Author Topic: Mise en Place (on hiatus)  (Read 664 times)

Offline TheGoat

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Mise en Place (on hiatus)
« on: July 05, 2018, 02:53:42 AM »
Intro:

I've been working on several story ideas for quite a while, and they all turned out to be too complicated. They required a lot of play before I could start writing, and I always went off course before I could actually start the story itself. So I've decided to simplify things, and try a more linear story that progresses as I play the game. Hat tip to the web comic Questionable Content, which inspired the seed for how I start this story, although the plot I have in mind will bear no resemblance to that excellent comic. It was only the beginning that gave me the idea for how to start this story.

Now, I am off to try my hand at using Carl's image uploading service and posting the first chapter.

Offline TheGoat

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Re: Mise en Place
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2018, 03:36:47 AM »
Chapter 1

Well, there are three things, I guess, to know about me from the start. First, my name is Eoghan Arbor. Second, that strange name is pronounced the same as "Ewan," as in "Ewan McGregor." Third, I bear no resemblance to Ewan McGregor at all. He's a famous actor. I work in a kitchen. And I love it.

I live in a small house in Willow Creek, and I work in the back-of-house at a local restaurant. Mostly I tank or do KP - I'm sorry, that's restaurant lingo for "washing dishes" and "kitchen prep." While the chef is overseeing a line of talented cooks putting together ingredients to create the beautiful plates you enjoy in the dining room, I'm either scrubbing pans or dicing onions. But, while I'm doing that, I'm studying the culinary arts, and hoping to move up to the line soon. Maybe I'll even become a chef myself one day. Who knows?

Anyway, life has been good and simple for a while. I like my job, I like spending time with my good friend Neal, and his wife Cassiel. But things started changing a few days ago, when Neal suggested we go out dancing with Cassiel and a couple of her girlfriends.

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"Let's go dancing, man! Neither one of us has to work tonight. We should have some fun!"

(For the record, Neal and Cassiel inherited some money, and I've never known either one of them to do any sort of work, anyway. But I don't begrudge them that. They're good people.)

Anyway, we decided to all meet up at the club that night, and get down to some good tunes.

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This is what passes for "getting down" for me.

And, of course, Neal did have an ulterior motive, which was to introduce me to Cassiel's single friends. I've never been really comfortable with women, to be honest. I'm kind of shy. Give me some goat cheese and a couple of eggs, and I can make you an omelet you'll never forget. That's where I shine. Put me in a room with beautiful women I don't know very well, and I'll probably end up tripping over my tongue and staring at my shoes. But I tried to do my best, and show some confidence, and they both seemed very nice.

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Here's Summer.

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And here's Liberty.

Like I said, they seemed nice, but for whatever reason - either my shyness, or because we just didn't make a connection - I didn't feel any sort of sparks with either of them. We still had a good time dancing, but I don't think it turned out how Neal was hoping it would.

So, I decided to take a break from the dancing, and head to the bar for a drink, and that's where I met someone who would turn out to be far more interesting than I could have possibly imagined. Her name was Natalie, and she was new in town. I mean, really new.

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"I actually just got into town this morning."

"Hi, I'm Natalie," she said.

"Eoghan. Nice to meet you."

"You too. So, do you live around here?"

"Sure do."

"Let me ask you, is this all there is to do in this town? I've been walking around, and haven't found much excitement. I was lucky to stumble across this bar. Juice on the rocks is exactly what I needed."

"It's a pretty small town. There are a few other things to do, but you have to know where to find them."

She took a sip from her drink and looked at me kind of funny.

"Okay, listen up," she said.

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"I've got some things to say."

"I'm listening."

"I'm new in town, but one thing I am not looking for is a relationship. Just don't want it right now. Why? None of your business. But you seem like a nice guy, and I am looking for friends. Maybe you'd be willing to hang out some time, and show me some of these things to do in this town that are hard to find? So long as you understand there is nothing romantic assumed whatsoever."

