Tag Archives: Clark Sauer

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.  

1.130 Zero Chances (KCLKF)

Saturday, July 28, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde 

It was the longest week of her life. Kass pulled her legs to her chest as she soaked in her parental’s bathtub. The water had long since become tepid, but she didn’t mind. She needed a moment’s peace. The spare bathroom was her haven, safe from intrusion.

Her family and friends were naturally concerned, but she couldn’t take the smothering any longer. They constantly asked how she was doing, how she felt, what she wanted to do. How in Hades was she supposed to know? And even if she did, did she really want to tell them? To draw them into her constant nightmare parade? And worst of all… she was supernatural? It was all too surreal. As Dr. Bachelor had stated, she was not the biological child of Howard and Amy. She couldn’t be. Neither had otherworldly genes… and it was hereditary.

Kass flexed her fingers beneath the water and wondered if she would ever think about normal things again like what color to paint her toenails. She couldn’t sleep without seeing his face, without feeling the flames licking at her neck, her arms, her back. She glared at the purplish bruises, naked and exposed, and wished she could will the ugly reminders away. Huffing, she pulled the drain plug and stepped from the tub. The week had been strange and she felt herself reliving the moments, an unwilling hostage of her own thoughts and memories.

Monday, July 23, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde 

“We need to talk.”

Kass stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her face bore some cuts and bruises – her left eyebrow, her right cheekbone, and the lower edge of her chin. She tried not to cry over the ugly reminders of her awful ordeal. Dr. Bachelor was seated on the edge of her hospital bed, head resting against her palm, elbow resting on her thigh. Her tone was serious and she appeared to be pondering what to say.

“How long…” Kass grimaced. “…will I have these?” she winced as she touched the cut on her face.

“Oh,” Dr. Bachelor said. “I brought you some tinted antibiotic cream to help with the healing and to cover it up.”

“Thank you,” Kass forced a smile.

This was her new face. Her new hair. Her new reality. She had a feeling long after the outer scars faded she would still have the internal ones.

“Kass, what happened to you and how you escaped was nothing short of a miracle,” Dr. Bachelor began. “I’m a woman of science, but I believe there are things in this world beyond explanation. And I’m going to level with you. You should be dead.”

“I…” Kass dropped her hands to her side. “I.. know.” She somehow did. Her escape defied logic and reason. “Divine intervention?” she shrugged, thinking of her idea to form a cross.

“No,” Dr. Bachelor shook her head. “I think it’s something more. You inhaled smoke for over forty minutes and didn’t pass out. Furthermore, your lungs are clear. They aren’t damaged like someone who would’ve inhaled the amount of smoke you did.”

“I… got… lucky…” Kass stammered.

“Your throat has minor burning sensation, but it also is mostly clear. Your skin cuts and bruises are mostly superficial,” Dr. Bachelor continued. “You forced open two hundred pound doors and you’re only one hundred and twenty five, and while you’re in relatively good shape… Your muscles are strained, but not torn. And to top it all off, you leapt ten feet…. ten feet… through the air over burning flames,” Dr. Bachelor listed and pinched the bridge of her nose.

“I… was hit…” Kass rubbed the back of her head. “Twice… and I’ve got a concussion. I’m not Superman!” she chuckled weakly.

“No, but I think you’re super…natural,” Dr. Bachelor replied. “There’s no good way to say this…” she sighed. “You did things that aren’t humanly possible. One or two of these things alone could slide on the miracle front, but all of them?”

“What are you saying?” Kass frowned.

“I’ve only ever seen this kind of thing… once…” Dr. Bachelor trailed off. “…I think we need to conclude that Howard Fullbright and Amy Riviera are not your real parents.”


Her voice was hoarse. The words felt strange. Kass stared at her hands, trying to ignore the scabs on her fingers. She tried to ignore the soul crushing burden of learning her parents weren’t really her parents. Somehow hearing Howard’s voice made things all better.

Kass… I just heard. Are you okay? I’m on my way to the hospital now.

“Yeah… I’m… okay…” she sighed. “I’m alive.”

My gawd! Kass… I… what do you need? Anything. Anything at all. I’m so sorry, sweetie.”

A tear splashed her cheek. Another hit her hand. How could she even ask anything of him? Did he know? One of them had to know. Her mamma had to know. Who were her real parents? Was she abandoned? Adopted? How did it happen? How could they keep something like this from her? She had a million questions and not enough answers, but her father… the man who had helped raise her… was waiting for one from her.

“Daddy?” she said, her voice cracking. “Do you still want to take that road trip?”

Tuesday, July 24, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde 

Two am rolled around again and she had yet to see any sleep. Kass grunted in frustration, whacking the bed with her fists. Her mattress had done nothing to incite her rage, but it was a convenient target. She wanted to cry, but the tears wouldn’t come. Instead, she huffed and rolled out onto the floor, deliberately and with force.

Great! she despaired. She probably created even more bruises with her intentional fall, and she hoped she hadn’t alerted anyone she was still awake. For the past week, she had slept little at night. The daytime offered more relief.

Hearing voices she approached the window. Her mamma and her mother’s boyfriend sat on the porch steps. Clark rubbed Amy’s shoulders, and tried to reassure her that everything would be okay. Kass sighed. He seemed like a good guy. Misguided, but good. He meant well.

Clark had been horrified when he learned of the ring. He begged Kass’ forgiveness and stated that he had no idea of its history. He never would have given her the ring if he had known. Never. He had no idea he was endangering Kass’s life.

Clark was actually a highly decorated undercover state police officer who had been sent to conduct his own investigation of the Alto family. Pretending to be a recent immigrant from Albergia, he gained access to the janitorial staff at the high school where Jazzilyn had rented a second, secret office. Once he convinced her to hire him as a bodyguard, Clark gained access to her inner circle. From there, he obtained evidence of Jazzilyn’s shady mafia connections and her husband’s embezzlement.

At least her bisnonna’s brooch… the real one surfaced. Clark discovered that Joel had broken into their home on orders from Hank, but when he failed to retrieve what he was looking for… the Masonic ring… Hank, himself, came back and tried to find it. The brooch had been a poor consolation prize, something to make it appear as though it was a normal break-in. As if break-ins are normal. 

“What am I going to do?” Amy moaned and rubbed her face. “Papà hired an attorney for Kass. The best. Do you think she’ll have to testify?”

Kass stepped back from the window, her heart thudding to the ground. Testify? It hadn’t even occurred to her that she would have to face her monster again.

“And can she even go away to university now?” Amy continued, as if talking to herself. “No…she’ll have to stay here now. Right? If the courts call her?”

“Maybe it’s best she gets out of town,” Clark said. “She could probably use the break. You could come up to Oakland for the rest of the summer. You can stay with the boys and I. I haven’t sold the house yet up there.”

“Oh Clark! You’d do that?” Amy exclaimed, and threw grateful arms around her fiance’s shoulders.

“Yes,” he said. “Anything to protect you and the girls.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde 

“You shouldn’t skip breakfast,” Davis was saying.

It was mid-week. Fifty six hours since her traumatic near-death experience. Her boyfriend meant well, if that’s what he was. They hadn’t exactly had the “talk” again. Davis was just suddenly in her life again, kindly offering to take her out so she didn’t have to face another day with her family alone.

Clark was around twenty-four seven. He had practically moved in, but was sleeping on the couch. He thought it would make the girls more comfortable than sharing a room with their mother. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world to have him around. She supposed it was safer. But she would’ve preferred her mamma kept him behind closed doors as Clark’s boxer shorts were the last thing she wanted to see when she came into the living room to numb out to some television.

Davis offered to talk about her newest housemate and she obliged. It was better than talking about the fire. She didn’t want to think about it, even though she thought about her experience constantly. Even as she shared the cringe-worthy details of her mom making out on the couch with her fiance last night like a couple of teenagers, Kass couldn’t help but think about the burning in the back of her throat, the constant dull ache in her head, and the sharp stabbing in her side. Dr. Bachelor had said she was lucky, and she knew it. But even if she was lucky, it didn’t take away the emotional enigma of the circumstances. One moment she felt angry, lashing at out her loved ones, and the next, she collapsed like a frightened, confused child in a sea of tears.

“I’m eating now, aren’t I?” Kass snipped. “You don’t need to lecture me, Dr. Lamar.”

“I’m sorry, Kass,” Davis murmured, setting his juice box on the table. “I didn’t mean to… I just… want you to feel better…”

“Yeah,” Kass said, taking a bite of her chocolate croissant, which tasted more like dry air than sweet pastry. “Me too.”

“Say… you look…” he smiled and tilted his head. “…really pretty today.”

It was a lie. It had to be a lie. She wore an oversized sweater to hide the monstrous purple-black bruising on her chest and abdomen. She had somehow managed to twist her hair into a ratty braid, but skipped the makeup. Davis had suggested an afternoon at the beach after lunch at the Java Jolt. She planned to indulge him, eating as little as possible, and then feigning a migraine so she could go home and sleep some more. He would understand.

Thursday, July 25, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde 

“Are you sure you don’t want me to come in with you?”

