1.26, Pt. 2: Dinner Date (KCLKF)

Saturday, Simune 7, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Califorsimia 

“I hope you don’t mind boxed macaroni and cheese,” Davis said, with a sheepish expression. “I haven’t had time to do my grocery shopping yet since I just moved in.”

“It’s fine,” Kass replied. “I like the boxed stuff.”

“It’s not a very Southern gentleman thing to serve,” Davis sighed. “I wanted to cook you a proper meal.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Kass shook her head, glancing at her surroundings.

Her grandparents really needed to spruce up the poolhouse. The concrete walls weren’t very inviting, the drab gray hardly a warm color. However, she supposed it was nice that they were renting out the place anyhow.

She wished they had told her they needed extra help. She would’ve been happy to move in and assist this summer, though perhaps that’s why they didn’t offer. She was off to college in the fall, Edgewater, and maybe they needed more long-term care. Kass frowned.

What kind of health concerns were they facing? She hoped it wasn’t EXCES, but that was ridiculous. It wasn’t contagious, and it wouldn’t jump family lines.

Kass took a deep breath, her heart beating faster than it should be. She couldn’t tell if she was sweating because of the warm evening or because she was anxious. It was a good thing she opted for cool casual attire. Davis looked suave in his red tee shirt and swim trunks, like he was going swimming. She tried to picture him shirtless. Easy on the eyes. 

“I needed to help Mr. Riviera this afternoon,” Davis continued. “…or I would’ve picked up at least bread, butter, and garlic.”

“I’ll survive without garlic bread,” Kass laughed, nervously. “What do you help my nonno with?”

“Whatever he requires,” Davis replied, cryptically. “I hope you’re hungry. I made a full pot.”

“Smells delicious,” Kass said, though she was a little annoyed he didn’t give her more detail.

Maybe it’s a doctor-patient privilege thing, she surmised. Davis wasn’t a doctor yet? He was in med school. But I bet he looks good in a that white lab coat. 

“Shoot! I forgot to light the candle.”

He’s too cute, Kass scrunched her nose and smiled. A candle! 

“That’s okay. You got matches?”

“To the left of the stove.”

Davis cupped the white cup as she struck the match and lit the wick. Strange shadows danced across his face. Kass couldn’t help  staring at the muscles in his neck, his slightly pointed nose, and the shape of his eyes. His glance met her own and she noticed his pupils appeared darker than they should. The flame nearly reached the end of its stick. She gasped, startled, as it dropped into the cup.

“Are you okay?” he asked, his tone soft and concerned.

If he noticed her nerves, he was nice enough not to say anything.

“I’m… uh… yes…” she dropped back into her chair. “Let’s eat.”

Her hand still hovered, remembering his fleeting brush against her skin as he lifted his fork and began eating. The shadows faded into the soft gray of the walls as the outside porch light flickered on. It must have been on a timer.

“Well, dig in, Kass,” he said.

Davis practically woofed down two whole bowls while Kass was still finishing her first. He didn’t say much as he ate. She rambled about the hot weather, playing spider solitaire on the computer when she was bored, watering the hydrangeas in the front yard, how her mamma wanted to plant geraniums and they needed to figure out where to give the flowers maximum sun exposure in the morning, and how she was working on bits and bobs of stories.

“Where do you get your ideas?” he asked.

“Everywhere,” she exclaimed. “When I’m waking up or going to sleep, when I’m walking the dog… you’ve met Mac, right? Macchiato? My grandparents dog? When I’m brushing my teeth or doing homework… though… I guess I’m not doing homework now that I’ve graduated high school. At least not until I’m in college in the late summer. And when I watch the news or read or book or when I’m walking barefoot down the beach… Sunset Valley has some of the most beautiful beaches,” she purred and then stopped self-consciously. “Have you been to a beach yet?”

“Yes, a few,” he said while setting his bowl in the sink.  “You take such dainty bites,” he observed, resuming his seated position.

“I do?” Kass said, a hint of pink rising in her cheeks.

“It’s okay. I think it’s cute,” he smiled.

“Cute?” Kass wrinkled her nose. “Puppies and kitties are cute. Little babies are cute…”

“…but beautiful women aren’t, am I right?” he finished.

Kass smiled shyly, hoping he thought the red in her cheeks was from the glow of the candle. She dropped her gaze. Every time the light flickered,  his eyes danced, almost as if they had a mind of their own. A soft slow pace. A seductive  rhythm. She flushed even more.

“I’m glad you came tonight,” Davis continued. “You have a lovely effect on this place.”

“Just this place?” Kass smirked, as her fork clattered into her bowl. Oh! 

Davis chuckled. “On me too, okay?”

“I’m sorry, ” Kass fumbled. “I don’t know what’s gotten into me. I’m usually more… um… well… not really….erm… I mean…”

“I’ll keep the table between us tonight if that would make you more comfortable,” he teased.  “…if I’m making you nervous.”

She wanted to melt into the chair. Of course, she didn’t want the table to stay between them, but it was foolish wishful thinking. Why wouldn’t her heart stop beating so quickly? It was swelling like the crest of a two waves about to careen into one another. She wished she had worn a necklace so she would have an excuse to clutch something… close to her chest. She felt like twice the normal amount of energy was flowing through her. Was it normal to be this anxious? It was almost as if she could sense his own heartbeat.

Why is his so calm when mine is so plum erratic? 

“I’m… um… glad I found you…” she swallowed hard, and tried to say something that sounded remotely normal.

“I’m glad you found me too,” he smiled, and reached for her hand.

She pulled away, awkwardly craning her neck to look at the wall. “You know. I bet my Nonna would let you paint in here.”

“She might,” Davis said, dropping his hand back into his lap nonchalantly as if he didn’t just make a romantic gesture. “I might need help deciding on a color… maybe something to…”

“Sea foam green,” Kass interjected.

Davis blinked in surprise. “I was just thinking ocean colors.”

“They’re my favorites,” she remarked as if it wasn’t so unusual.

Did I just read his mind? No, I’m projecting. 

“Ocean colors… blue… green… and grey. Good colors. Might help you feel settled in here,” she continued. “Can you hear the ocean at night? When you sleep?”

Kass bit her lower lip as she made the connection to what she just said and Davis sleeping. His tall sturdy frame curling around hers in the evening would be nice. Did all girls dream of sleeping with guys? She flushed powerfully at the thought. Erm… not sleeping… sleeping… oh Kass! Quit justifying yourself to yourself. 

“You’ve got a great view from here, but you might be too far up the hill to hear the waves.”

“We could go out on the porch,” he suggested.

“No, you’re fine,” Kass replied. “…erm… um… I’m fine.”

Davis smothered a smirk. “So tell me about yourself.”

“Myself?” she squeaked.

“Yes, like your interests, hobbies…”

“Besides drinking massive amounts of coffee drinking?”

They both laughed.

“And writing. You’re a writer?” he added.

“I like writing stories about the world and people. I like journaling too. It’s therapeutic,” Kass explained.

“You journal? Like a diary?” he repeated.

“Yeah, it’s nice to capture my thoughts somewhere. I process externally so I guess it’s a little like getting to know myself,” she shrugged.

“So if I want to get to know you, I should read your diary?” he grinned.