So, it seemed meeting Natalie was just like meeting Summer and Liberty, just a lot more up front. But, for whatever reason (probably because I'm a pushover), I agreed.

"I'd love to hang out with you sometime - as friends."

"Great."

Fast forward a few days, and I had just come home from a really tough shift. The other KP had called off sick - we all knew that was code for he had decided to go out partying instead of showing up for work - and that meant I had to pick up the slack. I did well. So well, in fact, the chef offered me a raise and a promotion (at least in name) at the end of the night. I was ecstatic, but by the time I got home, I couldn't even make it to bed.

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The couch looks just fine.

But then, in the middle of the night, I heard a knock at the door.

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What the...?

It was Natalie, from the bar.

"Eoghan, I am so sorry for waking you up," she said between tears, "but I have had the worst night, and you're the only person in town that I know. I thought I had a job and a home lined up here, but the job just fell through, and the home was sort of tied to the job. I'm homeless. It was either track you down and knock on your door, or sleep on a park bench. Can I crash here tonight?"

I suppose this was either the beginning of an interesting friendship or my last night on Earth alive, but I was too groggy to argue.

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Of course you can stay here.

"Thank you so much," she said. "I promise I won't be a bother."

We sat down to have a late night snack together, and she told me more about her situation.

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"Okay, this is really messed up."

"See, here's the thing," she said. "I was supposed to nanny for some rich couple's spoiled brat, and the husband just got fired today. All of a sudden, they decide they can't afford me. And when I asked them if I could at least stay in their home until I found other arrangements, they told me to get lost! Can you believe it?"

"That sounds like a really crappy thing to do. But you can stay here as long as you need to get back on your feet."

"Thank you."

My home is small, but I do have a tiny little guest room. It's not exactly comfortable, but beggars can't be choosers, and Natalie seemed genuinely happy just to have a roof over her head for the night. We were both exhausted, so we went to sleep. We would talk more in the morning.

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Over breakfast.

"So, let me be upfront with you," I said. "I've been thinking about this, and I am happy to help you, but I don't have a lot of money, so I need to know how long you think you'll need to stay here."

"I don't know. I don't know anyone else, and I have no job opportunities."  She seemed on the verge of tears again.

"I'll tell you what. Head out today, and look for work. If you can find some way to help with the bills, you can stay as long as you need. If you can't, well, you can still stay, but we'll only be eating ramen noodles...and in the dark, for that matter. I live paycheck-to-paycheck right now, so if you're going to stay, I need you to help out. Deal?"

"Deal."



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Offline Ally3772

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Re: Mise en Place
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2018, 03:01:37 PM »
Seems interesting so far, I like it =]
My Stories:
Fighting for Them / Something to Hide *Complete*
-----
It's just a spark, but it's enough to keep me going.
And when it's dark out, no one's around, it keeps glowing. <3

Offline TheGoat

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Re: Mise en Place
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2018, 12:23:02 AM »
Chapter 2

My first couple of days in this town were the absolute worst. Let me tell you about it.

My name is Natalie Bergen, and I moved to Willow Creek for two reasons: to start a new job that I thought I was going to love, and to get away from...well, I'm not going to talk about that right now. Let's just say getting a new start was a good thing for me.

After just a couple of days, I lost that job, and the home that went with it. Luckily, I had met a nice local boy with a funny name at the bar my first night here, and between sleeping on a park bench or imposing on someone I'd just met, I decided on a little imposition. I made it very clear to him that there was no romance in the cards (and I kept one hand on my mace, although I didn't tell him about it). He made it clear he had a spare bedroom with a door that locked from the inside. I also made it clear I was flat broke with no job. He made it clear that he was broke, too, so in exchange for the bed, I had to agree to start browsing the classifieds the very next morning.

So, there it was. From complete disaster to a place to sleep, a new perhaps-friend named Eoghan (did I spell that right?), and a life goal - find a job, any job.

