Jennifer was an easy-going girl, soon to be an easy-going teenager, who was happy to spend time at home playing with her toys, but equally eager to explore the parks and valleys of Appaloosa Plains on her bike. Like her daddy, she also loved the colour blue. She was also helpful around the house, and spent lots of time with her little sister, Chloe, who she completely doted upon.
Miles liked to exercise. He was obsessed with keeping fit, and was especially proud of his body. He was pretty happy to realise that Hailey still did a double take sometimes when he walked past her shirtless.
When he wasn't exercising, he also loved to sleep, though not as much as Yumi loved to wake him up.
Yumi? Well, Yumi was into hunting. Sometimes she would bring back strange rocks and metals. She hadn't found anything particularly impressive yet, but Hailey kept training her, adamant that one day she would strike gold.
Hailey's main priority was her garden. It genuinely made her happy to spend long days planting, weeding and harvesting. It kept her fit and alert, with the sun on her back and the breeze rustling the apple trees that supplied a large chunk of the family's income - and dietary source!
Now that Anastacia didn't see Locke anymore, she was like a different girl altogether. Anything that involved being outdoors, preferably in nothing but her bikini, was enough to send her happiness sky-rocketing. Hailey did object to her daughter dancing around in her carefully cultivated produce, but she had to admit, she loved seeing her daughter smiling and laughing, even if it was at the expense of her carrot plant.
Chloe, who had recently grown into a toddler, was as bright as a button, and particularly loved spending time with her mummy. Hailey had high hopes for her youngest daughter.
After plenty of practice with her other two children, things like teaching Chloe how to walk and talk were much, much easier this time around, and Hailey spent every spare second she could ensuring Chloe's toddler years were perfect.
Another thing that Jennifer liked? Spending time with her friend Joey.
Joey was a bit older than Jennifer but she never made her feel stupid or dumb or young. She was Jennifer's best friend in the whole world, and Jennifer felt like she could tell her anything. Not that Jennifer had much secret stuff to tell her; generally, she figured her life was pretty good, but it was nice to know the option was there.
Joey also liked listening to Jennifer's impressions of the older girls at school, the girls in Joey's year. Joey didn't really talk about it much, but Jennifer knew that some of those girls were mean to Joey. Joey never said why, just said it wasn't important, but Jennifer knew it bothered her. Sometimes she found Joey in the school toilets wiping away tears, but she always smiled when she saw Jennifer.
Jennifer couldn't wait to age up to a teenager. She didn't have long left, just a couple of days, and she couldn't wait to hang out with Joey properly.
One afternoon, Anastacia was walking to the grocery store when she heard a voice calling her. She glanced over her shoulder and groaned. Great.
She broke into a jog as Locke chased after her, and whilst she knew she could easily outrun him, she figured she couldn't keep avoiding him forever. He kept trying to drag her into empty classrooms at school, "to explain," but usually gave up when she 'accidentally' stamped on his foot. She figured she may as well just give in now and let him try to work his smarmy excuses before she told him exactly to where to stick it.
"Look," he sighed, "I'm sorry about that night. You know, the prom. I just... Joyce had been on at me all evening before you arrived, and -"
"All evening?! The prom started at 7, and I got there at ten past!" Anastacia told him. "Could you not resist her advances for ten minutes?!"
"You don't understand. It's just so difficult being me sometimes. I tell the girls no, and they still keep trying it on with me. I know that you saw me and Joyce kissing when you walked in, but honestly? She was kissing me. I just... didn't stop her."
Anastacia rolled her eyes. She was really bored now. Why had she never realised that Locke's face was all pimply this close up? She'd been totally blind!
"The thing is, girls just want me for my buff body, and I'm like... whoa, wait a second! I'm a one-girl kind of fella, ladies. And that girl, I tell them, is Ana Cantrell."
