Author Topic: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley  (Read 144877 times)

Offline chetanhaobijam

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley
« Reply #105 on: October 29, 2016, 11:38:47 PM »
Awesome update. Such a great wedding celebration. And the little drama about the forgotten ring was fun to read. Wishing the two newly weds a great happy married life and great time in their honeymoon. Looking forward for next update.

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Offline Nimrod Mikkusu

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley
« Reply #106 on: October 31, 2016, 09:00:50 AM »
Yeah. It was a wonderful story!  ;) ;D Of course, I already read that on Cheeezey's Wordpress.



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Offline Magpie2012

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley
« Reply #107 on: November 04, 2016, 11:59:21 AM »
Hi. Your pics are broken for me. Also could you send me a link for your WordPress that keeps getting unnecessarily mentioned? Thanks

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Offline Magz from Oz

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley
« Reply #108 on: November 04, 2016, 03:03:41 PM »
Hi. Your pics are broken for me.

I think there's a glitch with Photobucket.  I use this service and my images are down too.
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Offline Cheezey

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley
« Reply #109 on: November 04, 2016, 03:51:19 PM »
Hi. Your pics are broken for me. Also could you send me a link for your WordPress that keeps getting unnecessarily mentioned? Thanks

Yes, Photobucket is not working right now. Unfortunately it went down for maintenance sometime last night, and hasn't come back. The pictures should work again once their service is back up.

Here's a link to the blog, but they're all linked to Photobucket, too. https://cheezeysims.wordpress.com/

I also have it in my signature, but I didn't think that was an issue since I see a lot of people linking to blogs in their signatures.  Does that really come off as mentioning it unnecessarily? I've never tried to push anyone there. :(

Offline Magpie2012

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley
« Reply #110 on: November 04, 2016, 11:31:43 PM »
Sorry, it's not you that I meant when I made that comment. It's just that the person doing it does it in every comment they make and it's getting a tad redundant. I probably should have just PM-ed them but at the time I didn't think of that.

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Offline Nimrod Mikkusu

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley
« Reply #111 on: November 05, 2016, 07:45:15 AM »
Sorry, it's not you that I meant when I made that comment. It's just that the person doing it does it in every comment they make and it's getting a tad redundant. I probably should have just PM-ed them but at the time I didn't think of that.

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Offline Cheezey

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Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 24
« Reply #112 on: November 05, 2016, 08:59:08 AM »
Oh Cheezey!  That was beautiful and funny and quirky and I loved it!  ;D  I like that you took the time to write vows for them.  It always makes a wedding more real to me if there are vows spoken.  As the previously crowned "Queen of the Vows", I pass the crown to you.  Well done!  ;D

Thank you! I prefer weddings with vows, too. I'm glad you enjoyed how I wrote it out. :)

Awesome update. Such a great wedding celebration. And the little drama about the forgotten ring was fun to read. Wishing the two newly weds a great happy married life and great time in their honeymoon. Looking forward for next update.

Thanks!  Cycl0n3's absent-minded trait gets the better of him at the worst times.  :D

Yeah. It was a wonderful story!  ;) ;D Of course, I already read that on Cheeezey's Wordpress.

Thank you. :)

Sorry, it's not you that I meant when I made that comment. It's just that the person doing it does it in every comment they make and it's getting a tad redundant. I probably should have just PM-ed them but at the time I didn't think of that.

Ah, okay. I'm just glad I hadn't rubbed anyone the wrong way without realizing it. 



Chapter 24


 
After a lovely and memorable wedding night, Blair and Cycl0n3 arrived at the lodge where they would be staying for their honeymoon in Hidden Springs.  It wasn’t a destination full of adventure or a tropical paradise like many would have picked, but the rustic fairy-tale setting felt romantic and magical to Blair.  Cycl0n3 liked it because it was the kind of place where he could kick back and relax with his new bride in comfort and with good wi-fi.


 
They checked into their room and set their bags down.  “So, any ideas on what to do first?”

Cycl0n3 waggled his eyebrows.  “I can think of a few things.”

“It’s ten in the morning.”  Blair giggled.  “We just got here.  And it’s not like we didn’t stay up real late last night.”  She ran her fingers through his hair.

“Yeah, but I think we should test the bed and make sure it’s as comfy as advertised.  Don’t you?”  He gave her rear end an affectionate squeeze.

“You are so… oh, come here.”  She kissed him, and the two of them made their way to the bed.


 
After a brief time spent “settling in,” the two honeymooners decided to see what other activities and amenities Hidden Springs had to offer.


 
Cycl0n3’s first impulse was to hook up to the wi-fi.  Blair was somewhat surprised, although she realized she shouldn’t have been.  “Are you going online?”

“Just to check a few things,” he said somewhat defensively.  “I wasn’t going to go on TarzWar or anything.”

“This is our honeymoon.”

“I was already dressed and waiting on you.  I didn’t think you’d mind.”

“I don’t… as long as you don’t plan on spending our honeymoon on the computer.”

“Of course not!  I’m always up for spending ‘quality time’ together that has nothing to do with the computer.”  He flashed her his version of a sexy smile.

“Right.”  Blair put a hand on Cycl0n3’s shoulder and said sweetly, “But for now, you’re closing that laptop and coming with me to check out the view from the deck.”

“Okay.”


 
“Wow.  It’s gorgeous,” Blair said, taking in the spectacular view of the mountains and valley in front of them. 

Cycl0n3 had to agree.  “Yeah, it’s something.  No views like this in Sunset Valley.”

“We should go hiking.  I read in one of the brochures that there’s a lookout point up the trail that way.”  She pointed to a mountain behind them, where they could distantly see a structure built near the summit.

“You can’t drive there?”

“Only partway.  The rest is a trail.”  She tapped his arm.  “I told you to pack your hiking shoes.”

