For out-takes, Gameplay and Storytelling notes, and other miscellaneous rambling, visit Richmond Behind-the-Scenes

This New Thing I've Found




Danny Tarro is 19; Ivy Pitts is 19; Richard and Alan Gold are 20; Lewis Gold is 18; Candice Marsh is 20.

October 2025 - SSU Semester 2.1
SSU previous update



Danny hesitated outside the door, before walking into the house for the first time this semester.  It was the same place he'd lived in for the previous year, nothing had changed... and yet, everything had changed.


Richard was the first to see him.  "Hey, what happened to your hair?" he asked.  "You look about 12 years old!"
"I do not," said Danny, although without much conviction.  Not when Candice had said much the same thing.


The change of appearance had been her suggestion, anyway, when he'd started working with her at the park cafe, over the summer.


"If they're not going to go for my piercings, they're not going to go for your hair," she said.  So he stopped styling it when he went to work, and eventually he just let it grow and stopped bothering to style it at all.  Like so much else lately, it just didn't seem worth the bother.

He'd had such big plans for this summer.  While is room mates were off enjoying the sun on Twikki Island, Danny was trying to save enough money, that he wouldn't have to work at the university coffee shop during semester time.  He needed all the time he could get for study, especially now that he was on academic probation.  That failure was upsetting enough in itself, without Penny's angry reaction.


"What have you been doing all semester?!  If you're going to just fool around and not pass anything, you might as well stay here and help look after your sisters!"

She didn't seem to get how hard he was trying.  Or, how common it was for a student to spend a semester on academic probation - Richard and Anna had both failed last semester too, and so had the new girl, Angel, at her previous university.  He didn't know how any of their families had reacted, but they didn't seem too worried about it themselves.  At, least, Richard and Anna didn't - they were more concerned about the outbreak of cockroaches than their classes.


As for Angel, she did spend a lot of time studying, although Danny didn't know if it was because she knew how much she needed to pass, or just a way of avoiding talking to her room mates.  She rarely said a word to anyone if she didn't have to, and it was almost a relief when she finally struck up a friendship with a girl she met at one of her classes.


Danny had tried, regardless of what Penny thought.  He knew he needed to do better, so he'd worked hard over the summer, and he would have made it.  He would have had enough money to not work during the semester - had it not been for the fact that Penny and Candice and the kids had to move out of their apartment.  "Earthquake strengthening," said the landlord.  "All these older buildings need it.  It'll be months before its livable again."

It wasn't a huge problem.  They'd already talked about getting a bigger place, now that Candice was working full time at the cafe and Penny was promoted to working in the kitchen at the restaurant.  They could afford the rent.  What they couldn't afford, was the bigger initial deposit, and the expenses of moving.  So, Danny had paid for all that, from his summer earnings.

The new place was great, he had to admit.  Much more room for the kids to play, and for the first time since her twins had been born, Candice had her own bedroom rather than sharing with them.


He'd never seen a person so proud to have their own space and, for once, he found himself feeling lucky.  As the only boy, and the eldest child in his family by far, he'd had his own room for as long as he could remember.  It had actually been hard for him to adjust to sharing a room with Ivy, when they'd moved in here.  Sometimes, it still felt a bit awkward - more so now than ever, this semester, after their summer apart.

He'd recognized the change in Ivy, almost as soon as he'd arrived back.  Not so much a change in the way she was towards him, as in the way she was towards Richard.


The'd been close friends last year.  Too close for Danny to be comfortable with their relationship.  But now, there was an uneasiness, a distance between them that even Danny could see.   It was Richard's youngest brother who finally confirmed what Danny had suspected.  

Lewis was living in the dorm now, or perhaps more correctly, he was sleeping at the dorm.  He was spending most of his free time at their house.  Some days, he'd bring his girlfriend Amaya...


... and other days, it felt like he was bringing half the dorm.


But once in a while, he'd come over alone.  It was on one such day, that Danny overheard him talking to Alan.


