Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Chapter 59

Scarlet Firecracker is a "game-aware" Sim.  Back in March, she participated in S-GAS, the SIMposium for Game-Aware Sims as part of Carewren's Landscapes Painting Party.


S-GAS was a very exciting time for Scarlet.  She brought home many cherished memories, like her time painting in the sunlight with Carewren's Sim Ana Pringle!


Her joy of painting, the appreciation of nature, and the camaraderie of friends newly made created a wellspring of self-reflection within Scarlet that lasted well beyond S-GAS.


After S-GAS, she spent a lot of time painting and thinking about her life as a game-aware Sim.  Who was she?  What did she want to do with her life before her days ran out?  The truth was, she felt a little immortal.  She had the Gallery.  She had her finished paintings.  They would be remembered forever, wouldn't they?  Wouldn't she?


She missed the fun she had at S-GAS, that simple happiness of sitting around a roaring bonfire with friends.  She still remembered toasting marshmellows with FloorRaisin's Self-Sim, her favorite Legacy writer.


It made her wonder and think, over and over, a cycle of racing thoughts day after day, night after night... What was her Legacy?  Scarlet was afraid it was a bad one.

For Scarlet was a game-aware Sim...

And she knew about the panel.

That panel.


It never really haunted her before, but after S-GAS she couldn't stop thinking about it.  She wondered, How many boyfriends until I'm 'happy'?  What kind of role model am I?  Am I a role model?  Does the outside world even care?  Do I care?  She couldn't help getting Angry.  So Angry.  (She was a Hot-Headed Sim, after all).  She couldn't help but blame her Player for who she was.

"You made me!"  Scarlet cried, shaking her fists.  Why'd you make me this way?

Scarlet was pretty sure her Player was crazy...


Why'd you make me this way?  And can I change?

These were self-demons Scarlet had battled before.  A bit before S-GAS even began, she participated in aroseinbloom's Desert Leadership Experiment.  Her husband, Don Lothario, forced her to go.  She still remembered his last words as he booted her out the door...

The front door banged open, followed by a flying suitcase and Scarlet Firecracker, all flailing arms and legs.  "You can't do this!  This is my house!"

Don Lothario crossed his arms, standing like an impenetrable wall.  "This is an intervention, Scarlet.  That means you have to go.  It'll be good for you."

Scarlet turned as red as her hair.  Her hot-headed nature was just one of her vices.  Her other was cheating.

"You're woohooing other men while we're married," Don said.

Scarlet's jaw dropped.  "Who told you?  I'm a Player, I earned the trait.  Earned it!  You shouldn't even care.  Can't care!  Gameplay rules!"

Don said, "Gameplay?  What are you even talking about?"  (Don wasn't yet self-aware).  He said, "Do you think this is a game?  We're talking about our marriage here.  Come back when you've found yourself, Scarlet."  He shut the door.

She remembered leaving Oasis Springs, her home.  She had glared at everyone and everything.  When I find myself... Yah, right!  "I'm on the Gallery!" she had grumbled.  "That's where I am!"

But Don had been right.

The social experiment had done a world of good, mostly thanks to Eugene, the Self-Sim of the creativity genius behind the Robinson Family (and aroseinbloom's amazing narration).  Scarlet learned a lot about herself and the value of friendship and gratitude, of what it felt like to have someone in her life who didn't judge her.  Eugene became her friend, just her friend.  For a Sim with woohoo always on her mind, that was a big deal!  She was a Serial Romantic through and through.  Why'd you make me this way?

She went home.

Don let her back in.  "We'll talk when you're ready," he said.  That ready just never came.  It wasn't all Scarlet's fault.  Her Player didn't always play Scarlet's household; she rotated away to other amusements all the time.  But eventually Scarlet's turn came back around again, and there she was, just waiting for it to happen.

"When are we going to talk about my panel?" Scarlet said to Don.

"Do you feel ready?" he asked her.  He had been patient with her.  He loved her.


"My panel's really not that bad, is it?"  Scarlet fretted.


"I mean, I kissed ten different Sims that other chapter...  Now look at my panel.  I'm only counting four boyfriends, three 'potential' flirts, one ex-boyfriend and one --"

"And one husband who loves you," Don finished.  "Look, I can't judge you.  You can't judge me.  My romance panel is pretty embarrassing, too."


"Embarrassing?" Scarlet giggled.  "Who have you flirted with?"

