Thursday, 2 September 2010

No surprises

Round 28: Autumn 2028
Narrated by Rebecca Kirby

A fire alarm is never what you want to wake up to. Ours goes off all the time but looking out the window the other morning, I could tell it was serious when I saw the ambulance and the fire truck.

I rushed downstairs and out the fire door and headed to where the rest of the students were gathering. Adrienne told me a fire had started in the cafeteria, while the cook was making breakfast. Usually, none of us are awake yet at 4am, the time when breakfast is first served but Tessa must have got up early that morning - she wasn't out on the lawn with the rest of us.

The paramedics brought Tessa out on a stretcher and wheeled her into the ambulance. I wanted to ride along to go with her to the hospital, but I was given a firm no.

I made my own way to the hospital instead. By the time I got there, Tessa's parents were already with her in the room. Tessa was unconscious and suffering from smoke inhalation and was hooked up to a ventilator.

I hated seeing Tessa with all those tubes going into her nose. It wasn't anywhere close to what her parents must have been feeling though, I know.

I started feeling like I should give Mr and Mrs Novak some privacy, so I went out to the waiting room and found Dominic sitting on one of the couches.

I think we were both as worried as each other. Dominic had been at the hospital a little longer than me and he said he'd seen a few doctors going in and out of Tessa's room.

The doctors wouldn't talk to anyone but family but we managed to get little bits of information from Lia and Maia, Tessa's sisters.

They stayed in the hospital room with their parents most of the time, but they told us what they knew, which wasn't much. No one was quite sure if Tessa was going to make it but we knew it was less likely the longer she stayed under.

We didn't have much to say, nor were we really hungry but Dominic and I went to sit in the cafeteria for a while anyway. In my head, I was just praying Tessa would be okay and I guess Dominic was doing the same thing.

Over the next week or so, I really struggled to concentrate on my school work. It all kept piling up but I was so worried about Tessa.

I tried to visit Tessa as often as I could, in between studying and classes. She always had at least one of her parents there, and often one of her sisters too.

Dominic came to see Tessa a lot too, though our visiting times didn't usually overlap.

Deep down, I was expecting the worst with Tessa. Still, when I got that phone call telling me she was gone, I was in shock. I think I walked around in a daze for a couple of days.

I tried to fix up "her" greenhouse; Tessa was really the only who took care of it and most of the plants died while she was in hospital. I saved a couple for her.

I spent a little bit of time in her room. I guess I thought I should, before all her things got packed up and shipped back to her parents. I didn't do much with my room but Tessa's room is just so Tessa. It's bright, with nature scenes all over the place and of course, her bed was still unmade.

I felt like everyone was just waiting for me to break down.

When I finally did, I was alone. I just can't believe I'll never get to talk to Tessa again. I can't remember not being friends with her.

Once I started crying, I could hardly stop.

Tessa's next closest friend, after me, was probably Susannah. We were sort of only really friends through Tessa but I think this will end up bringing us closer.

Of everyone, she's the one who probably really gets what I'm feeling right now, because she's feeling the same way.

I had a huge crush on Lucian last year and I thought it was kind of nice that he came by to see how I was.

We never went past being friends but he seemed to be hinting that he wants to go further. I'm ignoring all of his signals right now. If he'd flirted with me last year, I would have been all over him but right now, I don't have the energy for dating.

Adrienne has been trying to console me but there's not much she can do. I think she's a bit uncomfortable. We don't know each other all that well and she didn't really know Tessa too well either.

I do appreciate the effort though. At the end of the year, Adrienne will graduate, at which point I'm going to try to get a transfer to another dorm. I don't want to hang around here any more, especially not all by myself.

Tessa Novak, 2009-2028

Suffolk University sophomore Tessa Novak died in hospital from smoke inhalation after a fire in her dorm. She was 19 years old.