"I heard a rumor", Lewis said.  "About our brother on Twikki Island.  Is it true?"
Alan groaned.  "Yeah, it's true."


"So they really did it in a tent?!"
Allan nodded, embarassed.  "It was so crazy... I mean, they both knew that it couldn't last once they went back to the real world, but they just went for it.  Really went for it!"
Lewis shook his head in disbelief.  "Crazy... first you get engaged, then this... So who was he with?"
"I can't tell you."
"Alan, come on..."


"No, really... there's a reason.  I just can't tell you."

Yeah, there was a reason. Danny knew exactly what the reason was.  He'd seen it coming for a long time, although he really didn't want to believe that Ivy to take things this far, and then still act like it was Danny she wanted to be with.

Danny had some reasonably conservative beliefs around relationships and what was and wasn't ok, probably the consequence of growing up with a mother who'd had three children by three different fathers, none of them having a strong enough relationship with her to stick around.  Part of the reason he'd been drawn to Ivy, was that he believed that she shared these values.  He'd spent the summer expecting her to break up with him, maybe, but not this.  He didn't think that she was the kind of person who would do something like this.


But in light of his values, perhaps even more unexpected this summer was his friendship with Candice.  He'd always know that she'd had a rough life, but he really didn't realise how bad, until one night when they'd sat up late talking.  The kids were in bed, Penny was still at work and, as they had done many times, they sat down together to enjoy the unusual quiet before going to bed.

Danny had been miserable all summer.  It wasn't just the fact that he was working and would have no reward for himself.  It even wasn't the fact that he'd be spending yet another semester juggling work, study, and trips home, and actually trying to sleep somewhere in the middle of it all.  No, the real reason behind his unhappiness was Ivy, and the knowledge that she'd be spending the summer with Richard, and of where that would undoubtedly lead, what it would mean for their relationships and the dreams he'd had so long.

They'd talked about it a lot, him and Candice.  But that evening, he didn't feel like talking about himself.  He'd realised that, although he and Candice had lived in the same apartment and worked together all summer, he actually knew very little about her
"What about me?" she said, when he asked her.


"Well... I don't know... your kids' father, for example.  Do you keep in touch with him at all?"
"You really want me to answer that?  You might not like what you hear."
"Try me."
"Ok... ok, no, I don't know him.  I didn't even know him when we were together.  I didn't know either of them."


"Either of them?"
"Yeah, the twins probably have different fathers."
"What?!  Is that even possible?!"
"It's totally possible!    A body doesn't know you're pregnant until some time after, so it can happen twice and make like twins.  Haven't you ever noticed that the girls don't look anything alike?"
"Well, yeah, but...wouldn't you have to... I mean... it'd have to be a really short time between - "


"It was."  She paused for a moment.  "It's not easy, when you're not much more than a kid yourself, on your own...  I had to pay the bills somehow.  You do what you have to do."
"What... you mean you... oh, hell!"
"I shouldn't have said anything," she said, turning away.

"No, I just... I mean... " he stammered.  How do you even respond to something like that?!  To the information, and to the fact that she'd actually trusted him enough to share it?
"That doesn't make me a bad person," she said, her voice breaking a little.
"I know," he heard himself saying, although he didn't know, not really.  "I just... what about your family?  Don't you have any family, or - "


"Well, there's my brother, when he's not in prison."
"What about your parents?"
"Yeah, they're in prison, too.  At least, my father was, last time I heard.  My mother..." She shrugged.  "I haven't talked to either of them in years...."  She looked up at him.  "Don't look at me like that," she said.
"Like what?"

"Like you just want to throw me out with the trash or something."
"I don't!" he said, "I mean... ok, I'm a bit shocked, but what do you expect?  I just need to think about this a bit, ok?"  He reached out, put a tentative arm around her shoulders.


"None of it matters," she said. "All that matters is my girls.  They're never going to have to live with any of that kind of stuff, I swear it.  That's why I'm working in the cafe and dressing the way they want, and doing what everyone tells me to do... they're going to have something better than what I had, then it'll all be worth it."
---

Nothing had changed... and yet everything had changed.  Superficially, they seemed as close as ever.


