Tag Archives: Central Park

A Visit to Sunset Valley: Questions from the Fans

Hi everyone, it’s been a hot minute since I posted here. I’m still working on setting up my TS3 game for the next story in Kass’ series. In the meantime, I have  some fun questions given to me by members of my Freezer Bunnies Reading Circle over on the forums.   I was going to answer everything over on the forums, but then it got a bit carried away so I’m sharing here for all my readers.  I sent my TS3 Simself to be the snoopy reporter and ask questions of this delightful cast.

Disclaimer: The answers are given based on where said reading circle is at in KCLKF (up through  Arc 12 or  chapter 1.33).  Really mild spoilers if you haven’t read that far.  Oh and a bit of breaking-the-fourth-wall humor.  Shout-out to all my reading circle peeps (you’re all mentioned below somewhere). Minor edit… apologies to Duvelina for not crediting her correctly. 


It’s a beautiful morning in Sunset Valley, Valverde.   The world appears to be peaceful as it is  just after the morning rush hour.  You can hear the low roar of ocean waves crashing against the soft sandy beaches and sweet sounds of swallows as they gather their families for the juicy gossip on the telephone wires.  No, not our gossip. Theirs. You know – like did you hear that  Chirpy McChatterbox was heard making amorous ticking sounds toward Hooty Howlin’ near the movie theater last weekend?  😉

While there are some clouds in sight, the skies are bright and beautiful.  Nothing can beat that tranquil blue!  I pause for a moment to drink in the sites, trying to ignore the Altos hideous Pepto-Bismol pink house on the hill. Tossing my empty paper cup  into the trash, I pop a mint to avoid coffee breath and head toward Central Park in downtown.

Gave my TS3 Simselfie a makeover… and put her in my favorite red plaid shirt. 🙂 Forgive what’s happening to Kass’ necklace here. I have no clue why it bugged out.

I caught up with the star  of The Krazy Crazy Life of Kassiopeia Fullbright.  We met on a park bench near the pond. I have to say it is a unique experience chatting with a character I’ve created.

Lizzie:  Hey Kass. Thanks for making time for this.

Kass: Sure. It’s an honor to chat with you, Lizzie.

Lizzie: No, the honor is mine. You’ve really brought my vision to life, and you’ve had some excellent input of your own . You’ve really taken charge of your life.

Kass: (smiles shyly) Wow… really? Um… that’s great to… hear. I haven’t been too sure… about a lotta things lately.

Lizzie: Well, let’s dive right in. Hope you don’t mind the cameras.

Kass: Not at all. I’m kinda used to them by now.

Lizzie: Really? They’re kinda weird for me. (clears throat) Okay… so first question is from ajmkv, writer and host of  the popular competitive reality TV show, Kev & Get It.

Kass:  Wow! He is a KCLKF fan?  Love that show. Ayesh and I watch it almost as religiously as Specific Hospital.

Lizzie: (smirks) I know. I can’t get enough of the juicy juicy drama.

Kass: (tilts head) Really? You strike me as more of a thriller and suspense kind-of gal.

Lizzie: (grins sheepishly) Guilty pleasure. Actually… if I’m being honest… a pleasure, pleasure. Not guilty at all. I also like a good fantasy. You should check out Tales from Camelot. Fantasy mixed with some excellent suspense.

Kass:  (pulls out her phone) Bookmarking it now.

Lizzie: Alright… the questions – ajmkv says, “A lot happened to you in these (most recent) Arcs. Lots of emotion, both negative and positive. Trying to stay positive, what is it that you’re most looking forward to in the next few days?”

Her expression brightens. She looks relieved by the question. Her face lights up with a smile and a flush creeps into her cheeks.

Kass: I… I’m really happy with my new boyfriend. His name is Davis, as you know.  I couldn’t have gotten through what I did recently without him.

Lizzie: He did seem to help out a lot, especially during that harrowing night  at your house.

Kass: Yeah… that mess… (laughs awkwardly) I’m just hoping for some down-time… baseball-free… with Davis.

Lizzie: Next question is from MercuryFoam of the exciting supernatural  thriller, Between 2 Worlds.

Kass: (places hand on her stomach and gasps) Cool! I had no idea so many writers were into my story. And Between 2 Worlds is awesome!

Lizzie: (smiles) I know how much you like crime stories.

Kass: Are you kidding? I have a huge collection back at the house. I don’t have enough bookcases.

Lizzie: Tell me about it.  I think I need a whole room devoted to my behemoth library.

We both laugh lightly, completely at ease with one another. I couldn’t imagine a better person to carry out this story near and dear to my heart.

Lizzie: Actually whoops! Didn’t read my notes correctly.  Sorry about that.  Duvelina asks,  “Do you know what you want to study in college already?”

Kass: (cracks her knuckles) Heh… you’d think I would’ve made up my mind by now, right? I’m a down-to-the-wire kinda girl, you know.

Lizzie: Yes, I do. (points to self) Fatal flaw.

Kass: Yeah. I thought about business like Nonno.  Though flipping houses isn’t exactly what I’m thinking. Maybe something like business… law? I don’t know. (bites lower lip) Is that too ambitious?

Lizzie: Not at all. If you put your mind to it.

Kass: Thanks. I also thought about communications like you, or writing. I think I did pretty good at writing for the school paper. And I guess I could always teach.

Lizzie: Duvelina also asks… wow! I really didn’t read that right. Must not have had enough coffee this morning. Not a morning person.

Kass: Go by the Jolt later. Granny Jade will fix you up.

Lizzie: Thanks. Okay.  Duvelina’s question – “Where do you see yourself in  5 to 10 years? How do you feel about moving away from Sunset Valley for college?”

Kass: (smiles and scrunches her nose) Yeah, everyone’s kinda asking me that now days.  Standard adult question I guess.

Lizzie: Something like that.

Kass: I can definitely answer that last one. I am excited, but also nervous. I’ve wanted to go to Edgewater for the last four years of my life. Nonno is an alumnus and so is Davis. (flushes again) A lot of important people have graduated from there, and the town is home to my favorite Sim National football team.

Lizzie: (pumps fist in the air) Go Saints!

Kass:   I’m a little worried I’ll miss my friends… and my sisters… (expression sobers) Especially my sisters. I know how much they… uh… need me. But um… (rubs head) Five to ten years. That’s a long way out. I don’t know what I’m gonna have for dinner tomorrow night or where I might be crashing on the weekend. A lot’s going on around here. I don’t know if I can… answer that.   I mean, did you know what you wanted when you were my age?

Lizzie: (stops and thinks for a minute) I had ideas… I  planned on studying communications. I bounced around for a bit in college and came back to communications. No. I guess I didn’t know where I saw myself in five to ten years after college. Sure didn’t expect to be where I am now, but I’m blessed.

Lizzie: I can give you some advice. Don’t be afraid to experiment. To try new things and different things. Find a mentor. Someone who can help you talk through what you want, your interests, the future. Don’t worry too much about the people you leave behind. This is your time. Enjoy your uni years. They go by quick. Sometimes it takes awhile to know what you want.  You’ll figure it out, Kass. I believe in you.

Kass: Thank you.

Lizzie: I couldn’t ask for a better leading lady.

Kass: (puts hand to heart) I think that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.

Next I headed to Papyrus Memorial Library. Andi was there, studying. She pulled out her earbuds when I arrived.

Lizzie: What are you listening to?

Andi:  Tchaikovsky’s  Waltz of Flowers from The Nutcracker.  (smiles) It helps me concentrate. It’s early, but I’m looking forward to cooler temperatures.

Lizzie: Hey, no judging here. Today’s pretty nice though.

Andi: Really? (looks out the window) I’ve been cooped up in here for awhile. I saved up simos to get a laptop, but our internet at home is snail’s pace so I came here.

Lizzie: You can’t be studying, can you? School’s out.

Andi: Summer school. I’m taking Calc I and II just to get them over with.

Lizzie: (clicks her tongue) Ah. Math!

Andi: It’s not so bad. It’s actually kinda fun.

Lizzie: (laughs) Says you… that’s cool you saved up for a laptop.

Andi: Yeah, the next thing I want to do is save up to visit Liz Ridley’s restaurant in Brindleton Bay. That’ll be a good chunk of moula.

Lizzie:  Oh, she and I share the same name. And yes, I’ve heard her food is to die for!  Okay, hey, the reason I’m here is  your fans have asked some questions.

Andi: You mean someone likes my music?

Lizzie: Sort of. It’s from ajmkv: “What’s it like to be so wise? Tell me your secrets, queen!”

Andi: (throws hands in the air) Uh…. what? I’m not… wise… (blushes deeply) not like… wait… really? Someone said that about me?

Lizzie: (smiles and nods)

Andi: (gasps and gulps) Uh my secrets? I dunno… I’m just me…

Andi: (stands up abruptly and looks at her naked wrist) Uh… (forces a laugh) Would you look at the time? I just remembered I have brunch plans.

Lizzie: What about the question?

Andi: I don’t even know how to answer that.  (quickly gathers her personal items and makes an exit)

Next I managed to catch Ayesha walking out of Sharma Day Spa.

Lizzie: Hey girl!

Ayesha: (turns and grins) Hey Liz, what’s up?

Lizzie: Oh not too much. Staying busy. Working a lot. Trying to keep up with the fans.

Ayesha: Sounds rough. What can I do you for?

Lizzie: Ajmkv would like to know: “WHERE ARE YOU, GIRL? I miss you!” (arches her brows) Ooo… I hope I did that right. I think I was practically screaming.

Ayesha:  (smiles and scrunches her face) Aww I miss you too… wait… who are you?

Lizzie: Ajmkv. He’s one of your fans.

I gave Ayesha a lip piercing in the second story. Honestly, I forgot all about it until I had to transfer over my saved Sims from my old game and I noticed it.

Ayesha: Right…  (strikes a pose)  oh I’ve got so many fans. It’s hard to keep track. And where have I been? (runs hand through her hair)  I just got a lip piercing. What do ya think?

Lizzie: Uh…

Ayesha: So did I like forget to give him my digits or something?

Lizzie: I think he means since Kass is busy with Davis and family drama, and then the  break-in that happened the other night.

Ayesha: Oh my gawd! What break-in? I gotta go call Kass.  Seriously, you holding out on me, Liz?

Lizzie: (winces) Not intentionally.

Ayesha: Oh and if you see my Mama… you never saw (points at her mouth) This! Or my… uh… (looks down) crop top… or ripped jeans… actually… (lifts finger) better say you didn’t see me.

Lizzie: (pretends to zip lips) Your secret is safe with me.  And it looks fab!

Ayesha: (runs away and waves) Thanks, girl! Oh and feel free to give ajmkv my digits. He can call anytime.

I have no idea what my Simself was doing here. And here’s the unedited Molly, River, and Sandi.

Since it was lunchtime, I headed across the street to load up on the greasy goodness of Hogan’s Deep-Fried Diner. Two words. Mozzarella balls. Take it from me. Try the Ranch. Not the marinara.

As I approach Gage, I recognize the two ladies he’s talking to as Molly French and River McIrish. The teen is carrying sweet baby Sandi.

Gage: Yes, and I just got accepted to Northwestern in Windy City.

This version of Gage is wearing glasses. Okay… I learned something new. He usually wears contacts, I guess. 😉

Lizzie: (pumps fist in the air and jumps up and down) Whoo! Whoo! Go  Wiley Wildcats!

Gage: (arches a brow) Uh yeah! Wildcats!

Lizzie: Sorry I’m in a school spirit mood today.

Molly: And you are?

