Tuesday, Simtember 6 , 2416 | Bay City General Hospital | Bay City, Califorsimia
Hospital rooms are boring, especially when you have injuries and can’t move too well. The room was clean, small, and sparse – the bed, a waiting room chair, an obligatory plant, some teal cupboards, drawers, and a washstand terribly contrasting with the old ’70s era carpet. I memorized the walls, counting all the tiles, and I could tell you where the cracks were and where there was a small stain the cleaning staff must’ve missed. My hospital gown was shapeless, loose, and ugly, but until I heard otherwise, I figured I should stay in it. At least they had given me thick hospital socks so my feet wouldn’t get cold. An intern checked on me and brought me my lunch. She said Dr. Bachelor would stop by in the afternoon.
My lunch was classic hospital food – some kind of mystery meat, lumpy potatoes with plastic-y tasting margarine, cold string beans, and the infamous red gelatin container. I’d always liked strawberry gelatin… until now… but it was more edible than the other food. I found myself seriously craving pizza.
I asked the intern to turn on the television for me, but without the remote, I couldn’t change the channel. I wasn’t all that interested in a daytime soap. I mean who really cared if Bing Bling’s character got his girlfriend’s best friend pregnant and now he was in a dilemma about who to stay with?
“Grow up, Ding Dong… Bling… Bing… whatever your name is!” I rolled my eyes and resisted the urge to chuck my potatoes at the tiny television screen.
About a half hour after my lunch, I was about to fall asleep. I was pretty bored with the show playing Evil Soap about a doctor turned mad scientist who now made laundry detergent that would secretly color people’s clothing. About every five minutes, he’d bellow an evil laugh.
Like evil soap is going to change the world! I shook my head at the ridiculousness, yawned, and curled up to rest. I could hear the faint ringing again. Probably the television, I surmised. I wished I had at least turned the television off before napping. Now I had to listen to Doc Evil Soap and the inane ringing of whatever it was on his show.
The noise persisted. I opened one eye and glared around the room. The show was on commercial break but the ringing continued. It couldn’t be connected to the soap opera then. I sat up, and carefully lifted my legs off the bed. My feet touched the floor, fuzzy carpet fibers sticking through my socks. I winced and stood to my feet, slowly adding my full weight.
Well I can stand.
I took a tentative step forward and was pleasantly surprised. While I was still in pain, I could manage to walk. I looked around the room and discovered my purse leaning against the chair Davis had been sitting in. Davis! I’m going to have to deal with him… somehow… I don’t know yet… where is that ringing coming from?
I discovered the source when I snagged my phone out of the zippered pocket. The cell was playing a familiar little tune – the generic setting when someone first gets the phone. That’s odd, I frowned. I wonder what reset all my saved favorite jingles.
“Hello?” I answered the call without bothering to look at caller ID.
“Kass?! Oh thank God! This is your mother. What on earth happened? Are you okay? Are you breathing? Are you alive? Clark picked up your siblings and stepbrothers to school and then came home and we’ve all been waiting by the phone… Clark say hello… well what do you mean who am I talking to? Clark… it’s Kassiopeia. Kass? Kass? Clark is going to say hi… oh wait… the doorbell’s ringing. He’ll be back in a moment. Kass, say something please. We’ve all been so worried about you.”
“Hi Mamma… I’m alive…” I chuckled weakly.
“I’ve been trying to call your cell ever since Dr. Bachelor told us what happened. Are you okay? Are they treating you well? Do you need me to come? Should I fly out there?”
I smiled at my mother’s concern. “No Mamma, I should be fine. I don’t think you need to come.”
“Kass, are you getting your classes taken care of? Are they feeding you well and taking care of you well at the hospital? What am I saying? I’m sure Dr. Bachelor is doing a great job with you, but I don’t know about the other hospital staff. Oh are they…”
I tried not to laugh at my mother’s incessant worrying. I had actually totally blanked about my classes at the community college, but I figured my professors would understand. I had a pretty whopping excuse and all the corroboration I needed. I wasn’t all that concerned about school as it was still the beginning of the semester. What’s today? Tuesday? I had a night class I missed yesterday and I had a morning class today. I wouldn’t have another class until Thursday and Friday, but I probably would just contact my teachers and take the week off before pushing myself back into my schedule.
“You know,” Mamma was saying. “…because I could put in a few extra days off with Crestview. We just had Leisure Day yesterday. I was worried sick today though so I couldn’t go into work.”