And things actually went pretty well. I got a job as an office assistant the next day at some big corporate office. It didn't pay well, but it would at least be enough to help with the bills. I told Eoghan about the job right away. He'd gone out of his way to help me when he had no reason to, so I was genuinely excited to be able to pull my weight, and so quickly, too.

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"I'm so excited to be part of making sure we don't get evicted!"

Since he just happened to have that night off, we got together with his friends Neal and Cassiel, who seemed like nice folks. Very down to earth. We went to the same bar where I'd first met Eoghan, and had some drinks. For the record, I think the reason we went there was that this was the only bar in this tiny little burg.

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By the way, am I the only one who finds it kind of weird when people with rhyming names get married?

We didn't stay out late, of course. I wanted to make sure I showed up nice and early on my first day of work.

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Here we go!

Which I did. And it was, well, eight hours of really boring. Followed by another two hours of really boring paperwork that I had to take home with me.

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"At least it's a paycheck. At least it's a paycheck. At least it's a paycheck." - Me in this photo

Over the next few days, I settled in at work, and got to know my new roommate. I really admired his dedication. He was just some grunt in some sweaty kitchen, but he was really focused on being the best cook he could be.

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And I'm not bitter at all that my take-home work was filling in mind-numbing documents, while his was watching cooking shows on TV.

And his cooking turned out to be an added bonus. Because he wanted to practice all the time, I never had to make a meal. Every day, when I got home, there was something new waiting for me in the fridge. And it was all very delicious. Meanwhile, during those times we were both home, we gradually broke through both his shyness and my...reticence, we'll call it...and got to know each other. I even used my first paycheck to buy a chess table, so we could sit out on his (I'm sorry, our) porch and battle wits.

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"Do you know how to play?" "No. Do you?" "No." "Let's just move pieces around randomly for appearances, then."

"So, not to be awkward," I said over a game, "but I've been here a little while, now, and haven't seen you go out with anyone other than Neal and his wife. No girls in your life?"

"Well, I'm kind of focused on work."

"That's it? Too busy at work?"

"Also, I suck with women."

"Ah. Maybe you just need some coaching. I could help if you want."

"I can't believe you were worried this line of conversation would be awkward."

So that was about all I could get out of him. I actually felt bad for him. He was such a nice guy, if he could show a little confidence, I think women would be knocking at the door for him.

Oh, wait, that's right. Part Two to this story. This cute blonde named Summer showed up out of the blue one day. I kind of sort of remembered her from one night at the bar, but didn't know her well at all. Turns out she met Eoghan the same night I did, and she had a crush on him, but was just as shy as he was! So, we sat down on the couch for a little girl talk.

"I kind of want to reach out to him," she said. "But then I heard you moved in here, and I didn't know what the story was. I don't want to get between anything you have going on."

"Oh, honey. Don't worry about that. Eoghan's a great guy, but I'm definitely not into him like that. You should totally go for it."

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"You would make a great couple!"

"Are you sure? There's really nothing between you two?"

"Nothing at all. Go for it."

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"Okay. I will. Someday. Just gotta get the courage up."

"Just one thing," I said. "Eoghan took me in. He's the person who showed me kindness in my hour of need. He's my friend. Don't you dare hurt him."

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"I have been known to be violent."

"Oh, I would never."

"Good."

And that was that. Without him even knowing it, I had been Eoghan's wingman, after all. Wingwoman? Whatever. Anyway, I felt pretty proud of myself for nudging things in the right direction for him, and he was none the wiser!

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I know something you don't know!

So there's my story. I came to this town with high hopes, had them dashed in an instant, and then landed on my feet, met some incredible people, and started piecing things together for myself. I felt like the universe was most definitely looking out for me.

Edited slightly for continuity.

Offline TheGoat

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Re: Mise en Place
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2018, 02:10:28 AM »
Chapter 3

So, let me pause this story right now to tell you a little more about my best friend Neal. Neal and Cassiel Carrera moved to town a couple of years ago, after he inherited a house and a small amount of money from a distant aunt. They weren't super rich, but they had enough money that they didn't have to work, since they lived pretty simply, and had no desire to move into a bigger house, or to have children, or any of a number of things that would require an influx of cash. Cassiel especially simply couldn't abide by kids. Whenever we'd hang out at the park, or some other family-friendly place, you could practically see the disdain she had for them.

