“Mmm, I slept the afternoon away,” I declared, sitting up and stretching. “And you’re still here,” I noticed Brendon sharing the other end of the couch with me. “Why did you stay?”
“You have quite an interesting collection of books,” Brendon replied sarcastically.
“Oh really,” I jabbed him in the arm. “What do I have?”
“Simspeare. Simlock Holmes. A little Simbrontach sisters and Simmingway and F. Sim Fitzgerald. She’s got a whole host of famous Asiman poets – all first editions and some of them signed. Your great grandmother was quite the collector,” Brendon explained. “She even has Sim Hun. I think I’m going to swoon.”
“Am I going to have to be worried that you’ll come over and steal my literature?” I teased.
“Not at all,” Brendon turned to face me. “I’ll just be over here visiting you often. I had no idea you were a descendant of a great collector. We are among some of the greatest literary minds in the world right now…” his voice dropped to an excited whisper, and he seemed to ponder this for a moment. “You hungry?”
“Starved!” I replied.
“Good I ordered pizza from Sim-plee Cheesy,” Brendon leaped to his feet. “I’ll be right back. It was delivered just a few minutes ago so it should still be hot…”
I smiled and stretched my arms, looking around the library of “greats” as Brendon had called them. This room was slightly more attractive with rich red wallpaper with golden trim. The cherry wood floors were visible, though a worn area rug traced the seating area. The couches and chairs were shabby and threadbare, but the antique lamp stands and end tables were surprisingly in good shape. Vintage. Mmm… this is definitely going to be a fixer-upper place.
“Should we eat on plates or something?” Brendon asked as he returned with the pizza box. “I didn’t know and I didn’t want to go poking around the kitchen much. There seems to be a burnt out light bulb or two in there.”
“Afraid of the dark?” I arched a brow.
“No,” he shook his head adamantly, handing me the box.
“We’ll just eat with our hands,” I replied.
I bit into the thick slice of blistering wood-fired dough bubbling with a 3-blend cheese and piping hot pepperoni. Even the sauce was a delicious blend of Simtalian spices and tomato-y goodness. I had been craving pizza since the beginning of my stay at the hospital. I was surprised Brendon remembered my off-hand remark the other night. My mouth watered in anticipation of every bite.
Brendon turned on the antiquated television set. I apparently only got one channel. Brendon claimed he would remedy that and I told him he would do nothing of the sort. I rarely watched television. However, when he told me he could fix the set so I could watch the Edgewater Saints, my favorite pro football team, I agreed to the much-needed remedy. After some tinkering and two phone calls later, Brendon got the channels to work. I happily watched my beloved Saints play the Oakland Raiders.
It was an exciting game. I think even Brendon was surprised at my exuberance. I yelled at the refs and chucked pieces of pepperoni at the television. I screamed when my team was making a run for the end zone. I cheered loudly every time they made a touch down or field goal or even a first down. I totally ignored the pain my side was in because this was football. Nothing else mattered right now.
At the final moments of the fourth quarter, one of the Oakland coaches called for a time-out.
“Oh come on!” I waved my arms in annoyance. “You know you’re going to lose and you’re just taking every last second you can get to come up with a better strategy.”
“You really like football, don’t you?” Brendon remarked.
“Of course I do,” I huffed, slumping back on the couch and folding my arms over my chest.
“Really? You strike me as more of a tennis girl.”
“Why? You want to see me in one of those tiny skirts or something?”
“Well, now that you mentioned it…”
I chucked a piece of cheese at him. “I’m parched.”
“I think I saw a couple of cold ones when I was rummaging through your refrigerator earlier,” Brendon said, standing up.
He returned moments later.
“Did I miss anything?” he handed me a drink.
“Root beer? I’m surprised you didn’t bring the real thing.”
“I would if you had it.”
“I don’t have it. Whatever’s in the fridge is from the caretaker’s stash. I should probably inventory it tomorrow and make a trip to the store. My mom and stepdad are coming in the afternoon.”
“Really? Flying from up north. That’s nice.”