Gage parked the car on the curb outside the Sun Valley Bank. Kass grimaced. She couldn’t stand his pitying stare, his guilt-ridden offer. She had only accepted a ride from him after he followed her for three blocks. She had planned to walk across town, or catch the bus.

Her former friend felt awful about his part in drawing her to the complex. It wasn’t his fault. Kass stuck her feet against his dashboard and tightened her shoelaces. It wasn’t his fault. She knew that. He had no idea that she would be captured at the hands of a madman several hours after arrival. Still, she knew he felt guilty.

Gage cried and asked for her forgiveness. He never meant to hurt her. He never meant to break up her relationship with Davis. He only wanted her to be happy. And he wanted to be happy. That’s why he was leaving in a week to pursue his dreams and move in with his family in Greatlakes. That argument about the Burroughs-Bagley family seemed so long ago. It didn’t matter now. What mattered was getting what was hers.

Kass pushed her sunglasses further up her nose. Her recent unorthodox experience made her distrust institutions. Even if the financial industry had nothing to do with the police department, she didn’t want to leave her money in its secure account. At the beginning of the summer, she had planned to close everything out when she transferred to Edgewater. The local financial institution didn’t have a branch in Bayou. She figured she would find another way to save her funds on arrival.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” she said, slamming the creaking door of his old Jalopy. “Thanks for the ride.”

Friday, July 25, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde 

“How’s your food?” Andi asked.

Kass sighed, twisting her finger around a strand of her red hair, shortened against her will. She wished her little sister wasn’t around. Then she could truly mourn her burnt locks. She could still smell the burning embers. Andromeda tried to pen musical compositions at the dining table, hovering while her big sister enjoyed her breakfast. Or was it lunch? Kass shook her head and took a reluctant bite. She lost all track of time. Was it really only a day since she came home from the hospital?

When the bread popped from the toaster, Kass had jumped as though someone shot a gun through the window. Andi didn’t seem to notice as she said the most polite substitute for a curse word ever, “Sugar!” and waved the smoke billowing from the top away with her hand, blowing gently on the charred slices. Kass winced and looked away, feeling stupid for freaking out over a kitchen appliance.

“Delicious,” Kass managed, sarcastically, dumping her plate in the sink.

She grabbed the remaining half loaf from its spot on the counter. Andi had forgotten to put it away. Kass didn’t want something that had been burnt. Andi murmured something apologetically, but Kass didn’t care. She thanked her sister, her tone cool and calm.

“I’ll be in my room.”

Saturday, July 28, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde 

It was all too surreal. Seeing the story she had given Mark Sydnor the week before. Kass sighed, wishing she could set down the paper, but she wanted to read it for herself. Tonight she met the Editor in Chief for the second time to give him the rest of her story. She figured if someone was going to leak her name, she wanted it to be someone she trusted. Mark gently probed, asking questions as respectfully as he could before he left the most recent copy of the Sun Valley Eagle, tomorrow’s paper with his subject. It seemed every page contained a story related to her night of terror.

The Alto Business Complex had burned to the ground. Despite Hank’s intentions, Bert Alto had escaped the fire. The police, the good guys, had discovered Bert was using his family’s casinos to launder money for the Triple C’s, the white collar crime that Madison had uncovered while dating her secret lover. Bert put on a good show. He cried. He said he was only doing it to save his marriage, that the money was to help cover his wife’s political campaign. They were bankrupt after her expensive fertility treatments. Like the coward he was, he skipped town rather than face charges.

Vita Alto had issued an emergency statement, ensuring the community that she would use all her power and resources to make sure the man responsible for so much terror and tragedy would receive justice. A picture of Hank’s face flashed on the news, and Kass couldn’t stomach it. She barely made it to the bathroom before she lost her dinner. Jazzilyn Alto had withdrawn her candidacy and turned herself into the police. She was to be deported to her home country and would potentially stand trial for involuntary manslaughter.

Strangely, Kass found herself feeling nothing but sympathy for the woman. It was Clark who had informed her that Jazzilyn made three phone calls that night. One to Hank’s partner, Detective Eugene Hunter, to tell him her brother was a madman and needed to be stopped. One to the fire department. And one to her attorney. Those phone calls had saved Kass’s life.

When she leapt out of the elevator, she fell into Detective Hunter’s arms. The man was assigned to investigate his partner and came running over to the building after receiving the call. Internal Affairs suspected Hank’s connection to the Mason Mafia and potentially the Triple C’s and needed proof. Detective Hunter was also the older brother of Clark Sauer. Hunter was actually his middle name.

“Kass, sweetheart,” Jade Wellington said as she approached and touched her on the shoulder. “What are you doing here?”

It took all her willpower to keep from jumping out of her skin. Kass swallowed hard and handed a handwritten letter to the lovely coffee shop owner whom she viewed as a surrogate grandmother like many in the town.

“Would you please give this to Davis?”

“Skipping town, are ya?”

Kass shrieked, falling against the glass back door of her mother’s house, loud enough to stir a couple of sleeping kittens from the nearby hydrangea bushes. Cyrus was sitting at the kitchen table, a slice of pizza poised in his hand ready to be eaten. Her expression darkened.

“I’m not hungry,” she said, coolly. “I don’t want pizza.”

“Good,” he grinned. “Because I’m starving. I haven’t eaten all day. This is for me,” he tilted his head toward the next seat. “The soup’s for you.”

She took a step inside, wobbling on her heels as the bright kitchen lights aggravated her eyes. Cyrus took a bite.

“You need help there, Sparky?”

She growled in response, but plopped into the chair, slouching and crossing her arms. “What are you doing here?”

“Your sister called me.”

“Which one? I have two remember?”

“Carina. Said you were starving yourself.”

Kass picked up the spoon and shoveled the lukewarm chicken noodle into her mouth. The soup was surprisingly soothing against her scratchy throat.

“Cari has a tendency to be dramatic,” she rolled her eyes.

The two friends munched in silence for a few minutes. Kass was more hungry than she realized, gulping back the rest of the soup in record time.

“Why haven’t you eaten all day?” she asked, trying to force polite conversation. “And how did you know I’m leaving?”

“Cari said something,” he shrugged.

“Right,” she bobbed her head. “Oakland. Clark’s got a place up north.”

“But that’s not where you’re going, is it, Sparky?” he leaned in, and she wondered if his eyes were twinkling beneath his dark sunglasses.

As if he knew what she was thinking, he removed the shades. His face sobered. “Look, I get it. When I had an opportunity to get to know my dad too, I left. Best decision I ever made. Helped me get clean. Changed my life.”

“I didn’t… know… that,” Kass said, quietly.

“Yeah, mom called him when she didn’t know what to do with me anymore. I’d never met him before,” Cyrus explained. “But every kid deserves to know their dad.”

“You have no idea…” Kass mumbled, and leaned her head against Cyrus’s shoulder. “I’m not… sure… if it’s the right thing, but I think it’s the best thing… for me… right now.”

Cyrus sighed. “After everything you’ve been through, you should probably get outta town, but were you at least going to say goodbye?”

“No,” she bit her lower lip. “I don’t know. I just…”

Cyrus surprised her by wrapping her in a full hug. “I promise I won’t squeeze,” he whispered. “But I’m gonna miss you.”

She was a coward. She couldn’t face her mamma. She couldn’t face the woman who had lied to her for her entire life. She could not move to Oakland for the summer and pretend to be one big happy family. And she sure as Hades was not moving back in with her grandparents. That left one option.

Maybe her dad lied too. Maybe he knew about it all along, but at least he was trying. This morning her mamma told her that she had a plan to help Kass get her life on track. Amy found Kass a job at the Oakland Public Library so she could do something productive. Sleeping all day wouldn’t cut it in the Riviera Fullbright household. When they returned to the Valley in the fall, Kass could attend classes at Sunset U after fall break. It would give her time for her injuries to heal and for her to make some money to contribute to the household now that she was eighteen because she would be living at home. As for dating, she wanted Kass to stop seeing Davis as he was an necessary distraction and she probably shouldn’t have contact with Gage either.

Well that won’t be a problem, Kass thought, sarcastically. She had already broken things off with her boyfriend, and Gage was moving to Greatlakes. The last piece of Amy’s master plan was to allow Kass to room with her best friend, Ayesha, if she proved she could keep her grades up and be a productive member of society.

As if recovering from her traumatic night meant nothing. It had been a week. Not a month. Not six months. Not a year. If Kass didn’t have her life “on track” as Amy so cruelly put, then she needed more time to heal and she wasn’t going to be able to with her mother’s constant interference. She made her own plans.

She made Clark promise to try and get Amy some help. He wasn’t blind or stupid. He knew Amy was struggling, but he had been preoccupied with his case and his sister. Kass wasn’t heartless. She wanted Amy to be okay.

She deposited what little money she had save a couple hundred simoleons into a bank account in Carina and Andromeda’s name. She felt the most guilty about leaving her sisters, but the girls were resilient. By moving in with the Sauer family, they were at least ensured to be fed, clothed, and cared for, but Kass wanted them to have a little extra. For niceties.