But that's fine. Not everyone has the same goals in life. They didn't need complications. They didn't need external validation. They didn't need a legacy. They just liked hanging out, having fun, and spending time with each other.

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A lot of time with each other.

And with friends, like me, and increasingly, Natalie. She hit it off with them right away, which was lucky for me, since I already spent so much time with them.

Anyway, other things had been happening in my life, which you'll learn about shortly, so I was looking forward to a day off from work and my weekly visit with my friends at the bar. Unfortunately, Cassiel couldn't make it. Neal said she wasn't feeling well and had decided to stay home. And Natalie wasn't coming, because it was a work night for her, and she had a lot of paperwork to finish before morning.

But that was okay, because the story I had to tell Neal was really guy talk, even though it involved one of Cassiel's friends.

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"Get settled, because this is a good one."

"So, remember when I got transfered to the catering team?" I asked.

"Yeah, you told me about that last week. How's it going?"

"It's interesting. I have to move a lot faster, but I'm playing a bigger role in creating the dishes. It's not just prep now. But here's what I wanted to tell you. The catering division is a partnership with staff from multiple locations, so I didn't know all of them, but at my first event, some big corporate dinner, I walked in, and I saw one of my coworkers in the kitchen that night was Summer."

"Summer? Cassiel's Summer? The one we introduced you to a couple of months ago?"

"The very same. I didn't even know we roundabout sort of worked for the same company. We never got into that kind of detail when we met."

"Well, did you do any better this time?"

"As a matter of fact, I did. We got to talking during work, and there was a lot less pressure since we had things to do. And we really hit it off. Not to mention..."

Neal looked at me askance.

"Not to mention what?"

"She let slip that from that first night we met, even though I didn't think it went all that well, she actually had a crush on me."

"Get out! You sly dog!"

"Yeah, I know," I laughed. "I guess, she was worried about Natalie. Her moving in right after we met looked weird to her, and it scared her off. But she ended up friendly with Natalie, too, and finally asked her about it, and I don't know what Natalie said, but I know the day after that corporate event, we were having a date in the park."

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Meta-Summer: "I feel like I've been in this situation about one hundred bazillion times."

"That's my man!" Neal slapped me on the back. He could always be just a little overboard on the joviality, but since it was so genuine, it never grated.

"Yeah, so we went to the park, things went really well, and I made a move. I never make moves, you know that, but this time, I made a move."

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My move.

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And then I made another.

"Did she reciprocate?"

"An hour later, we were back at my place."

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Which was still a tiny little dump, but our attention was focused on things other than decor.

"Making more moves, I presume," he said, laughing, then turned to the bar. "Hey, keep, another round for me and my lucky friend here."

Neal turned back to me as the bartender made our drinks. "So, are you two a thing, now?"

"As a matter of fact, it seems we are. Everything moved really fast, but we're pretty happy together."

"And Natalie?"

"What do you mean?"

"No weirdness? I mean, Summer must have felt strange about that for a reason."

"Oh, no. Nothing like that. Natalie came home from work while we were still hanging out. She seemed really excited. In fact, she seemed kind of satisfied with herself about it. Like us getting together was a victory for her of some sorts."

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"I worked hard on making this relationship happen. Don't you two screw it up."

"Well, my friend," Neal said, switching into serious mode, "I'm really happy for you. I mean that. You deserve this. I hope things go really well for you two. And I can't wait to go home and tell Cassiel. She'll be apoplectic that she couldn't make it out tonight and hear all about this!"

"Yeah, tell her I said I hope she gets well, soon."

"Will do, good buddy, will do."

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And then we moved on to talking about sports for a few hours and a few more drinks...

Meanwhile, back at the Carrera residence...

