Category Archives: Sims 3 Stories

1.93 Quick Descent into Chaos (KCLKF)

Friday, June 27, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

“It’ll be okay.”

Davis reached over the gear shift console, his hand grabbing Kass’ own, one dropped at her side, the other gripping the steering wheel with tight white knuckles. He had offered to drive, but she knew her mamma would kill her if anyone but an insured driver drove the family car. Not like Davis wasn’t insured, but her mother distrusted him. Still. And argued with her about him constantly.

“Will it?” she asked, navigating around a newly formed pothole. “Will it?” she repeated, the anger resonating in her tone.

It wasn’t like she asked him to come with her to the clinic. Dr. Bachelor arrived promptly, even though it was her night off when Kass texted it was an emergency. She explained how she was worried she was seeing things, and that an apparition, phantom, ghost, whatever had given her a warning, and somehow she didn’t think Madison was kidding… or fully gone. Did that make her crazy? Her physician did something unexpected. She agreed with her patient. Stranger things existed and happened all the time. Why not ghosts?

Just in case, she ran a battery of tests, and promised they would be expedited and she could have an answer by mid-morning. When Kass opened her mouth to protest, saying she would wait around until then, Dr. Bachelor wisely suggested she go home and rest, and assured her the tests would be done as soon as possible, even if she had to do them herself. In fact, she would do them herself because she didn’t want the samples ending up at another facility.

When Kass inquired as to why that would happen, Jocasta sighed deeply, and admitted in dire defeat, that the Sun Valley Clinic had just been bought out by the Goth family. First thing Monday morning, an IT company would arrive to transfer files and a moving company would come to move boxes to the Raven Research Institute. Kass couldn’t believe it. The neighborhood clinic and urgent care would be closed and its  friendly family practitioners would be without employment as the new organization was letting all the staff go.

Kass made a fist and hit a filing cabinet and said it wasn’t fair, and she didn’t want some nameless faceless corporation to assign her a new physician. Dr. Bachelor assured her that she would be keeping certain documents, like the ones on her EXCES patients, whose treatment wasn’t exactly above board or government sanctioned. She could lose her license by taking the files, but she wanted to protect the dignity and privacy of her patients, Kass and Howard included. She appreciated the efforts, but wasn’t sure what this meant going forward.

Dr. B agreed to continue in the role of health adviser to both father and daughter, but she would most likely be leaving the area. She had already spoken to Simis about moving back to Pleasantview or moving to New Azteca, where she would be less constricted by corrupt corporate rules and government policies. Her daughter had been sighted near La Fiesta just over the border from Strangetown, or so the rumors said. Kass didn’t blame her doctor for wanting to try and reunite with her long, lost child. If it wasn’t tacky, she would’ve asked Dr. Bachelor more questions, as Kass was curious about Jocasta’s celebrity daughter’s disappearance, but she knew better than to push. As she drove away from the urgent care, she couldn’t help but feel steamed about the circumstances, as if the rug had been pulled out from under her.

As the storm grew in its intensity, Davis cast his gaze out the window. He wished he could do something of significance, but Kass was at the wheel, a woman on a mission. He didn’t blame her for her frustration at losing a family doctor, nor did he blame her for her anger over the sudden swoop of corporate giants commercializing medicinal practices for their own monetary gain. However, he wished he could leap out of the car and help an elderly couple move a fallen tree branch from their crushed car roof while they sat at a stop light.

“Come on already!” Kass yelled. “Change!”

Davis breathed in and out. He wished Kass believed in God like he did. It would be easy to suggest they pray for the situation and for a sense of calm,  but instead of the courageous thing, he continued his silent prayer for help. He knew the Mighty Padre was probably disappointed.

He wasn’t a good Peteran. Only praying when he really needed help. Kass attended services with him, but she didn’t seem engaged, bored at best, disinterested at worst. Maybe he was rushing things. Maybe he was expecting too much. Tonight they were faced with a crisis, and he was ashamed to admit that he often forgot to talk to God until there was a problem at hand.

“What are you thinking?” she invaded his thoughts, as she clicked on her turn signal and changed her mind, making a right on red.

It was a simple enough question, but it startled him. He wondered why she had chosen that precise moment to ask him such a thing. It wasn’t so random. He had an opportunity.

“I was praying,” he admitted half-heartedly.

“Yeah, I guess the world can use your prayers,” Kass said, sarcastically, as the tires squealed while she skid around a corner.

“I thought it might help… you… uh… us…” Davis continued weakly.

“Oh,” she softened. “Do you pray a lot?”

He grimaced. You couldn’t make it easy, could you? he glanced heavenward toward the source of rain.

“Uh… I should…” he said. “I’ve been busy lately.”

He could’ve kicked himself. What a stupid answer! If he was thinking about sharing his faith, this was the lamest way to do it.

“I… uh… haven’t prayed like I should,” he tried to redeem himself.

“You think the mighty Padre is trying to strike us down tonight?” she said, more of a statement than a question.

“Naw… Padre doesn’t work like that,” Davis replied. “Things happen. Humans make bad decisions. People lose jobs…” he winced, realizing he wasn’t making things better. “Uh… thunder…” he pointed to the roof of the car. “Nature… uh… happens.”

“Yeah,” she laughed, dryly. “I worry when nature happens.”

His points weren’t eloquent or clear. He wished he had studied theology so he could offer a better response.

“What?” Kass shrugged, defensively. “Do you think I’m wrong? I’m worried about this whole thing with my doctor and the buy-out and the fact that the medical community doesn’t want to acknowledge that stuff like EXCES and other alien diseases are a problem and exist. And the public doesn’t care as long as it doesn’t affect them personally. What if Dr. Bachelor gets caught with files? What if she goes to jail? What if my dad’s condition gets worse?” she stopped as she didn’t want to add.’What if my visions get worse?’ “Do you think I have the right to be worried?”

Davis breathed a sigh of relief. Regret hit his gut like a slap to the face. He had an opportunity to talk about his faith, and she steered the conversation away from prayer to a fundamental fear, and he was relieved he didn’t have to share with her his failures to pray and talk to God. It wasn’t a proud moment for him. Talking to the Padre was something he had enjoyed doing when he was younger, and as he aged, he fell away from his faith. Now he was desperately trying to jump start communication with his highest priority and he was failing miserably. He cleared his throat.

“I think you have reason to be worried… but I don’t think you have the right.”She frowned. “What do you mean?”

Now would be a time for a little courage, Padre, he prayed. Help me out. 

“Um… it’s natural to be worried. You’re human,” he pointed to himself. “I’m human. But I don’t think, even as humans, we have the right to be worried. There’s a verse in the Good Book. Uh… that Sermon on the Mount…”

“…with that Jesus teacher?” she interrupted.

“Yeah,” he couldn’t kicked himself for forgetting the exact reference. “He says we don’t need to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow’s got its own concerns.”

“But it’s not tomorrow yet?” Kass’ brow puckered. “Actually…” she pointed to the clock on the dash. “It is.”

“I know… it basically means we shouldn’t worry. The Padre’s in control.”

“Doesn’t sound like it.”

“Well he is.”

“It doesn’t say that, does it?”

“No, but…” he felt himself growing flustered. “It implies it. The verses before talk about how Padre clothes the lilies of the field and watches over the birds in the air and we shouldn’t worry because we’re more valuable to God than flowers and critters,” Davis wondered where his newfound strength was emerging from, but he proceeded. “And we don’t need to worry about clothes or food or drink because He fulfills all our needs.”

“But we aren’t talking about meals or clothes,” Kass rolled her eyes. “We’re talking about a disaster here… a big giant evil corporation who buys out neighborhood clinics and lays off good doctors like mine and forces the staff to turn over confidential records in the name of research and progress all while the little guys like my dad suffer or worse become lab experiments and you know it’s great that God handles the little stuff like making sure I got food in my stomach… but even then, I’ve got to pick up groceries for my mamma like all the time or we eat at Nonna’s. She can’t handle it. Padre doesn’t handle it. I do.”

Davis sighed, his heart sinking as he thought about how much his girlfriend cared and held her family unit together. He thought about how his sister had done the same for years. It wasn’t fair, but it was reality, but even so, he chose to believe in the redemptive good.

“Do you ever get tired?” he asked.

“All the time,” she replied, pulling into the driveway at her grandparents’ home, parking alongside the garage.

“But you keep going,” he remarked. “Why?”

“Because I have to.”

“Who says you have to?”

“Well, no one,” she frowned. “I feel an obligation.”

“Who tells you to have that obligation?”

“Uh… what are you getting at?” she frowned, leaving the keys in the ignition and her wiper blades continued to wave at top speed over the windshield. “I love my family. Why wouldn’t I take care of them?”

“Exactly, and who tells you to love them?” Davis pushed.

“I…I don’t know… I guess, it was something I learned,” she shrugged, turning off the engine as tree leaves whipped at the glass and stuck in the wiper blade.

“Think again,” he shook his head. “We are born with a capacity to love. A great capacity to love. Yeah, it can be modeled for us, and some people suck at it, and some people take advantage of it…” he didn’t add like your mom. Like mine. “…but somewhere deep inside of us, we know love… like second nature.”

“What are you saying?” she asked.

