Joshua Ruben is 41; Sharla Ruben is 46; Melissa is 15

Thomas Beare is 15; Julia McDonald is 16

December 2024

Melissa took a final look around the bedroom before she left, checking that she hadn't forgotten anything.  Her school uniform lay abandoned in a heap on the floor beside the bed, but that didn't matter - as her mother always said, that was what they had a butler for.

She glanced around the doorway of the little nursery as she passed.  Nothing in there had changed, it was still exactly the way it had been for almost the whole five years that they had lived here, waiting in readiness for the much-wanted baby.  The baby that, after god-knows-how-many appointments, and drugs, and fertility treatments, was finally going to make an appearance sometime next year.  She wondered how things would change, when the baby came.  She wasn't an only child, but she couldn't even remember the time when her half-sister had lived with them.  It would be weird with another kid around.

In the bathroom, she studied her appearance.  She'd gotten tired of green hair even faster than she'd gotten tired of purple.  So, what next?  Maybe cut some of it off?

Maybe shave some of it off!  Melissa grinned to herself.  That could be good... Not right now, though.  She was in too much of a hurry right now.

Downstairs, she grabbed a quick snack, enjoying the odd sense of freedom that she had whenever her mother and Joshua were away.  A medical conference this time.  Joshua went to a lot of them, and usually her mother went with him.  Or they visited her large family.  Sometimes it felt like they were away more then they were home.  Well, that was probably going to change now that they were finally having a baby... all the more reason for Melissa to make the most of it while she could.

Things were changing already.  A few days ago, she'd overheard her mother and Joshua talking.

"We'll have to move," Joshua had said.  "That nursery will be fine when the baby's small, but its going to need a bigger room when it's older."
"We don't need to move," her mother replied.  "By the time the baby's old enough to need a bigger room, Melissa will have moved out.  We'll have plenty of space then."

When she went back upstairs, everything looked the same, but it didn't feel like her room any more.

Dropping the cookie bag on the table, Melissa checked the time.  Better get going, Thomas would be waiting.  She only stopped to tell the butler that she would be out for the evening, then she ran down the road to the train station.

"Hey, do you think I should shave off my hair?" 

"Why would you want to do something like that?" Thomas asked.
She shrugged.  "To be different, I guess."
"Your hair's already different," he said.
"I'm sick of it, though."

He took a breath.  "Uh... Melissa?"

"Are we... you know... are we on a date or something?"
"No, " she frowned.  "Whatever gave you that idea?  Dates are stupid, we're just... going somewhere together.  What's wrong with that?"

"Nothing, I guess." he said.  It wasn't like she was his girlfriend, after all.  He'd always imagined that she might be his girlfriend someday... ever since they were kids meeting at the playground.

She was the only one who really understood when his mother left.  Even at ten years old, she somehow knew that parents weren't always the wonderful caring people that most other kids believed they were.

They used to hold hands, sometimes.  Once, she even let him kiss her, just to see what it felt like.

It wasn't very romantic, they kept bumping noses and laughing, but he'd enjoyed it, all the same.  Lately, she didn't laugh much at all.  He missed that.

The only reason he'd talked his dad into letting him come into the city with her and her pushy private school friend, was because she said it would be fun.  He wanted to see her happy again.

He wasn't disappointed...

So she spent more time with Julia as she did with him, but that didn't matter...

At least she was enjoying herself.

They all were.

The evening was over far too soon.  "We've got to get going." Thomas reminded Melissa.  "We have to catch the 9 o'clock train."
"You're going already?" He hadn't even realised that Julia was listening.

"I'm not as lucky as you guys," Thomas said.  "It was hard enough talking my dad into letting me come into the city, he'll ground me forever if I'm late home."
"Yeah, but he can't ground her," Julia said, gesturing to Melissa.  "Why should she have to leave just because you do?"

They both looked expectantly at Melissa.

"I am kind of having fun," she said to Thomas. "I mean, its not like we're on a date or anything, right?"
"Yeah, right," said Thomas, reluctantly.  He couldn't think of any reason for her not to stay... unless...  "but... uh... I can't remember the way back to the station."


Any hopes Thomas had of convincing Melissa to come back to Richmond with him quickly faded when Julia insisted on walking back to the station with them... even though it meant Thomas almost missed his train because it took her so long to put her winter clothes back on over the ones she'd worn at the club.  
"I had to do it this way," she said.  "Mum would never let me out of the house dressed like this."
"So you do have some rules," said Thomas, glad for the chance to get back at her after she's spent the last five minutes calling him a baby for leaving early.
"Sure, I have rules," she said, "but that doesn't mean I'm dumb enough to stick to them or anything."