“No!” she exclaimed. “It’s private. My thoughts that is. They are. Private. No one should read someone else’s diary. I mean, it’s just not acceptable, and it’s so personal.”

“Kass, you are a puzzle,” he shook his head and laughed softly. “You tend to over-explain, don’t you?”

She winced. “Is that a problem?”

“No, it’s refreshing,” he assured.

“You mean dumb,” she sighed.

He thought for a moment, and she winced in the excruciating seconds. She was doing this date all wrong. Kass didn’t know how to be normal around someone this hot.

“Not at all,” Davis concluded. “We can change the subject if I’m making you nervous.”

“Haha!” she laughed, stiltedly. “Nervous? No.”

Her sarcasm was weak. And she was sure he knew it.

“I have a tendency to run on when I’m excited,” Kass responded, reaching absently for her non-existent necklace. “I probably just need to sit down.”

He frowned. “Oh I’m sorry. You would be more comfortable on the couch. These chairs are hard.”

Her heartbeat quickened at the thought of cozying up to Davis on the couch. If she remembered correctly, the poolhouse loveseat was just big enough for two. It sounded incredibly inviting.

“Let’s relocate.”

Author Notes:  Oh the awkwardness of those first conversations! Kass is all over the place between giddy, flirty, confident, self-conscious, nervous, and downright silly. Thanks for reading. 


1.26, Pt. 1: Dinner Date (KCLKF)

Saturday, Simune 7, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Califorsimia 

I’m going on a date with Davis. 

Kass repeated to herself all seriously as she stood before the mirror in Nonna’s first-floor bathroom. I’m an adult woman. And I’m having my first adult date. A real date. Well, a pre-date date. Oh who cares? She felt a little dazed. He seemed like a great guy – a recent grad from the college of my dreams, studied biology, wanted to be a doctor, played the cello, seemed uber polite, was helping out my grandparents, and was super hot to boot.

I must be in heaven. Kass hummed absently as she hopped in the shower. Heaven, I’m in heaven. And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak. A little Frank Simatra was enough to sustain her happiness high as she took the extra time to enjoy the honeysuckle soap Nonna always kept in stock. She was halfway through washing her hair when her smile disappeared. Gage! What was she going to tell Gage?  The truth, silly. He’s a big boy. He can handle it. Davis was the guy who got her heart beating and had her singing in the shower. Then why do I feel so guilty? 

After drying off, she decided to go home and pick up extra clothes. Andi had texted her an “all clear” message earlier, saying Mamma had gone out. She also texted “sorry” though Kass wasn’t really mad at either of her siblings and it wasn’t Andi’s fault that Kass was fighting with their mother. Nonna insisted Kass borrow a car, though she was still disappointed when Kass turned down the shopping trip and the hairdresser offer. Kass didn’t want too overboard. It was just dinner with the future mayor of Sunset Valley, and her husband, the doctor, not like the queen of Simtannica or Simnadia for that matter.

Upon arriving home, Kass decided to be efficient in case her mother interrupted. She told Andi she was staying at Nonna’s as she packed an overnight bag – the essentials – pajamas, two changes of casual clothes, her toiletries, and her green dress. That should be fancy enough, she surmised for dinner at Chez Llama. Mamma just had the pants dry cleaned, and Kass didn’t feel like wearing a dress. Andi perched on the end of the bed as Kass threw some makeup casually in the bag and walked to her bookshelf to select reading material for late that night.

“I wish I could go with you,” Andi said. “But I’m grounded.”

“Technically…” Kass bit her lower lip, trying to decide between Simcheherazade and One Thousand and One Nights or Simeo and Juliet. Since she was feeling rebellious, she grabbed the Simspeare classic. “I’m grounded too… but I’m eighteen. Mamma can’t make me stay.”

“I wish I was an adult,” Andi sighed, following Kass downstairs and into the kitchen. “Maybe you should try talking to her first.”

“No,” Kass sighed, noticing someone had left out a jug of milk, and what appeared to be a skimpy dinner of scallions, two sliced pears, and a drop of salad dressing on the cutting board. “Mamma and I just don’t see eye to eye sometimes.”

“She might if you tried,” Andi put her hand on her hip.

Kass smiled weakly as she put the milk jug back in the refrigerator. “When did you get to be so wise?”

“I don’t know,” Andi shrugged. “I just hate fighting.”

“If it makes you feel better, I’ll leave a note,” Kass said.

“Good idea,” Andi walked to the desk to counter some paper. “I’ll write it for you, if you want.”

“No thanks,” Kass squeezed her sister’s hand appreciatively. “This is my battle. You’ve got your own,” she pointed up at the ceiling where sounds of angry girl punk rock drifted through the floor boards.

“Okay,” Andi’s face fell. “And you’re  better with the words thing, anyhow,” she leaned into a side hug.

“And Andi? Cari means well,” Kass said. “You should try talking to her… maybe including her a bit more.”

Andi sighed. “I know.”

When she arrived back at her grandparents, Kass found her Nonno in the den, watching a television program. She dropped her duffel in the hallway.

“Kass, what a lovely surprise,” he said, as she settled onto the couch. “Adelaide said you were joining us for dinner.”

“Yes, I am…” Kass affirmed.

“I hope you’re not wearing that,” he frowned.

“Oh no,” she shook her head as she pulled her purple duffel bag from the back seat. “I have a nice blouse and dress slacks.”

“And shoes, I suppose,” he said, wiping his glasses with a handkerchief. “Your nonna always has many many shoes.”

“I have shoes, Nonno,” Kass perched on her tiptoes to kiss her grandfather’s cheek. “I’m going to get settled in. Love you.”

“Love you, too,” he squeezed her shoulder and kissed her crown.

Kass claimed her favorite spare bedroom, the one with the green canopy bed. It always made her feel like a princess. She flicked on the electric fire with the fake logs for atmosphere, and clicked through her playlist to find more Frank Simatra as she unpacked and got ready. Her go-to ponytail was the optimal choice. She wanted to feel comfortable and casual. She opted for the layered aqua and white tanks and her khaki shorts. That way I can show off my runner’s legs. A little vanilla perfume, some eyeshadow, a touch of mascara, and her strawberry lip gloss later and it was nearly six o’clock.

In two hours, she would be heading out for dinner with the grandparents and the Landgrabbs. But first I’m off to meet my guy, she grinned at herself in the mirror. Oh she liked the sound of that. My guy!  Davis hadn’t clarified what they were calling each other, and he didn’t exactly call Kass his girlfriend, but she knew he liked her. Good enough for now. She placed a hand over her heart. Calm down, will ya? 

Author NotesSometimes in the Sims there’s little logical explanation… like why a person would have a full wardrobe while staying overnight at someone else’s house. I decided to give more context to things, and it provided a great opportunity for a “sisters” moment. Plus I was able to sneak in never-before-used pictures of Kass and her nonno. Thank you for reading. FYI, Frank Simatra is my Simworld version of Frank Sinatra, Simtannica is England or Great Britain, and Simnadia, as I’ve mentioned, is Canada, but my Simworld Canada functions differently. They are territories of the SimNation.  Simcheherazade and One Thousand and One Nights  is  Scheherazade, the main storyteller in One Thousand and One Nights, and Simeo and Juliet is Romeo and Juliet. 