Gage: This is Lizzie. We go way back. She gave me a chance in The Krazy Crazy Life

Lizzie: Yeah, Gage was the first character to crash my story. And  I let him.

Molly and River laugh awkwardly. They say goodbye. Now’s my chance to ask Gage some questions.

I have no idea why my Simself always looks gigantic. I’m not that tall. Haha.

Gage sneezes.

Lizzie: Ah, bless you. Someone is thinking of you.  Which is perfect… I have questions for you from fans.

Gage:  Sure.

Lizzie: First up from MercuryFoam – “You were determined to get to know your roots better, but when you confessed to Kass, you told her you were alright with staying put and not pursuing your studies in… was it Riverview?”

Gage: (interrupts) No, Windy City! How could you forget?  I’ve only wanted to go to Northwestern my whole life!

Lizzie: Uh… I’m not finished. (continues reading)  “Anyway, what made you suddenly realise your feelings for Kass and I must say it’s surprisingly strong if you could make that comment. So I’d like if you could explain that part too.”

Gage: (blushes) Oh yeah, well, I’ve known Kass for a really long time. She was my first friend in Sunset Valley, and the only kid who was kind to me at church and school. Kid… haha. We’re adults now.

Gage: (lifts hand) I think it was when we went to homecoming together last October. I don’t know. I’d never looked at her that way before, but she was beautiful. And well… (scratches back of head) I think I’ve always cared about her. I just didn’t really realize it until I knew we were both gonna be apart. I do want to meet my family and stuff, but I’d like to have some nice memories with Kass before she leaves and I leave. You know… and I think, we could be really good together. And sometimes people can make long distance work, right?

Lizzie: Next question from ajmkv – “What do you think of Madison? Or you at all interested in her? Or could you be if Kass said no to your advances?”

Gage: (waves arms) Wait… Kass said no?

Lizzie: I didn’t say that. Uh… she hasn’t answered you yet.

Gage: Why would she say no?

Lizzie: Gage, did you miss the question?

Gage: She isn’t going to say no is she?

Lizzie: (sighs and puts hands toward her chest) Gage, focus. The question. Madison???

Ah vanilla Sunset Valley! What wild patterns on that wall at the gym! And the room is so bare and empty.

Unfortunately, Gage wandered off muttering under his breath about calling Kass. Uh oh! I may have lit a fuse too early. It didn’t matter. After that deep-fried lunch, I was in the mood to work off some calories. I headed to 28-Hour Wellness Gym and ran into none other than Davis. He shyly told me he didn’t feel comfortable swimming in the Riviera’s pool so he worked out here at the public gym.

Davis: Hi Lizzie. It’s good to see you.

Kass: Yeah, good to see you too. I have a question for you from ajmkv.

Davis: Is that one of the guys who hangs out in the coffee shop?

Kass: A virtual reading circle actually.

Davis: Okay. Shoot.

Kass: Ajmkv asks – “What about Kass do you like the most so far? We’ve all noticed you staring at her in her swimsuit, at her luscious red hair, and her pretty face, but what would you pick as her best attribute?”

I was so mad! Hearts appeared around Lizzie and Davis. GAH! NO! Not cool. I even have a retuned attraction mod so I know when Sims hearts appear, they “really” like each other. Oh… well… I guess I have a type.  😳 This is even pre-Davis makeover. Haha.

Davis: Oh a gentleman never kisses and tells.

Lizzie: This isn’t about kissing. (suddenly a little flustered***) Who said anything about kissing?

Davis: I think it’s a bit personal,  but I’ll say this… Kass is more than her beauty. She’s a kind and intelligent woman who goes above and beyond for the people she cares about. I really like and admire her for that. And she’s close with her family. It’s really beautiful to watch. I’m not sure about her mom though. She’s… it’s not my place to judge actually.

Lizzie: So her best… attribute? (wondering if it’s hot in here all the sudden – all that pool humidity)

Davis: Definitely the way she takes care of others.

Note the danger! 🤭

I made a quick exit, suddenly feeling weird about shapes randomly appearing above my head. What next? Thought bubbles!

Before heading to the Fullbright-Riviera home, I had one more spot in downtown – Community School for the Gifted. Maybe I could take take a cool dip in the school pool. But before that, I poked my head into the janitor’s closet. Just to take a quick look around.

Lizzie: Ah ha!  Found you!

Clark: (startled, drops hands in lap) Don’t sneak up on a person like that, Liz.

Lizzie: Sorry. Uh hey… ajmkv would like to know – “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, YOU SNEAKY SAUSAGE?” (rubs throat) Oh, that’s hard on the voicebox.  Do you have any water?

Clark: (looks confused) Sneaky? Sau-sage? (crosses arms and spins around on his stool)  No, I’m not even going to dignify that with an answer.

I head over to the Fullbright-Riviera residence. Carina is just getting home from her afternoon shift at the movies. She picked up a second summer job at Wilsonoff Community Theater, saving money for some concert tickets that she and her bestie want to attend.  She motions to the adjacent lounge chair. As I sit down, I notice Cari was kind enough to bring us snacks.

Cari: Andi said you were in town.

Lizzie: Thanks for the soda.

Cari: What? No popcorn!

Lizzie: No… yuck!  No offense. But I hate butter popcorn.

Cari: (sighs) You and Kass both.

Carina took a phone call. How rude, right? A Sim wouldn’t stay where she was supposed to. *face palm*

Lizzie:  Carina, will you get off the phone so I can ask you a question?

Cari: And you’re not gonna believe it, Lisa! We had an INTRUDER! Twice. I thought I would lose my mind, but Kass like tore off after the guy like a mamma bear protecting cubs. I thought she’d break her ankle running down that hill. Oh and Kass’ new guy is really cool. He stayed and made sure we were all okay.

Lizzie: Cari!

Cari: Wait, omg! I didn’t tell you. Yeah, Kass is dating this dish. He’s super hot and…

Lizzie: (clears throat) CARINA!

Cari: (turns around and glares) Oh, gotta go Lisa. Somebody’s in need of something… I know… again.

Lizzie: (shakes head)

Cari: What is it? Make it snappy. I’m in demand.

Lizzie: Do you mind answering a question from a reader?

Cari: Make it quick. I got things to do. Namely like have you heard the dish on the Villareals lately?  It may be a work of fiction, but I don’t care. This is juicy stuff.  I, for one, want to know if Hugo is ever going to find out what’s going on with Nelson.

Lizzie: (giggles) I wonder that too, but Cari, focus, girl. Okay… ajmkv would like to know… “Are you upset that you’ve had to take a caretaking role in your household? Buying the groceries and things like that, I mean. Do you wish Kass and/or Andi should help out a little bit more or do you not mind doing these things?”

Cari: (rolls eyes)  Like for reals? I am invaluable around here and I put in soooooo much effort and do I ever get thanked for it? Like no… like never!

Lizzie: Cari that wasn’t the question.

So I asked my real-life sister, whom Carina is based on, which of the Too Good at Goodbye characters she found attractive. I just showed her pictures and she picked Hugo.

Cari: I know, right? So I wish my sisters wouldn’t be so obsessed with their boy toys, but whachagonnado? They’re at that age. (looks at her nails)

Lizzie: (beneath her breath) You’re at that age!

Cari: I guess I have to live vicariously through my magazines. Hugo. He’s got a lot of loving, but man, is he nice to look at!

Lizzie: (looks away thinking about her “weird” connection earlier) Uh….

Cari: Okay, I’ll say this. (straightens in seat) Kass isn’t half bad and she does do stuff… sometimes. (glares) But don’t tell her I said that!

The day and my questions are drawing to a close. Cari told me that her mamma was most likely sleeping all day again, even though it was nearly four in the afternoon.  I hesitated when I heard sniffling.

Lizzie: Amy?

Amy: (muffled) What? Who is it? Go away?

Lizzie: Amy, it’s me. Lizzie. I have some questions from readers for you.

Amy: (gasps) Readers? Is that like some cult thing? Palm readers? Mind readers? Not interested.

Lizzie: No… not a cult. A club. Or a circle. That is…  uh readers… like people who read stories, you know?

Amy: Not now, Lizzie. I’m not decent. Um… and why are they reading about me?

Lizzie: Are you willing to answer their questions?

Amy: Like what?

Lizzie: Let’s start with something light and fun. Mercuryfoam asks: “Sorry for super personal and intrusive question, but am I right to assume Clark the first man you’ve been with since Howard?”

Amy: (straightens immediately)  That is very personal. Yes. He’s the first man I’ve dated since my ex.

Lizzie: Okay, continuing… “Why do you find him attractive? (Besides his accent and guitar playing ofc).”

Amy: What accent? (sighs and rubs her face) I’m getting a headache. Can you hurry this up?

Lizzie: But you didn’t answer the question.

Amy: I don’t know why this is important. I’m tired. I need to get some things done today. Okay uh…  (shakes head) Clark takes good care of me. And my girls. They don’t see that yet, but he does and he will. He’s a good man. They just need to give him a chance.

Lizzie: Not exactly the answer I was looking for, but that’s better than nothing. Okay, next question. ajmkv asks: “What was running through your mind after THAT confrontation with Andi? Was it like your body took over?”

Amy: (softly starts crying)

Lizzie: (sighs and silently leans into the wall) Amy, are you okay?

Amy: (snaps)  I don’t have to justify myself to you! Or to anyone! Oh! (covers her face)

Lizzie: Amy, will you let me in?

Forgive my laziness. I didn’t reset up the Amy’s room like it was before. Nor did I add curtains everywhere. Eek!

After what feels like eternity, Amy opens the door and lets me walk into the bedroom. She explains that it’s very plain right now because she’s redecorating. A minimalist. I guess I hit the set later on in the story. I don’t really pay any attention to the surroundings. I’m more concerned about the woman who is obviously in pain.

Amy: I’m so ashamed. I hit my own daughter. Now they all hate me and they’ll probably never come back. Oh what have I done?

Lizzie: Hey now… it’s okay. Cari is actually out on the porch.

Amy: She is? Oh… don’t let her see me. I’m a terrible mother.

Lizzie: (sighs) I’m not a mother unless you count four cats.

Amy: (peeks out from behind her hand) You have four cats?

No clue what happened to her nightgown there. 😅

Lizzie: (half-smiles and sits on the bed) Yeah, but the point is, I’m not a mother so I don’t fully understand the pressure you’re under, but I know it’s a lot. And I think you’re trying and maybe someone like Clark is…try-ing… to help ease the burden, hmm?

Amy: Yeah, he is pretty helpful. The girls don’t know it yet, but he’s really good with kids. Kind. Patient. A good provider. I… miss… that around here. I feel like I’ve slowly lost myself over the years and he’s helping me come back. And now I just lost it last night when someone violated our home, and I was scared. I wasn’t thinking.

Lizzie: You were concerned and scared last night. I get it.

Amy: (buries her face in her hands) That’s no excuse for violence. My mamma never hit me.

Lizzie: I’m sure the girls will forgive you.

Amy: (whispers) I hope so.

Again… towering Lizzie for the win! Don’t worry. I fixed it after this scene.

Lizzie: It’s gonna be okay, Amy. You’ll work things out with them in time.

Amy: Isn’t that a spoiler?

Lizzie: (smirks and looks at her shoes) Yeah, maybe it is. I don’t care. I think it’s okay to give the readers some hope.

Amy: (hugs herself) Yeah, alright. Hey, you wanna stay for dinner?

Lizzie: What’s for dinner?

Amy: Waffles.

Lizzie: (laughs) Sure, I’ve heard all about Amy’s famous burnt waffles.


