Chapter 10: How to Make an Entrance

It was late in the Galactus household.  Han was still at work.  Ulrike was painting away downstairs and Ripley was asleep.  The newlyweds were relaxing in the hot tub on the deck.

“This is a lovely night,” Jaimie murmured as she leaned against Marcus.

“Sure is, though not as lovely as you.”

She giggled.  “I may be old, but I’m not blind.  I know what I look like.”

“That’s my wife yer talkin’ about,” he scolded her, kissing her gently, his grip around her waist tightening.

She smiled at him.  “Thanks.”

He leaned close and murmured in her ear, “You are a fine, fine woman, Jaimie Flex.  Don’t you forget that.”

Jaimie giggled again.  The two were too involved with one another to realize that a certain little girl had woken up in the middle of the night to go get a glass of orange juice.  She was half asleep as she wondered into the sunroom.  She liked to sit in there.  And doing it at night, when everyone was asleep added another element to it; it was a little scary, but really cool at the same time.  But as she sat, she heard the murmur of voices behind her.

She turned and saw that Uncle Marcus and Aunt Jaimie were in the hot tub.  She turned around in her seat, her head tilted as she watched them.

They were kissing!

Ripley was puzzled.  Her parents kissed all the time.  She always came upon them with the same kind of looks in their eyes.  She heard a bit of splashing and her attention refocused on the hot tub as she saw the two of them disappear under the water!

Feeling intrusive, Ripley scuttled out of the sunroom, put her glass in the sink and then went back down to her room.  Her mother must have gone up to bed because she wasn’t in the family room painting anymore.  Ripley made a note to herself to ask her mother what Jaimie and Marcus were doing in the morning.


Han got home just as dawn was breaking up over the horizon.  He hit the treadmill first, then decided it was time for breakfast.  Marcus and Jaimie were already at the table, looking like two cats that had just eaten the canary.  He arched a brow and sat down.  “You guys are in your swimsuits,” he observed.

Jaimie giggled and looked at Marcus, winking.  “We were just- uh, enjoying a soak in the hot tub, right Marcus?”

Marcus nodded, his eyes twinkling.  “Mhm.”  He cleared his throat.  “Look, Han, ol’ buddy… were you serious when you said that I could uh- quit my job whenever I wanted?”

Han looked puzzled, then he nodded.  “Of course.  You don’t have to do anything you don’t wanna do.  Right Watcher?”

Of course.  You are all free Sims.

 Marcus looked at Jaimie.  “I’m glad to hear it.  Because I’m done.  I’ve got seven young uns now.  Some young buck can take over.”  His hand came up and he put it over Jaimie’s.  “Han, Jaimie and I got married last night.  We want to spend what’s left of our lives together.”

Han blinked for a moment as he processed the information.  “You- married?”  Then a huge grin split his face.  “Congratulations!  Sincerely!”  He winked at Jaimie.  “Gonna keep him in line?”

Jaimie laughed.  “You can call it that, yeah.”

Marcus laughed, a big booming sound.  Han stood.  “C’mere, big guy!”  The older man stood up and the two shared a back slapping hug.

“Congratulations, really.  I’m really happy for you guys.”

“Thanks man, truly.  She- makes me happy.  In a way I’d never thought of bein’.”

Han stepped back and then pointed at Jaimie.  “C’mon you!  Your turn!”

Jaimie gladly stepped toward him and was treated to a bear hug.

“You make sure he takes good care of you and you take good care of him, huh?  I want you guys to enjoy yourselves.”

Jaimie sighed.  “Thanks Han.  That means a lot.  Without you… Marcus and I would never have met.  So, thank you.”


While Han congratulated his two friends, Ulrike sat at the chess table in the family room with her daughter.  “Hey Mom?”

“Yeah sweetie?”

“I uh, I saw Uncle Marcus and Aunt Jaimie in the hot tub last night.”

“Mhm,” Ulrike said, moving a piece.  It wasn’t that unusual.  After gardening especially, Jaimie liked using the hot tub to soak her sore muscles.

“Well, they were- doing stuff.”

“Stuff?” Ulrike turned her full attention on her daughter.

“Well, there was kissing and then they went under the water and there was a LOT of splashing.”

Ulrike almost choked on her laughter.  “Oh-oh my, is that so?”

“Mhm, I wanted to get a drink and I was sittin’ in the sun room and I saw them out the window.”

“I-I see.  Well, don’t you worry about anything, baby.  They were- just having a good time, is all.”

“Oh, ok!  Can I have a good time, too Mom?”


Ulrike looked down at the bowl she was mixing things in, deep in thought.  Her daughter was off to school; luckily, the bus had come right around the time that Ripley was asking her why she couldn’t have fun like Marcus and Jaimie.  Ulrike was pulled in two directions.  She saw nothing wrong with those kinds of activities.  After all, didn’t she and her husband enjoy it?  Enjoy their relationship? But this was her little girl!  She was a child yet she would be a teen soon enough and that meant rampaging hormones.

“Afternoon beautiful.”  Han walked in, kissed his wife on the cheek and then sat down at the island.

“Hey, babe.”  She looked over her shoulder at him, batting her lashes.

“So, did you hear about Marcus and Jaimie?  They got married!”

Ulrike snorted out a laugh.  “I heard- something, as it were.”  Knowing that her husband might not take it so well about his daughter asking about ‘fun’, Ulrike decided to wait to tell him.  “I’m happy for them.  They both deserve it.  There’s always been- something there.  It’s nice they have one another.”

Han nodded.  “Yeah, that’s what I thought too.”

“Hey Han?  Ripley texted me on her lunch break.  She’s bringing a friend over after school.  One of Marcus’s brood, actually.”

“Oh yeah?  That’s nice!”


“Thanks for having me over, Ripley!”

“You’re welcome, Landon!”  Ripley giggled.  She and Landon- Marcus’s only son- were seated in the sun room, talking and laughing about their school day.