“This stuff is good,” I took a sip and licked the foam from my lips.
“Yeah, it’s Irish root beer,” Brendon replied.
“So it is the real thing?” I eyed him sharply.
“Just root beer with Bernish whiskey and Bailey’s cream,” he said.
“It’s good,” I nodded. “Glad I ate all that pizza now.”
“Why?” he puzzled.
“Because I always drink on a full stomach,” I answered. “Oh look, they’re back! Okay, come on Charlie! You can do it. Throw it into the end zone. Shoot for the moon!”
They scored. Touchdown! There was only three minutes left in the game. There was no chance Oakland would make a comeback. I was sure.
“Favorite football player of all time?” Brendon asked me.
“Charlie Moon of course. The guy’s record is unbeatable. You?”
“Noriaki Kinosimta of the Angel City Admirals.”
“The Simpanese player who came over from Osimaka to play pro?”
“Yeah, well, my mom took me to a game once. She’s from Simpan.”
“Oh, I didn’t know that.”
“Yeah, she was born in Mayumachi. Her parents were disappointed that she wasn’t a boy so she took an interest in male sports. She’d hike five miles to the train station just to catch games.”
“Interesting. So national pride and all?”
“Yeah, you could say that. What about you?”
“My Mamma threw Superbowl parties for as long as I can remember. I’m sure I came out of the womb wearing a football jersey.”
“Well, maybe not that but I did have a onesie that said ‘Spiral for the Moon.'”
“Conditioned from birth to love the Saints, huh?”
“Yeah,” I smirked and sipped my drink.
My head was starting to hurt less. Maybe the alcohol was helping. It certainly was relaxing my throbbing muscles.
“Favorite alcoholic beverage?”
“What no sake?” my eyes widened.
“No plum wine is actually very delicious.”
“Never had it! I love sake though,” I rolled my shoulder happily. “Sake is good.”
“Oh we must remedy that. So I take it rice wine is your favorite?”
“Yes…” I nodded, my brain feeling fuzzy. “No…” I changed my mind. “I like champagne too.”
“The official celebratory drink. I’ll have to bring some the next time I’m over to celebrate your recovery,” Brendon said suavely.
The news began as the game ended – Saints: 55; Raiders: 44. The announcer began with a few remarks about the football game and then was interrupted by a breaking story about Bella Goth. Brendon reached for the remote.
“Wait, I want to hear this,” I leaned forward eagerly.
They unfortunately didn’t say anything new. Brendon moved to switch it off, but muted it instead.
“Brendon,” I said softly. “Why didn’t you want to talk about Bella earlier?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“Yeah, but you implied it.”
“I was a rookie reporter fresh out of high school. I didn’t really know what I was doing. Uni was cheap down there anyway, close to the Mexsimican border.”
“You graduated from La Fiesta Tech, right?”
“But everyone in the office telling me Bella’s disappearance was supposed to be your big break story.”
“Surprise! Surprise! The Bay City Buzz buzzing about its staff. There’s nothing to get at here, Kass, move along.”
“Yeah, but you wrote a story about her and you said you may have even seen her weeks after she disappeared. Did you talk to the police? Did you give them any leads? Did you really see her?”
“Kass, I’m not getting into this with you tonight.”
“It was a long time ago, and I ruined my career. No one believed me. Hell, I even started doubting myself.”
“It doesn’t matter. She eventually was found and got to be with her family again at least for a little while.”
“Kass, no more buts,” Brendon cut me off. “You should get some sleep. It’s after eleven.”
“Yeah, and I guess you should head out,” I sighed.
“I think I’ll stay the night if that’s okay with you.”
My face must’ve flushed a thousand shades of red because Brendon started laughing.
“In separate rooms, of course, Ms. Fullbright,” he said in mock-politeness, and then spoke more seriously, “I can’t leave you alone in case something should happen. We still haven’t found the caretaker and you can’t get up and down the stairs by yourself.”