Author Notes: That’s all for now, folks! Thanks for reading. Feel free to send more questions if you like.   What other things would you like to see? Would you like to see more interviews? More of my TS3 Simselfie running around? A sneak peek at my character and townie makeovers? Shorts in the KCLKF world? I’m enjoying messing around in my game.  

1.99 Sibling Rivalry (KCLKF)

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

After an hour of bike riding, Kass was out of breath. She pulled over to the curb and stepped off her forest green bicycle, dropping the kickstand. Frustrated, she grunted and removed her helmet, looping it over the easy-grip handlebars.

“Hey Kass, it’s okay,” Davis assured, circling back on his mustard yellow bicycle. “The police will call when they have something.”

“Yeah, yeah,” she shook her head, and took a sip of her water. “I’m not worried about it.”

“Uh huh,” he replied as if he didn’t believe her.

It was a lie. She knew it. He knew it. Kass had called the police station yesterday and requested an update in the burglary case. She knew they were busy with other important things like investigating the fires around town and helping the town with recovery after the earthquake, but she was disappointed to hear they had not made headway. The switchboard operator refused to answer her questions about the supposed “brooch” that surfaced at the shop, nor would she speak to the two suspects Horace reported.

“You wanna stop here and eat?” Davis wrapped his arms around his girlfriend in a reassuring manner, tugging her out of her thoughts.

“Sure,” she shrugged, locking her bike on the rack. “Central Park’s as good as any place.”

“All that exercise made me hungry,” Davis grinned. “I’ve got the sandwiches. Do you have the other stuff?”

She patted the second pocket on her lime green backpack. “Yeah. So long as I didn’t munch the chips.”

“Let’s hope not,” he offered to carry her bag, and she smiled as she slid an arm under his own.

She appreciated the little things about him – a wink when he was teasing her, the way his lips would curl into a smirk when he was speaking sarcastically, the way his eyes lit up when she walked into a room, and the way he was a true Southern gentleman. It was nice to be taken care of, even if she was perfectly capable of carrying her own stuff.

They wandered into the park, the summer festival in full swing. Navy blue, lime green, and bright red balloons dotted the green hedges and sidewalks. The city had set up speakers around the picnic area, and a small stage. A female guitarist wearing a denim skirt and retro blouse strummed some fun indie songs, swaying to the beat as she sang in a sultry contralto. Hardly anyone skated on the roller rink, save Beau Andrews and his son. He lifted his hand and waved at the couple. Kass smiled and returned the gesture.

“Hey you two,” Beau skated over to the side rail. “Wanna join me?”

“Maybe after lunch,” Davis replied.

Kass turned and spotted her sister. Her jaw tightened. While she made amends with Carina, she hadn’t tried to talk to Andi yet.  She needed to work up her courage. She clenched and unclenched her fists as she tried to breathe evenly as Davis continued to politely chat with his band mate. She was debating about going over and greeting her sister and VJ when Davis made the decision for her.

“Hi guys,” he approached the younger couple.

“Hey,” VJ spoke first.

“Hello,” Kass managed, awkwardly.

Kass could see her sister’s shoulders tense right before she turned around and managed a polite smile.

“Hi, didn’t expect to see you here,” Andi said, coolly. “VJ thought this would be a great place for a romantic date.”

“We were in the neighborhood and stopped for lunch,” Davis answered.

“Yeah, we have a picnic,” Kass inserted.

“You’re welcome to join us,” Davis offered.

“We…were…” Andi threw a glance at VJ. “…planning to join the hot dog eating contest.”

“Yeah,” VJ said. “Grand prize is two-hundred-and-fifty simoleons,” he rubbed his hands together. “…I can just smell victory!”

“Two hundred and fifty?” Kass’ eyes bugged, as her stomach rumbled.

“Sounds like you’re hungry and ready to go,” Davis teased and jabbed her playfully in the rib cage.

“Tempting,” Kass replied, slowly, dodging to the side.

The prize money could go toward her petty cash for her first semester in college.

Andi lifted her hands. “This is for serious contenders,” she said, almost defensively. “We’ve been prepping for a week. VJ and I even watched Sims.tv videos to gather tips,” she looked lovingly at her boyfriend. “He’s the best like that.”

“Well, Davis has been helping me with errands today,” Kass said quickly. “…and he packed the picnic.”

“It’s just sandwiches,” Davis replied, flushing.

“VJ made me aloo masala curry last night,” Andi kissed her fingers. “Mmm… it’s native to Al Simhara you know.”

“So this contest…I think I’m up for it,” Davis grinned. “Kass?”

“Uh… I think I’ll pass,” she winced, sensing her sister’s underlying hostility. “I don’t really want to puke my guts out.”

“Awww… llamas!” VJ snapped his fingers. “It’d be fun as a foursome.”

“I can take you,” Andi puffed out her chest.

“You can go ahead,” Kass nodded to her boyfriend.

“You sure?” he arched a brow.

“Yeah,” she replied. “I’ll cheer you on from the sidelines.”

She rubbed her arms even though it wasn’t cold. Her sister was obviously still upset with her, and the chill was practically palpable. VJ excitedly took his girlfriend’s hand and led her over to the judge and announced he was entering the contest, followed by Davis. They waited for a few minutes before certain no one else was joining. Kass forced a smile and waved, trying to offer her support. The contestants prepared to gorge, lifting their hands off the table as instructed by the judge. The city official organizing the contest had filled several blue plastic cups with water for each entrant to help as needed. He read out the rules of the contest, and explained there was no time limit. The winner would collect two hundred and fifty simoleons if they were able to keep the food down and beat last year’s record, held by Claire Ursine, twenty-one, the best for Sunset Valley ever. A horn over the loudspeaker alerted the participants that the contest had begun.

As Kass watched, she found her thoughts wandering, even as Beau Andrews wandered over with his wife and son to cheer the hot dog eaters. She had half a mind to stop in the station today, but she was pretty sure she wouldn’t be able to see Detectives Goddard or Hunter quickly. Mayor Nancy Landgrabb announced a break in the arsonist case on the Sunday evening news report. Kass figured the guys were chasing down leads, and Davis wanted to spend his afternoon outdoors since he would be cooped up for the next seventy-two hours push before completing his medical college admission exam.

It wasn’t like she hadn’t already run an errand. Ms. Mata, her grandparents’ housekeeper, needed to be in two places at once, and Kass offered her assistance. Her nonno would probably kill her though if he knew she stuffed his dry cleaning into her backpack. She liked feeling useful though. It was weird staying in the big house for several weeks. At first, it was fun, but now she missed her old mattress and how it fit the curvature of her spine perfectly, the smell of her mamma’s rose potpourri in the shared bathroom, the way the shower door wouldn’t quite close properly, hearing her sisters move around above her head when she read on the living room couch because of familiar floorboard creaks, and even the way macaroni and cheese from a box tasted cooked in the old aluminum pots her dad left behind when he moved out. She was tempted to stop at EverFresh Delights Grocer before heading back to the estate and picking up a package.

It wasn’t until halfway through the contest that Kass’ mind returned to the present. VJ was actively stuffing his countless hot dog into his mouth. Davis paused momentarily to burp, and Kass smirked. She probably would too if she was stuffing her face. Andi held her hand over her face and for a moment, Kass wondered if the younger girl was going to make it. Andi picked up a cup of water and took several hefty swigs before returning to the objective.

“She’s holding her own up there, isn’t she?” Victoria Andrews remarked, impressed.

“Yeah,” Kass admitted, surprised at how competitive her sister was.

“We held a chubby bunny contest last week at youth group,” Bebe Hart said, strolling up and joining the crowd. “Andi shoved like a dozen marshmallows into her mouth. I spit out my third. I couldn’t handle it.”

“What does a marshmallow contest have to do with youth group?” Kass grimaced, and then immediately regretted her question as Bebe made a face.

“It’s just for fun, duh,” Bebe rolled her eyes.

“Oh,” Kass replied, dumbly.

I guess not everything has some spiritual meaning, she figured.

“They look like they’re having fun,” Victoria commented.

Beau began chasing Jordan as his son tried climbing beneath the buffet covered by a blue-and-white checkered tablecloth. Andi placed both hands on the table and smiled down at the little boy.

“What are you doing down there?” she asked.

VJ coughed and hit his chest with determination. He would finish. Kass had to laugh at Davis’s expression. He looked practically drunk with a slap-happy grin, his eyes watering. She whistled and clapped her hands.

“You can do it, Davis!”

Andi’s gaze whipped up at her sister, as if Kass’ encouragament was an issued challenge. With new resolve, she continued to stuff the hot dogs down her throat. Whoa! I really need to make amends with her soon, Kass realized.

When the judge called time, Andi looked about ready to puke as she ran toward the bushes and hurled over, holding her knees and gasping. VJ was forced to stop midway through his last hot dog. Only Davis had an excited grin on his face when the contest organizer announced the winner. Kass felt torn between congratulating her boyfriend and checking on her sister. The organizers reset the table, three towering plates of hot dogs and three brand new cups.

“Hey are you okay?” Kass asked, softly, as she approached her sister.

“Yeah,” Andi nodded and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, smearing her makeup. “I should’ve known it was bad to challenge Davis. I mean…” she straightened to her full height. “…he’s a full grown man and I’m…”

“…super competitive today!” Kass interjected with a smile. “You gave it your best.”

“I guess,” Andi rolled her shoulders and cracked her knuckles, following her sister to the snow cone cart. “There’s always next year.”

“How many did you eat anyhow?” Kass inquired, scooping the slush into her paper cone.

“I think…” Andi winced. “…twenty two.”

“Hey! A new record!” Kass grinned, dousing the shaved ice with blue raspberry syrup.

“You beat me, baby,” VJ admitted as he walked over and threw an arm around his girlfriend’s shoulder. “I only managed eighteen.”

“I wonder what the world record is,” Davis said, bemused as he teetered toward Kass, and placed a hand on his hip to keep his balance.

“Whoa! You okay?” Kass put her hands out to keep him from falling into her.

“Hot dogs…” Davis hit his chest and burped. “…don’t sit well with me.”

“Then why did you enter?” she rolled her eyes.

“Sounded like a good idea at the time,” he shrugged. “And always like a challenge.”

“Twenty five,” she shook her head in disbelief.

Andi joined her sister on the picnic bench with her own grape snow cone. The guys waited near the cart for the attendant to return with more syrups. They chatted for a few minutes about video games, VJ twisting to crack his back.

“I can’t believe you can eat that after all those hot dogs,” Kass groaned, rubbing her temples at the sudden onset of brain freeze. “How any of you can eat after the contest?”

“It’s mostly water,” Andi replied. “Plus…” she stuck out her purple-colored tongue. “…grape’s my favorite.”

“Are we cool?” Kass asked, hesitantly.

“I guess,” Andi sighed. “I was hoping my boyfriend would beat your boyfriend.”

“This isn’t a contest,” Kass said, and then she laughed. “Well, I guess it was, but I mean…”

“I know what you meant,” Andi said. “It’s not a my-boyfriend-is-better-than-yours contest.”

“Right…” Kass glanced off in the distance. “But that’s not what I meant… I mean, in terms of us being cool.”

She swallowed hard and continued.  “Andi, I’m so sorry about last night. I didn’t know how to tell you and Cari and I think I did it badly.”

“I don’t know how you could deliver that news well. You did the best you could,” Andi reassured me. “…well with Cari blowing her stack that is.”

“Yeah,” Kass smiled, weakly.

“Thank you for telling me.”

“You’re welcome. You had a right to know.”

