Sunday, March 31, 2013

Woods Random Legacy: Chapter 37 - Closer

They stood in silence for a few long moments, Anne's eyes locked on James's face as his mind raced.  He'd been in this position before.  It had seemed catastrophic then, but things were different now.  Anne was different.  He forced his head to move, the nod seeming stiff at first but quickly becoming more natural.
James: "I really wasn't expecting that."
Anne: "I know.  Sorry."
James: "No, don't be sorry.  We can make it work, unless you don't want to."
Something close to fear flickered across Anne's face for a moment.
James: "What's wrong?"
Anne shook her head.
Anne: "Nothing, it's nothing.  Just scary, you know, the idea of having a baby.  But I want to keep it."
James nodded again.
James: "We can make it work.  I'm not going to make the same mistakes I made before.  It'll be different, with you here."
Anne didn't look entirely convinced, but she nodded as well.
Anne: "It wasn't supposed to happen this way."
James: "Yeah, I know.  But it'll be alright."
As the pregnancy progressed, their relationship deepened.  The entire concept of a long-term relationship was new to James, and he couldn't quite explain what it was about the secretive schoolteacher from Woodbridge - a town so small and remote that he'd never even heard of it before - that had captured his heart.  One night, he decided to show her something.
After the short walk up the hill to the catacombs, they descended, James narrating all the way.
James: "So far, only my parents' remains are kept here, though I expect to inter my siblings and then myself when the time comes.  I'll have to set a guardian for the catacombs when I get older, but that should be easy to do.  Of course, there's built in protection against all the common sorts of supernatural creatures up here.  Zombies, werewolves, vampires, witches, aliens, and even those fairies I've heard stories about.  The whole place is shielded, so they can't touch my family.  They can look, but no touching.  On top of that, there's the biometric lock, so only myself and my descendants can open the door.  Supernatural powers would allow them to bypass that, yes, but like I said - no touching!"
He was already halfway down the first tunnel when he realized that Anne wasn't behind him.  Backtracking, he found her at the foot of the staircase, frozen to the spot.
James: "Are you alright?"
Her voice was quiet and trembled as she spoke, so James moved closer to catch her words.
Anne: "It's so creepy down here.  The whole place, it's giving me the chills."
James: "Baby, it's fine.  The dead can't hurt us."
Anne: "I know."
James: "It's even too early for my parents' ghosts to start their haunting.  We'll only be down here for a few minutes, I promise, I just want to show you something in the second chamber."
Anne nodded, swallowing hard, and James leaned in to give her a gentle kiss, before taking her hand and leading her through the dim tunnels.
Soon, they came to the object in question.  Anne stared, her fear either forgotten or simply overwhelmed by the sight of the glowing crystal.
Anne: "What is it?"
James: "Tiberium.  I found it when I was still in school."
Anne: "Shouldn't that be in a government laboratory somewhere?"
James shrugged.
James: "Why should it?  I found it, not them."
Anne: "What if they just come and take it?  You could go to jail."
James: "How would they find it?  There's shielding built in, all around us.  There's no way they could run a detection scan that returned meaningful results."
Anne: "Why did you bring me down here, James?"
He glanced at her uncertainly, replying with some doubt in his voice.
James: "I just thought it was beautiful to look at.  The way it glows and all.  I wanted to share it with you."
Anne smiled and rested her head on James's shoulder.
Anne: "It is.  Thank you."

Alpha enjoyed the outdoors more as the weather warmed.  She even found a flower growing in the side yard and brought it back inside.
It brightened up her plain room considerably, and the teacher who had given her the nutrient solution promised that it would remain fresh for almost the entire season.
She studied hard - what else was there to do? - and quickly achieved an A+ in her classes.  Of course, she was careful to avoid too much attention, and declined offers to join the overachiever groups such as the spelling bee team.
The people at school still bothered her, all except for Valerie of course.  But she recognized that school was something that she would have to get through, and the better she did in it the less she would have to deal with people later on.

