Tuesday, July 3, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde
“Finally some decent music,” Davis declared loudly, as a classic rock song pushed through the overhead speakers.
Kass bobbed her head in agreement, but continued to puzzle over her predicament. Who would have that kind of foresight to drop this many obscure hints? And how were Bella and Madison connected? Was it simply an accident of fate? Or was Kass’s overactive imagination getting the better of her? She found out the travel agency, Wright Way, had hired the offices of Butterworth, Honeywell, and Pan as their legal representation in their bankruptcy case a decade before. The company still went under, and the law firm never collected fees.
It’s not implausible, Jennifer explained, her red nails clicking on the desk as she perused a mountain of briefs. Sometimes law firms cut their losses and don’t pursue legal action against an already bankrupt client. The whole thing felt all rather fishy, but Kass couldn’t learn anything more in public records. Short of scheduling an appointment, Kass wouldn’t get answers. Even then, she wasn’t sure they would reveal any new information.
“Too bad the Jolt doesn’t have cameras,” she said.
“What?” Davis looked up.
“Nothing,” she grinned awkwardly and apologetically.
When she consulted with the employees at the Jolt, no one remembered exactly how the flier ended up on the bulletin board. Except Gage. He had switched his shifts to avoid working with Davis, and she didn’t know her former best friend’s schedule.
It was deliberate. It had to be. The maroon push pins and the poster and the Bella Goth connection couldn’t be coincidental. But why? There had to be a reason! Was Bella connected to the travel agency? The law firm? Who did she expect to call? The more she thought about it, the more she realized Madison could very well have been an unwitting accomplice, but to what? Kass wasn’t sure.
Was Bella some kind of spy? Is that why she disappeared? The actress quipped in an interview once that she was once approached by an intelligence agency. Which one? Was the woman working for a shadowy government entity? Rogue agent? Gun for hire? Kass let her imagination run wild. She wanted to have something solid before she presented her “case” to Jennifer. I should go visit the law office. I’ll need an appointment.
“Shoot,” Davis dropped his head against the edge of the table. “That didn’t work out the way I wanted.”
“Uh…” Kass winced and tried to offer a supportive smile. “Better luck next time.”
“Order up!” the bartender hollered. “And I ain’t comin’ up there so you betta get down here before my friends eat it.”
Someone laughed harshly.
“She’s so pleasant,” Kass added in a much too perky tone.
“I’ll go,” Davis rolled his shoulders and set down his pool cue. “Do you wanna practice? I can reset it.”
“No, it’s fine,” Kass replied. “I’ll wait.”
When he returned, Davis set the onion rings on the table next to the empty shot glasses. He popped two into his mouth, and made a face like he instantly regretted it.
“Hot?” she stuck out her tongue .
“Yeah you are,” he laughed.
She flushed and delicately plucked an onion ring from the basket. After eating, she lined up her first shot. Davis pulled his hat over his face and dropped his head.
“You’ve played this before?” he groaned.
“Yes,” Kass replied, aiming her cue strategically. “My dad actually taught me. But you were too cute giving me instructions.”
Davis winced. “Cute, huh?”
“Yeah,” she smirked.
“How’s that going?”
“What with my dad?” she took her first shot. “We email. We text a bit. We’ve met for coffee once or twice. He’s still trying to convince me to plan a road trip with him.”
“Will you go?” Davis asked.
“Shh… I’m trying to concentrate, cutie,” Kass teased as she switched angles.
She didn’t exactly want to talk about her father. She hadn’t decided yet if she would go with him… or how she would ask Howard if he knew he wasn’t her bio dad.
“I think I’d prefer handsome…” Davis began, striking a pose, but she cut him off. “Wait…” she dropped her cue and walked toward the stairs.
The lone flat screen above the bar switched from a poker game to a breaking news report. One of the bikers grunted and cursed and waved at Kay to change the channel. The bartender momentarily stopped cleaning glasses and flipped him the bird. Kass leaned over the railing, her eyes bugging. She ran a hand through her hair, messing up her ponytail.
The newscaster confirmed the latest fire on the corner of 1st and Elm Streets was the arsonist. The cameras zoomed on emergency personnel trying to extinguish the burning building. Kass gasped, noticing Detective Goddard on the scene, shouting obscenities before the live audio was bleeped, and the cameras switched to the mayor giving a speech at the courthouse steps a few blocks away.
“What is happening at the historic Elm Street Shelter is a tragedy. This place was built by my granddad, serving our homeless friends and neighbors for the last fifty years,” Mayor Nancy Landgrabb was saying. “We are doing everything in our power to bring justice to the people who call Elm Street their home.”
“Who’d burn up a homeless shelter?” a biker at the bar exclaimed in disgust, and others echoed his angry cry.
The reporter touched her ear piece. “So far, there has been one confirmed death and a half dozen injuries. Sources have confirmed the deceased man is Joel Elton, who went by the name ‘Astroman’ among his peers. He worked in the kitchen of Elm Street according to shelter personnel. We managed to get a picture of Joel from last Christmas’ Soup Angels’ Benefit hosted by the Sunset Valley Police Department. Chief of Police, Tia Rose, has yet to issue a statement.”
A picture flashed across the screen of a cleaner cut Joel wearing a reindeer apron with his arm around a uniformed police officer wearing a Santa hat. Joel held a a soup ladle and both men were smiling. Kass dropped her purse over her shoulder and started down the stairs, two at a time.
“Kass, what did you see?” Davis grabbed her arm, catching up with her quickly.
“That police officer is Detective Hunter,” she murmured and pressed her hands to her lips. “And my shot at interviewing a source is dead… literally.”
Author Notes: The arsonist strikes again. Sorry for the length of this chapter. I really don’t like using heavy exposition, but I didn’t have a good way to catch the readers up on lots of details and all of Kass’ suspicions.
Joel Astroman is a deceased Sim in Sims 3 Sunset Valley. He was always going to “die” in my story. It just was a matter of when. RIP Joel. I gave him the “real” last name of Elton.
Tia Rose is a police officer in Sims 3 Sunset Valley. I made her Chief of Police in my game and gave her a makeover, as she sorely needed one. Oof! That hair!
What are your guesses about the Bella-Madison connection? Or even just the travel agency, law office, and Bella connection? Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed.