It’s not easy find a place to be alone in the middle of a birthday party with 15 guests, a guest of honor, a caterer and a mixologist, at a household with four unexpected house guests.
In fact, it would prove impossible.
Jamie Rose had just settled in for a quiet game of soccer when Allison Skinner, her fairy goddaughter, and Allison’s fiancé, Bryon Heck, burst into the room.
“Maybe this isn’t a good time,” Bryon said with a glance toward Jamie.
“There is no other time,” Allison said, sitting on one of the beds. “I won’t see you again until I see you waiting for me under the wedding arch tomorrow.”
“Well, I guess if Jamie doesn’t mind … “
“Don’t mind me,” Jamie offered.
“Come over here a minute, Bryon,” Allison said. “I won’t bite.”
“I should hope not, not with all these other Sims around, at least,” Bryon said. “What did you need to talk about?”
“Oh, our plans for after the honeymoon,” Allison said.
“Well, I’m going to pursue a career as a violinist, as you know,” Bryon said. “Have you settled on a career you’d like to try?”
“I thought I might take up guitar!” Allison said. “We could work the clubs together! Wouldn’t that be fun?”
“I would love that,” Bryon said.
“But I didn’t mean our careers,” Allison said, “I was wondering about our plans for … for family.”
“You mean your cousin Damion?” Bryon asked. “Of course he’d be welcome to stay with us.”
“No, silly, I mean our family,” Allison said.
“Vivek is like family, isn’t he? I’ve lived with him since I can remember,” Bryon said. “Sometimes I think you’re right, that we should talk him into staying with us, but sometimes I can understand why he might want to take some time to be on his own. I don’t think he’s really had a chance to find himself here.”
“I don’t mean Vivek either; I mean our family!” Allison said.
“Our … ?”
“You know, when we want to Try for Baby. How often. Should we do it on the honeymoon, or wait until we get back home. If you like the name Ainsley if the first one is a girl … ”
“The first one?”
“Oh! You’re right,” Allison said. “I could get the Fertility Perk, and I think there are fertility enhancing massages at the spa! It could be our first three!
“But maybe encouraging multiple births isn’t a great idea,” Allison said. “I mean, sometimes I think I want a large family. Kids running all over the house, and our older kids visiting, with their kids.
“And then sometimes I think that a small family would be better if we both want to pursue careers,” she continued, “so maybe we want to stop at four or five kids.”
“That’s small? Could you quantify what you mean by large family?” Bryon asked.
“Of course not! I mean, I won’t age while I’m pregnant, and if we keep plenty of Youth Potion on hand, the sky’s the limit!” Allison said.
“And then, I think, I should probably ask you what you think. I know it will be a long time before either of us needs Youth Potion, but it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead.”
“Of course not,” Bryon said. “I guess I didn’t realize you planned to have children.”
“Of course I’m planning to have children!” Allison said. “I’m a Skinner. That’s what we do!”
“I meant right away,” Bryon said, swiftly changing tack. “I didn’t realize you planned to have children right away.”
“Why wouldn’t I,” Allison asked. “Why wouldn’t … we?”
“To be honest, Allison, I’m not sure I feel good about bringing children into the World, the way it is,” Bryon said.
“Well, we can’t change who our Player is,” Allison said.
“I don’t mean Monaghan,” Bryon said. “It could be worse, I suppose.”
“Do you mean a World with culling and the population cap and all?” Allison said. “We have culling disabled with one mod, and random-Townie-generation nearly disabled with another mod, I don’t think that will be an issue.”
“I don’t mean that either,” Bryon said, and watched as Allison’s eyes narrowed.
“What, then, do you mean?”
Bryon carefully considered his answer, and realized it would never do.
“I mean,” he said slowly. “I mean, I assumed you would want to wait until EA adds a Toddler Life Stage to the game.”
“Bryon,” Allison said flatly. “You and I both know that will never happen.”
“Do we?” Bryon asked. “Do we really?
“I mean, they’ve recently pinned a thread soliciting Toddler game-play ideas to the top of teh Forums, there was a survey asking about interest in Toddlers a few weeks ago, a SimGuru recently Liked a comment with the word ‘toddler’ in it, there’s some concept art from 2011 that clearly —“
“When did you climb aboard the hype train, Bryon?” Allison asked. “Would you even want to raise Toddlers if it was possible? All that potty-training and obligatory Read to… and all the overt competition with other parents to raise the most Skill-buffed wunderkind?”
“So, you don’t long for the joys of family play?” Bryon asked.
“Gawd no!” Allison said, shuddering as they stood up. “But you are right, if Toddlers are coming, we will need to start our family right away, won’t we? Tonight even!”
“The guests are hogging the master bedroom, I’m afraid,” Bryon said, “but soon, we can talk about it again, very soon.”
Allison looked on Bryon with an even deeper appreciation.
“Yes. Yes we can,” Allison said. “I was a little nervous to even have this conversation after some friends told me we should. But now, now I feel even closer to you, if that’s even possible.”
“I’m certainly willing to find out, but next time,” Bryon said, stepping closer, “next time, as husband and wife.”
“Allison and Bryon Skinner,” Allison said.
“I still think I might want to keep my maiden name,” Bryon said. “Anyway, I better go turn off automatic updates; there’s a rumor on teh Forums EA may release Toddlers in the March game update.”
“Gooding thinking, Bryon,” Allison said. “That’s one of the things I luh –“
“Plum!” Jamie shouted at her monitor, massaging her temples. “Plum it to plummity plum! I lost everything!”
“Everything?” Bryon and Allison asked in unison.
“Well, all my progress for the past forty-five minutes.”
“That reminds me, Bryon,” Allison called out to Bryon. “While you’re disabling automatic updates, you should Save Game too. I’d sure hate to have that conversation to do over again, wouldn’t you?”
Bryon carefully considered his answer.
And realized it would never do.