He smiled ruefully.  “Yeah, but I didn’t think you’d make me use them.”

“It’ll be fun.”

“You’re gonna leave me in the dust, Miss Fitness.”

Blair kissed him on the cheek.  “I’ll walk slowly so you can keep up.  I wouldn’t want all this exposure to sunlight and fresh air to overpower you,” she teased.


 
Their hike wasn’t as unpleasant as Cycl0n3 anticipated, but the steeper parts of the hill did wind him.  The only exercise Cycl0n3 ever got was rummaging through trash cans on the job as a private investigator.  Even he had to admit that the scenery was worth it, though.  The falls were breathtaking from that angle.  Depending upon the direction one looked in, they could see almost the entire town of Hidden Springs from there, as well as the crystal blue lake and the rolling hills beyond.  They took some pictures and played a game of gnubb together.


 
After spending the afternoon outdoors, they hiked back down to their car and got dinner at one of the local cafés.  Blair tried their version of her favorite fish and chips, while Cycl0n3 ordered a cheesesteak.

“Mmm!  This is really good.  I’m surprised this place isn’t busier.  It’s not even expensive, and the food’s great.”

“Yeah, and considering we’re spoiled by Emma’s cooking, it’s kind of hard to impress us.”  Cycl0n3 chomped his cheesesteak.  “I hope those cakes they have over there are as good as they look.”  He paused and added, “If I can trust you not to nail my face again.”

Blair giggled.  “I promise.  Even though it was fun.  You looked so funny, and did you see the look on my mom’s face?  It was great.”

“Kind of missed it with all the frosting on my lenses.”  He smirked.  “But I approve.  I think I’m a good influence on you.”

“Or maybe a bad one.”

Cycl0n3 leaned in closer to her.  “You’re fun when you’re a little bad.  And I don’t even mean that in a naughty way… though that could apply, too.”

Blair poked him playfully.  “Luckily, I’m a good influence on you.”

“So I’ve been told, by all of our roommates at one point or another.”

“I’m going to miss them when we get our own place, but,” she brightened, “it’ll also be nice to have a home for just ourselves.”

“Yeah,” Cycl0n3 agreed.  “Hopefully sooner rather than later.”


 
The next day, Blair and Cycl0n3 visited a local nectary that had a vineyard and offered tasting of all their local vintages.  Neither were nectar connoisseurs, but it was a fun outing, and they enjoyed trying the different flavors. 

“So, do you think we should get a few bottles to take home with us?”

“Yeah, but not that nasty plasma fruit stuff.  Ugh.  Who drinks that?”  Cycl0n3 made a face. 

“Vampires, silly.”

“You’d have to be some sparkling idiot to enjoy that,” he retorted.  “I’ll stick with the gralladina fran/cranerlet nuala blend.”


 
They took their nectar out to the patio and admired the view over the lake.  “It’s so romantic out here,” Blair sighed happily. 

“Aw, you sure it’s not all that sweet nectar talking?”

“Pretty sure.  I’m with you, and that makes it perfect.”  She smooched him, and he drew her into his arms. 

“Yeah, you’re right.  You are the expert on that sort of thing, so I defer to your experience.” 


 
After they were finished at the nectary, they went to a late summer festival being held at one of the local parks.  It was a beautiful day and the weather was perfect for it.  Blair’s eyes lit up when she saw the snow cone machine.  “Yay!  Snow cones!  Oh, I love these!”


 
They walked around the festival, and then Blair spotted the soccer net, where they were offering prize tickets to festival-goers to compete.  “Let’s try it!  That looks fun!”

Cycl0n3 did not agree with her assessment.  To him, that net only brought back memories of boredom and misery in high school gym class, which was the last time he’d attempted anything remotely sporty.  He would have suggested she pair up with someone else while he watched, but there were no other single players around, so he humored her and joined in.

“All right.  You ready?”

“Bring it on, Officer Blondie,” Cycl0n3 taunted her, sticking his tongue out.

“That’s Mrs. Officer Sw0rd to you!”  She gave the ball a swift kick. 

Cycl0n3 made a valiant attempt to grab it, leaping in its direction, only to have it connect with the side of his head and knock him over.  “Owwww.”

Blair rushed over, contrite.  “I’m sorry!  I didn’t mean to hit you with it!  Did I hurt you?”

He rubbed his jaw.  “Just my pride.” 

The festival coordinator felt sorry for him, too.  He ended the match early and declared Blair the winner, but gave Cycl0n3 a few extra tickets as a consolation prize.


 
Once they were done at the festival, they headed home and changed to go out for a nice dinner at one of the more upscale restaurants in Hidden Springs.  Blair was proud that she’d learned at the nectary what vintages to pair with what type of food, and they tried out two of the combinations at dinner.

As it turned out, their order got messed up.  Their waiter was very apologetic, however, and rather than cause a fuss, Blair allowed them to try and make it right.  The chef appreciated their consideration so much that he sent extra slices of the restaurant’s delicious Baked Angel Food Cake home with them free of charge.

“This’ll be even better than hitting the breakfast bar at the lodge tomorrow morning,” Cycl0n3 said.


 
When they got back to the lodge, they went out onto the deck to enjoy the nice evening and the gorgeous night sky.  There was a telescope set up for guests to use, and since no one was at it, Cycl0n3 headed over to it.  There was a telescope on one of the lofts’ upper decks back home that Cycl0n3 had set up, but Blair rarely used it.  She preferred to sharpen her naturally high intellect on things like chess or puzzle and strategy games.  “It’s so much easier to get the right angle to find the stars and planets from this altitude,” Cycl0n3 remarked.  “So much is blocked down in the valley at home, especially with all the lights from town.”

“My parents complain about that, too.  They have one on their roof patio.”

“They’re into astronomy, too, huh?  I picked it up when I was younger.  I need to believe there’s more intelligent life out there since there’s such a dearth of it here on our world, so it’s nice to look at the galaxy and imagine.  But it’s also just cool.”