“Nonsense, Mamma, you just started your new job. You shouldn’t be taking time off. I’ll be fine,” I replied.
“Are you sure? Can you tell us what happened? All we heard was Dr. Bachelor said something about a car and a gunman and…”
Nuts! Mamma had heard about the gunman. No wonder she was so distressed. I knew never to doubt Mamma when she said she was worried sick. My mother could literally worry herself in circles, give herself a whopping headache, and throw up everything she ate when she was stressed.
“Mamma, I’m okay. I’m not entirely sure what happened because I blacked out and the doctor said that probably saved my life…” I could hear my mother crying as I continued. “I have some bruises and cuts on my face, just a few stitches, and a swollen hip, and a minor crack in one of my ribs. But seriously, it could’ve been a whole lot worse. Mamma, I’m okay.”
My mother was bawling now. My stepfather took the phone and told me he was glad to hear from me and grateful I wasn’t hurt worse. I looked down at my fingers and nails. While the nurse had cleaned them, the cuts were still fresh and left nasty red scabs. I wasn’t sure I wanted to see my face. I only know what the doctor told me. Clark was still talking about arranging to fly out and leaving the girls and boys with their neighbor when Mamma interrupted him again.
“Kass, Clark’s already purchased tickets and I can easily put in time. We can both come out to see you if you’d like.”
“What about his work?” I asked, unsure how I felt about both my mother and my new stepfather coming.
I had been in their wedding and played the part. Mamma had been a beautiful bride. She and Clark were like little kids on their wedding day. I’d never seen her so happy. I knew Clark was my mother’s second chance at a good marriage, but after spending a year with my dad on the road, I’d learned things about my mother… things I hadn’t known before, and things that added some perspective to the reason why their marriage failed. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Mamma. She hadn’t told me the whole truth, but then again, maybe when I was thirteen I wasn’t ready for it. But things were different now. I was an adult. Perhaps I shouldn’t even be thinking about it. After all, Mamma and her new husband deserved happiness. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Clark. I just didn’t know how I felt about another father figure.
“Clark has his own business. He can leave anytime. His company’s in good hands. His assistant manager, Giuseppe, is a wonder in the garden. Did you meet Giuseppe when you came out here for the wedding? No. I don’t think you did.”
“What about his kids?” I couldn’t say step-brothers. It sounded too unnatural. “And Cari and Andi? You’re going to leave them with the neighbor?”
“They’re all teenagers. I’m sure they’ll be find. And Adele is a sweet neighborhood granny. She loves kids. She’ll look in on them and make sure they aren’t eating junk food and watching trash TV.”
I was surprised. Mamma was way more trusting with them than she had been with me. She never would’ve left us with the neighbor for a few days to fly across country. Maybe Clark was making a difference in her life, helping her to relax about her daughters… and now stepsons. I felt a pang of jealousy thinking about how nice it would’ve been to have the house overnight without grownups as a teenager. Then again, maybe it was better I hadn’t been given that luxury. Ayesha seriously would’ve taken advantage of that. I probably would’ve ended up getting in royal trouble for throwing some party that Ayesha planned. That sounded just like her. I smiled, thinking about calling my best friend later.
“Are you sure, Mamma? About you… and…” I hesitated before adding “Clark?”
“Of course, we’re sure,” I heard Clark’s voice.
“That was just Clark’s assistant at the door,” Mamma interjected, while blowing her nose. “She just brought by the tickets, bless her heart. We’re coming. You just hang in there, gattina.”
I smiled. It was nice to hear Mamma’s pet Simtalian nickname for me.
“Kass,” Clark continued. “…you’re as much my daughter now as my own sons even if you’re grown up and living outside our home. I want to do this for your mom, and I feel I should be there too.”
I silently appreciate his pause. My mother had been talking a mile a minute since she got on the phone and Clark’s breathing space was needed. I felt my eyes well up with tears. Maybe I should give Clark a chance.
“Thank you,” I said hoarsely.
“So we’ll be in Thursday on the two o’clock flight,” Mamma said. “It was the earliest we could get. In the meantime, do you need anything? Can we call anyone for you?”
When she mentioned call, I thought of Davis.
“Put Andi on, will ya?”
“Sure. She’s upstairs I think, messaging that boy, what’s his name?”