Han was on the treadmill, using the excuse to work out, though in reality, he just wanted to watch them.  He’d been a bit shocked to see that his daughter’s little friend had been a boy.  The two kids stood up and though Han grinned, the thoughts in his head were not quite so pleasant.

“I should get back home.  Again, thanks Ripley!  And thanks for the help with the homework!”  The two children hugged and Landon left.

Ripley smiled up at her father.  “Landon’s great, Papa!  It’s ok for him to come over this weekend?”

“Um, sure, baby.  Of course.”

Ripley beamed up at him.  Han had to hold in the sigh.


You look a little- tense.  Everything ok?

 Han was running on the treadmill, looking very intense.

“I’m fine.  Just- thinking.  Thinking about Ripley.  My little girl’s gonna be a teenager soon.”

Yes, she will.  Tis the way of life, Han.

“Yeah, yeah, I know.  Go on, I’m fine.  Just wanted to get in a workout.”

Hmm…  Hey Ulrike, think your husband could use some time with his wife.

 “You got it, Watcher.  Thanks.”

As Han emerged a little while later, Ulrike was there to greet him with a tight hug and a knowing look on her face.  Han let out a sigh and let himself sink a little.

“I love you, Ulrike.”

“I love you too, Han.  C’mon.  Let’s just go relax a while, huh?”

“Yeah, that sounds like a plan.”


 

Chapter 9: I’m Just Crewman #6

“Hey Mom?” Ripley was studying the chess board in front of her intently.

“Yes baby?”

“I know that Aunt Jaimie does the gardening and you paint and cook.  Dad’s working on all his requirements, right?  So- what does Uncle Marcus do?”

Ulrike cringed a little.  It wasn’t that she had a problem with explaining things to her daughter, but she knew her husband wouldn’t be happy about it.  “Well, baby.  Marcus has a very important job, you see.  But it’s one I’ll explain to you a little later, ok?”

Ripley’s brow furrowed, but then she nodded slowly.  “Ok, Mom.  I was just hoping you could tell me why he has several kids running around.”

Ulrike’s eyes widened.  “O-oh… well-“  She hurriedly looked for something to keep her daughter’s mind off that.  “I believe that’s check, Rip!”

Ripley looked at the board intently again, her brow furrowing.  Then her head popped up.  “Mom?  What’s that over there?”

“What?  What do you mean, baby?”  Ulrike looked in the direction her daughter pointed.  “I don’t see anything, sweetie.”

Ripley had to hold in the giggle as she quickly switched a couple pieces.  “Oh no?  Sorry, Mom.  Must be losing it.”

Ulrike turned back and looked at the board then at Ripley.  She arched a brow.  “I wasn’t born yesterday, long lady,” she said with a laugh.

Ripley giggled.  “No, guess not, Mom.”  The little girl smiled sweetly.

“Oh, go get ready for school!” Ulrike told her with a laugh.

Still giggling, Ripley went upstairs to grab some breakfast.

You’re a tricky one, aren’t you?

 “Who me, Watcher?  Never.”

Hmph, you don’t fool me, child.  –chuckles—It serves your father right, though.  It’s about time he got a taste of his own medicine.

Ripley giggled again.

Better get to school, darling.

 “Oh, you’re right!  Bye, Watcher!’

Bye, dear.  Have fun!


Marcus sat in the room he shared with Jaimie, deep in thought.

“Hey, Marcus.  Simolean for yer thoughts?” Jaimie asked as she came in.

He smiled at her.  “Hey there, girl.  Not sure they’re worth that much.”  He managed a little chuckle as Jaimie sat on the edge of his bed with him.

“C’mon now, that isn’t like you, hun.  What’s wrong?”

Marcus shrugged.  “I-I’m just- I guess I’m tired of ‘the life’, now.  I’m old and while I still got it-“ He gave her a grin, “I just- I don’t want to break anymore hearts.  The girls are pretty good natured and all- they get this is a Dynasty and all that, but still.  And my kids- I wish they could live here, with us.”

Jaimie took one of his hands in hers.  “I know, honey.  I know.  It’s ok, though.  You know Han said that anytime you wanted to stop, you could.  What brought this on?”

Marcus flushed a little.  “While-“ he swallowed.  “To be honest, there-there’s someone that I want to be with.  Th-that I want to spend my last days with.  I-I just don’t know if she’ll have me or not.”

“O-oh.  I see.”  Jaimie masked the frisson of hurt in her eyes with a smile.  “Who’s the lucky girl?”

“It’s you, sugar,” Marcus said softly.

Jaimie’s face went from hurt, to surprised, to shocked.  Then she began to grin widely.  “Me?”

“Yes you.  We’ve been friends from the beginning.  I could always tell you anythin’, Jaimie.  Anything at all.  I always wanted to help Han.  And I have.  But I realized that I want to spend my last days enjoying life and I can only do that with you.”

“O-oh, Marcus,” she breathed, a single tear tracking down her cheek.  She shut her eyes and leaned against him.  He slid his arm around her and she did the same.  They just sat there for a long moment, enjoying each other’s company.

Marcus leaned back to grin at her, then something cracked in his back and he winced.  “Man, this gettin’ old stuff’s fer the birds!”

“That it is.  Here, let me help ya with that.”  With a smile, Jaimie began to massage his back and shoulder.  Marcus groaned in appreciation.

He stood up after a moment and looked at Jaimie seriously.  “Jaimie, I know you gotta think me crazy, but-“  He had to clear his throat.  “I love you, Jaimie.  We aren’t young anymore, you an’ I, but I know what I feel for you.  I love you, Jaimie Wilburn.”  He got down on one knee and looked up into her eyes.  “Will you spend the rest of our days together, as my wife?”  He pulled the ring from his pocket.

Jaimie’s eyes had grown impossibly wide as she looked at the ring, then at him.  “O-oh!” she managed.  “Yes, Marcus, yes!”  She slid the ring on her finger, admiring it for a moment before she kissed him softly.

With a whoop, Marcus swooped her up into his arms, grinning foolishly at her.  “Marcus!  Put me down!  You’ll hurt yourself!” Jaimie scolded, trying not to laugh as she grabbed onto his neck for dear life.