Ivy still acted like she was pleased to see him when they'd been apart.  She still leaned over to kiss him when they studied together, still held his hand under the table in lectures.  They still shared a bed, still made love, still held each other late into the night.


But even when they were together like this, when she was close enough that he could feel her breath on his skin, it wasn't Ivy that Danny found himself thinking about.

"...they're going to have something better than what I had, then it'll all be worth it."




They'd just stared at each other for a long moment, after that.  Then Candice got up and started to the stairs.
"Candice, wait, I - "  Danny started, but she cut him off.
"It's been a long day," she said.  "Sleep well, Danny."  Then she was gone.

They never mentioned it again.  The next day, it was like it had never happened... outwardly, at least.  But it had happened, and no matter how hard he tried, it was a memory that Danny just couldn't let go of.


Nothing had changed... and yet everything had.

---

Title from "Brilliant Disguise" by Bruce Springsteen, which I heard on the radio while I was writing this, and thought, wow, yes!

I really never expected Danny to cheat on Ivy.  It know their relationship was a little shaky, but still... Danny was visiting Penny and his sisters, and ACR took over while I just kind of looked on in horror... again!  I really like Ivy and Danny as a couple, and I had plans for Candice with someone else... but I'm going to go with the game and their wants to see how this all pans out.

Other notes... the apartment that Penny etc were living in was buggy, hence the move.  They needed a bigger place, anyway, and they've got the space in this one to settle in for some time.  

It is possible to have 'twins' by two fathers - more common in animals than people, for obvious reasons, but it does happen and stories about it pop up in the news from time to time. The first time I heard of it, was in John Steinbeck's "East of Eden" where a character has twins fathered by two brothers. For the in-game explanation behind Candice's girls - which is also kinda bizarre - see here.

New household picture:


...I realised that it would have worked better if Ivy and Danny swapped places so she was between him and Richard, but only after I'd left the lot :(  Gah, not positioning all those sims again for just one change, especially when these colllege households change so frequently and I'll have to do another one in a short while anyway. 

8 comments:

  1. Wow, I'm surprised about Danny cheating on Ivy too but it does seem like he's developing a strong connection with Candice so...maybe not so surprising?

    Candice has led quite the life...poor thing. I'm glad she's trying to better herself for her twins.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is developing a strong connection with Candice, in some ways they have more in common than he does with Ivy. I'm following their wants on this one, but I honestly can't decide which woman I'd rather it works out with.

      Delete
  2. Wow is right. Talk about being conflicted. I'm sure if it was just Ivy he would have felt angry rather easily but I'm sure he's not feeling as though he could say anything either. He probably would feel like a bit of a hypocrite. Not a good position to be in.

    I hope Candice makes it through all this in one piece or at least as well adjusted as a person can be in such a situation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Candice's story just kind of came to me as I went along, it fitted with the way her babies don't look anything alike, and she's a knowledge sim... maybe I could imagine a romance sim getting into that situation just for the pleasure of it, but it would be taking knowledge sim curiosity a bit far! Her brother is in the crime career, they both look like they've lived hard, so that's what I took out of it. It's going to be interesting to explore how she copes with that background.

      Delete
  3. Wow, Danny is carrying a lot for such a young man :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is, isn't he? That's part of the problem between him and Ivy, I think - she has the benefit of the freedom that most people have at their age, whereas he's trying to balance so much else. Probably, its not so much a matter of her not caring, as it is that she can't comprehend what its like in his position.

      Delete
  4. I never saw Danny cheating, I can understand though. Candice is going through a lot. And that's crazy with the twins. I hope things get easier for her and the babies.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That's the great thing about the sims, you believe that you have all the control then your sims go and prove you wrong.

    I honestly don't know how Danny keeps it all together. He has so much coming at him from all directions. No wonder he is on academic probation.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for reading and commenting!