“Padre put that spark of love in you,” Davis said. “He put that desire to do good and to carry on inside your soul even when you feel like giving up and you’re tired and people take advantage of you. He gives us love as a gift, and invites you to act out of that love, and you do, without even realizing it sometimes. ”

“That’s all well and good, Davis, but…” she trailed off in protest, shaking her head. “It still doesn’t explain why Padre doesn’t step in and stop disasters like the earthquake or this… mess…” she threw up her hands in reference to everything that was going on in her life.

“Fear, Kass,” Davis said. “Fear is the opposite of love. You just have to trust Padre loves and his love never wavers.”

“But how?” Kass wailed, resting her elbow onto the side of the door, and dropping her head on her hand. “This kind of stuff doesn’t make sense.”

“You can’t worry every time something doesn’t make sense, Kass, or you won’t live your life,” Davis replied. “You have to trust… that God’s got this whole clinic situation and your family when you’re not there to protect them, and even when you are. You can’t be worried all the time or you’ll be worried forever. And is that really living?”

Kass sighed. Maybe Padre can handle the little stuff like making sure we have food and clothes and stuff, but for these bigger things,” she opened the car door and stepped out into the rain. “I think I can handle it.”


Author Notes: I know this chapter got epic long due to the bit about the clinic closing and Davis and Kass’ conversation. I wanted to bring up faith again because it’s important to Davis even if he’s struggling as a believer.  In one of my favorite Sci-Fi television shows, Babylon 5, an alien named G’kar wisely says, “If you’re going to be worried every time something in the universe doesn’t make sense, you’ll be worried every moment for the rest of your life.” So much truth there. Davis was trying to say something similar. Thanks for reading. 

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1.92, Pt. 2: Phantom’s Warning (KCLKF)

Friday, June 27, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

One of the three Altos. Kass’ stomach plummeted. Holly offered Kass a quizzical look as she continued into the center of the restroom.

“What’s a matter? You look like you’ve seen a ghost!” Holly quipped as she stepped before the mirror.

Instinctively, Kass lay a hand across her abdomen. Madison is in trouble. The baby is in trouble. Somehow she knew something wasn’t right. Madison was still tethered to this world? How? Why? And even if she wasn’t, how was the baby still alive? She had to do something. What was wrong about the Altos?

“You’re Kass right?” Holly invaded her thoughts while she straightened her straps to her canary yellow halter dress.

“Wha? Wha?” Kass puffed, still fixated on Madison’s words and retreat.

She shook her head, vigorously. I didn’t even have a drink yet. I couldn’t have ingested anything. Am I hallucinating? 

“Uh yeah,” she cleared her throat. “Yes.”

I’m talking to an Alto. Madison said to stay away from the Altos. 

“We talked at the police station like a week ago,” Holly said, as if trying to place how the two ladies knew each other.

“Yes, no… uh… more like seventeen days…” Kass gulped.

“Are you okay? And wow… what a detailed memory!” Holly fluffed her hair. “Hey, you were there to see Hank Goddard.”

“Yeah, I was…”

Her mouth grew dry, and felt fuzzy. Kass blinked rapidly and lifted a hand to her forehead.  She had to have ingested something.

“He talks about you,” Holly smirked. “Guess you made quite the impression.”

“Like baby hands in clay,” Kass managed to quip. “How do you two know each other again?”

“College,” Holly laughed lightly. “But until now, I didn’t know he liked gals… then again, you’re mildly amusing and you’ve got that gorgeous hair so… now he’s bi… why not?”

“Um… excuse me…” Kass whispered and willed her legs to move and bolted from the bathroom.

Ignoring the “ouch’s” and “hey’s” of the people she collided with, Kass dashed through the crowd, searching for her hallucinatory haunt. Ghosts aren’t real. Ghosts aren’t real. Ghosts aren’t real. She repeated the mantra. They can’t be real?  Can they? Pushing past the table with the Twilight Trio, Kass crashed through the front entrance, leaving the door to bang in the wind against the wall, its welcome bell dinging frantically.

“Kass, what’s wrong?” Davis asked, leaping up from the table, much to the bewilderment of Jamie and Beau.

Kass grabbed the sides of her head as she could see a transparent Madison walking to the curb. A ghost! She came to warn me! Kass’ heart pounded. She needs help. How is this happening? She died. She’s dead. That happened a week ago. 

“Kassiopeia!” Davis shouted, running out from the overhang with a large rainbow umbrella.

It was then Kass realized she was standing still, her dress soaking in the rainshower. For a moment, all she could hear was the rain hitting the pavement, shooting the grass, plinking against her skin. Everything else sounded distant. Her ears were ringing.

“Do you see her?” she gasped.

“Who?” Davis took a few steps past his girlfriend, staring blankly at the road. “I don’t think there’s anyone in the vehicle,” he squinted.

Her eyes glazed as she felt a wave of nausea and dizziness overwhelm her senses. Thunder bellowed in the distance, and a jagged flash sliced across the sky. Madison appeared bright as day, as flesh, her pink dress swishing at her knees, swinging her arms with their elbow-length white gloves back and forth. Back and forth. Something wasn’t right.

Kass opened her mouth to scream, but no sound escaped. She lifted her hand to offer an unconscious wave as Madison faded from view, her image flickering between the parked vehicle and a passing car. The illusion warped into the rock face as tires squealed against the pavement. Davis cleared his throat.

“Kass, what are you seeing?” he inquired as he returned to her side. “Are you okay?”

“I’m… uh… fine…” she rubbed her nose.

This was like before. Those visions. Those weird flashes of light. The stuff she could now see that she couldn’t see before. She had to call her doctor.

“You’re not fine. Did you walk into something?” he asked, taking her hand and caressing her cheek. “Is your head okay?”

“Ugh… yeah…” she admitted, heat flooding her cheeks.

I’m a walking disaster. 

“I’m such a klutz,” she said, wincing.

“Here, let’s go inside. I’ll get you some ice,” he replied, guiding her away from the front lawn. “You bolted like a horse out of the starting gate. Is something wrong?”

“No… I…” she trailed off.

What do I even say?

“I… I…was disoriented… that’s all,” she managed. “…I wanted some fresh…fresh air.”

“You got it,” he grinned, though concern still filled his expression. “We should get you to a…”

“I’ve gotta go…” she said as she stepped out from the protection of his umbrella. “I’m… going to go see a doctor.”

“I agree with you,” he frowned. “I’m coming with you.”

“No… uh… I’ll be fine… I’m just going to…” she reached down at her side wondering how she could’ve been stupid enough to leave her purse somewhere.

“I’ll go get your bag… you wait here…” Davis guided her by the elbow to the overhang. “…or better yet, come inside and sit down…”

“No… I’m fine,” she hugged her arms. “Just… thank you…” she leaned her head back against the front window of the Java Jolt.

He hesitated, but backed away, walking inside the coffee house. She closed her eyes, feeling rainwater drip down her back. She wasn’t fine. She was anything but fine. Something was wrong. Something was really really really wrong. A phantom warned her, a phantom who was a friend, but what did it mean? And how were the Altos involved beyond the obvious? What did the words means?


Author Notes: Hope you enjoyed. Oh game glitches! Every time a car phases through another object or a Sim disappears from view into the car, I smirk a little. This ghost stuff was the perfect excuse to use these odd images from my first game. And the ghostly nature of Madison gave me the reason for why she appears as a blonde here, even though in her last physical appearance,  she was a brunette. In California, at least the parts where I once lived, rain in the summer is rare, and thunderstorms are even rarer. However, this isn’t the real California, merely a state modeled after it on another planet. I figured that’s enough explanation for the climate. Thanks for reading. 

1.92, Pt. 1: Phantom’s Warning (KCLKF)

Friday, June 27, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

Maybe this was her unlucky dress. Kass swallowed the bad taste in her mouth as she watched Davis and Beau move the piano around for the third time. Tonight, Jamie was indecisive. First, she didn’t want to be on the left side of the stage because of a peculiar draft. Then she complained about a strange lighting from the right side of the stage because of the shadow of the mountains. Then she returned to the left side because it made the most sense to be on Davis’ good side.

Kass puffed an aggravated blast of air up her face, blowing a stray piece of hair from her eyes. She slid down in her seat at the table to her right, stage left because Jamie wanted Kass to hear all the good notes from the keys. Musicians! She wore the same dress she wore the last night she sat in on a Twilight Trio gig, the same night the earthquake happened, the same night she found out her father wasn’t really her dad, and the same night her childhood home was destroyed. Ayesha convinced her to make her own luck and give the dress another try, but she was beginning to think it was a bad idea to have Carina sew the fabric back together.

“I’m gonna go…” she stood up and thumbed over her shoulder.

“You can’t leave!” Jamie exclaimed dramatically and threw out her hands. “I need a woman’s opinion,” she approached. “Do you think my new frames compliment my eyes or will they distract too much from my playing?” she glanced up at the sky and held out a palm. “Oh gawd! It’s raining. I felt a raindrop. Guys, we’ll have to lug this all back inside. I will not have us get electrocuted.”

Davis groaned. Beau slumped against the edge of the keyboard.  Women! Kass thought dramatically and squirmed uncomfortably as she took a step or two back.