“Now now, I ain’t so old that I can’t lift my girl into my arms.  Yer light as a father, baby.”

Jaimie laughed and kissed him, not so softly this time.

Marcus set her down gently.  “We’ll have a wedding no one will forget!  I promise you.”

Jaimie looked up at him.  Then she shook her head.  “No, Marcus.  A nice, quiet ceremony, just you and I.  We should do it now.  Why wait?”

“Y-you don’t want a big ceremony?”

“No!  Not at all!  Leave that for the young ‘uns!” she said, cackling a little.

“Oh, thank the Watcher!” Marcus breathed out a sigh, then laughed.  “I figured you’d want a big one and was gonna give ya one.  Well, then, if you don’t, then yer right.  Let’s do it now.  Just you, me, and the beautiful sky out there.  I’ll go change into something appropriate.”

“Me too.  I’ll meet you out at the arch.”


And so, Marcus and Jaimie changed into something more suitable, though to be honest, neither one cared about that.  Then they met outside at the wedding arch where Han and Ulrike had exchanged their vows.  With Han at work, Ripley at school, and Ulrike busy with painting and cooking up a storm, Marcus and Jaimie spoke their vows beneath a clear blue sky, just the two of them.

“Jaimie Wilburn, I promise that from this day forward and until the day that Grim comes for me, I will honor you, cherish you, and support you in all you do.”

“Marcus Flex, I promise that from today onward and even after Grim takes me, I will honor you, cherish you, support you in all you do.  And I promise that I will be the kind of step mother to your children that won’t be seen as a wicked witch!”

That brought a laugh out of Marcus as she kissed his cheek.

The two kissed after their vows, holding each other close.

Congratulations you two.

 Marcus smiled.  “Thanks, Watcher.  You aren’t mad?”

Not at all.  You’ve done wonderfully.  You deserve to be happy now.  Congratulations, Jaimie.

 “Thanks, Watcher.”

Once they spoke their vows, the two went their separate ways for a little while to change and to get back to work.  Jaimie came back outside, intending to work in the garden.  “Jaimie!”  Marcus smiled at her.  “Hello wife.”

“Hello, husband,” she greeted with a grin.

“We should probably tell Han, huh?” Marcus said with a grin.

“Yes, though let’s give it a little time.  He’ll be home soon.  We’ll tell him tomorrow, at breakfast.”

Marcus took her hand in his.  “My wife is a smart woman.”

Jaimie winked.  “Don’t you know it!”


 

Chapter 8: Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads

“You ready for school, baby?  You look very pretty,” Han told Ripley as they sat down for breakfast.  They had a lot of leftovers from all the parties, plus all of the practice Ulrike had been doing.

“You bet, Dad!  I can’t wait!”

He grinned.  “That’s my girl.  Have a good day, Ripley.”  There was the sound of a honk.  “Oo, sounds like the bus.  Better get going!”

Ripley had already jumped up.  “Bye, Dad!”  She waved at him over her shoulder as she disappeared down the stairs.

Han sighed, looking down at the rest of his breakfast.

What’s wrong?

“She’s growing up so fast.”

That’s what children do, Han.  You did.

“Yeah, but-“  He sighed again.  “Maybe a workout will do me some good.”

Good idea.

 Ulrike was out in the sunroom already.  Han hopped on the treadmill, determined to work it off.

“You ok, Han?”

“Just feeling a little- melancholy.  Ripley’s off to school.”

Ulrike smiled softly.  “It’ll be ok, Han.  She’ll always be our little girl.”

“I know.  Just seems like just yesterday, she was small enough to fit in my arms.”

“I know, baby.  I know.”

The two lapsed into silence, the only sound was Han’s footfalls on the treadmill.


“How was school, lil thang?” Marcus asked Ripley as they sat at the dining table.

“It was great, Uncle Marcus!  Had a lot of fun!”

“Look at you, doin’ yer homework already!”

“Uh huh.  Need to make sure I get good grades.”

Marcus shook his head, grinning.  “You’re too good, kiddo.  Yer mama and papa are lucky.  I’ll see ya later, ok?”

“Sure, Uncle Marcus!”

Once her homework was finished, Ripley went to the couch to watch TV.  “H-hey Watcher?”

Yes, sweetie? 

 “I-I’m not feeling so good…”

Let’s get you some orange juice, then it’s bed time!

 “O-ok, Watcher.  But what about helping daddy with his parties?”

You don’t worry about it.  You need to feel better first.

 Ripley nodded and she trudged down to her bed.


Ok, Han, a slight change in plans.  Ripley’s gone to sleep.  Poor thing has come down with something.

“O-ok, Watcher.  She alright?”

Yes, just a little under the weather.  Just needs some rest.  Ok, so, first one is going to be a house party.  Places everyone!

“You made some lovely food, baby.  And you look just- magnificent,” Han told his wife.

“Han’s right, Ulrike!  Food’s great!” Marcus agreed.

Ulrike grinned, a spoonful of stew halfway to her mouth.  “Thanks guys.  I think I’m finally getting the hang of it.”

Hm, ok, great job so far guys!  That’s the house party and the dinner party, both gold!  You guys are doing wonderfully!

There was a few cheers, though most everyone was pretty tired.

You guys have all earned a bit of a break.  Plus, I have some things to do.  Come on then, to bed. 

Han pulled his wife close.  “Couldn’t have done this without you, Ulrike,” he murmured as he kissed her.

The Watcher went on a slight building spree, including constructing the all-important museum. **

** To see all the work on the house, go here: The Dynasty House, Version 2


“This is nice.  Nice night, just sitting in front of the fire,” Marcus murmured.

“Yeah, it is,” Han sighed softly, smiling.

“This is fun, huh, Daddy?” Ripley said with a giggle as she roasted a hot dog over the fire.

“Sure is, sweetie. Don’t know what the Watcher was talking about.  This Weenie Roast isn’t hard at all!”