Tessa, aged 2, 2011
Tessa Novak was born to parents Jace, an artist and Magdalena, a chef, in Sullivan in 2009. She had two older sisters, Lia (31) and Maia (26).

Tessa, with friends Susannah and Rebecca, 2022.
As a child, Tessa loved the outdoors and continued that interest when she moved away to college, by keeping up her dorm's greenhouse.

At the time of her death, Tessa was dating Dominic Lachance. The couple were together for two years.

Tessa was so young and there was not an awful lot to say in her obituary but I picked out some favourite pictures for it that I didn't get to use.

Tessa and Rebecca, aged about 10 or 11.

Tessa and Rebecca, aged 19.

I've said before but Lia, Maia and Tessa are my favourite sibling group in Sullivan. I love that they look like sisters but are not identical. This is still one of my favourite wedding shots ever (excluding couple shots). It's hanging in Lia's house somewhere and Tessa had it in her bedroom at home as well.

Tessa with her parents, Jace and Magdalena. Again, this one is a favourite.

  • Title is from No Surprises by Radiohead.
  • Tessa was the Sim who rolled the Death by Fire ROS this round. Oh, I hated to do this one. So much! I set out my ROS last round though and started thinking about this straight away, so I'd pretty much committed myself to it. But now you guys know why I was dreading this!
  • There were no actual pictures of the fire, which I hope doesn't look like too much of a cop-out or anything. Last time I tried to start a fire, back when Troy was in college, I realised I actually don't know how to do that and I still haven't learnt! But I don't know. Sad enough without pictures of Tessa stuck in a burning cafeteria, perhaps? I think so, anyway.
  • Adrienne did not appear much in this update. Those of you who post at N99 might have seen that Adrienne somehow got herself phantom pregnant, so she had a big baby belly for most of the time! She is now fixed, thank goodness. I really didn't want to write in another accidental pregnancy for her.
  • Amongst all the tragedy and phantom pregnancies, I did manage to play through Rebecca and Adrienne's college year. Rebecca is still maintaining a 4.0 and Adrienne graduated with a 3.8. Adrienne will feature in January 2029 birthdays (I'm switching to months instead of seasons from next round).
  • Next update, we'll visit Tessa's parents and after that, it'll be Tatiana and Jonas, so Dominic will fit in somewhere during that update.


  1. Oh no! Say it isn't so! This is so sad! It's gotta be even worse for you since she's yours, but man, how sad. I think young deaths are the worst! I hope Dominic will be alright.

  2. Omigosh! Tessa...I knew your ROS said a death by fire, but even when I saw that Tessa was the one in the hospital, I was in denial thinking it was a fluke...omigosh...I don't know how I'd survive doing that to such a young sim :(

  3. Oh man, I am completely.. just in shock! Tessa. :( Poor Dominic, poor Tessa. I'm just sad. No words. :(

    I'm glad you didn't shoot the fire, I have the buyable fire when I roll the ros.

    Aww, man I loved these sibling girls, and just can't believe Tessa is gone. :(

  4. Poor Tessa. I really liked her.

    I hate fires. At least when I rolled my fire ROS no one died, but my Burrego's lost all of their posessions and house.

    I hope every will be able to move on and past her death. She was so young. :( *sniff*

  5. Oh my goodness! I totally didn't see her being the one getting this! She was so young! The only person younger than her who ever died was Alexandra Novak, right? And that was waaaaay back when too :(

    I saw the ambulance, and I started thinking "Oh no, oh no, oh no!" And then it happened, and I think I actually teared up a little! Poor Dominic, and Rebecca, and Susannah, and Jace, and Magdalena, and Lia, and Maia... oh gosh, and there were so many other people effected by this too... this was heartbreaking :( Tessa will be missed for sure.

  6. Thanks for your comments, guys!

    gallowaytownship, oh, it was really awful for me. I loved Tessa and I hated to kill her off. :(

    We'll see how Dominic is coping soon.