“Your glasses look great!” Kass offered two thumbs-up, and sighed as she walked away. “I’ll be back. Restroom break…”

Davis looked up from adjusting his microphone and nodded her exit. She wished he would do more. They were still doing an awkward dance around the issues that surfaced during their day on the beach. They were still dating, but the tension ballooned. She thrust the door open and stepped into the tiled bathroom, wishing she could scream, but it wouldn’t do her any good, except sound all fun as it echoed against the walls.

She was still trying to process her mother’s engagement announcement and the fact that her mamma and Clark were buying a house together. Clark still hadn’t found out anything about her real father. Gage had been busy for the last two days so she hadn’t been able to discuss her situation with him. He was in Starlight Shores looking at a college for Scarlett for a few days. Howard’s test results came back and he wanted to share with her, but she hadn’t been brave enough to call him yet. She had tried to follow Detective Hunter to learn more about his movements, but he had given her the slip and she had to come up with some crazy wild excuse to his partner, Detective Goddard as to why she was hanging around the police station. He mostly laughed and agreed to let her off the hook, if she’d have coffee with him, but when she asked about his connections to the Alto family, he grew cagey and said he needed to finish some work, but he wasn’t taking no for an answer on that coffee. She grimaced. Hank Goddard wasn’t that much older than Davis so she really couldn’t use his age as an excuse, and he wasn’t bad to look at, but she wasn’t really into redheads.

Dampening a paper towel, she mopped her face. She was almost tempted to wash off her lip gloss. While he invited Kass to spend time with him, she felt neglected while Davis spent most of the evening taking orders from Jamie. Why do I even try if he’s studying all night and playing hot gigs with Blonde Beauty? She could almost see the green glint in her eyes. Jamie. Davis had mentioned her a few times before, but now that Kass saw the woman in the flesh, she couldn’t help but feel threatened. How can I compete with a Barbie doll? A toilet flushed behind her, and she jumped. Better get back out there. As she turned, her eyes met with the woman emerging from the stall.

Madison!”

Kass gasped. She frowned as the woman opened her mouth to speak and changed her mind. Her hair had returned to its former bleached blonde hanging round her shoulders. She wore a magenta sundress with a flair at the knee, and long white gloves, an unusual choice. Then again, Ayesha had been wearing leather gloves in summer. Madison’s appeared more dressy.

“Oh my gawd! I thought you were… oh… I am…” she sucked air through her teeth and placed a fist against her forehead, wincing as she glanced in the mirror. “Am I crazy?”

When she turned, Madison still stood before her.

“Where have you been? What happened? Are you okay? How did you…”Kass trailed off, reaching for Madison’s arm, her fingers phasing through transparent matter.

“What the?”

Kass,” Madison said, her voice hollow and tinny.

Kass’ eyes bugged as she backed into the sink, gripping the edge of the porcelain basin. Madison appeared to be solid, and yet Kass’ hand sliced right through her forearm. Now aware, she noticed Madison did appear to have an otherworldly glow.

“Are… are… are…” she stammered, feeling like an idiot. Pressing her foot into the floor, she mustered courage and spoke again.”You’re not really here, are you?” she managed.

No, I’m not,” Madison replied.

“Are you… a… a… ghost?” Kass assumed, feeling strange even as she spoke the words.

It wasn’t entirely impossible, but it certainly wasn’t very plausible. She had heard stories… ghost stories… about people who were stuck in the ‘in-between.’ Shells of their former selves. Lost in time and space. Wandering the celestial sands of time above terrestrial plains. She recalled her physics teacher who believed static on the radio belonged to the stars trying to communicate to earthlings. She knew of aliens, other beings out there in the universe, fighting battles like giants in the skies, their ruins of war crashing to the planet. She remembered Ayesha relaying spooky stories around a campfire at summer camp with exaggerated gestures and maniacal faces. It was an odd sensation to feel wind crawling over one’s skin and time standing still all at once. Kass blinked rapidly.

Don’t fight it,” Madison warned, laying a warm hand against Kass’ back. “I’m here to help you.”

At least it feels warm… Kass wondered what bizarre thing she swallowed. Did Granny Jade finally go off her rocker, putting hallucinogenic additives in the hazelnut creamers?

“Fight… what?” Kass pressed her fingers to her forehead, a headache forming behind her eyes.

The illusion,” Madison said. “What you see is a phantom… but I’m not a figment of your imagination. My soul is still tethered to this world.”

“What? Souls? Tethered? Huh?” Kass narrowed her eyes. “Are you… real?”

Of course, I am,” Madison shook her head, her hair moving at an unnaturally slow speed. “But I am in your mind and your mind is projecting what I want you to see.”

“I’m…” Kass dug her nails into the space between the tiles in the wall as she moved even further from the strange sight. “…so confused…” she barely whispered.

I don’t have long,” Madison replied, glancing over her shoulder.

“And phantoms can use the restroom?” Kass inquired, bewildered.

Madison smirked. “I had to get your attention somehow.”

“Uh… whoa! Wow! I mean… uh… I…” Kass babbled, and then suddenly gained a grip on her thoughts to ask a stream of questions. “Maddy, you’re a telepath? A ghost? A figment of my imagination? What are you? Where are you? Are you okay? Did you die? Did someone…” she bit out the words. “…kill you?”

I can’t tell you that,” Madison replied.

“What about… the baby… in this state…” Kass pointed to her friend’s stomach. “I’m… whoa!” she dropped her head. “This is crazy. I didn’t eat lunch. I should’ve eaten lunch…” she breathed heavily and gripped her knees.

My baby will live if… you help me…” Madison said.

“What does… that… even… mean?” Kass gasped, blinking as her eyes began to hurt and water.

Speak to the law…” Madison’s image began to flicker.

“The law? Call the police?” Kass asked, her face scrunching.

Madison shook her head.

“…the law…a lawyer? Speak to a lawyer?” Kass tried, her voice raising an octave.

She still had that appointment with Butterworth, Honeywell, and Pan later this week, but by then, it might be too late. The only other attorney she knew was…

“Jennifer? Gage’s mom?” Kass repeated.

Do you remember when we were in choir together?” Madison inquired. “And we were in the alto section, but you didn’t want to be, but the teacher made you stick with it for the semester.”

“Yeah,” Kass frowned, puzzled as to why Madison would recall that particular memory.

Don’t stick with the altos and stay away from that which is not sea.

“Huh? That which is not sea?” Kass rubbed her cheeks, trying to decipher the meaning of Madison’s words. “Don’t stick with altos?”

Theee al-tos,” were the words Madison seemed to say as she shook her arms and phased through the bathroom door.

“Wait!” Kass walked forward and slammed into the solid door. “Ouch!” she cried. “Why stay away from theee… altos?”

She held her nose, her eyes smarting from the pain. Not theee altos? The Altos? Three Altos? her mind began to piece together meaning.  She blinked a few times. As she pushed open the bathroom door, Kass nearly collided with another woman. Holly Alto.


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. Moving right along with the mystery and the fantastical. Hope you’re enjoying. 

1.91 Potential Complications (KCLKF)

Wednesday, June 25, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

When Kass arrived at her friend’s home, she cracked her knuckles before knocking on the door. This wasn’t going to be easy, but for the sake of an old friendship and a new relationship, she would tell him the truth.

17Jennifer greeted her at the door with a warm welcoming embrace. At first, Kass winced, but her friend’s mom assured her that “boss Jennifer” and “friend Jennifer” were two different people and it wasn’t inappropriate to hug. Kass relaxed and leaned into the hug.

“Careful,” Jennifer said. “We just waxed the floors.”

“It looks… clean… in here,” Kass wrinkled her nose, wishing she could generate a more creative response.

The Martinez residence was strangely retro – a mish-mash of old-style brown and tan tiled floors, mahogany and oak furniture, apricot walls with redwood trim, strawberry jam-colored curtains, rosewood pillars with antique gold etching. The exterior was traditional hacienda style with white stucco walls and immaculate red trim and a long winding brick driveway. Kass had always wondered why the inside didn’t match the outside, but then again, she didn’t want to question Jennifer’s taste.

“How are you, chica?” Jennifer inquired. “I’m sorry I have been too busy to look into your delicate request. Does Gage know?”

“Actually… no…” Kass sighed, and dropped her arms. “I thought I’d talk with him.”

“I thought you two might be on the outs,” Jennifer smiled and nodded knowingly. “He’s brooding on the patio again.”

Kass grimaced. “He is?”

18

“We’ll give him some time,” Jennifer said, and squeezed Kass’ hand. “I just made some chocolate chip cookies. You must try one and tell me what you think.”

Kass chuckled ironically. “When do you find the time?”

“I know,” Jennifer winked. “Lawyer. Busy mama and wife. Not to mention the pro bono cases. But baking helps me unwind. It’s my little secret to stress relief.”

Kass smiled. “Okay. I’ll try a cookie.”

“Gage says he just brushed his teeth, and Scarlett claims she’s allergic to chocolate, and Pablo…” Jennifer trailed off, dropping her gaze as a hint of pink breached her cheeks. “…he would eat them even if they were burnt, but he’s working.”

“Gage is passing up chocolate?” Kass’ eyes widened, as she heard her friend groan loudly from the patio.

Gage watched the professional baseball games on television every Wednesday without fail. She would have to be very lucky to be able to explain everything during a three and a half minute commercial break. Perhaps it was best she wait and eat cookies with Jennifer.

“Men and their sports,” Jennifer shook her head.

“Tell me about it,” Kass replied, wishing she had the sense to remember the night of the week.

