Warning: This post contains content intended for a mature audience. The chapter contains adult conversations and references to prostitution, extortion, murder, and human trafficking. If you are sensitive to this type of content, I recommend skipping the section following the second red warning in the middle of the chapter. For definitions, resources, and how you can help stop human trafficking, please see my author’s note at the bottom of this post.
From here on out I was sure it was going to be smooth sailing for Davis and I.
Breakfast with Davis at the Jolt became a morning ritual. We’d grab a bite to eat, talk, laugh, and talk some more before I’d head over to the house to help Mamma with the repairs and clean-up. Some days Davis would help me if he didn’t have to work a shift at the Jolt or he didn’t have work at my grandparents. I was truly enjoying getting to know him over the simple breaking-of-bread and a cup of coffee together. He was a fun guy to be with…
…except when I argued baseball statistics with him.
We hung out nearly every day or night when he wasn’t working.
He took me to see a very special re-showing of Up with the Wind₁. I loved old classic movies. Davis seemed to take a particular pleasure in showing me a movie reflecting his Southern heritage. Afterwards, he made me a delicious dish of fried chicken, corn on the cob, and peach cobbler back at his apartment. I begged him to give me the recipe for the cobbler. He refused, placed a dollop of whipped cream on my nose, and told me to ask his mother.
We went for ice cream at Flying V’s₂ when he worked a late shift at the Jolt on Saturday. It was one of the only places open 24 hours in Sunset Valley.
I decided to try something called ‘sphere of destiny,’ and he decided to try ‘mini chocolate gnome.’ Turns out his was a brownie topped with a real mini gnome statue made from vanilla ice cream and chocolate coating. Mine was a form of simochi₃, a Simpanese ice cream coated in a sweet rice dough. Davis made me laugh with his best gnome impression.
We spent a good bit of time on the beach on Sunday.
I was excited to teach Davis how to windsurf.
It was so much fun.
Davis wasn’t so bad himself either.
We went on a double date with Andi and VJ to the summer festival on Monday.
VJ challenged Davis to the hot dog eating contest. Andi said she was game. I didn’t want to enter. I blamed my weak stomach.
Davis was the only one who really had any fun.
And he won!
Afterwards, Andi and VJ headed to a bench for some alone time… and for VJ’s stomach to calm down.
Davis and I decided to try our hand… or feet, that is, at the roller rink. Beau was already on the rink when we started. He smiled and waved and joined us for a bit.
I guess Beau and I just weren’t all that good.
Carina turned sixteen . As usual, she didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. Davis suggested we go to Country Night at Sunny D’₄ to celebrate her birthday. He knew how much she liked country music and horses. I laughed when he said we had to dress the part. She agreed… reluctantly. Cari (who had finally forgiven me… or at least was tolerating me) and I rummaged through the consignment shop together.
Davis arrived wearing a cowboy hat, Appaloosa Plains belt, and boots. I laughed a little and teased him about the buttons missing on his plaid shirt. He shrugged and said it was the only one he had.
He taught us how to play pool.
After awhile, I got pretty good and he bet me a drink that I couldn’t beat him.
I did. I gloated a little. He dejectedly offered to buy me a drink. I shook my head and told him I wasn’t serious about the bet. I did steal his cowboy hat for a little while.
Davis took me to Crystal Springs on Wednesday for a late night picnic after everyone was asleep. He picked up chicken sandwiches, watermelon, and our favorite… juice boxes… from the market. I always appreciated how thoughtful he was. We couldn’t stop staring at each other while we ate.
Afterwards he asked me to stargaze. We had fun pointing out shooting stars to one another.
It was a breathtakingly beautiful night. We even saw some wild horses running through the meadow. We talked and laughed until dawn.
“Kassiopeia, we still haven’t talked about…” Davis began.
“Well, that was a fun night. We better get back before everyone misses us,” I stood up quickly.
I nearly lost my footing. I gasped. Davis caught my hands. He didn’t say a word. He didn’t have to. I knew I was staring into the eyes of a man who loved me. And I loved him too. I could see myself spending the rest of my life with this man.
“Kassiopeia?” he murmured.