“Uh… does someone smell burning plastic?” Ulrike asked after a moment.

“FIRE!”  Han leapt up, grabbing the extinguisher.  All he could think about was his little girl there.


“I-I don’t know if I can take another night like that!” Ulrike blurted out.  The fire had been taken care of, but everyone was tense and uncomfortable.  They knew it had been a close call.

“Oh sweetie, it’ll be alright.  The Watcher has already said no more of that, not until someone completes Freelance Botanist,” Jaimie soothed.  “So we won’t have to worry about a party like that for a while.”

“C’mon, baby.  Let’s go get some sleep, huh?” Han took her hand and led her into the bedroom.  Once inside, he stopped and he simply looked at her, as if memorizing every feature.  Then he brought a hand up to her cheek.  “I’m sorry, baby.  I-I know this isn’t easy on you.  Y-you didn’t realize what you were signing up for.”

“N-no, it isn’t that, Han.  Not really.  I knew what I was signing up for.  I-I was just hoping we wouldn’t run into all these problems, all at once.  A-and then the fire…”

“Shhh, I know, baby.”  Han spun her around and went to work on her back and shoulders, trying to help her relax.  As he did so, the door to their bedroom opened.

Ripley looked in.  “Mama?  Dad?”

“Hey baby, c’mon on in.  You ok?”

The little girl hopped up on her parent’s bed.  “Yeah, I’m alright.”

Han sat down beside her.  “What is it, baby?”

“I’m just wondering what this Dynasty thing is you guys keep talking about is.  Will you tell me?”

Han swallowed and looked at Ulrike.  She sat down on the other side of Ripley and shared a look with her husband.

“Well… it’s a little complicated.  But- I can try to explain it,” Han said slowly.  He looked at Ulrike.  She nodded and then Han told his daughter the truth about himself, where he had come from, and why he was there on Earth.   When he finished, Ripley wore a thoughtful look.

“Daddy?”

“Yeah, baby?”

“You believe in me right?  You think I can help you?”

Han had to swallow past the lump in his throat.  “Of course I do!”  He hugged her tight, looking at Ulrike over the top of his daughter’s head.  She smiled at him and the little family remained like that for a while.


 

Chapter 7: Never Tell Me the Odds!

Author’s Note:  Sorry for the slightly disjointed chapter.  Lot happening in game and screenshots was not a priority as I tried to deal with some bugs involving parties.  So again, apologies, but hope you enjoy!

Ulrike, a bit shaky after her brush with an incompetent doctor, slid off the table and went to pick up the small infant.  “Oh-oh look at you.  Y-you’re perfect.  Look at her, Watcher.  Isn’t she just-“

Perfect?  Yes, she’s a darling, Ulrike, truly.

Well, let’s get the both of you home.  I’ll uh, go retrieve, Han… I may have given him the wrong room number…  Otherwise poor little Ripley may have gotten to see a bit more of her daddy’s dark side than she really needs to.

The doctor shuffled nervously.  He was only too happy to see them all leave.


Back at home, the first one to the bassinet was Marcus, of all people.  “Hey little thang!  Aren’t you just the cutest!  Uncle Marcus could just eat you up!”

“Hey, there will be no eating of my daughter!” Han told his friend with a laugh, though there was a protective look in his eyes.  Sims didn’t eat children… did they?

Marcus grinned at him as he set Ripley back down.  “Don’t you worry none.  That lil angel will be well looked after!”

“I don’t doubt it.”  Han smiled at his friend.  Then it was his turn.  He looked down into the bassinet and his breathe caught.  He didn’t even have words.  So he simply reached down and gently picked her up, holding her to his chest.  He lost himself in looking into her eyes.  “Hello, darling.  I’m your Daddy,” he whispered to her.

“I love you very much.  You and your Mommy are my world.”  He had to swallow past the lump in his throat.  Had he really wanted to leave?  It was amazing that such a tiny creature could change- well, everything in such a short time.  Little Ripley made a soft noise and Han hoisted her up, holding her against his shoulder.  Ripley quieted, content in her father’s arms.  “I’ll always be here for you,” he promised her.


Having a baby in the house made things a little hectic for a while.  It seemed as soon as either Ulrike or Han lay down, Ripley needed something, whether it was a bottle or a diaper change, or just to be held.

“Here ya are, baby girl,” Han would murmur to his daughter.  He didn’t mind the sleepless nights, really.  Anything for his precious Ripley.

“Is someone hungry?  Yes she is.”  While Ulrike had decided she wanted to learn to cook in order to help Han meet the requirements of these Rules he had to follow, she loved spending time with her daughter too.  There was definitely something about that moment for mother and daughter.

Han didn’t even mind changing her diapers… well, at least not too much.  “Whoa, such a lot of stink for such a little thing!”  Ripley just smiled up at him from her bassinet.  “You just wait, you little stinker.  Wait till you have your own!”


But before anyone was ready, it was time for Ripley to age up! *

Author’s Note #2: *So… while Ripley was a wee babe, this was when the Watcher was trying to get a bunch of parties outta the way… but the timer bug hit and they were dismal failures, only reaching silver.  So yeah, I didn’t get as many shots as I wanted while Ripley was an infant.  All the adults in the house- when not doing things for parties—were always in the master bedroom, picking her up!

Ulrike did the honors.  “C’mon, baby girl.  Time to grow up!”  Her voice cracked a little, even as the bassinet shook.

There was a cry of “Woooo!  I’m free!  Whoa!  I need to chaaaange!” and then Ripley exploded out, a full-grown child.

Her first stop was definitely to change her clothes and to fix her hair.  She wasn’t a fan of poofy hair, not at all!  When she emerged, though, she grinned saucily.


And let’s not forget Marcus and Jaimie.  They both aged up to elder.  There was no party, since they were all pretty tired out, but they did have cake.

Ripley was given the other room downstairs and it was outfitted for a Princess.  But the only thing she cared about right away was the activity table that her parents had gotten for her.  She loved to draw.  She thought she wanted to do that when she was older, just like her mom, though she thought about writing too.  Maybe she’d do both!