Melissa said goodbye while Julia waited not-so-patiently nearby. The truth was, part of her would have liked to have gone back with him, but then what?  Another boring evening sitting in her room watching tv?  She could do that any time.  Tonight she could stay out as long as she wanted, just so long as she was home and in bed before the butler arrived back in the morning.  Opportunities like this couldn't be wasted, especially when they might not come about quite so often in the future.  Thomas would understand.

"Are we going back to Wired?" she asked Julia, as they left the station.
"Wired is for kids," she said.

"Uh, in case you haven't noticed, we are kids," said Melissa.
"Speak for yourself," Julia said, "I'm almost 17."  She dug around in her pocket a bit, pulled out an ID card and showed it to Melissa.  "As of tonight, I don't have to go to baby hangouts any more.  I can get in anywhere I want."
Melissa's eyes widened in surprise.  "Hey, you're not really that old!"
"The card says I am, that's all that matters."

"Where did you - "
"That guy I was talking to at Wired.  That's the only reason I went there tonight."
"But how does he - "
"Doesn't matter.  I got it and I can get you one if you want.  You'll have to pay, though."

"That's not a problem," said Melissa.  "I just don't know if - "
"Come on, think of the places we could go!"
"I don't know... " Melissa said.   
"But - "
"Just give me time to think about it, ok?"

"You're not going to tell anyone, are you?"
"No, I'm not going to tell anyone." Melissa said.  "Who the hell would I tell anyway?"  

"You wanna do something tomorrow?" Julia asked, after a while.
"Can't," Melissa said.  "I'm going to dinner with my father."
"I didn't know you had a father,"
Melissa laughed dryly.  "Sometimes I forget, too."

He called her, every month or so.  Whenever his guilt got the better of him, she figured.  It wasn't that he or his wife were unkind to her - quite the opposite, really - but she also knew that they weren't comfortable with her around.  So he usually took her out somewhere, well away from his house and the happy little family that her existence had almost destroyed.  

He'd told her that it didn't matter.  "Ruth and I got back together," he'd said.  "We even had more kids.  It's just like nothing ever happened."  But something had happened, and Melissa was the proof of it, fitting neatly in the gap between their older kids and their younger kids.  

Melissa turned to Julia.  "What about your father?  How come you never visit him or anything any more?"
"Too far away," she said.  "He doesn't want me there anyway."

"He only lives in Bluewater Village!"
"Yeah, but that just proves it.  If he really wanted me around, he would have moved somewhere a little closer to civilisation than Bluewater Village!"

"Hey, about the ID," Melissa said, after a moment.  "Can you get one for Thomas as well?"

"Is that really a good idea," Julia asked.  "I mean, if your boyfriend - "
"He's not my boyfriend," said Melissa.
"Whatever.  Can you be sure that he won't run to daddy as soon as he knows what we're doing?"
Melissa hesitated.  She wanted to say that he wouldn't, but...

Julia suddenly jumped up.  
"Whoa... I just realised... Wait here for me!"
"Where are you going?"
"Just across the street.  I just had a thought - "
"Why do you...  No way! " Looking across the street, Melissa realised what Julia was doing.  

After a few minutes she came running back, carrying a bag.  She dropped down on the bench, giggling.
"You didn't?" 
"Yeah, I did!  You want one?" She pulled a bottle of beer out of the bag.  
"No way - they actually believed you were 18?"
"Course they did.  You want one?" she repeated.
"Uh... sure," said Melissa.  She followed Julia's lead in opening the bottle and taking a swig, and tried not to cringe at the strong, unfamiliar taste.

"Good?" Julia asked.
Melissa just nodded.

"See the fun we could have... so why don't you just let me get you an ID?  I mean, its not like you actually have to use it or anything... you could just keep going to Wired with Thomas if you want.  But at least you'd have the option after he's run home to daddy."
"Stop talking about him like that... just because he's lucky enough to have a father who - "

"What, lucky?" Julia laughed.  "You really want to have to go home at 9pm and never get to have any fun?  We're the lucky ones."

Melissa liked that - the lucky ones.  She'd never really thought about it like that before.  She took a slower sip of her beer.  It wasn't that bad, really. "Ok, lets do it," she said.  "Let's get the ID card."  Like Julia said, it wasn't like she actually had to use it... but it would be there, if she wanted to.

She and Julia clicked their bottles together.  She had a feeling that she was going to want to use it.


It was late when she finally got home, but Melissa didn't go straight to bed.  Instead, she stretched out in the living room to watch sappy old movies on the big tv.  She didn't get to do this often.