I loved how he always called me by my given name. “Yes?”
He searched my face and I knew exactly what he was asking. In fact, we hadn’t kissed since that night in the hospital when I nearly rejected him. It was time to right that wrong. I answered him as clearly as I could with my eyes. I didn’t want to break the moment.
Then he did something unexpected. He twirled me around…
…and dropped me back in his arms.
“What are you doing, Davis?” I laughed.
“Making this time even more memorable,” came his response.
His arms wrapped firmly around my waist as he lowered his body painstakingly slowly over mine. He held me tightly, but tenderly. I trembled with anticipation. It was as if he was dragging out the moment to make it last forever.
He was a man on a mission… to meet me, to draw me to himself. I couldn’t believe every sensation I was experiencing. I tried to think in words, but everything was dizzying. His lips met mine with sweet intensity. My whole body was tingling with delight as I pulled him closer to myself. If this is what it’s like to kiss Davis… how am I going to wait to woohoo?
“How was that?” Davis asked after pulling back.
He still hadn’t let go of me. I stared up at him with wide-eyes and opened my mouth to speak but no words came out.
“I thought so,” he grinned.
I lightly punched him in the arm.
“Kass, will you meet me tonight?” he said earnestly.
“Don’t I meet you every night?” I laughed.
His smile disappeared.
“I have something I want to talk to you about,” he said quietly.
“Oh,” I frowned. “Is everything okay?”
“It will be,” he said tensely.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I gave him a weird look.
“Just… meet me tonight and we can talk about it then,” Davis said.
I met him at Serenity Cove around nine for our date.
“You look radiant, Kassiopeia,” Davis greeted me with a sheepish smile. “How’d a guy get so lucky?”
“Hello to you too, Davis,” I smiled sweetly.
“Can I kiss you now?” he requested politely.
“Do you have to ask?” I teased, but I appreciated how he was considerate.
“I didn’t know they did dinners here,” I gasped when I saw the beautiful buffet table.
“I asked them for a special private occasion,” Davis grinned, pleased with my delight.
“But to rent out the whole park? It must’ve cost a fortune,” I exclaimed.
“Nonsense, and I had a little help. Granny Jade pitched in,” Davis shrugged.
“Well, remind me to thank her later,” I replied gratefully.
Davis served me a plate of roasted sesame turkey with sticky rice and a baby lettuce salad with edamame, drizzled with a rice wine vinegar dressing. It was delicious. The table was decorated with an beautiful pink orchid in an ornate vase. We had to move the flower as it was so large we couldn’t see around it. The night was bright with stars and a full moon so we didn’t need to worry about being unable to see. In the background, soft traditional Simpanese music played. After our meal, we strolled through the tea gardens, sipping our delicious Simasian drinks – green tea lattes from the Jolt. Davis thought of everything.
We wandered onto the pagoda at the far edge of the garden.
“This has been an amazing night,” I sighed, looking out across the town slumbering under a breathtaking blanket of stars.
I looked at him surprised that he has used my informal name. He cleared his throat, almost nervously, as he stepped forward.
“Kassiopeia?” he said again as if asking me a question.
His voice squeaked.
“Yes,” I replied, my eyes shining.
He took my hands in his and stared deeply into my eyes. It sent shivers of pleasure up my spine.
“Kassiopeia, you are an amazing woman and you deserve all this and more. I don’t know how but you weaseled your way into my heart but you did and I love you so much,” Davis began.
“You have made my life so much brighter and have brought joy to dark places I never thought would see the light again…I never thought I’d feel this way ever, especially not after…” he stopped.
I smiled and then frowned, perplexed.
“I made some choices… one’s I’m not proud of,” Davis began. “And I need… you… to…”
I cut him off with a hug. “Davis, I’m listening.”
“It’s not that easy,” he winced.
“It’s okay. Take your time,” I encouraged him.
“Kassiopeia, I have… something… to ask you,” Davis admitted slowly. “But first… I need to tell you something. And I need you to promise not to freak out.”
“Okaaaaay…” I replied slowly, and then gasped.