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"Well, at least I know why my stomach has been upset."

"How do I tell Neal?"

Edit: Minor grammatical errors.

Offline TheGoat

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Re: Mise en Place
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2018, 07:59:14 PM »
Chapter 4

On the one hand, I gotta admit, I'm pretty proud of myself. I found this job after just one day of looking, and in less than a year, I've already moved up the corporate ladder a couple of notches. I'm bringing home a bigger paycheck, and I'm being given more responsibility. Apparently, I'm pretty good at being an office drone.

The only problme? It sucks. It sucks hard. I work eight hours a day, and every night, I have to bring home paperwork to get ready for the morning. How is this even legal? I'm being paid by the hour. They shouldn't be able to make me work at home, too. There has to be someone in Sim Government I can file a complaint with. I'll have to look into that.

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Seriously, there has to be some law against this level of drudgery.

But I'm trying really hard to fight through it. For a couple of reasons. First of all, I know the problem is partly me. I've always suffered from a bit of stir craziness. Staying still for too long gets on my nerves. So I can't really blame the job for that. Second, I really don't want to disappoint Eoghan. He's doing even better at work than I am. He's already been promoted out of the prep kitchen and onto the line. And we have such different hours right now, we rarely see each other. Just a quick "Hello/Goodbye!" as we pass each other coming in or out the front door.

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"Hey, how are-" "Fine! Gotta Go!"

Luckily, I have the antidote to work boredom. Or, rather, the Blue Velvet does. Despite being the only bar in this dink town (or maybe because of), it's really grown on me. A few drinks after work really helps calm the nerves, and also makes the impending take-home reports easier to deal with. Don't worry, I always take a taxi.

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To be fair, I think that one on the bottom right is actually before work.

Anyway, my frustrations with work aside, things are going great for Eoghan. Besides doing well at work, he's really got a great thing going on with Summer.

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I know, makes you all gag, doesn't it?

And that makes me happy, too, because Summer is a really nice girl. We get along well. I have to admit, seeing them together is starting to make me wonder about my own prospects for romance. Jealous? Lonely? Not sure. But whenever I think about it too hard, I decide, no, I'm really not ready for that quite yet. Still haven't quite gotten past...well, the past.

But the things I'm dealing with are nothing compared with Cassiel. She got knocked up! She and Neal never planned on kids. They just weren't careful, and, well, that's how that goes. I tried to visit her whenever I could, especially as the due date approached.

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"Wow, are you getting big!"

"So, how you feeling, today, honey?" I asked during one of my visits.

"My back hurts, my feet hurt, and I have to pee every twenty minutes."

"So, same as always, huh?"

"Same as always." Her face dropped a bit before she continued. "Natalie, can I tell you something?"

"Of course."

"You know I've tried to be very brave the past few months, but this was never what I wanted. It wasn't what Neal wanted, either, but he's handling it a lot better than me. Now that the time is almost here, I'm really starting to worry if this is a mistake."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, keeping the baby. We talked about adoption early on, and decided not to, but now I'm wondering if we should have."

"Well, you can always change your mind," I said, "but I actually think you have it in you to be a great mother. Just give yourself a chance."

"Oh, come on. You know I've always hated children. I don't know how that will change."

I reached over and gave her a bear hug (as best I could around her humongous belly).

"It will change, Cass, it will, when it's your child. Trust me."

Author's Note: Just a short update to finish up some important exposition before getting into the meat of the story. I think the main characters are all set now.

Offline TheGoat

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Re: Mise en Place
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2018, 11:53:56 PM »
Author's note: I haven't updated in a month, because I finally got my new gaming rig, bought a couple of expansion packs, and I've been messing around with them (and also with Skyrim). I eventually imported this save file so I could get back to this story and see how to integrate the new content with it. You won't see much in this update (other than a Windenburg sighting), but there will be more going forward. I imagine I'll also be saving up to get Dine Out. It seems like a natural expansion for this story.