1.25 Chance Meeting (KCLKF)

Saturday, Simune 7, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Califorsimia 

“You startled me!”

Davis exclaimed and walked out to greet her. “But you are a startlingly lovely distraction to my moving process.”

Kass flushed, fumbling for words. “I… uh… what…you’re here? What are you doing here?”

His compliment did not escape her, but she felt intensely awkward about their sudden meeting and on her grandparents’ estate no less.

“Don’t worry! I’m not some weirdo who breaks into people’s homes and fixes toilets,” Davis reassured with a laugh. “I live here.”

“You live here?” Kass’ eyes widened.

“I’m the new live-in help,” he explained. “How do you know the Rivieras?”

“They’re my grandparents,” Kass said, putting a hand on her hip and eyeing him suspiciously. “Wait, you’re like their butler or auto mechanic or pool boy or something? ”

“Pool boy?” he repeated, quirking a brow.

She blushed.

“I guess I do live in a pool house,” he shrugged.

“They said you were in the garage apartment.”

“Pool house is more spacious, and an infinitely better view…”

His little ‘eyeing’ her ‘up and down’ did not escape her notice. Heat crept deeply into her cheeks, deciding to take up semi-permanent residence. She wondered how long he had been watching her, or if he had seen her fall asleep. Oh gawd! He’s not a creep that watches girls sleep, is he? 

“Don’t worry. I’ve been working. Moving in actually. And… “he lifted a wrench from his back pocket. “…fixing the toilet. I noticed sounds from the pool but I haven’t been spying on you. I promise. Gentleman’s honor.”

“Gentleman’s honor?” Kass wrinkled her nose. “What is that? Some sort of scout’s honor kind-of thing? And you didn’t answer my question? Do you work for my grandparents?”

“Yes, actually. In-home health aide. I am interning with Sunnyside Senior Care, and one of the services we offer is in-home care. I want to be a doctor someday so this is how I’ll earn my stripes,” he explained.

“My grandparents’ need an in-home… health… aide?” Kass replied, slowly. “Why?”

“That’s their business. I shouldn’t really tell,” Davis said, seriously.

“Like a attorney-client privilege thing? Or doctor-patient thing?” she frowned.

“Someday… I hope… doctor… that is,” he said, shoving his wrench into his back pocket. “So the Rivieras are your grandparents? That’s cool.”

“Um… yeah… I don’t make a habit of breaking into people’s homes and swimming in their pools,” she joked. “Um… do you mind?” she pointed. “Can I use your bathroom? It works, right?”

“Oh sure, no problem.”

Kass took an extra minute to wrap her head around Davis living with her grandparents. And working for them. Why wouldn’t he tell me what he’s helping out with? In-home health aide? Is that like assisted living care? Come to think of it, Nonna was acting cagey about the purpose of their newest employee. And he was living with them? That was new. Only the maid or housekeeper lived with them. Was Davis a housekeeper and he was just to embarrassed to admit it? Her grandparents had never employed a male housekeeper. This is the twenty-fifth century, Kass. Gender equality… duh! Perhaps one of her grandparents suffered from a physical ailment and needed some extra help. Why wouldn’t they just tell her that?

Davis was moving into her grandparents’ home. Pool house, to be precise. Looks like Lady Luck was on her side. Perhaps Fate has him in my sights after all. A bit of pink rose in her cheeks. She was pleased, but also felt uncomfortable. This was only the third official meeting with Davis, and she was just walking around in her mint green and grey bikini. There wasn’t much she could do about it. He had already seen her.

“Thank you,” she said, sliding out of the bathroom. “I should be going. I’ll let you get back to moving…”

“I’m sorry,” he called after her as she started across the room.

“What?” she turned around.

“I’m sorry. I wanted to call you on Thursday… and then again yesterday… and believe it or not, I was thinking about you today,” he trailed off, his eyes darting to the floor as if he was embarrassed.

“You were?” Kass breathed, before she could stop herself.

“And then I realized I didn’t have your number,” Davis said, shoving his hands in his pockets.

“You don’t?” Kass said, perplexed.

“Yeah,” he chuckled weakly. “I mean, we said we’d exchange numbers, but we never actually did.”

“We didn’t?” she squeaked, feeling stupid.

“I kept assuming I’d see you at the Jolt and then I could just explain. I got caught in Bay City making a delivery for Gram, and then the ferry was late, and Jazz Night was cancelled. I tried to give a message to my co-worker, but then my phone died while I was trying to talk to him.”

“Abe,” Kass nodded, knowingly.

“I know…” he looked at the floor, sheepishly. “…it sounds like a lame-o excuse, but it’s the truth.”

“I believe you,” Kass swallowed hard.

He was thinking about me! Nervous butterflies fluttered around her heart and down to her stomach.

“I can’t believe I just left you hanging like that. I should have told Gram no. I shouldn’t have taken such a late delivery,” Davis said. “Believe me. I was thinking about you. I’ve been thinking about you a lot. Trying to think about how to make things up to you.”

“You have?” Kass’s eyes twinkled. “I mean…” she blinked and dropped her shoulders to appear more casual. “It’s your job. The Jolt. You had to take that delivery.”

“You understand?” his eyes widened with surprise.

“Of course, work is work…” she waved her hand. “So you work for Granny Jade and you work for what did you say? Senior Care something.”

“Sunnyside Senior Care,” Davis replied. “I’m interning. I’m in medical school. Ruby Gates University Med.”

“Wow! Aren’t you a jack of all trades? Med school. Senior Care. Barista. Musician,” she was impressed. “I mean, you’re not Jack. Uh… your name isn’t Jack… it’s Davis.”

Oh wow! I sound like a dork! 

“And you’re living here!” she added cheerfully, trying to steer the topic away from her weirdness.  “So now that I know where you live, Davis, maybe I’ll get that date after all.”

“Date?” Dave repeated.

Kass’s face fell. Suddenly, she felt panicked. What if that’s not what he meant? Oh come on, Kass. Of course, he meant it that way. He’s been flirting with you. But maybe she had misinterpreted…

“Oh llamas! I mean… I don’t… I didn’t think… I wasn’t sure… but I… uh…”  she stammered, waving her hands like an idiot. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry. It was,” Davis smiled, teasingly. “I didn’t want to freak you out when I first invited you, but I was hoping it could be a kind-of pre-date date. But it’s still kinda a date.”

“Oh,” she flushed, feeling silly. “I just didn’t know for sure. I mean I kinda hoped…” Why did I say that aloud?

“…that it was a date?” he arched his eyebrows. “Kass, relax, I like you,” Dave admitted. “If the whole I’m-living-with-your-grandparents thing freaks you out then we don’t have to go out. I’d understand. But I’d love to get to know you better.”

He said love! Kass’s heart raced excitedly.

“I’d like that too,” she smiled shyly, tucking a stray hair over her ear.

“So will you go out with me?” Dave asked.

“On a date?” she asked to clarify.

“Yes, on a date,” he nodded.

“Yeah, Davis… I’ll go out with you,” she grinned like a fool in return.

“Good. Actually, I need to finish up some things in here, but would you want to come back over for dinner?” he inquired. “Around six?”

“Here?” she narrowed her eyes.