19

Jennifer’s cookies were, as anticipated, excellent. The perfect balance of butter and gooey chocolate and the dough lightly toasted with a crispy outside and a softer inside. Her hostess offered her a paper plate to keep the crumbs from sprinkling on the counter. They talked about the summer and Kass’ essay, which was almost finished. Good thing too. The deadline was in a few days.

“I have some news,” Jennifer began, her tone shifting to somber. “I think your theory about your friend has some merit.”

“Oh?” Kass’ hand froze in mid-air.

Jennifer stood and cleared their plates before returning to her seat, perched on the barstool at the kitchen counter. “Yes, I’m beyond positive.”

“What do you mean?” Kass quickly swallowed her last bite of cookie.

“I went and observed her autopsy,” Jennifer began. “And the coroner confirmed some things for me. Not to mention there was something off about her handwriting.”

20

Kass frowned. She knew who the baby daddy was, but she wasn’t sure if Jennifer figured it out, or if Madison had disclosed the information to her attorney. She decided to withhold the tidbit until Jennifer clarified.

“What makes you so sure?”

Jennifer cleared her throat and lowered her voice. “Because Ms. VanWatson signed some paperwork for me when she came to me for advice. She wanted to know how to claim child support from a person she wasn’t married to.”

“The boyfriend?” Kass exclaimed, and then slouched in her seat as she leaned her elbow on the counter and her chin on her closed fist. “The lover!” she narrowed her eyes. “I have a hard time believing Abe had anything to do with this.”

“Appearances can be deceiving,” Jennifer said, cryptically, and then dropped her gaze. “No, I don’t think Abe did anything to hurt Madison. I think it was more than likely the lover.”

“But how?” Kass wondered.

“Money can buy many things,” Jennifer said, grimly dropping her arms to her side.

“That’s horrible!” Kass exclaimed.

Should I be surprised? Knowing the family? Still he didn’t seem like the type to do his own dirty work. And fire was a horrific way to go. Unless it wasn’t planned. Or it was used to cover something up. Or it was set to mask the true intentions of someone, or make it look like something other than what it was. A murder in cold blood.

“I need to know something,” Jennifer said solemnly. “I shouldn’t be breaking attorney-client privilege, even if the client is deceased. I know you are my intern, but you need to keep everything here in confidence. I can’t afford to lose my license.”

21

“Jennifer… it’s okay…” Kass waved her hands. “I promise nothing you say to me will leave this room.”

“It’s more than that,” Jennifer replied. “You could be called upon to testify in court if this goes to trial. No…” she shook her head. “I can’t put you in that kind of position.”

“She was my friend,” Kass said. “I need to know…” the emotions swelled in her chest and she almost felt like she would burst into tears. “…that Madison will have closure.”

“She will,” Jennifer laid a hand reassuringly on Kass’ own. “I pledge to you that I will give her the justice she deserves. I am worried this is bigger and deeper than we know. And much scarier. I can’t risk your safety.”

“But you’ll risk your own?” Kass narrowed her eyes. “Please Jennifer. I’m your intern. Let me help you. I have something to tell you too… something that could be useful to your case. I know who the father of Madison’s child is.”

“Then you are obligated to tell me,” Jennifer said, and looked out to the patio at her son. “…then I want you to leave things be.”

“Please, I want in on this case,” Kass protested. “I want to help. I need to help. Look at how far I’ve gotten in my home burglary case on my own.”

“Kass, that is different,” Jennifer sighed. “We’re talking about the difference between burglary…”

“And homicide?” Kass finished for her boss.

Jennifer stared long and hard into the distance, and she appeared to be thinking hard. Kass fidgeted, swinging her feet off the floor and flexing her fingers as she waited with hopeful anticipation for her boss’s answer.

“Are you…” Jennifer said slowly. “…absolutely sure you want to continue down this path? I told you what I did as a courtesy. Madison was your friend. But if it’s too difficult or becomes too dangerous, I want you to deny you know anything, ?”

23

“So if I get questioned… I should lie?” Kass squeaked, tilting her head as she tried to make sense of Jennifer’s meaning.

“It’s for your safety, and for your family’s for that matter.”

Kass twisted her lower lip. She hadn’t thought of that potential complication. If this is how his family handled dirty little secrets, then her own family could be in danger.

“Don’t answer me tonight,” Jennifer decided for her. “I want you to think long and hard about this and what it means for you and for those you care about.”

“What about you?” Kass asked.

“You will go off to university soon, but this is my job, and I will see it through no matter what,” Jennifer promised.

“Okay… I can live with that,” Kass took a deep breath and exhaled forcefully. “For now.”

“I’m sorry, child, I’m talking your ear off and here you’ve come to hang out with Gage,” Jennifer stood up and walked into the kitchen to cover the cookies.

“It’s okay,” Kass shrugged.

24

Kass wandered to the back patio, plopping on the outdoor loveseat. From what she could tell, Gage was watching the sixth inning and the bases were loaded in favor of the Bay City Asters.

“Hi,” Gage said, without making direct eye contact.

“Hi,” she winced, and laid her hands against her legs awkwardly. “Look I… uh…”

“Hey, I’m…” Gage began simultaneously.

They both half-laughed.

“Sorry I busted your chops the other day,” he said, dropping his eyes. “You’re doing a nice thing for Madison.”

“Thank you. Sorry I haven’t been around much,” Kass apologized.

“It’s okay,” he replied.

“Not really, but thanks anyhow,” Kass recognized. “Um… and there’s a reason I…uh… haven’t been around that much.”

“I know your essay and your house and your llama crap with your mom,” Gage continued. “And I mean the Madison stuff is pretty insane too.”

“It’s more than that,” Kass began, but Jennifer interrupted by walking out onto the patio.

“Hey Kass,” she said. “I forgot to tell you. I ran that license plate you asked me to.”

“And?”

“Jennifer…” Gage waved his hand. “Come on… the game!” he tossed his hands in the air, and turned up the volume on the tiny television that belonged in the 2370’s.

Kass smothered a smirk and stood, walking around the couch into the doorway. “What did you find out?” she crossed her arms.

“The car is registered to the Sunset Valley police department,” Jennifer conveyed.

“What? Really?” Kass’ eyes widened.

“Yes, and I did a little digging,” Jennifer leaned toward Kass, the worry lines creasing her forehead. “…and found out who takes the car out most often… but you’re not going to like it. This complicates things potentially.”

“How so?” Kass narrowed her eyes.

“Well, the man working your home burglary case most often takes out the unmarked police cruiser,” Jennifer replied. “Detective Hunter.”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading, folks. So Kass still didn’t get around to telling Gage about her boyfriend, but we now know more about the burglary  and Jennifer revealed some details to Kass. Stay tuned for more mystery and drama. 🙂 

1.90 Pressure Points (KCLKF)

Wednesday, June 25, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

After a long, hard day of work at the legal aid office transcribing hours upon hours of courtroom tapes, the last thing Kass wanted to do was spend time with her family. After her awkward goodbye with Davis, her mother caught Kass at the door. She had been spying. Of course, Amy viewed this as defiance as she was still dating the pool boy and Kass viewed this as an invasion of privacy, and the two argued loudly in the entryway until Nonno came and told them both to pipe down since Nonna had a headache.

Kass stomped upstairs, not her finest most adult moment, which only served as further proof for her mother that she wasn’t mature enough and still needed parenting. Her only saving grace was a sobbing meltdown from Carina because Bebe Hart’s dad grounded her because she sneaked out to attend a tutoring session to get her composition class grade up in summer school and now they couldn’t go to the Life Boats for Animals indie band concert. Bebe’s dad was being so unfair, right? Cari whined. She had saved her precious spa salary for weeks, forgoing her usual mani-pedis to afford the tickets, and now who would go with her. Kass released an aggravated groan and slammed the door, wincing once as she thought of her poor Nonna, and then slid down the wall in frustration.

Tonight, she would rather stay in and work on her essay. She would rather stay in and work on new hairstyles with Cari to cheer her middle sister up, even though Carina had cut her hair boyish short six months ago and had no hair to do up. Kass sure did. She stood in front of the mirror, pulling her favorite green tee over her head, slipping out of heels and into flip flops, wondering if a new hairstyle was in order. Who am I kidding? Kass poked the glass. She liked her less than ten minute morning routine, and she sure didn’t want highlights. Most women would kill to get that hair and yours doesn’t come from a bottle, she could practically hear Carina’s voice in her head.

1

When Kass walked into Hogan’s Deep-Fried Diner, she realized her sisters hadn’t arrived yet. Her mamma sat at the table, the same disapproving thin-mouthed frown on her face as the night before, and Clark instantly stood as any proper gentleman to greet Kass. Too late now, she thought, and had the good sense to keep her sigh internal.

“Hi Kass, good to see you,” Clark said, a little too eagerly.

She had to give him chops for trying. “Hi Clark,” she nodded, forcing a smile. “Mamma.”

2

“Kassio,” her mother acknowledged, rubbing her neck, standing up as if it were an intensive activity.

As if sensing the pressure, Clark walked over to Kass to welcome her to the diner.

“How was work today?” he inquired.

“Uh fine,” Kass bobbed her head.