Chapter 5

For the most part, my life had settled into a routine. I went to work, and Summer was there, then I came home, and Summer was usually there, too. We'd eat together, talk about the latest or next catering gig. Whatever. I was still wild for her, but it started feeling like more of the same, over and over. It kind of felt like our relationship was stuck in neutral, and it was time for something to move, one direction or the other.

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"So, isn't it great we get to talk about the eight hours we just spent together?"

Our schedules weren't identical, and sometimes on days I worked which she didn't, I'd come home for find her already waiting for me. I'm not really complaining. I'm just giving the facts.

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"So, isn't it great we get to talk about the eight hours we are going to spend together tomorrow?"

Oh, and Neal and Cassiel had the baby, of course, so I didn't get to spend much time with them. They were understandably busy. I visited shortly after the kid was born (no name, yet; they were still arguing about that), but after that, I hadn't seen them except in passing.

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Quite the cutie, though.

So, the only person I could really talk to about my problems was Nat, and she wasn't home much, either. She worked during the day, when I was usually home, and at night, she was out scouting for new bars for our little gang, because she was getting sick and tired of going to the same old watering hole every night.

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"Barkeep! Another round to celebrate my impending victory!"

She was even expanding her horizons. She told me about this nightclub that was frequented by a...let's say "unique" crowd.

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"They take dancing a lot more seriously here than I'm used to."

I'm not sure we'll be making that joint a regular stop for our group.

Anyway, I was finally able to corral her into a game of chess, and let it all out.

"Nat, I need some advice," I said.

"Shoot, pal. Girl problems."

"Yup."

"Seriously? I was just kidding. Something wrong with you and Summer?"

"I wouldn't say wrong, exactly."

"I thought you were getting along so well. What did you do?" she asked, a little more harshly than was warranted.

"Nothing! I said it wasn't anything wrong. It's just that we're stuck in a rut. I see her at work. I see her at home. Half the time she sleeps here."

"I know. The walls are thin."

"Ha ha. If you did a little woo-hooing, I wouldn't complain about it."

"I'm too considerate of a roommate to do that to you."

"Sure, that's why."

She reached over the chess board and smacked me. I deserved it.

"Anyway," she said, "I still don't see what the problem is. Are you just spending too much time together? Is that what you're trying to say?"

"No. It's not like I'm sick of her. I enjoy being with her. It's just the same, all the time. Nothing but the same, over and over."

"Well, mix things up. You probably have four years of vacation saved up. Take a trip. Or maybe it's time to take your relationship to the next level."

"Next level?"

"Ask her to move in. She's here all the time, anyway. Why not make it official? I bet she's been waiting for you to bring it up."

"We barely have room for us. How could we make that work?"

"Like I said, she's already here all the time, anyway. Besides, there's always another option."

"What's that?"

"Checkmate."

"What?" I asked, confused.

She pointed to the board.

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Son of a...!

"Checkmate," she repeated.

"Fine, you got me. You're really getting good at this game."

"I know. Online chess is one of the few games they don't block on my work computer."

"So?" I asked.

"So what?"

"What was my other option?"

"Well, you're obviously not happy. Shake things up, move the relationship forward. Those are your first two choices. The other one..."

"Yes?"

"Break it off."

"I can't..."

I just sat there.

"Can't what?"

I continued to sit there, thinking about what she'd said. Break up? Summer was my first long-term serious girlfriend. We were great together. Weren't we?

"You suck, Natalie."



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Offline TheGoat

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Re: Mise en Place
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2018, 10:04:46 PM »
Chapter 6

Sometimes, I just want to wring Eoghan's little neck. Here he was, with this great girl, and he was trying to find ways to screw it up. When I told him his only other option was to break up with her, I didn't think he'd take it seriously. I figured that would kick start him into realizing that he can't just drag her along forever as his "girlfriend." That maybe it was time to start taking things a little more seriously. But instead, he just started moping around the house for a week. When Summer was around, they acted the same as always, but when she was gone, he looked like death. I tried to bring it up again a few times, but he kept blowing me off.