She had dinner plans. She begged her grandmother to change the reservation to include her. Dinner wasn’t until eight-thirty in Bay City, and they had a driver, meaning they probably wouldn’t leave until eight. She would have time to do both, right?

“Nothing fancy. Probably just boxed mac and cheese, but it’s kinda like a breaking-in-the-new-place celebration and I’d love for you to join me.”

He said love again. She practically swooned.

Before she could answer, he quickly added, “And I promise to take you on a real date soon.”

“Davis, I would love to join you for mac and cheese. It’s one of my favorites,” she smiled, genuinely excited about his offer.

“Alright, it’s a date then,” he happily tilted his head to the side.

“Great! It’s a date!” she smiled and waved as he walked her to the door like the Southern gentleman he was.

“Llama Ranger,” he said.

“Hmm?” she puzzled.

“I was a Llama Ranger, not just a Scout.”

She continued down the steps, wondering if he was watching her leave. For some reason, it didn’t make her uncomfortable. She resisted the urge to glance over her shoulder. Be cool, Kass. Cool as ice. She breathed in and out slowly through her mouth. When she reached the bottom of the steps, she couldn’t help it. She turned.

He was still leaning against the doorway, smiling. He looked like he was made to hold doors up. Or walls. Or whole buildings. Kass smiled awkwardly, and then continued toward the house. He’s not Hercules. Though maybe he did have a bit of Simlandic blonde god thing going on with those biceps. I have a date! She made it all the way into the house before she squealed.

Author Notes: Thanks for reading. Llama Scouts are a thing in my Simworld similar to Boy Scouts, with a Llama Ranger being the highest honor, like an Eagle Scout. 

1.24, Pt. 2: Day at Nonna’s (KCLKF)

Saturday, Simune 7, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Califorsimia 

“You never did say why you’re here.”

After lunch, Kass settled onto an antique leather couch  in her Nonno’s den. Nonna liked to watch all the afternoon shows. It was ironic that a gaming console was the only thing that sat on the glass wooden coffee table. Kass tried to avoid discussing the calamity at her house.

“Nonna, who does that…” she pointed. “…belong to?”

Nonna frowned. “Oh one of the young men that works for us. He must have left it in here when he was sorting through boxes.”

“Sorting through boxes?” Kass arched a brow. “In Nonno’s den?”

“I let him sort some of his belongings in here since he’s going to be living here,” Nonna replied. “…the maid set him up above your Nonno’s garage.”

Kass smirked, amused that her grandmother would allow the “help” to live on the property. “But that still doesn’t explain why this… Maxoid Simulator 2 and a half is here… in the den…” she leaned forward to touch the device as if to confirm its actual existence.  “…unless you’ve taken up a wicked game of Burnout Paradise.”

Nonna sighed. “Kass, why on Simterra would I play a game on such a thing? I don’t even know what Burn Out Paradise is,” she smoothed the wrinkles in her apron as she made what could only be interpreted as a disgusted face. “The young man was adjusting our cable and he must have set it down. If it bothers you so much, you can take it to the kitchen and have the maid take it to him. She’s only cleaning. I’m sure she won’t mind.”

Kass wondered about the irony of her grandmother cooking her own meals, refusing to hire a chef, but allowing a maid to clean up her dishes.

“No, no,” she shook her head, slouching back into the couch. “Who did you hire this time? A mechanic for Nonno’s antique cars? A pool boy?”

Her heart rate quickened at the thought of an attractive young man scooping falling leaves out of the swimming pool. If Ayesha was here, she would be excited by the prospect of abusing her power and asking the pool boy to fan her with fronds from the Riviera’s date palms while sunning herself on an lounge chair. Kass flushed at her private thoughts. What’s wrong with me?

“Look, the show’s back on,” Nonna said, leaning forward in anticipation. “Would you care for some lemonade?”

“No thanks,” Kass shrugged, wondering why her grandmother would awkwardly change the subject.

Her cell phone buzzed. Andi texted – 9-1-1 – and that mamma was furious that Kass sneaked out. Kass slipped the device back into her pocket and cleared her throat loudly.

“Nonna, can I stay over tonight?” she asked.

Perhaps it was cowardly, but she wanted to keep her distance and resolve things with her mother on another day.

“Yes, please do. I can have the housekeeper make up one of the guest rooms. We can have cappuccino and cornetto for breakfast tomorrow morning.”

A sleepover at her grandmother’s sounded heavenly.

“I’d like that.”

She would “be in” for a treat tomorrow morning – Simtalian croissants and coffee was always a favorite meal of hers as a little girl.  The frothy milk and strong espresso were a perfect match for a airy sweet pastry, especially one hand-dipped in decadent dark chocolate if Kass remembered right.

The master gardener was explaining how to make the most of summer fruits and vegetables, and what flowers were the hardiest in hot weather. Kass decided the red Growing Globe Amaranth flowers looked like raspberries as a butterfly landed on an example in a field on the television program.

“Strawberries are in season,” Nonna added. “We can have some fresh fruit with breakfast if you like.”

“I’d like,” Kass smiled.

As the hour ended and a new program called Simple Minds started, Nonna smiled slyly and crossed her legs in a new direction.

“I can have my hairdresser come and fix your hair this evening if you’d like.”

“What?” Kass’s eyes widened. “Uh… no… I mean…” she subconsciously touched her ponytail. “I think I’ll be fine.”

“A woman can always make a nice impression with a lovely head of hair,” Nonna said. “And you have such lovely hair… and such a vibrant red too.”

“Uh thanks, Nonna,” Kass shifted uncomfortably.

“It’s such an attractive quality, don’t you think? Nice hair?” Nonna continued oddly. “Our dinner guests will be sure to notice tonight.”

Yes, I’m sure Nancy and I’ll be discussing hair color in between the political issues of our time,” Kass muttered as she reached over the edge of the couch for the remote.

“What was that?”

“Uh… nothing…  I…uh… don’t have a dress for tonight. How casual is this?”

“Oh not at all, but not to worry, my dear. I can send the driver for a few of your things. Or we could go shopping after lunch.”

“Uh thanks… but…” Kass paused.

She didn’t think about needing a dress for the evening and returning home right now was not an option. Shopping for a new dress just for one night seemed excessive.

“I’ll figure something out,” she remarked, changing the channel.

The program was some weird cross between a soap opera and science fiction. The lady was attacked by her house plant. Kass chuckled half-heartedly.

“Weird stuff on television these days…” she tucked her ponytail over her shoulder, feeling self-conscious about Nonna’s comments. “I could just wear something of Mamma’s. I’m sure she has something lying around upstairs.”

Nonna almost looked disappointed. “You’re welcome to look.”

“Oh look,” Kass said. “Similarities. I like this show.”

“Me too,” Nonna and her granddaughter shared a knowing smile. “I like beating the trivia questions.”

“It’s always fun to realize you’re smarter than the contestants,” Kass grinned, tucking one leg behind the other to pull up onto the couch, and then she stopped, remembering she wasn’t at home, but at her grandmother’s and she thought the better of it and placed her foot back on the floor.  After thirty minutes, she guessed all sixteen answers correctly, with the exception of one, which was a trick question so it didn’t count, in her opinion.