“You know,” he waved his hands. “An internship is a real smart thing to do before college. A right smart thing. Hades, I wish I had done an internship. Then maybe I would’ve gotten a scholarship or something,” he chuckled and snapped his fingers with an uncomfortable wince. “Oh… shoot!”

“Clark, honey, you shouldn’t swear,” Amy said. “Especially in front of my kids… or any kids for that matter.”

“Right… wouldn’t want the kids to hear anything too adult now, Mamma,” Kass said, pointedly.

3

Amy’s jaw hardened.

Kass resorted to deflection in place of death stares. “So how are your kids, Clark?”

“Kaden and Kasey are with their mom in Oakland tonight,” Clark replied. “Kasey had a baseball game up there.”

“Baseball,” Kass tried to sound more enthusiastic than she was. “How’s his team?”

Baseball. It was the reason Davis hadn’t called her today. Or called. He worked a shift at the Jolt, caught the ferry to Bay City, took a nap at the apartment she had yet to see, attended an afternoon class at St. Anne’s and planned to spend the evening catching up on missed Sliders and Asters games. Somehow watching repeat Goldibox Game View took precedence over resolving a conflict with his girlfriend. She was partly at fault.

Kass bit her tongue to prevent her from saying something mean to her mom after Amy suggested she hold a deeper appreciation for sports that didn’t involve kicking a ball around a field for the sake of the family. She almost laughed. Amy barely came out of her room before Clark, let alone watched anything but Pennant rom-coms. She couldn’t remember the last time her mother actually came to one of her sisters’ games. Kass knew more about baseball than her mother, surely.

4

Andi arrived with a genuine smile, greeting Clark respectfully and giving her mother an affectionate side hug. Cari, on the other hand, appeared bored, barely acknowledging their mamma, who had the “gall” to suggest her middle daughter return her tickets for a full refund and spend the evening doing something more productive like working on improving her Romīan language classes so she could volunteer at the Romalīan Culture Center in Bay City with Nonno. Yeah, cuz that sounds like fun, Carina had rolled her eyes. She was still super annoyed that high school required community service hours in order to graduate. Welcome to my world, Kass had smirked.

“What’s wrong?” Kass asked her sister, quietly.

“This whole thing is weird,” Cari sniffed, turning her head away. “I’m not on speaking terms with mamma, and I don’t know about him.”

Kass blinked a few times. She was surprised her sister stated her opinion so loudly in front of Clark. Then again, it’s Carina… maybe I’m not. 

“Cari,” Amy said, a hint of irritation in her tone. “Please… for my sake… try…”

5

“I guess,” Cari shrugged nonchalantly, then launched into a dramatic tirade. “So you’re not going to believe what happened when I was working at the store today. This customer came in and wanted gold polish for her mani/pedi. We’re all out because my boss is too cheap to restock regularly, and so of course, I tell her in my most polite tone…” Cari said, waving her arms.

Somehow Kass didn’t believe her sister was the most courteous to her customer.

“…that we can order more and it’ll be in on Monday. In the meantime, I could offer her a wide selection of options of other colors and discount the price. She looked at me like I grew three heads. And I know I’ve got a pretty face, but come on… three?”

Clark winced, shoving his hands in his pockets, his expression speaking volumes. Kass doubted he had much experience raising daughters. Amy rubbed her temples, but let her middle daughter continue.

“She asks if she can speak to another ‘older’ associate. I snapped my bubble gum loudly and said I was the only one in the spa that wasn’t occupied at the moment and I was the only one who could help her. She complains that my customer service is less than par. She wants to talk to my manager. Well, of course, Miranda is out on her break and so I tell her that and she huffs in my face and says she’ll never shop at our store again. Can you believe it? I offered to discount her price too!”

“Wow,” was all Kass could think to say.

“The discount was a nice idea,” Andi admitted meekly.

“Carina,” Amy huffed. “Aren’t you going to say hello to Mister Sauer?”

“Oh please call me Clark,” Clark insisted.

“Okay Clark,” Cari said, crossing her arms. “What are your intentions toward our mamma?”

Amy laughed nervously and Clark smiled at her knowingly. Andi pinched Cari’s arm.

“Well, I think that’s a conversation we save for when we’re seated and eating. Speaking of which, I’ll go order us something,” Clark replied, making a less-than-smooth exit.

6

“Ow! Why’d you pinch me?” Cari glared at Andi.

“Because that wasn’t nice,” Andi replied.

“Cari, please… please… try to be the angel child I know you are,” Am pleaded quietly.

“I don’t know Mamma, he seems shady,” Cari grunted.

“Seriously, you’ve been here for like what? Three minutes!?” Andi exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air. “And you’re monopolizing all the conversation, and you say he’s shady? Clark has been nice to us.”

“I think it’d be best if we save heavy topics for another time,” Kass recommended.

“Yes, thank you,” Amy exclaimed quietly, and it was the first thing Kass could agree on with her mother.

“What? I can’t ask him what his intentions are?” Cari howled, drawing the attention of a couple other customers.

“Shh!” Amy hushed.

7

Cari reluctantly closed her mouth, but she was most definitely sulking. Kass didn’t doubt that the relationship between her mother and Clark was different, but he didn’t outright seem like a terrible guy anymore. She actually trusted him a little more now that he told her the truth and was investigating on her behalf. She wasn’t exactly ready for all their relationship implied, but unlike Carina, she could keep her thoughts to herself.

“Seriously, this sucks,” Cari grunted.

Well that didn’t last long. 

“Quiet, Cari,” Andi snapped. “I’m going to go change in the bathroom and when I come back, I don’t want to hear a peep out of you!”

Kass smirked at the mothering tone her youngest sister had.

“Come on you two, calm down.  Let’s just enjoy this night, okay?” she said impatiently. “Why are you changing, Andi?”

Andromeda didn’t answer as she picked up her backpack and flounced away.

8Everyone ordered hamburgers, everyone except Andi. She returned from the bathroom and said she was meeting a friend at the beach for a party. When Cari pressed, Andi glared and ordered a glass of water. Kass figured she was meeting her “secret” boyfriend. Why can’t boyfriends just stay secret? At least until I’m thirty-five and Mamma thinks it’s appropriate to date! 

Amy wanted to move tables, claiming the other table wasn’t as clean. There hardly seemed more than two specks of dust, and the usual mustard stain that wouldn’t come out of the plastic no matter how many times the wait staff attempted. Kass sighed and returned her rare hamburger. She didn’t like anything too bloody and undercooked. Amy gingerly ate her burger with a knife and fork until Carina teased. This week Cari was vegetarian, probably just to tick off their mother, and be an annoyance to Clark. She ordered a salad and picked off the olives, cheese, and tomato. Kass didn’t want to be a pain, but they returned her hamburger medium-rare, while everyone else received their correct order. She went to speak to the chef directly and returned while Cari ordered a bean patty. Kass was impressed her sister ate it without complaining.

9

“So Kass, how goes your essay?” Clark began, trying to make small talk. “You’re gonna be an Edgewater Llama in a few weeks, huh? I’m a Trojan man myself.”

Kass nearly gagged on my water.

“Lone Star State Univeristy Trojans! Hoo-yah!” he said proudly, displaying his muscles. “I’ve got the tat right on my arm right here. Never finished though.”

“Hoo…yah…” Kass replied without enthusiasm. “It’s almost finished.”

“It’s a wonder,” Amy spoke up. “With all your free time lately, you could’ve finished it sooner.”

Kass narrowed her eyes at the jab.

“What are you planning to study again?” Clark asked, between bites of burger.

“I’m keeping my options open,” Kass replied.

“Business or law, like my father,” Amy said, swishing her hair out of her face as she attempted to pick up her dinner and eat with her hands. “Isn’t that right, Kass?”

Kass wished her dinner would hurry up and arrive, fidgeting uncomfortably in her chair. The pressure was palpable.

“Ambitious,” Clark acknowledged. “What about you ladies?”

10

“I’d like to be a concert pianist,” Andi piped up.

“Mmm… you should talk to my son, Kaden. He’s a musician too… Drums,” Clark replied. “What about you, Cari?”

“It’s Carina,” she grunted, folding her arms across her chest.

“Oh sorry, Carina,” Clark apologized.

Cari responded with deadening silence as she shoved her bean burger in her mouth.

“Cari is our resident actress and fashionista,” Amy spoke up after Cari refused to reply. “I think she’ll make a fabulous stage actress someday or fashion designer.”

Kass swallowed the lump of hurt in her throat. Why did Carina and Andromeda get to follow their art and passion, and she was forced to study economics or law like her family business? She was enjoying her internship at legal aid, but that wasn’t necessarily where she wanted to end up.

“Heading to Shakespeare Court?” Clark arched a brow. “Or are you going to be the next big Patrina?”

“Yeah, something like that,” Cari narrowed her eyes.

Kass was impressed that Clark even knew those names.

11

“Well Kaden wants to be a musician, but Kasey is thinking about sports. He’s a fabulous pitcher. He’s got such a great throwing arm I pitched a little ball back in college but I was better at hitting,” Clark bragged. “Have you girls been to any of the baseball games at Sun Valley High?”

“No, we go to Community… for smart and gifted people, remember?” Cari snipped.

“Oh,” Clark said, frowning as he sensed Cari’s hostility.

Amy practically choked on her food.

“I went to one of the last games of the season,” Andi said softly. “Yeah I remember seeing him pitch. He is really good.”