"Seriously, I know you're into all that fitness stuff, and I'm getting pretty good on the treadmill. I can run for, like, 20 minutes now. Look at that, I'm making commitments for you, baby. You're definitely the one for me."
Ana sighed. "Do you have the time?"
"Yeah, sure, it's 3 o..." But when Locke looked up from his watch, Anastacia was already halfway across the other side of the park, heading back towards home. She couldn't even be bothered to give her a peace of his mind. He just wasn't worth the effort.
Jennifer aged up one day as she and Anastacia were watching TV together.
As a teenager, it was no surprise she developed the Family-orientated trait, to add to her Easily Impressed, Charismatic and Workaholic traits - she was a sociable girl who spent equal amounts of time with each of her family, and they all loved her for it.
As a teenager, she had the slightly broader features of her mother, with the thick hair that Hailey prided herself on. She was, Hailey secretly thought, softer looking than her sister, maybe not as obviously pretty, but her sweet nature more than made up for that.
As the two teenagers in the family, it was no surprise that Anastacia and Jennifer spent a lot of time together. Anastacia, ever since the prom, and shunning Locke, had found her social status dipping in school, and she was grateful to have Jennifer around because of that, especially as she genuinely got on well with her little sister.
Still, that didn't mean their outlook on school, and life generally, wasn't different. Jennifer enjoyed going to school (her Workaholic trait shining through) whilst Anastacia could barely contain a grimace when she set out for the school bus each morning.
Despite being younger, Jennifer often had to help Anastacia get through her homework. It wasn't that Anastacia was dumb, she was just very easily distracted. If she wasn't talking about going to the neighbourhood pool...
... she was talking about how far she was able to run on the treadmill. Jennifer couldn't think of anything more boring than exercise, but she tried to spare Anastacia the full extent of her eye-rolling as she knew it was important to her older sister.
Still, one sporting activity she didn't mind too much was playing throw ball with her sister in the front garden as the sun set over Appaloosa Plains. It was the most active she was willing to get, and she had to admit, it was actually kind of fun.
But Jennifer was at her happiest when she got to spend time with Chloe. It was clear to see that the two of them shared a special bond that even Hailey felt slightly envious of. Chloe's whole face lit up when Jennifer came home from school, and Jennifer always found time for cuddles and kisses with her cute little sister.
On the first official day of Summer, while Miles played with his new favourite toy...
... Anastacia and Jennifer decided to go down to the newly rebuilt festival grounds on the other side of Appaloosa Plains. They'd assumed that the festival would start today, but there was a sign on the barn telling them that it would actually be tomorrow.
Still, they were here now, so they decided to make the most of the sunny day by tucking into some burgers that were being sold from the outdoors BBQ.
As Anastacia was eating, she noticed her sister was distracted by something. She glanced over and was slightly astonished by what she saw.
Jennifer was blatantly checking out Imogen Pelly, the local neighbourhood snob. Anastacia almost choked on her burger, but when she finished swallowing she looked across at her little sister. "Um, Jenny, something you want to tell me?"
Jennifer blushed. "No!"
"I don't mind, you know, if you're into girls. I'm less thrilled that Imogen Pelly is your type, that's all."
"She isn't really," Jennifer confessed. "I mean, she looks pretty and everything, but... I don't know, I thought now I was a teenager things might be different with Joey, but she's refusing to come into school and won't answer her phone or anything, so things haven't been easy."
"Do mum and dad know?"
"That I prefer girls? They're fine with it. It's not a big deal for them."
"It isn't a big deal for any of us. So long as you're happy, that's all that matters."
Anastacia finished her burger in silence. She hoped things would be okay for Jennifer at school. She had never told her little sister that the reason Joey hated going to school was because of the taunts she received about her sexuality. It was common knowledge in their year. Anastacia could only hope that Jennifer's impossible-to-dislike demeanour would see her through the trials and tribulations of high school.
"Anyway, it could be worse," Jennifer pointed out. "I could be into freaky clown fairy men. Like him."
