Variation 18 (Andante cantabile)

Picture of Asher sitting beside a sleeping Adelise and looking towards her.

Adelise’s dreams were beset by a weird sense of chaos that ran and twisted itself through the quiet corners of her mind, demanding her subconscious’ attention. The chaos felt unexpectedly sweet, but expectedly chaotic… and her subconscious desperately wanted a break.

To get that break, it pushed Adelise’s conscious mind into taking over and fled before she could reflect on what dreams she’d had. Having lost the narratives, she woke confused and tired in the middle of the night with lingering sensations and scattered images flowing through her head: an angelic presence in need of a weapon; colors and forms with which she was most familiar (vivid green eyes, a pale, slightly flushed, complexion, and dark hair); and a hunger to see and try to make sense of everything everywhere.

She didn’t understand what any of it meant—except weird dreams meant that she was likely pregnant, so she was likely pregnant and that was nice, but she really wanted to return to sleep and think later.

When Adelise woke for the second time, she felt better, but considered that (regardless of any pregnancy) maybe her scattered thoughts the night before had been a garbled memory. Had Asher been here? She vaguely remembered her husband falling asleep beside her, his body heat keeping her comfortably warm, but that was an obvious fantasy, another dream. Asher was not warm and he never slept here. He couldn’t. She sometimes wondered what it would be like to be in a relationship with a spouse she regularly fell asleep next to, someone who radiated warmth and with whom she was open—she’d married her husband knowing he wasn’t ever going to be that person, but maybe she wouldn’t end up with hurt feelings if she risked being a little less guarded around him. Maybe.

Regardless, Adelise confirmed good news: a baby (baby #18) was coming. Her perhaps less-than-ideal relationship with her husband aside, she was happy about this and knew he would be too.

Brett came to visit Elmire again. They swam and played water games. Elmire showed off her diving skills.

Or rather she showed how she was working to improve her diving skills.

After swimming, the two kids went to the music room, where Brett got a shock.

He had not known it was possible to play the piano as well as Elmire did.

Brett: Is piano your job?

Elmire: No! I don’t have a job.

Brett: Is it going to be your job? THIS IS THE COOLEST THING I’VE EVER HEARD.

Elmire: Really?! Then, you need to listen to my sister Aster and other pianists play the entire concerto. When there are other instruments, one of the best parts begins as the key switches from B-flat minor to D-flat major. The piano’s arpeggios transform into the melody and then into accompanying chords. It’s andante cantabile and so beautiful~ My sister can use every note to evoke pathos properly. I don’t have my own color yet and I’m still working on my overall technique, but I will keep learning forever!

Brett: I don’t understand anything you just said, but you’re going to play forever?

Elmire: YeS!

For a moment, Brett remained stunned. He could only smile awkwardly as he reflected on what he had been doing with his own life while his elementary school buddy had learned to play the piano at a professional level.

But, after a moment, he concluded that he was fine. Elmire was fine too. She just happened to be really good at the piano.

It was actually becoming a thing. Her parents didn’t want to hold her back, but as her father had put it, there were legions of dimwit dodos out there. It might be best if she didn’t attend the Starlight Accolades or do any big performances as a child. Instead, they hoped she would be okay with them setting up special musical things for her that didn’t involve Elmire becoming a public figure.

First, since the Fiers loved dancing, they had a small ballroom dance event. For whatever reason, inviting her friends didn’t really work… and Elmire was the most comfortable with her father anyway, so she was happy to learn something and then dance with him.

Random Author’s Note: This chapter’s title is probably my favorite.


  • Snow ~
    June 6, 2022 at 5:56 am

    hhh your screenshots are so gooOOOOODDDDD
    I like seeing it come back to Adelise and Asher’s relationship. Although it’s mentioned in older chapters they didn’t love each other when they were married, and mentioned/implied that’s changed since I think it can still be a bit of a strain on the relationship even afterwards.

    At least the good news of the new baby (!!!!!) brought them together with a lil kiss < 3 I think with another family I'd worry about the baby being the sort of 'anchor' of a relationship, but Adelise and Asher aren't those sorts of parents, they both do what they can to ensure the best for their children.

    I'm glad that although Elmire's friend knows next to nothing about pianos and music, he's still cheering her on and being supportive. I wish more people were like that with their friends' interests. I absolutely love seeing Asher ballroom dance with Elmire; my heart ;-; I really like Elmire as a character. I like that instead of being a flat-out loner or having a super-mega ton of friends, she's got a few close pals and is close to her father. It's sweet < 3

    Though I wonder in the future- when Elmire grows older, she may want to hang out with other people and not spend as much time with Asher. I don't see him taking it well- not in a bad way, but in a 'not wanting to let your child go' way.

    • Haneul
      June 6, 2022 at 10:56 pm

      Thank you! I started using ReShade exclusively, but I still have tons of messier, non-ReShade screenshots to post too. Originally, Asher and Adelise liked each other quite a bit (but Adelise liked him more than he liked her), and they got engaged. Then, Asher spent years acting like a feral vampire and he also proposed to someone else, so things cooled off between them, but they still married eventually. They’re friendly now, but since Asher can be thoughtless/mean/hurtful and Adelise doesn’t want to risk that, she’s a little cold and guarded towards him. I agree that they definitely don’t seem the type to use a baby as a pawn in a relationship, but since they both like their kids and big families, a baby can kind of be an anchor?? because Asher finds good parenting attractive and likes how Adelise treats his children. He’s comfortable having her around them.