She took the remaining simoleons and made a donation to the free crisis clinic in Bay City in honor of Madison. The woman deserved to have someone remember her name. It probably wasn’t enough to make a dent, but Kass wanted to do something.

She wrote a letter to each of her family members. One for her grandparents. She had mailed it earlier in the day. And three – one for Carina, Andromeda, and Amy. She tied a ribbon around the letters so they wouldn’t accidentally be picked up by the mail carrier. As she lifted the stack to put in the mailbox like the spineless jellyfish she was, Kass hesitated. This was it. This was really it. There would be no going back.

She could see her father in his pickup truck parked across the street, his engine idling. Kass waved to acknowledge him. It was time to go. If she stayed any longer, she would have zero chances of her life returning to normalcy. Zero chances of having the life she wanted. She shoved the letters in the mailbox, slamming the little door closed. Picking up her duffel and slugging it over her shoulder, Kass walked toward the street… and toward her new life.

Author Notes: I can’t believe I actually did it! I actually completed the rewrite of KCLKF. It has taken forever to get here, but I’m finally here. I started the rewrite in March of 2018, and hoped to have it completed by this March of this year, and then COVID happened. Life got a lot busier and the world got a bit crazier. My energies were needed elsewhere, but I knew I was close to finishing Kass’s first story. This has been an epic journey. I feel like I’ve grown as a person and a writer since writing this story. I hope you enjoyed, even if this ending feels bittersweet, even if some things aren’t resolved. I feel like Kass is striking out on her own and making a decision for herself for once and this is progress. Whether it is in the right or wrong direction… time will tell. 

I thought about splitting up this chapter into shorter chapters with each “scene” if you will, but then I decided that it made more sense to keep it all together. Hope you didn’t mind the jumping around in time. Or this vignette style. I wanted to deal with the aftermath of the trauma and explain Kass’ headspace. I didn’t just want to jump ahead to Kass leaving with her dad. I also did a bit more telling than showing in this chapter to close up some of the loose ends, but it seemed to flow. At least from my perspective. My only regret is I didn’t manage to squeeze in a scene with Ayesha. I wanted to, but I just didn’t have the right screenshot. Ayesha will make an appearance again. Don’t worry. 

I’m working on setting up the next story in game. You may not get quite as many chapters from me in quick succession as this one as it won’t be a rewrite per se. Who knows? Maybe you will. I never know when inspiration might strike.

Thanks so much for reading Kass’ journey. I really appreciate you coming along for the ride. Leave a comment down below and tell me what you thought about the krazy crazy life of Kassiopeia Fullbright. What you loved. What you hated. What you want to see happen next. Who you would like to see more of. That kind of stuff. But don’t go away just yet. Tomorrow will be the exciting epilogue to KCLKF to provide just a few more answers about one particular mystery we haven’t addressed in awhile. 😉

1.129 Yesterday’s Nightmare (KCLKF)

I lay as still as possible. The love of my life leans over my bed. Exhaustion threatened to devour my aching muscles when I arrived home. I told myself I could take a few minutes to rest my eyes. I must have fallen asleep because if Davis was here that meant it was after nine o’clock. 

Everything had gone wrong today at work. A four alarm fire had broken out in the downtown area earlier today causing quite the stir in the emergency rooms. The police arrived. The media with their cameras. Shoving them in my face and asking for a comment. One of the doctor’s misplaced really important paperwork and thought it was the intern’s job to find it. That would be me. Clean up on aisle three anyone? Someone didn’t make it the the toilet. Also me. And one of my co-workers didn’t show so I had to work a double shift. 

This working-long-hours-barely-sleeping-hardly-seeing-my-fiance thing wasn’t much fun. But I told myself only a few more months. By the end of the year, Davis would graduate from medical school and he would be completing his residency. I could quite my job with the medical administration and focus on planning our wedding. 

Hi sleepyhead,” he smiled, leaning closer as he slid his hand gently under my crooked arm to nudge me awake. “Rough day?” 

“Yeah,” I yawned and turned my face. 

This was my favorite time of day… the time of day when my man was off work and would come home and kiss me. He smelled of spearmint and strong soap… like he showered in the hospital locker rooms before returning home. No more work. No more craziness. Just the two of us. Except for those annoying bells ringing. 

“Wanna order takeout?” he asked.

“Yes, I’m sorry. I intended to cook dinner tonight.” 

“No worries, Kass,” he kissed my forehead. “I know you’re tired. Sushi?”

“From the Takaharan Market? You read my mind,” I exclaimed.

I tucked my arms around his neck, tugging him toward myself. He stopped a few inches from my face, his eyes shining bright with emotion. I knew he loved me as I loved him. He was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I couldn’t wait to be Mrs. Davis Lamar.

Our lips were about to meet when a strange shuffling noise interrupted our focus. I looked around Davis to see what had caused the disruption… 

“I’ll call Hoshi,” Davis cleared his throat and stood up.  

The phone kept dinging as he spoke. “Seems like Hoshi is calling…” my eyes rolled back into my head. “…usssss.” 

Kass opened her mouth to scream, but she couldn’t. The sound stuck in her throat like molasses. Her boyfriend’s face morphed into the face of a killer… one who had tucked her hair gently over her ear and stated that he wished she didn’t have to die. One who said things so casually like bad people should burn in the same breath as a killer bright white smile. A killer. He was a killer. And he had almost killed her. The smile was so bright. The lights hurt her eyes. She squeezed them shut and willed away yesterday’s nightmare.

Sunday, July 22, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde 


Kass stirred from her sleeping position, her eyes refusing to open.  Where am I? Wow! That was an intensely real feeling dream. I wonder what time it is. I can’t believe I was dreaming about being engaged to my ex… Davis!!

“Davis!” she said, the words shooting from her mouth like lightning as she processed the shock. “Wha… wha…what are you doing here?”

“I’m sorry,” he murmured. “I didn’t meant to disturb you. I just came by to check on you… and uh…” he turned around to face her, rubbing the back of his head awkwardly. “Hi.”

“Hhh…hi,” she stammered. “I… uh…”

“It’s okay, if you don’t want company,” Davis thumbed over his shoulder and turned to leave.

“Oh gawd!”

Kass gasped as she sat up hard, immediately regretting it. The sudden movement aggravated her side. Burning pain shot from her hip to her shoulder. She sucked air through her teeth.

“I… I… was… Hank… God…gawd! What hhuh…huh…happened… to me?” Kass cried. “I was in… the… elevator… and he…he’s… the murderer. He killed Madison and Jennifer!” she shrieked.

“Easy,” Davis returned to her side and helped her lie back against the pillow.

She reached up and clasped his wrist. “I have to… I have to…” her throat felt as though it was on fire. “I have to tell someone…” she rasped. “He tried to kill me. I can’t…” she tried to climb out of the hospital bed. “…stay here… I have to tell… someone.”

“Hank Goddard is behind bars,” Davis reassured, straightening to his full height. “They caught him, Kass. They caught everything. He was stupid enough to leave the cameras on while you were in the elevator together. It’s over.”

She sat in stunned silence, a hurricane of emotions flooding her veins. Anger. Disgust. Fear. Relief. Grief. She wasn’t sure how to process, the tears exploding from her eyelids.

“Hey, hey, hey,” Davis returned to the chair, his face softening. “It’s okay. You’re safe now. It’s over.”

“He’s…” Kass took a quivering breath as she lifted her finger. “….really been arrested?”

“Yes,” Davis replied. “I can let the detectives explain it to you,” he started to stand. “They’re right outside the door. They’ve been wanting to talk to you,” he quickly returned to his seat. “Oh… but I could get the doctor first.”

“Sorry?” she frowned. “For what?”

“Sorry that I just ghosted you. I left you all alone at your grandparents. I should have believed you when you said nothing happened. I was just so hurt… and confused… and seeing you in bed with Gage…” he paused, his lower lip wobbling. “…brought back horrible memories of my wife and that she… cheated on me.”

Kass winced. She had a feeling something like he described happened, but she didn’t really have the brain cells to process all he wanted to discuss. Her mind was swirling with thoughts. She almost died. She could feel the heat searing into her side. She could hear the sound of the flames taunting her from within her dark prison. She could still taste the smoke in her teeth. Hank Goddard tried to kill her all because he wanted the ring back, a ring that he intended to give his girlfriend or return to someone in the… mafia. She choked on the word. A ring that had somehow ended up in the possession of Clark’s sister and then Clark and then… me.

Kass flushed angrily, throwing her hands in the air. “Davis! Do you think I care about that right now?”

“No… no… no…” his eyes widened. “I… um… I’m sorry. I shouldn’t bring this up now. I’m an idiot.”

“I… have…a splitting headache,” Kass managed, hoping she didn’t look like a deer in the headlights. “I… can you get me… something… for the pain?” her jaw slackened as the mere inch she slid on the bed sent tingling pain up her spine. “And my mamma? Is… she…here?”

“Yes,” Davis replied quietly. “She went to the cafeteria to get some sandwiches. I’m sorry, Kass. You’re right. We can talk later.”