OH MY LLAMAS! HE’S GOING TO PROPOSE! He’s going to propose? Wait… I’m so not ready! I’m happy! I’m so excited! I’m so young! I’m too young! Oh my llamas! What will I say? Llamas! I can’t get married! Mamma doesn’t even like this guy! And I have university in the fall. And we’ve only known each other… oh shut up, Kass, and let him talk.
“What?” he gave me a weird look.
“Nothing,” I shook my head. “Continue.”
“I don’t know if you’re going to understand this… but I’ll try…” Davis said weakly. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you for awhile now, but I just didn’t know how. I didn’t expect to fall in love with you so quickly and now that I have, it makes this easier… and harder…”
–WARNING MARK: The content below contains sensitive and disturbing material intended for a mature audience. Please proceed at your own discretion or consider skipping this part of the chapter. —
“Okay, Davis, just spit it out.”
“I had this friend named Danny in high school. When we turned eighteen, Danny headed off to university and I decided to figure my life out instead of going right away. I wanted to get a job, something to bring in some extra money so I took a photography class. I did pretty well and I got lots of compliments from my teacher so she recommended me for a summer photography internship in Vice City₅.”
I frowned, wondering where he was going with his story.
“I was thrilled and I headed to Florsimda₆ as a stupid young man who had no idea about the world or how to function in it. My first week there was kinda a blur and I realized I really didn’t know what I was doing. Danny flew down to spend a week with me. Danny met this guy within two seconds on the beach and he invited us to this local club. He got us fake IDs. Danny didn’t want to go alone and begged me to come. I had no idea what kind of club it was, and if I had, maybe I wouldn’t have gone.”
I winced, bracing myself for what was going to happen. I worried about what he would say, but I was afraid I already knew it.
“I didn’t want to be there, but Danny was… was so enthusiastic… and persuasive. I stayed. A woman came out to dance for the patrons. She was beautiful and exotic, unlike any woman I had ever seen before. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. ”
My jaw hardened. I didn’t want to hear this.
“Danny and this guy… frankly, I don’t remember his name… they got out on the dance floor, drawing the attention of some others. The manager came over and offered Danny a job. I said it’d be idiotic to work at a place like this, but Danny said the money was good… too good to pass up.”
“Danny tried to set me up with a co-worker friend. I wanted nothing to do with it at first. But then one night when I came to pick Danny up, I got sucked into a show since my friend was running late. I was going to leave but the woman I had seen before was dancing again that night. The manager noticed how I had watched this other dancer. … his best dancer he told me. He asked me if i wanted to spend the night with her. Honestly, Kass, I wanted to, but something told me to get out of there and I probably couldn’t afford her anyway. When he found out I hadn’t paid to be there, he grew angry and kicked us out. “
“The next night, Danny called me, scared, and I had never heard Danny scared. Both Danny and this woman were pretty beat-up and this girl… her name was Dove… Frankly I don’t think that was her real name, but that’s beside the point. I was irate. She was barely conscious. I told Danny we were leaving. We dropped Dove off at the emergency room, and headed to the airport. I bought us tickets on the next flight home for the following morning. Before we could board the plane, we were arrested for the death of the other dancer.”
I gasped. Davis had been arrested?!?
“I didn’t want to call my parents because I knew that would be the end of it. They’d never trust me again. I was in deep llama crap. Danny knew a guy who’d help us out. I was skeptical, but I trusted my friend. I didn’t really have a choice. The guy ended up being the manager. He bailed us out, and got the charges dropped. For three days, we were given the royal treatment, a penthouse suite, limousine service, and all the room service we wanted, but I was still skeptical. Danny told me not to worry, but I knew it was too good to be true.”
“After three days, the manager came and talked to us. He said he wanted us to work off our debt to him. I knew Danny had already worked there, but I had no idea what I would do. He wanted me to take the place of one of his promotional photographers who had been fired due to ‘irreconcilable differences with the owner.’ Danny and I both knew what he meant. The other photographer, the one who had beaten up and subsequently killed Dove, had been ‘taken out of the picture.'”