Anastacia looked over to see a man with small fairy wings and a painted clown face tripping over his own feet. She laughed. "Well, yeah, that would obviously be the worst possible scenario."
Once they'd finished their snack, they decided to head back home. But as they were walking past the chess tables near the eating area, Anastacia looked across to see Joyce Bedlington playing by herself. She frowned, quickly looking away, but Joyce, her former best friend, had already seen her.
"Anastacia, over here!"
"I'll catch up with you later," Anastacia told Jenny, who squeezed her hand sympathetically before leaving for home.
Joyce had been her best friend, before Anastacia had walked into the prom reception to see her all over Locke. Surprisingly enough, after that, Anastacia hadn't felt quite as well disposed towards the older girl. She sat down on the other side of the chess table to see that Joyce had recently transitioned into a young adult.
"Want to play?" Joyce asked. Anastacia shrugged. She was okay at chess as her dad had taught her the basics when she was a child. She knew enough not to embarrass herself, anyway.
"You look nice," Anastacia lied. "That colour really suits you."
Joyce smiled. "I'm glad you think so. Locke told me he likes green on me."
"How is Locke?" Anastacia asked mildly. She didn't actually care, but she figured she should be polite.
"He's fine. He's having his birthday tomorrow. You can come if you like."
"Oh, sorry, I'm busy."
The thing was, Anastacia realised, she didn't even dislike Joyce. She felt a little sorry for her, blinded as she was by Locke's dubious charms, but she used to enjoy hanging out with her before things had turned so weird between them. Maybe Jennifer had the right idea, preferring girls to boys. Boys just seemed so complicated sometimes.
They played for about an hour, catching up on each other's lives, and as Anastacia walked away, she felt a lot better about things. The fact that she could sit opposite Locke's girlfriend and not feel any sort of jealousy or anger was significant, she realised. She was only about halfway through her teenage years and she intended to enjoy the rest of them, with or without a boy.
It rained all that night and into the morning, but at around 10am the sun came out, and the Summer festival officially came to town. Hailey wanted to get her produce harvested so told her family she would meet them at the festival grounds later. Miles, Anastacia and Jennifer all eagerly set out for the park, with Miles pushing an excited Chloe in her stroller.
When they reached the festival grounds, he set his daughter down on the grass next to a friendly little boy who Chloe instantly hit it off with.
Anastacia decided that she was too pale by far, so had a go in the spray tan booth. She felt kind of nervous as she got in...
... but by the time she stepped out, she thought she looked pretty damn hot, even if she did say so herself.
Jennifer, meanwhile, didn't see the point of paying for a fake tan when she was sure she would catch the sun naturally today, but she couldn't resist getting a simple face paint to reflect the fact that the season was finally here.
Later, Jennifer managed to persuade body-conscious Anastacia that a hotdog eating contest would be really, really fun to enter. Anastacia wasn't quite sure, but Jennifer's charismatic pleading eventually forced her to give in, and they got stuck into the mountainous plate of hotdogs...
And actually, Anastacia really began to enjoy herself, even leading the score at one point. But then out of the corner of her eye she saw a pale and handsome teenager looking around the festival grounds, as if lost, and she immediately pulled away from the contest. Well, she didn't want to look greedy in front of a potential new romance prospect, did she?
But the boy, who she didn't recognise, didn't look her way, and she watched, slightly forlornly, as he headed towards the skating arena.
"Jenny," she whispered, grabbing her sister's arm and pulling her away from the table.
"Hey, I was winning!"
"We've got to go skating, come on!"
Jennifer looked across at the arena and groaned. "You have terrible taste in guys, Ana. He looks like a vampire! Look how pale his skin is!"
"Don't be silly, vampires have glowing eyes. And better balance than that. Come on, you have to admit he's hot?"
"He is not hot," Jennifer said adamantly, "but okay, we'll go and try and captivate him with your mad skating skills."