    Apple Valley, I've never had to kill off such a young Sim before but I knew it'd be hard. :( That makes me think though, I should really start using the hospital for things other than birth and death. The doctors are starting to seem kind of like butchers!

    Maisie, ah, buyable fire! One of these days, I'll download that!

    I loved Tessa too and I really liked Tessa and Dominic together. I'm sad for all that will never eventuate for those two.

    Riverdale, me too. That's why I had to commit myself to it early, or I would have wussed out. I think this will be especially hard for Tessa's friends and family. It's not like when an old person, or someone who's been sick for a long time dies.

    This ROS specified a death, so...yeah. I rolled an ROS that Adrienne's parents' house would be lost to fire but no loss there. I hated that house anyway!

    Tessa, correct! And yes, that was a long time ago. It also wasn't an ROS, just poor illness management on my part!

    So many people will be affected by this and I didn't realise it until after I started mapping out my play schedule for this round. It will feature in the next three updates (excluding the primary school update) for sure.

  7. Oh my gosh, I didn't see that one coming. I would hate do kill a Sim forcefully, especially such a young and cheerful one. It must have been really hard.
    I must say, though, you made really great use of the hospital stuff. It all seemed very natural (well, as natural, as it can be).

  8. I don't know what to say! It's just so shocking and really sad. She was so young, with her whole life ahead of her :(

    No wonder you've been dreading this so much. I don't think I would've been able to go through with it.

    Oh, I'm so jealous of you switching to months! I would do that too but I don't have enough households.

  9. I know it's silly bet there was a tear running down my cheek when I was reading this update! (But I've always been quite emotional)
    I was so sad to see Tessa go, I can't believe how it was for you killing her off :(

    I have enough household for switching to months, but I still need to think about that. Ever since I saw Pine Hollow switch to it, I have been thinking about it, and I'm still not sure...

  10. I just can't believe it was Tessa... She was one of my favorite sims of yours and I'll admit, I hoped it was Adrienne when I saw the ambulance in that first shot. I don't think I would have had the guts to do it.

  11. As soon as I read Tessa 'must got up early' I just knew it. But oh my God, she was so young! I had a soft spot for her and I can't bear to see Dominic grieving.

    R.I.P Tessa

  12. When I saw Tessa being taken to the hospital, I kept thinking, "No, Tessa CAN'T die!" :( It does make the make game interesting to shake things up like this, but it's so sad. She was so young and had so much still left to do in her life. :( I hope Rebecca and Dominic and Tessa's family will be all right.

  13. Oh no, poor Tessa! She was just so young. I can't imagine what Rebecca is going through, as they were both so close. RIP :(

    I have to admit, for a second part of me thought it might have been Adrienne who rolled the ROS, which almost would have been worse because she's gone through so much already. Even if it's sad Tessa is gone, I can't help being glad it wasn't Adrienne - I'd hate to have seen her go before she really started to grow and find herself.

  14. Thanks for reading everybody!

    Karolin, it's definitely harder with a young one, although I stall enough when I have to kill off an older Sim. I leave the game loaded in the background for two hours while I waste time online!

    But thanks! I try to make things seem somewhat realistic, so I'm glad I was successful. :)

    Sari, I almost chickened out and thought "I wonder if anyone would notice". But I have things planned for other households that relate to this, so I had to just think "it's for the story, it's for the story".

    I'm so excited about months! Christmas! New Year's!

    Tanja, awww! I don't think that's silly but that may because I've shed a tear myself occasionally while reading other people's Sim blogs! Maybe we're both silly. ;)

    Maybe once you get to the end of your round, you can re-assess the months thing. I've been wanting to do it for ages and it wasn't until Shana switched that I thought "hey, I definitely have enough households for that!"

    Flit, I admit, Tessa was a favourite of mine too. I love those Novak sisters. But I love all my Sims. It's hard for me to say sometimes that I like some more than others. Which is silly, because as if they care!