Blair chortled.  “Well, I think they’re more into the science aspect of it.  They like to watch meteor showers and check out astronomical events like rare alignments or comets.  And Dad wants to discover proof of aliens.”

“Can’t say I see any UFOs tonight, and I’ve never seen any in Sunset Valley.  But I did get a view into a few windows in town that I wish I hadn’t.”  He shuddered.  “Some people really need to close their curtains and blinds.”

“Were you peeping, Cycl0n3?”  Blair made a tsk-tsk motion.  “Shame, shame.”

“Not intentionally!  It was while I was adjusting the arm.”

“Riiiiight.”

“You doubt me?”  He laughed.  “I’m wounded.”

“I know you,” she replied. 


 
“I swear, I’ve never intentionally looked in anyone’s window, except once or twice for business purposes.”

“Oh, it’s part of the P.I. job now, hmm?”

He gave her a sly look.  “Do you really think I’d bother with my telescope when I can look at your heavenly body right here in person?”

“That’s a terrible line, and only a mediocre save.”

Cycl0n3 stroked her cheek.  “It’s the truth.  You really are beautiful out here in the starlight.”

“And you’re improving.”  Blair smiled at him.

“I love you.”

“I love you, too,” she replied as he pulled her close.

“Then what do you say we call it a night for stargazing and head on in?”


 
Blair and Cycl0n3 returned to their room.  They shared some cozy romantic time together, and fell asleep to rest for the last full day of their honeymoon.


 
The next morning, Blair woke up to discover Cycl0n3 already up and on the computer.  “Online bright and early, huh?”

“Yeah, you know me.  I go too long without going on, and I go into withdrawals.  But like I promised, no TarzWar.”  He showed her the screen. 

“Is that SimTube?  Anything good?”

Cycl0n3 was indeed on SimTube, but he doubted Blair would appreciate what he was doing.  He was in the comments section of a movie trailer, deliberately needling some posters that were spoiling for a flame war.  Few things amused him more than fanning the flames and watching a thread burn, at least until moderators stepped in.  “Nah.  Not really,” he told her as he finished his post and closed the window.  He would see what havoc he wreaked later.  “Let’s go grab some coffee and eat our breakfast cake.”


 
After they ate, they sat out on the deck to enjoy the mountain air and sunshine.  They played a game of chess, and then Blair decided to read some of Special Snowflake while Cycl0n3 practiced a strategy by himself.  Cycl0n3 was quite good at chess.  Blair asked him if he’d considered joining the competitive circuit like her mother did, but he told her that it was just a hobby for now.  If he was going to be competitive in a game, he preferred online PVP combat, where he was in his element. 


 
It started to get hot as the morning changed to afternoon, so they went inside and got out their swimwear.  Hidden Springs had a highly rated pool downtown, so they decided to check it out.  It wasn’t overly crowded since it was a weekday, and the locals were mostly at work.  There were just vacationers like them there.

They jumped in and swam around, and Blair splashed Cycl0n3 playfully.  “Gotcha!”

“Oh, is that how it is?”

“Yup.”

“Yeah?  Well, take that!”  He splashed her back with a rough wave of water.

She sputtered and drew back her arm.  “Okay.  It’s on now!”

The two of them got into a protracted splashing war, until they were both laughing hard enough that they had to stop.


 
After they got out of the pool, Blair wanted to go to the spa and try one of their packages.  The clerk sold her on a delightful salt scrub that she promised would cleanse toxins and pamper her skin to make it feel perfectly silky and smooth.  It was especially good for skin that had been exposed to pool chemicals, she pointed out, and the effects would last for days.  Blair took her up on it, not really buying into the hype, but certain that she would enjoy it regardless.

Cycl0n3 quipped that he was salty enough already, so he’d pass on having minerals put on his skin, but the clerk was a smooth professional.  She convinced him that a deep tissue massage would be the perfect way to spend the time waiting for his wife to finish her treatment.  Nothing was more relaxing than a good professional massage and, she noted with a wink after Blair left for her scrub, what wife wouldn’t be impressed if her husband happened to pick up a few good massage techniques from a pro?  Five minutes later, Cycl0n3 was in a towel face-down on a bench getting every kink worked out of his back.

Leaving the spa, Blair said her skin had never felt so soft, while Cycl0n3 stretched and wiggled.  “I think they even worked out muscles I didn’t know I had.”


 
The two of them spent one last romantic night together in the lodge, and then their honeymoon came to a regretful end.  Although they’d had a wonderful time and could have easily splurged on a few more days in Hidden Springs, being able to buy a home was a higher priority.

“This has been amazing!”  Blair jumped into Cycl0n3’s arms on their way out.  “Marrying you, being together like this, I’ve never been happier.”

Cycl0n3 smiled, although apparently Blair had more faith in his upper body strength than he did.  She was far from heavy, but he was not exactly Mr. Simverse.  He caught and held her, though, and he was glad he didn’t inadvertently ruin that tender moment.  “Me, too.  It’s going to suck to go back to no privacy.”  He shifted to hold her at a better angle.  “So, is this practice for carrying you over the threshold?”

“Maybe.  That’ll be sweet.”  She hugged him a little tighter and kissed him on the cheek.

“Be glad to.  But if you want to be carried all the way to the bedroom, we’re using the elevator.”  He paused.  “And I’m not saying you’re fat!  You’re the total opposite.  It’s just, that’s a lot of stairs.  Especially if we go all the way to your room.”

“I know what you mean.”  She smooched him again and eased herself to the ground.

“Good.  I’m glad.  I know that one’s a trap just about every guy’s fallen into at one point or another, so I wanted to make it clear.”  He chortled.  “Besides, if I was going to call someone in our house fat, it’d be Emma.”