In the last trimester of Anne's pregnancy, James was promoted at work yet again.  Naturally, she didn't know what it was that he did, but he shared the news of the promotion with her; she was happy, the extra funds would come in handy to purchase diapers and other supplies that couldn't be recycled from when Alpha was young.  Of course, his promotion to Super Villain put James second only to the leader.  He would need to move quickly and carefully from this point forward if he wanted to attain his goal.  He purchased a book - "Making Yourself Indispensable" - that he had seen on a bookshelf in the leader's office.  Contrary to his expectations, the book took the position that he should be indispensable to his coworkers, rather than his boss.  A unique perspective, and one he would keep in mind if the opportunity ever came to prove himself.
It came sooner than he'd anticipated.  Only a few weeks later, the leader presented a scheme that was truly questionable, involving sending a team of henchman to secure a warehouse just outside of town.  When James mentioned his misgivings about the situation, he was told not to question the orders.  Thinking quickly, he intercepted the team as they left the base of operations, telling them that the mission had been scrubbed.  The boss was furious, and only the arrival of a report that a non-affiliated thief had been picked up during a police sting at that very warehouse that night saved his job.
As he returned home, he wondered if this was the right approach to take.  What use was having the support of your underlings, if your superior could fire you at her whim?  Only time would tell.

James also worried about Anne.  Her morning sickness, though mild, hadn't abated over the course of the pregnancy; if anything, it had gotten worse.  James was no doctor, but he knew that it couldn't be healthy for a woman in her last few weeks of pregnancy to be spending so much time curled up in front of the toilet.
One morning, he came in to find her sitting in the opposite corner of the bathroom, cradling something in her lap.
James: "Why are you over there?"
Anne twitched and quickly raised the small bottle to her lips, downing the contents - James saw a flash of blue as the liquid exited the clear flask - in a moment.
James: "What's that?  Are you drinking?"
She clenched the bottle and shook her head silently.  James, suddenly very aware that he hardly knew this woman at all, took another step into the room.
James: "Anne.  What's going on here?"
She finally seemed to find her voice, responding quietly.
Anne: "It's nothing."
James: "It looked like something to me.  Stand up, look at me."
She stood and stepped over to him, dropping the empty bottle into the bag in front of herself.
James: "Just tell me, what's going on.  What was that stuff?  And don't say nothing, because we both know it wasn't."
Anne: "Medicine."
James: "What?"
Anne: "It's medicine, James.  I didn't tell you because I didn't want you to worry."
James: "If you're sick, we need to get you to the hospital."
Anne shook her head.
Anne: "There's no cure, I've been through this before.  If I take the medicine, I'm okay."
James: "And if you stop taking it?"
Anne: "I die."
The words hung heavily between them.  Finally, James broke the silence.
James: "So how long do you have left?"
Anne: "A while, if I take the medicine.  Probably as long as anyone else, if things don't get worse."
He nodded, still frowning in concern?
James: "What about the baby?"
Anne: "I can't pass it on like that, the baby's fine."
James: "No, I meant about the medicine.  Will it hurt the baby?"
Anne was silent for a moment as she thought, then shook her head.
Anne: "No, it's safe."
James smiled and reached forward to pull her into a gentle hug.
James: "You could have told me sooner."
Anne: "I thought you'd worry and throw me out, so I tried to keep it a secret.  I'm sorry."
James: "It's fine.  Things will be fine, just try to relax."
As he held her, James's question echoed through her head.  "Will it hurt the baby?"  The thing was, she didn't know.

~ * ~

Oh noes, what's wrong with Anne? :(

Friday, March 29, 2013

Woods Random Legacy: Chapter 36 - Second Chances

Alpha's birthday was a subdued affair, with only herself and James present for the quiet celebration.
There was cake, though.  Cake was very good, much better than the messes that James concocted on the stove.
He'd set Alpha up with a bedroom across the hall from her old nursery.  It was fairly spartan, but she didn't care as she didn't spend much time there anyway.
While James slept in after his late nights at work or on the town, she enjoyed having the living room to herself.  Dancing was a lot of fun, and she spent hours working out elaborate routines to the songs played on the radio.
Sometimes if her father went out during the day, she would wander into his room, sit on the bed - which was much more comfortable than her own, or even the sofa in the living room - and think.  It was a nice room to collect her thoughts in, and the wallpaper was almost soothing in a way.
She wasn't bothered by the absence of her father at all.  To her, this was normal.