“Mama, when I grow up, can I paint and write?”

Ulrike looked at Ripley.  “Of course, you can baby girl!  You can do anything you put your mind to.”

Ripley was certainly a precocious girl.  Han wasn’t quite sure he was ready for her growing up.  When she’d been a little bundle that could fit in his arms, it had been easy to keep track of her, to know what she needed and when.  Now, though, he was a bit adrift.  His little girl wasn’t so little now!  Then again, it was great to be able to sit at the counter with Ripley and talk about all sorts of things.

“Hey Dad, I get to go to school on Monday!”

“Mhm, you sure do.  Are you nervous?”

“No way!” she exclaimed.  “I can’t wait to sit down at my desk and crack open my books!  And the art room- oh, all those new paints and crayons!”

Han laughed.  “That’s my girl!”

Ripley hopped down off the stool.  “C’mon dad!  Hip bump!”

Han looked concerned at first.  “I don’t know, Ripley…”

His daughter laughed.  “Oh c’mon!  I’m a big girl!”

A short shaft of pain hit Han.  She was a big girl… and she was only going to grow older.  “You got it, baby girl,” he murmured.

“Ooof!  Easy on yer ol’ man!” Han complained, though he was grinning.  Ripley just laughed and ran off.  Han sighed a little, though he couldn’t help but grin.  She was a good kid.


Wow, gettin’ really good there, Ulrike!

“Check this out, Watcher!”

Nice trick!  Got some air on that.  Ready for your birthday?

Ulrike grimaced.  “Not so much.  But guess it’s gotta happen.”  Once the cake she was baking came out of the oven, she brought it out onto the counter and put the candles on it.  With her family watching, Ulrike leaned down to blow out the candles.

“Happy birthday, baby,” Han told his wife as the adults sat down at the table.

“Still lookin’ good as ever, though, huh?” Marcus commented with a grin.

“Oh you!” Ulrike laughed.

Jaimie shook her head, chuckling.  “Better watch it, Marcus.  Wouldn’t want Han to have to trounce your behind!”

“Nah, no way!”

The group laughed.  This was a long-standing joke among them.

“Pretty soon, we’ll be celebrating Ripley’s teen birthday!”

Han groaned.  “Don’t even go there!  I am sooo not ready for that!  She only just became a child!  Don’t make me think about her becoming a teen already!”

There was some snickering, but Jaimie pointed out, “You’ll have to come to terms with at some point.  Kids do grow.”

“Yeah, yeah… but I am going to ignore it until I absolutely have to!”


“If Han can’t even handle Ripley being a teen, what’s he gonna do when the first boys come around?” Jaimie asked Ulrike as the two women and Marcus enjoyed some peace out in the sunroom.

Ulrike grimaced.  “I have no idea… I don’t think it’s going to be pretty.  Ripley’s so good natured, but I have a feeling she’s as stubborn as her father, so it should be… interesting, to say the least.”

Marcus chuckled.  “Got that right.  Though, I don’t blame Han much.  Any boy hurts that little girl and I’ll help my buddy to hide the body.”

Ulrike rolled her eyes.  “Don’t you dare give him ideas!”

Now, now everyone.  The poor thing has a while to go before she’s a teen, so let’s worry about that when we get there.  For now, let her enjoy being a kid as much as she can.  She’ll have enough to worry about with the Dynasty huh?

“Hear hear, Watcher!”

Ripley would have enough to deal with was right…


 

Chapter 5: With the First Link, the Chain is Forged

I hear you proposed to Ulrike yesterday.

Han looked up from where he was working on his rocket ship.  “Yes I did.  Why?  Is there a problem?”

No, not at all.  I’m happy to hear it in fact.  And it looks like you’re doing well with your little project there as well.

“Yeah, it’s coming along.”

Han… I don’t want to have to repeat myself.  You are not to try and return to Omega 4.  Once you leave this planet, I have no control over anything.

 “So you said before.  Look, I don’t have time for this.  I know what I’m doing, alright?”

Hm… we’ll see.


“How was work today, Han buddy?”

“It was actually pretty good, Marcus.  How was your day?”

Marcus winked at him.  “It was great man.  Thanks for inviting me into the house.  This job is great!”

Han’s brow furrowed.  “Job?  You mean gardening?”

Marcus laughed uproariously.  “No, this is a different kind of sowin’ if ya know what I mean!”

Han only looked bewildered.  “No… I don’t.”

“Wait… I thought you had finished readin’ the book,” Marcus said, realizing he wasn’t joking.

“Um, well… I skimmed some parts, I guess…”

Marcus’s eyes widened.  “Whoa, dude!  That’s- well, dangerous, isn’t it?”

“I read all the important parts!  I know what I have to do,” Han ground out, sounding defensive.  It was a good thing that the Watcher wasn’t around.  He could only imagine the earful he’d get.  “I’ll go back and reread it after the wedding.  Anyway, so tell me.  What’s your job?”

Marcus looked around quickly, then leaned in close.  “I make sure the town doesn’t die later on in the generations.  I uh, visit the eligible ladies and we-“  He winked at Han, “get busy with ‘pollinatin’.”

Han could only gap at him.  “Y-you… you procreate with a bunch of the females?”

“In a manner of speakin’, that’s exactly what I do.”

“Wait… that young woman that was here just yesterday… the pregnant one.  That-“

Marcus nodded.  “Yup, Candy’s carryin’ my baby.”

Han sat there for a moment, fuming.  He wasn’t mad at Marcus.  Not really.  He was angry with the Watcher.  Then again, he couldn’t say a word because then she’d know he hadn’t read the blerghing book!  Finally, he looked at Marcus.  “Does it- bother you?”

Marcus shrugged one shoulder.  “A little, maybe.  I mean, I’ve never been one fer the ol’ ball’n’chain myself, not like you pal.  Do I like going from one woman to another?  Not as much.  But hey, it helps you out later on, keeps people in the houses around town.  Can be hard to get new people in later on down the line.”

