Tuesday, Simtember 13, 2416 | Silverton Estate | Bay City, Califorsimia
“I can’t believe I’m such an idiot!”
I waited in the car while Davis rummaged in the trunk of his Big Lemon. Sitting in the rain for almost an hour made me chilly. I rubbed my arms and fiddled with the heater, trying to warm up. I recalled the many times I sat across from him in the passenger seat. Somehow the comfortably faded leather, the creaky door handles, and the hint of a pine-scented air freshener wafting through the enclosed space felt familiar. I heard Davis slam the lid.
“What’s wrong?” I asked as he slid into the driver’s seat.
“I left my tools at home. I was cleaning the car the other day and I forgot to put them back.”
He didn’t look at me. He sounded embarrassed. I decided not to make eye contact.
“Well, then let’s drive to your place. You do mean here in Bay City Im assuming, right?”
“Yeah,” he said, his shoulders rising and falling as he relaxed. He stuck his key into the ignition. “Yes. Okay then…”
Nothing more really needed to be said. Despite the fact that we’d been out of a relationship for over a year, we fell into the comfortable silence of friendship and mutual understanding. Sometimes words were necessary.
Even if they weren’t, I still had plenty of words, rather questions, rattling around in my brain as we drove across town. Why did Davis think marrying Phoenix… er… Lynda… would save her? How long were they married? I couldn’t remember if he had answered that one. What kind of marriage was it? He had sort-of answered that, like when he said Lynda couldn’t handle sleeping without drugs of some kind. Prescriptions, I think he had said, but still, I wondered. I mean, her past life had been horrendous and probably worse than I could ever imagine, and to think, all of this had been going on in the SimNation, in my country, within one of the safest countries in the world. Safety is an illusion, though, I had long since figured out, and one that quietly lulled its unsuspecting victims to sleep.
I wondered if Davis was okay. I mean, really okay, like if he had problems sleeping himself. I did. Some nights. Okay, many nights if I was honest with myself. I hadn’t nearly the same amount of trauma as Davis, but it wasn’t really deniable either – the impact of certain events. He did mention counseling. I hoped he was okay. The Maker only knew the kind of pain and turmoil the man was in. I couldn’t fathom. I had such limited experience with the world, and what experience I had, made me want to crawl back into the hole of oblivion, but I knew that the safe walls of oblivion were a prison. No one could stay there and really live… or be whole.
We arrived at his house in the swamp district. That explained why I hadn’t ever seen him around town since his place was the farthest from my family’s estate on Parrott Hill, not that I was a snob. It was a modular home with white clapboard siding with a small front yard and even smaller front porch, if you could call it that, with the signature four steps. The yard was fenced in, probably for the sake of dog, and sported a dripping wet clothesline, a box of dog toys, a hydrangea bush, and a oversized red, white-roofed doghouse. I half-expected to hear the shepherd-mutt bark in welcome, but he did not. David informed me he left Carmichael with Granny Jade back in Sunset Valley when he did his overnight runs back and forth.
The inside had modest furnishings – a television set, two blue striped armchairs beneath a big bay window, an end table with a planter box, and a three-shelved, sparsely filled bookcase to my immediate right upon entrance and to my left, a simple unpainted wood desk with a camouflage-patterned computer. I headed for one of the chairs. Davis had offered a cup of coffee before we returned to fix my tire. It had been one insane night. I wasn’t turning down my favorite beverage.
“Make yourself comfortable,” Davis remarked as he walked past me.
“Thanks,” I replied, settling into my seat.
While Davis made our drinks, I took the time to observe the rest of the home. His beautiful bass stood proudly against the wall behind a semi-large wooden dining table with four chairs. The only decoration on the table was a wooden salt and pepper grinder set. The kitchen was fairly simple – wooden cabinets, marble countertops, cheap appliances, a sink, and Davis’s fancy green coffee-maker. When Davis finished, I stood up apologetically and walked across the room to sit at the table.
“You would’ve been fine in the living area,” he remarked, handing me a warm mug. “Cinnamon Swirl Coffee just the way you like it.”
I smiled for the first time I think all night. “You remembered?” I took a sip, closed my eyes, and breathed in the steam. “Thank you.”
“Of course, I remembered,” he sat down next to me. “It’s all you ever ordered at the Jolt.”
“No,” I shook my head. “I ordered plenty of other things.”
“But this one was your favorite,” Davis said, the familiar twinkle returning to his eyes. “Extra hot, extra milk, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a swirl of honey on top.”