During the first days of spring, James celebrated both the end of winter and his new-found freedom from the responsibility of watching a toddler by hitting the town.  He stopped by Varg's Tavern to get dinner most nights; Alpha, of course, stayed home and ate whatever was the most edible out of James's attempts at cooking.  It was at the tavern that he first saw her.
He couldn't say what it was exactly, but there was something about her.  Perhaps it was the way she moved, the sound of her voice, the tilt of her head as she examined the drink offerings, or maybe even just a case of spring fever - it was impossible to know.  All he knew was that he wanted her, in a way that he hadn't wanted a woman for too many years now.
James: "Can I recommend the Bad Cheerleader?"
The woman turned, her eyes widening in shock for a moment before a slight smile came to her lips.
Woman: "You could.  Is it good?"
James: "Well, it's not to my tastes, but it's a popular drink among the women in this town.  You're not from around here, though."
Her accent wasn't lost on him; it wasn't strong, but it definitely wasn't local.  She appraised him for a long moment, then nodded, ordering the drink from the bartender.
Woman: "Perceptive.  I'm new in town, yes.  I'm actually supposed to be meeting my friend here, she's offered me her couch until I get on my feet.  She's just a bit late, is all."
James: "I see.  Well, it would be un-gentlemanly of me to let a lady wait by herself."
He sat on one of the barstools, gesturing to the other stool.  The woman sat, thanking the bartender as he delivered her drink.  James slipped the man a bill, waving his hand as the woman opened her mouth to protest.
James: "Please, let me.  I was recently promoted at work, with a nice bonus, so it's my treat.  James Woods, by the way."
Woman: "Anne Darrow."
James: "Pleasure to meet you, Anne.  Now, what brings a lady like you all the way out to Sunset Valley?"
They talked and drank well into the evening, James picking up the tab.  When Anne's phone rang, it came as a surprise, as they'd both forgotten why she was in the tavern in the first place.  James listened carefully as she stepped away to answer it.
Anne sounded frustrated about something through the entire conversation, sighing as she hung up the phone and walked back over.
James: "What's wrong?"
Anne: "Turns out my friend's boyfriend decided he doesn't want me sleeping on their couch, even just for a few days.  I don't have anywhere to stay now."
James: "You can stay at my place.  I mean, I know we just met and all, but if you're really in a bind."
Anne turned to him, smiling gratefully.
Anne: "Is that really okay?  I'd owe you one, definitely."
James: "Sure.  I, um, do have a kid though.  If that's going to be a problem."
He wasn't really sure why he'd said that.  It wasn't exactly the sort of thing he wanted her to know, unless this was going to be a long-term thing.  Which it wasn't.
Anne: "Oh, you're married?"
Her face fell, and James quickly shook his head.
James: "No, I'm not, sorry.  It's a bit complicated, but the short answer is no, I'm not married.  Never been."
Anne: "Oh, maybe I'll get to hear the long answer one day."
James slipped the last of the tab to the bartender and walked out of the tavern.  As he turned to say something, he was suddenly intensely aware of Anne standing very close to him.
After that, things followed the usual pattern, fueled by the drinks from the bar.
He'd been worried that he'd be out of practice, but it was every bit as fantastic as he remembered.  Anne wasn't bad, either - between the two of them, they'd rocked the bed for most of the night.  He could get used to this for the next few weeks at least, until Anne got her feet under her and found a permanent place to live.
Unless he didn't want her to go.