Blair raised an eyebrow.  “And that’s something you need to never say again, ever.  That’s just rude.”

“Hey, I was just speaking in hypotheticals,” he protested.  “You know it’s never mattered to me what my friends look like.  Though I doubt I’d even be able to get up a few stairs with—” 

She gave Cycl0n3 a sharp look.

“Dropping it.”  He held up his hands.


 
Blair took Cycl0n3’s hand.  “Thank you.  Though that does bring up a question.”

“Oh?”

“What room do you want to stay in?  I’m kind of used to having my own bathroom, and it’d be a little weird sharing a shower with Stiles if I go to yours.”

“I can move my clothes up and sleep in your room if you want.  The Pepto Pink bathroom’s shower is a little cramped, but I’d rather share it with you.”

“You don’t mind?”

“Nah.  We still pay two fifths of the rent, so it’s not like I lose my old room to keep my stuff in.  I’ll just set up my computer and things in there so it doesn’t bug you when I’m up late gaming and you have to sleep in for an early shift.”

“That works.  But maybe if you don’t use it much, the others could rent it out.  It’d cut both our rents a little, and give them someone else to soak up the bills a little when the two of us do leave.”

“Something to think about,” Cycl0n3 agreed.  “I sure don’t want to go back to the days of eating just ramen noodles and ketchup.  And who knows how long Tam, Emma, or Stiles will even be there?  Stiles and Ayesha seem kind of serious.  Maybe she’ll move in and want that room since it shares a bathroom with his.  She and Emma are BFFs anyway.”

“Wow.  So much could change in so little time,” Blair mused.  “But that’s life, I guess.”  As they reached their car, she took a deep breath of the fresh mountain air and looked around one last time.  “Time to head home.”

Cycl0n3 opened the car door.  “Yup.  Our newlywed life in Sunset Valley awaits.”

Offline Magz from Oz

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley
« Reply #113 on: November 05, 2016, 03:01:50 PM »
Terrific update Cheezey!  What a romantic and fun honeymoon.  I just loved their conversations.  You provide so much insight into their characters.
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Offline chetanhaobijam

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley
« Reply #114 on: November 06, 2016, 01:11:59 AM »
Great update. What a great romantic honeymoon they are having. Waiting for next update and to see their new life in Sunset valley.
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Offline Magpie2012

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley
« Reply #115 on: November 06, 2016, 09:27:32 AM »
I apologise for earlier, I think I was just having a really bad day and that's why I was snarkie! No excuse, so I'm sorry for it :-(

Great update! I love Blair and Cycl0n3 as a couple. They bring out the best in each other!

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because... Math *Pippin The Most Tenacious Simmer*

Only 2 things are infinite... The universe and human stupidity. And I'm not sure about the universe. *Albert Einstein*

Don't believe all the quotes that have been attributed to me. *Albert Einstein*

I can't ignore ALL of the voices in my head - Some of them actually make sense! *Blayzen*

Offline Nimrod Mikkusu

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley
« Reply #116 on: November 06, 2016, 10:16:58 AM »
I apologise for earlier, I think I was just having a really bad day and that's why I was snarkie! No excuse, so I'm sorry for it :-(

Great update! I love Blair and Cycl0n3 as a couple. They bring out the best in each other!

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You weren't snarky. You were just annoyed. But I'm very different from most Simmers, so I often annoy other people a bit since I think differently.

Offline Magpie2012

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley
« Reply #117 on: November 06, 2016, 12:17:12 PM »
I know exactly what you mean about that! At work, I'm the "odd" one because I don't quite think or process things the same way that they do. The "normal" way... But, I do apologise. It was rude of me, and ironically, I've actually told off a few people about rudeness like that before.

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because... Math *Pippin The Most Tenacious Simmer*

Only 2 things are infinite... The universe and human stupidity. And I'm not sure about the universe. *Albert Einstein*

Don't believe all the quotes that have been attributed to me. *Albert Einstein*

I can't ignore ALL of the voices in my head - Some of them actually make sense! *Blayzen*

Offline Cheezey

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Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley - Chapter 25
« Reply #118 on: November 08, 2016, 01:18:01 PM »
Terrific update Cheezey!  What a romantic and fun honeymoon.  I just loved their conversations.  You provide so much insight into their characters.

Thank you! I wish I could go on some of the vacations my sims do. :D

Great update. What a great romantic honeymoon they are having. Waiting for next update and to see their new life in Sunset valley.

Thanks! They're off on that in a big way in this chapter. :)

I apologise for earlier, I think I was just having a really bad day and that's why I was snarkie! No excuse, so I'm sorry for it :-(

Great update! I love Blair and Cycl0n3 as a couple. They bring out the best in each other!

No worries, and thank you! I'm glad you like that pairing. I think they're good for each other, too. He needs someone good and patient to keep him getting too out there with the absent-minded inappropriate behavior, and he appreciates her childish side without getting aggravated by it.



Chapter 25


 
Blair and Cycl0n3 returned to Sunset Valley well-rested and happy from their honeymoon.  Cycl0n3 carried Blair over the threshold of the lofts, as promised, but she got down after a few steps rather than insist he carry her all the way to their bedroom.  She gave him a kiss and helped him with their bags instead.  They still took the elevator, of course.  Even though their luggage was much lighter than carrying someone else, Cycl0n3 still didn’t want to haul it up two flights of stairs if he didn’t have to.


 
The day they returned was also Stiles’ birthday.  The household threw a party to celebrate.  Although Blair had always known that Stiles was older than her, sometimes she forgot just how much younger she was than some of her roommates.  Tamara bemoaned how close to her next birthday she was getting, but Blair never thought of her as anything but young and energetic even though she was closer to Stiles’ age than her own. 


 
One could say that party turned out to be a hot time, but not in a good way.  Before Stiles had a chance to blow out his candles, the cake caught fire!  The smoldering match used to light the candles was set too close to a nearby potholder, and when it went up, so did everything around it.  Luckily, Ayesha was handy with a fire extinguisher.

“I’d say there were too many candles on that cake of yours, old man, but I’m the same age as you,” Zelda teased her bandmate. 

“I hope you all like burnt cake with foam icing.”  Stiles looked at the mess in dismay now that the fire was out.

Emma was already reaching into the cabinet for some flour.  “Hey, no worries.  I can whip you up a homemade birthday cake in no time flat.  Just keep this party going a little longer, and we’ll get you a cake.  Not as fancy on such short notice, but I promise it’ll taste good.”

“It’s true.  Nobody makes better buttercream frosting than Emma,” Tori said.


 
A little while later, the replacement cake was ready as promised.  Emma even doodled a few cute designs with some decorative icing to make it look festive.  That time, the candles were carefully lit, and Stiles blew them out again.  Everyone helped themselves to a piece, but Stiles didn’t seem as happy as he should have.  Blair wondered if he had mixed feelings about getting older, but it was hard to tell.  Stiles was someone who kept things to himself.


 
After they had cake, most of the guests cleared the kitchen area while Emma put away dishes and the others went off to dance or chat.  Blair and Cycl0n3 lingered at the table, and Stiles sat down with them.  “Forgot to say welcome back to you two.  Thanks for being here.  I know you just got back from your honeymoon, and I know you’re like me when it comes to crowds,” he said to Blair.

“No problem,” she replied.  “What are friends for?”

Stiles still seemed a little off, but smiled anyway.  “More than you might think, actually.  Some things happened while you were away.  Helping out with your wedding and having my birthday on the horizon got me thinking, and inspired me.  We’ve had our moments, but I’ve got a good thing with Ayesha, and I proposed the night before last.  She said yes.  So, it looks like we’ll be getting hitched ourselves before too long.”

Blair was thrilled for him.  “That’s great!  Congratulations!  I’m so happy for you!  I hope you have a wonderful life together.”

“Yeah, congrats,” said Cycl0n3. 

“Thanks.  I appreciate it.” 

It seemed to Blair that Stiles should have seemed happier about that good news, too, but he seemed tense instead.  The crowd must be getting to him, she thought.  She looked around.  She could relate.  “If you need any help planning the wedding, let me know.  I’ve still got all the numbers in my phone for the photographer and florist and other stuff.  You saw what a great job they did for us.”

“I’ll keep it in mind.  Thanks again.”  Stiles got up from the table, leaving Blair and Cycl0n3 to chat.


 
“Well, what do you know?” Cycl0n3 said as they got up, too.  “We’re inspiring.”

“I think it’s sweet and romantic.  Too bad it wasn’t her that caught the bouquet at our wedding.  So much for the old sim’s tale that the one who does is the next to get married.  I don’t think Emma’s up next.  She told me she and Iqbal had a big fight the other day, and she hung up on him after telling him to lighten up and grow a sense of humor.”

“Maybe she didn’t really catch it.  The bouquet did bounce off of Justin’s head first.  Maybe it goes by first contact and not final destination.”

Blair snickered.  “I still can’t believe I threw it so hard that I overshot them.”

“That’s what he gets for sitting right behind the single ladies during the throw.  Though that was probably intentional.  Nice view and all.”

“You’re terrible,” Blair said with a giggle.


 
Unfortunately, there was indeed more to Stiles’ mood than a little party anxiousness.  Neither Blair nor Cycl0n3 were nearby when it started, but everyone heard the argument that erupted between him and Ayesha finish.

“You know what?  I’ve had it.  Just forget it!  Forget the whole thing!”

“Really?  That’s how you’re going to be about this?  Your way or the highway?”  It was rare that any of them heard laid-back Stiles raise his voice, but it was clear that he was very upset.

“Sure is,” Ayesha snapped.  “And you know what?  You can forget this, too.”  She pulled off her ring and shoved it roughly into his hand.  “I’ve had it up to here, and I’m done.  Happy birthday, and have a nice life.”  She stormed past the shocked party guests, stomped down the stairs, and slammed the doors on her way out.

There was an uncomfortable silence in the room, and Stiles just turned and went to his room without a word.

“Oh, poor Stiles.”  Blair would have offered a sympathetic ear, but she knew that right now, especially after being dumped and humiliated at his own party, that he would need some time alone.

Cycl0n3, on the other hand, just said the first thing that popped into his head.  “Wow.  Maybe the bouquet wasn’t wrong after all.”


 
The mood in the house was still somber the following morning.  Although Blair and Cycl0n3 relaxed together after the party, and she’d slept well, she felt run down and queasy.  “Ugh.  All that fried party food must not be agreeing with me.”  Before the cake disaster, Emma had gotten out her deep fryer to make some tasty appetizers, and as usual, it had been delicious, even if not healthy.

Blair decided to get some toast to settle her stomach.  When she went out into the hall, though, she felt worse.  Her stomach lurched, and the sickly sweet taste of half-digested birthday cake mixed with mozzarella sticks filled the back of her throat.  She made a face and steadied herself, but realized that she was not going to keep her food down.  She ran for the nearest bathroom.

When she was done throwing up, she felt weak and woozy.  “Great.  Right before work, too.” 




 
While Blair felt better once she ate and headed off to work, Boyd and Susan tackled another day at Landgraab Industries.  Susan was thrilled to be back on the job.  Although she had accomplished a lot during her maternity leave—nearly completing the second rank on the chess circuit and some discoveries on her home chemistry table—it made her happy to be back on top of her scientific projects again.  She and Boyd both dreamed of being recognized for their genius someday.  While he imagined it happening for himself through some incredible feat bending the laws of science, Susan simply wanted to go down in history as one of the greatest minds of her time.

Gobias was still assigned as the primary on her aquatics study until the end of the current phase, so rather than disrupt the process and scheduling, she agreed to let him finish that part out.  In the meantime, she and Boyd requested an opportunity to run an independent experiment of their own, together.  Boyd felt Madison was competent enough to handle most of the day-to-day tasks in his current research with minimal supervision, so he and Susan presented their experiment design to Judy, and with her, went to the approval committee. 

They were thrilled when they were given the green light.  It was the first time they would be primaries on a project together.  The lab had a corporate policy discouraging employees who were personally involved with one another from working on the same projects, but it was not set in stone, and could be overridden by the board.  The Wainwrights had worked at Landgraab Industries long enough that no one had any concerns, so they were wished luck and given a modest budget to work with.


 
Their theory was unconventional, and utilized things found outside of the laboratory.  During his other research, Boyd noticed that life fruit seeds contained high concentrations of a protein that appeared to stimulate and regenerate DNA in plants, but it was less effective in animal systems.  Life fruit flesh and juice contained only traces of it, but those contained significant amounts of another compound which seemed to do the same thing in animals, but not as well on plants.  Further study indicated that if they applied the right amount of heat and catalyzed it with an enzyme found in certain species of fungi and fish, that compound could become highly efficient.

When Boyd mentioned it to Susan, she recalled a television special on the cooking channel about the rare ambrosia dish.  It used life fruit and death fish in a complicated baking process that only a few chefs in the world, the masters of the masters, could prepare.  It was rumored to add years to one’s life, and wealthy sims would pay Landgraab sized fortunes for just one dish of it.  It was so hard to come by that even those with the means to afford it could not often obtain it.  Susan and Boyd wondered if they could possibly create a chemical version of what gave the beneficial effects.  The benefits for simkind would be incredible!  Even if Landgraab Industries would, of course, patent and sell it.  Everything invented on the job was their intellectual property, although they always recognized and compensated the innovative minds behind their discoveries.


 
During the previous weekend, Boyd had visited Gunther.  He mentioned his life fruit research after Gunther lamented the ache in his back that had developed since his last birthday.  Cornelia said that she had a birthday coming up herself, and was tempted to call her cousin Beatrice in Moonlight Falls to ask her for a bottle of the Fountain of Youth elixir, except that she didn’t want to hear a high horse moral lecture about bending the laws of nature for vanity. 

Boyd asked her what she meant, and she and Gunther explained that Cornelia’s cousins were witches, and Beatrice in particular was skilled in elixir making.  She prepared and sold elixirs to magic shops, and a flask of the legendary Fountain of Youth elixir, which only highly trained alchemists could make, sold for high prices when they appeared on the market.  Beatrice knew how to make it, but she had mixed feelings about their use for ethical reasons, so she only made them for those she felt deserved or needed them.  Gunther went on to explain that the elixirs found in shops were often questionable, and he personally would not waste money on some consigned youth potion from just anyone calling him or herself an alchemist.  It was much like trusting supplements in a health food store, he told him.  By law, they would be safe enough, but no legal claims could be made about their effectiveness.

“I wonder if I could get my hands on one to analyze it,” Boyd mused.

“You’ll be putting out a chunk of change, and I’m not sure I’d gamble that much money on one outside of a place like Moonlight Falls,” Cornelia said.

“I know I wouldn’t,” said Gunther.


 
“Do you think your cousin would make one for scientific research?  We wouldn’t be drinking it.  We’d be analyzing it, and of course, she’d get a fair price for it.”

Cornelia let out a dark laugh.  “Oh, no.  I wouldn’t waste your time or subject you to that, Boyd.  Beatrice is… we’ll say difficult.  She’s a natural witch and very proud of her heritage, to the point of superiority.  She’s never liked that Agnes and I don’t follow that family tradition, or that we never studied the craft or took the elixirs to become witches when it didn’t naturally pass to our branch of the family.” 

She paused, looking for a polite way to phrase what she said next.  “Also, many witches, her included, don’t trust or like scientists.  Many of them have been rude and skeptical to the witch community, and brand them fakes and charlatans even when it’s not true.  I know you’re not like that, but she doesn’t.  Beatrice would take your request as an insult, and assume you and Susan were out to discredit her, no matter how nicely you asked.  Even if I vouched for you, my word wouldn’t carry any weight with her.  It might with her sisters, but Belinda and Bianca aren’t skilled enough to make that.”

“That’s too bad,” Boyd said.  “A business trip to Moonlight Falls isn’t in our budget, so we’ll have to take our chances with the local shop.”


 
Boyd and Susan visited the elixir shop later that day, and brought Patrick along for the ride in the nice fall weather.  Susan sent Boyd in to check for the elixir, while she checked out the rare plants in the garden out back. 


 
Luckily, they had one in stock.  Boyd looked at the label on the bottom.  It was signed and dated by the alchemist who crafted it, and also stated that it had been prepared in Moonlight Falls.  “So, this is a Moonlight Falls import.”

“Sure is,” the clerk said.  “We get 90% of our stock from alchemists there.  You can trust our quality.”

“I heard this stuff is really rare and hard to make.”

“It is.  You have to be one heck of an alchemist to brew it right.”

“I don’t see a price on it.  How much?”

He gave Boyd a pointed look.  “The usual rule with this one is, if money’s a concern, you probably can’t afford it.”

Boyd sighed.  “Right.  Humor me anyway.”


 
The clerk told him, and Boyd almost gagged.  “Ouch.  That’s more than I wanted to stretch the budget, but… science means sacrifices.”  He handed over his corporate card.  “I noticed there are no ingredients on there.  Is there a way to find out what’s in it?”

The man behind the counter laughed.  “Expert witches have trouble with this.  I wouldn’t recommend trying to make it.”

“I’m not.  But I’d like to know if it’s made from liquefied toad eyes or something.”

“Another wise saying for alchemy elixirs is ‘don’t ask.’  You’d probably rather not know.”