    Shake, yeah, I figured most people would know at that point. Unless you were one of the people terrified when Nick's last update started with a picture of a burning stove and you thought I was just trying to scare you! Considerably more serious this time, sadly. :(

    Shana, yes, and that's pretty much the only reason I was able to go through with it - it'll shake things up a little. Before I blogged, I never really did anything to cause drama but it sort of works to my advantage if I do now.

    I'm still sad though. Dominic had rolled the want to marry Tessa and they were so into each other for 1 bolters. :(

    Renegade, me either, really. I haven't been friends with any of my friends since kindergarten. That would be such a tight bond.

    And yes, you're right about Adrienne. She hasn't really had much of a chance to redeem herself and make something of her life. Of course, neither did Tessa, though she didn't really have anything to prove.

  15. I know this is kind of random, but I just saw the banner and thought of something. It's sort of an honor for her, that even though she's gone now, she'll be preserved forever in the form of your lovely banner. I just thought that was kind of sweet :)

  16. Tessa, I had the idea for that banner for a while but hadn't decided on who would star. I ended up choosing Tessa and Dominic specifically for that reason - so it could act as a little memorial for her after she died. I'm glad someone noticed. :)

  17. Oh this was so sad, I never thought she would actually die. Must have been so horrible for you to go through with it.
    I so feel for her family who must be going through a hell and Dominic. Poor Rebecca, she is having such a hard time also.
    Rest in Peace Tessa.

  18. I can't believe sweet Tessa is gone. This is so sad.
    It must have been so difficult for you to write this but with your words and the pictures you have made it seem so real.
    It's going to be hard to read the coming stories of how everyone deals with this loss and I'm sure we will shed a few more tears along the way.

  19. Speechless, yeah, I was stalling for quite a while before I had to do it. :( Her death will touch a lot of other people.

    Anilyn, thank you. It was hard to write. Once I'd finished all the hospital scenes, it was a little easier.

    I wrote Jace and Magdalena's update yesterday (that'll be going up in about 10 minutes) and that one is sad too, probably not surprisingly.

  20. Oh... that one was so sad! That was very much a surprise for me. I'm all attached to your sims, and having one like Tessa pass away was actually very difficult to read! Especially that picture of her unmade bed.

  21. Lunar, imagine how sad I was to kill her off! Tessa was such a sweet Sim. I just had to keep telling myself it would create some turmoil, otherwise I would have never done it!

  22. OMG!!!! I wasn't expecting it to be Tessa. Her and her sister have been one of my favorites. I bet her family is taking it really hard. That's so sad. I almost feel like it was one of my sims.

    ROS is fun to play with sometimes but other times I hate it. This is one of those hate times.

  23. Awwwwwwwwww :'(. That's what I thought from when I read the comments at N99. Man, I bet it was tough to kill her. I probably would have wussed out. And yes, it was sad enough without the fire pics. I think that would have been too much. I love that last pic of her and her parents. She looks so pretty there and happy. And the pic of her and Dominic. And the pic of the sisters together.... Man, this is going to affect so many households, naturally.

    But on a storytelling note, I really love how you played it out. I just grabbed all that hospital stuff you linked to in your hospital lot tour. I don't remember if I grabbed all that stuff with the tubes and such because I wasn't sure if I'd use it. Well, now I see I could. And how ironic that the title is called "No surprises". You lie! ;) And I also thought about the banner once you said it was Tessa and Dominic. I was wondering why those 2 and not another favorite like Patience and Rob or Nick and Sarah (even though Tessa and Dominic were adorable). And how you sent Tessa on the vacation "just because". That was nice that you gave her one last vacation even though she kind of did her own thing.

    Oh and I was just reading through your comments and saw how you changed to months. Duh (to myself), HOLIDAYS!! I wasn't even thinking of that and I've been doing months since I switched my aging. I'm actually short one household this year but will be short more next round but that's ok. But I'm glad you reminded me because I'm in October now and I can quick throw Halloween in there. Or maybe I'll just wait until next round. We'll see.