“Danny instantly agreed to work off the debt, but I was scared. But I took the job. It was either that or go back to jail and call my parents. The manager started me with taking photographs of the dancer who I had liked. I think that was his way of rubbing in my face what I couldn’t have. Phoenix, that was her stage name, took a liking to me. She was very photogenic and worldly wise and she brought in loads of money for the business. I knew exactly what she did and I thought for some reason if I stayed there, I could help her. I could save her. I could save them all. But really, I was only damning my own soul.”
“After about two months, Danny was heavy into drugs and drinking, getting into loud arguments with the girls and the managers. Then on Christmas Eve Danny came to me, all beaten up. I flipped out. I stormed into the manager’s office and threatened him to go to the police, uncovering his extortion and prostitution secrets. He laughed, puffing smoke from his cigar, and told me he had powerful friends who could squash me in seconds. He told me if I worked for him for seven months, I could buy Danny’s freedom.”
Davis swallowed hard, and I rubbed my temples. Who was this man I thought I loved?
“I was stupid, Kass. I was stupid and naive, and so I agreed to his terms. For seven months, I worked hard to take the best photographs I could of his girls… no, they were less than girls, because he didn’t treat them as human beings with souls, and I was less than dirt because I was participating in an industry I abhorred.”
“After seven months, he gave me the address of where Danny was staying and told me I was free to go. I eagerly raced over to the apartment, but instead of finding Danny, I found it empty and Phoenix was waiting for me. At first I was confused, but she told me I had bought her freedom. I asked her about Danny and she said Danny had been sold off to another businessman.”
“I was enraged. I went back to the office and I tried to kill him. I literally tried to kill him. But I felt rage, pure rage, and I wanted him to know it. I put my hands around his neck and choked him…” Davis was crying now, tears streaking his face.
I covered my mouth with one hand and wrapped an arm around my stomach. Nausea pooled in my throat.
“His men came in and pulled me off him. He laughed in my face, but he told me Danny had been too problematic and he had sold Danny to an associate. I demanded he tell me where. He finally said he’d let Danny go free if I agreed to work for him for another seven months.”
“You did it, didn’t you?” I said, more than asked, quietly.
Davis hung his head shamefully. I felt awkwardly torn between hugging him and smacking him.
“My parents were worried. They came to visit me since I hadn’t been home in over a year, but I was able to convince them I was okay, even though I wasn’t. I gave up everything. My family, my friends, my college scholarship, my life for this man… to free Danny and to help Phoenix .”
“What do you mean help?” I frowned, and spat out the name, “Phoenix,” as if it left a sour taste in my mouth.
“She needed rehab and I couldn’t afford it, but I managed to find us an apartment where we could live and found a free support group for us to go to together. I had barely enough to pay the rent and put food on the table with my second job working at the auto shop, but we made do. Or so I thought. Phoenix wanted more from me. She… wanted… to… thank… me… for… freeing… her…” Davis said slowly, his voice strained.
“Thank you?” I exclaimed, my eyes widening.
I think I knew what he meant.
“Phoenix was every man’s fantasy and she willingly chose to stay with me or…”
“Okay stop!” I put my hands up. “Why are you telling me this? I don’t know if I want to know.”
“Please, Kass, hear me out,” Davis begged. “I need to get this off my chest… I’ve…never…told…anyone…”
“I don’t know what you want from me. You expect me to be okay with this?” I shook my head in disbelief, my face turning bright red, my whole body shaking with disgust.
The fury swelled deep within me and hot searing pain flooded my heart. Davis stared at me, a broken man, hurting, ashamed, and in desperate need of my forgiveness, but I couldn’t give it to him. I was too far past angry now to care.
“You told me everything that was going on in your life that night we were up at Crystal Springs and I realized I had to tell you everything too,” Davis said hurriedly.
“So you waited a month? You waited until a perfect moment…” I snapped.
“Kass, I wasn’t going to… I don’t know… and now you’re here and it makes sense… and I’ve wanted to tell you so badly… I just didn’t know how to explain this to you.”
“Like we’re in a confessional and I’m your priest and you want me to give you some kind of absolution? Is this why you wanted to be all proper and chaste around me? Because you’re hiding a dirty past and you didn’t want me to freak out? Did you mean it when you said sex is for marriage? You aren’t even a virgin, are you?”