“You’re right,” I conceded. “You even remembered the honey… even though you don’t like it. Though I don’t know why anyone in their right mind doesn’t like honey.”
“I keep it around just in case,” Davis shrugged. “You never know.”
“Let me guess. You made yourself a coffee with cocoa powder, cinnamon, and chili powder,” I surmised, wrinkling my nose.
“Of course,” he smiled. “You should try it sometime. Break out of your comfort zone.”
“But I like my comfort zone,” I grinned, taking a sip of my beverage and licking the foam off my upper lip. “At least when it comes to my coffee. I like consistency.” I laughed weakly. “I’m a creature of habit.”
“Suit yourself,” Davis said. “I’ve been trying some new concoctions at the coffeehouse for fun. You should come by the Jolt sometime.”
“Yeah,” I replied, slowly. “Maybe I will.”
We finished our drinks and Davis, the perfect host, took my cup and set it in the sink to be washed, and then walked across the room.
“My tools are in the back room,” he explained.
“Okay,” I said, rising to better examine the pictures on the wall. “I didn’t know you played soccer,” I called to him, leaving out the part about his awards. This was about as showcase-y as Davis would get, and he was still a pretty humble person. “Who’s the kid in the football uniform?”
“Oh that’s my brother, Derek. He’s on a football scholarship to Mesa Grande University,” Davis answered. “We’re all so proud of him. He was a quarterback senior year at Stary Community School in Twinbrook. Mom wants us all to go to homecoming in a month so I’m planning to drive down to Simizona. He’s actually got a game here in Bay City in another week or so.”
“Really? That’s neat,” I didn’t know what else to say.
“You ready?” Davis asked, walking back out with his toolbox tucked under his left arm.
His question was simple, but I found the answer more complicated than it should be. I felt conflicted. Of course, I wanted my car fixed, but being back in the presence of Davis made me want to linger longer. I was sad the evening was coming to a close. I decided to stall.
“Uh… yeah… um… where’s your bathroom?”
“First and only door on the left.”
I didn’t come up with any brilliant schemes on the toilet so we were off to the gym to retrieve my vehicle. The sun was rising as we drove across town, and I leaned my arm against the window and watched. The sky morphed from a pretty pink to an ostentatious orange to a yellow-tinted blue. I found myself wishing the morning wouldn’t have come and I could spend more time with Davis. We arrived at the gym and Davis went to work on my car. The whole time I was fumbling for words, unsure of what to say. I decided to blame my weird range of emotions on lack of sleep.
Snap out of it, Kass. He’s your ex. I grunted to myself as I flipped my hair back over my ear.
“All finished,” Davis came up behind me. “I got a spare on there, and you should be able to drive home and then take it to your regular mechanic.”
“Okay, thank you,” I rubbed my earlobes and yawned. “I owe you one…” I paused before I let myself say his name. “… Davis.”
Davis smiled as if he knew a secret, and then walked past me to get my door like a proper Southern gentleman.
“Anytime miss,” he said, his drawl sounding heavier than usual. “Although hopefully we can meet under better circumstances next time… no car trouble, that is.”
“Do you want to grab French toast?” I blurted out, leaning eagerly onto the car door. “There’s a great breakfast place around the corner that serves a french toast with berries and this warm maple syrup from Simnadia that is to die for. I mean, you’ll love it, or maybe you won’t… since you’re not huge into sweets… and obviously you don’t want it with honey. I know that much,” I was rambling, but I couldn’t stop myself. “…you could probably order it with just plain butter or if you’re not into sweet breakfasts, they serve eggs and bacon… I know because I took my Mamma and Clark there the other morning… and Ayesha… you remember Ayesha, right? She’s visiting the house… well… me… and she… well… she really liked the French toast and so I think you’d like it too… well… uh… not because you and she have similar tastes or anything… but I don’t know…” I trailed off.
“Uh… Kass…” Davis let the car door shut and walked toward me.
I nervously took a step or two back.
“Breakfast sounds nice, but I have to get back and shower before my shift at the hospital,” he shrugged as he answered.
He replied succinctly. Maker bless him! If only I could be better at words.
“Oh yeah, of course,” I bobbed my head up and down a little too enthusiastically. “I wouldn’t want to keep you from work. No sirree… not here… this one… um… me… uh… oh wow!”
I felt like a complete idiot. Davis walked around me and opened my door for me again.