“We should all go to one of his games maybe,” Amy suggested.

“Well, now that the season’s over that sounds like a fabulous idea,” Cari said sarcastically. “Say Mamma, why didn’t you come to any of Andi’s and my games for…” she lifted her finger to her chin and scrunched her face. “…any of the last season?”

“Cari!” Andi and I exclaimed in unison.

Carina Nebula Fullbright! That’s enough,” Amy warned, narrowing her eyes.

12

“No, it’s okay,” Clark put his hands up. “Cari, I understand this is all very new for you and probably threatening.”

“You can say that again!” Cari rolled her eyes.

“I get it that you don’t like me,” Clark continued. “But I want you to know, Cari… and Kass and Andi…” he made eye contact before returning his gaze to Carina. “I really care about your Mamma and I have the best of intentions toward her. I don’t want to do anything to hurt her, so if this relationship of ours…” he reached for my mother’s hand. “…is going to cause tension among you girls, we can slow down and try to make this easier for you.”

Clark cleared his throat and wiped his mouth on his napkin. “Your Mamma is so important to me and I know you girls mean the world to her, and I would never, ever want anything to come between that special relationship.”

Sadness pooled in Kass’ heart. Her relationship with her mamma at best was on the rocks, at worst, at the bottom of the Orinda Bay. She wasn’t sure she would call anything between her mother and herself special anymore.

“I feel the same way about my boys. So I think it’s totally fair for you to add your input… all of you… and I actually want that,” Clark continued as he reached over and squeezed Amy’s hand. “Which is why…”

13

“Oh come out and tell us already,” Carina rolled he eyes and lifted the last remaining bite of salad into her mouth. “I know. We should all know about your impending engagement!”

Andi gasped. Startled, Kass’s eyes grew wide. Engagement? How long had they been dating? That was quick, wasn’t it? When did this happen? She wished she had been around more recently, and maybe she would’ve picked up on clues. Her mother engaged? After she said she hated men and she’d never go down that road again? After all her anxiety attacks and her inability to focus on anyone but herself during her bouts with depression? After chewing her daughter out time and time again over her poor dating choices, only to get engaged herself after a short amount of time? She was stunned, hurt even, but in seeing the way Clark looked at her mother, with affection and adoration, she couldn’t be upset. He looked over Luna, and her mamma flushed with at the attention.

“I, for one, think this relationship is great,” she spoke, putting her hand out. “And I want to… welcome you to the family, Clark. Mamma seems so happy.”

She emphasized the ‘so,’ hoping her mother would agree to her daughter’s choice of romantic partner. Cari huffed, but Andi nodded in agreement.

“I want Mamma to be happy and I want you to be comfortable with us,” she said maturely.

“Well, thank you, that means a lot to me,” Clark smiled brightly. “Cari?”

“I guess… I’m just not so sure…” she mumbled.

14

“That’s okay. Think about it. I’m going to take your Mamma for a spin on the dance floor,” Clark winked at his fiance.

“Now?” Amy gasped, her heart flying to her chest.

“This is a great song. Come on, Amy, don’t be shy,” Clark teased gently, offering her his hand.

“Okay,” she agreed, standing up with a smile.

The Fullbright sisters sat in stunned silence. It seemed just a short while before that Clark was introduced into their lives. They hadn’t met his sons but a few times. Kass wanted her mother to be happy. She really did. Yet it was hard to accept her mamma’s joy when her mother couldn’t accept her own.

15

“This is weird,” Cari said.

“I know, I think so too,” Andi wrinkled her nose. “But Mamma’s happy.”

“Do you think we’ll have to move? I am not giving up my shoe closet!” Carina crossed her arms.

“We already moved,” Andi sighed. “You didn’t think we could live with Nonna and Nonno forever, did you?”

“I don’t know. They have such a nice house. Maybe Mamma will let me live with them while she goes and shacks up with Clark,” Carina rolled her eyes.

“Cari!” Kass interjected. “If they are getting married, it won’t be…” she couldn’t say the word ‘shacking-up,’ and instead continued, “Clark seems like a decent guy. Just look at them. They seem to care about each other.”

“Yeah,” Cari conceded.

Yeah, Kass conceded internally. This will be just fine. 

“It’s so not fair,” Cari laid her elbow on the table and propped her chin up. “Mamma’s got Clark. Andi’s got VJ… even you have a new guy, Kass. What’s wrong with me?”

“Nothing’s wrong with you,” Andi replied. “It’s perfectly fine to be single.”

“Easy for you to say. You both have men,” Cari sighed, exasperated. “And you’re both in love…”

16

“In love?” Kass repeated with a funny smile. “I just started dating…”

She did love Davis. She had said as much. Then I need to do what’s right. 

“Yeah, she just started dating,” Andi smirked knowingly.

“Whatever, you two are full of it,” Cari tossed a napkin in our direction.

“Excuse me,” Kass said, standing up. “Tell Clark thanks for dinner please.”

“Where are you going?” Cari asked.

“Someplace I should’ve gone awhile ago.”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. I know this was a longer than long chapter, but it felt necessary to contain in one chapter. I wanted to continue the family saga with Clark, and reintroduce the drama between mother and daughter, or in this case, daughters. The Goldibox game console is actually only available in Sims 4, but I wanted something like Playstation Vue so it sufficed. Oh the Sims not sitting at the same table, not eating at the same time, getting up too many times, and spontaneous outfit changes! I managed to make it all work… sort of. Enough for the story. Shakespeare Court is located in Avalon (my Simworld version of the British Isles) and is comparable to the West End of London or Broadway of New York. When trying to think up a name for a designer (other than the Valensima in the original version of this chapter), I thought of the real-world connection Valentino, which led me to Valentine, which led me to Catholic saints and holidays, and then St. Patrick, but that didn’t sound right and Patricia is the feminine version of Patrick, but that still didn’t sound right. Patrina it is! 🙂 Yes, this is how my brain works sometimes. xD Hope you enjoyed! 

1.89, Pt. 5: On the Beach (KCLKF)

Tuesday, June 24, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

“We never did learn to windsurf.”

Davis shrugged as he plopped the last barbecued hot dog onto a serving plate. It was nice that The Grand Admiral Hotel provided meat for grilling at the Tiki Hut for a small fee.  It had been awhile since their midday brunch. Kass stomach growled fiercely.

“It’s okay,” he said. “We deserve a lazy day every once in awhile.”

Screenshot-350

“Yeah,” she agreed.

Lately, she had been pushing herself hard – with her internship, researching who her real father was, raising money for Madison’s memorial, working on her essay, and all sorts of exercise. She liked to stay fit, and other than running, typical gym rat activities didn’t hold her interest.  Dr. Bachelor had recommended low-key pasttimes and low-impact exercise, which of course, Kass wasn’t listening to when she had a boyfriend who enjoyed ice skating, swimming, and other sports. She wanted to keep up, not miss out. It was summertime after all.

“Whoo! These look great!” Davis self-praised enthusiastically as he set their dinner on the picnic table.

Screenshot-351

“Mmm, they smell good, and I’m starved. It’s been awhile since breakfast,” Kass nodded, finding it amusing that he enjoyed the little things.

She could smell the burning charcoal in the air, the smoke wafting into the sea-salt laden air over the fire pit with flames painted up the sides. Howard used to grill on Friday evenings when he wasn’t traveling for work. There was something special about sharing blackened meat under an open summer sky with a loved one. She smiled wistfully, almost tempted to text her dad to meet them for a hot dog. He could meet her boyfriend. Maybe Howard would have a better reaction than her mamma.

“And all you had was oatmeal.”

“Hey!” he exclaimed. “Don’t knock oatmeal. It’s very filling.”

“But we’ve been very active today and we didn’t have lunch,” Kass reminded.

“True,” he conceded.

Screenshot-353

Kass squirted spicy mustard on her hot dog and added sweet relish before offering him the container between bites. Her stomach rumbled again as he paused to say a quick blessing of thanks.

“What? No condiments?” she asked when he was finished.

“Nope, I like my hot dogs plain,” Davis  replied.

“Plain?” Kass made a face. “Just like Ga…” she trailed off, and averted her eyes rapidly.

“Maybe we should hang out with him,” Davis suggested.

Her eyes widened and then narrowed in suspicion. “Really?”

“Yeah, it might be good for all of us to hang out,” he continued. “Invite Ayesha too.”

Screenshot-354

Ayesha too, huh?  Kass didn’t have a problem inviting Ayesha. Her closest female friend was already supportive of their dating relationship. Gage still didn’t know. It’s my own fault, and now we’re not speaking to one another. Maybe a double date would be nice. Ayesha had mentioned dating someone recently. She said his eyes were dark and he was dreamy, even if he had a baby face. Ayesha didn’t mind too much though. Most of the men her parents tried to set her up with had full beards and were much older. She deserved to date someone her own age.

“I’ll think about it,”Kass said, daintily lifting the hot dog to her mouth for another bite.

Davis nodded from the opposite side of the table in response. She wondered why, especially given their closeness in the ocean. Perhaps he was intentionally distancing himself given her reluctance to tell her best bud about their relationship. Gage hadn’t texted her once in the last day in spite of her numerous messages to him. He’s definitely avoiding me, she determined.

Screenshot-357

Davis burped loudly.

“Excuse you,” Kass said dramatically.