“That never works for me.  Just ask my wife.”  Boyd looked out the window, where Susan and Patrick were out in the garden.  Susan was examining a ghost chili plant beside the stroller.

He held up a book.  “This has the recipe, but for anyone other than an expert alchemist, it’d be over your head.  Much as I’d love to sell it to you, I’d hate to see you waste your money.”

“Oh, I’m not planning to make it.”  Boyd thumbed through it.  He found an ingredient list and snapped a picture with his phone before handing the book back.  “Just for reference.  Better safe than sorry.”

The clerk gave him a weird look, but put the book back.  “You know there are no refunds, right?”

“That’s fine.  I’ll take it.”

“All right.”  He rang the elixir up and handed it to Boyd.  “Enjoy.”


 
When they were back in the lab, Susan told Boyd that he should analyze the elixir since he was the one who spent a small fortune on it.  She had some new data from the aquatics project to review anyway.

He was relieved that the elixir seemed genuine.  The analysis showed traces of both the catalyzed enzyme and the life fruit compound in the arcane solution, supporting their theory.  Although the ingredients listed in his photo allowed for substitutions, Boyd noticed that the fungi recommended were all species containing high amounts of the enzyme.  He wasn’t sure what role tanzanite and green swallowtail butterflies had in it, but all formulations had inert ingredients important to their makeup.

Later on, Susan stopped in to see how it was going.  Boyd gave her an enthusiastic update.  “Pretty cool, huh?  We might be onto finding the chemical formula that does the same thing as ambrosia!  And we’d prove the validity of at least one alchemy formula.  Cornelia’s cousin will have to eat her pointy hat for judging all scientists by a few bad apples.”

“In all fairness, you can’t blame the scientific community for not buying into random claims of magic in untested formulas.  I’m sure there are plenty of hucksters out there.”  She shrugged.  “If the witches are so concerned about their reputation, you’d think they’d make sure there was no room for criticism.  Work with us, educate the public, or at least turn the frauds into toads or something.  If that’s even scientifically possible.  I’ve never heard of it happening outside of tabloids, but I’d keep an open mind if I actually saw it happen.” 

“I’d love to see that.  Actual magic cellular transformation?  That’d be amazing.  Imagine if we could get tissue samples of the before and after.”

Susan smirked.  “You’re adorable when you get into mad scientist mode.”

He smiled back at her.  “Careful, honey.  We wouldn’t want to give management the idea we get personal at work.”  Although they always understood why and abided by the rule, they’d always found it a little insulting that policy prevented them from working together before now.  Neither had ever let personal feelings interfere with the integrity of their work.


 
“Oh, plumbob, no.”  Susan took a step closer.  “Speaking of which, why didn’t you tell me Christopher and Madison got married while I was out on leave?  When I left, they weren’t even dating, officially.  Not that they were terribly good at keeping their thing for each other secret.”  She rolled her eyes.  “We’re married and less obvious.”

“I didn’t?  Oh.  Yeah, they eloped about a month and a half ago, I guess.  Sorry.”  Boyd gave her an apologetic look.  “Half the time I tune out when Madison gets into chatterbox mode, so I probably just subconsciously avoided a rehash.  Though it was better than her complaining about her ex all the time.  Boy, did she go on about that.”  He chortled.  “And of course there was that time she thought Blair was having a baby.”

Susan nodded.  “I’m glad Christopher isn’t as stream-of-consciousness.”  She looked over the printouts and notes Boyd had made.  “Since you brought up babies, we need to start thinking about Patrick’s birthday.  The little guy deserves something special.  Want to throw a party?”

“Sure.  The Captain deserves treatment befitting his rank.”

“Blair’s got you calling him that now, too?”  Susan laughed. 

“Come on, it’s cute.”

“It is, but I don’t like admitting that.”  She set the clipboard down.  “I’d better get back to my data review.  Talk to you later.”




 
While Boyd and Susan were busy with their research and plans for Patrick, Blair and Cycl0n3 started looking for a home of their own.  The housing market only seemed to be getting more competitive.  These days, Sunset Valley was a seller’s dream, with homes going for high prices and moving quickly.  Although their budget was limited, Blair and Cycl0n3 worried that if they did not jump on a good deal when one turned up, they might be stuck in the lofts for much longer than they wanted to be.  They liked Tamara, Emma, and Stiles, but now that they were married, they were ready to move on.

The first house they were shown was what the realtor called a showcase home.  It was well-maintained and in move-in condition, right by the beach.  Blair realized it was next door to Hank when they pulled up, and she was excited at the notion of having him as a neighbor.  The house had a great view of the ocean and a cute fenced side yard.  It was small, but homey and bright.  Unfortunately, it only had one bedroom, and it was priced on the high end of their budget.  If they took it, renovations to add more rooms would be out of the question for a long time.  As nice as it was, they decided to pass.


 
The next house was much more affordable, but there was a reason for that.  It was an older prefab home in a less affluent section of town.  It had a big yard, but Blair noticed that they could see the Outstanding Citizens warehouse through the trees from the back yard.  The home itself was clean and had fresh paint inside, but it was very small, with a tiny bathroom and just one bedroom.  The wiring and appliances were all old and would likely need repairing or replacing before long.  Whatever money they’d save on the low price would certainly be eaten in the necessary renovations.

“I can’t even fit my computer desk in here,” Cycl0n3 complained.  “And I’m not choosing between that and a TV.”

Blair nodded in agreement.  “We’ll keep looking.”


 
The house they checked out next was even worse.  It was only a block away from the small prefab home, and Blair remembered the neighborhood from her early childhood.  Her grandparents once owned the two-story home next door, and she and her parents lived there with them before Boyd and Susan bought the home on Maywood Lane.  Blair did not remember the house they were looking at being so run down, but she supposed things had changed over the years, especially since the house appeared to have been empty for a long time.