  24. oasisvalley, the Novak girls are some of my favourites too, so it's very sad to lose one of them. :(

    ROS is definitely a double-edged sword. It brings the drama which is always good but sometimes we lose much-loved Sims along the way.

    Danielle, LOL, I wondered if anyone would say that about the title!

    In the song though, he's talking about wanting a quiet life filled with no surprises, so it's more appropriate than it might seem. There's also a line talking about "a handshake of carbon monoxide", which I didn't realise until just then. Kind of appropriate for death by smoke inhalation!

    But anyway, I figured you would have pieced this together from what everyone was saying at N99. It's hard to avoid spoilers on the blogs there now, if you're not caught up.

    I did HEAPS of stuff for Tessa, just because I knew she was going to die. The camping trip, posed pictures, the, I went a little crazy. But thanks, I'm glad it all turned out well, story-wise. I had a minor moment of panic with the tubes because I couldn't see them under accessories and I thought maybe they were not YA-enabled. But they were, so it ended up looking very cool. Which sounds a tad morbid.

    I have a banner idea I'm tossing around in my head right now and the main reason I haven't done it yet is because I can't decided between Nick and Sarah and Patience and Rob. So it's funny you mentioned those two couples!

    I haven't changed to months yet but I'll be doing that from next round. I'm so excited! I hadn't even thought about Halloween, because we don't celebrate it much in Australia. But I think my Sims need to. ;)

  25. I first read this back when it was posted, when I was on vacation - not exactly a light vacation read, lol! You made me cry on my vacation!!! ;)

    Oh so sad! I still can't believe she's gone :(

    The hospital scene was very realistic, and I think poor Rebecca was the perfect narrator for this. I wouldn't have added the actual fire scene either. This was just enough. Her unmade bed - a perfect detail!

    So hard to follow through with though, especially at this age (my Anjali was about the same age when she rolled hers), and someone with as bright a future as Tessa would have had. Yes, it's for the story. But not just to add shock value to the story - it's more than that. It's so that the story can reflect the real lives that we live, that include losses like this. It helps us relate to them better.

    Okay, end tangent, lol!

    And OMG, I never knew that was her and Dominic in the banner! *sobs!* :(

  26. Laura, LOL, sorry!

    And thanks. I wouldn't exactly say the hospital scene was fun but I did enjoy putting it together and I think it turned out really well. Not using the fire was just as much laziness as anything else but for once, my laziness worked in my favour. ;)

    I was thinking about your Anjali when I was playing this, actually! But yeah, these kinds of things just happen. People lose friends, couples break up and sometimes people die too young.

    I have a new banner ready to go up at the beginning of next round - this one is making me sad now! LOL.

  27. Oh no!! I really wasn't expecting Tessa to be the one to die at all! How sad. That picture of her and Dominic at the sweet.

  28. Rachel, I think it will be hard for anything to top the death of Tessa, in terms of sadness. So young and she and Dominic were so sweet together. I probably would have let them get married, despite the one meager bolt. :(

  29. Another one dies too young. Granted, I spoiled myself sometime ago when I was trying to remember who she was, but still, getting to the actual entry is so sad. And all I was thinking about was her best friend Rebecca and Dominic who was saying that he was thinking about marrying her.
    You're a real trooper for sticking to that. I saw you were trying to avoid any more kids dying since poor Alexandra, decades ago. And then this happens. I'd probably have rerolled.

  30. Fini, oh, it was really awful for me to kill Tessa. Definitely still the hardest death I've ever done.

    I remember I rolled this ROS while she was still a teen, before she even got together with Dominic. So for me, there was a sense of foreboding surrounding their whole relationship.

    Sigh. The whole thing still makes me very sad, actually! And her death ended up affecting more people than I thought it would and for longer. On the bright side, I think it did make the story richer (which sounds a bit cold but it's true).

    Thanks for reading!