Usually, she spent most of her time upstairs in the bedroom, at least she did when Joshua was around.  She didn't like the way he looked at her sometimes.  She'd seen boys at school look at her the same way, and sometimes she even liked it, from the boys at school.  She didn't like it from Joshua.

It was easier just to stay out of his way as much as possible.

She finally went upstairs, when she couldn't keep her eyes open any longer.  Before she climbed into bed she wedged a chair in behind her bedroom door.  Maybe, when the baby came, Joshua would be the kind of loving father who always liked to tuck his kid into bed, but he'd only just started kissing Melissa goodnight about a year ago.

She didn't like the way he kissed her goodnight.

 She didn't like the way he put his hands under the covers.

She supposed she didn't need the chair there, on nights like this when he was away, but she put it there anyway. It was stupid, she knew.  On nights like this, she should relax a bit.

On nights like this, she was lucky.


In the I-swear-to-God-its-not-just-me-making-this-sick-stuff-up department, a wider view of that shot of Joshua looking at Melissa:

That whole angle of the story was inspired by Joshua's behaviour towards her in-game.  They've got a really negative relationship, they're basically furious at each other, most of the time. But he still kept trying to hug her, repeatedly, most of a sim-evening when her mother wasn't around. She rejected him every time,but he just kept going back, literally every five or ten sim-minutes, and trying again. And poor Melissa looked terrified.

On top of that, the next morning over breakfast...

... and just to weird me out a little more, after I finished taking the sequence of pictures with Melissa going to bed, I moved the chair away and the door immediately snapped open:

*shudder*.  Poor Melissa.  Ok, so its me writing this story, but I would never have thought of something like this without what was happening in-game... I tried to give Joshua the benefit of doubt, but he didn't leave me much choice, really!

Even without that angle to the story, this is one screwed-up family...

Let's see... Melissa has literally no relationship with her mother (which probably means its improved recently), she hates Joshua and wants him dead (yeah, I can understand that...)... but she still fears the death of a family member.  I thought it was sweet that she wants to be friends with Rose... and despite her abysmal grades, she wants to go to college.

Ok, so the feeling's mutual for Joshua.  But despite that, the hugging!  He actually was BFF with his wife in the old hood, but I can't find a hack to replicate that, only Best Friends (green smileys)... so the sims have to get it back in-game, and everyone is rolling 'Be BFFs with... ' wants as a result.  Which kind of makes Melissa's two BFFs above all the more significant :) 

Sharla has her own opinion of Cory!  But... hmmm... she wants to be friends with her ex-lover again?!  If I were feeling charitable I'd warn Joshua but, hey, whatever... 

Sharla and Joshua were both rolling baby wants, pretty much for the whole seven or eight sim years they've been together... but she just never got pregnant.  I figured that they had the money and motivation to go for whatever kind of treatment it took to get her pregnant, but I wasn't sure how to go about it in-game.  I mean, I could just use Insim to make her pregnant to Joshua, but even fertility treatments have a chance of failure.

I thought of using a dice roll or something but wasn't sure of what odds to give it, and in the mean time I let them use Maxis try for baby each time I played the house.  She got pregnant this way before I worked the other out.  I'm glad it happened before we moved to the new hood, because she's essentially a new sim now and I imagine she wouldn't have any problems (that, BTW, is why she and Joshua look like new adults in the screenshots above - I hadn't got around to taking some days away to move their life-meter thing to the right place).

Carla and some others mentioned on N99 that Joshua can produce strange looking or buggy kids... I did some research and found that basically there's a problem with his face template that may or may not be passed on to his descendants.  By way of experiment someone gave him 8 kids, 6 of them turned out 'normal' so I guess we have a good chance of the baby being ok, if not, I'll deal with it via in-game plastic surgery as needs be. 

I read that his brother Martin has the same face template problem, he already has two kids in my game and both are ok so far, although they were the most evil looking toddlers I've even seen! Seriously, the boy's eyebrows were like a V... lol... he looks much better as a child, but you won't see many baby pictures of him around :)


  1. Oh my, wow! :o Poor Melissa!!! :(

    The benefit of the doubt - that's where the mothers go wrong in situations like these. Because how do you not notice? But they don't want to notice, because they don't want to believe it. Denial is scary and dangerous, and they fail their children with it.

    This reminds me of a couple poor girls in my hood (April and Melissa). Though April's history was partially storytelling, my Melissa has run into some creepy situations with her mom's boyfriend too. None as obvious as these though. Your Joshua is just revolting. Sims can really be shocking sometimes, can't they?

    I hope Melissa can get out of this situation. It's cases like these where teenagers end up running away, and I get why they do.

