After the party, the older kids had fun playing with building blocks...
... and Evelyn was taught how to talk. Not quite as fun.
In the meantime, their mother went out to see Dancer. Everything was prepared. Dolores was ready.
It was time.
Ignoring the pouring rain, they raced up a trailing mountain road.
They arrived at the tiny log cabin that Audra Williams called home. Dolores knew that this was not where the criminal mastermind actually lived, but simply a front to keep up the appearance of a regular mother and housewife.
Regardless, this was where Audra was spending the night with her children.
Still dressed up from Dolores' party earlier, Audra was reading a bedtime story to her daughters.
As Dolores approached, Audra continued reading the last lines of the book as if she had not noticed the intruder. It was the usual plot, with the good, brave prince saving his beautiful princess and prevailing over The Big Bad Wolf, or some other evil.
"... and they lived happily ever after. There, now sleep, darling. Mommy needs to have a talk with her friend here."
She put down the book, got up slowly and faced Dolores, an unreadable expression on her face.
"An unusual story to read to one's children... for someone in our line of work," Dolores observed.
Audra did not reply to this. Her tone of voice remained neutral as she asked, "What are you doing here at this time, Dolores? Did something happen?"
"Oh no, Audra. Nothing happened. Yet." Dolores bared her teeth in something that could barely be described as a smile. It was closer to a snarl. "Just popping in, like good friends do. I hope you don't feel like I am intruding."
"Dolores, of course you are always welcome in my home. Only a mother can ever truly understand another mother, so you know how much I value your friendship and your continued loyalty."
"I'm glad you feel that way, Audra. I really just wanted to check in on you and your cubs, to make sure you are all as safe here as you are in your other home."
"My... other...", for the first time ever, for just a split second, Audra looked flustered. Dolores smirked as Audra regained her composure and said, "I have no idea what you're talking about, Dolores, dear."
"Oh, you know. Your other house. The mansion in the mountains, the one that you actually live in. The one with the nice big fence and security doors. It's a very safe place, that one. But really, can a Sim ever feel safe? One never knows when some intruder might waltz into their house and disable the alarms. A mother shudders in fear, thinking about the harm that could be done to her or her children."
Audra closed her eyes and exhaled slowly. To less perceptive Sims it might have looked like she was calm, but Dolores knew better.
"You wouldn't," Audra said blankly.
"Because I'm a mother, right?" Dolores grinned, now barely able to keep herself from laughing. "That, dearest Audra, has always been your most crucial mistake. Read the papers lately? About a fire at the museum? Terrible, truly terrible..."
Dolores chose to omit that the little girl's death had actually been an accident. But intentional or not, it had played perfectly into her plans.
On her way out, Dolores picked up Audra's newborn son and rocked him in her arms for a bit. Audra watched, stiff as a board.
"Shaun, was it? He's a cutie, that one. Take good care of him, Audra."
And with that, she gently placed him back on the floor and walked out the door.
"See you Monday, Audra," she called over her shoulder. "I expect punctuality within my Organization."
She had done it. Finally, her plans had come to fruition. This little visit had just been the icing on top of the cake, really. Just to let Audra know who the new boss was now. Dolores had worked tirelessly for ages to motivate the other members of The Organization to follow her instead of Audra. Preparing everything for this day. By now, the transition should be complete. Telling Audra about it had just been a little treat, something for Dolores' personal satisfaction. And the element of intimidation of course.
Audra had gotten the message, yes. But it wouldn't be Dolores if there wasn't something more dramatic involved.
After all, she was the new Empress of Evil.
Dolores' children had no idea about their mother's true identity.
Well, perhaps Esteban did, judging by the way he strutted over the playground...
... like he owned the place.
Dolores' work was best done during the night, so she often spent her days sleeping late with Trent.
It was a rainy day when she visited her father's grave. Clover had put up her guitar beside it.
Dolores supposed it was some sort of sentimental gesture symbolizing this or that. That sort of thing had never been her strength, nor had it interested her.
She did, however, wonder silently whether Darwin would have been proud of the fact that she had reached the top of her career now.
As if she had sensed Dolores' inward question, her mother assured her that both her parents would always be proud of Dolores, no matter what. The words did not mean much to Dolores.
A nice big hug did, however.
For a moment, Dolores considered making her mother promise not to tell anyone about this sign of weakness. It would not have been good for her image. But one look at Clover's sad eyes and she knew that she had nothing to fear.
Clover had never been the type to gossip. And now that Darwin was gone, all she did was take care of his things. His truck, his dogs, and his alien son Diamond.
Dusty had died a while ago and it was obvious Bellaboosh did not have much time left either, so Clover did her best to make the dog's last days enjoyable.
Evelyn really did look a lot like Darwin.
Dolores left those bright grey eyes behind to retreat to the stable. There were things to discuss with Dancer. The next steps in the big plan.
Most parental duties fell to Trent. He took Emily to her ballet lessons...
... and praised Eric for every new badge he earned in the scouts.
Esteban had joined the scouts too, though he wasn't nearly as proud of his badges as Eric was.
He preferred playing outside in view of Dolores' presumably evil collection of gnomes.
He also enjoyed teasing his little sister.
"No, Evelyn, this is not for babies. You can't play with this."
"Don't be mean, Esteban," Emily chided.
"Of course you can play with us, Evelyn," Eric added with a kind smile.
Yelling at underlings over the phone.
Being the boss was pretty fun. Whether at work...
... or at home.
Trent's new meditation hobby helped him to remain zen about everything.