“I-I see…  Alright, well.  I do wish you luck.  And Marcus?  Don’t let the Watcher force you into anything you don’t wanna do.  If you wanna stop, tell her so.”

Marcus nodded.  “Got it.”  He grinned.  “Don’t you worry none.  I got this.  I’m gonna enjoy myself before I got old.”

Han gave an absent nod and went back to eating, lost in thought.


The day of their wedding dawned just like all the others, though Han would have said the sun was brighter, the air crisper, the birdsong louder.  He walked out of the house, taking a deep breath and letting out a sigh.

You’re in a better mood, at least, than you have been.

Not even the Watcher could ruin his mood.  “Yeah, well, I get to make Ulrike mine today.  We’ll be linked from this day forward.”

Yes, this is very true.  Perhaps she’ll be able to keep you in line better…

He glared up at the sky for a moment, then shook his head.  He wouldn’t fight with her, not today.  Then he heard a noise, a noise that took him back.  “What the-“

No!  On her wedding day!  Seriously!  Ooooo, when I get a hold of the High Council… she wasn’t even inoculated!

“Ulrike!!!”  Han sprinted across the lawn, watching the shape of the spaceship recede.  “No!  Ulrike!”

It’s ok, Han.  They’ll bring her back. 

“They?  Who was that?”

The High Council from Sixam sends a scouting party every so often to keep an eye on the Sims on this planet.  Some of them have even made their home here, somewhat like you, though for them, it’s by choice.  She’ll be alright.

 “She better be!” he growled.

Just wait for a little while.  She’ll be back.


You’re back!  Are you alright?

 “I-I feel a little light-headed,” Ulrike replied, “b-but I think I’m ok.  I didn’t miss the wedding did I!?”

No, you’re just in time.  Let me go tell, Han and then we can get things started!  Go change, alright?

She nodded and ran off.  She came back just in time to greet the first guests.  “Thank you so much for coming!”

Ulrike… wait a minute, sweetie, are you ok?  What- Oh, the High Council is sooo going to hear about this!  You poor thing!


“What?  What is it?  Ulrike?  Oh, my poor urdona!” Han had stepped out of the house after hearing his bride was back, safe and sound.

“It’s ok, Han.  I’m fine.”  Ulrike smiled brightly at him.  “I’ll be fine.  Let’s get married, ok?”

Though Han wanted nothing more than to wed Ulrike and make her his mate, he was worried for her.  But he couldn’t deny her so he nodded.  “You got it, my love.”

As the couple stood in front of the wedding arch at the edge of the property, Han could only swallow.  “Y-you are just- I don’t even have the words for how beautiful you are, Ulrike.”

“Oh, Han.  I-I’m so happy today!  I-I never imagined I’d have a wedding like this.”

“From this day forward, I promise to love you and cherish everything you are.  I swear that I will be your partner in all things and support you in everything you do,” Han vowed.

“From this day forward, I promise to you and cherish you, to give everything in me to see you succeed.  I will support you in any way you need and be your best friend now and forever.”  Ulrike leaned forward to softly kiss Han’s cheek.

As she stepped back, the world began to spin around her and she almost fell.  “Ulrike!” Han cried out.  “Ulrike, are you alright?  Let me get you to a doctor!”

“No!  No, I’m fine.  Please, Han.  I want to marry you.”

He swallowed.  “Alright, but as soon as we’re done, you need to go to bed!”

“Alright, love.  Alright.”

The two finished their vows and became husband and wife.

Rather than kiss his new wife, Han instead pulled Ulrike close for a gentle hug.  He was worried for her, but she seemed to so badly want to stay for the wedding.

She stayed for cake, though she had to sit down because she’d gotten dizzy yet again.

After Han and Ulrike had shared their first piece, Ulrike went to go lay down, sighing.  She felt bad.  Han went with her to tuck her in.  He had every intention of letting her rest, but as had already been proven, he had a very hard time denying her anything, so they both changed and celebrated their wedding night.


Where in the Simverse do you think you’re going, Han!?

“I have an appointment… I need to go home, Watcher!”

You just got MARRIED!?  You’re going to get yourself killed!  Don’t be a fool!

“I have to find out who set me up!” he snarled back.  He knew the Watcher couldn’t really stop him, so giving her his most obnoxious grin, he waved good bye as he climbed into his ship.

You idiot!  Han, don’t do this!  What about Ulrike?!

But he didn’t answer her.  The rockets fired and the ship was airborn.

Frantically, the Watcher monitored communications.  “-ship, you are not authorized.  Turn back or be shot down.”  The impersonal voice of the Omega 4’s planetary defense systems made the Watcher growl and utter a few expletives.  “Unknown ship, you have been warned!”

“Yeah, yeah.”  Han’s voice came out a little different over the radio frequency.  “I’m here on business.  This is Pr-  Whoa!  Hey, don’t fire!”

Ugh!  Get out of there!

The Watcher heard Han curse a bit in his native tongue, then the radio went dead, static echoing in the quiet.  N-no… Han!

Just as she had given up hope, she heard a horrific noise and zoomed back out.  The shape that was plummeting back to Earth was recognizable, but only barely.  Even as hope flared, the ship was coming in far too fast and it hit the ground with an ear-splitting, earth-rocking impact, pieces of ship and debris flying everywhere!

HAAAANNNNNNN!!!  The Watcher screamed his name again, but there was no response except for the crackling of the flames over the shattered hull…

Just as the Watcher was going to have to share the terrible news with Ulrike, there was a bit of a crash and coughing and a shape appeared amongst the wreckage.

“Ugh,” Han groaned as he struggled to pull himself from beneath the debris.

Han!  Oh Thank Carl and Metro and Pam!  You’re alive!  I can’t believe it!  Now I’m going to KILL you!  You stupid, idiotic-

 “Aww, I know you’re happy to see me, Watcher.”  He shook himself off and then stood there, looking far too pleased with himself.


You had better not be thinking of returning!  Did you learn NOTHING from your last try!?