“Rain check?” he offered.
I hoped he was sincere, and I had no way of knowing. Rain check was the phrase you’d give when you needed an easy out.
“Sure,” I said simply, swallowing hard as my mouth was dry from rambling like a crazy woman. I slid into the driver’s seat and tried to muster a smile up at the man. “I’ll call you.”
He shut the door and I drove away with a little wave.
“Oh seriously, Kass,” I moaned to myself in the rearview mirror. “What the hell is wrong with you? I’ll call you. He’s the one with the rain check. He’s supposed to call. Not you. And what was with all the nonstop chatter about breakfast foods? Could you be anymore awkward? Could’you’ve muddled your words any worse than that?”
I sighed and grunted simultaneously, dropping my head forward and hitting the side of the steering wheel once stopped at the red light.
Arriving home, I expected to be greeted with worried remarks, sighs of relief, and hugs abounding from my mother, but instead the house was quiet. I saw the note on the foyer table from Clark simply saying he and Mamma went into town for breakfast and they didn’t want to wake me and Bea was picking up groceries. They must’ve thought I made it home and never bothered to check. I wasn’t sure whether to be annoyed or relieved.
I climbed the stairs, my body aching, probably from a combination of the damp weather and lack of sleep, though my recent injuries probably didn’t help. I was looking forward to a hot shower and a long sleep, and eventually something to eat to satisfy my gnarling hunger pangs. I was too tired to turn around and peruse through the kitchen refrigerator. Snack was low priority. I decided to check on Shameka first, and she was sound asleep as expected. It was only eight A.M. and typically the poor girl slept until nine or ten.
I then decided to check on Ayesha. I knocked and leaned my ear to the door so I could hear a response. Something outside caught my eye, a strange whirlwind of light between the trees behind the estate. I frowned and rubbed my eyes to make sure I wasn’t imagining things. I figured I very well could be given my long night.
As quickly as the light appeared, it disappeared, though I could’ve sworn I saw something floating in the woods.
“I’m hallucinating? I hope not!” I declared aloud.
Maybe it was one of Bea’s “house friends.”
I knocked on Ayesha’s door again, this time louder. When I received no response, I checked the knob. It turned in my hand.
As soon as I stepped in the room, I glanced out the window, out of curiosity to see if the “lighted-whatever-it-was” was still there, but I didn’t see anything but our wilting garden, grass, and trees. The door slammed behind me. I jumped, grabbing the window ledge to steady myself at the sudden loud noise.
“That’s odd,” I frowned.
Ayesha’s bed looked as though it hadn’t been slept in. A few hours ago, I would’ve been upset, given my conflicted feelings toward my boss, but now with Davis… I figured I didn’t have any right to be jealous anymore. Ayesha deserved her fun. I turned to leave.
Horror of all horrors, I felt the floor collapsing beneath me as my foot plummeted through the rotting wood and my arm flailed, desperately trying to grab onto something to support me or keep me from falling. Surprisingly, my foot didn’t go far and stopped, thudding into what felt like semi-solid wood. Other than my ankle throbbing from the sudden fall, I was still in one piece.
I quickly got over my initial shock when I saw what was at my feet. It appeared to be a false bottom, a small 12″ by 12″ space beneath the main floor. The space was dark, leading me to believe there wasn’t any holes in the wood, but the little amount of light from the room above flowing in illuminated one object – a book. I leaned down and pulled the dusty object out. The book had a thick forest green spine with gold leaf lettering on the cover. In place of a title was a quote attributed to a Jacoban saint named Francis of Asimsi.
Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’re doing what seems impossible.”
Interesting, I wrinkled my nose and sneezed as a fine layer of dust traveled from between the pages into the air as I opened the cover. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. In elegant-looking handwriting, complete with the twirls of the t’s and j’s were the words…
Property of Isabella Julianna B.G.
There was no doubt in my mind now.
Bella Bachelor Goth had stayed in this house.
2.23 Coming Soon!
- Will Kass get some answers about Bella Goth now that she found her journal?
- What is Bella’s connection to the Silverton Estate?
- Who or what was Kass seeing outside the estate?
- What will become of Kass and Davis’ relationship?
Author Notes: What Changed
- Dates have changed.
- Fun fact: The neighborhood the Silverton Estate is located in has been previously unnamed. Parrott Hill is a play on a real-life location in the author’s life.
- Francis of Asimsi is a play on St. Francis of Assisi, a Catholic saint.