“Hope for love, pray for love, wish for love, dream for love― Mandy Hale
…but don’t put your life on hold waiting for love.”
Foxbury Institute Off-Campus student housing
Leonie Cameron, Liam’s younger sister, sighed deeply, then directed her gaze from the textbooks to outside the window, smiling about the pretty and sunny late Spring day, birds fluttering about busily, chirping and building nests or feeding young, all the colorful flowers, reminding her of her mother’s amazing garden back home. Oh, the good old days, without a care in the world, loving parents, involved grandparents, a sweet older brother Liam and a pesky, but beloved younger sister Abby, growing up in scenic Windenburg, many hiking trips to Granite Falls … heaven!
It seemed so long ago now, much more than just one year.
College felt lonely, despite visits home whenever possible, or her family dropping by when they could. Even with her five roommates, whom she got along with very well, the dorm felt like a remote island to Leo.
With the start of the new semester, her old roommates had all graduated, so along with three new people came two very familiar faces: her cousins, twins Eric and Everleigh Cameron! It felt like the light at the end of a very dark tunnel to Leo, even though they were two years younger than her. Her cousin Everleigh had been writing and publishing children’s books since she was a junior in high school, no surprise she chose Language & Literature courses, while Eric surprised all by choosing Psychology instead of something athletic. All five members of the Brindleton Bay branch of the Camerons had always been super-sporty.
Eric and Evey’s older brother had chosen a career as college professor, which already seemed unexpected, now both remaining kids decided to make sports a hobby, not a career as well. Their parents were investors, meaning they worked from home.
Leonie wondered if she chose well herself. Her father the beloved mayor of Windenburg, her mother a retired chef, her older brother a successful lawyer, … medicine had seemed like a logical choice initially, especially since Leonie had always been a very caring person and the idea of helping people struck a chord with her, however the sometimes scary and gruesome reality of becoming a doctor wasn’t sitting well with her. But her older brother Liam’s prestigious career choice made Leonie feel like she had to match it.
And then Kyle popped into her head. Ever since their junior year in high school Leonie had been dating Kyle. But he never asked her to be officially his girlfriend, which ached her romantic soul. Leonie was a dyed-in-the-wool romantic, but so far, all the romance that reduced her to a puddle in the rom-coms she loved to watch had eluded her. Kyle was nice, and attractive, but not a romantic in the slightest. When she watched her dad or older brother Liam be perfect gentlemen, she got discouraged when Kyle wouldn’t do anything like it. She had tried to bring it out in him, from subtle to more obvious hints which went unnoticed, even written him romantic messages, which he replied to with things like ‘ok’ or ‘thanks’.
But now there was one of the roommates, Ezekiel Calderas, called Zeke, a quiet, shy guy, who got Leonie’s cheek to flush with each glance of his dark as coal eyes, one smile by him and she was but a puddle of goo.
Sadly, much like Kyle, he wouldn’t make a move, no matter how sweetly she smiled at him. And then one day Kyle showed up, unexpectedly, unwarrantedly got jealous, until Leonie had enough, took him out back and had a heart to heart. She was done with nice, asked him straight on why he never asked her to go steady, all she got were lame excuses upsetting her even more, so she told him to lose her number and that they were over now. Still fuming, cheeks bright red for anger, she managed to make it back into her room before the tears wouldn’t stop coming.
That had been two weeks ago now, and still Zeke had not even tried to ask her out. Nothing at all had changed between them, making Leo think he wasn’t interested at all. It frustrated Leonie to no end, especially when watching her cousin Evey openly flirt with boys. Evey’s brother Eric purposely didn’t date, his intention was to keep it that way through college, to be able to focus and Leonie thought he may be the only sane one out of all of them. Despite of that, she couldn’t help venting to Eric about Kyle, which her cousin patiently endured, until Leo carefully asked him whether Zeke had mentioned her at all. Eric only arched his eyebrows, snorted a brief laugh, shook his head in disbelief and walked off.
Men! How was THAT helpful now?