 “Oh, so you’re speaking to me again?” he asked, still concentrating on tightening the rivet he was working on.

I wanted to know how your talk with Ulrike went. 

 “I’m sure you know very well how it went… she was mad enough that I almost wished the crash had finished me off…”  Han sighed.  “Look, I know I screwed up, ok?  I won’t be trying to go back.  We’ll do this your way…”

Good. Is Ulrike still mad at you?

“Yeah… she hasn’t spoken to me since I told her either…”

Ah… well, let me go see how she’s doing.


Ulrike?  How are you doing?

Ulrike sat on their bed and then hastily wiped tears away.  “I-I… Oh Watcher, what was he thinking?!  He-he almost died!”

I know, sweetie.  I know.  He was foolish.  But you know he loves you.  I think he’s been punished enough, don’t you?

“I- maybe… I, will you help me with something?  I- um… I’m well- late.  I was going to take a test.  Will you be with me when I take it?”

Of course, Ulrike!  You don’t even have to ask.  C’mon then.  Let’s see.

Ulrike went into the bathroom and grabbed the pregnancy test she’d bought.  There was a nervous silence as both she and the Watcher waited.  “Watcher, Watcher!  Look!  It’s positive!”


 

Chapter 4: Love Keeps Her in the Air

Ulrike looked up from the canvas she’d been working on.  Han had just come down the stairs.  “How are you doing, baby?”

Han sighed.  “Just- can’t believe he’s gone, ya know?”

“Oh I know.  I know.”

He took her hands in his.  “Ulrike… you’ve been- I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t been here.”

Han looked deep into her eyes.  “Y-you’ve helped keep me sane.  Thank you.”

“Han, you don’t need to thank me, truly.”

“Yes I do.”  He bit his lip and looked away for a moment.  It was uncharacteristic of him to seem so tongue-tied.

“Han?  What is it?”

“I uh… We’ve both been cooped up and you’ve been amazing.  I-I- Would you like to go to the park?  Just- get away for a little while?”

She smiled.  “I think I’d love that.”


Han sat down on the bench and Ulrike followed.  He let out a sigh.  “It really is nice here,” he murmured, unable to take his eyes off of her.

“Yeah, it is.”

“Though not as nice as the view right here,” he murmured.

That brought out a small blush.  “You’re too charming for your own good, ya know,” she murmured back.

“I don’t know, I like to think I’m just charming enough,” he retorted with a small grin.  Thought brought out a chuckle and she leaned against him.  He slipped his arms around her and let out a small sigh.

Ulrike began to fidget just a little bit.  Han looked at her.  “You ok?”

“Just a little stiff, I think.”

“Here, let me take care of that, then.”  Han waited for her to turn a bit and then he began do massage her shoulders, his fingers digging into her flesh.  She let out a small groan in bliss.

“Wow, that was great.  Thanks, baby.”

“You are more than welcome.”  Han stood up and he offered her his hand.  She took it, arching a brow at him as he helped her to her feet.  He pulled her close, his gaze intense on hers before he dipped her right over, kissing her fiercely.

When he righted her, Ulrike had to catch her breath.  “O-oh wow,” she managed.  “Th-that sure was something.”

Han grinned at her.  “Wanna go back home?”

She nodded.  But before they could go inside, Han took her hand and led her toward the edge of the property, to the river.  “I don’t wanna go inside quite yet,” he said.  They sat down on the bench together.  They sat in silence for a long moment, just letting the serenity of the gently flowing water and each other’s company soothe their hearts.

After a little while, Han took her hand in his.  She placed her hand over his.  “Ulrike… I-I love you.  I-I think I have since I first saw you.”

“I-I love you too,” she murmured, then gave a light laugh.  “I-it’s funny… I-I never thought this would happen to me.  I-I’m a rebel!  A- a Renegade.  And yet-“  She looked deeply into his eyes.  “I’ve never felt like this about anyone.”

Taking this as a sign, Han stood up.  He looked at the water for a moment, and then turned to her.  She had stood up, her brow furrowed, concerned.  “Han?”

Pulling in a deep breath, Han got down on one knee.  He had read up on Sim mating customs.  They weren’t that different from his own, but this whole ‘engagement’ business was a bit different than he was used to.  He hoped he didn’t screw it up.  He had to clear his throat as he took the little box from his pocket.  “Ulrike Faust, I-I know we haven’t known each other long, but I can’t imagine my life without you in it.  Th-that’s never happened before.  I know things are uncertain and this- task I have to do sounds insane.  Despite all that… will you take a chance and become my wife?”

She stared at him for a long moment, long enough that he began to feel his heart sink.  Then she let out a little squeal and a string of “Yesyesyesyesyes!”  She took the ring and he helped slip it onto her finger before she launched herself at him.  He caught her just in time, laughing.

Ulrike wrapped her arms around his neck and rested her forehead against his.  “Me, a wife,” she murmured, a sense of irony making her grin.

“You’ll make a beautiful bride and a wonderful wife, ya know,” he told her.  He gently let her down and drew her close, kissing her tenderly.

“We’ll have the wedding during the weekend.  I start the new job tomorrow.  But I have Saturday off.  Does that sound good to you?”

“That sounds wonderful.”  She laughed again.  “Me in a wedding dress…”

He grinned.  “You’ll look- breathtaking.  I know you will.”

The two walked back to the house, hand in hand.


“Hey Kade,” Han murmured, looking at the gravestone.  “I uh, wanted you to know, Ulrike and I will be getting married in another day or so.”