“Yes…” Kass squeaked as she collapsed against the pillow. “Later,” her eyes closed, a small reprieve against the anguish, knowing full well the words were a lie.

Davis was right. He ghosted her. He didn’t return her calls. She nearly had to die for him to show up again. The wound was too fresh. She gulped, trying to squeeze away the infinite sadness settling into her heart, falling right into the bottomless pit of near darkness that had almost swallowed her whole.

When she opened her eyes again, Dr. Bachelor was perched on the edge of a teal counter on the other side of the room.

“How are you feeling?”

Kass grimaced. “Like I fell ten stories… or ten tons of bricks fell on me. I’m not sure which sounds worse…” she tilted her head. “Or better.”

“Good, your sense of humor is still in tact,” Dr. Bachelor smiled. “You had quite the ordeal.”

“Understatement of the century,” Kass hugged her side, nursing her injured ribs. “I’d rather not talk about it.”

“I’m not a therapist, Kass, but you will need to talk about this, and when you do, reach out to me. I’ll put you in touch with someone who can help you process,” Dr. Bachelor said. “…everything.”

“No… I… uh…um… I’m fine,” Kass sighed.

Another lie.

“What’s the verdict?”

“Well, you finally woke up. You’ve been asleep for almost thirty hours,” Dr. Bachelor exhaled sharply.

“Thirty hours!” Kass exclaimed. “What… time is it?”

“Nine-twelve on Monday morning.”

“I was asleep? Was I in a… a…”

“It wasn’t a coma,” Dr. Bachelor stated. “I’m convinced you were just exhausted. But you do have a concussion, thirteen bruised ribs, a torn ligament in your right shoulder, and some cuts on your face. Your hair was also burned. I’m sorry…” she dropped her head. “We had to cut it.”

“Wait… bruised… not broken?” Kass exclaimed, and then groaned, motioning for her throat.

Dr. Bachelor walked to the sink to fill a glass of water. “Your throat will be sore for awhile. I am sending you home with throat lozenges and some prescription pain medication.”

“I… uh…” Kass croaked, and for the first time felt the pain shooting down her throat. “I… didn’t break… any…” she frantically patted down her sides. “But I thought… it felt like I… what?”

Dr. Bachelor shook her head. “Not a single one,” she breathed. “It’s a miracle, really, Kass. Nothing short of a miracle,” she handed Kass the glass of water. “I’ve never… seen…” she paused, her brow furrowing. “…anything like it. It’s extraordinary… and that’s why I must tell you…”

A knock on the door interrupted their conversation. Kass blinked rapidly at the sight of Clark Sauer in full police uniform. The sight was shocking. Her heart began beating wildly. She turned her head, gripping her chest and trying her hardest not to wheeze.

“Excuse me, Dr. Bachelor, but we really do need to talk to her,” he said, smiling apologetically in Kass’ direction.

“Sure, Detective, if Kass is up for it,” Dr. Bachelor replied.

Kass gulped. It was Clark. It was just Clark. He was safe, right? She bit her lower lip, feeling the cracked and dry skin against her teeth. She gulped down the water the doctor had offered. The cool liquid felt good against her parched throat. She nodded slowly.

“Yeah?” she agreed, half unsure.

Yesterday’s nightmare was over. It was over. She was safe. That’s what Davis had said. Kass swallowed hard and braced herself for the upcoming barrage of questions – both hers and the officer’s.

“I’ll be right outside if you need anything,” Dr. Bachelor reassured, squeezing her patient’s hand. “You’re one really lucky girl,” she whispered.

“Please… find my… mamma…” Kass said, gripping the doctor’s hand. “Until then… please…” she looked over Dr. Bachelor’s shoulder. “…ask the officers to wait in the hallway.”

Author Notes: Thank you for reading. If you read the last version of Lost Legacy, you’ll recognize a lot of these pictures. However, I decided it made way more sense for Davis to show up here. I also plan to start fresh with the next story, and start taking new pictures. 

1.123 Weight of the World (KCLKF)

Friday, July 20, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde 

When Kass awoke on the morning of July 20th, her heart felt heavy. She crawled out of bed, pulling up the sheets and blanket as she did every morning. She brushed her long red hair and fastened a clip in the center. She  walked to the bathroom and brushed her teeth in repetitive circular motion. But as she looked in the mirror, she wondered if there was much she could do about the dark circles under her eyes. Her tube of foundation was low and she had to squeeze the bottom edge to extract the last drops. She checked her phone for messages.

Unsurprisingly, there were a few messages from Gage. This day was bound to be hard for him too. She wanted to be there for him, but… she wasn’t sure that was the best idea. Kass twisted her lower lip as she applied a fresh coat of mascara. Davis still hadn’t called her back. David. His real name is David Bayless.  Like always, her profound curiosity got the better of her.

While lying awake the last two nights, she S’moogled the Bayless family to see if she could find anything. Over six million results returned. Frowning, she narrowed it down to his hometown. She found a record of a Shepherd Skielan Bayless, a preacher at the town Edictarian church.  Sunday services at 8:30. She didn’t stay on the website long. She found an old article about a Gwayne Bayless as the campaign manager turned political speechwriter for the former mayor of Twinbrook, now governor of Bayou.   Kass searched the decade-old picture of the woman trying to see a resemblance to Davis. Nothing much, except maybe the ears. Was that a weird thing to notice?

When she scrolled through seventeen pages, she found the entry she had been looking for. A death announcement for a Brittany Jessica Bayless. But not where she expected. The funeral home listed was in Roaring Heights not Twinbrook. Kass wondered if Davis and Brittany moved to Sultona instead of Bayou.  He didn’t mention it, but it wasn’t like she wanted to press him on details of his  wife’s death. And they weren’t exactly speaking.  They weren’t exactly dating. They weren’t… anything really… anymore.

Kass swallowed the lump in her throat as she shifted into her suit jacket.  She missed him. It was her own fault for getting caught up with Gage instead, but her best friend had needed her and  the shock of Jennifer’s death had been more than distracting. It was why she dressed up today. Someone needed to know the truth. Did it make her stalker-ish because she wanted to know about the other woman who had been important to Davis? Her heart pounded, growing heavier by the minute.

She knew that Brittany was probably pretty, but she hadn’t expected her face to be so beautiful. She  dropped her phone on the guest bed in Cyrus’ apartment in frustration.  Of course, the woman would be beautiful. Exotic even. She had been an escort. It was a requirement of her job. The obituary was brief, but nice. Mentioned how the couple met while in college… probably to avoid the awkwardness of her past… and his own, and how they moved to Roaring Heights for a summer to work.

I should wait… I should wait for him to tell me.  Kass shook her head and dropped the phone after looking at Brittany’s picture for the umpteenth time.  She felt sadness for the day and she knew she was using the obituary as a distraction. She felt sadness for Davis, to lose his wife so  young after so much trauma. She felt guilty for feeling even a hint of jealousy. Brittany was an attractive woman  and she had been an important part of his life. Kass found herself wanting to call him again  just because of her confused  puddle of emotions. No, I’ll text him instead,   she decided as Cyrus knocked on the bathroom door, but dropped her phone in the sink instead.

“You okay in there?” he called through the wood. “You’re ready to go?”

“Almost,” she squeaked, pulling her purse strap over her shoulder.

Kass had a million questions. Why Roaring Heights? What kind of work did they find the summer Brittany passed away? How exactly did she die? Based on what she knew and what she could piece together, she suspected drug overdose but she wasn’t positive.  Whatever happened to the Campos cousins? Davis said that  Lucas had died in the fire set by the bot who had been his roommate, but then there was the other guy. She puckered her lips as she slid on a little gloss. What was his name?

Fishing her phone from the basin, she started to text Davis and erased her words a few times. Then she clicked on Gage’s name and typed ‘your family is in my thoughts today.’ There. That was good. Generic enough. Not too specific. Perfect. She glanced at her reflection one last time and steeled her resolve before she reached for the door handle.  Don’t you dare cry, Kassiopeia Fullbright!

Kass slipped into the front seat of Cyrus’ van. She was growing to like Matilda. She had spent a good bit of time inside the vehicle over the last few days and the leather and pine scented air freshener softly welcomed her back.  He finally dug out his cheese curls  from under his seat with a grin before hopping in to drive.

They made a short stop at her house so she could get a few more clothes and drop off some groceries for her sisters. Carina said their mother refused to come out of her room again, and she was getting worried.  Kass’ brow furrowed. Her mamma’s bouts with depression were concerning. Was she really that upset about her eldest daughter’s awkward night with Gage or did something else send her spiraling this time?

Her sisters were over at the Bunch house according to Andi’s text. Amy didn’t once make an appearance outside her room while Kass was in the house, much to her relief… and also dismay. She sat at her mamma’s computer downstairs and paid the energy bill so the girls wouldn’t lose power save a blackout again.  Then she scribbled a sticky note reminder to pay the water bill in three days and stuck it on the breakfast bag Cyrus picked up, including Amy’s favorite   bagels and lox.  She tapped lightly on her mother’s bedroom door to let her know that the errands were done and breakfast was waiting for her downstairs, but she heard no response.