"I promise, I'll show you," Don smiled sheepishly, "But first... Look, ever since you told me we were nothing but digital Sims in a digital Simverse, our very lives orchestrated by The Player, I've been feeling torn up inside.  At least you were created by the Player...  I was made in what feels like an EA insane asylum somewhere in California... I mean, do you realize how many millions of Don Lothario copies are out there right now, roaming the multiple Simverses?"


"Copies?" Scarlet teased.  "You're the original Don Lothario then, are you?"

He smiled, but the smile never reached his eyes.  "It's not easy being Don Lothario," he said.  "You think being a Serial Romantic is bad?  Try Non-Committal. I'm never happy with anyone."

"Except me!" Scarlet fumed.

"Yes, except you," he said, taking her hands and kissing them.  "Because you make me forget myself.  I feel like I am myself around you.  My true self, completely separate from what my creators and players make me.  It's what I make.  That's who I am with you.  I'm happy being that Don.  A father, a husband... that's who I am."

Scarlet whispered, "So what do we do?"  Who am I?

"We woohoo," Don grinned.  "Just you.  And just me."


Don said, "We have fun and we put all our romantic energy into each other, and laugh at who the world wants us to be."

Scarlet laughed, excited.  "Yes... yes!" she said.  "Oh, and my store!  Scarlet's Secret.  I can put my romantic energy into the store.  It's perfect."


Scarlet added, excited, "And both of us can try to earn the Companion trait through the Soulmate Aspiration.  It'll be our way of committing to each other."

"That's a great idea," Don said.  "And we can clean out our romance panels.  Just look at mine.  I have Gladys on mine.  That's right, Gladys."  


Scarlet laughed so hard she almost fell down.  "You're both Romantic Sims, that's why.  The Player leaves you alone for a few rotations and you go after Gladys!"

"See?!  Embarrassing!  But I'm going to invite her over, tell her how I really feel," Don said.


"Stop flirting with me when I'm not in rotation, Gladys," Don growled.

"There is no rotation," Gladys said.  (Scarlet and Don had been trying to tell the whole neighborhood about this S-GAS self-awareness thing, but few Sims actually believed it).

"Stop flirting or I'm going to grow a Cowplant and feed you to it!" Don threatened.


"Pah!  You don't have any Gardening skill!" Gladys said.

"Ha!  You are game-aware!  What do you know about skills?"

"I am not!  I have more skills than you, that's what I know.  You couldn't hurt me if you tried.  I'll romance who I please!"

"I thought you loved Geoffrey?  He was your soulmate!"

"He is my soulmate!" Gladys snapped.  She suddenly looked doubtful.  "Though I... I do admit sometimes I don't quite understand why I flirt with other Sims..."

Don suddenly felt sorry for her.  She was as much in this boat as he.  I can't feel sorry for her!  Those kind of feelings might lead to more embarrassing romantic interactions.  He stood his ground and said, "Gladys, just try not to flirt with me anymore.  I know I'm so irresistible, but just try.  Or I'm going to have to zap you like this!"


"EEEEE!"


Thump.



"Daddy, why is there an old lady on the floor?"


When Gladys woke up, Scarlet gave her an earful.  "Don't even think about rekindling your romance with Don.  We're cleaning house, both of us."


Cleaning house meant breaking up all those pesky side romances, making sure they were all in the deep red.

Don told Bella, "You have to stop coming around here.  Our romance is broken up, but you're still too distracting.  Whoever gave you those curves has a lot to answer for."


"You're the one walking around without a shirt," Bella said.


To be fair, Bella came over to see Scarlet, not her ex-boyfriend Don.

"Are these rumors true, Scarlet?  You're going to break up with all your boyfriends?"


"It's true," Scarlet said.

"But I thought all those boyfriends were part of your image?"

"Not my image.  My Player's image for me.  I'm trying to make my own way now.  I'm self-aware."  Who am I?

Bella said, confused, "But you're still Romantic.  Aren't you going to miss all the woohoo?"

Scarlet certainly had lots of fun woohooing in her day.  She always got a Happy moodlet afterwards, no matter the Sim.  She couldn't remember half their names, but she remembered the woohoo.


And the chase.  Getting them to like her...  To accept her flirtations.  That was fun, too.


But it was never enough.  After one woohoo, she was always calling up the next guy.  Where does it end?