After the program, Nonna suggested an afternoon swim. Kass left a swim suit at her grandmother’s for just such occasions. If only she left dresses here too… because she didn’t want to go home to find an appropriate dinner outfit. Nonna said that they had reservations at Chez Llama, and Kass knew that meant hair up, dress, stockings, heels, and jewelry, though she could probably skip the stockings since the day was so warm. Somehow she thought the maître d at the fancy Championne inspired restaurant would frown on flip flops as a choice for foot wear.

Kass hopped upstairs excitedly, skipping steps a few at a time, until she could hear her Nonna’s voice telling her to slow down. The pool would still be there when she returned.

“…unless it’s swallowed up by an earthquake,” Nonna joked, leaving the foyer and wandering back into the kitchen.

“Nonna!” Kass muttered. “Not funny.”

The water was cool as Kass splashed into the edge next to the kitchen glass door. She always thought it was awesome her grandparents had such a gargantuan pool that practically bordered the house. It was rectangular in shape with a large island in the middle covered in grass, always green , even in the winter. Kass could’ve sworn they dyed it. She wouldn’t put it past her grandparents. The perfectly manicured lawn  was dotted with a fire pit and a variety of lounge chairs. The assortment of blue tiled towers, conch shells, and tiki lamps were a festive Simaribbean touch. All that was missing was the hammocks.

Kass emerged from beneath the surface, gasping for air as she shoved her wet hair out of her face. Twenty pounds of wet hair sure is attractive, she thought sarcastically.  She still didn’t understand why her Nonna went on and on about her appearance. The woman seemed to have an ulterior motive. Ugh! The burn of chlorinated water up her nose did not make for a pretty picture… or a good feeling. Kass wiped at her face and continued swimming, making polite chit-chat with her nonna until the elder woman decided to retire for an afternoon siesta. Kass swam around for a few more laps before settling onto one of the island pool chairs.

Ah! This is the life. No worries. Soaking up the sun. Relaxing poolside. She wished the peace would last.

Kass must’ve dozed. The sun was almost entirely behind her,  meaning it was probably around three or four in the afternoon as it shuffled its way from east to west. She looked down at her exposed skin, horrified, and hoping she did not resemble a tomato or one of those Growing Globe Amaranth flowers. Sunscreen would’ve been a good idea. She could practically feel the heat radiating from her skin and sense the freckles exploding on her arm. The perks of being a redhead, Kass grumbled beneath her breath. She stretched and walked across the floating grass pathway to the kitchen door. Reaching for the handle, she was annoyed. It was locked.

Of course! Kass threw her hands up in the air, wondering where all the staff was. Nonna must still be napping, for she didn’t come to fetch her, and the maid was no where to be seen as Kass ensured while shading her eyes with her hand against the glass. She wandered around to the front of the house, feeling awkward to be in merely a bathing suit. Why didn’t she think to grab one of Nonna’s fabulously soft robes for guests from the house or even a towel from the pool deck before wandering into full view of the driveway? Thankfully no one was around. Wasn’t the idea to find someone?  I don’t even have my phone! 

“Stupid! Stupid!” Kass grunted.

Nonno’s car wasn’t in the driveway, which didn’t mean anything. He could’ve parked it in the garage. Kass tried ringing the bell. After a few moments, it was clear no one was coming to answer. Where was the maid? Or the housekeeper? Or the gardener? Oh wait! He was fired! Or the chauffeur?  Didn’t Nonna mention something about a driver earlier or was that just for tonight’s festivities?

Nonno must have yet to return from his afternoon lectures at Sunset U.  He mentioned something about teaching about irrigation systems at the garden center because Nonno liked to garden in his spare time… ..which will now be frequent because Nonna fired the gardener… and over a rock too!  Kass crossed her arms over her chest and jumped up and down on the hot stones. She had a sudden and desperate urge to use the restroom. Wandering to the back of the house once more, she decided to try the poolhouse. Nonno had the extension built up and over the pool area to offer a shaded pergola for barbecues and a second story enclosed sitting room to enjoy the winter sunshine behind the warmth of glass windows. It better be unlocked, she thought as she climbed the stairs two at a time.

It was. She let herself in, walking across the tiny kitchenette for afternoon tea and pastries. The Rivieras did love their pastries. She was greeted by a strange sight. There was a strangely familiar man bent over the toilet, grunting in frustration. At first, Kass blushed, thinking she walked in on him doing his business, but then she realized he was cleaning.


Author Notes: Thank you for reading! I added more to the conversation between Nonna and Kass than the first time around. Hope it gives you some insight into their relationship and Nonna’s character. 

1.24, Pt. 1: Day at Nonna’s (KCLKF)

Saturday, Simune 7, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Califorsimia 

Che piacere vederti, Kassiopeia,” Nonna said as she ushered her granddaughter into the hallway and kissed both her cheeks.

“It’s nice to see you too, Nonna,” Kass smiled and leaned into her grandmother’s embrace, smelling a hint of honey and roses. “What’s up with the broken window?”

Nonna grimaced. “The gardener kicked up a rock when mowing the lawn… the small patch of grass had a rock in it, can you believe it?”

Kass bobbed her head.

“I fired him,” Nonna continued.

Kass felt a little guilty for her nod of solidarity. Her grandmother had  unusually high standards for her employees.

“What brings you by, bambina?” Nonna asked, walking over to close the double marble-framed doors. “Did you get my message?”

Kass swiveled her flip flop on the floorboards, hoping her grandmother only wanted to see her because she missed her. She nodded. “Yes, Nonna. I should’ve called first.”

“Nonsense,” Nonna shook her head. “You are always welcome for to come by for anything, though…” she trailed off and frowned. “Oh dear… I forgot… when I didn’t hear from you, your nonno and I had dinner plans with the Landgrabbs.”

“Which Landgrabbs?” Kass inquired.

“The younger, Nancy and Geoffrey. Nancy is running for mayor against that foreigner Jazz-il-lyn,” Nonna replied as she fluffed her hair. “…and your nonno and I are thinking of backing her campaign. I remember when we had some election rule against foreigners running for office.”

Kass made a face.  She didn’t know much about politics but she had to feel somewhat sorry for a woman whose husband was cheating on her, and with an indiscreet woman too. Plus her nonno was technically a “foreigner” at one point as his family was Simtalian.

“Simnadia is not foreign soil. It’s part of the Sim Nation.”

“They still have a queen.”

“She’s mostly a figurehead,” Kass shrugged. “And the entire country joined the SimNation the same year Gage moved to town. It’s a diarchy,” she was pleased with herself for remembering from senior civics class. “Joint rulers – the queen of Simandia and the president of the Sim Nation.”

Nonna’s mouth softened into a smile. “How is your special friend?”

Kass rubbed her neck. “Gage is fine.”

She didn’t feel comfortable discussing him as she still needed to figure out how she felt.  Plus her grandmother always called Gage her “special friend” instead of her best friend. The term placed a heavier emphasis on there being something more, and Kass wasn’t ready to make a decision about Gage’s question. She wanted to get the focus off a certain someone, and decided to change the subject.

“Maybe Ms. Alto will bring a much needed outside perspective,” she offered, casually.  “Sunset Valley is due for some modernization, especially because our state capitol is lagging behind Bay City in tourism…” she wished she could recall some more details from school. “…and stuff…” That sounded really lame! 