After her meeting with Clark yesterday, Kass learned that the information she had illegally obtained would never hold up in court. She should’ve known better. He wanted to help her, but couldn’t jeopardize his position and his undercover mission. After everything… I’ll help you, he had said. I swear. As an officer of the law, I’m honor and duty bound to help you.  He did offer to bring over pizza and sodas for the girls, and suggested the family all go out for a movie. Kass politely declined.  She liked Clark. She did. But Kass wasn’t ready to play big happy family. She did, however, agree to keep the  ring.

One of the stones had fallen out after Clark had given Amy his sister’s ring. He wanted to repair it, but with his exhausting schedule, he hadn’t found the time. When his apartment was broken into last weekend, Clark was worried someone might be close to ascertaining his true mission and identity. He didn’t want to lose the ring. He placed it on a chain and to ensure its safety, he asked Kass to take it. No one would suspect the daughter of his fiance to have the ring, and it was just until things settled down at work. In exchange, he would discreetly look into some of the links Kass found in the case and try and find another way to gain similar information. Maybe through the bank directly. If he could obtain a warrant. He also assured her that he would look into her biological father situation. He hadn’t forgotten, but he encouraged Kass to speak with her mother about it. Perhaps there was some misunderstanding.

Kass narrowed her eyes, glaring out at the passing scenery – cheery picket fences and telephone posts and typical Americana houses. There was no misunderstanding.  Even so the gravity of the ring around her neck only served as a painful reminder that her father was no longer who she thought he was, and the irony that the man who had given her mother this token was trying  to help her find the truth.

It was foolish. Kass shouldn’t have accepted it. The whole thing was weird. Really weird. But she didn’t want to lose her mamma’s ring. Not like they lost bisnonna’s brooch.  She didn’t want to think about how expensive the pink tourmaline  and diamond ring against her neck was.  The large peachy pink tourmaline stone in the center was surrounded by thirty tiny pastel pink diamonds in a n eighteen carat rose gold setting.  It was too gaudy for Kass’ taste, but tourmaline was Amy’s birthstone, conveniently. She realized she needed a better place to keep it than on her person, but  with house hopping as much as she had been, she didn’t want to lose it and decided the safest place was on her person.

“You okay?” he inquired, intruding on her thoughts.

“Yeah, I just…” she dropped the chain suddenly against her chest. “This would’ve been Jennifer’s birthday. This time last year… we all went over to the house and had a big barbecue in the backyard. And now… with not talking to Gage… it’s just…”

“This is gonna help her,” Cyrus replied as she turned right after stopping at a red light. “This will help give you the closure you need.”

“I hope so,” she winced. “Thank you for driving me.”

“Anytime,” he pulled up alongside the curb outside the bank. “Do you want me to wait for you? Or I can park and come in?”

“No,” she shook her head and inhaled deeply before exhaling slowly.

It was time to get the weight off her chest, even as another took its place.

“This is something I need to do alone.”

Author Notes:  Thanks for reading. I know it’s a little confusing, but the pieces are starting to come together. 

P.S.  Sim Nation has many Americana style houses. The town of Sunset Valley actually has a house called Americana.  Indicative of North American style homes, predominantly from the 1950’s and 1960’s. I decided that the Sim Nation in my Simworld is obsessed with architecture from that era on Old Eorthe. 

Recently, I thought about  how I could’ve set Sim Nation and its subsequent world nations on future Earth, possibly on a fictional eighth continent. That worldbuilding choice would make integrating some of my other stories and other people’s Simlit lore more easily. Also, I think it would’ve made copycat architecture more believable, but… we’re still copying Roman and Greek styles and it’s 1000+ years after the fall of both empires. Granted we’re on the same planet.

Oh well. Hindsight is 20/20. I’m not redoing all of Simterra now. Plus I think a fictional planet in another star system lends itself better to the alien storylines, and it allows for more richness and depth to the story in some regards.  Hope you enjoyed. 

1.112 Tiffs and Tunafish (KCLKF)

Friday, July 13, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde 

“I can’t believe you used all the hot water! You’re so selfish!” Carina shrieked.

Andi took a step back, bracing for an onslaught of verbal abuse. She tilted her chin ever so slightly to assert her position.

“Me? You are the one that takes a shower for an hour!” she protested.

“Oh gawd!” Cari ran a hand through her hair. “I’m going to die in a cold ice bath, aren’t I?”

Andi snorted. “Aren’t you being just a little over-dramatic? We can heat water on the gas stove!”

“But that takes work,” Cari whined.

“Yeah, how’do’ya’think our ancestors did it?” Andi crinkled her nose. “Light a match, Carina!”

“GAH!!” Cari yelled.

Kass pressed her lips together at the sound of doors slamming. She managed to fill the one upstairs bookshelf with Carina’s magazines, her mamma’s textbooks, Andromeda’s paintings and sheet music, and her own Takaharan graphic novels. They managed to salvage the bookcase, much to her relief. The family could share the space for awhile. Smoke-damaged cabinets and doors had been tossed, and many pieces of furniture had been damaged by the fire hoses. She was grateful some of the pieces of their home hadn’t been utterly destroyed. She moved downstairs to unpack small kitchen appliances and find paper plates for lunch.

Around noon, Fiona McIrish delivered tunafish sandwiches, welcoming the girls back to the neighborhood. With the spotty electricity, it was hard to keep things fresh in the refrigerator. Kass graciously thanked her mother’s friend. They weren’t home yet as they waited for the aftermath of the latest natural disaster to pass. The wealthier neighborhoods, like where her grandparents and the Altos lived, could afford expensive generators to keep the lights on. All other power in the Valley was limited, and each neighborhood was selected on a lottery basis by city officials. Some town buildings like the police and fire departments and hospitals and city hall maintained their power at all times for obvious reasons: emergency response, health and medical, and general governance. In the meantime, most neighbors helped each other out, and few ventured far from home, except…

The Fullbright sisters were tasked with unpacking boxes in their mostly repaired home. Lack of power did make the chore more difficult. The second earthquake of the summer unexpectedly hit the Valley two days ago, this one not as devastating as the last, but the rolling blackouts were still a major inconvenience. Many stores operated on abbreviated hours. Most of downtown was shut down. Public transportation ceased operating as power failures meant gas pumps couldn’t work properly. Governor Vita Alto urged everyone to stay home if possible. Of course, Amy insisted the family keep putting stuff back together at the family home. The girls need some normalcy, she told her father when Rafe inquired. Kass didn’t mind working in the dark. It was peaceful until…

“I’m a vegetarian!” her middle sister shrieked. “I can’t eat tuna sandwiches.”

“Fish isn’t meat,” her youngest sister retorted.

“Fish is meat, stupid!” Cari squawked.

“Hey! I have a higher IQ than you,” Andi protested. “And you ate salmon at nonna’s last week.”

“Did not.”

“Did too.”

Kass covered her ears, and banged her head into the refinished redwood countertops as her sisters’ loud argument blasted through the floorboards.

“Some vegetarians still eat fish,” Andi announced. “They are called pescetarians.”

“Oh shove off! Go swim with the fishes,” Cari howled.

“I will not!” Andi stomped her foot.

“What else are you using all the hot water for?” Cari grunted. “You’re either part mermaid or you’re an waster. Without power, there’s no way to heat the water.”

“Stop it!” Andi cried. “Stop being mean. I already told you we can heat water downstairs. We can light the stove.”

“Waster… waster… waster!” Cari said, raising her voice with each repetition. 

“Oh yeah!” Andi sniffed, but she couldn’t think of a good retort. “Let’s not argue anymore…”

“Argue?” Carina exclaimed. “You started it.” 

“How childish is that!” Andi sighed. 

“How irresponsible of you to let it escalate to this,” Cari banged her fist against the wall. 

The chandelier over Kass’ head rattled. Lightning zigzagged through the sky outside the window. She glanced overhead and held her breath. Thunder rattled the house.

“My thoughts exactly,” she grumbled.

As she trudged up the stairs, she did notice that water was no longer dripping from the ceilings or through the windows. Abe’s father did a good job on the roof and with the sealants.

“Guys!” Kass sighed, dreading the coming responses as she approached the top step.

“We’re not guys,” Cari and Andi said in unison.

“Girls!” Kass cleared her throat loudly, and stomped her foot.

Thunder roared in tandem as if to emphasize her point. Both of her sisters fell silent.

“Now this is ridiculous. Mrs. McIrish did a nice thing in bringing us lunch,” Kass continued. “If you don’t want to eat it, you don’t have to, Carina.”

Cari responded with a ‘hmpf!’ and crossed her arms.

“And Andi…” Kass addressed her little sister. “If you used up all the hot water in the bathtub, can you help Cari warm up some more? Why are you both taking baths anyway?”

“Ha!” Cari pointed a finger in a mocking manner.

“Because we’ve been sweating and working hard,” Andi sniffled, and wiped her nose.

“Because I’m all gross,” Cari squirmed. “Ew… I can’t go back out looking like this.”

“You look fine,” Kass said. “Both of you. Now come eat lunch please.”

“Do I have to eat with her?” Andi asked.