It doesn't end with Don.  It ends with me, Scarlet thought.  She got straight with Don.  "I can deal with the thought of only having woohoo with you for the rest of my life, but it's not because you're 'The One.'  It's because I want to be the kind of Sim that makes their own choices in life."


"Okay, I'm with you.  Let's do this," Don said.  

"Bring in the first victim," Scarlet said.  I can do this.  I can do this.  Who am I?


Scarlet broke up with Neal (she couldn't remember his last name) and Don sealed the deal.


"Next!"  One down, three to go.

She remembered his full name.  "You're Bobby Bullock," she announced, pleased with herself.


"Bobby, I've brought you here to break up with you.  I'm sorry for treating you like a woohoo toy," Scarlet said.


Don watched the whole thing.  He felt a little sorry for Bobby; it couldn't be easy being a nobody townie whose only highlight in life was a romance with the Scarlet Firecracker.


But mostly Don wanted to go commando on him and use his face like a punching bag if he even tried to get back with Scarlet.  


"You're doing great," Don said, squeezing her hand after Bobby made a beeline for the exit.

"I don't feel great," Scarlet said.


With two breakups in a row, Scarlet was feeling really Sad.  She decided to pour her Break Up Blues into painting.


One she painted for Neal, the other for Bobby.  She even named the Sad paintings... to remember.  She had to remember how hard it was becoming the Sim she wanted to be.  It was hard... because it meant something to her.


Don had to go to work, so she finished the last two on her own.  She broke up with Sonny Padilla...


...and Dominique Hayes.  She called him up.  "Can you come over?"  No, not to woohoo.  


"I'm sorry, but this is the end," she told him.  The end for you.  The beginning for me.



Now it was really, really hurting.  Her Sad emotions were crushing Scarlet.



The Sad paintings helped, but it wasn't enough.


She needed to go out.  She needed to have fun.  When Don got back from work, they hit the Rattlesnake Juice Bar.


She felt herself again, but it took two Hot and Smoky's and a Simsmapolitan.


The next day went from bad to worse.  Bobby showed up at her door.  "You can't just come over anymore," Scarlet growled.  Don't you know I'm a recovering woohoo addict?


He made her so Angry!


So Angry she wanted to push him over a cliff!


Even Dominique Hayes came back to start a fight.


Maybe they just wanted a second chance, but not to get back with her-- to let go.  To get all their feelings out.

Eventually there was nothing left to feel but peace.  She invited over Geoffrey Landgraab, the father of her firstborn daughter, Sarah Firecracker.  But not to fight...


...to ask forgiveness.  "I'm sorry for breaking up your marriage and using you for your blonde hair genes," Scarlet said.

Geoffrey was older and wiser.  "It wasn't all you.  The Player maneuvered us into that one."  He gave her a hug, and forgiveness.  "We made a beautiful daughter.  That's all that matters now."

"All that matters," Scarlet repeated.  Who am I?


Don had a similar experience with Babs L'Amour (now Babs Fry), the mother of his firstborn daughter, Alissa L'Amour.  "I'm sorry for all the hurt I've caused you," Don said.


"It was for the best.  We're better Sims now," Babs said, hugging him.


It took hard work and lots of kissing, but eventually Don earned the Companion trait.  Don laughed, "Isn't it a little bit ironic I'm the first Sim in our world to complete the Soulmate Aspiration?"

"A little maybe," Scarlet grinned.


Scarlet came next.  "This is the beginning of our Legacy," she said.


Scarlet's trait panel was really packed now.  She became the first Sim to hit twelve or more traits, becoming the Most Interesting Sim in the World.



"I'm the Most Interesting Sim in the World," Scarlet told Don with a grin.  "That's who I am."

Don kissed her.  "In our world, at least.  There's a lot of Simverses out there."

"But only one Scarlet," she said, suddenly hot-headed.

"With many copies," Don laughed.

"Only one," Scarlet said again, smiling.  She was Happy.


Thanks for reading!

For more information about S-GAS, check out CathyTea's archive here.

Read Chapter 60

2 comments:

Heather Palmer said...

That was one of the most amazing chapters that you've ever done!!! Excellent job! I'm so proud of Scarlett & Don for working hard to be committed to just each other. That takes so much work from woohoo addicts! I loved so much of this that I can't even point it all out. Too much awesomeness! <3

Anonymous said...

This was a phenomenal post. Humor, wisdom, compassion - and great pics! I love you, Scarlet! <3