I blink. Whoa.
Wow, he's good looking. Really good looking. Drop dead gorgeous even.
From what Li told me, I expected an uptight stick in the mud in traditional garb with a terrible haircut. The sim in front of me is completely different from my expectations. I'm interested. Despite such a schism in my preformed opinion and the sim in front of me, I......I want.......
" Please excuse us, Zhan. "
He's firm but not rude. I like that.
And that's the truth. Unfortunate that Zhan no longer has the appeal he once did. This is terrible. I'll no longer be able to evaluate Bao objectively. What am I going to do?
Ha! An offer! Check me out, I didn't have to try much at all! This lessens the pressure on me to choose Bao because of time restraints, thank goodness. I sigh in relief and inhale Bao's amazing cologne. I swallow and try to stay cool.
His voice is deep and smooth, his manner polished and confident. Where is the stick-in-the-mud Traditionalist Li told me about? Did they plan this together? If so, I don't like it.
"The road leading from the graveyard was washed away by a mudslide, and getting around through the mountain pass was difficult."
I can't quite gauge whether or not he's lying. It did rain and hail very hard for a couple of hours today, but hard enough for a road to wash out? I never included the graveyard in my explorations because that was too depressing for me. I can't call him out on anything he's telling me......
"Going to the other side of the club."
Okay Tasha, breathe. You didn't expect him to be stunning, but he is. It doesn't matter. Who you marry is extremely important. Too important to decide without a clear head. Get a grip in 3,2,1...
Fair enough Bao.
"It's a wonderful dream, putting your grandkids on Ayelin, but we both know that's all it'll ever be. Building a House like that takes five generations, not five decades...... assuming that's what you want."
He's right. "Getting on Ayelin is extremely difficult, but that doesn't exclude Zhan as a viable choice for me, and besides, "
"What makes you think I don't want to put my descendants on the rocketship to the Land of Moonlight and Immortality?"
"Don't waste your time considering someone who's moving in the opposite direction. I can help you build your House. Sure I'm an Adult, but I have plenty of time left. I'm offering you a chance female sims rarely get: to direct your House the way you want, to have your children bear your name."
"It keeps coming back to you because its unheard of."
"I know that. It's still annoying." I say and sit down. I resist the urge to move closer."Tell me what else you can offer me."
"I'm not so sure about that," I say and frown, "according to what I heard, you are a traditional sim."
"People say I'm traditional?"
"Oh, I don't think you've learned that lesson," I mock, "I think you're desperate." I poke him purposely.
Bao was silent, lips thinned, for an entire minute. Is he angry? Good. Maybe he'll make me angry and get rid of the annoying twisting and fluttering in my stomach.
But no. Instead he gives me a long appraisal, starting at my heels and slowly flowing upwards. When his eyes meet mine there's a glimmer of something, banked and controlled. I have to fight not to fidget.
"Yes." he says, his eyes holding mine, "But so are you. You're all alone on that island, you need help, and you have limited time to get it. That doesn't mean we can't work."
"Marriage is about two sims willing to work hard together to achieve their dreams. Your dream is to build a House, or you would not be here. Mine is to have children. Our goals are very compatible, the rest we can work on. We don't have traits that clash against each other, or our Lords would not have suggested the match to begin with.We will be great together Tasha, because we will be dedicated to making it great."
"This is the end of our date," Bao's voice softly caresses me in the darkness, "What will you do?"
That's the problem, I don't know. Bao would be great choice, but he's so old. Zhan may be inexperienced, but that can be worked on, and I felt a genuine attraction to him. But, if I chose Bao, I'd get to keep my power as head of my House. As Zhan's wife I'd have no choice and no say in how he went about realizing his ambitions. Putting my family on Ayelin is in the opposite direction I want to go, and I'm not sure I can deter Zhan......
"I'm not inclined to end our date yet. Where can we go for a little privacy?" I ask Bao.
"The Scholar's Garden is deserted this time of night."
I smile. even though he cant really see me. "I'll meet you there. I want a little breather before we resume our discussion."
"Alright." Bao agrees, sounding hopeful "I'll see you there."
I wish I knew whether or not I'll crush his hopes.