Cari sighed in exasperation. “I’ll eat in my room,” she declared with balled fists.

“No,” Kass caught her sister’s hand. “Now stop this! You two are ridiculous! We’re in the middle of a crisis and you’re arguing over petty things. Really! Can’t you two be more grownup than this?”

Cari and Andi glared at each other as if wordlessly challenging each other to a staring contest. Kass stood, awkwardly shifting her weight, as she wondered what really prompted this idiotic bickering. High stress certainly contributed to tensions in the household. Neither one of her younger sisters were thrilled with sharing a room at the grandparents. Nonna insisted on keeping at least one spare bedroom in case the maid couldn’t get home due to the power issues so the sisters had been forced to bunk together. Kass would’ve gladly given up her room and shared with one of her siblings if it meant that they stopped fighting. She would have continued to stay at her dad’s, but Kate came home last night.

Andi relented first, relaxing her face. “I’m sorry, Carina,” she said, softly. “Kass is right. We should all eat together.”

“Yeah… I guess,” Cari reluctantly agreed, kicking the floor with the toe of her black sneaker. “We don’t know how many more of these meals we’re getting.”

“Cari, we’re not destitute!” Kass gasped.

“No… I meant…” her sister’s face scrunched. “I meant…” she said, more loudly. “With you leaving in a month.”

“Oh,” Kass replied.

She still hadn’t decided if university was really the right choice at the moment. There were still so many unresolved questions, and her mamma obviously needed her. Amy had once again picked her new family, going to help Clark’s boys pick up supplies instead of working with her daughters to unpack their home. In a long line of maternal disappointments, Amy no longer surprised Kass with any of her actions or reactions. Kass simply braced for impact and went ahead with plans regardless. A loud knock at the door plucked her out of her depressing thoughts.

“I’ll get it,” Cari shouted, and ran toward the stairs.

“No I will!” Andi cried and began to slide down the banister.

“No fair,” Cari protested when the youngest Fullbright beat her to the door.

Kass took a few steps down the stairs before she could see their guest. Clark. She quirked a brow. He offered a toothy grin, and removed his rain-soaked beanie.

“Do you mind if I come in?” he asked. “I brought dessert.”

“Dessert!” both Cari and Andi squealed in unison.

“They’re easy bribes,” Kass said, shoving her hands into her pockets as her sisters ran into the kitchen happily tearing into the bag of black-and-white cookies.

“I figured since Amy is in Oakland with my boys, I should stop by and check on you girls,” Clark explained.

Kass tilted her head and mouthed her thanks. “You saved me from a tiff about whether fish was meat or not… among other things.”

Clark chuckled uncomfortably.

“You’ll have to get used to it,” Kass shrugged.

“Oh, and I know a guy who repairs stuff, so…” Clark walked out the front door. “If you’ll follow me…”

Kass walked through the doorway. Her eyes widened. On the front lawn sat her guitar. It appeared good as new. Every broken string replaced. The wood resealed. The paint painstakingly finished. Clark lifted his hand toward the sky.

“Hmmm… it’s a good thing the rain stopped,” he made a face, raising an eyebrow.

Her eyes sparkled and she smirked. “Wow… you did this?”

“No… uh… Kaden… he’s good with his hands,” Clark said, a bit of pride peaking in his voice. “…he plays too.”

“Please…” Kass swallowed the lump in her throat. “…tell him thanks.”

“I will, oh!” Clark reached into his pocket and pulled out a laminated identification card. “I got you what you needed too. This should get you into the city hall’s records room tomorrow night. We’re keeping the lights on twenty-four-seven because Mayor Landgrabb insists.”

“Guess I keep thanking you,” Kass said, taking the badge. “Do I…”

“You’ll need to dress the part,” Clark added. “These credentials will only get you so far.”

“I need to blend in,” Kass nodded. “Got it,” she thumbed toward the house. “Are you joining us? We’ve got tunafish sandwiches. The neighbor brought it over.”

“I do happen to like tuna,” he nodded, but thumbed back at his truck idling along the curb. He had left the engine running. “But I should get back.”

Kass shook her head. “You’re gonna be family, hmm? So families eat together, right? We’d love for you to join us.”

Clark’s face softened, and she could see the emotions welling in his blue eyes. “You mean that, Kass?”

“Yeah, Clark, I mean that.”

Author Notes: Hey it’s a bunch of unused never-before-seen pictures. I thought it would be fun to include a chapter where Clark shows up again. The plot is moving along, I promise, but I am enjoying some of these down times where things aren’t quite so high octane. I hope you don’t mind. Plus it gives me an opportunity to share things that are going on around Sunset Valley. 

As Coronavirus scare is growing here where I live, the ‘state of emergency’ rings close to home for me, and I imagine, many of my readers. I also think it’s important to remember to care for others around us. As humans, we’re all in this together. Of course, an earthquake and rolling blackouts are a different situation and this is a fictional story, but I think we could all benefit from things like Clark and Kaden’s kindness right now. 🙂 Keep calm and be kind to those around you. Okay, enough of my little PSA. Thanks for reading.

1.90 Pressure Points (KCLKF)

Wednesday, June 25, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

“How was work today?” he inquired.

“Uh fine,” Kass bobbed her head.

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

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

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


Amy’s jaw hardened.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh please call me Clark,” Clark insisted.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Shh!” Amy hushed.


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

“Seriously, this sucks,” Cari grunted.

Well that didn’t last long. 

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

Kass smirked at the mothering tone her youngest sister had.

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

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

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

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


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

Kass nearly gagged on her water.

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

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

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

Kass narrowed her eyes at the jab.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

“Oh sorry, Carina,” Clark apologized.

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

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

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

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

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

Kass was impressed that Clark even knew those names.


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

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

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

Amy practically choked on her food.

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

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

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

“Cari!” Andi and I exclaimed in unison.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


“This is weird,” Cari said.

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

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

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

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

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

“Yeah,” Cari conceded.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

“Where are you going?” Cari asked.

“Someplace I should’ve gone awhile ago.”

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

Interlude: Plans for the Future (KCLKF)

Monday, June 23 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

“Is that it?”

Amy stood on the lawn, speckled with white clover, surprised at the modern architecture of the home. A mix of dark woods, creamy stucco, and grey stone, the house offered an expansive view of Orinda Bay to the west and the ambling grassy seaside hills to the east. The walkways were crushed stone, surrounded by a dark wood frame, bordering raised flower beds. There was what appeared to be a two-car detached garage on the southern end of the property, and to the north, a tan stone driveway with space for two more cars. The two-story home boasted many windows, allowing for lots of natural light, and several balconies from what she could tell.

“Do you like it?” Clark asked, turning around to face his girlfriend, hesitantly and sweetly waiting for her response.

“Like it?” she breathed out happily. “What are you saying?”

She had assumed they were going to dinner. Clark had suggested fish and chips on the pier in Bay City when he picked her up from work twenty-two minutes ago. While driving across town, instead of turning down toward the ferry docks, he turned up the short hillside right above the bay. The sun was just beginning to set, casting a fierce orange glow across the waters, making the cream-colored walls of the home appear rosy.

“You could move here, with the girls, and my boys,” Clark said. “And you wouldn’t have to stay with your parents any longer. There’s a bedroom on the main floor for the boys to share, and the girls can have a room on the second floor with their own balcony. The master suite is really pretty and we’d have our own bathroom.”

“What?”Amy repeated, pressing her hands to her lips, the emotions welling in her eyes.

Clark was asking her to move in with him. It wasn’t too surprising, but they had only been dating a short time. He had mentioned how tired he was about commuting back and forth from Oakland for work and fun. The boys were finished with their studies so a transfer to a new school in the late summer wouldn’t be impossible.

“There’s a little room above the garage with its own bathroom,” Clark added. “We could give it to Kass, or if she goes off to Uni, you could use for a photography studio. You’ve mentioned you wanted to start taking more photos again, right?”

“Uh yes,” she bobbed her head, enthusiastically.

“There’s a pool in the back for the kids, and a swing set,” Clark continued. “The owner has agreed to leave them behind. I’d like to relandscape this yard… add more stone, plant your favorite blue hydrangeas. We could grill on the patio in the evenings and we’re steps from the beach. And we’re closer to the ferry for trips to Bay City.”

She smiled.  He didn’t take his eyes off her, even if he spoke of the house. This could be wonderful. However, she wondered about the implications of a move like this.

“We could sell your property, or if you want to keep it, fix it up and rent it out,” Clark said, and then hurriedly added, “Or we don’t have to do anything with it yet. No rush. No pressure.”

Amy glanced around. She could picture family barbecues on the back stone patio, the kids splashing in the pool, coffee in the mornings on the balcony watching the sunrise with Clark, and of course, blackout curtains in that expansive master bedroom so she could enjoy sleeping in on Saturdays. She could see Kass reading a book on a pool lounger, Carina painting her nails on the porch, and Andi setting up an easel with her paints on the lawn. It could be a home. A real home with Clark and his boys.