    And awww @ Thomas! Isn't he just a doll? :)

    On a side-note, SimBlender can do BFFs.

  2. Omg, poor Melissa! It can't be good for her to live in a household like this. It's sad that her mother doesn't notice it, but that's mostly the case.

    I like Thomas and how he tries to look after Melissa, personally I think they would make a nice couple, there's a nice balance between them (I hope I say it right, and that you understand what I try to say:))
    I like her friend too, a little bit a tough one, but I like her :)

    Great update, as usual!!

    I haven't commented on your previous posts, so I'll say something about them here.

    It seems that Alex' talk with AJ was what made Alex talk to his dad in the end, and I like that father and son seem to get closer.
    I love the Kyle's flashback at the end of part 2!

  3. Oh, yeah, the eyebrows! The eyebrows were not the problem I had with Martin's kids. Martin and Joshua's kids both had pixies ears, as did Joshua (and I think Martin as well) when he aged to elder. Annoying!

    But anyway...ugh. No wonder Melissa is so desperate to go to college. I'd probably do anything to get out of that house, in her position. I hope she can get out of there somehow. College is probably the best way to get away, but she's only 15 and 3 years is a long time, especially in a toxic living situation like this.

    I saw the picture that you posted on Twitter and sort of got an idea of where you might be going with this and was curious to see how it played out. I've rarely seen it dealt with in a Sims story before and I think you've touched on it really well so far.

  4. Ohh man, wow. Poor Melissa, I feel for her, a lot. I hope that she can get out of there soon, and that Josh isn't pervy towards his own kid. Also hoping the baby doesn't come out looking wacky.

    Thomas seems like such a good kid, I hope that Melissa keeps him involved in her life, and will listen to his reasoning. Julia is bad news, should probably ditch that one before she gets herself into trouble she can't get out of.

  5. Laura, that's so true about the mothers in denial. I think Sharla would be good at that, too... she lived with Cory drinking for years, too, and probably a big part of that was not wanting to see that something was wrong.

    I got what had happened to April in your hood, but somehow I missed it with your Melissa. My Melissa did run away once in-game, but she came back so quickly that I just looked at it as what she's doing now, sneaking out all night, not a serious attempt to leave for good. Maybe she'll do that in future, I'm haven't quite figured out yet how this is all going to work out.

    Thanks for the heads-up re Sim Blender - somehow I missed that it can do that. I'm 'fine tuning' my remade sims as I play their houses, and that will save me a lot of wants slots clogged up with BFF wishes.

    Tanja, thanks... Thomas rolls more wants for Melissa than she does for him, so I'm waiting to see how things develop, too! They have only one bolt attraction, but some of their turn-ons are things the other could 'grow into', (for example, by gaining more skills) so that might change.

    Thanks for the comments on the other post, too - AJ definitely gave Alex something to think about!

    Carla, thanks - the major reason I was giving Joshua the benefit of doubt, was that I really didn't want to write this story! Touching on it is a good way to put it, because I wanted to downplay it... not to downplay the effect on Melissa, of course, because that will be huge, but to downplay what actually happened/is happening... not making it the whole story of the update, and not writing anything in an explicit way. So I'm glad it works the way it is.

    I never thought about Melissa's college want in that way but it makes sense - but if that's her plan, she'd better do something about her straight-D grade average!

    Maisie, I thought it was time to show Thomas' good side, since all he's done in the story so far is pick on his little brother... along with the Melissa-wants, he's still rolling wants to torment David... but I guess no one can be good all the time, least of all teenage boys :)

    Julia and family are non-playables, she might get a bigger role depending on what happens... but, yeah, I can see her getting into a whole lot of trouble the way things are going, and taking Melissa with her.

  6. Whoa! Okay I had so much fun reading this update, because I am 17 and you basically just described me and my friends on a saturday night, lol! Thomas is a cutie! I really want him and Melissa together. And the old pictures of them - wow! She's certainly changed.

    But who can blame her - with the neglect, and now Joshua... wow, this is scary. So so scary.

    But incredibly delicious to read!

    And I'm loving Julia. Who doesn't like a bad influence, lol?

  7. Poor Melissa! She has so much to deal with - her mom remarrying and having a new baby, her creepy stepdad, her dad not being around. She seems like a very tough girl, and her friends seem like good kids. I'm glad she'll be leaving that house soon.

  8. Billy, its been a while since I was 17 so I'm glad it worked! Looks like Julia is getting a few fans, too :)

    Sarah, she does have a lot going on, doesn't she? Like you say, she is tough, in that she isn't doing too badly at looking after herself so far.


Thanks for reading and commenting!