Oh well, I guessed he'd figure out what he wanted sooner or later.

Anyway, Neal and Cassiel finally agreed on a name for their little boy: Leland. He was adorable.

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And a big fan of sippy cups.

I really enjoyed going over there to visit. Not only did I get to see little Leland, but I also got to get away from Eoghan for a while. He was just being too down for me. I have enough of that on my own. One day at Neal and Cass's, I actually got up the nerve to talk about it, which was hard for me, because they'd been friends since long before I was around.

"I'm just worried about him, you know?"

"I think you gave him the right advice," Cass said.

"Really?"

"Absolutely. Remember that advice you gave me, before Lee was born? You were right. One hundred percent. Neal and I never planned on this, but now that it's happened, I couldn't be happier to be a mother."

"And I couldn't be happier to be a father," Neal interjected, before turning back to the newspaper. "Even though it means I have to start job-hunting now."

"The point," Cass said, with a side-eye at her husband, "is that things worked out the way they did, and we've grown as a family, and that's a good thing. And nothing is more important to us now than this little guy here."

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But what is that devilish look?

"Yeah, but no one bats a thousand. What about what I told Eoghan?"

"It's the same thing. It's time for them to grow. They need to move forward. And if he's not willing to do that, he shouldn't be dragging her along. You did the right thing by showing him the alternative and giving him a kick in the rear."

"Thanks for saying that, Cass. I really mean it."

Anyway, things were still going well. Eoghan got promoted to Pastry Chef, and I was steadily moving up the middle management ranks. Work was still boring as all get out, but at least I was bringing good money in. Plus, I'd been visiting some of the nearby towns for other places for us to hang out as a group. Now that Leland was a toddler, Neal and Cass felt free to get him a babysitter and go out on the town with us.

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Windenburg: drinking location for millions of Sims every day.

And I decided to make a personal change myself. It happened one day when I was doing my daily affirmations in the mirror to build confidence before work - yeah, I know that sounds stupid, but it's right there in the employee handbook, and it seems to really work - and I noticed I could see a lot of Eoghan's fine cooking on my hips. Time to hit the gym.

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The last time I worked out, these clothes were fashionable.

After my workout, I decided to hit up the Blue Velvet for a few drinks. I hadn't been there in a while, since the gang had been hanging out in Windenburg so much. It was nice to visit the old haunting grounds.

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And after all that working out, I deserved some fish 'n' chips.

I saw some familiar faces, had a few drinks, and maybe did a little dancing. I can't remember exactly. Okay, maybe more than a few drinks. But I took a taxi, like normal, so don't get on my case about it. Anyway, eventually it got late, and I got tired, and I decided to head home.

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What am I looking at, so slyly?

When I walked (stumbled) into the house, Eoghan and Summer looked like they were having a serious conversation. I immediately sobered up and wished I was somewhere else. Anywhere else. But Summer's head spun around, and she gestured toward me.

"Nat! So glad you're home. Sit down. We have great news."

I watched the beaming look on her face as I worked toward the table. I stole a glance at Eoghan, but he just sheepishly looked away from me. I settled into the chair.

"Okay," I said, as cool as I could muster. "What's up?"

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"I'm sure this will go just fine."

"We're going to be roomies!" Summer screamed. Then she reached across the table and gave me a big, violent hug. I may have thrown up before I passed out. I'm not sure.

Offline TheGoat

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Re: Mise en Place
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2018, 10:20:21 PM »
Chapter 7

Well, that was that, then. In a few short years, I went from cook living alone who couldn't talk to women to pastry chef living in the same cramped house with two fantastic women, one a strange out-of-towner who had become one of my best friends, and the other one of the most beautiful sims in Willow Creek, and now my serious live-in girlfriend.

Shortly after Summer moved in, we decided to take a second piece of advice from Nat, and get away from it all. We each cashed in some vacation time and booked a cabin at Granite Falls.

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Our first vacation together!

