Tag Archives: Sunset Valley City Hall

1.116 Recruiting Allies (KCLKF)

Saturday, July 14, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde 

The shock of the sudden slap knocked her to back against the building. Kass gasped, bringing her arm up to preemptively block another blow if necessary. Her elbow banged against the brick. She winced. A tall dark imposing figure threw her hands in the air.

“You’re investigating the Madison thing again, aren’t you?”

Kass grimaced. “Ayesh. You gave me a heart attack!”

“I gave you a heart attack!?” her friend placed her hands on her hips. “You’re the one sneaking into City Hall to do what? Get information, amiright?”

“Okay, okay,” Kass protested softly, dusting her scraped palms as she resettled in a standing position. “I can’t…talk about it here.”

“Oh, right?” Ayesha rolled her eyes. “Kass, you’re gonna get hurt or worse.”

“Then that’s exactly why I need to leave,” Kass said, through gritted teeth. “It’s just better if we…”

“Fine… you’re lucky I brought my car,” Ayesha replied with a sniff.

“Great! Let’s go,” Kass declared, following her friend down the street and through Central Park. “How’d you find me?”

“You’re not the only one who’s a detective,” Ayesha grunted as she walked up to a red Tofunda Wagon parked alongside the curb facing Mirabello Plaza.

Kass made a face.

“Okay, your mom.”

Kass quirked a brow. “Mamma knows where I am?”

“When you didn’t answer your phone, I stopped by. Your Mamma said you were out getting to know your future stepfather.”

“So Clark told you?” Kass deduced, and dropped her head, grateful it was dark enough Ayesha couldn’t see her smile as they stepped into the vehicle.

So he’s worried about me? I bet that’s who came to check on me in the basement. 

“Can we go for coffee?” she requested. “I told Cy I’d meet him. He said there’s a new place up on Bayview Ridge.”

Ayesha threw her hands in the air before turning the engine over. “Let’s pull an all-nighter. Why not? And then you’ll tell us what the hell you’ve been doing?”

“Yes,” Kass nodded. “Besides… Cyrus can help.”

Less than fifteen minutes later, the girls pulled up outside Sunny Bliss Cafe, a small classic brick building with plenty of bay windows with dark red cedar roof. Several smaller open-air pavilions also shared the lot with plenty of blossoming cherry trees all around the plaza. Two pretty brick fountains bubbled up from the ground, surrounded by thick flower beds of friendly yellow pansies, lining the main walkway. In the center of the plaza stood an old looking clock atop a medium stone with a small pool at its base. This part of town was still being developed, with new shops popping up fairly regularly. And she really did need an alternate to the Jolt, even though she loved Granny Jade.

Cyrus appeared to be the only other patron in the shop. He sat at a window table with three chairs, reading a book while sipping a cappuccino. Upon seeing the ladies arrive, he put his book into his side bag and waved. Kass smiled and nodded in response, approaching the counter to order a cup of hot greenleaf tea and a side of sugar cookies.

“What? No coffee?” Ayesha exclaimed, and clucked her tongue.

“I drank three espressos already,” Kass sighed, rubbing the back of her neck. “I need something to keep me from feeling jittery.”

“Oh alright,, might as well be healthy,” Ayesha mumbled, and pointed. “Grab that bottle of Simpton iced tea,” she said to the barista.

“Wasn’t sure you were gonna show,” Cyrus said as Kass joined his table. “Hey Ayesha.”

“Hi,” Ayesha replied curtly. “Okay, Kass, spill the beans. You’re looking into Madison’s murder aren’t you?”

“A murder?” Cyrus smirked. “Kassiopeia. Girl detective.”

“Oh brother!” Ayesha sighed.

“I’ll tell you what you want to know, but first, Cyrus, can I have the number for your lawyer?” Kass asked.

“My lawyer?” he tilted his head.

“At Butterworth, Honeywell, and Pan,” Kass requested, grinning as she pressed her hands together. “Pretty please?”

“Well sure, but what’s this about? You didn’t whack someone, did you?” Cyrus teased, pulling his phone out.

“Stop it! This is serious!” Ayesha exclaimed.

“I know that,” Cyrus shrugged. “I was just trying to lighten the mood. There…” he hit a button on his phone. “I sent it. Now…”

“Sit,” Kass ordered her best friend. “You’re hovering and you’re nervous… and it’s weird.”

“Excuse me for caring,” Ayesha said, sarcastically, as she slid into the chair. “Now, pretty please tell us what the hell is going on!”

“Don’t leave us in suspense,” Cryus waved his arms.

Kass took a deep breath. It was time to recruit some allies. Over the next half hour, Kass proceeded to explain how she had been investigating Madison’s case, much to Ayesha’s chagrin. The other woman huffed and crossed her arms while Cyrus listened attentively. Kass shared how she found a connection between Madison’s and Jennifer’s untimely deaths, and she suspected they were unrelated to the arson spreading through their community. She spoke about the connection between Madison’s lover, the mayoral candidate, her husband, and her husband’s other lover, Dr. Morgana Wolfe, formerly Goth.

By now, both of her friends listened with rapt attention. Kass said she was convinced someone was using the Sunnyside Smolder as a convenient scapegoat, and she was pretty sure they were going to slip up soon because she had already made the connection between the Altos, their infertility issues, and their business investor, Mortimer Goth. Based on the evidence, she guessed Morgana possibly helped the Altos with their conception problem at one point, but this somehow led to an affair with Bert. She also speculated that Mortimer would pay Dr. Geoffrey Landgrabb for some sort of experimental procedure for Jazzilyn to try and get pregnant for the thirteenth time.