“Argh – I don’t care one bit about ear canals and all their functions. I need to get out of here.” Leonie told her textbooks sprawled out on the desk in front of her, got up and left her room.
“Hey Leo!” she heard on her way to the door, Zeke was always so quiet, she had not seen him on the couch, from which he was getting up now heading her way.
“Zeke, hey, I need to clear the cobwebs from my brain. Feel like getting out of here for a bit?” she asked, cos – why not, right?
Her question was met by a smile, his eyes lit up as he stood there looking at her.
“Sure! Any ideas?” he wondered.
“Uh – The Commons?” Leonie suggested. She hadn’t thought about destinations, just about leaving.
“Hmm … counteroffer: swimming. Pretty nice day today, warm too. Water temp should be okay.” Zeke looked expectantly at her.
This time it was Leonie’s turn to smile.
“Great idea. Give me literally 5 minutes to change and I meet you back here!”
Walking next to him towards one of the lakes just a few hundred yards from the dorm house, she realized this was literally the first time since start of semester that she was alone with Zeke, and her heart began to beat faster. Hopefully she could get through this gracefully without major blunders. They spoke little, most of it just general conversation, uni-related, until they reached the lake.
Leonie pulled her dress over her head and dropped it next to the towel on the ground, but had to work hard not to stare when Zeke took off his shirt, revealing a drool-worthy six pack.
‘Silent waters! I wasn’t expecting THAT!’ Leonie thought, as she stumbled into the pond to get her mind off Zeke’s killer bod.
They swam, silently again, Leonie didn’t know what to say to him, and he just said nothing – period, until Leonie just splashed Zeke, which finally made him more playful as well. They giggled and teased, Leonie was very excited about this development, until Zeke’s question hit her out of the blue.
“How’s your boyfriend? Will he come for another visit soon?” Zeke didn’t even look at her when he asked that.
Out of all the possible topics, THIS one was literally the LAST thing she wanted to talk to Zeke about. Why would he ask about frigging Kyle, not about HER?! GRR!
“Wasn’t my boyfriend. And we broke up.” was her abrupt response, hoping he’d let it rest now.
“How do you break up when he wasn’t even your boyfriend?” Zeke continued.
Why is he out here asking stupid shit about Kyle?! she wondered.
Maybe he was gay?! Just her luck. Yeah, that was probably it. Thanks, fate, really funny of you.
It upset Leonie so much, that she snapped at Zeke, told him she could give him Kyle’s number so he could fangirl him that way over a beer, then she left the water.
“Leo?” she heard his voice, worried and insecure, but ignored him, dried off and went home.
She had wanted Zeke to pay attention to her, maybe get to know each other, not remind her of how little Kyle had cared and that Zeke was in no way interested in her. ARGH!
As soon as she entered the room she shared with Everleigh, her cousin cooed
“Ooh, someone got some color. I like that tan on you, sexy bitch! I need to go roast and toast a little myself, before I go in for the kill.” she babbled, straining Leonie’s nerves further.
“Huh?!” Leonie muttered, unnerved.
“Alfie! Duh.” Everleigh shrugged as if this was basic knowledge.
“Who? What are you on about?!” Leonie was annoyed.
“Afred. Alfie. The cute music student from upstairs, the one with the soft-as-butter-voice and eyes sooo pretty I could sink into them completely. My one and only problem with him is his last name. Ives? If he and I became a thing and were to get married, I’d be Evey Ives. I mean, really? Or I could just marry Zeke and go from Miss Cameron to Mrs. Calderon. Not confusing AT ALL.” Everleigh giggled amused.
“Yeah, a real thigh-buster. Except Zeke’s last name is Calderas, not Calderon. And before you go and marry all our roommates, at 18 years of age, can you maybe not make it the music student? That guy kills my last nerve with his fiddling when I am trying to cram. Marry Zeke, apparently he is mostly mute and dead down there anyway and probably needs a beard. Never mind. What about your cute lil farmer’s son anyway?”