“We don’t need modernization, young lady,” Nonna practically huffed. “With kids these days hopped up on drugs and wired out in video games, we need some good old-fashioned decency and manners and common courtesy… the Landgrabb family can bring that. They practically founded Sunset Valley back in the day.”

Kass smirked. “Hopped up” and “wired out” were not typical phrases for her grandmother, and the words sounded ridiculous coming from her mouth. She couldn’t hold in a laugh.

“You should do more research, Kassiopeia,” Nonna suggested, seriously. “This is the first election year you can vote. You should do us proud.”

Kass quickly swallowed her amusement, realizing her grandmother’s “do us proud” was code for “vote the way we do.” Even so, it wouldn’t hurt to be more informed. She wasn’t sure how she would vote.

One candidate was a non-native, much younger than her opponent, but Kass’ initial impression of Jazzilyn Alto was nice as she had mentioned Sunset Valley residents were smart and kind. It was probably a line, but Kass liked being included in it. She didn’t really remember much about this Alto couple as she was four or five the last time Jazzilyn and Albert had lived there.

On the other hand, Nancy Landgrabb came from a long line of wealth, so much that they owned half of Sunset Valley it seemed, and power, so much that her husband took her name upon marriage. Dr. Geoffrey Landgrabb was a gene therapist. Perhaps he would know something about Kass’ dad’s condition. In fact, Kass recalled her dad mentioning his name in passing when they were at the coffee shop.

“Wait… you’re having dinner with Dr. Gregory Landgrabb…” she quickly continued so it didn’t seem odd. “…and Nancy Landgrabb? Could I come?”

“Why?” Nonna arched a brow. “You’d be terribly bored. Us old folk are going to discuss politics.”

“You wanted me to be more informed, right?” Kass added. “This would be my chance.”

and my chance to ask Dr. Landgrabb some pointed questions about his EXCES research. 

“I don’t know,” Nonna sighed. “I’m not sure we can change the reservation this late.”

“But it’s not even noon.  Plenty of time to change the reservation for one more,” Kass protested.

“Oh all right,” Nonna relented. “I’ll go see what I can do. In the meantime, young lady,  help yourself to a plateful of baked ziti siciliano. I made it myself,” she winked and squeezed Kass’s arm. “We need to put some meat on those bones.”

“Yes ma’am,” Kass replied, her eyes lighting up as the dish was one of her favorites. “You don’t have to ask me twice.”

Author Notes: Thanks for reading.  Simnadia is my Simworld version of Canada. It’s a little weird in that they have their own “queen,” but their Parliament was disbanded when they joined the Sim Nation. They function as a protected territory or a colony of sorts with a figurehead ruler who is mostly for show and for ceremony. Like Kass said, it’s a diarchy like the real life country of Andorra or San Marino. 

I just realized as I was writing this that in all my time writing SimLit, I’ve been spelling “Landgrabb” incorrectly. The game spells is Landgraab. Oh well. Creative license. I’ve taken the liberty of tweaking the Landgrabb family anyhow. You can view my version of the Landgrabb family tree here.  In my original script, I had a spinoff with the Landgrabbs and if you’ve read La Vita Bella, you know about at least one of the Landgrabbs. 

1.23 Down Memory Lane (KCLKF)

Saturday, Simune 7, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Califorsimia 

Escaping to Nonna’s sounded like the best option. Any time Kass was frustrated with her mamma, her grandmother’s home provided a safe haven, a place to clear her head, to unwind, and relax. It was ironic given how her mother ran away from home once she turned eighteen. Unlike her daughters, Amy rarely shared fond memories of growing up in the Riviera manor.

Kass always assumed this was because her grandparents didn’t approve of their daughter’s life choices. Or perhaps it was because her mamma was still grieving the loss of her little brother, and her parents were cool and aloof. Kass had a hard time imagining either Nonno or Nonna acting that way, but then again, they may have softened with age.

As she jaunted up the brick driveway of her grandparents’ estate, Kass wondered why her mother couldn’t muster an ounce of sympathy for her daughter’s  desire to do things differently in her life.  It was ironic. Instead of doing what her parents wanted, marry a Simvard law  graduate and attend Simford to be a doctor so she would never have to worry about money, Amy mucked stalls at the local equestrian center. She worked as a receptionist at the animal shelter. She started her own photography business together with the help of a friend, and she watched little ones at the ABC Day Care to pay her way through art school and then graduate school. Mamma was proud that she essentially did things on her own, pulling herself up by her own bootstraps.

Mamma always spoke fondly of road tripping with her girlfriends to Lucky Palms, the  less glamorous, quieter West coast version of Vice City. They were going to “hit it big” and pay off their college debt in one weekend. Of course, that was the weekend Amy heard her future husband on the radio for the first time, and that’s when everything changed.

Kass rounded the bubbling fountain in the courtyard, wondering what it would’ve been like to grow up in the brick manor. She frowned, noticing one of the many windows had a hole, as panes were cracked and framing was missing. What happened there?

Broken glass. Kass was reminded of all the times she played dress up with her sisters. Playing with the clothes in nonna’s attic trunk was a favorite game of hers when she was a child. It was fun to pretend to be a glamorous movie star like their bisnonna. Andi always wanted to be an MID… maiden in distress… whereas Kass was content to be an enchanting mermaid or pretty fairy. Cari always wanted to play the knight in shining armor on horseback a.k.a. a broomstick, conquering new lands and kingdoms. Or she would play the fierce pirate on the sea, raiding ships and burying treasure. Their favorite game was pirates and nobles.

The wind whistled through the aged pine trees situated on the edge of the Rivieria acres. Although it was early spring, the day was somewhat chilly, though that was expected in the foggy northwestern forest in upstate Wasimington. The rain stopped several hours earlier, but the clouds had yet to roll along their merry way.

High above the summer cabin, the branches still dripped honeyed raindrops, discolored by sap from the evergreens. From the hillside, one could see a near mystical fog hovering over the Simistral Ocean, creating a supernatural atmosphere. Three inseparable sisters darted across the lawn and over the puddles. Without a care in the world, the girls could play to their hearts’ content. 

The weather seemed to be of little concern to them, since they were amusing themselves with a lively game of tag. They didn’t seem to notice that their shoes were getting dirty or that their hair resembled haystacks. The girls collapsed to the ground, giggling like there was no tomorrow, their happy sounds echoing around the yard. 

“Have you ever wondered what you will be when you grow up?” inquired the thoughtful Kassiopeia as she smoothed her green velvet Renaissance replica dress. 

“What do you mean?” Andromeda asked, wrinkling her nose like she did when she was confused and adjusting her pointed princess hat. 

“She means what jobs will you have, who you will marry or date, where will you live, etcetera,” Carina, explained, with an air of pride, pulling off her pirate tricorne and laying it across her chest. 

“I’m going to marry Gage,” Kass said, dreamily, rolling over onto her back and plucking the feather from Cari’s hat. 

“Hey!” Cari exclaimed, removing her eye patch to glare. 

“That boy who sits behind us in mass and is always smiling at you?” Andi nodded. “He’s pretty nice to me for a seventh grader.” 

Cari rolled her eyes. “He’ll be in eighth grade in the fall.”