“Sì, Vincent James…” Mamma sounded like she was walking up the stairs as her tone became breathy and quiet. “I just hope she moves on from him and finds her own life here. He’s off in Alasimka for llama’s sake and he’s not going to wait around forever. She’s too young… well, what am I saying? She’s just… you know if he was here, I’d be more concerned about leaving…”
“Mamma! Please!” I interrupted with a slight huff.
I really didn’t want to hear about my mother’s objections to my little sister’s boyfriend. Frankly, I was surprised they’d stayed together after she moved back East and he moved up north, but it was Andi’s choice.
“Here she is. I’ll see you Thursday, gattina. I love you. Bye.”
There was a slight shuffling noise and then I heard my sister’s voice.
“Kass? Hi, oh thank the Maker you’re okay.”
“Yes, that’s the statement of the day.”
“Don’t be sarcastic, Kass, I’m serious. You could’ve died.”
“Well, you don’t have to be all dramatic about it like Cari would be.”
I could practically see Andi making a face. “Mamma said she and Clark are going to come see you. I wish I could come see you too. It’s closer to Alasimka and maybe VJ could’ve come down for the weekend.”
“Thanks a lot. You’re so concerned about my wellbeing.”
“Oh, Kass, I am, I just… miss him… I haven’t seen him since last Christmas, and well, at least, I’ve seen you… and I miss you…”
We shared a sisterly moment of silent longing.
“Andi, I just wanted to say thank you.”
“For calling Davis.”
“I didn’t call Davis. Davis? You mean, your ex?”
I fell silent. Wait, now I’m confused. Davis said my sister called him. I stared at my reflection in the mirror for the first time. Oh I look terrible. I had a black eye and a cut on my right eyebrow, stitches on my left cheek, and a cut above my lip on the right side. Oh llamas! And I looked like this when Davis was here?!? Something told me I shouldn’t be worried about my vanity right now. I should be worried about Davis…
“Kass, are you still there?”
“Uh, yeah,” I cleared my throat. “You didn’t call Davis?”
“No, but I know who did. Give me a minute…”
There was another moment of shuffling around and muffled voices. I paced across the floor. It felt good to walk and stretch, even if my muscles were aching fiercely.
“Hi,” it was Carina’s voice.
“You called Davis?”
“Please don’t hate me!” Carina burst out. “I know you two broke up over a year ago and you dated that guy in between, but I didn’t know who else to call. Nonno and Nonna live in Simtalia now, and we’re all the way across the country, and Ayesha’s in the middle east… and well, he was the only one I could think of who lived close enough.”
I was grateful she didn’t mention Gage. He couldn’t have come either though since he was still in Simcago with his new daughter. I was touched that Carina had been so concerned about me.
“Carina, I don’t hate you,” I said softly. “I called to thank you, though I’m surprised it’s you.”
“I just…” Carina trailed off. “I know what it’s like… to be alone… and I didn’t want that for you.”
I felt tears welling in my eyes again. I wished my sister was here so I could wrap her up in a big hug. I really did love her, even if we didn’t get along. I knew she loved me too. Even if I had forced Davis to leave early, I still appreciated the gesture. Obviously he still cared.
What did he say?
“I just don’t know if I can forgive myself if anything ever happened to you.”
“I don’t know, Kass, I’m all confused right now.”
“I just knew I had to see you.”
“If you want to talk, you have my number.”
Ugh! Why do things have to be so complicated? I wondered what Carina meant by feeling alone. She had Joey still, right?
An announcer’s voice called out from behind me. I pivoted, startled. I had forgotten about the television.
“So Mamma and Clark are coming to see you?” Cari said, breaking the silence between us.
“A woman was found murdered in her hotel room in Oasis Landing early this morning. Police have just confirmed the victim is Bella Goth, wife of Mortimer Goth, the director of the Califorsimia Office of Campaign and Political Finance. We don’t have many details but we do know that she was stabbed sometime last night between midnight and four am. Police currently haven’t named suspects, but we will keep you posted as the day goes on.”
I nearly dropped the phone. Bella Goth? Bella was dead?
“Yoohoo, earth to Kass,” Cari interjected.
“Carina, sorry, I’ll have to call you back,” I said hurriedly and pushed the end button.
She was probably annoyed, but I could smooth things over later. Blast the stupid missing TV remote! I hobbled over to the television and pushed the side volume button. I waited with breathless anticipation.