Jennifer quickly regretted agreeing to try roller skating. She found that she had absolutely no balance whatsoever, and when she found herself heading towards an older gentlemen, who looked equally unsteady on his own feet, she realised what was about to happen.
She didn't get a chance to finish, and ended up landing painfully on her bum. The man fell over soon after, sprawling out next to her, and Jennifer groaned.
"Great, that's going to hurt for a week! Thanks very much, Ana."
She unsteadily tried to get back onto her feet, and was luckily rescued by her father who had decided for himself that skating looked quite fun. He gently pulled his daughter up and began to spin her around as she beamed happily.
"See, it's not so difficult. You just need to take it slow and steady. Come on, let's try going round the rink together."
Anastacia, meanwhile, had no problems adjusting to travelling by roller skates, but she figured there might be something worth trying, inspired by Jennifer's clumsy technique. Pretending to wobble unsteadily, she caught the mysterious new boy on a corner and deliberately sent herself flying into him. Predictably enough, they both ended up on the floor.
Once they were up, grabbing onto each other's hands for support he looked at her with piercing, intelligent eyes.
"Hi," she said. "Are you new in town? I don't think I've seen you around before."
He nodded. He was rather a serious looking boy, but she found herself entranced by his pale skin and jet black hair. "Yes, me and my family arrived yesterday. I'm starting at school tomorrow."
"Nice to meet you. My name is Anastacia but everyone calls me Ana."
"My name is Lawrence but everyone calls me... well, Lawrence."
Anastacia laughed. She realised they hadn't let go of each other's hands yet. "Can I just check... you're not a vampire, are you?"
It was Lawrence's turn to laugh. "No, but you're not the first person to ask me that. I just don't tan very easily, that's all."
Anastacia tried not to stare too blatantly into his eyes. He was so cute and best of all he was human! She let him spin her around, watching as his confidence with her gradually grew.
Hailey arrived shortly afterwards and watched her family playing happily. She knew that she had a lot to be happy and thankful for, but as she watched Chloe playing happily on the grass...
... she felt like something was missing. Chloe would age up tonight, as would Hailey herself, and Hailey still didn't feel quite fulfilled. She loved her family but that was the problem. Hailey was happiest being a mum, feeling like she had a purpose beyond gardening and being Miles' wife. As much as she loved Miles, he still did a very demanding job, and was years and years off retiring from it.
Hailey licked at her snow cone and sighed. She was being stupid. She had three beautiful children, and didn't need anymore. It was just.. it was difficult trying to make herself believe that.
They spent a happy afternoon at the festival, but eventually it began to grow dark. Jennifer picked up Chloe and together headed home with Hailey.
Anastacia and Miles stayed just a little while longer. Anastacia was now confident enough to do impressive spins on the skating rink, but unfortunately Lawrence had gone home, so she felt her efforts were sort of wasted. Still, it was fun. and she was hopeful she'd get the opportunity to hang out with him again!
Miles finished off the nachos he'd bought from the food booth...
...before the two of them headed home to celebrate the birthdays of first Chloe and then Hailey.
It had been a long day, and Miles in particular felt content as he snuggled next to Hailey in bed that night. He didn't realise, though, that sleep was a long time coming for his wife.
Notes: So this is the point where I started playing Seasons, as you can see! Lots of fun. :) Lawrence is a pre-made Maxis sim in the family screen that you can add to Neighbourhoods - from the Lum family. I put a bunch of those families into Appaloosa Plains to ensure there would be some babies being born in other families, but Anastacia took a shine to Lawrence and I kind of like him so I let it happen. :) As for Jennifer, she definitely seemed more interested in girls than boys from the start of her teenage years, and it really looks to me like she's shyly checking out Imogen in that one picture, so couple that with her friendship with Joey and I figured she'd be happier as a lesbian (which takes her out of the equation to be heir, if you're wondering.)