of pawning my computer, Blair.  It hurts.”  He made a pained face.  “I promise we don’t have any roaches.”

Blair could not help but feel for Cycl0n3.  For him to even entertain the idea of selling his computer, she knew that the situation had to be pretty dire.  “All right.  I’ll give it some thought tonight and let you know by tomorrow.”

He hugged her.  “Thanks, Blair.”

“You’re welcome.  I’ll call you.”

“Talk to you then.  Later.”  Cycl0n3 headed over to where Tamara had struck up a conversation with someone, leaving Blair with Hank.

“Your friend’s quite a character, isn’t he?” Hank remarked.

“I’m sorry he was rude to you.  He gets kind of weird sometimes.”

“Only sometimes?”

Blair couldn’t help but smirk.  “Okay, a lot of the time.  Especially when he’s stressed like he must be now with that roommate situation.  But he really is a good guy.  He just takes some getting used to.”

Hank watched Blair glance in the direction Cycl0n3 had departed, and gave her a curious look.  “Were you and him ever a thing?”

“What?”  Blair felt her cheeks turn red.  “I mean… what makes you say that?”

“For starters, you blushing like that when I asked,” Hank replied.  “But mostly the attitude he had with me out of nowhere.  Unless I remind him of someone that used to give him swirlies back in high school or something, that’s the only reason I can think of.  I mean, I didn’t even know him, and I don’t think it’s that he doesn’t like cops, considering you’re one.”

“Well, we went out most of my junior year of high school, but that was a long time ago now.”

“Mmm-hmm.  I thought so.”

“I don’t think he’d...”  She paused, and then shook her head.  “Nah.  It’s just Cycl0n3 being, well, Cycl0n3.”

“Anyway, I’ve got to say you have, uh, let’s call it ‘interesting’ taste in men, Blair.”  Hank smiled.  “Not that I have much room to talk.  I know I dated a few ‘interesting’ women myself in the past.”

Blair gave him a wry look.  “From what Justine’s said, it was more than a few.”

“Maybe,” Hank said with a wink.  “That’s all in the past now, though.  I’m an engaged man.”  He sounded almost wistful as he said it.  “But I can give you some advice if you’re really thinking about moving in with him,” he continued on a serious note.  “Old flames rekindle a lot more easily than they die out.  You should make sure you’re ready to handle that if you do decide to go there.”

“We’re just friends now, Hank.  We’re past all that.”

He shrugged.  “I’m just saying sometimes things happen you don’t expect.  I know I haven’t known you all that long compared to him, so maybe I’m off base here, but I do know that it’s a heck of a lot easier to avoid getting into a situation like that than it is to get out of it if it goes bad.”

“I get what you’re saying.  Thanks.”

“No problem.  What’s your partner for, if not to watch your back, right?”  Hank’s phone beeped, and after a brief look at it, he stuffed it back in his pocket.  “I’ve got to go.  Pauline wants to meet up at Mick’s.  I’ll see you at work tomorrow.”

“Okay.  Try not to think about the jar of pickled freezer bunnies too much,” she said with a grin.

Hank made a face as he headed to the street to hail a cab.  “Ugh.  You had to remind me, didn’t you?”

Offline Magz from Oz

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 4
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2014, 04:22:32 AM »
This is so cool and so very believable.  Cycl0n3 is jealous... pure and simple.  It makes me wonder who ended their relationship.  Maybe Cycl0n3 didn't know what he had until he lost it.  ;)  Terrific update Cheezey.
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Offline karlissa

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 4
« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2014, 06:04:05 AM »
Astounding writing in all throughout, it's brilliant. Better than some published authors.
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Offline Magpie2012

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 4
« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2014, 07:51:16 AM »
This is really good! Can't wait to read more!
because... Math *Pippin The Most Tenacious Simmer*

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Offline Lisa46

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 4
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2014, 12:07:35 PM »
I really enjoy your writing style!

Offline saltpastillen

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 4
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2014, 02:17:34 PM »
All caught up on your story, such fun so far. I wanna know what happens next!

Offline NexttoNormal

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 4
« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2014, 09:17:24 PM »
I'm really loving this story. Your writing is fantastic and I think the personalities you've written for everyone so far are perfect! Cycl0n3 is just wonderfully adorkable! Can't wait to see more!

Offline Cheezey

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Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 5
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2014, 01:52:56 PM »
Author's Note: I just wanted to thank you all for the nice things you've said about my story. I'm glad you're enjoying it, and I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know.