“No, thank you for being the one to tell me… tell us, that is. It’s a lot easier coming from you than from our dad. Does Mamma know?”

“Not yet.”

“Oh,” Andi glanced down at her snow cone. She took a deep breath and without looking up, she added, “Well, when you’re ready to… I can be there.”

“Really?” Kass’s eyes widened. “Thank you.”

“Yeah,” Andi nudged Kass reassuringly, their shoulders tapping. “That’s what sisters are for.”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. This one was different than the previous version of Kass and Andi’s conversation. This one matches the in-game timeline, and with a couple other things up my sleeve, I decided to wait to have the two girls discuss woohoo and faith until later. It was fun to watch the sibling rivalry here. They did something like it in game too if my memory serves me well, and my notes are accurate. I had fun writing this chapter. I need a little lightheartedness for all that’s coming. 🙂 I kept trying to fit in some of these screenies, but couldn’t figure out a good way in chapter, so here you go… some extras…

The happy couple chatting before Kass and Davis arrive
Kass and Davis do end up joining Beau.
Kass takes a bow and nearly falls over on her skates.
Poor Davis didn’t fair so well post-contest after all.

Hope you enjoyed! 

1.83 Phony (KCLKF)

Friday, June 20, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

“Hey!” Kass exclaimed, sprinting over the low brick wall and reaching Gage’s side. “I have to go.”

“What?” he frowned. “We just started playing.”

“Yeah, uh…” she tried to think quickly, but her accelerated heart rate and breathing interrupted her train of thought. “I need to check on something important.”

“I’ll come with you,” he offered, taking the soccer ball from her hand. “I can return this to the rental place if you want.”

“Yes, and uh…” she started across the lawn, referencing the down payment returned upon turning in the items. “Keep the money for the trouble.”

“Wait… Kass…” Gage said, puckering his brow. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah,” she forced a smile. “I just…” her phone dinged, reminding her of the reply she was waiting for and she could feel the brooch sliding from its hiding place. Gulping awkwardly, she continued, “I forgot to file some papers for Jennifer. It’s really important for tomorrow.”

“Legal aid isn’t open tomorrow,” he narrowed his eyes.

“You’re right,” she waved. “But it’s for a conference call Jennifer’s gotta do… for her day off,” she chuckled weakly. “Work never really stays at work.”

“Uh huh, right,” he bobbed his head as if he didn’t believe her. “I’ll meet you there.”

“At the office?” she squeaked and walked backward. “I really gotta be back before five.”

“It’s almost dinner,” Gage said. “I’ll meet you in the office cafeteria on the top floor.”

“I don’t know,” she winced, unsure how long it would take her to find where the mysterious man went in the building. “Okay, sure…” she agreed, just so he would stop bugging her. “See you in a half hour.”

“More like fifteen,” he replied. “Should I order?”

“Yeah, you know what I like,” she yelled over her shoulder as she ran across the street once more.

Maybe she would catch the guy in the act. The act of what? Kass you’re so stupid, she shook her head as she pounded pavement. You have no idea who he is or what he wants. Or why he was at your house. She should’ve snapped a photo of the car with her smartphone. She reached between her layered blue and green tank tops to retrieve her bisnonna’s brooch. That wasn’t the best idea to keep you there, her fingers surrounded the sticky jewel.

Suddenly, she came to a dead stop. Kass sniffed her index finger. Glue! she grimaced and her eyes widened almost instantly. A fake!?!?  The brooch wasn’t her great-grandmother’s. It wasn’t the original piece. It was a fake. It had to be. No jeweler would’ve used glue on the real deal. Joel Astroman gave her a fake. Maybe that’s why he handed over the item so easily. He knew. He had to have known. The sweat must have dislodged the glue on the imitation piece. So if this was a phony… where was the real one?

Immediately, she took up running again. By the time she reached the business complex, her heart was about ready to fly out of her chest. To her disappointment, the car was no longer parked on the curbside. She ran all the way around the building to be sure, and then collapsed on a bench right inside the lobby. She lifted a fist to her forehead. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! She pulled out her phone and realized the text was from Clark. What’s up? he asked.

Kass: Found something of interest. Need advice.

Clark replied momentarily.

Clark: What kind of advice?

Kass: About a stolen piece of property found with a mutual friend of ours. 

Clark: Where are you? We should meet. 

Kass typed ‘Agreed,’ and then noticed Gage walking through the double door entrance.

Kass: Can’t talk right now. I’ll check in later.

She slipped her phone into her pocket.

“All done?” he asked.

“Yeah,” she replied, pushing back a sweaty piece of loose hair from her forehead.

“You look flushed,” he observed as they stepped into the elevator.

“It’s just my natural glow,” she smirked as the doors closed.

When they reached the top floor, Gage waved his arm gallantly, letting her step off the elevator first.

“You’re buying.”

They approached the cashier in the office complex cafeteria.

“Oh I am?” Kass quirked a brow.

“Yeah, I bought lunch,” he explained. “Plus we can use some of your rental money you gave me.”

“Fine,” she agreed, and put up her fingers. “Two orders of cheesy nachos. One with just cheese. One loaded with everything.”

“Yum,” he grinned, and swung his arm around her neck. “You know me so well.”

The food was ready quickly. Gage took their plates back to the table. Kass followed suit, but stopped still as she noticed a covered vehicle across the street. Why hadn’t she noticed it before? Craning her neck, she managed to catch a letter on the license plate peeking out from under the blanket as it flapped momentarily as a bus sped past. Z! she could’ve clapped her hands. She was pretty sure she saw a ‘Z.’ It was the vehicle, wasn’t it? But she couldn’t very well ditch Gage now. She was running low on excuses.

“Are you gonna sit and eat?” he asked. “Or am I going to be forced to eat your olives?”

“Olives?” she repeated. “Oh right…” she plopped in the chair.

She would just have to hope the vehicle was still there by the time she was done with dinner.  Then she realized she had a solution. She pulled out her phone and sent a quick text to Detective Goddard.


Author NotesAnd the plot thickens. Thanks for reading.  P.S. The Looking Glass bar is at the top of the Alto Business Complex, which is my slightly made-over version of the stunning Modern Office created by Wimmie, available on the TSR. 

1.82 Playing Field (KCLKF)

Friday, June 20, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

The bells pealed wildly in the apex of Sunset Community Church. Kass jumped, immediately flushing but soon  realized no one was looking as she stuffed the brooch in the only safe place she could figure since she didn’t trust her backpack – her bra. Since she was still waiting on Gage, she contacted Detective Goddard, despite her promise to the vendor,  Joel, to reveal she found the family brooch and with whom she found the stolen piece. He agreed to send officers to the festival to pick up Joel for questioning. He also offered her his personal cell in case she needed to reach him.  She appreciated the gesture, though her over-analytical brain wondered if Holly Alto was right… if he really didn’t “swing” her way because of the way Hank sounded when he heard her voice.

Kass reached into her pocket, plucking out her cell phone and texted Clark a “We need to talk” message. While waiting for a reply, she observed the church. A few passerbyers ooo-ed a bit as a man high up on a ladder waved from the steeple. She figured the bells had just been cleaned. Even if she wasn’t very religious, she could still appreciate religious music, and the sound of church bells ringing on a Friday afternoon warmed her soul. Built in the early 2100’s, the community church had survived four  counts of vandalism, three major earthquakes,  and one lightning strike.

If she had to wager a guess, last time she was inside with Andi and VJ, no more than eight pews could squeeze inside the cozy stone building, and possibly a few more in the balcony. Perhaps she should make time to attend services this upcoming Sunday. Andi would appreciate it. Maybe Davis would even come. She wondered if he would invite her to the start-up church this Saturday night. He hadn’t mentioned it yet, and she was a little embarrassed she forgot the name. Start-up sounds like a business.

“Think fast!”

Kass ducked as Gage tossed a water bottle.

“Hey!” she exclaimed.

“You were supposed to catch that,” he said. “Gotta stay hydrated.”

“Yeah, yeah,” she reached over into the flower bed where the bottled water had landed.

“Are you sure you’re up for this?” he inquired. “I mean… with everything…”

She shook her head vigorously. “Yes, stop asking, I’m fine.”

As she walked over and took her place in front of the soccer net, she wondered if there was any truth to the statement. Am I fine? Madison’s death was a stunning blow. She probably needed time to process emotionally. Physical exercise is good for that, isn’t it? But swimming, ice skating, and soccer in one day might be too much. But her lightheaded feeling had evaporated. She didn’t really want to talk about it, and she didn’t think Gage would inquire. Plus, she was still waiting for a reply from Clark.

“Alright, slowpoke,” she hooted and waved her fingers in a ‘come and try it’ movement.

“Slowpoke!” he flushed hotly as he rolled his foot back and forth on the ball. “Watch this!”

In one swift movement, Kass readied her stance and caught the ball.

“Hey!” he shouted.

“No score for you,” she smirked.

“You little…” Gage wiggled his fist.

“What can I say? I’ve been practicing,” she shrugged with a happy little smile.

“Yeah yeah,” he repeated her phrase from earlier as she tossed the ball back to him. “I’m not entirely incompetent,” he muttered beneath his breath.

“Wha’da’ya say?” Kass teased, gleefully. “I can’t hear you.”

“Umph!” Gage kicked the ball with superior force.

This time, she missed. The ball sailed into the net, bounced off, and landed just in front of the goal. Unable to block the shot, Kass fell on the ground, feeling the shock through her system.

“Well, that’s gonna bruise,” she rubbed her hip.

“You didn’t have to dive for it,” Gage said.

“I know,” she shook the cobwebs from her brain and rubbed the back of her neck before pushing her weight up with her palms.

He scored and she blocked a few more times before they traded places. Kass managed to get her first shot in without issue.

“Hmm,” she narrowed her eyes, wishing she had brought sunglasses and sunscreen.

She figured a sunburn was probably already in the works from the heat creeping along her neckline.

“Lucky shot,” Gage acknowledged, begrudgingly.

“Hey, fair is fair,” Kass threw her hands in the air. “You managed to get quite a few in.”

“Touche,” he said, waving his finger in the air to signal he was ready.

This one he caught. He cheered for himself.

“No one likes a braggart,” she glared at him.

“I recall someone,” he dropped the ball from in front of his face to the waistline. “…celebrating herself too.”

“Fine, you’re right,” Kass laughed. “We’ve both rubbed it in.”

As she went to kick the ball again, she was distracted by the vendors closing up shop, including the suspicious Joel Astroman. Nervously, he slammed his cash box closed after his most recent transaction. Kass craned her neck, trying to see his customer, but the person was mostly blocked by the vendor tent edge and the post.

“What was that?” Gage asked, bewildered.

She returned her gaze to the soccer field, and realized the ball went too high, flying over the net, bouncing in the flower bed, and over the low brick wall into the street.

“Uh sorry,” she said, sheepishly. “I’ll go get it.”

While retrieving the ball from the gutter across the way, she noticed the customer had booked it from Joel’s tent. From the bulky build, she assumed a male shopper dressed in a black hoodie, baggy jeans, and a black beanie. She hoped the man would turn around, but he never did, instead hustling along the edge of the street and climbing into a familiar looking vehicle. She gasped, her eyes bugging. As the car squealed away from the curb, she caught the same part of a license she had witnessed once before… when a robber outran her the night of the break-in. Z470. Kass ran down the street, watching the vehicle turn another corner, and she hurried, not like she could really keep up. As if the universe or God or someone heard her sarcasm, the car pulled up to the curbside next to the Alto Business Complex. The man jumped from the car and ran into the building. What? She couldn’t believe her luck. This time she could catch the whole license.