“Clay? What about him? He’s probably plowing some fields on the family farm in B. Bay or some lame crap like that. You know, after you dumped Kyle it occurred to me that Clay and I are going nowhere fast either. Plus, I really never want to become a farmer’s wife! Can you imagine me getting up at 4 am to run after some stupid chickens, then go pick apples and bake a bunch of pies or whatever?! No, me either! So I ended it. You were my inspiration.” Evey smiled.
“Oh good, THAT’S what I always aspired to be – the inspiration for a break-up. URGH!” Leonie frowned.
“Why are you in such a crappy mood? You are a single girl in college. You are gorgeous, you should be enjoying the fuck out of it all. Live a little! Don’t tell me you are pining after that wet towel Kyle! Puh-lease! I don’t know what he was, but he DEFINITELY wasn’t your Mr. Right. Besides, who needs Mr. Right at our age, maybe Mr. Right-Now would do wonders for your mood though. Eric and I could totally be your wingmen. Just remember to be extra-careful, since we are Camerons. Just sayin’ … the curse and all.”
“URGH!” Leonie made and went to take a bath to soak off the lake, humiliation and frustration.
The next morning found her still sulking over everything when Zeke joined her for a coffee.
“Ahem .. Leo? I wanted to say I am sorry that I upset you yesterday. I didn’t mean to pour salt in still gaping wounds.” he labored the words out as he sat down across from her.
“You didn’t. I didn’t mean to be a bitch. Sorry. Just a lot on my mind right now, and Kyle wasn’t even the biggest problem by far. I am kinda relieved he’s history. Nothing’s gaping there. I have way bigger problems than Kyle.” Leo told him.
“Hmm. Anything I can help with?” Zeke offered.
“No, unless you have a magic wand and can make me want to root around inside human bodies for a living. URGH! I hate medicine! There, I said it.” Leonie admitted.
“You can still change your major. I did it. Now, I am also not as smart as you and was failing my classes miserably, but the change definitely worked out for the better for me. In many ways.” Zeke smiled, which Leonie missed, staring at her coffee, processing his words.
“Change to what? My brother is a kick-ass-lawyer, that’s big shoes to fill. So, being a doctor would be a good start for sure. I’d hate to disappoint mom and dad. And Liam. My brother, you met him once, I think.”
“It probably would be impressive for your parents to gloat with, but you’d be miserable. Do you think that’s what they would want? Not the impression I had of them. And is that what you want? What you could handle long-term? And think of your patients, who would have a doctor who maybe cares about them, but hates her job? I think, you need to change your mindset and quick, before you waste too much more time. What do you like to do? I mean, really, if you could do anything right now, what would it be?” Zeke asked.
‘You! – ha!‘ Leonie thought, then blushed deep crimson and averted her eyes, but answered spontaneously
“I would ….. hmm … I would go into the garden, inhale and exhale, let the scent of flora and dirt fill my lungs, then I would want to make life grow. Plants, flowers, vegetables, which I then could use to cook delicious meals, like my mom. She’s a chef, college-educated, ran a restaurant ever since I was born but retired after striking some big marketing deal with some food manufacturer who bought up the rights to many of her original recipes. She loves to garden and then cook what she carefully had planted, grown and harvested, and she instilled that appreciation for nature and good food into her three kids. Some version of THAT would make me happy. Except, I am not interested in becoming a chef and gardening isn’t really a major.”
“Sure it is. Botany! You don’t even have to change most of your courses, you’re already doing Biology, just some different classes. You’re already in the right place. This will be super-easy.”
“Really? You think. Man, Zeke, I think you’re right. That could actually work!”
“It does work. I did it before, best decision of my life. Drink your coffee, Leonie, I’ll go with you to the Administrations building, since I have done that major-change-thing before. By tomorrow you could be looking at a brighter future, rooting around in dirt, rather than organs.” he smiled that sweet smile at her.
“Oh my god, Ezekiel Calderas, you are one brilliant man!”
Author's Note: The roommates are all game generated, yes, even Zeke! I have some default overrides that apply to all Sims, but if any of the NPCs stick around long term, they will get some Alpha hair and clothes. 😉