Soon, it was time for Alpha to start school.  Homeschooling was an option in Sunset Valley, but James didn't feel that it was necessary.  Nobody asked too many questions about the kids in school, as long as they stayed out of trouble.  Alpha knew this, and didn't think that she'd have a problem flying under the radar.  She just wished that James wouldn't make so much noise at night while she was trying to sleep.
She enjoyed learning, but found most of the other children at the school to be tiresome.  She enjoyed hanging out with another girl in her grade, though.  Her name was Valerie, and one day Alpha went to her house after school.
Alpha: "I like your house."
Valerie: "Thanks!  Want to play tag?  The bridge out front is great for that."
Alpha: "I think we should do our homework first."
Valerie: "Really?  But homework's so boring!  I just sat in school all day, I don't want to do more of it."
Alpha: "Well, you have to do it sometime tonight.  I like to do it first, so I can have fun later and not feel bad."
Valerie: "You'd feel bad about having fun?  I don't!"
Alpha: "Not always, just when I have something important to do."
Valerie: "You sound like my mom, she's always telling me that I have to be responsible now that I'm in school.  Does your mom ever say that?"
Alpha: "I don't have a mom."
Valerie's eyes widened.
Valerie: "Don't be silly, everybody has a mom!  Who taught you to walk and stuff when you were little?"
Alpha: "Well that was Gran, but she died when I was little."
Alpha's new friend frowned at that.
Valerie: "Oh, sorry.  I didn't know."
Alpha: "It's okay, I miss her but I was pretty little, so I hardly remember her."
Valerie nodded, clearly still feeling sorry for her friend.
Valerie: "Come on, let's go do our homework so we can have fun before you have to go."
They worked on their homework together on the deck.  Alpha completed it faster than Valerie did, often having to prompt her friend on some of the more obscure questions.
Valerie: "You're so smart!"
Alpha: "Not really.  There's lots of hard questions on here, I just study a lot."
Valerie: "I don't like studying."
Valerie worked on her arithmetic for a few moments before looking up with a grin on her face.
Valerie: "Hey!  Why was the math book sad?"
Alpha looked up from her homework, confused.
Alpha: "Um, I don't know?"
Valerie: "Because it had lots of problems!  Ha ha!"
Valerie giggled to herself, then pouted at her friend's blank expression.
Valerie: "Like math problems, get it?"
Alpha: "Oh, right!  Hey, do you have #11 yet?"
It was well into the evening, and Valerie was still struggling through her homework.
Valerie: "I can't believe you're still here helping me!  You're a good friend, Alpha."
Alpha: "Thanks.  I've never really had a friend before."
Valerie: "That's so sad!  Hey, it's pretty late, won't somebody be worrying you're not home?"
Alpha: "My dad doesn't care as long as I'm not out past curfew."
Valerie: "That's cool.  Hey, maybe I can come over to your house sometime."
Alpha: "Uh, I don't think you can, sorry.  I'm not allowed to have guests over."
Valerie: "Oh, that's stupid.  And so's this problem!"
Alpha: "What?  Let me see.  Oh, you got it backwards."
Alpha made it home before curfew, which as she'd predicted was the only thing James cared about.  They acknowledged each other with a nod as they blew past each other, Alpha on her way to get a snack before bed and James on his way to work.  Alpha ate her snack and headed off to bed, not wanting to talk to Anna in the living room.

Days had turned to weeks for their houseguest, and she showed no signs of finding housing anytime soon, though not for lack of trying - the market was a mess.  Despite his best efforts to stay emotionally distant, James could feel himself falling for her in a way that he'd never felt about a woman before, and that scared him a lot.
She was almost as secretive as his daughter, spending a lot of time in the bathroom with her still-unpacked luggage.  Of course, the entire situation was temporary.  Unless he asked her to make it permanent.  One evening, he intercepted her in the kitchen.
James: "Hey Anne, how's it going?"
She smiled back faintly, seeming troubled.
James: "What's wrong?"
Anne: "Oh, it's nothing, just worried."
James: "About the house situation?"
Anne: "Mhmm."
James: "Look, I've been meaning to say something about that.  I really like having you here, and it's probably not a terrible thing for Alpha to have, you know, a woman around and all that.  I wouldn't mind it at all if you stayed."
Anne looked faintly surprised.
Anne: "You mean you don't want me out of here as soon as possible?"
James: "No, I like you.  You know, being around you, and doing...other things...with you."
She looked relieved.
Anne: "That's really good to hear.  Because I'm pregnant."

~ * ~

James, you've done it again.  Just keep it in your hot pink pants, man!
James: "But the dice rolls command me!"
Good point.

I'm trying hard to express Alpha's traits, but it's a bit difficult to get across anything apart from loner.  She also has no sense of humor and is disciplined, the latter of which has been extremely difficult to write.  I keep thinking that she's coming across just as incredibly strange.

Valerie is so sweet, it's a shame she continually ends up being a total airhead, through no fault of my own(the game does it, I swear!).  She's Crystal's daughter, but neither her nor Alpha know they're cousins.  Yes, Crystal moved into Faye's old house.  Everybody's been playing musical houses in my neighborhood.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Woods Random Legacy: Chapter 35 - Making Do