The listing said that the yard had a “natural pond” and “fishing access,” but neglected to mention that it was a swamp, or that the lawn, what there was of it, was marshy and soft.  The place had a smell that could be called “earthy” at best, and the humid environment had done the home no favors.  What paint was left was peeling and covered with mold, and a mildewed chair sat on the front lawn while an old refrigerator rusted on the porch.  Completing the ambiance was the looming shadow of the Outstanding Citizens warehouse, even closer to this property than the previous one.  Blair looked around in dismay. 

Cycl0n3 had his own thoughts on it.  “No freaking way.  This place is like where stupid teenagers in horror movies go to die.”


 
Just when they’d all but given up on the notion of finding somewhere in Sunset Valley that they could both afford and be happy with, the realtor called them with another potential house.  It was newer construction and had been used only as a rental.  To Blair’s surprise, it was on the same road her parents lived, a little two-bedroom house that a developer built on the small lot next to the Bunch home.

It was cozy, but not cramped like the prefab home.  The appliances were generic and budget, but they were functional and in good working order.  There was an eat-in kitchen and a small living room area.  The home had a garage to keep their car in during the upcoming wintry weather, and it could serve as extra storage since there was no basement or attic.  The second bedroom was small, but it would make a nice hobby room until they had children.

“It’s the best so far,” Cycl0n3 mused.  “Think we should take it?”  He looked out the window.  “Though your parents might find us convenient babysitters being just down the road.”


 
“That just means we get to spoil the Captain!  Besides, we might be giving him a niece or nephew to play with before long.”  She gestured to the other side of the house.  “The Bunches are nice neighbors, too.  They have a lot of kids.  I think their youngest is just a little older than Patrick.” 

“You’ve been thinking a lot about this,” teased Cycl0n3.  “Got something you want to tell me?”  Although he and Blair had not been trying in earnest for a baby, they hadn’t been trying not to, either.

Blair couldn’t hide her smile.  “Let’s just say I think we ought to seriously consider putting in an offer on this place today.”


 
Later that night, Blair took a home test and confirmed what she already suspected: she and Cycl0n3 did indeed have a baby on the way!


 
Blair found Cycl0n3 in the hall.  He was on his way to tell her good news of his own.  “I just got a call back from the realtor,” he said before Blair could say anything.  “They accepted our offer on the house.  We got it!”

“That’s great!” 

“Yeah.  We’ve still got to get through the closing and all of that, but still.  We should tell the others so they can put an ad out for new roommates.  I don’t want to stick them like Kyle did to us back before you moved in.”

“Definitely,” Blair agreed.  “But first there’s something else I need to tell you.”

“Oh?”

Blair beamed.  “I’m pregnant.”

Cycl0n3’s eyes went wide.  “Whoa!  Seriously?”

She nodded.  “I took a test.  It was positive.”

“Wow, that’s… amazing!  Holy llama!”  He pulled her into a hug, and then stepped back.  “Wait, that wasn’t too rough, was it?”

“No, silly,” Blair replied.  “I’m not made of glass.”

“Oh.  Good.  Glad we got that house, huh?  You, me, and a baby.  A baby.  I’m going to have to raise a child and be a role model.” 

Blair smiled at him.  “You’ll do fine.  I think you’ll be a good dad.  Just keep better track of the baby than your car keys.”

Cycl0n3 smirked.  “Don’t check to see if I left it in the underwear drawer, you mean?  Not a problem.”


 
After Blair told Cycl0n3, she called her parents.  She would have liked to tell them in person, but it was too late to visit, and she did not want to wait until after work the next day.  “Hi, Mom,” she said when her mother picked up.  “Get Dad and put it on speaker.”

“All right.  Hold on.”  Susan called Boyd over to join her.  “Okay, we’re here.”

“Hi,” Boyd called out.  “What’s up?”

“I’ve got some big news.  First, you know that little house next to the Bunches?  Cycl0n3 and I are buying it.”

“Oh, we’ll be neighbors!” Susan exclaimed.

“That’s great!  It’ll be nice having you nearby again,” Boyd said.

“Any idea on a moving date yet?” asked Susan.

“Not yet, but soon.  But that’s not the biggest news!” Blair gushed.  “Guess what?  You’re going to be grandparents.”

Boyd and Susan exchanged surprised but enthusiastic looks.  “Wow!  Congratulations,” said Boyd.

“A baby?  That’s wonderful!  Imagine, two little Wainwrights in the family, so close together.”

“Technically, a Sw0rd and a Wainwright, but still.”

“Yes, but still a new family member regardless.”  A part of Susan still did not care for her daughter and grandchildren having a netspeak surname.  She had accepted it, although she preferred not to think about it.

“So, we’re Grandpa and Grandma now, I guess,” Boyd mused.

“Grandma definitely,” Susan insisted.  “No calling me ‘Nana’ or ‘Gram’ or ‘Mee-maw’ or anything like that, please.”

“No problem,” Blair replied.  “What about you, Dad?”

“I’ll match your mom with the traditional ‘Grandpa.’”  He glanced over at Patrick’s room.  He was already in his crib for the night.  “Patrick’s going to be an uncle before kindergarten.”

“Uncle Captain,” giggled Blair.

“Hey, but you know what that makes yours?”

“Oh, no.”  Susan shook her head, amused, as she already realized what Boyd was going to say.

Blair did not.  “What?”

Boyd grinned.  “Number One.”

Offline Magz from Oz

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Re: Brilliant Minds: The Wainwrights of Sunset Valley
« Reply #119 on: November 08, 2016, 02:18:30 PM »
This update made my day.  I just love this story so much.  I wonder what happens if Number One is twins.  I imagine that Cycl0n3 might consider Data an appropriate name for twin two.  ::)  Also I like what you've done with Gunther's hair.  I've always disliked that hat and hair combo he sports. 
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

 

anything