Believe it or not, pet bricks weren’t as easy to make as they seemed. For one, in order to become a certified pet brick maker (a title Estela was proud of), you had to actually make the brick yourself. Just buying a premade brick and painting a face on it wasn’t good enough. Oh, no. The whole reason why those pet bricks had hearts and souls was because of the sweat, (sometimes) blood, and (when you first started) tears poured into their creation. That was why Estela was excited when the phone rang just as she was finishing up her working time for the day.
“Estela!” John Burb said from the other end of the line. “How have you been settling in?”
“Things are really good!” Estela replied. “Now that all the furniture’s gotten delivered so I actually have a bed to sleep on, and Tomás has gotten used to the sounds and smells of the neighborhood, I’ve been working on finding some new clients.”
“I make toys– pet bricks specifically, though I can also do others– and I’m always looking for someone new to sell them to, especially local businesses.”
“You don’t say… Jennifer and I actually run a small shop, and we’ve been looking for a new toy supplier.”
“Oh! That’s great! You should come over again, or I could come over to your place, so you can look over my work and we can draw up a contract.”
“That sounds wonderful. Actually, the reason why I called you up is because little Lucy’s aging up this evening, and we’ve also got a new addition to the family we’d love for you to meet.”
“I’d love to come! Are you sure I wouldn’t be intruding?”
“Of course not! We invite extended family to these things anyways, so it would be a good chance for you to get to know some more sims, and we’d love to have you as an honorary member of our family.”
“Oh! Thank you! I’ll gussy up and head right on over!”
After John gave her directions to his house, Estela got ready for the party and walked over. John hadn’t mentioned anything about gifts, so she figured bringing one wasn’t necessary. Besides, what new teenager would be interested in a pet brick? They certainly weren’t suitable for babies, either.
Estela glanced across the street from the Burb home towards the park John had mentioned in his directions. It looked gorgeous with the trees dressed in their autumn colors reflecting into the pond. She’d have to make a trip to visit it another day, but for now…
“Lilith, Angela, it’s time to quit it! This is about your cousins, not your little squabbles!”
The two sims– Estela would have to ask John who was who later– appeared to be only lightly teasing each other, though she guessed that there was more she didn’t know about their relationship. The woman who had scolded them turned to face Estela.
“Hi, I’m Jennifer Burb, John’s wife. You must be Estela. Come on in– Lucy and John are just getting ready, and these two–” Jennifer looked pointedly and Lilith and Angela “–will not be coming inside until they agree to behave themselves. Won’t you, girls?”
“Yes, Aunt Jennifer,” the two replied in identical monotone voices that suggested this situation had happened many times before.
Estela followed Jennifer inside. John soon emerged from a bedroom and joined them in the house’s entryway. “Estela! I’m glad you could make it!”
“I’m glad I could be here!” Estela replied. “And on a perfect day for a birthday as well– it’s nice and sunny outside, at least until sundown!” John laughed even though Estela considered the joke to be rather poor.
“Oh no,” Jennifer muttered from behind them. Estela turned to look at her, realized her gaze was fixed towards something outside. Lilith and Angela were fighting, and though it wasn’t as aggressive as some of the fights she’d seen growing up, Estela was still slightly unnerved by it.
“I’m… guessing this is normal?” Estela asked hesitantly when she realized neither John nor Jennifer were attempting to intervene.
“Yep,” John replied. “They’ve never gotten seriously hurt from it, and breaking them up leads to more harm than good, so we usually just let them have at it and try to distract them with something else once they’re done.
“Like me!” A child sim exclaimed, running around the corner to crash into a hug from her dad.
“There’s our Lucy-goosey!” John said, laughing.
“Hi, I’m Lucy and it’s my birthday today!” Lucy said to Estela. “Don’t worry, I already know who you are ’cause Daddy asked my permission before he invited you over here.”
“Oh… uh… hi,” Estela said. She’d never considered herself good with children, so she usually avoided being around them, but the social event and Lucy’s outgoingness forced her to interact.
“I wanna age-up outside!” Lucy said. Her parents nodded their agreement and the four went outside. Thankfully, Lilith and Angela had stopped fighting, but if they really did fight as much as John claimed, Lucy’d probably already seen a couple fights in her life.
Lucy began to swing her hips and dance around a little as a shower of sparkles cocooned her. When she emerged, she was officially a teenager, and appeared pleased with how her transformation turned out.
“Well, that’s that, I suppose,” Jennifer said. “The baby will probably be waking up from his nap pretty soon, so I’m going to head inside. Lilith, Angela, Estela, you’re all welcome to come in for refreshments– though please, no fighting in the house!”
Angela opted to stay outside and talk to Lucy, while Lilith headed inside. Estela, feeling a little bad that Lilith would be eating by herself, went in to join her even though she wasn’t really hungry. Lilith grabbed a bag of animal crackers from a cupboard and started scarfing them down. Estela got a can of pop from the fridge and cracked it open, letting its fizziness invade her mouth as she tried to find something to say to the teenager. “Which one are you?” she blurted out, immediately feeling a little guilty about what must be a common question.
“Lilith,” the girl replied with her mouthful. The two sat in silence until Jennifer came out of the bedroom carrying a baby. Lilith and Estela finished their refreshments of choice, then followed her outside, where it was already growing dark.
“Say hello to little Su Burb!” she said, waving the baby’s tiny hand around.
Angela approached the mother and baby cautiously, looking to Jennifer for permission before holding a finger out to Su, who immediately clenched it in his fist. “Are babies supposed to do that?” she asked, seemingly fascinated by the tiny sim.
“Yep, that’s normal,” Jennifer replied, looking down fondly at her child. A gust of cool wind blew past, causing leaves on the trees to flutter down to the ground. “I should take him back inside,” Jennifer said. “He needs to be fed anyways.”
Angela gently took back her finger, disappointment flashing across her face.
“Go on inside, girls,” John said to Angela, Lilith, and Lucy. “Have a little fun while you’re still young.”
Angela and Lucy immediately went inside, chatting eagerly about some sim named– Andrew? Andy?– while Lilith lagged behind.
John apparently didn’t notice, and continued talking to Estela. “Sit down if you want,” he said, folding his legs cross-legged as he sat down on the ground. “Ah, teenagedom, and all the little crushes that come along with it,” he said wistfully.
“I remember my first crush,” Estela said. “She was my best friend since childhood– in fact, probably even earlier, since our mothers took us out for playdates before we even started school.”
Lilith, who had started walking inside, turned around to look at Estela, eyes filled with curiosity.
“Apparently in kindergarten I told my mom I was going to marry her one day, but she just laughed it off.”
“I’m guessing she didn’t feel the same?” John asked sympathetically.
Their peaceful conversation was broken as Jennifer shooed Lilith and Angela out of the house. “You know the rules; no fighting indoors!” she shouted. Only a second later, she was chatting amicably with Lilith about the latest Llamas game.
“So… Angela, right?” Estela asked the remaining twin, trying to initiate some conversation.
“Yeah,” she grumbled, crossing her arms.
“Are things… okay… between you and Lilith? Your relationship seems a little… er… fiery.”
“Oh, enough with the fiery redhead trope,” Angela pouted.
Jennifer glanced over and sighed a little. “Girls, I think it’s time for you two to get going.”
“I think it’s time for me to head home as well,” Estela said before shaking Jennifer’s hand and thanking her for the party. “Have a nice night!”
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