“So will I,” Kass retorted. 

“But you’re only twelve. He’s thirteen,” Cari replied. 

“And you’re what? Nine going on thirty?” Kass teased. 

“Are you marrying Gage cuz he’s cute?” Andi swooned.  “He does have nice eyes. All the cute boys go to mass. Why don’t any cute boys go to Mamma and Daddy’s church?” 

“Cuz they’ve all converted to Jacobanism,” Cari said as if her statement made all the sense in the world. 

“You know he’s never been to summer camp,” Kass continued, as if she hadn’t heard the question. “I should invite him up here for summer camp.”

“But he’s not Angelican?” Andi wrinkled her nose. “Do you think Shepherd Johnson will let him come?” 

“Why not? We don’t turn kids away from our youth group,” Kass said. 

“That’s three months away,” Cari interjected. “It’s only Simarch. How do you know he’ll still be here?” 

“You mean, cuz he’s a… uh… foster kid?” Andi squeaked. 

“Who cares if he’s a foster kid? He is nice to me.  He held the door for me the last Sunday we were at home,” Kass said. “And he smiles when I’m talking and laughs at my jokes.” 

“Your jokes are terrible,” Cari grunted as Andi elbowed her side. 

“We’re science partners, you know. And he offered to help me study last week for a test, and he brought me a cupcake. His mom bakes.”

“You mean his foster mom?” Cari inserted.

“Since when have you been such a snob?” Andi narrowed her eyes. 

“Her name is Jennifer Martinez. She’s a good baker,” Kass continued. “Plus when we get back from spring break, Gage and I will have a project together for history class so we’ll be spending lots of time together.  I think it’s fate,” she played with the gold cording absently. 

“I think you’re deluded,” Cari groaned, tugging on her ruffled blouse.  

“I think it’s sweet,” Andi said, sticking her chin in the air. “And when I grow up, I’m going to marry my sweetheart.” 

“You don’t even know what a sweetheart is,” Cari laughed. “You’re only eight.” 

“I do too,” Andi protested hotly.

“Then who is this sweetheart?” Cari inquired, sarcastically.

“I’m not telling,” Andi grinned, pleased she had a secret to keep.

“Tell me, or I’ll make you,” Cari jumped up, towering over Andi.

“I will not,” Andi stood up and stomped her foot for emphasis. 

“Oh, leave her alone,” Kass admonished, standing up as she swished dirt from her hands. “What about you, Cari?”

“I’m never going to marry,” Cari stated.

“Never?” Andi gasped.

“Never!” Cari replied, with more enthusiasm.

“But you’ll be like an old maid,” Andi said, shocked.

“I don’t care. I’m going to med-school first,” Cari answered. “I’ll have lots of boyfriends, but never a husband.”

“You’ll never be able to have a family,” Andi shook her brown curls. 

“I still have you guys,” Cari shrugged.

“But you won’t be able to have kids,” Andi still didn’t understand why her big sister wanted this.

“Who says I won’t?” Cari said, her eyes twinkling. “So Andi, you still won’t tell us who this sweetheart of yours is?” 

“Nope,” Andi shook her head exaggeratedly.

“I bet I can guess. Hmm, is it Parker Langerak?” Cari wrinkled her forehead. 

“No!” Andi protested loudly. “Last Sunday, he pulled my pigtails in church and he put his baby frog in the offering plate. He’s a baaaaaad boy!”

“Frogs are so cute,” Kass said, in mock seriousness. “Especially when you dissect them.”

Cari squealed, and threw a plucked dandelion at her older sister. 

“What’s dissect mean?” Andi made a face. 

“It means to take the frog apart,” Kass began. “We had to do it in science class.” She smiled shyly. “Gage did most of the work because it is pretty gross.” 

“No, you’re leaving out the gory details,” ” Cari interrupted excitedly as she turned toward Andi. “To dissect a frog is to cut up it’s insides, pull them out, and to look at them closely. Like this….” she leaned in, making a face at her little sister, who screeched and ran over behind Kass.

“What about Spencer Funke?” Kass tried, putting her arm around her kid sister’s neck. 

“You like the blondes, Kass,” Andi smirked.

“I do not!” Kass laughed.

“I like…” Andi closed her eyes and brought her hands to her chest. “…tall… dark… and handsome.” 

“You read that in a romance novel!” Cari sputtered into laughter. 

“You’re the only one who does that in the bookstore when you don’t think Mamma’s looking,” Kass teased. 

“Nuh uh…” Cari shook her head while she blushed. 

“You can’t hide those rosy cheeks from me,” Kass wagged a knowing finger. “Just last week I caught you reading some adult magazine in the Library of Lore. Does ‘How Do You Know Your Type?’ ring a bell?” 

“I was not reading that!” Cari said, heatedly. “I was doing the crossword puzzle.” 

“Oh sure!” Kass smirked. “What star sign will make you feel like a real woman?” she quoted a line from the article. 

“Stop it!” Cari snipped. 

“You can dish it, but you can’t take it,” Andi giggled and fluttered her lashes in a ridiculous way. “You hang around with Ethan Bunch a lot.”

“Because he’s my best friend’s brother,” Cari shuddered as if that were the worst thing in the world.

“Alex Goth was making moony eyes at you in school during assembly last week,” Kass teased. “Maybe he’s your type.” 

“Ew… he’s older than you, Kass. Stop it. Both of you,” Cari said, her face practically a shade of purple. “Or else…” 

“Or else… what?” Kass called her sister’s bluff. 

“Or else… I’ll tell Mamma you’ve been reading mystery novels under the covers late at night when you’re supposed to be sleeping…” she threatened. “And I’ll tell Mamma you’re…” she turned to Andi and continued pointedly “…sneaking your peas to the dog under the dinner table.” 

Andi gasped and Kass glared at her sister. “You wouldn’t dare!” 

“And…” Cari said, emphatically. “…I’ll tell her you kissed Gage!” 

Kass’s jaw dropped open. “Did not!” 

“Did too! Did too!” Cari chanted, dancing around. “Or at least I’ll convince her you did and she’ll believe me.”

“Come back here, you little plum butt!” Kass began chasing her sister.  “I so did not kiss Gage.” 

“No! But you want to,” Cari looked way too smug as she was dance-running around the yard. 

Andi snickered. “Plum butt! That’s good.” 

Kass stopped, and continued running backward, giving her youngest sister a ‘come, help me’ look. The two sisters chased their middle sister until Cari ran into the cabin and slammed the door. Kass pulled on the handle in frustration, realizing it was locked. Andi sighed and plopped on the steps. 

“I’ll guess we’ll have to wait for Mamma and Nonna to get back from shopping to let us in,” she said. 

“No, she can’t win!” Kass grunted, running around to the side window and began banging on the glass. “Carina Nebula Fullbright! You let us in this instant! Right now! I mean it!” 

“Why?” Cari came to the glass and blew on it with her lips to the glass. 

“Ewww,” Andi said, squeamishly. 

“Because it’s going to rain again,” Kass sighed. 

“You’ll survive,” Cari looked triumphant as she skipped away.  

“Come on, Mamma will wonder why you locked us out when she gets back,” Kass yelled, continuing to knock on the glass. “Cari… come back here… come back…” 

Before she could continue, her whole hand went through the window, shattering the glass just as her mother and grandmother pulled into the driveway.