Author Notes: So Joel was visited by the robber? Or so Kass thinks? Was he dropping off more stolen goods? Was he returning for the brooch and realizing it wasn’t there? Was he even a he? What happened to the officers?  All your questions will be answered in time. 🙂 Thanks for reading. 

1.81 Precious Stones (KCLKF)

Friday, June 20, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

“Excuse me!” Kass waved a hand at the vendor.

The seller turned, his eyes narrowed as he was interrupted. He had been attempting to up-sell his products to a rather rich looking woman, dressed in furs, probably real, on a warm summer day. The potential customer wasn’t buying it – disbelieving the value of the gems, and she flounced off, her floppy hat bouncing atop her head.

“What?” he growled, his face twitching, as if he could appear any more sullen with his sallow cheeks.

“This piece… where did you get it?” Kass gasped.

“Where I get most of my stuff, lady…” the man replied, rolling his eyes, grey like incoming storm clouds. “…at legitimate auctions and the like.”

“What auction? Where?” Kass inquired, her heart pounding.

“For that piece?” he shrugged. “How should I know? The real question is how much are you willing to pay?”

“You do keep records of your purchases, right? And certificates of authenticity?” she inquired.

“Step off, girlie,” the man winced. “If you aren’t the paying customer, I don’t aim to serve ya.”

“Wait,” Kass continued, loudly, discouraging a couple as they grimaced and walked on past the booth. “I do work for a law office,” she continued, her threat barely contained.

“Okay, okay,” the man grunted, lowering his voice and turning around to fully face her, his floppy hair reminding Kass of Valverde towhee. “…you’re gonna cost me all my customers.”

“So?”

She crossed her arms over her chest, but as she saw his face, she immediately dropped her arms to her side. He looked familiar.

“I know you.”

In fact, he almost looked like that man she saw Clark chatting with in Pinochle Pond Park that night almost a month before.

“Oh yeah? Look, I don’t want any trouble,” he waved his hands. “What do you want?”

“This piece was stolen,” she declared. “And I have the police report to prove it,” she began rummaging through her backpack, even though she was pretty sure she left the paperwork in her other wallet.

“Stolen?” the man shook his head vigorously. “I’m a legitimate businessman. I won’t have you sullying the name of Joel Astroman, here,” he pointed to himself with both thumbs.

Astroman? Joel? Yeah that was the name of the guy Clark was working with… to size Mamma’s ring. What’s he doing selling stolen merch?

“Then prove it,” Kass stuck her chin in the air. “Show me the papers.”

“I’ll have to look ’em up, but in the meantime, if what you say is true… say yous and mes we make a deal,” Joel offered, scrunching his shoulders as he flipped his hair out of his eyes for the umpteenth time.

“What kind of deal?” she narrowed her eyes.

“Say you don’t tell no one ’bout this,” he said. “Not even the client you represent…”

Kass’ eyes widened. He thought she was a lawyer representing a client. Joel Astroman had no idea who she was or why she wanted the brooch.

“Don’t call no one, definitely no fuzz. And I’ll give the piece back to ya… free of charge.”

He meant… don’t tell the cops. She wanted her bisnonna’s piece back. The opalescent gem had been in her family for generations, and had sat in her mother’s collection for many years. Someday, Kass hoped to inherit the moonstone herself, but with the way things were between them now, Kass doubted her mamma would want to give her anything. Maybe returning the stone would bring back some goodwill between them. If there could be such a thing. If this is what it took to get the piece back… she wondered if telling Clark counted as talking to the cops. She smirked at the private joke of it all. Sure, she’d take the piece, and she wouldn’t call the cops, but she would tell her mamma’s boyfriend, the man who her mother admitted was undercover.

“Deal,” she said, sliding the brooch into her pocket.


Author Notes:  I feel like Kass got really lucky here, and maybe part of me is lazy, but I want to start to round out the mysteries. Maybe he did hand over the stolen brooch really easily, but I think I’ve prolonged the brooch thing long enough. Plus there’s still the question of how he obtained it, his connection to Clark, and who stole the item to begin with, but that’s for another day. Hope you enjoyed. Thanks for reading. 

1.80 Old Friends (KCLKF)

Friday, June 20, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

“You feel better?” Gage inquired.

Kass gulped and nodded as she returned from his car. She handed Gage the keys.

“Thanks for letting me stash my clothes in your vehicle.”

“No problem,” he smiled. “Good thing you stash extra clothes at the office.”

“Good thing,” she repeated with a weak chuckle.

Sometimes she liked to work out and go for a run in the evenings before returning home so she left a change or two of clothes in the lockers at the legal aid office. Today this practice came in handy so she didn’t have to return to her grandparents. The sweater and long sleeved blouse were a little much for the afternoon summer sun.

“Why were you all dressed like that anyhow?” he asked.

“Oh you know,” she shrugged. “Sometimes the office interns can be a little over-zealous with the AC.”

A little white lie? Kass surprised herself. How many of those are you going to tell today? 

“You look cuter in that top anyway,” Gage winked.

She laughed, flexing her fingers as she finished braiding her hair. “Someone owes me a bratwurst,” she said, dodging the subject. “Better make it nice and burnt.”

“Say, you could get a tan and match your dog,” Gage teased.

Kass wrinkled her nose. These pop-up tanning booths were a strange addition to the summer festival circuit, but she figured it was another way for the management company to make a quick buck.

“Ninty simoleons for a spray tan?” she shook her head. “I think not.”

“Yeah, with your luck, you’d turn out like a lobster!” Gage hooted.

She elbowed him. “Says the pasty guy.”

“Touche.”

After purchasing a bratwurst with all the fixings, two plain hamburgers, and two cups of the festival’s famous fruit punch, Gage followed Kass across the lawn to a nearby picnic table. Central Park offered sweeping views of the Panthalassan Ocean to the west and most major commerce and official government buildings, including City Hall. Kass noticed a familiar red-haired woman held a press conference on the steps outside the mayor’s office. Jazzilyn Alto. Taking the fight to Nancy’s home turf?

A bold move, Kass secretly approved as she nodded and took a bite of her hot dog.  Gage munched on his hamburger, devoid of condiments, just as he liked it. As long as she could remember, Gage liked everything plain – hot dogs, hamburgers, black coffee,  vanilla ice cream with no toppings, no dressing on salad, nothing but cheese and the occasional pepperoni on pizza. A comfortable silence stretched between them as they ate – one that told of old friendship and deep understanding.

A tourist family in board shorts, sunglasses, and sun hats, desperately trying to fit in, but failing, slathered sunscreen on each others’ arms and backs. Kass smirked. Probably never been to the ocean.  Students from Sun U in bikinis naturally tanned… or burned on their beach towels and pop-up camping chairs on the lawn. A few fraternity guys played kicky sack ball, laughing as they demonstrated their lack of hand, eye, and foot coordination, probably from being juiced. An elderly couple strolled hand in hand through the park’s winding paths, stopping at every festival booth as if it were their first time, the woman ecstatic when the man purchased a single red rose from the flower booth in the farmer’s market section.

Kass took another large bite of her hot dog and turned her attention to Gage. She remembered the days when she pretended he was her brother, and once in the seventh grade, she told another guy that he was her ‘man’ only to get the guy to back off. The other kid was plagued with pimples and his breath smelled like salsa. Gage smelled like aftershave, puberty hit early for him, but he was relatively acne-free, a much preferred alternative.

In another lifetime, maybe, she could see herself with someone like Gage. She wished she liked him more. He deserved a good lady in his life. He had an unmistakable twinkle in his blue eyes, and his hair, though almost entirely shaved, was a chestnut brown if she recalled correctly. Gage had been shaving his head since they were freshmen in high school. If anything, he had the “dark” hair for the tall, dark, and handsome fairy-tale girls wanted. And maybe the borderline handsome in a Jean Luc Picard kind-of way, if girls were into that. He certainly had some of the personality appeal too with his lighthearted humor and his undeniable charm, and his efforts to work-out did not go unnoticed. She wondered when the last time he went on a date, and immediately began thinking through which of their friends would most likely go out with him.  If only wishes came true like they did in the movies or the books… Gage caught her gaze.

“A simoleon for your thoughts, Kass Fullbright.”

She smiled. “Only if I can toss it in the fountain and make a wish.”

Gage stood up, plucking a simoleon from his pocket.

“Here, I’m going to get a refill on our drinks,” he said, right as a young man clipped the edge of their picnic table.

“Sorry,” the guy mumbled, adjusting his baseball cap.

“Isn’t that the Bachelor kid?” Gage asked.

“Yeah,” Kass swung her legs over the edge of the seat, rubbing her coin for good luck before she tossed.

A playful ‘plop’ told her the simoleon had found its destination.

“What did you wish for?” Gage asked.

“Uh, if I tell you, it won’t come true,” she giggled.

“I’d tell you what I’d wish for,” Gage said, as he closed his eyes and tossed another coin over his shoulder.

“What did you wish for?” she teased. “True love’s kiss? World peace?”

“Mock me if you will, but those are respectable things,” Gage said, sarcastically. “And now…” he grinned wickedly. “I could tell you… but…” he narrowed his eyes playfully. “I’d have to kill you.”

“Riiight,” Kass laughed, but stopped as their attention was drawn to a sullen teenager clunking into another picnic table in their area. “So earlier you asked me what I was thinking… maybe I should treat that  request as the same.”

“I think he has a paper route in my neighborhood,” Gage rubbed his chin thoughtfully.

“You’re wearing that tropical woody aftershave again, aren’t you?” Kass asked.

“That’s what you were thinking about?” Gage’s eyes widened. “Isn’t he like a freshman?”

“He’ll be a sophomore when school starts again,” Kass laid her hands to rest on the edge of the picnic bench, her fingernails digging gently into the wood. “Why a sudden interest in Mitchell Bachelor?”

Gage grimaced. “His aim could use a little help. The paper always seems to land in Jennifer’s lilac bushes. Do you know how aggravating it is to root around in the bushes in the morning?”

“Let it go,” Kass laughed. “He’s probably in a hurry.”

“Yeah, whatever,” Gage waved his hand dismissively. “Refill?”

“How about rematch?” Kass declared, standing. “Last time we played soccer, I said I’d beat your high score.”

“Oh you think you can beat my high score?” Gage said, amused. “Okay, Fullbright, let’s see what you’ve got.”

While Gage ran home to get a change of clothes, Kass rented a soccer ball from the athletic equipment booth. Casually, she glanced around the other booths while waiting, purposely staying to the eastern side of the park so as to try and catch a glimpse of City Hall. Jazzilyn was still chatting with constituents and reporters on the steps when a furious looking Nancy arrived in a jet black limousine. The mayor incumbent shoved a thick pair of black sunglasses on her face and tossed her decorative scarf over her shoulder as she flounced up the stairs, flanked by men in security uniforms. The mayor’s security practically swatted the media away and one shoved Nancy into the building rather harshly by the elbow.

Kass shook her head as she rifled through a box of loose lower-end gemstones and polished rocks. She didn’t envy Clark’s job, even if he worked for Nancy’s opponent. She gasped, realizing she hadn’t made a wish earlier when she tossed her coin. Wasn’t that bad luck?  Would a redo count? she grimaced. Maybe she had some spare coins in her purse. But it was in Gage’s car and he wasn’t at the park.

A strange glittering caught her attention, pulling her gaze away from City Hall’s steps and back to the jeweler’s booth. Her fingers encircled a familiar piece. Her eyes widened. Without a doubt, this was her bisnonna’s brooch. The one that had been stolen.