“I’ll be fine,” I waved my hands in protest. “Seriously, thanks for everything. You’ve done enough. You even missed… hey! you missed like…a whole… day of work…”
“You needed me,” he shrugged. “Here, let me help you up the stairs. And I’m staying. Whether you like it or not. There’s plenty of rooms here. I did a little exploring while you were napping.”
“Oh you did huh?” I tried to stand and felt my legs wavering. “Alcohol makes me feel good.”
“I’m sure it does,” Brendon smirked as he put his arms around me and lifted me from the floor again.
I probably embarrassed myself as I hummed all the way up the stairs. Brendon made no comment though as he carried me to the second floor and into the first bedroom on the right.
He laid me gently on the lavender bedspread.
“I’ll be across the hall if you need me and you have your cell right?” he asked.
“In my pocket,” I smiled. “Yeah, I can call or text if I need you.”
I suddenly flushed, feeling awkward for saying the words. Brendon had said them first downstairs but the “need” part of the sentence made me feel like a silly school girl.
“Well good night,” he replied, seeming a little awkward himself.
“Let me know in the morning what I owe you for the pizza,” I called after him.
“A peek at that gift I got you would be nice,” he grinned wickedly. “Seriously, Kass, are you going to keep it or not?”
“Good night, Shore,” I replied with a hint of amusement in my serious tone.
“Good night, Berns,” he teased as he walked down the hallway, his footsteps growing more and more muffled.
I shook my head. His newest nickname for me – Berns – made me wonder about my family ancestory. Dad had to have a little Bernish on his side of the family. It would explain the red hair as no one else in my family had red hair as far as I could tell. Dad’s sealed adoption probably wouldn’t help me, but I decided I should try and find Dad’s relatives. Maybe I’d find out more about EXCES in the process. Who knows? Maybe Dad’s mom was an alien. I shivered a little at the thought thinking of the cold war with the Xenosi. I didn’t really want to be related to an alien. The more likely story was Dad’s mother or father was either a genetic experiment gone wrong or were carriers for EXCES. Either way, I’d find out the truth.
I slipped out of my clothes and lay on the bed, trying to get comfortable. I thought about the events that transpired today.
Ayesha’s words echoed in my head:
“Sweetheart, if you wanted good advice, you would’ve called someone with a better head on her shoulders. You want the truth? I think you like it… secretly… but you’re just too chicken to admit it.”
After everything, Brendon was still my boss and it was still highly inappropriate to be wearing his gift. But I couldn’t help myself. Oh my mother would be mortified!
It was too pretty!
2.7 Coming Soon!
- How will the visit with Kass’s mom and stepdad go?
- How will Kass and Brendon’s relationship progress? Will they choose to stay professional colleagues or is something more in the works?
- Will Kass ever meet the mysterious caretaker of the Silverton Estate?
- Will Kass find out more about her father’s ancestry?
Author Changes: What’s different?
- Minor formatting changes
- Date changes
- “caretaker’s stash” was added.
- Back east was changed to up north
- Shoot was changed to spiral.
- Simspeare is an obvious play on Shakespeare. Simlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes). Simbrontach sisters (Bronte sisters – the name Bronte is a derivative of Brontach). F. Sim Fitzgerald (F. Scott Fitzgerald).
- Sim Hun is the pen name of a real Korean poet, novelist, and playwright.
- The Edgewater Saints were first mentioned in Part One – Chapter 1: Acceptance. They are a professional football team modeled after the New Orleans Saints. Their colors are black and gold. The Oakland Raiders are a real pro football team and in my Simworld, Oakland is an actual world available on the Exchange. The Raiders colors are white and black in my Simworld.
- Bernish whiskey is Irish whiskey.
- Charlie Moon was a pro football player also mentioned in Acceptance. He is the quarterback for the Edgewater Saints.
- Noriaki Kinosimta is based on real world Noriaki Kinoshita, a Japanese football wide receiver who plays for the Amsterdam Admirals. Angel City is a world available for download from The Sims Catalog.
- Osimaka is based on Osaka, Japan. Mayumachi is a world available for download from The Sims Catalog.
- Umeshu is a Japanese plum wine. Sake is Japanese rice wine.