My words hung cold and sharp in the air like a knife on point. I knew the answer, but I just needed to hear him say it.
“No,” Davis hung his head in humiliation..
“You had sex with a prostitute!” I howled. “With Phoenix, didn’t you?”
“Please, Kass, it’s not like what you think.”
“What else could I possibly think?”
“Kass… I’m sorry… I can’t atone for the things I’ve done in the past, but I wanted to protect you, to cherish you, to keep…”
“…to keep me from knowing who you were and what you had done. I can’t believe this. Everything you said to me was a lie!”
“No, it wasn’t,” Davis protested, without raising his voice.
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner? You didn’t have to get me all dressed up and parade through here just to tell me this crazy story. I feel like a complete idiot… a fool!” I screeched.
“I love you and that’s why I’m telling you that I was stupid. I made idiotic choices, but I had my reasons, reasons I wanted to share with you, and I hoped you would still accept me.”
“Yeah, but I thought it was stupid stuff like smoking or drag racing egging a neighbor’s house, not taking photographs of half-naked women and… and… and…and sleeping with a hooker!” I spat out.
“Kass, please, it’s not like that, and you’re not, and I meant it when I said…”
The shrill ringing of my cell phone pierced through our conversation causing Davis to stop and drop his hands in despair. I grunted in frustration, wondering who could possibly be calling me.
“WHAT?” I roared as I answered my phone.
It was Gage. I’d almost forgotten about him. We hadn’t spoken since our awkward “breaking-up-the-friendship” argument. After a minute, I hung up the phone, my hands shaking even more so now.
“What is it? Who was that?” Davis asked worriedly.
“It was Gage,” I replied, feeling like I was in a daze. “He said his foster mom drowned.”
Chapter 25 Coming Soon!
- What happened to Gage’s foster mom?
- What’s going to happen to Kass and Davis’ relationship now that she knows about his dirty secrets?
- What more could Davis possibly have to tell Kass to shed some light on his choices?
Author Changes: What’s different?
- Photo size was edited.
- Florsimida was changed to Florsimda.
- The line about “I don’t think that was her real name” was added.
- Kass and Davis’ dating time was changed to a month.
- Asimian was changed to Simasian.
- Up with the Wind is a play off the classic movie, Gone with the Wind, set in the deep South.
- Flying V’s Coffeehouse is a retro hangout available with The Sims 3: Showtime. I just dubbed it a outdoor ice cream place/diner in my Simworld.
- Mochi is a Japanese ice cream coated in a sweet rice gelatinous dough. Simochi is a play off this.
- Sunny D’s is my rename of Mick’s Master Karaoke Bar.
- Vice City is a custom world available for download from Fresh Prince Creations. I found the world through The Sims Catalog.
- Florsimida is my Simworld version of Florida.
Author’s Note: This chapter was so hard to write and went through many, many revisions. I didn’t want to ruin things between Kass and Davis as he was an unexpected pleasure to get to know and write about, a great addition to the story. However, I’ve had plans for where I wanted this story to head and sadly, Davis wasn’t in the original plans. I thought about leaving it the way it was between them and having them amicably part ways when she goes off to university, and believe me, I seriously considered it, but instead I chose to make the big shocking reveal about Davis’ past. Davis still has an part to play in this story and we will see more of him. He’s not gone yet.
Human trafficking is a $150 billion dollar industry* in the real world, affecting and exploiting men, women, and children from all walks of life. “Modern-day slavery,” according to the organization, Not For Sale, is defined as, “…the acquisition of people using force, deception, or coercion with the intent to exploit.” Based on this definition, Davis, Danny, and Phoenix were all victims of human trafficking.
While my characters are fictional and any resemblance to real life people is purely coincidental, and unintentional, these characters represent struggles experienced by real people in our world who are enslaved in sex or labor trafficking.
My intention is not to start a heated debate or argument, to coerce involvement, or to upset readers with sensitive content. My goal is to provide awareness through a fictional platform about real-world issues.
For more information, please visit my page – Fighting Modern-Day Slavery and Other Injustice.
*statistic taken from Not For Sale Campaign website