“Excuse me,” Davis repeated meekly.

She smothered a laugh. “That good, huh?”

“I suppose,” he lifted his hand to his mouth, almost embarrassed.

Screenshot-340

While Davis popped off to the restroom, Kass wandered further onto the beach toward the fire pits. They had purchased a s’mores kit. Kass stuck three small marshmallows onto her stick and hung it over the open flames.

“These are going to be perfect!” she said happily.

“Really?” he made a face. “They seem to be lacking a bit.”

“In size?” she shook her head. “Naw… there’s no such thing as a bad marshmallow.”

“What about a dry one?” he grimaced.

“Maybe…uh… we’re drying them out when we burn them over the coals,” she muttered beneath her breath.

Screenshot-343

As Davis tentatively placed a single marshmallow on a stick, Kass noticed a familiar face. She wasn’t sure if she was pleasantly surprised or slightly disappointed.

“Hi Cyrus,” she greeted. “Stealing my hair color?”

He flipped his hair dramatically. “It’s the flavor of the week. You like?”

She smirked. “Maybe. Cyrus, have you met my boyfriend, Davis?”

There. That wasn’t hard. At. All. She could just as easily introduce Davis to Gage, right?

“Hey man,” Cyrus said, and they shook hands.

“Pleased to meet you,” Davis responded in kind.

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“Wanna roast a marshmallow?” Kass offered.

“Naw… I just came by to warm up,” he smiled. “The water is freezing.”

“You were out there now?” she remarked, noticing the tide was starting to roll.

“Yeah, so really? What do you think of the fabulous red?” Cyrus inquired.

“Well, I like it,” Davis piped up.

Kass’s eyes widened and she burst into laughter.

“But I think Kass rocks it better,” Cyrus admitted.

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“Thanks,” Kass replied and took a tentative bite of her hot roasted marshmallow, still way too white.

“You gotta get it right down in the flames,” Davis remarked.

“But it could catch on fire,” she protested.

“Sure, but it gets nice and oozy that way,” Cyrus added.

“Ooozy?” she quirked a brow.

“Kinda like me,” he grinned cheekily. “Just oozing with charm…”

She resisted the urge to kick sand in his direction.

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“How do you two know each other?” Davis inquired, blowing on his dessert.

“Grew up together, sort of,” Kass shrugged as Cyrus said, simultaneously, “Oh we used to date…”

Her jaw dropped. “No, we didn’t.”

“Oh but you wanted to,” he smirked.

Davis rubbed the back of his head awkwardly.

“He dropped out of school,” Kass said hurriedly. “It wasn’t practical. And now he’s a big game video designer.”

Cyclone Sword,” Cyrus continued, wiping his hand against his shorts. “I’d give you my card,” he said to Davis. “… but uh… left those in my other pants…” he said, looking directly at Kass.

She squirmed uncomfortably in her folding chair.

“I didn’t know you were that into video gaming, Kass,” Davis said, and she couldn’t help but think his tone was a little pointed.

Screenshot-349 “Any friend of Kass’ is a friend of mine,” Cyrus said, straightening proudly in his chair. “I’d be happy to get you an advance copy of Cyclone Sword III if you want.”

“No thanks,” Davis replied seriously. “I don’t really game.”

If that was true, then why did he leave a Maxoid Simulator 2 1/2 in her nonno’s den?  Davis hooked the gaming device there since the internet was better in the main house and his little television didn’t support the games. Though as Kass thought more about it, she realized he only played car racing games, and didn’t have much time to button mash anyhow.

“Wanna catch some  waves, Kass?” Cyrus asked, pointing his thumb in her direction. “She used to be the best night surfer.”

“We have to get going,” Davis said, suddenly, standing up quickly.

“Ah, some other time then,” Cyrus said. “See you around, I guess.”

His disappointment didn’t last long as he ran out onto the sand, turned around, stuck out his tongue, and yelled, “Hang ten,” while shaking his hands. She smirked, gathering her things.

“What was that about?” Davis inquired.

“What?” she slipped her backpack strap on her shoulder. “Cyrus?” she waved a hand. “He’s harmless.”

“How many guys have you dated?” he asked, firmly planting two feet in the sand.

“Uh, I dunno,” she rounded the fire to collect their s’more sticks. “How many have you?”

“I asked you first,” he said, almost defensively.

“I meant girls,” she laughed wryly.

“No,” he continued. “I mean how many guys have you dated that are still hung up on you?”

Kass twisted her lips to the side. “Davis… don’t worry about Cyrus.”

“Cyrus. Gage. Are there others I should know about?” he narrowed his eyes.

“Are their girlfriends I should know about?” Kass inquired, lifting and dropping her shoulders dismissively.

“Let’s just go,” he said, suddenly whirling away and practically stalking up the shoreline.

Her eyes widened. So much for a romantic night on the beach! 


Author Notes: In the original story, this guy was someone named Chad. I decided to make it Cyrus instead, someone Kass knows. It’s been a bit since he had an appearance anyhow, and he looks just close enough (without the beanie). You can imagine it, I think. Either way, he was a point of unspoken contention between Davis and Kass the first time around, and this time this character creates a little more dramatic waves. This has been an up-and-down day for those two. Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed. 

1.89, Pt. 4: On the Beach (KCLKF)

Tuesday, June 24, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

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After a half hour of near excruciating silence, Davis leaped up.

“So you ready to get your butt kicked at flying disc?”

“Flying disc?” Kass looked up, dropping her book to the side of her chair. ” How do you kick…” she wrinkled her nose. “…my butt at that?”

His expression appeared relaxed. She didn’t understand him. Earlier she practically insulted him. Not practically. I did. And yet, now he appeared as though all was forgiven. He spent the last thirty minutes lazing about on the beach chair, catching some zzz’s, and she pretended to read while obsessing over how to make it up to him, who Hank Goddard was chatting with in the Grand Admiral lobby, what she would text Gage, how annoying Scarlett was, and how she should try and make peace with her mom. Her dad texted also and asked if she wanted to discuss future plans with him over dinner the following night. Amy had already stated she wanted the girls to go to dinner with her and Clark tomorrow evening. They had some news. One more thing for her to obsess over. She responded to Howard, suggesting Thursday or Friday evening instead. He asked if she would invite her sisters. Kass wasn’t sure that was the best of ideas, but it was beyond time for them to know about her contact with their dad and his life-threatening illness. Their dad. Kass sighed, swallowing the emotional lump in her throat as she felt pressure encroaching on her forehead. The reality of that statement was more than she wanted to deal with at the moment.

“I just so happened to be the flying disc golf champion at Edgewater,” Davis grinned proudly, pointing to himself.

“Well that’s a mouthful,” Kass acknowledged.

“I think it’s time you practice before you start in a few weeks,” he suggested.

“Oh really?” Kass tilted her head coyly, dropping her book in her bag. “Then I’m game!” she dusted off her hands with a fine layer of sand leaving her palms.

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They walked to an open section of the beach, standing a certain distance apart. Kass cracked her knuckles.

“We don’t have the nets for disc golf,” she protested.

“We can practice your aim,” Davis responded.

“Okay,” she replied. “Thanks for letting me read.”

She figured it was the least she could say, even though she really hadn’t gotten much further in the Felicity Joyeuse novel.

“I was tired,” he shrugged. “You’re welcome. How is the story?”

“Pretty good,” Kass tilted her neck from side to side.

“Which one is it?” Davis inquired.

She shook her head. She kept forgetting he read romance novels.

Once Upon Wherever,” she replied. “It’s about time traveling lovers.”

“Interesting,” he bobbed his head.

“Remind me where you read these stories,” she grinned. “An ex girlfriend turn you onto the ‘patented pastiche of palpable plots?'” she smirked, quoting the back cover review.

“The hospital,” he replied almost stoically. “My…” he trailed off. “Can we play?”

She gulped, wondering if she struck a nerve. “Uh yeah.”

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Kass glanced about, hoping she wouldn’t see a certain someone. Scarlett was no where to be found. Maybe she was off taking her lunch break. The only person Kass spied was Jack Bunch about to take a rest in a lazy hammock swinging between two date palms. In the distance on the patio of the Big Wick Bistro, she squinted and noticed a dark redhead with a teal strapless top and shorts staring in their direction. Otherwise, they were alone, and the beach and restaurant were mostly deserted. Kass tossed the flying disc. He flubbed the first catch.

“Champion, huh?” Kass arched a brow.

“Stop it, I’m just being gracious,” Davis laughed. “…to my girlfriend.”

He bowed teasingly. She tried to smile. Something about the way he said ‘girlfriend’ felt odd. They had never discussed exes before. It would be naive to assume Davis never dated before his relationship with her, but she suddenly found herself curious and wondered why the topic never surfaced. It wasn’t like she dated much. She didn’t count Luis,her first kiss or Fernando, her first dance, or even Cyrus since technically they went to a party together once, a country-themed graduation extravaganza for Madison, of all people. Kass was on crutches because she dislocated her knee during soccer practice, and she was pretty sure Cyrus accompanied her out of pity… or because he really enjoyed seeing her in a bright red hat. He spent most of the evening discussing musicals and fetching her drinks and food and helping her hobble for bathroom breaks (humiliating as it was). It wasn’t what she would consider a date.

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“Heads up,” Davis called.