Their home on Pinochle Point held so many memories. She purchased the home before Howard. He moved in after they were married. They had some happy moments, but mostly the home held regrets and tears and pain. Oh the nights she cried herself to sleep, especially when pregnant, while Howard worked the overnight shifts at the radio station, and then catering gigs on his nights off. She changed diapers and wiped snot and brushed away tears of her three little girls under the age of five while Howard made random and strange improvements to the home – a huge deck they never used, a half-finished garage, never painted, a carport that belonged in the ’70s. It could be good to have her own fresh start with her boyfriend and their families.

“Wouldn’t this mean you’d be out?” she asked, tilting her head. “You know… with your work? How could you be home here in the Valley? Is it safe?”

He smiled. “You worry too much. My assignment should be done soon anyhow.”

“Have you talked to the kids?” she asked.

“They know I’m contemplating a move. They’re all for getting out of the city and living in the Valley. In fact, I think they’d thrive here,” Clark replied. “How do you think your girls would take it?”

Amy winced. “It would take some getting used to, but Kass and Andi have always wanted a pool. They’re water babies…” she wrinkled her nose fighting back a sneeze.

“And Cari?”

“She’s a bit hydrophobic. Not like she never gets in a pool, but she’d enjoy tanning on the porch,” Amy said. “We’d have to get rid of the ferns.”

“No ferns, got it,” Clark bobbed his head.

“I like the idea of stone in the front with all the lawn in the back. Do you think we could build a fence around the yard?”

“White picket?” he grinned cheekily.  “Anything else?”

“Maybe expand the kitchen a bit so we can have a table in the kitchen and the dining room. We’ve got all this lawn space here so the land is available,” she broke into a warm smile. “I like all the daisies.”

Clark made a face. “Opps… hold that thought.”

He walked back to the curb to his truck and reached in the back, tucking something behind his back when he approached. Amy stared up beyond the roof at the sky, for the first time, feeling hopeful in a long time. A new home? With Clark?  This could be amazing if the girls could adjust to the change.

“Close your eyes,” he requested.

“What more could you possibly surprise me with?” Amy giggled and closed her eyes, flexing her fingers.

“Relax,” he brushed the edge of her cheek with his free hand.

“I’m trying,” she popped one eye open. “You try staying relaxed with all nervous energy flowing through you.”

“What are you nervous about?” he asked.

“Nervous excitement,” she amended.

“Okay, open.”

Her eyes fell upon a beautiful bouquet of yellow daisies, one of her favorite flowers. She didn’t care that some thought they looked like weeds. They were happy flowers, and right now she needed some cheer in her life.

“Oh Clark,” she breathed, instinctively bringing the daisies to her nose, even though she knew they had no scent. “Thank you… wait…” her eyes caught something shiny among the stems and leaves. “What’s that?”

“A ring,” Clark admitted.

“Wha….wha….?” she stammered, nervously shoving her face further into the flowers to hide her embarassment at her response.

“I have to do this the proper way, Amy,” he continued. “It’s gonna take me some time for the closing and then the permits and renovations, but I couldn’t wait any longer. Clara wanted us to have the ring. I just wanted to know we were doing this the right way.”

Amy gasped as Clark took her hand.

“Amy Riviera, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”

Author Notes: Aww… cuteness. In my original game, this is how Clark proposed, rather early on in the game. Aw… those Sims. Haha. For all her flaws, Amy still needs happiness. This was a nice chapter to write. I decided to name the bay Orinda which means pretty and gold. It felt fitting for Sunset Valley. Can’t recall if I named it before or if it has an actual name in the game so remind me if you know. Hope you enjoyed. Thanks for reading. 

1.86 One Weird Favor (KCLKF)

Saturday, June 21, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

As Kass drove into the parking lot of the Pleasant Rest Graveyard, she wondered how he would handle the news. Perhaps it was stupid of her to meet with him alone , but it was broad daylight and she needed answers. She recognized Clark’s unmarked car almost immediately, and pulled into the adjacent empty spot.

Her eyes darted around as she observed her surroundings. A family with a young child in a suit jacket and black shorts emerged from the cemetery with a red balloon attached to his wrist. The mother carried an infant also dressed in a black dress with white lace trim, and the father corralled a puppy on a leash. Kass smiled wistfully, the stark contrast of the mourning clothes and the red balloon reminding her of the fragility of life. I need to make amends with mamma, she thought suddenly as she locked her vehicle. She didn’t want to avoid her forever, but she had no idea how to ask her mamma who her real father was. Patting her purse to ensure she had the brooch and bug spray if necessary, Kass took a deep breath and strolled into the cemetery. It wasn’t pepper spray, but it could still make the eyes sting.

It was near noon, the sun directly overhead. She could feel the heat trickle down her neck, shoulders, and back. A few birds chirped in the nearby weeping willow trees, appropriate for a graveyard, though the birdsongs were a bit too happy. In the distance, she could hear traffic on the Gunther Goth Highway. She spotted Clark. He stood near the rose garden, as he said he would. For once, his dark hair was visible, fluttering in the breeze.

“What no beanie?” she joked on approach.

Clark frowned. “Out of respect for the dead.”

“Right,” she twisted her lip, feeling ignorant.

“Interesting locale choice,” he turned toward her fully, shoving his hands in his pockets.

“You said out of the way,” she eyed him sharply, hesitant to bring forth her discovery. “Thanks for getting here so quickly.”

“Not a problem,” Clark replied. “What did you find?”

“What’s your relationship to Joel Astroman?” Kass inquired, skirting his question.

His eyes widened, blue like the color of the Valley sky. “He’s an informant,” he admitted, gruffly. “Why?”

“He gave me a stolen piece of property,” Kass explained.

“You said something of the sort in your text messages,” he replied. “What happened?”

Kass decided to lay all her cards on the table. She described the circumstances of the other day in detail, everything from her encounter with Joel to tracking down the vehicle to her multiple conversations with the police. She produced the police reports and the photographs from the crime scene, the ones she procured from Hank Goddard. She also showed him the original estimate of the worth of the brooch and all her notes on possibly connected burglaries. She had managed to track down a loose end to the Triple C’s before the trail went cold. Clark listened with genuine concern upon his face. When she finished, he rubbed his unshaven jaw thoughtfully and asked to see the piece. She produced the brooch and watched him as he turned the jewelry over a few times before returning it.

“Joel is a gem expert,” he offered. “He wouldn’t just give you a fake, but then again, he didn’t know you or probably trust you.”

“Is Joel a burglar?” Kass inquired, bluntly.

“He did a stint in Reyes County for breaking and entering, but he was acquitted for burglary,” Clark continued, running his hand though his loose hair.

“What else do you know?” Kass asked, her fingers curling around the edge of her bag. “If you know something, I’d like to know it too. What’s Joel’s connection to the break-in? Do you think he did it?”

“I…” Clark began, and sighed. “…don’t know. He might know who did. The weird thing is I always thought he had his standards. Stealing jewels and then selling knock-offs isn’t his style.”

“The stuff in his booth seemed pretty cheap, trinkets and such,” Kass said, lowering her voice as a couple walked by, hand-in-hand, holding a bouquet of white carnations for a grave. “Maybe you don’t know him as well as you think.”

Clark cleared his throat. “Thank you for bringing this to my attention,” he said. “It’s my problem now. I’ll handle it from here.”

“What about the real piece? It’s still out there,” Kass asked. “I’ve been looking around at several pawn shops…”

“Look Kass, I think it’s best that you stay away from him until I can clear things up with the police,” Clark replied, his lips thinning.

“Yeah, like I was planning to stake his booth out at the fair,” Kass replied, half-jokingly. “And you are the police.”

“I’m serious, Kass,” Clark replied. “For your own safety. I want to poke around and see if I can make some connections.”

“What or who are you investigating?” Kass asked. “Mamma spilled the beans. I know you know. I’m sure you talk.”

“Kass,” Clark winced. “I can’t tell you that. I can tell you…” he reached out his hand to shake hers. “That your work here is remarkable. Your notes are meticulous. I’m sure this will help.”

“Really?” her eyes widened, surprised by his compliment. “Thank you.”

“Did you keep back-ups?” he asked.

“Is this a test?” she inhaled sharply and exhaled. “Yes, of course.”

“Good idea,” he smiled. “If you ever want to pursue a career in law enforcement,” he began, shifting the files between hands. “I know a few guys.”

“Thank you, but I think I’ll pursue Uni first,” Kass said, feeling the heat rush to her cheeks with pride. “Uh, listen… I have one weird question to ask you.”

“Okay,” Clark nodded.

“I did you a favor,” Kass said. “I need one in return.”

She knew it was a big gamble to ask, but she needed to know the truth. Clark, with his department connections, might be able to find more information than she could through her limited access to Jennifer’s database at Legal Aid. Even if he was undercover, he had to check in sometime. She figured he had some superior officer he reported to, and therefore, had to log in to some system and complete reports.

“I have this problem.”

“What kind of problem?” he eyed her suspiciously.

“I just don’t want my mamma to know,” Kass began, slowly. “It is a bit awkward because you’re dating my mom, but I… I’m not sure I want to ask my other connections. Can I trust you’ll keep this on the complete down-low?”