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. Dun! Dun! Dun! No I haven’t forgotten the break-in or the stolen brooch. Also some more cute friendship moments between Kass and Gage. The Sims and their outfit changes… explained… sort of.  I’m loving these random appearances by townies. It’s actually really nice. Makes the town of Sunset Valley and Kass’ story subsequently feel more well-rounded. Hope you enjoyed. 

1.65, Pt. 1: Filling in the Blanks (KCLKF)

Saturday June 14, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

Kass walked down the sidewalk after leaving the bus station, backpack slung over shoulder. Her cell phone jingled. She plucked her phone from her pocket. Unknown number.

“Hello?”

Kass?”

It was Clark’s voice.

Don’t hang up. Please. We need to talk.”

Kass glanced over her shoulder as the bus drove by, wondering if she should bother to listen to her mother’s boyfriend. She was already late to her sisters’ soccer game in the park.

Can we meet?” 

Meet? He wanted to meet? Kass didn’t understand what his agenda was. Would he try and chastise her for chewing out her mom? Or did he want to confess something new? She wasn’t sure she could trust him. She angled around a food cart, and a small crowd of kids ordering hot dogs. The pungent scent of sauerkraut hung in the air as the frying oil sizzled.

“Why?” she finally spoke.

I need to explain some things… to make things better, for you and your family. I should’ve been honest with you from the beginning.” 

Yeah you should have, Kass rolled her eyes as she lifted up a finger to indicate she wanted a bratwurst from the vendor, and then pointed to the spicy mustard and dill pickles. Half a bowl of chicken tortilla soup wasn’t enough to be filling. She handed two Simoleons to the portly merchant in exchange for a second dinner.

“Central Park? Two hours. I’ll give you five minutes,” she offered.

I’ll take it.

Kass settled onto a park bench, munching on her meal in between cheering for the Community Sharks. Andi blocked nearly two dozen shots during the game as the goalie, and Carina kicked more than five balls into the net before the end of the game. Her siblings high-fived each other and then came over to greet their older sister with a big sweaty group hug. Kass laughed, and congratulated them on the win. They invited her to join the team for ice cream shakes at Hogan’s, but she shook her head. Her face darkened. She had an impending meeting with Clark and she could already see him on the opposite side of the field. The girls scampered off, and Kass nodded to Clark. He began making his way around the dispersing crowd right as VJ, Andi’s new boyfriend approached.

“Kass, what’s wrong?” he asked.

“Uh… hi… VJ, right?” Kass said, forcing herself to smile.

“Andi is staying over at our house tonight,” he said.

“What?” Kass narrowed her eyes.

“Don’t worry. Dad’s got a spare bed in the parsonage,” VJ assured. “Got its own bathroom too.”

“I’m… not… worried…” Kass said robotically.

“Sure,” VJ replied, sarcastically. “I know what you think, and I know you think you know what I’m after, but I’m not,” his tone softened. “I really care about Andromeda, and she said that it’s not safe for her to be at home right now.”

Kass’ heart sank. Because of Mamma? 

“I think she’s terrified somebody’s gonna break into the house again,” VJ said. “I just wish she’d talk to me about it. I wish I was there when it happened. I could’ve helped.”

Kass swallowed hard. “I don’t know about that, but thank… you…” she managed, her words stilted.

“You know what she asked me, right?” VJ inquired. “To move in with us? Temporarily?”

Kass’s eyes widened. Andi was fearful for her safety? Because of the home invader… or our mother’s instability? 

“I take it by your stunned silence you didn’t know,” VJ continued. “You and her seemed pretty tight. She talks about you a lot.”

“She does?” Kass felt her heartbeat accelerate.

“Yeah, that you’re always trying to protect them? I can do that too,” VJ asserted. “Look, it’s good to look out for your sisters, but you are leaving for uni soon and it’s a good idea for Andi to have someone else around she can rely on.”

Kass could see flashes. Fragments of memories. She looked up. Falling rain. Jagged stretches of light across an angry night sky. An edge of a roof. Someone else she can rely on. The words looped in her head like a record stuck on repeat, and just as it scratched and started again, she could feel her hand slipping.  Every time. She doubled over, wheezing.

“Hey!” VJ inserted, lifting his hands awkwardly, uncertain. “You okay?”

Kass gripped her knees, slowly allowing her heart rate and breathing to return to normal. What was that? 

“I’m…fine…” she bit out. “I’ll talk to Andi.”

“No! I don’t want Andi to know we talked. I just want her to be okay. Is something going on at home that I should know about?”

You mean like Mamma slipping in and out of frenzied, unnecessary panic and deep depression? Kass made eye contact with Clark who was on approach from the left.

“I’m fine. And thanks for asking. I’ll figure something out,” Kass said abruptly, waving VJ off.

He backed away, bewildered, but left her alone as Clark walked up next to her.

“Kass, how are you?” he asked.

“Clark, there is no time for pleasantries,” she replied.

“You look pale. Can I get you some water?” he offered.

“No, what do you want?”

“Your mother is a wreck after your argument,” he began.

“And you’ve come to lecture me?” Kass grimaced and took a step back. “I don’t need you to be my dad.”

“No, I wouldn’t… I’m not…”

“…aren’t you?”

“Can we sit?”

Kass stuck her chin in the air, and crossed her arms. “I prefer to stand.”

“How was the game?”

“They won,” she managed.

“Really? That’s great!” his eyes lit up.

“Clark, you called me,” Kass said, briskly. “And not to talk about my sisters’ soccer match.”

“I know,” he sighed. “Look, we didn’t get off on the right foot.”

“Are you kidding me?” Kass exclaimed. “I’m not even sure if you were ever walking forward.”

“I’m sorry,” he said, a hint of the Bergish accent slipping into his tone. “I wasn’t very up front with you.”

Her eyes widened as she tilted her head.

“I wasn’t at all up front with you,” he corrected. “And I want to set the record straight.”

“Another lie?”

“I am studying opera. That isn’t a lie. My employer recommended it.”

“Jazzilyn Alto, if I recall correctly.”

Kass shifted her footing, fiddling with her cross pendant.

“No, I wanted to set the record straight about what your mother and I are doing.”

Kass made a face. She didn’t want to know about her mother’s relationship, and she certainly didn’t feel comfortable discussing her their sex life.

“…when we leave for overnights, we’re not spending the night together, not in the way you think…I have a sister,” he sighed, and pulled his beanie cap off and into his hands. “Can we please sit?”

Kass swung her arms in protest but turned and plopped on a nearby bench,slouching like a sullen teenager. Clark sat next to her.

“She is recovering from a gunshot wound that severed her spine. She’s in a facility in Bay City,” he explained.

Kass’s lips parted slightly. She did not expect that.

“…she needs constant help as she goes through intensive therapy. She won’t ever walk again, the doctors say, but we’re hopeful with new medical advances,” Clark smiled wistfully. “She’s my kid sister. I couldn’t protect her.”

Any remaining animosity between them dissipated, and the clouds of mistrust began to fade away. Her heart softened.

“What happened?” she asked, quietly.

“She was with her fiancé. They were picking out a wedding ring,” his voice shook with emotion. “They were shot while leaving the jeweler’s. The ring still fresh on her finger.”

“Why?” Kass gasped.

“Wrong place. Wrong time. Gang shooting, they said,” Clark shifted uncomfortably on the bench, and shoved his hands in his pockets. “I took the job on the Alto campaign to help pay for her treatments. We heard of a neurosurgeon here in Valverde who might be some help to her, but the procedures and tests aren’t cheap.”

“So wait… what does this mean for you and my mother?” Kass asked, and then bit her lower lip. I should’ve at least said I was sorry first. 

“Amy comes with me most nights to keep me company,” he replied. “She has been for the past year. That’s why she’s out a lot of the time and sleeps weird hours during the day.”

“Why didn’t she just tell me?” Kass slumped against the park bench.

“Because I asked her not to. I wasn’t ready for the world to know about my sister, and about what happened. She’s a very private person and she’s still grieving the loss of her fiancé. She carried his ring around her neck until recently.”

Kass didn’t understand it, but she could respect it. Grief made people do funny things, and Clark was certainly grieving. You can’t make that up. Wait… ring! 

“And you call her sweetheart, don’t you?” her face relaxed into a smile.

“Who, Clara? Yes,” Clark replied with a mystified smile. “How do you know?”

“I’ve heard you,” Kass admitted, flipping her hair over her shoulder. “And the ring? You met with a Joel guy about it?”

He frowned. “How do you know about that?”

“I followed you one night in the Community Park up on the hill,” she said, and seeing his half-impressed, half-startled look, she added, “If it makes you feel better, I was looking for Andi.”

“Joel is the best gemstone expert I know,” Clark exhaled heavily. “He is helping me resize the ring…”

“For Clara?”

“For your mother.”


Author Notes: Another mystery revealed and solved… sort of. And another mysterious vision with Kass. She doubled over in the park as if out of breath in game, and VJ was concerned if I recall correctly. I finally had a reason to use the image. Thanks for reading. 

1.52 Distressed (KCLKF)

Wednesday, June 11, 2415, C.E. | Sunset Valley, Valverde

So Granny Jade married into the Alto family?  Kass tried to digest the discovery as she climbed on the bus and swiped her pass before the card reader. The bus driver offered a toothy grin, and she smiled shyly in return. I wonder why she never said anything, she slid into a seat three rows from the back so as not to be disturbed. Strange coinky-dink!

Plucking her cell phone from her pocket, Kass texted Ayesha first, suggesting they hang out tomorrow after her work shift. Nearly immediately, Ayesha replied she would be cleaning the bathrooms at her family’s gym tomorrow evening, followed by a ‘yuck’ face Image result for yuck emoji, and a desperate, but hopeless plea for saving.  Kass responded with a cursory ‘sorry’ and a sorry emoji Image result for sympathetic emoji.  Then she texted Jennifer. I’ll be in early tomorrow. Sorry again about the other day. Image result for slightly frowning emoji Kass added a question regarding looking up someone’s phone number and how to determine if it was still active, or why a phone number would be routed through another service or business.

While she waited for Jennifer’s answer, she further contemplated the strangeness of connecting with Bella Goth’s phone number. She supposed it could be a fake, given there were enough vocal clips of the woman out there. But why the poster? Why that poster specifically? Why in Jade’s Java Jolt? And why a law firm masquerading as a travel agency?  

Arriving back at her grandparents home, Kass began packing up her things. Both Andi and Cari texted about returning home. She would feel like a jerk if she didn’t try to smooth things over with their mamma.

After she stuffed her duffel, Kass returned to the main floor, finding her Nonno watching Civic Public Action. She joined him on the couch as he protested over the political race heating up between Nancy Landgrabb and Jazzilyn Alto.

“I can’t imagine she will win with her dirty cheating husband of hers,” Nonno grimaced in disgust. “Everyone knows Bert Alto is a player. That Alto family is corrupt.”

“Nonno!” Kass exclaimed.

She knew as well as anyone that Bert Alto was cheating. She even knew with whom he was cheating. That’s if he’s only got one mistress on the side.  Even so, it didn’t seem fair to judge one’s politics and way of conducting oneself in business with one’s home life, especially when one was the offended party.

“Shouldn’t you give the woman a chance to prove herself in politics instead of judging her by her home life? Nancy Landgrabb’s ancestors stole land from the SimNatives. But that doesn’t mean she is corrupt.”

“Jazzilyn represents the Blue Party,” Nonno sighed. “She’s too progressive in her policies for my taste. Nancy Landgrabb will keep things the way we should.”

