Grace Gold is 51; Richard Gold snr is 50; Richard jnr and Alan are 20; Lewis is 17.
Danny Tarro is 18; Candice Marsh is 19.
Ivy Pitts and Julie Beckett are 18; Anna Phoenix is 19
March 2025 - SSU Semester 1.1
SSU previous post
"So you're both coming tonight?" Grace Gold smiled broadly. She was ridiculously happy any time her sons decided to come home from college for the weekend.
She hung up the phone, looked around her house and sighed. It was immaculate, as always. That might have pleased some women, but Grace was bored.
Bored enough that even cleaning the toilet was a welcome distraction.
This wasn't what success was supposed to feel like. This wasn't how she'd imagined it, and she'd been imagining it for a long time. Grace came from a family of overachievers - her mother had been Chief of Staff of the city's biggest hospital, her father, a legendary actor. Her eldest sister and brother had followed in their footsteps and matched, if not exceeded, their achievements. Their other sister was a restauranter and celebrity chef. And Grace herself, formally a phenomenally successful athlete.
The 'formally' was the problem. Her siblings were all still working, but in the sporting world you reach the peak of your career young. Now, at 51, she was relegated to a couple of days a week coaching, and the occasional personal appearance.
And to watching old movies on tv all afternoon while she waited for her husband to come home from work.
It hadn't been so bad when the boys were young. But now the twins were away at college, and Lewis would follow them next year. She had no idea what she was supposed to do with herself then. Sit around and wait for grandchildren? Knowing her sons, she couldn't see that happening any time soon.
The twins arrived later that evening. Richard offered to cook dinner.
Grace was pleased, as she'd never managed to master more than the most basic of recipes. Her husband wasn't much better.
Lewis never let them forget it, either...
... so it was no surprise to Grace when he was the first to comment on Richard's spaghetti.
"This is good," he said, between mouthfuls. "Mum and Dad still can't cook to save themselves!"
"Thanks," Richard said quickly, before either parent could respond. "I got the recipe from Ivy."
"How is Ivy?" Grace asked.
"A bit unhappy at the moment. Her boyfriend won't be coming to Twikki Island with us."
"Yeah," said Richard. "She's always so happy when he comes back after the weekend. She's really going to miss him with two weeks apart."
"Why can't he go?"
"At first he said that he can't afford it. Then Ivy offered to loan him the money, but apparently it's not just the money... he has to babysit his sisters and do some extra work over the summer. She wasn't going to come either, but he told her that she should. They're both unhappy about it, though."
"So how many of you are going?"
"Everyone from the house except Danny," said Alan. "Even Julia's coming."
Richard made a little groaning noise."
"What?" said Alan.
"Even Julia's coming" he mimicked.
"So you've known her less than a semester, and you're all excited that she's coming with us... "
"Well, she seems like a nice person, and it'd be a pity if she - "
"She's not a nice person, she's Anna's friend and she's a show-off...
...They both are."
"Julie isn't. And at least she wants to study. That's kind of a rare thing at the moment."
"Really?" asked Grace.
"Yeah," Allan sighed. "Danny, and Anna and even Ivy ... they're all struggling. I want to help them, but they just don't seem interested. At least Julie is interested."
"You like this girl, don't you?" said Grace. "Is she your girlfriend?"
"Mum, no... all we do is talk."
"Too much," said Richard.
"Richard!" Grace said.
"Well, she's not someone you'd want as a girlfriend. She's Anna's friend, and look at all the guys she's had... He's only going to get hurt by - "
"I can take care of myself, you know," Alan put in.
"He's right," said Grace. "and maybe it's time you got out and talked to some girls yourself."
"Well, I want grandchildren before I'm too old to enjoy them!"
His face reddening, Richard turned to his younger brother. "So, what about you?"
"I'm not giving her grandchildren yet!" said Lewis.
"I'm glad, but that's not what I meant. Have you got everything sorted out for college?"
"Yeah, I just signed the papers for the dorm last week. Amaya and I are sharing a double room in that new building they opened last year."
Grace sighed. He sounded so excited. It wouldn't be long before she was saying goodbye to three boys at the end of the weekend. She had no idea what she'd do with her time after that.
----Danny Tarro hated saying goodbye, too.
More so when his whole life seemed to consist of goodbyes. Every Friday he had to say goodbye to Ivy, knowing that she'd have a fun weekend ahead of her while he went home. And that much of that weekend would be spent with Richard.
Then, on Monday morning, after far too little time with his sisters, he'd say goodbye to them, too, and head back to college.
At least home was a bit more comfortable now. After months of living in a trailer, Penny got a job as a waitress in some fancy restaurant. They paid well, and the tips were a lot better than at the fast-food place, too. Finally, she was able to move into a real apartment.