Kass reached her grandparents’ front door. After that memory, she  unconsciously flexed her hand and decided to knock delicately. Andi had freaked. Kass got stitches. Cari got blamed. They never played pirates and nobles again. Maybe it was for the best.

Author Notes:  Thank you for reading. I decided to give a little exposition about Amy and her relationship with her parents. I hope it wasn’t too much of an info dump. I also thought it’d be nice to include a sibling memory, and also to give some more context to Gage. I recall many holidays and pleasant summer vacations at the family cabin.

This memory takes place in early spring on 2409, a few months after Gage first arrived to stay with the Martinez family, when Kass was twelve, Cari was nine, and Andi had just turned eight. The girls are celebrating spring break and Passover (Easter) season with their family in the mountains of Moonlight Falls, Wasimington. FYI, Simvard is my Simworld version of Harvard University, and Simford is Stanford, Lucky Palms is in Simvada, and Vice City is in Florsimda. Hope you enjoyed. 

1.22 Three Arguments and a Back-Up (KCLKF)

Saturday, Simune 7, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Califorsimia 

“Mamma, I’m eighteen! You can’t ground me!” Kass exclaimed.

“My house. My rules,” Amy grunted. “You didn’t even try to hide it from me.”

“Oh, and I should’ve?” Kass snapped. “You’re out all night with your boyfriend, but I’m busted for innocently hanging out on the couch at home and watching stupid movies with my best friend.”

“Of the opposite gender!” Amy added as if to prove her point. “It’s not safe, Kass. You’re a smart girl. Make smarter decisions.”

“I’m an adult woman!” Kass said, heatedly. “And I do make smart decisions. Gage is perfectly safe. You wanna talk about unsafe? What about the gun I found upstairs under your bed?”

“You were in my room!” Amy shrieked.

“Yeah, I got locked out and I had to climb up the carport roof to get back into the house,” Kass frowned. “And if you were so concerned about safety, you don’t need a gun. You need to remember to lock your balcony door.”

“Don’t lecture me!” Amy snapped. “You were in my room.”

“Mamma, why do you…” Kass was cut off as her sisters entered through the front door.

Both were upset about something, and barely acknowledged either Kass or their mother before continuing their argument up the stairwell and into the upstairs hallway.

“Mamma… why do you have a gun… under your bed?” Kass asked in a low voice.

“It’s none of your business,” Amy snipped. “And it’s not mine.”

“Then who’s is it? Clark’s?” Kass quirked a brow. “Mamma… he’s not who he says he is. I think he’s hiding something. Did you know he’s seeing another woman?”

“I will not have you questioning me,” Amy waved her arms in aggravation. “Now go to your room. You’re grounded.”

Kass sighed, realizing she wasn’t going to win this argument. She whirled and started halfway up the stairs. Once out of sight, she leaned against the wall, closing her eyes. Her mother could be so hypocritical at times. Gage had stayed the night before, but her mother had a point. Someone else was always home.

Maybe it would’ve been smart to tell Gage to leave at midnight just so she wouldn’t get in trouble, but she hadn’t expected an explosion. She could hear Amy talking in hushed tones downstairs. Kass strained her ears.

“Clark… Kass found your backup piece,” Amy was saying.

Backup piece? Kass wrinkled her nose. Who was this Clark? If anyone should be upset about spending an evening in the opposite gender’s company, it should be Kass. Her mother had no idea who she was dealing with, and the fact that he just left a gun lying around in the bedroom made Kass even more nervous and suspicious.

“I grounded her,” Amy continued. “…I just don’t know what to do with her…” she sounded about ready to cry. “…we should’ve come home earlier… of course,  we do… we just can’t stay out like that anymore… Clark! Why are you mad?”

Because you’re both adults and can do what you want?  And I’m one too! Kass frowned.

Amy raised her voice.  “Yes, we’re in a fight!  What do you think this is?”

Slammed doors yanked Kass out of her train of thought as her sisters stepped into the hallway, yelling at each other. Kass rolled her eyes. Much to her dismay, her mother walked out of hearing range. Not like I can hear anything anyway with that racket! 

“I can’t believe you don’t trust me!” Andi was shrieking. “And you’re not my mom! You had no right to have Mrs. Bunch come pick me up in the city.”

“I couldn’t reach Mamma,” Cari said, defensively. “And you know the rules…”

She sounded like a little version of their mamma. Kass sighed as she trudged up the stairs to break up her squabbling siblings.

“You didn’t have to drag me out of VJ’s aunt’s apartment in the middle of the night,” Andi grunted. “It was embarrassing. And with a stranger no less.”

“Judy is like an aunt to us,” Cari began, but Andi interrupted, “She’s not family. Carina, you told Mrs. Bunch I was in trouble, but I wasn’t,” Andi rolled her eyes. “And VJ and I were sleeping in separate rooms. We weren’t doing anything. His aunt was home the whole time.”

Kass wondered if her mother was hearing this. She might go lighter on Kass’s ‘prison’ sentence. Staying out all night with a boy, even if everything her little sister was saying was true, had to be worse than hanging out watching movies on the couch with Gage. Andi was in tears as she continued.

“And he was going to take me to breakfast by the pool in the morning. It was supposed to be romantic. How could you ruin that!?” she pouted.

“Geez, Andromeda, you still should’ve told mamma where you were. You should’ve told me,” Cari waved her arms accusingly. “I don’t trust him.”

“Of course, you don’t. Because you don’t trust me!”

“Andi! Cari!” Kass tried to intervene.

“Stay outta this,” Carina snapped.

“Kass, go away!’ Andi cried. “I already had one sister butt in where she shouldn’t have.”

Kass’s eyes widened. “Well, can you be quieter?”

“Shut up, Kass!” Cari grunted.

“Butt out, Kass,” Andi took a step toward Cari. “And you butt out too, Carina. I already have it bad enough with mamma. I don’t need you to mother me too. And Kass knew where I was.”

“You did?” Carina whipped a piercing gaze to their oldest sister.

Kass winced. “Come on, calm down. Both of you.”

Carina’s face contorted into frustrated pain.

“No one tells me anything!” she wailed as she ran across the hall and slammed her door.

“I’m practically sixteen!” Andi shouted. “I’m practically a woman!” she hooted as she slammed her own bedroom door.

If it weren’t so early in the morning, Kass might have found the whole scenario comical.  She sighed. Her mother was coming up the stairs, yelling about grounding all her daughters. Carina stepped out of her room, furious, as she felt she shouldn’t be grounded because she didn’t do anything wrong. Andi’s bedroom door flew open.

“Of course you did something wrong,” she shrieked.

“You girls are giving me a headache,” Amy sighed, and pressed her fingers against her temples. “You’re all grounded. Now be quiet and go to your rooms.”

“Mamma, you’re being unreasonable!” Andi cried.

“I hate you,” Cari stomped her foot, and crossed her arms, and then glared at her kid sister. “And I hate you more.”

Three slammed doors later…

Kass sighed, leaning against the wall. I’ve gotta get outta here. 

Author Notes: Thanks for reading, everyone. Drama!  Drama in the Riviera Fulbright residence!  

a Sims 3 Story