“But what if you don’t like what your party’s candidate is doing or saying?” Kass inquired. “Would you vote for someone else?”

“We’ve never voted for anyone but a Red Party member,” Nonno gasped. “I can’t imagine it would do any good to switch now.”

Kass kept her mouth shut. She learned if there was one thing never to discuss with her family, or anyone really, it was politics. She preferred to follow her heart and her gut, letting her morals guide her decisions rather than merely a political party.  Bisnonna would turn over in her grave to know she had registered with the independent Yellows while in City Hall the other day. She didn’t feel particularly swayed by any one party, and preferred a more moderate or centrist view.

Nonno spied the bag. “Are you leaving us, my dear?”

“Yes,” Kass nodded, even though she was torn about her decision, but she wanted to support her siblings. “I miss my bed. You know. It’s been lovely, though. Thanks for everything.”

Nonno placed his hand over his heart. “I’ll miss you, my favorite oldest granddaughter.”

“Nonno,” Kass laughed lightly. “I’m your only oldest granddaughter. And I’ll be back…” she leaned over and planted a kiss on his cheek. “Please say goodbye to Nonna for me. Ciao.”

Ciao, gattina,” Nonno replied.

Kass leaned her elbow against the window and stared out into the darkness as they descended the hill into downtown, alight with street lamps and bustling activity for a summer’s evening in Sunset Valley.  As the bus rounded the park, Kass gasped, catching sight of a familiar face, and almost instinctively pulling the cord to indicate she wanted to get off. She nearly tripped in her flip flops as she exited the bus. Cutting a corner across the lawn, she caught up to the person, pulling on her purple sleeve.

“Madison!” she called out.

The woman turned to face her, tired lines on her forehead, black circles prominent beneath her eyes. She appeared bewildered, and then recognition dawned.

“Hey Kass,” she said weakly.

“Hey, where have you been?” Kass inquired. “I’ve been worried.”

“Oh?” Madison said, her yellow-gold eyes widening.

“You filed a police report? And you disappeared from the Jolt?” Kass said, reaching out to touch Madison’s shoulder.

The woman flinched.

“Are you okay?” Kass inquired, pulling her hand back. “Your roommate said you haven’t been home. I’ve been trying to call and text you.”

“Yeah, she would say that,” Madison bit out sarcastically. “I’m not at home. I’m staying with a friend over at Sun U.”

“Oh,” Kass said, unsure of how to proceed.

I’ve already stepped in it. She had a million questions. As if reading her mind, Madison continued.

“I couldn’t make rent for several months, and Tori had enough. She said she’s working hard as an intern for Jazzilyn Alto’s campaign and she didn’t want to be around a slacker,” Madison sighed.

“What?” Kass exclaimed, frowning.  “And what did Monika say?”

“Oh Monika was sweet as always,” Madison swiped at a tear. “But she can’t keep floating me loans. Let’s face it!” she threw her hands up in the air with a depressed laugh. “Who’d want me?”

“I’m sorry,” Kass winced awkwardly. “What about Abe? Wouldn’t he help you out?”

“Abe and I broke up,” Madison wrung her hands. “I told him I didn’t think I was good for him.”

“Madison, you are…” Kass trailed off.

You are… what? Kass didn’t really know Madison all that well. They had never had classes together in high school, and unlike Madison, she had big plans to leave this town. They interacted and joked at the diner when they would see each other, and sometimes hung out with mutual friends, but they were more acquaintances than anything. However, in the last few days, Kass felt a strong need to say something, and not just because Madison was in trouble.

“Madison, you’re my friend,” Kass said, wrapping her arm around the woman’s shoulders. “You could’ve told Abe the truth.”

“No, I couldn’t,” Madison shook her head. “He told me he’s going to try some revolutionary new treatment for his blown-out knee. He wants to go back to pro-ball. He’s leaving…”

“Abe is leaving?” Kass opened her mouth to say more, but stopped.

“…yeah,” Madison sniffled. “He’s leaving for Strangetown at the end of the summer.”

“Wow,” Kass narrowed her eyes.

Good for Abe! Not so good for Madison. 

“You didn’t tell him the truth?”

“Why should I? He’s leaving anyhow. It wasn’t like I was in love with him,” she smirked. “And he’s like thirty-seven and I’m twenty. There’s seventeen years between us.”

Exactly. He’s more stable, right? Even as she thought the words, Kass couldn’t help but feel a little squeamish thinking about the age difference. It was a little strange. How come she hadn’t noticed before?

“Hey Madison, do you need a place to stay?” she asked, feeling compelled to do something. “My grandparents have plenty of rooms right now, and I’m staying there with them. You could come stay with me for a little while, until you get on your feet.”

I probably should’ve run this idea past them first, Kass grimaced internally. She hoped her grandparents would be as gracious.

“Oh honey,” Madison smiled wistfully. “Thank you for the offer, but I couldn’t impose.”

“No,” Kass shook her head, perpetuating a white lie. “You wouldn’t be imposing.”

“But yes, I would be,” Madison saw through Kass. “I’m staying with Blair Wainwright over in the Uni housing. Landgrabb House. You should come by sometime. Blair says it’s where all the cast-outs live. Don’t tell the Landgrabbs that!” she choked back a smile.

Kass smirked. “Are you sure you’ll be okay?”

“Yeah,” Madison said, though unconvincingly. “Blair is training to be a paramedic. She knows what she’s doing. And she’s fixing me up a baby room for when this thing…” she pointed to her stomach. “…pops!”

“Okay,” Kass twisted her flip flop in the grass. “Well if you change your mind… I’m glad you’re okay.”

Madison waved goodbye. “I’ll be fine.”

But as she walked around the edge of the park restrooms, Kass could see her shoulders visibly slump.


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. In my original game at this point, Madison was in her second trimester and showing. I’m slowly trying to “resolve” some things in this story as I’ve introduced so much drama/mystery, a combination of my original published story and my original outline (which the original story deviated from). This time, I’m trying to stay truer to the game play as I recall and from the detailed notes I captured. Abe was a barista at Jade’s Java Jolt, but when I checked in with him later, he had joined the athletic career.  I know I already used “Landgrabb” House in La Vita Bella at Neighborly State University, but who’s to say the Landgrabbs don’t have another building named for them in Sunset Valley? 

1.42 Haunted House (KCLKF)

Monday, June 9, 2415, C.E. | Sunset Valley, Valverde

“Tell me something, Kassiopeia.”

Kass leaned forward and rested her chin on her hand as Davis tightened her pink laces on her roller skates. There was something oddly romantic about the act. They were rentals. Hundreds of people probably had worn the skates before her. She didn’t have socks, but Davis apparently had a spare pair in his truck. Again, it was a simple gesture, but a kind one.

At first she wasn’t sure she wanted to go skating with him with her grandparents around. She still wasn’t sure how she felt about Davis, nor how they would react if they knew she was dating “the help.” Once in the eighth grade, she had sneaked over to the apartment above the garage to watch a movie with the chauffeur’s son. Luis was sort-of cute  with crooked teeth and a baseball cap.

They settled onto the lower bunk of his stacked beds that he shared with his little sister. Her dad had just left and Kass was moody. Luis tried to make her feel better by giving her a hug. As she leaned into his shoulder during the middle of some Bella Goth film, she was surprised when Luis kissed her. He was wet and sloppy like a fish out of water, gasping for air. It was the most disgusting thing she could imagine. She was horrified. Her first kiss was unwanted and humiliating because Nonno had walked in, looking for a tool for one of his many antique cars. He expressed his “sincere disappointment.” Nonna threw a fit and said she could never be with someone whose last name is “Garcia.” The next day, she found out the Garcia family was fired and asked to leave. The casual racism was so painfully wrong to her, but she was young and didn’t know how to protest to her grandparents, and it wasn’t like she really wanted to date Luis in the first place.

Cari assured, in a tone most annoyed, that Nonno and Nonna had left for home and Kass’s “secret” was safe. Davis had gone to his car to get the socks. Kass wondered if she needed to be more careful, debating about telling Davis she had to finish her essay, but Cari cut her off.

You’re an adult, Kass,” Cari said, casually, as she shook her head deliberately, her large hoop earrings dancing wildly. “Do what you want. Who cares?

But…” Kass protested.

Oh did I say you were an ah-dult?” Cari rolled her eyes. “I think I meant to say dolt if you don’t go get ’em.”

Kass reddened, even now recalling Cari’s words ten minutes later. Her sister bounced off with Lisa Bunch and the twins, Ashley and Candy Dale, all of whom heard Cari and giggled at Kass’ expense. They were heading to the Jolt for an espresso and some  salsa dance class night. Cari wanted to bum ten Simoleons off her older sister for the cover charge. Kass forked it over without objection and she hadn’t even bothered to remind Cari about curfew because she had been embarrassed.

“Yes, what?” she returned her attention to the moment and to Davis, the nice, beach tanned, blonde guy who looked more like a surfer than a Southern gentleman.

Cari’s right. I am a dolt if I don’t go out with this guy. 

He looked up, a grin on his face as he patted her ankle. “Do you like haunted houses?”

“What?” she crinkled her face and laughed. “Why do you ask?”

“You can tell a lot about a person by their ability to hold it together in a haunted house,” he replied.

“Uh… I’m not particularly thrilled with things jumping out at me,” Kass giggled nervously as they stood and she wavered a little as they treked across the lawn to the roller rink. “But it’s the sounds that get me paranoid.”

“Note to self,” Davis remarked. “No haunted house at the festival this fall.”

Kass beamed. He said fall. Is he thinking about dating me still in the fall? I guess I will be in Edgewater, his home territory. Maybe there’s a haunted house there he wants to take me too. She decided to try her hand at flirting as they skated around the rink.

“I guess I could be persuaded if I had the arm of a nice guy around me,” she tilted her head coyly.

“The Old Freitag Place in Crescent City,” Davis said. “Worth checking out. It’s the estate Bella lived at when she lived in the Willow Creek neighborhood. People say it’s haunted.” He wiggled his eyebrows as he skated closer.

“Stop that,” she made a face . “You’ll make me laugh.”

“Isn’t that a good thing?” he asked, then continued. “Since you’re a Bella aficionado.”

“Yeah, she lived there with her husband. It’s Mortimer’s family estate. You know why it’s called Freitag?” she inquired. “It’s Bergish for Friday. They bought the house on Good Friday, his parents that is.”

“That’s it. We’re going there,” he determined. “I hear they do a famous blood punch from the outdoor water pump.”

“Gross,” she shuddered. “And I have to get into uni first.”

“What? You’re already in, aren’t you?” he replied, surprise registering in his tone.

“Yeah, but I’m angling for a scholarship,” she sighed. “One I won’t get if I don’t finish my essay on time.”

“But your grandparents. They obviously have money,” he said and then winced. “Oh I’m sorry. That was indiscreet.”

“No,” she shook her head. “They do, but I’m trying to do this on my own and pay my own way through college.”

“That’s admirable,” he remarked. “Tell me something else about yourself. Something random.”

“Random?” she bit her lower lip. “Are we playing the ‘get-to-know-you’ game? Because I feel like you already know a lot about me and I don’t know much about you.”

“I’m the reigning disc golf champion at Edgewater,” he grinned proudly. “Don’t you dare think about beating my score when you make it there.”

“Oh really?” she quirked a brow. “I can be pretty competitive. I don’t know. I may surprise you. I might be pretty good.”

“I’d like to see you try,” he said, cockily, and then teetered trying to keep his balance.

“Someone is getting knocked down a peg,” she teased.

“Shush!”

“Pride comes before a fall.”

“Oh you’re loving this!”