He smiled.  “She’s- a heck of a woman.  I know you only got to meet her just- well, just before.  But she’s already a part of the household, a part of the- family.  We miss ya, Kade.  We really do.”  He sighed, rubbing the back of his neck.  “But things are going well enough.  Aside from the wedding coming up, I have a job.  The garden is… well it’s beautiful.  Jaimie’s taken over that duty now too.  Marcus helps out… when he doesn’t disappear for days at a time.  The Watcher says he’s doin’ his job.  And he seems fairly happy, so I haven’t said much.  Oh!  The house is coming along.  The Watcher’s finally been able to finish things up.  There’s still a couple rooms that aren’t outfitted, but the majority are done.**”

“That’s all for now.  I’ll keep you updated, as we go.  We wouldn’t even have gotten this far, if not for you.  Thank you, my friend.  I’m sorry I didn’t say this to you when you were still with us.  That’s my biggest regret right now.  I know, I know.  I have a feeling you’d smack me upside the head right now, if you could, so I won’t say any more about that.  But I thought you should know what’s going on.  I’ll keep you updated, I promise.”  Han smiled a little and then turned to go back to the house, feeling a bit lighter than he had before.

**To check out more details about the house, go here:  Additions/Decorated Rooms


 

Chapter 3: Live Long and Prosper

“You look like you got something on your mind, lad.  What is it?” Kade asked, looking sideways at Han on the other end of the couch.

Han started and then looked over at the gardener.  “I uh… met someone, Kade.  I-I can’t seem to get her out of my mind.”

Kade laughed.  “A pretty woman’ll do that, son.  Did you get her number?”

Han had the grace to blush a little.  “Um, yeah.”

“You gonna call her?”

“I-I don’t know.  Maybe…”

“Let me give ya a little advice: it’s better to regret what you did do, than what you didn’t, alright?”

Han’s brow furrowed.  “Yeah… I guess.”

Kade grinned and stood.  “Well, I’m gettin’ old, so I’m gonna head to bed.  Have a good night, lad.”

“Night, Kade.”


Didn’t you learn your lesson the last time?

 “I’m doing much better, I promise.  That and it helps clear my head a bit.  Don’t be such a-a… what’s the term?  Worrywart?  Something like that.”

Hm… I hope so.  Wouldn’t want any unfortunate accidents, would we? 

“Yeah, yeah.”


Oh dear, Kade!  I didn’t realize your cowplant had grown up… Just be careful with him.

 

“Oh don’t worry, Watcher.  Rover here won’t hurt anyone!”

Rover?  Um, alright… Sims!


You two look as if you’ve hit it off.

 “Hey Watcher!  How’s it hangin’?”  Marcus grinned.

“Ain’t he a trip, Watcher?” Jaimie asked with a chuckle.

Hm, he’s something alright.  I’ll leave you to it.  Keep him out of trouble, Jaimie.

 “You got it!”


Han?  You have a visitor.

He looked up from the piece he was working on, this time he was clothed.  “A visitor?  Really?”

Mhm.

Intrigued, he left the workbench and stepped outside.  When he saw his visitor, he froze.  “Ulrike…”

She smiled at him.  “Hello Han.  I got a little tired of waiting.  I’d heard you were pretty busy, so thought I’d come and check on you myself.”

Han swallowed.  All thoughts had flown out of his head.  Without thinking, he opened up his mind, something he’d been warned about doing around Sims.  But it was too late!  Thoughts and feelings flowed between them in a matter of seconds, an intense flood that staggered them both for a moment.

Ulrike shook her head, trying to clear it.  She looked at Han intensely.  “Y-you’re an alien!”

Han tried to smile, though it was more of a grimace.  “Um… yes?”

“That’s really cool!  Everyone said I was crazy to think there were aliens, but… wow!”

“Wait… you aren’t… freaked out?”

“Freaked out?  No, of course not!  I think it’s really cool!”

“Y-you do?”  He couldn’t help but grin.  He had been worried about that.  It was one reason he hadn’t ventured out much.  No one in the house really cared about him being an alien, but he’d heard some insane stories about how Sims reacted.  The fact that Ulrike thought it was ‘cool’ seemed to be a sign!  He’d been careful to keep his glow down to a minimum, but this time he didn’t care.

“Poor thing,” she murmured.  “You ok, Han?”  She gave him a hug, having felt and seen some of what he had been feeling earlier.

“Yeah, yeah I am.  You uh, wanna stick around for a bit tonight?”

She lowered her gaze a little, looking at him through her long dark lashes.  “Sure, I’d like that.”


“Morning beautiful,” Han murmured to Ulrike.

“Hi yourself, handsome.”

“Thanks for hanging out.  Sorry to keep you so long.”

Ulrike laughed.  “I hardly noticed the time.  Thanks for having me.”  She wrapped her arms around him.

Hello Kade.  What do you see?


“W-watcher… It-it’s that time.  The Reaper is coming.  Y-you take care of Han, ok?  T-tell him I’m glad to have been a part of his family, even if only for a little while.  So-so tired.”

O-oh, Kade… Oh, I’m so sorry.

“Now, now.  N-none of that.  Y-you look after him.  And you make sure he listens to you.  And Watcher?”

Y-yes?

“Make sure he’s happy.”

I’ll-I’ll try,  Kade.

 

“What’s going on here?” Han came running over the grass, looking concerned.  Then he saw Kade on the ground.  “K-kade?  C’mon, man.  Thi-this isn’t funny!  Get up!” His hand went to his mouth as the realization that he was losing one of the only people in the world who had really believed in him, even when he hadn’t believed in himself.

“Han?  What is it?”  Ulrike was running toward them.

“Ah, man, not Kade!” Marcus exclaimed, not quite able to disguise the sniffle.

“Oh, Kade,” Jaimie whispered, tears in her eyes.

“Oh-oh, dear.  Oh Han… I-I’m sorry.”  Ulrike had talked to Kade a bit the previous night and she had seen how close he had been with Han.

Grim, if-if you could please hurry… this is agony.  He-he was a good man. 

 “Yes, Watcher, I see that here.  Don’t worry, he will be well taken care of.  You are right, he was a very good man.”  The Grim Reaper’s scythe swiped down, severing Kade’s soul from his body.  “I am sorry for your loss.  I am- only doing my job.”

“We know, Grim,” Jaimie told him gruffly.  “But… your job surely sucks.”

“That it does.”

RIP Kade Cotter.  You will be dearly missed.