We had a great few days. Sometimes, we went off and did our own thing. I decided to take up fishing.

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This is the sort of thing manly men do, right?

I even eventually caught something! A tiny perch, which I cooked over the campfire.

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I'm a culinary expert. I could cook on a Ford radiator if I needed to.

Summer enjoyed spending the morning hours hiking and collecting.

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Ladybugs!

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Carrots!

She collected both vegetables and bugs. I wasn't so keen on her bringing the bugs home, but decided not to make a stink about it. She really enjoyed collecting fresh vegetables around the campsite. She's always been a bit of a health nut.

But we also made a point to spend some time together. We played some horseshoes.

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Neither of us were very good at it.

We spent a couple of nights hanging out at the campfire.

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We were better at this.

And of course we squeezed some romance in, too!

(We didn't take any pictures of that, you buttinskis!)

We also had time to fit in a serious conversation one night while stargazing together.

"So is this it, then?" she asked me.

"Is what it?"

"We're together now. Not just dating, but like serious, for real together."

"I guess we are."

"You're such a romantic." She shook her head and smirked.

"Well, I don't know what else to say about it. I'll admit I wasn't sure what we should do. We've been together for a while, and I'm so inexperienced, I didn't know how these things were supposed to work out. And we're all getting older, so I was worried about getting stuck in a rut. But then Nat gave me some great advice."

"Really? What was that?"

"Basically, she told me to fulfill bladder need or get off the pot."

Summer laughed.

"So that's why you asked me to move in. Because Nat told you that you were dragging your feet."

"More or less. But she was right, and I was stupid. I'm glad we're taking it to the next level."

"Me too." She paused for a moment. "Do you think this is the forever level?"

"Forever? I don't know."

"You don't?"

"Wait! Let me explain. I know I'm happy with you. Happier than I ever have been. I know I don't want you to leave. I know I'm glad you moved in. I know I hope we stay together, and I don't want us to ever not be together. Is that what the forever level is? I don't know. I was single for so long before I met you, I don't know how relationships are supposed to work."

"Hmm. Good enough, I guess. I'd say don't worry about how they are supposed to work. Worry about how ours will work. I don't want anyone else. Ever."

"Me neither. Ever."

Speaking of Nat and getting older, we timed our vacation in the stupidest way possible, and actually missed Nat's birthday. Poor girl celebrated by herself, because Neal and Cassiel were busy with an extremely irritable Leland, who was right in the middle of his terrible twos.

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"Happy Birthday to me..."

So Nat was officially an adult, now, and we both promised her we'd make sure to never miss her birthday again, but she swore up and down she wasn't angry about it, and that she was happy we were able to get away for some together time.

But Nat growing older wasn't the only change. About a month after our vacation, Summer and I were waiting for Nat to come home from work for a serious conversation. When she walked in the door, we were both waiting on the couch.

"'Ello, what's all this, then?" she said in her best Cockney impression. She sometimes broke into fake accents when she felt tension in the air.

"We have to talk about living arrangements," I said.

"We do?"

"Yes. This is a tiny house for just the three of us, and we need to have a plan moving forward."

"A plan for what?" she asked, clearly defensive about where this was going.

"Well, it's about to get even tinier."

"I don't understand."

Summer and I looked at each other. I wasn't sure how to say it, so Summer blurted it out.

"Remember that vacation we took? Your best friend here decided Granite Falls would be a great place to knock me up."

"I'm sorry, what?" Nat asked.

"I'm pregnant."

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And we are absolutely going to run out of room.

Offline TheGoat

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  • Posts: 230
Re: Mise en Place
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2018, 06:03:48 PM »
For those who have been silently reading this, I'm making this obvious hiatus official. After buying the new machine, I've upgraded TS4 with several expansions, and while I still want to explore this story, I'm not sure I can integrate it into all the new content effectively. I've been trying, and I will attempt to come back to it, but I may have to kill this story entirely, and re-explore these themes in a brand new one.

 

anything