      I didn’t think much about Brett supporting Elmire. But she is lucky to have him and more friends should support one another even if they’re not that interested in all of their friends’ hobbies. Elmire’s hobby is particularly complicated and hard to relate to because she’s a child still within the range of a “normal” (by EA standards) child lifespan and yet has piano skills at level 10 (the maximum even for adults).

      When Elmire grows older, she may want to hang out with other people and not spend as much time with Asher. I don’t see him taking it well- not in a bad way, but in a ‘not wanting to let your child go’ way.
      I haven’t played through everything yet, so this is not a spoiler, but I do think you’re on to something. However since I am a gameplay-based player, it may not be that bad for her (or him) because Asher is busy. He has a full-time job. He also paints and writes books due to their expensive bills. He takes classes at the university too, and with there now being another child, he won’t have time to hover over Elmire constantly or to worry too much about her. She already has friends and other stuff that she does without him, so he’s likely to respect some boundaries. At the same time, though, it feels like Elmire growing up is not going to sit well with Asher at some point, and that it’s just a question of when.

  • Yimiki
    June 7, 2022 at 8:28 pm

    I love how you keep working with focus and lighting in your screenshots. Especially the picture of the bed and the fireplace, and Adelise pondering in the fire’s glow are gorgeous. Her linking weird dreams to being pregnant made me chuckle, but it seems she’s right with her instincts. 18 babies, my goodness. It’s a good thing that they don’t seem to tire of being parents.

    Reading that Adelise still feels guarded round her husband even after so many years of marriage and raising children together makes me weirdly sad. If can’t be completely open and vulnerable around her husband of all people, who else is left? Of course, it was not a marriage of love so there’s other things to consider, but still. She’s set to spend her life with Asher. She’s pregnant with yet another one of his kids. I hope she does open up a little, and I hope Asher doesn’t completely drop the ball when she does.

    Don’t worry, Brett, I understood just as much as you did and had to resort to google for the answer. He seems really taken with her, and I’m glad to see that Elmire being on such a high level didn’t make him question his own life choices for long. It’s an easy trap to fall in, realizing someone’s talent and immediately comparing yourself/finding yourself lacking in return.

    Hm. I understand Asher’s decision of wanting to keep Elmire out of the spotlight, but… hmm. I don’t know. I’m sensing undertones of possessiveness from him again. Maybe it’s me reading things that are not there.

    • Haneul
      June 7, 2022 at 9:37 pm

      Thank you. 😀 My screenshot quality is going to continue to go up and down for quite a while. I have a large backlog of them and have yet to reach the point where I consistently try to be extra thoughtful and use ReShade.

      My Sims’ culture is influenced by a mix of real-life Western and Eastern cultures. Honestly, I sometimes can’t tell what is a Western influence from an Eastern one, but the idea of having a vivid conception- or birth-related dream is super common in Korea. So when Adelise woke up moody in the middle of the night with baby-related thought bubbles, I interpreted it as her having that sort of dream.

      Reading that Adelise still feels guarded round her husband even after so many years of marriage and raising children together makes me weirdly sad.
      Yes, I think it’s sad too. The plan is to give him a chance, because ideally (or maybe as a basic requirement for some) a wife should be able to be completely open and vulnerable with her husband. But if that’s not the case, do the material comforts, the children, and the friendship make the situation tolerable and if not, then what? I think those sort of thoughts can be scary.

      Elmire has some trouble with communication and understanding others’ perspectives, so it should be difficult to grasp what she’s saying at times. She’s herself and she’s a kid, so even though she’s maxed the piano skill in record time and it’s weird, it feels normal to her. She assumes others (especially adults) understand her when she talks about music because she’s basically “normal” like everyone else and they give mixed signals about what they understand anyway. In her mind, she’s just a little bit above average at the piano and she knows that she’s a rich kid so a lot of other kids don’t have the resources she has. Regardless, Elmire is not fond of words that would other her like “genius”, “prodigy”, or “virtuoso”. Asher may use them, but he’s a dad and dad’s exaggerate their kids’ abilities all the time, so that doesn’t bother her so much.

      I’m sorry you took the trouble of Googling that and I think it’s hard to even Google so to be clear, Elmire’s statement is based on a real piece, Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43 Variation 18. It’s a lyrical and pretty dreamlike sequence in a concerto that a piano begins alone and then other instruments join in and help out.

      Sometimes Asher does seemingly good things for bad reasons and seemingly bad things for good reasons, so possessiveness could definitely be a reason. He’s suspicious, which is why his wife doesn’t trust him 100%. 😥

      • Yimiki
        June 10, 2022 at 8:47 pm

        I wonder just how far ahead you’ve played already 😮 Oooh I didn’t know that was common in Korea! Here we don’t hold that idea at all, or at least, I don’t think we do. That’s very interesting.

        Hm. I’d definitely be one of the ones for whom complete openness and vulnerability is a must. If that’s not present, and the “side benefits” and children don’t balance out the scales, well that would lead to separation, wouldn’t it? If they’re capable of separating, at least. If not… I can see how it could lead to a lot of resentment. 😦

        True, to be different (possibly excluded) is rarely a wanted thing for children, whether that’s through excellence or failure. I do like that Asher is keeping Elmire away from the glamorous world of celebrities – a child prodigy with so much talent would get a lot of attention and that attention is not always good. Maybe Elmire will choose the spotlight herself when she’s older. But she’ll get the choice, and that’s what matters… at least, if Asher doesn’t end up staying overprotective and forbidding it 😅

        I see! Thank you for the information 🙂

        • Haneul
          June 11, 2022 at 5:53 am

          Thanks again. Asher and Adelise can separate if separation becomes necessary or just desirable. Separation would have interesting consequences, but there shouldn’t be anything to stop it (neither would attack the other). But they can also just stay together.


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