Chapter 5

Blair kept Hank’s advice in mind, although it was just one consideration in a pile of others that churned through her head.  She thought about Cycl0n3’s invitation the entire way home.  The notion of moving out sooner rather than later appealed more the longer she thought about it.  The recent conversation she’d had with her parents about her bedroom door and her boyfriends had been a reminder that even though she had a friendly relationship with them, they were still her parents, and their home was ultimately their space.  It was time for her to find space of her own.

Now she had an offer for it, in Cycl0n3’s house.  Her own room, in a place shared with others around her own age, all of them roommates and equals.  It wouldn’t be a bad way to start out.  The idea of living with strangers was a little intimidating, but she supposed it wouldn’t be any worse than it would have been rooming with strangers at University, had she chosen to go right after graduation.  Cycl0n3’s roommates couldn’t be that bad if he managed to live with them peacefully, considering how quirky he could be, and he needed her help.  It wasn’t like she couldn’t move again if things didn’t go well, right?

Her mind was already made up by the time she made it home.

Susan was on the couch watching TV when Blair came in.  “Hi,” she greeted her.  “We got pizza for dinner earlier.  It’s in the kitchen if you want some.”

“Thanks, but I ate already,” Blair replied. 

“Long day?”

“Yup.  We had to put in overtime to answer a call at Aleister’s Elixirs, but it turned out to be nothing but someone freaked out about an animal skull and some bottled bugs and stuff.  It was kind of creepy, but there wasn’t anything illegal going on.”

Susan gave her a curious look.  “What kind of animal skull?”

“I don’t know, actually.  We took pictures, but since it wasn’t human and there was nothing else found at the scene, I don’t think identifying it is high on forensics’ priority list.  It was weird.  Kind of long, with horn-like things that almost looked like ears.  I have a picture on my phone.  Hank wanted me to get one of him posing with it once we were done, so he could show his fiancée.  But I don’t want to interrupt your show more than I already have, so I’ll show you later.”

“No, show me now,” Susan insisted.  “I was just channel surfing and wound up watching this, but it’s more like a train wreck than quality entertainment.”  She sighed.  “I’ll be so glad when the summer hiatuses are over and the new seasons start.”

Blair pulled out her phone and brought up the picture, which showed Hank making an exaggerated goofy face while hovering above the skull.  Susan studied it and considered the possibilities.  “It looks canid, but I don’t think it’s domestic.  Actually, I don’t know what species would have those horns.  Are you sure they aren’t artificial, added for decorative purposes?  If they are, I’d think maybe it’s a fox or something like that.”  She handed the phone back to Blair.  “So this is the kind of stuff in that new store, huh?  Your father was wondering what that place was, if it was an occult supply shop, or just some new-agey type of health food store.”

“Where is Dad?  On the computer?” 

Susan nodded.  “Boyd!  Can you come here a minute?”

“Just a second,” he said, typing something quickly.  He paused, typed something else, and then got up and came into the living room.  “What?  Oh, hi, Blair.  I didn’t know you were home.”

“I just got here.”

“We were wondering if you had any idea what this is?”  Susan gestured to the phone, which Blair handed to him.  “I don’t think there are any species that naturally have horns like that, do you?”

Boyd looked at the phone and made a face.  “It looks like someone put demon-like horns onto a fox or a badger skull.  Is that real?”

“We got a call to check that out at Aleister’s Elixirs today.  We found this and a bunch of other weird stuff there.  Turned out there was nothing illegal going on, but we took pictures anyway.”  She grinned.  “I know it’s not an alien ship, but I thought you might get a kick out of it.”

After studying the picture for a few more moments, Boyd handed the phone back to Blair.  “So, that place is an occult shop after all, huh?  What else do they have there?” 

“Lots of elixirs, like the name says.  Books, and some herbs, stones, and crystals.  They’ve got wands, for witches or practicing magic, I guess?  I don’t know.  There’s also a rock cutting machine and this big stone altar with a bunch of half-melted candles on it, and a cauldron.  They make their elixirs in that, according to the clerk.”

“Home-brewed elixirs, huh?  For what?”  Susan raised a skeptical eyebrow.

“Hank bought something called a Vial of Bliss.  There were other ones called things like ‘Essence of Magic,’ ‘Invigorating Elixir,’ and ‘Jar of Friendship’ and, oh yeah, ‘Liquid Job Booster.’”

“A promotion in a bottle?” Boyd chuckled. “If only it was that easy.”

“Let me guess.  They cost a fortune, right?”

“I didn’t ask.  I think Hank paid somewhere around fifteen or twenty for his, but I don’t know about the others.”

“Susan, we’ve got to check that place out sometime.”  Boyd was fascinated by Blair’s account of the place, but Susan was a little less enthusiastic.   