“Maybe…” she spun around and skated backward.

“Show-off!”

“You just said you’re the reigning champion of disc golf. Maybe I’m a champion at skating.”

He skated over next to her. “It might help if I have a pretty lady to help me balance. May I?” he asked politely.

“Sure,” she took his hands. “Don’t focus so much on your feet.”

“What do you mean?” he laughed uncomfortably.

“I mean, think about where you’re holding your head. It’ll help you balance.”

“So just hold my head up high and I won’t fall.”

“That, and maybe gaze deeply into my brown eyes,” Kass giggled.

“I can do that,” he said, all too seriously.

She swallowed hard as they circled inches from each other’s faces. Her heart began beating wildly. His hands felt nice and warm. She squeezed his hand, and smiled. He matched her smile with one of his own, and then she felt him slipping. Davis yanked on her arm, desperately trying to stay upright, failing miserably as she doubled over and he fell onto his backside.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

He winced. “Only my pride. But you were just talkin’ about that.”

“I was,” she crinkled her forehead. “Sorry.”

“Sorry for yanking your arm outta your socket,” Davis apologized as he rolled over to stand again. “I should stick to my own two feet rather than wheels.”

“We can go,” she said.

“I’ll drive you back,” he offered.

“Thanks,” she replied, skating for the edge.

Davis helped her into his car. She hugged her arms as he pulled away from the curb.

“Strawberry jelly,” she said, staring straight ahead.

“Jelly?” he repeated, turning the corner.

“Yeah, you said to tell you something about me. Once I had a dish of strawberry jelly and I…” she continued, smoothing the edge of her skirt, recalling the sweet smell vividly. “…was supposed to carry it to the table, but instead I was distracted by this beautiful spiral staircase,” she leaned her head back against the seat.

Davis appeared confused as he drove up the hill.

“I’m serious,” she said, tilting her head from side to side so as to crack her neck. “Nonna told me to carry the jelly to the table for breakfast. We were at a hotel for some holiday. And their suite had a spiral staircase. I was curious. I climbed it and I fell.”

“Is this supposed to make me feel better?” he grimaced, driving onto her grandparent’s winding street.

“Nonna thought I was bleeding to death when I came back to the kitchen. She nearly called zero-zero-zero.”

“Did the paramedics come?”

“Nope,” she grinned. “Mac came and licked off the jelly and she realized what had happened.”

Davis dropped his head back, his deep-bellied laugh pleasing to her ears as he pulled into the long brick driveway. “Distracted by a spiral staircase. That’s a new one.”

“Is it doltish?”

His eyes widened. “No it’s not stupid,” he put the car into park. “It’s kinda cute in a childlike wonder kind-of way. You were a curious kid.”

“I still am,” she said, putting on her own sandals again.

“I like that about you, Kassiopeia,” he said, slipping out of the driver’s seat and walking around to open her door.

“Thank you,” she flushed, shyly.

Her grandparents’ dog came running to greet them with a happy bark. Davis leaned down to pet the animal as Kass frowned, noticing her mother’s boyfriend standing near the front door. For once, he didn’t have a beanie cap on his head. He was dressed more casually than normal also.

“Clark?” she greeted, stiffly.

“Kass,” he said, his s’s sounding more like z’s. “Your mamma wondered when you’re coming home.”

“I am home,” she narrowed her eyes, her insult veiled, but present.

“Your mamma made dinner tonight,” Clark continued. “Waffles. Like you like.”

“Tell her thank you,” Kass nodded.

Amy’s Monday night tradition had completely slipped her mind.

“Will…” he began, his ‘w’ sounding like a ‘v’. “You at least call her?”

Kass hesitated. “I’ll consider it,” she said, and waved to her evening’s escort. “Good night, Davis. Thank you.”

She turned, wishing Clark wasn’t there, and wishing he hadn’t so rudely interrupted her good night. As she slid the key into her grandparent’s front door, she heard Davis open his car door.

“Haunted house,” he called out.

She smiled to herself, catching Clark’s bewildered look out of the corner of her eye. She pushed the door in.

“It’s a date.”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. This chapter grew longer than I anticipated. I kinda write until it seems right. This chapter was created via a writing prompt – “Write about a haunted house in summer.” Well, that was interesting. I had these images of Davis and Kass roller skating at the summer festival in Central Park and decided to roll with it as they get to know one another, plus I threw in another bit about Bella. TS4’s Bella lives in Willow Creek, and it seems a little New Orleans-ish to me, not to mention, I had it in my outline that Mortimer’s family had an estate in Bayou. And I wanted to throw in a little back story for Kass’ first kiss as minor contrast for her current crush, and insight into the Riviera family. Hope you enjoyed. 

1.41 Hero (KCLKF)

Monday, June 9, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

Her stomach rumbled. Kass crossed her arms and interlaced her fingers as she stood in line for food at the festival booths. She perused the menu while she waited, biting her lower lip. Do I want a hamburger? But I don’t want mayo. I could ask for a substitution. Eh… maybe I should have a hot dog. Am I hungry enough for two? Ice cream sounds good, but I should eat a meal first. Chili fries? I wonder if they are heavy on the beans or meat. Who decided the booth should have a giant hot dog on its top? 

Kass reached into her pocket and pulled out a few Simoleons, paying the carnival attendant dressed in peppermint stripes and fun top hat with a red ribbon. She recalled an opportunity flier at the high school about summer jobs at the food carts in the park. Maybe I should’ve tried to find a summer job. She glanced off in the direction of the stately brick library. They had advertised the need for summer reading program guides for the elementary students in Sunset Valley and assistance with the new stock.

Named for an Al-Sim saint, Papyrus Memorial Library housed a decent-sized book collection. Kass loved to think about all the history between the thousands of covers, and all the stories of faraway places, and all the people who passed through the millions of pages. Maybe someday I’ll actually complete a story and publish a novel... she wrinkled her nose as she sat down at a picnic table. Yeah I have to finish my essay first. She sneezed.

“I was just thinking of you.”

Davis grabbed a seat across from Kass right as she started to eat.

“Excuse me?”

“You sneezed. Someone is thinking of you,” he smiled, warmly.

“Uh…thanks?”

He raised his hand.

“What?”

She turned and noticed an older man with red-brown hair, dressed in khakis and a brown pullover sweater waving in their direction. The man’s smile froze, and he paled as his eyes landed on Kass. Instinctively, she dropped her chin into her shoulder and yanked her gaze back to Davis.

“Do you know him?” she asked.

“Oh, Mr. Bachelor?” Davis replied. “He likes to hang out at the Jolt and write.”

“That’s Mr. Bachelor?” Kass tried to glance furtively over her shoulder, curious about her doctor’s husband.

She had never met him, and Dr. Bachelor didn’t really mention him. Jocasta struck her as a woman utterly devoted to her career, despite the fact that she had four children, including one very famous, very missing actress. However, Kass knew very little about the rest of the family, and she once read that Simis was very private and protective of his other kids.

“He’s a writer?” she quirked a brow.

“Yes,” Davis smiled. “He has a blog.”

“Really?” Kass shrugged as she took a bite of her chili cheese fries.

Davis laughed. “Really? Kass?”

“Yes?”

“You’re the only person I know who eats their fries with a fork.”

“Oh,” she said. “I just…”

“It’s less messy,” he remarked, an odd look crossing his face.

“What?” she said, the blush creeping into her cheeks. “Is it really that odd?”

“No,” he shook his head, and swallowed. “It’s cute. Um… Mr. Bachelor is just… well… he’s…” he lowered his voice. “…staring at us.”

“Why?” she dropped her fork, self-consciously.

“Beats me,” he shrugged. “The guy always comes into the Jolt and orders the same drink and sits at the same table and writes for three hours and fourteen minutes every Tuesday and Thursday and then leaves.”

“Three hours and fourteen minutes?” she said, turning to see the man out of the corner of her eye. “That’s a very specific amount of time.”

“Pi.”

“No,” she shook her head. “I’m still finishing my fries. But thanks for the offer.”

He smirked. “No pi… the mathematical constant.”

“Oh,” she nodded. “Right. What’s his blog about?”

“I think mental illness,” Davis replied. “And ministry stuff. He was once a Peteran shepherd. I read an article or two once since I’m studying to be a general practitioner.”

“Is he a therapist?” she wondered, narrowing her eyes.

“Naw… at least I don’t think so. But I’m sure as a shepherd, he’s counseled many people.”

Kass took a few more bites of her fries, wiping her mouth delicately on a napkin.

“Bella didn’t talk much about her dad.”

Bella?” Davis arched a brow.

“Oh… um…” she giggled nervously, leaning forward and twisting a strand of hair around her finger. “Well, I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with his…”

She looked over to see if Simis Bachelor was still standing behind them. He had moved over to the field closer to his wife and son, looking every once in awhile in their direction. She shifted in her seat, smoothing her skirt.

“…daughter…” she continued. “I’ve seen every Bella Goth movie ever and I’ve read all the stuff out there on her. She’s a hero of mine.”

“Really?” Davis leaned back and folded his arms over his chest. “Why?”

“Bella rose to fame on Specific Hospital because she practically stole every scene she was in,” Kass explained. “She’s so glamorous and talented… and interesting too. She was named the most beautiful woman in the world by CLOCKS magazine. And she advocated for women to be paid the same as their male counterparts on the series. She even produced about a third of the middle to late seasons before it was cancelled. ”

“I didn’t realize she was a producer,” Davis said, impressed.

“She also wrote romance novels under a pen name,” Kass bobbed her head. “You know Felicity Joyeuse?”

“What? No! The Enchantais writer recluse is Bella Goth?” Davis said, his eyes widening.

“No Enchantais recluse,” Kass smiled broadly and shook her head. “It’s a pen name. So you’ve read romance novels?” she arced a brow.

“Hospital waiting rooms,” he said, stiffly. “It was either that or gossipy magazines. I… uh…spent a lot of time in hospital waiting rooms as a kid… with my aunt and my…” he trailed off. “Maybe she gets it from her dad,” Davis said, looking off in the direction of Simis and Jocasta, who were holding hands as their youngest son and daughter kicked a ball around on the soccer field. “Though I think he only writes non-fiction.”

“Maybe,” Kass replied. “Did you know Bella only wrote about bi-racial couples? Not a single couple in her stories share the same ancestry.”

“That’s… uh… interesting,” Davis said, placing both hands on the table and grinning. “So do you secretly want to be an actress, Kassiopeia, or a romance novelist?”

“What? Um… no!” Kass exclaimed and winced. “I…I… want…”

What do I want? What do I want to be? Who do I want to be? She caught Simis staring in her direction. His dark eyes were wide and sad. Kass wondered what kind of pain the man experienced. He lost a daughter twice… and then she was declared dead in absentia. Jocasta was very vocal in the news. Kass remembered. But Simis stayed home, dedicated to a quiet existence for his three other children. Kass shivered, despite the fact that the air was hot and humid. Something in Simis’ penetrating gaze was unnerving.

Why does he look like he’s seen an apparition? 


Author Notes: As I return to my old screenshots, I’m finding loads of characters from Sunset Valley showing up in my images. I decided to write more about Bella Goth, and why Kass admires her, and also needed to explain what Simis Bachelor was doing in a scene. I had fun writing this chapter, even though it’s not at all what I originally intended. I hope you all don’t mind all these little side trips in the story. I hope it’s not dragging because of it. Er…thanks for your patience and for reading. CLOCKS is a parody of TIME magazine.

Edit 1/16/2022 : Enchantais is a descriptor word, referring to the people who live in Enchanté (my Simworld version of French).