Running a household was much harder than Eliza had made it seem!  Even with just himself and Alpha, the laundry alone was an a constant battle.  It would almost be easier to just buy new clothes, instead of washing the old ones.
James was also now responsible for making sure that meals would be on the table.  Alpha was still on formula, so he didn't have to worry about feeding her now, but she'd be old enough for normal food soon.  The cooking shows on the TV made it all seem so easy, surely it wouldn't be difficult.  After all, every other sim in town could do it.
The noodles stick to the pan, the cheese clumps together, and the spoon keeps getting a layer of sticky goop stuck to it!  Cooking is impossible!
James: "Daddy's going to take over a restaurant and have them cook food for us every day.  How'd you like that, Alpha?"
Alpha: "Dada cook food!"
James: "No, no.  The cooks at the restaurant will cook the food, I can't cook."
Alpha: "Dada cook."
He felt that her conversation skills were about as good as they were going to get, even if she did seem to have a bit of a problem with understanding the nuances of what he was trying to tell her.  It was good enough, she'd pick up the rest in kindergarten with the the other children.
She spent most of her time by herself, playing with the peg box.  Eliza had seemed concerned about how Alpha hadn't always asked for attention, but James didn't see the big deal.  So she liked to play by herself, it wasn't a problem as long as she was happy.  And she seemed to be.

On Snowflake Day, James decided to throw a gift-giving party.  He invited a few of his friends over for the afternoon, then went to talk to Alpha.
Alpha: "Dada?"
James: "I'm going to have a party today."
Alpha: "Party?"
James: "Yeah, a party.  There'll be lots of people-"
He couldn't help but chuckle at the face Alpha pulled at that.
Alpha: "No people!"
James: "Right, see, I was hoping you'd say that.  You know, you're my little secret.  If you could just play by yourself this afternoon and be quiet, that would be great."
Alpha: "Play with box?"
James: "Exactly!  I'll come and get you when the party's over, okay?"
Alpha didn't really mind playing with her peg box all afternoon.  She'd long since figured out which shapes went in which holes, but she liked to see if she could insert them in rhythm, or how fast she could go without dropping any pieces.  She found making up her own games to be fun, even if she didn't enjoy sharing them with anyone else.

In the front room, the gift-giving party was underway.  Not everybody had brought gifts for everybody else, but it worked out that everybody present got at least one gift, so nobody walked away upset.
James received two chess sets, which he didn't particularly want nor need since he already had one right there in the living room.  But he faked enthusiasm and responded with warm thanks to those who had bought him the gifts.
In the days following the holiday, he was promoted once more, this time to the position of Evil Sidekick.  He was more involved in the upper-level planning now; even though he held no actual decision-making power, he was still consulted for opinions.  A much better use of his intellect than petty thievery, he thought.  The promotion came with a large bonus, so on his way back home from work he decided to stop by the store and pick up a little something to bring back home.

~ * ~

Shortish update today, mostly just some filler stuff while people grow up a little.  But see, James does care, a little bit deep down inside!  I'm trying to do a better job with grabbing toddler pictures this generation, so that you all can actually see what they look like.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Woods Random Legacy: Chapter 34 - Advancing Plans

Magician: "His incompetence astounds me."
Steam rose from a vial as he poured a violet concoction into it, setting it on his desk in front of where the Seer was slumped.
Magician: "Drink."
She groped blindly for the vial and raised it to her lips, gulping the liquid down greedily.
Magician: "He's an old wolf.  Such a shame that our hand in the world is so...mortal.  Wouldn't you say?"
Whatever had been in the vial was already giving the Seer strength and lucidity.  She sat up straighter, though she still supported her head with one thin arm.  Then she spoke, not in mumbles, but with a quavering voice, seeming almost to drift in and out of awareness.
Seer: "Eyes of blue.  Won't touch you."
The Magician took the empty vial from her before she could drop it, his face expressionless.
Magician: "Of course, some us are more damaged than others.  And yet, we do what we can, in the face of entropy."
He set the vial on a shelf, then turned back, regarding the Seer.
Magician: "Perhaps it's time to enter the world once more."
Seer: "They rise from the grave.  The boy will be saved."
Magician: "They do say that if you want something done right, you must do it yourself."
Seer: "Cursed love.  My love."
Magician: "We will need time yet to prepare.  Rest now, my dear.  Nos praemium capiemus."