He even had a bed here - well, a sofa bed, but it was better than just a sofa like he'd had in the trailer.
Penny's friend Candice from the trailer park was rooming with her, bringing her twin toddlers.
The apartment was messy and hectic and, if Danny was to be completely honest, a hell of a lot of fun.
The door clicked open and Candice walked in, snapping him out of his daydream.
"Hi," she said, then added, "You're staring at me again!"
"Sorry," said Danny, looking away, "I didn't recognise you for a minute."
Candice just laughed. "Hey, sometimes, I don't recognise me!"
"Well, it is a big change from your usual look..."
She shrugged. "I need the cafe job for my part of the rent. If they think a different hairstyle makes me work better then... "
A different hairstyle. He suddenly found himself thinking of Ivy again. She was growing her hair longer, and that in itself didn't bother him so much as the fact that she was doing it for Richard.
"He said that longer hair would suit my face... ", she'd said. And he was right, Danny had to admit. She did suit longer hair... he just wished it wasn't Richard who had pointed that out...
"Danny... hey, Danny, you still there?"
"What... oh, sorry."
Candice switched on the light and sat down. "You know, it probably isn't good to be reading in the dark like that."
He looked down at he textbook on his lap. He'd completely forgotten that it was even there. He moved his leg and watched as it fell in a heap on the floor. Candice looked at him curiously.
"Hey, are you ok?"
"Yeah, I was just thinking about Ivy."
"She back at college with that guy?"
"Well, no... he's visiting his parents this weekend. But soon she's going to be away for two weeks with him... "
"Oh, yeah, you mentioned that..."
"I know I should trust her, but... but I don't trust him. And... and maybe I wouldn't blame her if something did happen. I mean, look at him and look at me. Maybe it's not a hard choice, if she's got a choice."
"Danny, don't be silly!"
"No, really... I mean, he's... I guess he's attractive. And he's like her, he's got this rich family and a fancy education... "
"Hey, you're in college, there's nothing wrong with your education!"
"But he knows about books and music and stuff... they talk about things I've never even heard of. And I... he's got all that, and I'm just - " he gestured to himself and shook his head.
"But it's you she was with all through high school... "
""Yeah, but it's different now. It's just... I just wish we didn't have to spend so much time apart."
"You must really miss her."
There was something in Candice's voice that Danny couldn't quite understand, but couldn't ignore. Something like a longing...
"Yeah, I do... but... but what about you?" He asked, awkwardly. "I mean, you know all about me, and Ivy, and... and I really don't know anything about you. Is... is there anyone you miss, or anything?"
Candice shrugged. "Never cared about anyone enough to miss them."
"Surely you must have...what about the twins' father?"
She laughed and shook her head.
"Really? That bad?"
"You don't want to know, trust me."
"But - "
"We weren't talking about me, anyway," said Candice quickly. "We were talking about you and Ivy. And Richard."
"Yeah, Richard," Danny muttered.
"Hey, but I was just thinking... maybe there's really nothing for you to worry about. I mean, they're friends, right? You said they talk. We talk a lot too, but that doesn't have to mean there's anything else going on. Maybe they just talk because they understand all that artsy stuff, but I bet there's a lot of stuff we could talk about that they couldn't understand."
"Like... like... the fine art of paying one's bills without a trust fund." She put on such a ridiculous snooty accent, that Danny couldn't help but laugh.
"You know, Penny said that she liked you because you could make her laugh," Danny said. "I get what she means."
"Yeah, well... you gotta laugh. Otherwise, there's no point, is there?"
She stood up. "Well... I'm going to call it a night." She gestured to the book on the floor. "Don't study too hard, right."
"Right," he said. "And... Candice, thanks. Really. Thanks for listening."
She smiled. "Any time," she said.
Multi-tasking, blog style - a concise way to update one household, introduce another, and to update some of my college students, all in one post :)
Grace Gold is the youngest sister of Ashley Pitts - ie she's the daughter of the first Ashley... *cursing self for confusing duplicate names* . Ditto that curse with Richard and Richard jnr in the Gold family... at least only one of the Ashleys are still around. Barring unexpected disaster, both Richards are going to be here for a while... which is also why I have to come up with something new for Richard snr and Grace to do, as they'll soon be empty-nesters. At least he's still working as a teacher, with Grace only doing three days a week at the top of the Athletic career, she's just bored. And, she wants another baby. Sorry, you're 51, doesn't happen in my 'realistic' hood!
Julie Beckett is a new addition to the SSU students' house. a uni townie become playable via an autonomously-developped BFF relationship with Anna Phoenix. She became best friends with Alan in about one sim day, and she and Richard developed a hatred just as quickly, going from poking and arguing, to slap-fights, to all-out brawls, all completely autonomously - I don't even know what started it! It's going to make things interesting when I send them all camping on Twikki Island this sim-summer, I think.