Marion Plumaghan heard the pitter-patter of pink bunny slippers in the hallway and turned expectantly, hoping to see her fairy godmother before it was time to go home.
But it was only her fairygodmother’s husband, Bryon Heck, coming downstairs to clean up after last night’s wedding reception.
“When do you think she’ll be down, Uncle V? It’s almost time for school,” she asked.
“It may not be for quite a while,” Vivek Wilkes said. “She was still up when I went to bed, and I’m only up now thanks to a dose of Sleep Replacement Potion.”
“Well, I’ll just have to go to school here one more day,” Marion said. “I’ll just see her when I get back.”
“But she and Bryon will have left for Granite Falls by then,” Vivek said. “They won’t be back until Saturday night.”
“Well, we’ll stay until Saturday night, then.”
“You are all welcome to stay,” Vivek said, “but that would be up to your parents.”
“Thanks, Uncle V!” Marion said. “Can we stay, Mom? Can we?”
“Hmmm, I don’t see why not, but Monaghan seemed pretty eager to get back home right after the wedding.”
“What’s the big rush?” Marion’s big brother, Hal, asked as he brought his breakfast into the TV room.
“Well, he’s worried that two or three Evil and/or Mischievous Sims in this World may out to get him.”
“So? What are they gonna do, Yell at him?” Hal asked. “I don’t see the big deal.”
“You can do a lot more harm in-game to another Sim than just Yell at it,” Sarafina said. “You can pump them full of negative Moodlets, you could even take actions that would lead to their death.”
“Yeah, maybe if the aggressor is in the Active Household,” Hall said, “but NPCs can’t mount a campaign like that.”
“True,” Sarafina said. “But this is becoming a rotation-style Saved Game. Those Evil Sims will get their turn.”
“When will that be”” Hal said. “Weeks from now? Months?”
“I have no idea,” Sarafina said. “Vivek, you must know something.”
“I know Debbie Van High will get to play next. We’ve skipped her turn twice already.
“Annette Thayer’s household will be played after that; she has a plan to emigrate with a group of other Insane Sims to the d’Angers Saved Game to help relieve pressure on the local population cap,” Vivek said.
“The d’Angers will probably get played the week after that, then I know Karli is eager to get the extended care facility started, so Elder Townies will have a place to leave their urns and tombstones when they pass to the Afterlife Stage.”
“And then I believe Number Two will get his turn in the rotation to recruit Mean, Evil and Mischievous Sims for his gang of villains.”
“So it will be four weeks at least before any Evil Sim gets played!” Marion said.
“True, and I don’t believe Number Two is one of the Evil Sims who has issue with your father,” Vivek said.
“No, but a couple of the Sims he might recruit do,” Sarafina said.
“Still, we could basically stay here ‘til I’m a Young Adult before we have to chicken out,” Marion said.
“Well, we wouldn’t age while we’re NPCs,” Sarafina said, “but I guess you’re right. I just don’t think your dad is going to want to stay here.”
“We just have to figure out how to make it sound like a good idea to him,” Hal said. “Better yet, make him think it was his idea.”
Marion jumped up, spun into her school clothes and turned off the TV.
“Well, I’m going to school,” she declared. “Hal, you should come to.”
“Right after breakfast,” Hal said.
Vivek scooted closer to the conversation.
“If the four of you are thinking of staying her long-term, you might want to take steps to conceal your identities,” he said. “Since Bill and Sarafina have been off-World, that may make it harder for Bill’s enemies to recognize him.”
“Mom already has about a dozen aliases; I want one, too!” Hal said. “That would be so cool!”
“Perhaps, but your father’s concerns for his safety and yours are not entirely the product of his Insane Trait,” Vivek said.
“Which concerns are those?” I asked when I brought my breakfast to the TV room.
“Oh, Hal was just saying this might be a good World to establish a safe house, in case martial law is imposed back home, or travel restrictions prevent us from getting home,” Sarafina said with a wink to their son.
“Yeah, or if the world economic order collapses,” Hal said. “I met two Sims at the wedding reception who said their home worlds have completely winked out! No messages, no blog updates, not even a single comment in teh Forums for weeks!”
“Well,” I said, more than a little pleased with myself, “I’m glad you learned something on this trip. Things are so nice back home, it’s easy to forget what a dangerous place the Worlds can be.”
“If you were to do this, I think Master Plumaghan is correct in suggesting you should establish false identities while you are here,” Vivek said. “It’s better to have a fake passport and never need it, than to need one and not have it.”
“Hey! Can I be named Douglas Rain?” Hal asked. “Marion can be Karen Allen!”
“We’ll have to pick aliases later,” Sarafina said, rising to follow Hal to the kitchen. “Right now, I’d better get you to school.”
“I can get to school by myself, Mom,” Hal said, spinning into his Everyday 1.
“Okay, then,” Sarafina said, near colliding with Allison Heck when she turned to return to the loveseat.
“Did Marion already leave for school?” Allison asked. “I wanted to get a chance to say goodbye.”
“You’ll get a chance,” Sarafina said. “We’ll be here when you get back.”
“You will?” Allison asked.
“We will?” I asked.
“You have plenty of goodbyes to get through today as it is,” Peyton Skinner said as she came into the TV room. “Are you ready to get started?”
“After I finish breakfast and change,” Allison said.
“Well, hurry up,” Peyton said. “Thalia’s already called me, like, four times already this morning. She’s ready to get going.”
“Oh, OK,” Allison said. “I was kind of hoping you could come with us.”
“On your honeymoon!?! I don’t think so,” Peyton said.
“Not the whole honeymoon,” Allison said. “Just this afternoon. I thought we could have a going-away wienie roast.”
“Just this afternoon, right,” Peyton said, “but then it will take you another seven chapters to write it. Meanwhile, Thalia’s already a grandmother back home, did you know that?”
“Alright, alright!” Allison said. “You’ve made your point.”
Allison set her empty plate on the floor, called Thalia Osborne, and was hit by a barrage of questions.
“Yes, she’s sitting right next to me. … No. Her Free Will is set at max. … I know, that’s why I kept her here overnight! I didn’t want you to sneak off without saying goodbye! …
“Alright! Alright! We’re leaving right now.”
Allison disconnected the call.
“You weren’t kidding she’s ready to get moving.”
“Told ya,” Peyton said.