“It could be interesting.  I just hope it doesn’t reek of burnt herbs and old wax, and have that awful musty attic smell that places like that usually have.”

“Actually, I think it was the clerk that smelled like that,” Blair remarked.


“It’ll be fun anyway,” Boyd said.  “If you don’t want to go, honey, I’ll just go on my own after work one day.  I want to take a look at these elixirs and see if I can figure out what’s in them, and why they allegedly work.”

“My guess is that they’re made with herbs and plants that sound exotic or mystical, and they work because whoever bought them is gullible enough to believe it works, so a placebo effect takes place.”

“Probably, but I’m curious anyway,” Boyd replied with a wry look at his wife.  “Aren’t you just a little?”

“A little,” Susan admitted. 

“I’d bet in at least some of them there’s a chemical that contributes to the perceived effect,” Boyd continued, while Susan listened.  “Like how one of the chemical components found in raw licorice, in sufficient quantity, can induce a physiological reaction that releases hormones suppressing appetite, so on the surface it seems like some kind of magic diet aid.”

Blair took that as her cue to excuse herself.  She knew from experience that when her parents got on a tangent like that, they would be going for a while, and beyond finding out what happened with Hank’s party elixir at some point, she had already lost interest.  There were other things on her mind.

She popped onto the computer to check her bank account, and a few other things related to the task of moving, and then shut down and got out her phone.

“Blair!” Cycl0n3 sounded both enthusiastic and hopeful as he answered the call.  “Are you calling because you decided?”

Blair felt a touch of something—like anxiety, but not as unpleasant—when she heard how eager he was.  “Yes.  I think I’d like to.”

There was an enthusiastic shout on the other end of the line.  “Oh, Blair, thank you so much.  You have no idea how much I—how much you’ve helped us all out.”

“You’re welcome.  It’s about time for me to move out from here, anyway.  I mean, I love my parents, but you know how it is.”

“Well, I promise I won’t ever order you to clean your room,” Cycl0n3 teased.   

Blair laughed.  “My room was always cleaner than yours, anyway.”

“Hey!  I’m not a slob!”

“No, but I know how you always have pieces and boxes of old computer parts and wires laying around.  Someday you’re going to have as much of that stuff as my dad does in the carport storage room.”

“Pfft.  You’re still bitter about the time you stepped on that old graphics card in bare feet.  I told you to be careful.”  Cycl0n3 paused.  “And I’ll have you know that my room has never been anywhere near as cluttered as your dad’s archive of obsolete and broken computers and parts dating back to the eighties, thank you very much.”

“Well, anyway, I do still want to see it before I say for sure, but as long as my room is private and has enough space for my stuff, and your roommates seem okay—”

“Oh, you’ll be fine with my roommates,” Cycl0n3 assured her, cutting her off.  “Tamara and Emma are both pretty easy to get along with as long as you’re not a complete jerk.  I mean, I get along with them, and you know how well I mesh with society as a whole.”

“Didn’t you say there was another guy moving in?”

“Yeah, in a few weeks.  I didn’t meet him, but they did, and they said he seemed like a normal, average kind of guy.  A professional musician that works over at the theater.  Not a partier, though, from what they told me, so no band sessions in the house or anything.  They said he told them he can’t stand crowds in his personal space.”

“Good.  I can’t, either.  When can I meet your roommates?”

“Whenever you want.  Tomorrow after work, if you’re free, and not busy with Muscles.”

Blair blinked.  “Who?”

“Your partner.  The big muscly guy.”

“You mean Hank.”

“Yeah.  Him.”  There was a flatness in his voice.

I wonder what he has against Hank, anyway, Blair thought.  She did not really think it could be what Hank suspected, that Cycl0n3 was jealous.  After all, she and Cycl0n3 had not been anything more than friends for a long time now, and she and Hank were just friends.  Not to mention the fact that Hank was engaged.  If nothing else, Cycl0n3 ought to have known her well enough to know she wasn’t the sort that would pursue or even want someone that was cheating on someone else to be with her.  She hoped he got over it soon, whatever his reasons were.

“I don’t have any plans.  I can go over tomorrow after work,” she told him.  “Can you pick me up at the station?  I get off at three.”

“Sure can.  I get off at two,” Cycl0n3 replied, sounding upbeat once more. 

“There’s one more thing,” Blair added, glancing at her closed bedroom door.  “I need you to come home with me afterwards.”

“What?  Do you need help packing?” he teased.

“Well, I wouldn’t mind some help with getting the boxes into the moving van when the day comes, but no, that’s not what I want you to come over for,” she told him.  “I haven’t said anything to my parents yet.  I think they’ll take it better if you’re there with me to explain the whole roommate situation, and reassure them that I’m not moving in with a bunch of weird strangers or anything like that.”

