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You can find out more about SUN here, and even access the message board where Natalija and Cletus met. 
Romance across the pond
May 22, 2003 - by Lucy Test

What happens when sims living hoods apart meet on a message board and post by post fall in love? In this interview by guest writer Lucy Test you can meet the most famous SUN boards couple, Natalija and Cletus.

It is with the greatest pleasure that I was able to interview the duo that make up the most talked about relationship in the SUN community.  The story of their romance, and its many ups and downs, has been followed avidly by Sims from all across Sim Nation.  Now for the first time, you can hear their story, in their own words as I went to the home of this dynamic and charismatic couple to try and find out what it is that has captivated us all.

Lucy: How did you two meet each other?

Natalija: How did we meet? Well I guess we met before we actually met in a way, I'll let you tell her baby, it was you who approached me after all.

Cletus: I did not approach you; you got it all wrong, baby!  Actually, I was
talking to Aaron first.  I was bored, tried to stir up a little trouble.  Then
you tore my head off and handed it back to me.  That got my hunter's blood up.  I wanted to know more about you, but I still didn't say anything to you, just Aaron.  I started questioning him about you, were you single, all that.

Natalija: Well yes I did get a little harsh with you, but you asked for it, and I didn't know you were talking to Aaron about me, the first I knew was when Aaron told me you were interested, see Lucy, Aaron was talking to this woman, on the SUN Friends and Dating Board and Cletus here tried to wind him up by telling the girl, he was interested in that he was a player, so I gave him a bit of a telling off, I was a married woman at the time, don't forget that baby.

So then after Neil died, Aaron told me there was this guy who was interested in me, and again I was a little short with him and told him to bug off, I wasn't interested But he's a persistent guy and he wrote to me with this stuff saying how he would protect me with his life and such, well it got me interested, so I wrote back, right Honey?

Cletus: Yeah, see you approached me first even if it was to tell me to bug off. (You didn't like me at all; I really had to work hard to get you). I started not to even reply, but something Aaron said, "what have you got to lose?" made sense.  So I laid it all out for her, what I would do if we got together.  As soon as I wrote it, I wished I hadn't, felt like a fool, but look where it led.  We started talking and discovered we had a lot of things in common...well, poetry wasn't one of them, but I could fake it.

Natalija: It seems I thought we had more in common that we actually did, but he was so sweet and even though he doesn't like to admit it, so romantic too, it got me curious and I found I couldn't stop writing to him.

Lucy: What were your first impressions of each other?

Natalija: From writing to each other you mean? Well, to tell you the truth I thought he was a bit of a jerk, I guess it got my back up when he started teasing Aaron and I was fairly determined not to like him, but then when we started writing more, I softened up a little

Cletus: Oh, I flipped for Natalija right away.  I knew she didn't like me; I can be a jerk at times...hell, most of the time.  She didn't back down, didn't take any of my nonsense.  But she had just lost her husband by then, and I knew she wasn't ready for any kind of romance.  I figured we'd just be friends. I told her how it was with me when my wife died suddenly, that is something we had in common, for sure.  The shock of your spouse taken from you with no warning, it's crippling.  I could feel how much pain she was in and wanted to help her.

Natalija: Awww isn't that just the sweetest thing you've ever heard?

He's right though, when we first started talking I wasn't ready for any kind of relationship, although Cletus was a big help to me, I don't think he knew how much actually, but it certainly wasn't a love at first write situation, for me at least. It was a gradual thing.  I started off not wanting to like him and as I got to know him more, the more I liked him, and slowly I fell in love with him.

Lucy: What lead to you both travelling to meet each other?

Actually meeting each other? Well that was my idea, I'd been reading George Phillip Martin's SUN Exchange newsletter and I thought that we could use the same air travel system to meet each other.  We'd been talking quite a while by then and I thought it might be fun; it was more problematic than either of us thought though

Cletus: Yeah, there is a language problem.  Isn't that a hoot?  England is the US's mother country, but we don't speak the same language.  I can come here but she couldn't go there.  That's how I ended up visiting, and staying here.  But it's ok, I like it here and my boys have adjusted, they think of the Plaza as home.  I was really nervous about actually meeting Natalija at first.  What if she really couldn't stand me?  There was the age thing and the fact that she's so beautiful, I'm surprised that guys weren't lining up to take her out.

Natalija: Aiden and I got turned back at customs when we arrived at Smallville and weren't allowed to enter the country, so Cletus and his family came here instead.  When he got here and we were actually going to meet for the first time, oh boy, I had such butterflies in my stomach, I mean, either of us could have been so different from what the other had imagined, the whole thing could have been one giant disaster.  I wasn't as worried about the age thing really, I mean after all age is just a number right?

Lucy: What is the age difference?

Natalija: There's 17 years between us.

Lucy: Has this caused a problem with other Sims who may not approve?