James's night in the Sunset Valley jail was every bit as unpleasant as he'd hoped it wouldn't be.  Upon his arrest, he was tossed in with the town drunks for most of the night, finally getting hauled out shortly before dawn - nearly four hours after he'd promised his mother he'd be home.  The interrogation was short, to the point, and off in the wrong direction entirely.  Nobody was quite certain who had called the cops, and in fact the Jeweler was on record as a witness saying that James was a fine young man who had likely scared the thieves away from entering the main showroom, possibly even saving his life.  The police were apologetic, clearly hoping that James wouldn't see fit to sue due to his treatment.  Upon realizing the direction the questioning was going, James shifted gears and played his part flawlessly.  Yes, he found it shocking that degenerates would rob an old man; no, he hadn't gotten a good look at any of the thieves, sorry officer; no, it hadn't looked like that many that got away, perhaps only one or two; you know, I think we should all pitch in to get a nice hot meal for the poor jeweler, he's had quite the scare.
They let him go early in the morning, and he quickly caught a cab ride home, already formulating a plan for what he was going to tell his mother when he got there.  The plan turned out to be unnecessary, as she'd had a call from the police station explaining that they were holding him for questioning, as a witness to a crime.  She had understandably been worried, but her anger wasn't directed at James, a fact that he was thankful for.  Even if his family life was safe, there was still the question of what to do about work.  If he went back, he risked being arrested again, and next time the police would think twice about the coincidence.  On the other hand, if he didn't go back, the organization might even come after him - he knew too much.  He had just finished changing for work, deciding to go back for one day and discuss it with his superiors, when his work phone rang.
James: "Yes?"
Man: "Congratulations, you passed the test."
James was confused for a moment, then something clicked in his mind.  Of course, a test would have explained everything!
James: "I see.  So the cops, the arrest, the was all a test to see if I'd talk.  Clever."
Man: "Indeed.  I must say, it's amusing to me to know your true identity.  Don't worry, I see no reason to tell anyone.  The important thing is that we now know that you can be trusted.  Forget tonight's job, we want you at the warehouse.  You start as a Henchman tonight."

It was a chilly winter day when the Reaper came for Eliza.  She had just finished setting Alpha down with a bottle when she felt the inevitable lightness come over her.  Alpha drank from her bottle, too young to comprehend that her grandmother was leaving her.
When the Reaper arrived, Eliza fell to her knees.
Eliza: "Please, she's my granddaughter.  My son...he doesn't know how to raise her!  She still needs me."
Eliza: "Just a few more years, it's all she needs!  Surely a few years of one life couldn't damage fate!"
With those words, the scythe came down, severing the old woman's connection to the physical realm.  The Reaper took her hand and pulled her to her feet, taking her with him as he departed to the land from which he'd come.

James set up a similar shrine in his mother's honor, up the hill in the catacombs.  He moved a few of her favorite paintings down into the catacombs as well; the air was engineered to be dry, and the lighting was dim, so they would last longer down there than they would in the house, anyway.
Her departure left the question of what to do with Alpha while James had to work.  He found that the only option was to rely heavily on a babysitter.  Luckily, he was able to find one that wouldn't mind staying through half of the night, taking catnaps on the sofa in between checking on his charge.
As for Alpha's life skills, Eliza had thankfully managed to teach her how to walk and use the potty, but she still babbled in half-formed words and sentences most of the time.  James knew that it was his responsibility to teach her before she went to school, but didn't look forward to the task.  He really knew nothing about children, least of all his own.

~ * ~

And Eliza goes. :( It was heartbreaking that she pleaded with the reaper like that!  I can't remember seeing any other sims do that in sims 3, though my sims rarely die unless I'm playing a legacy.

So the rest of the Trifectum is finally deciding to get off their butts and come deal with the James situation themselves.  This can't end well, especially now that his mother isn't here to keep an eye on him.  But you see that right there, those lines the Seer says?  I worked hard on those prophecies, it took me way too long to come up with cryptic hints that rhymed and matched in meter.  I am not a poet, which should be obvious by the fact that I rhymed 'love' with 'love' in that last one.

The bits of latin I toss in when the Magician is speaking should be accurate, fyi.  It's been a few years since I took latin, but I think I still remember enough to put together simple sentences properly.  I don't just run those phrases through google translate(good thing too, when I was using google translate to find the verb I wanted it tried to tell me that the present 3rd person plural should be used, when I really wanted the future 1st person plural!  -nt is not a 1st person conjugation ending!  Silly google.), so appreciate them or else! ;)

The flower vase issue I mentioned last time fixed itself.  I have no idea what was going on there, as I didn't add, remove or update any mods, but they're upright now.