Cycl0n3 laughed.  “Wait, you’re using me as an example of someone who’s not weird?  That’s a first for me.”

“You’re not weird in a bad way.  I meant more like serial killer, murder-me-in-my-sleep weird,” Blair explained.  “Besides, my parents know and like you.”

“Did I ever tell you about the time your dad told me that if I ever hurt you, he’d personally feed me to his favorite cow plant?”

Blair facepalmed, feeling a rush of embarrassment even though the event was probably a good two to three years in the past.  “Ugh.  No.  When did he say that?”

“Not long after we started going out.”

“Figures,” she said, rolling her eyes.  “Anyway, I’m sure he was just being facetious.  I know they liked you.  So you’re going to come over here with me after I check out the room and meet your roommates, and be there to answer any of their questions when I tell them, okay?” 

“Yeah, I can do that,” Cycl0n3 replied.  “I’ll see you tomorrow at three then.”

“See you then,” Blair said, and hung up.

Two hours later, Blair had already gone to bed, but her parents were still up and about.  After their discussion about alchemy and whatever potential scientific validity it might have, they got on their computers for some less academic entertainment.

Susan was browsing websites about vacation destinations.  Now that Blair was taking care of herself, they were planning a long-overdue vacation to the tropics, which was something Susan had wanted to do for years.  A nice stay a top-rated eco-modern resort with all the amenities sounded like heaven to her.  She just had to find the perfect place.  Boyd looked forward to that trip, too, but he was content to let Susan do all the planning and picking and booking.  He was not nearly as picky as his wife when it came to the specifics on amenities.  As long as the resort had good wi-fi, decent food, and a nice room with premium channels, he was good to go.  He just gave his input when she asked him for it, and played TarzWar in the meantime.

“I’m thinking about going with this package at Sparkling Sands in Isla Paradiso.  It’s the one on the main island with its own private lagoon that I told you about.  The pictures look gorgeous, and the spa facilities are included in the price of the stay.”

“Sounds fine to me, if you think it’s a good deal.”

“I do.”  Susan bookmarked it.  “I’ll look into it more tomorrow.  It’s getting late.”  She glanced at the time.  “We should turn in.”

Boyd looked at the clock on his computer and did a double-take.  How had so much time passed already?  It felt like he’d only been on a little while.  “Okay.  I’ll be off in a minute.”

Susan shut her computer down, and then headed to the bathroom to begin her nightly routine of washing her face and putting high-end moisturizing and anti-aging creams on it.  The process sometimes took her upwards of twenty minutes, depending on whether she thought she had more or fewer creases than before.  That was fine, though, because sometimes it took Boyd that long to actually sign off of his game if his character was in the middle of something.

Twelve minutes later, Susan called over.  “Are you still on?”

Boyd’s game was in the process of shutting down when the last blurb of guild chat came up on his screen before disconnecting.

Cycl0n3 Sw0rd has signed on.
Blizz Ego: hey man
Warz Lordz: Where have you been all night? You missed an epic fight.
Cycl0n3 Sw0rd: I solved my roommate problem tonight
Cycl0n3 Sw0rd: I talked my ex-girlfriend into moving in
Cycl0n3 Sw0rd: Am I crazy? lol
Smack Pod: LOL
Blizz Ego: lol dude yeah that’s crazy
Girbits: Wow
Space Invader has signed off.

Boyd’s eyes went wide behind his glasses, and he stared at the screen in shock.  If that Cycl0n3 was the same as Blair’s ex-boyfriend, then did that mean…? 

“Honey?” Susan called from the hall.  “Did you hear me?”

“Yeah, I’m coming,” Boyd called back, turning off the computer.  Susan was already in bed when he got there, but still awake.  “You’re not going to believe what I just saw in guild chat as I was signing off.”

Susan’s eyes lit up with curiosity when she noticed Boyd’s expression.  “Did Cycl0n3 say something interesting?”

“He said he convinced his ex-girlfriend to move in with him.”

Boyd watched as Susan’s expression changed, and he flopped onto the bed beside her.  “My thoughts exactly.”

Offline Magz from Oz

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 5
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2014, 06:10:16 PM »
Ouch the dilemma of every parent... and what a way to find out!  I'm looking forward to how this unfolds when Cycl0n3 goes home with Blair to tell her parents.  ;)
Where there is love - there is life. -- Mahatma Gandhi

My Stories:
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2. Duty Calls Sequel: Islands of Sunset Valley
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4. The Secret Time Traveler