Natalija: No not really, well apart from my dad, he's the only sim to seem to have a problem with it, which is strange in a way I guess, I would have thought Sam would find it pretty difficult too. I've never really been inundated with date offers, I think a lot of guys are put off by the fact that I say what I think, I can get a lot of Sims backs up and apparently have a bit of a reputation for being hard to handle, I'm not really though, am I baby?

Cletus: Oh, baby, I love to handle you.... ugh, except for those sharp elbows of yours.  I have permanent bruises from them.  Uh, where was I?

Oh, yeah, first date.  I had a nightmare that everything I said to her, little minus signs would appear over her head.  You ever heard of that before? But we connected right away, none of that first-date awkwardness.  Maybe because by then, we'd been writing to each other for so long.  I knew I loved her even before we came here, and after the first time we actually met, I knew we'd be together eventually.

You're right, baby. Your dad is the only one who ever made an issue of the age difference.  I had second thoughts at first, but then it didn't seem important. And Sam didn't seem to see anything wrong with it either.  But he's really immature anyway, and Natalija is way more mature than most Sims her age.   And I love it that she speaks her mind, none of that female game playing.  It's refreshing.

Natalija: That's one thing, baby, you'll always know if you've done something to annoy me.

I don't think I've ever clicked with someone so quickly, but like Cletus said, that's probably because we had been writing to each other for quite a while by then, I remember our first date, we went to the Park and just sat and talked for hours. I couldn't sleep at all that night.

I knew I loved him just after he took me away to the beach for the weekend, we'd had a bit of a row and I think we were both a little uncertain about what would happen next, and I was at home thinking about how I would feel if he left and went back to the US, and that's the time I could say, This is the man I love.

Lucy: What has been your most difficult time together?

Our most difficult time together?  Well for me, without a doubt it would have to be the week Cletus was being held by that cult in Smallville, I was just going crazy, not knowing where he was or if he was all right, I couldn't stand it.

Cletus: We have had a lot of difficult moments.  Natalija and Aiden were kidnapped by thugs hired by that Hansworth fellow, that was a really bad time, I never felt so helpless in my life.  Then I had to go to Smallville on a family emergency and really got my ass kicked, didn't wake up for three days. I was in the hospital when Aaron told me Natalija was pregnant and in the hospital herself with complications, I had to check myself out against medical advice and get back here quickly.  But everything has worked out fine.  We are always there for each other even when times get bad.  I can tell her anything, and she can confide in me too.  I just have to watch myself, I tend to be overprotective of my family, but Nat is teaching me to treat her as an equal.

Natalija: Yeah there have been a lot of difficult moments, but I think they've only helped us to become stronger as a couple, instead of giving up when things got tough.  When Cletus was missing in Smallville, and I had just found out that I was pregnant, I was so worried, we hadn't really talked about having children, we hadn't really talked that much about getting married either, and I didn't really know how he would feel about it.

In a way it's nice that he tries to protect us so much, but I can take care of myself and I hate to be smothered.  Every relationship has its kinks, and it seems that so many Sims split up because of that. But we're both mature enough to know that relationships are about give and take too, and you can't expect to just be ok coasting along.

Cletus: Right now, I think I'm happier than I've ever been.  I have everything a sim could want, a home, children, friends, and my soul mate.  Who could ask for anything more?

Natalija: I couldn't have said it better myself. My life is exactly the way I want it to be and I've never been happier.

Lucy: How does it feel to have the most famous relationship in SUN?

Natalija: Well I wouldn't say we were famous exactly, would you honey? Yes it is a little strange to see people talking about us, and when George Phillip wrote that we had inspired a lot of Sims, well, it's hard to think that people are that interested in us really.

Cletus: It is surprising to me too.  We mostly stopped posting on the Simmerville board after we got together and yet I still get questions and comments about my relationship with Natalija.  It was nice to meet George Martin and his wife Nickie in person; I've read his stuff since last fall, and it was a pleasure to finally meet him.

Natalija: Yeah, they're both really nice people, and I guess in a way if it wasn't for George Phillip running the SUN Exchange we probably never would have actually met, so here's to you George. I bet he considers himself a rather unlikely cupid eh?
It is abundantly clear from talking to these two Sims that they are very much in love with each other, and the force of their combined personalities is one that can be felt any time they are in the room.  Feeding off each other's strengths and supporting each other's weaknesses, the easy intimacy that radiates from them puts you at ease from the start.  Although maybe not the most likely of couples, it is plain to see that this is a relationship that will only be strengthened as time goes on.  Their love and dedication to each other and to their combined extended families seems to be contradictory with the trend of relationships in Sim Nation today and I can only surmise that it is this that makes them so fascinating to us all.

I would like to thank Cletus and Natalija Jones for taking the time to talk with me, and wish them all the best for the future.