“Hank,” the reporter on site was saying. “This is a really strange thing because I’m sure most of our viewers remember Bella Goth had been missing for ten years, declared dead, and then she suddenly resurfaced in New Mexsimco last Spooky Day. Bella had only been reunited with her family for less than a year, and now the family has been faces tragedy again.
“You can say that again!” I exclaimed aloud.
During my travels with my father, I had briefly met Bella at a charity fundraiser in Simcago for EXCES victims. She wasn’t like the woman the media had portrayed her to be – the gold-digging trophy wife who suddenly got bored of her marriage and flaked. In fact, she seemed the complete opposite. I remembered watching a news clip in Simvember around Thankful Day when she announced how grateful she felt to be returned to her family after all these years, and how she and Mortimer were more in love than ever. She had even made a comment about how excited she was for her daughter, Cassandra’s upcoming nuptials.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Goth family. Back to you, Hank,” the reporter said.
I couldn’t believe it as I sunk back down on the bed, my hips sore from pacing in the room. No self-respecting citizen of the SimNation could say they didn’t know about the famous wife of billionaire Mortimer Goth. Bella Goth was dead. It seemed too unbelievable that she had “died” twice.
I had only just met last Simcember, and she had only been back with her family for less than eleven months. I wondered what would happen to the Bella Beneficiary now. Mortimer had set it up years ago when Bella had first disappeared. When she had resurfaced last year, Bella announced she was turning the foundation into a resource for runaways and foster kids battling EXCES and other related diseases. I thought it was really cool. She seemed genuine. I felt a little sad that she was gone.
“We’re still bringing you reports live from Oasis Springs about the murder of Bella Goth,” the announcer on the news was saying.
Murder? It all seemed so impossible. Maybe it wasn’t so far-flung. After all, I had been in the tavern yesterday when a maniac drove through the front window and started shooting. I guess I could’ve been… murdered? I shivered at the thought. It was all too real.
Yet my brain fixated on the word – murder. It seemed so implausible… so ironic that Bella Goth was dead. She was missing for over a decade, suddenly reappears with no memory of who she was or what had happened… or at least that’s what the media was told… and now she was murdered less than a year later. It was all too weird. It couldn’t be a coincidence. Maybe something that had happened during her missing years led to her death. I’m sure that’s what the investigators were trying to figure out.
Some people had speculated that she had suffered from EXCES, which was why she changed the mission of her husband’s foundation. I sat up enthusiastically. Maybe she had been battling the disease too. Dr. Bachelor had said something about EXCES causing memory loss in some cases.
Oh my llamas! Dr. Bachelor! Bella was her oldest daughter. Oh llamas, I winced. I wondered what she was feeling. I didn’t have to wonder long. Another nurse came in and told me that Dr. Bachelor would be in shortly.
She entered the room without saying a word and leaned over the tiny sink to wash her hands. I felt a little guilty, almost embarrassed to be caught watching the news about her daughter’s murder, but I couldn’t do anything about it. Not without the missing remote. I wondered what she was still doing here. I had assumed she’d be on a flight to Oasis Landing.
“Dr. Bachelor, I’m so sorry. I just heard about your…”
“Please,” Dr. Bachelor wiped her hands on a towel. “Call me Jocasta. I’ve been your doc since you were in diapers, Kass, but now you’re an adult, and Dr. Bachelor is such a formal name.”
“Jocasta,” I repeated, and it sounded funny. “I’m sorry for your loss. Shouldn’t you be there instead of here?”
“There’s nothing I can do, even if I do go there,” Dr. Bachelor said curtly. “I’m sure her husband can handle it. You’re my patient, Kass. And you’re alive…” she trailed off, her eyes glossed over with a brief faraway look as if she were still comprehending the reality of her daughter’s death. “I’ll tend to the living,” she said softly. “Now how are you feeling?”
I felt weird changing the subject, but I answered her. “Good, I think. A bit stiff and sore. My face feels like it took a pretty big whack to it, but I’ve been able to walk around the room like you suggested this morning.”
“That’s normal,” Dr. Bachelor leaned on the countertop and stretched her knee across the edge. “You can keep taking the medicine to help with the pain. I’m afraid your face will probably have scars. I brought you some tinted antibiotic cream to help with the healing and to cover it up some so it’s not so bad.”
“Thank you,” I nodded appreciatively.
“As for your ribs, you’ll benefit from plenty of rest and the pain medication. You should also sleep sitting up, though I noticed you were already lying flat. Did it cause any discomfort?”