She snapped out of her daydreaming, her eyes rising to meet the flying blue swishing through the air toward her forehead. When she caught the disc, she smiled happily.

“Nice,” Davis praised.

She beamed a little more, realizing her arms and legs may have actually tanned slightly. Toasted marshmallow was so much more attractive than mushy tomato.

“I’m waiting,” he said. “Bring it!”

“Oh?” she raised a hand absently to her cheek as she dropped her arm with the flying disc to the side.

“You know, that swimsuit is hot,” Davis said. “Not quite like your teal and gold bikini, but it’s pretty up there,” he shielded his eyes as he looked up to the sky.

“Oh stop it!” she laughed. “And it’s more of a caramel.”

“You’re blushing. It’s cute,” he smirked.

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She snapped the disc right back at him with no warning. Of course, he caught it.

“Caramel?” he smirked. “Are we craving ice cream? And I should gain points for remembering the teal.”

“Seriously, Davis? You call me hot in one breath and cute in another.”

“Okay, beautiful,” he corrected.

Her mouth softened and her eyes sparkled. “That’s…better,” she admitted. “Ice cream, huh?”

“There’s a place in Bayou that sells chocolate ice cream with bacon,” he smiled, closing his eyes. “Mmm…mmm… delicious.”

“Bacon?” she crinkled her nose. “That’s a thing in ice cream.”

“Actually my personal favorite is caramel swirl,” he replied, tossing the disc. “…with pistachios and cherry.”

She made a face.

“What don’t like cherries?” he laughed.

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“Not particularly. Don’t like pistachios either,” she thrust the disc back in his direction.

“Not the right nut for you?” he inquired, his tone playful.

“Nope,” she shook her head vigorously. “My dad’s girlfriend’s last name is Pistachio.”

“Not a fan of her, I take it,” he said.

Kass grunted, tossing the disc with extra vigor. “He cheated on my mom with a pistachio. Not a fan.”

“Oh,” Davis said, his expression growing more somber. “Sorry.”

She grimaced. “It’s okay.”

“You know I think she’s Granny’s banker,” he said, his face scrunching.

“It’s okay,” Kass replied, leaning into her throws. “Nothing personal.”

“We haven’t talked much about your dad and mom.”

“We haven’t talked about yours much either.”

Or our dating lives… Kass grew suddenly intensely curious.

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“I’m more interested in talking about your love life,” she added. “Any old girlfriends in that closet of yours?”

She winced. What an bumbling way to phrase that question!

“I’m sure my closet is bigger though,” she rushed the words out, digging a further hole for herself. “Not like…” she bent her left foot halfway back and twisted her toe against the ground. “…I have a lot of exes to speak of… in that closet… er…my life…yeah.”

Kass wondered if she would melt right into a puddle on the sand faster than a singing snowman in summer.

“Isn’t this weather gorgeous?” Davis exclaimed, shifting the subject.

She admired his ability to shift the subject with ease, and appreciated how he released the tension of a particularly amateur hour moment.

“It really warmed up today. I love this view,” he braced his back foot against the sand and released another toss of the disc before glancing out over the water.

Yeah, I enjoy the view tremendously too. Kass sighed, wondering how she was so lucky to end up in a relationship with a guy like Davis. Six feet. Blonde. Gorgeous. Fine sprinkling of chest hairs and a trail leading down to the line of his swim trunks. She blushed just thinking about the line. What is wrong with you, school girl!? 

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Afternoon sun lessened in its intensity. Their thin shadows stalked their backs as they waded into the cool sandy waters of the Pigeon Cove. The beachside may not have been as nice as other locations along Orinda Bay. Its decrepit pier, a monument to days of glory past, once housed an amusement park in Kass’ early childhood. She recalled mountains of cotton candy on paper cones and rickety wooden roller coasters and wild swings carrying squealing children out over the water.

Fish and chips. It was the place her parents liked to go for dates, in the days when they were together. Kass smiled wistfully. I actually recalled a happy memory of Howard and Amy. Fish and chips – her mamma’s favorite. She could practically smell the fried cod and the dill tartar sauce and oily fries. A flash of a memory – her mamma’s yellow hair, flying in her face as a toddler Kass chased her mother down the pier. Daddy snapped a photograph. Cari and Andi safely tucked in the double purple stroller, Carina screeching like a seagull and Andi sleeping through it all as usual. Her father’s face blurred, but her mamma’s fresh in her mind, outlined in the golden flakes of the setting sun.

Now the only things that remained of the once lively pier were stalks of wood, like abandoned wilting corn in a field. Its fragile pillars exploded with lichens like sad stars splashing in the deep waters of space, too distant to reach the arms of friends. Kass waved her arms to hold her balance as the water rose deeper around her legs. The pier had a different name then, Admiral’s Cove, the perfect seaworthy name for a beloved boardwalk. All rides demolished. Just as well. Moments fade, Kass lifted her hand to her head to wipe sweat from her brow. But the memory was so vivid. 

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“Did you know?” Kass reached Davis, as they began treading water. “There are rumors… whispers… rumblings…” she dropped her voice low and then returned to normal pitch. “…of an abandoned roller coaster cart here? Went off the rails during closing and they never found it.”

Davis glanced at her, his eyes widening in surprise. “There used to be an amusement park here?”

“Yeah, Admiral’s Cove, named for…” she nodded her head toward the shore. “…thee Admiral Landgrabb, of course. The roller coaster was named The Flying Dutchman, I think.”

“Apropos,” Davis acknowledged. “If it was lost to sea.”

“Yeah,” she tilted her head and smiled. “Strange to think though. How do you lose an entire section of a roller coaster?”

“Dunno,” Davis shrugged.

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“When the Landgrabbs fell out of favor,” Kass continued. “They renamed the lighthouse and the cove. Pigeon Point. Not as grandiose, right?”

“What do you mean they fell out of favor?” he inquired.

“They had a money issue in the early 2400’s,” she replied. “Something about tax evasion.”

He whistled. “That would do it.”

“Yeah, the lighthouse was repossessed by the city and shut down for maintenance and repairs. Hasn’t reopened since. And the governor at the time made a special petition to rename the cove too. Pigeon Point it is,” she winced, pointing to the namesake floating above. “Don’t poop on me!” she shrieked and cowered closer to the water.

Davis laughed.

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“What?” she grunted. “I don’t want it in my hair.”

“Or your eyes,” he said.

“Or my ears… or anywhere,” she shuddered.

“Still it’s a nice lighthouse,” he admitted. “Wow… look at that sunset!”

She smiled and turned to face the deep white gold star orbiting the planet Simterra. The sky was streaked with fiery oranges, rosy pinks, and cool lavenders and the water mimicked the heavens. Davis was right. The word ‘wow’ was insignificant compared to nature’s glory. She smiled, leaning her head back against the water as she lifted her legs to float. Despite his weird silence, her insensitive judgments, and their difficulty in communicating, she still felt like the day was pretty good. The sunset over the valley and the water was near perfection.

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“It is gorgeous,” Kass breathed a happy sigh.

“Picture perfect,” Davis admitted as they basked in a oblong of halcyon light.

“Wish I brought a camera,” Kass said.

“My camera couldn’t do this view justice. Still, it’d be a nice addition to my…” he trailed off.

“Oh so you’re into photography?” Kass quirked a brow.

She was always learning things about him in unexpected ways. Romance novels. Caramel ice cream with bacon. Photography.

Davis paled, narrowed his eyes, and looked as though he was about to say something.

“Amateur hobby,” he shrugged, his face relaxing.

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A sudden cold blast of water hit her face.

“What was that for?” she sputtered.

He grinned and splashed her direction again.

“Oh you so asked for it!”

They both laughed and shrieked and splashed each other for a few minutes. Davis caught Kass’ arm and yanked her underwater. When they resurfaced, his arms were securely around her mid-body.

“Davis!” Kass wiggled and wiped the water out of her eyes. “Let me go.”

“Do you really want me to let you go?” he asked, his blue eyes twinkling like the first of the night stars appearing in the sky above.

She didn’t even resist when he kissed her, relaxing into his arms and leaning into his bare chest. He smelled of sea salt and sunscreen and maybe even a little seaweed – a delectable combination in her opinion.

“Come on, I’ll give you a water piggyback to shore,” he offered.


Author Notes: Their relationship feels awkward and natural to me, real to life with its strange pauses and hiccups and general cuteness. I decided to add the whole story about the cove, adding a little more color and vibrancy to, let’s face it, a pretty sleepy EA game world, and adds layers to indicate age and time passage.

If you remember from before, Bella Goth wrote under the pen name Felicity Joyeuse. The description is actually taken from Sims Wikia. If you’ve read La Vita Bella, the time-traveling lovers is a nod. I still need to update that story too – well, de-Sim-ify everything on LASL like I did on this blog. 

Also, I enjoy writing fragments of Kass’ memories, filling in some of the blanks of her life. There was once an amusement park in my hometown,  long before I was born, that is now a nature and science preserve, recreational park, an animal shelter,  and a golf course.  Still,  it’s fun thinking about it, wondering what it could’ve been. It was eventually sold to the government.  

And these are some of my favorite pictures from my first time playing a novel-length game. That sunset is breathtaking. I could bask in it forever. Really wish you could travel to the lighthouse sometime. Hope you enjoyed. Thanks for reading.