“What is it?” Clark asked.

“I wouldn’t even be asking if I knew another way,” she continued, biting her lower lip.

She had already tried as many avenues as she could think, through her resources at Legal Aid, to poking around NetQuest, to rummaging through her mother’s important papers. Yeah, Amy didn’t know Kass knew the combination to the lockbox. People were predictable. The code was just as expected. She didn’t find what she was looking for, and when she asked Jennifer, her boss said she was stretched pretty thin, but would try and look into it when she had the time. Kass didn’t want to wait.

“Kass, you can trust me,” Clark said, and she could sense his genuineness.

Somehow she knew he was telling the truth. She could sense the genuineness. His arms were relaxed at his side. His expression was earnest. He made direct eye contact, but not in an unnerving way. Not like Detective Hunter.  She shifted uncomfortably. Or Hank Goddard when he awkwardly asked her out. 

“I need to know who my birth father is.”

Author Notes: I figured it was time for another Kass-Clark encounter, and I wanted to emphasize their growing relationship, weird as it may be. Also I thought it was time Kass pursue alternate channels of finding information. So this becomes a favor for a favor. Thanks for reading. 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. 

1.75, Pt. 2 Loss and Light (KCLKF)

Wednesday, June 18, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

“Clark is that you?”

Kass stepped through the gaping walls, using the stone pillar as leverage. Her grandfather stood in the entryway of the home. She smothered a smirk as he wore green athletic pants, a white zippered jacket, and light brown camouflage sneakers. It was the most casual she had ever seen him, not even on the golf course where he still wore a polo, khakis, and flat cloth cap.

“Nonno, it’s me, Kassiopeia,” she replied, stomping her foot against the floorboards. “Hey, this is still pretty sturdy.”

“The first floor is,” Nonno confirmed. “But I wouldn’t go upstairs just yet.”

“Okay,” Kass nodded. “You called for Clark?”

“Yes, he went to get sandwiches an hour ago,” Nonno said, rubbing his hands against his grumbling stomach. “I’m starving.”

So that’s where Clark went? He didn’t just abandon her mother. Kass shook her head. Amy had a way of blowing things out of proportion. Plus his kids were here. She figured he would at least be back for his sons.

“Lunch,” she declared. “That does sound good.”

She hadn’t eaten anything yet, even though the maid had offered to fix breakfast.

“How’s my favorite eldest granddaughter, Kassiopeia?” Nonno asked, holding out his arms for a hug.

“Nonno,” Kass smiled as they embraced. “I’m your only eldest granddaughter.”

“Are you feeling okay today? Amalia told me about your trip to the hospital,” Nonno asked, in concern.

“I’m fine, Nonno,” Kass nodded. “They really cleaned away the walls quickly.”

“Yeah, the fire department removed the debris as best as they could. There are still piles on western side of the house,” Nonno explained. “You think the community center could do some kind of charred wood art project?”

Kass made a face. This was her home. How could Nonno be so careless and casual about the destruction?

“I didn’t think so,” Nonno said, seeing her face. “I’m sorry, Kassio.”

“It’s okay, Nonno,” Kass sighed, catching a glimpse of her boyfriend through the window.

Davis picked up a book that must’ve been dropped accidentally on the lawn.

“Nonno, how long has Davis been here?”

“Since before your grandmother and I got here,” Nonno replied. “He was coordinating with your mother and helping her figure out what to do. He’s been a godsend, talking with the police and the fire department, contacting the city about getting maintenance up here. I had no idea he was so talented.”

“Yes, well…” Kass began sheepishly.

“He called his friends too, to come move furniture and clean up the house, and helped me repair some of the floorboards,” Nonno continued. “He even had a friend at a moving company who loaned your mamma the moving vans for the day, free of charge.”

“Wow,” Kass murmured.

“That Davis is a real trooper,” Nonno grinned and offered a thumbs up. “Debbo riconoscere che Davis è una brava persona.”

“You sound surprised,” Kass’ eyes shimmered. “Yes, Nonno…” she pecked her grandfather’s cheek with a kiss. “Davis is a good person.”

Nonno puffed his chest with pride. “I should go do my job.”

“Oh you had a job?” Kass quirked a brow.

“Yes, to unhook the appliances.”

“I can come with you.”

They walked into the kitchen, arm in arm, as she guided her grandfather around a pile of trash bags. The room was a bit shocking. Complete sections of the wall were missing, and chunks of the floor appeared as though they had a dozen bowling balls dropped through them. Exposed piping stuck through the wall behind the former home of the refrigerator, the icebox shifted to another section. A basket of stale bread sat on the counter, surrounded by dirt, dust, bits of tree branches, shards of glass. Sunlight streamed through the exposed roof. Nonno walked over to the stove, and rubbed his chin thoughtfully.

“You can see all the way to the McIrish residence,” he exclaimed.

“Yeah,” she swallowed hard, the emotions of the destruction raw. “Excuse me. I’ll be back.”

Kass left the house, wishing she were invisible. Cyrus and Clark piled sheets of aluminum on the carport roof.

“Gotta fix my entrance,” Cyrus said with a cheeky grin.

She blinked, surprised to see him.

“Sandwiches and chips in the kitchen,” Clark announced. “Sodas too, if you want.”

She nodded her thanks, rounding the moving van to locate her boyfriend.

“Whew!” he wiped his sweat-laden brow. “It’s hot out here. Has my girl come to bring me a drink of lemonade?”

“What?” she scrunched her nose and giggled. “I hear there are sodas in the kitchen.”

“Or water,” he smiled, appearing to eye her lips. “I’d take some water.”

“Uh… no…” she flushed. “How long have you been here? Did you even sleep?”

“Sleep, psh!” he waved his hand. “Who needs it? I barely sleep most nights anyhow.”

“But…” she flubbed for words. “What are you doing here?”

“Helping out,” he said. “After I left your grandparents, I went for a drive and found myself here. Your mother was here with… what’s his name… Clark, I think?”


“And they were talking with the police and fire. I drove up and offered my services. I think your mother was surprised, but grateful…”

“But you’ve been here all night?” Kass exclaimed. “And all day? I mean… and all the things you’ve done for my family… thank you!”

“I am happy to help. It’s only the right thing to do. After a hurricane hit Twinbrook two years ago, our neighbors and friends rallied around and helped with the fallout,” Davis trailed off, a strange look flitting across his face briefly before he shrugged and continued. “I guess this is my way of paying it forward.”

“I remember hearing about that on the news during school,” she replied. “I was a junior.”

“Yeah,” he said. “Hey Kass, about last night…”

“So many things happened last night,” she tucked a stray hair behind her ear.

“Look, I want you to understand something,” he said, his Southern drawl thickening.

Kass bit her lower lip, afraid of his next words.

“I respect you. Always have. And I like you… a lot.  Dare I say.. I’m falling in love you…”

He said the words so casually. Her eyes widened in shock.

“Wha? Wha? What am I supposed to say?” she stammered.

“Let me finish, please,” he said, grunting as if to motivate himself. “I don’t want to rush things. I do want you, Kass. You’re beautiful.”

“Thank you?” she squeaked, the red deepening in her freckled cheeks.

“I mean… I want to be with you, but I feel like we’ve barely gotten to know each other,” he continued. “…yes there’s this insta-connection, but I want to give us some time… some real good time before we go down that path. I want you to be absolutely sure that you want to be with me.”

Kass became hyper-aware that there were others around. Even with a chain-saw buzzing and teens chattering on the front lawn and hammers pounding nails, she wasn’t sure there was enough noise to drown out the sounds of their conversation. He loved her? He was falling in love with her? How did she respond? The words stuck in her throat like peanut butter. She could feel emotions she had never experienced before… a sickening sort of feeling, like the flu bug, at times, feverish from the heat of a slow burning flame, and sometimes nauseous with all the somersaulting emotions. Here a gorgeous, educated, kind, strong, brave, good-hearted man was telling her he was falling in love with her and respected her enough to wait to consummate those feelings, and she felt a childish desire to laugh and cry all at once.

“You don’t need to say anything,” he lifted his hand and caressed her cheek.

Oh gawd! Why are you so perfect? she leaned into his touch and all it implied, all it promised. Maybe she didn’t know who her real father was. Maybe she didn’t know how to confront her mamma. Maybe she didn’t know how to function as a supernatural when she presumed she was human all her life. None of that mattered. It would be nice to have someone pick up the pieces when I fall down. In the tender moment between two souls on a cracked driveway of a broken home, she found repose.

“How about I say… I love you too?” she said, her eyes sparkling with tears.

Davis pulled Kass into a deep, warm embrace. It was as though she was the side of the moon who had never experienced the sun’s warmth and light. For the first time, she felt like something was different.

“Come here, you,” he said, tilting her chin to meet his lips.

Author Notes: So much has happened in such a short amount of time between these two, but I think it only forges their bond deeper and brings them closer together. And their relationship feels more believable and true this time. By the way, Kass’s grandfather said something the equivalent of, “I must admit Davis a good person,” in Romīan a.k.a. Italian. Hope you enjoyed. Thanks for reading.