“Yes! And I couldn’t figure out why!”
“Sleep propped up. We’ll get you extra pillows. Now do you have someone to look over you at home?”
“Uh… no… I… well, I’m not in student housing anymore so I don’t have a roommate… well, I might… I mean…”
Dr. Bachelor looked confused.
“I inherited my great grandmother’s estate. I was supposed to move in last night. There’s supposed to be a caretaker, but I don’t know for sure.”
“Yes, well, then I think it would be best if you stay here overnight.”
“Another night?” I winced, and then winced again as my cheek was starting to sting. “Dr. Bach… um… Jocasta… I don’t think I can afford it. I mean… I don’t have insurance.”
“Don’t you worry about insurance,” Dr. Bachelor smiled. “Someone is taking care of it for you. Why don’t you walk across the room for me and you can wash your face over at the sink if you like.”
“Uh… um… okay…” I frowned. “Someone is taking care of it? You mean my parents… I mean, my mother and stepdad?”
“No,” Dr. Bachelor replied. “I did call them and informed your mother about what happened. I figured she’d prefer to hear it from me than the police.”
“Yes, thank you,” I said as I stood up. “But the payment? Who’s paying for it?”
“The person wished to remain anonymous, Kass, but you don’t need to worry about your hospital bill. Right now, let’s see you demonstrate your ability to walk,” Dr. Bachelor answered.
I walked across the room slowly but with little difficulty. I hoped to convince her I could be discharged tonight, but when I doubled over at the sink in pain, she leaped to her feet and came over to examine me. There goes any hope of that. Once I steadied myself, I began to wash my face gently to avoid aggravating the cuts and stitches. I wondered about my bill. Who could possibly be paying for me? Probably my grandparents, but then why the anonymity?
The news droned on in the background. Now it was a talk show host discussing “crazy theories” about Bella’s disappearance and now murder with his guest. Again, I felt awkward and uncomfortable. I wished Dr. Bachelor would turn off the television because this had to be worse for her to hear.
I wondered if Bella and her mother had talked recently or when they last saw each other. It was none of my business, but I hoped mother and daughter had been able to have a final “happy get-together” before the latter died. I wondered if I should say something comforting or something about the last time I had seen Bella… something like she seemed like a beautiful person who genuinely cared about EXCES victims. I definitely wouldn’t say anything about my own speculations about Bella and the disease. That probably wasn’t appropriate. I found myself wondering if mother and daughter had connected about EXCES… Bella was raising money for the research and Dr. Bachelor was treating patients with it.
I thought about my crusade against the illness from my beginning stages of research to confronting Gunther Goth Jr. and being bitterly disappointed. I wondered about myself and my close call with EXCES. I had tested negative again this year to my father’s and my relief. How many people this year hadn’t received that good news? How many others suffered in silence because they were too embarrassed? There was still a lot of controversy out there about the alien disease. Perhaps that’s why I admired Bella for standing up in an area where most of her extended family wasn’t and should be.
“I’m really sorry about Bella,” I said softly. “Are you okay?”
I could hear Dr. Bachelor cross the room behind me. She sank tiredly onto the edge of my hospital bed, sighing intensely. I hoped I hadn’t pricked a nerve. I should’ve just kept my mouth shut.
“It’s okay, Kass,” Dr. Bachelor assured me, letting out another sigh. “I’m not going to fall apart at the seams.”
I sighed in relief, but her next words rocked me to the core.
“… because I know she’s not my daughter.”
2.4 Coming Soon
- How soon will Kass recover from her accident and will she learn more details about what happened to her?
- Will Kass figure out what she wants to do about Davis?
- Will we learn what “things” Kass learned about her mother?
- How will her mother and stepfather’s visit go?
- What did Dr. Bachelor mean by “she’s not my daughter?”
Author Changes: What’s different?
- Date changes.
- Small grammatical changes.
- Bing Bling is the first “soap opera” star that popped up when I googled Sims 3 soap opera. I decided to use his name for my story. In my Simworld, Bing Bling is the star of a soap opera called “Bustin’ Out.”
- Evil Soap is the name of another daytime soap opera in my Simworld about an evil doctor turned mad scientist who uses laundry detergent to terrorize people. This comes from my seriously exhausted brain’s weird sense of humor because I always wondered why when a Sim has the evil trait they can “wash their hands with evil soap.”
- The Bella Beneficiary is a charity a Sim can donate to if they have the good trait in game.