“The only thing I don’t know,” Kass pursed her lips. “…is if Madison was a mistake or an intentional baby mama. Either way she got in the way, and I think Jennifer was close to uncovering something because get this… Bert is friends with the mayor, Nancy, and Ms. Landgrabb happens to own the property where Jennifer was…” she trailed off, unable to bring herself to finish the sentence.

“Holy cowplants!” Ayesha ran a hand through her hair. “And you’ve figured this all out on your own?” she slumped back in the chair in disbelief.

“You really should be a detective,” Cyrus whistled.

“Here’s where I need your help,” Kass began.

“Wait… don’t you think we should go to the police?” Ayesha interjected, and dropped her voice to a whisper. “I mean, this is dangerous llama crap… isn’t it?”

Kass shook her head. “I can’t… not yet. Not until I prove the payments are going to help Jazzilyn conceive, and that someone wanted Madison out of the way because of the threat she posed,” she took a bite of one of her cookies and then offered one to Ayesha, who shook her head, and then Cyrus, who simply frowned.

“She’s right, Kass… this is serious stuff,” he said, quietly.

“That’s why I need proof,” Kass replied. “So Ayesha, you are going to get me into the Goth family party tomorrow…” she glanced at the clock on the wall. “…uh today… and Cyrus, you are going to write me a piece of code to break into the Goth’s financials.”

“Kass, writing code isn’t that simple, and it’s… illegal,” Cyrus protested with a squeak.

“What?” Ayesha’s eyes bugged. “Uh… yeah, I know I agreed to do this, but this is insane.”

“You got the in, didn’t you?” Kass replied. “That’s what you said earlier when you texted.”

“Well, yeah!” Ayesha exclaimed.

“Hold up…” Cyrus interjected.

“You’ve done worse before now,” Kass narrowed her eyes. “I know it. And besides, don’t you want to take down a bad guy? Isn’t that what Cyclone Sword is all about? Getting rid of the forces of evil in this world? Fighting for the little guy? Changing the world for the better?”

Cyrus lifted his hands and shrugged. “She has a point.”

“This is insane! You can’t possibly be considering this,” Ayesha protested.

Kass reached out and laid a hand on her friend’s shoulder. “Ayesha, someone took Madison from us… unjustly, and someone eliminated Gage’s mom… and I have information that will help make things right. I need some more proof to take to the police… to Clark, actually, because I’m not sure who I can trust at the police department. Now don’t you want to help?”

“Wha? Clark?? Can’t… trust… the… police…” Ayesha sputtered.

“Because we’re talking about the mayor and her friends, the Altos, and the Landgrabbs, and the…” Kass started, but Cyrus interrupted, as he excitedly dug through his backpack.

“The mother freaking Goths!” he said, his eyes sparkling. “Okay, I’m in. And this is gonna be an all-nighter, you know, so go order me a doughnut and another cappuccino please. Dang! Battery is low,” he dropped his laptop back into his bag, momentarily side-tracked.

“I knew you’d do it!” Kass grinned, realizing he was the easier of the two to bribe with food. “Ayesh? You already got us invites, right?”

“Not exactly,” Ayesha shook her head, and then pressed her hands together in a pleading fashion. “Promise you won’t hate me?”

“What?” Kass asked.

“I… uh… know Alex,” Ayesha replied. “We had a business class together actually, and sort of hit it off last Christmas.”

“Don’t tell me,” Cyrus stopped rummaging for his power cord. “You guys went out!”

“We hooked up a few times,” Ayesha nodded.

“Like hooked up hooked up?” Kass made a face. “How come I didn’t know about this?”

“Just some kissing… with some tongue… and…” Ayesha flushed.

“Aw yeah!” Cyrus threw his hand up for a high five. “You landed a Goth! That’s like a white whale, you know. He’s Sunset Valley’s most eligible bachelor,” he declared, but seeing Kass’ confused look, he added, “I read the celebrity gossip. Sometimes I’m in there.”

“Right…” Kass narrowed her eyes.

“No…” Ayesha protested. “I mean, the guy’s all talk… bragging about his…” she held her hands apart.

Kass’s cheeks turned as red as a rose. Cyrus laughed, amused.

“…but he’s really not one to follow through…” Ayesha brought her hands together. “We never slept together.”

“But he hasn’t forgotten you, yada yada,” Kass interjected, annoyance creeping into her tone. “And you got yourself invited to his uncle’s party. And what about me? I’m the third wheel?”

“Not exactly,” Ayesha winced.

“Am I on the guest list or not?” Kass huffed, flipping her ponytail over her shoulder.

“You’re on a list,” Ayesha continued. “Look, Kass…” she grabbed her friend’s hand. “If you’re going to do this… you’re gonna need help, and you can’t come waltzing in the front door as a guest. You’ll need access to places and so that’s why… if you’re serious about this.”

“Oh spit it out!” Kass said, exasperated.

“You’re on the catering staff,” Ayesha confessed. “As a waitress.”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. I thoroughly enjoyed writing this chapter. I’m also excited to use old pictures too. Sunny Bliss Cafe is a downloadable lot by PrincessPretty available on MTS. I know I said I’d de-Sim-ify everything, but Simpton tea is the name of the tea item that Ayesha has on the table, from a set by Severinka available on the TSR. Hopefully you didn’t mind a bit of “telling” rather than “showing.” I really wanted to move the plot forward and I had detailed notes from my first attempt at this story, but I just wasn’t feeling a long drawn-out monologue from Kass about what she knows… or suspects. Hope you enjoyed! 

1.115 What Comes Down… (KCLKF)

Saturday, July 14, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde 

Sure, Kass texted Cyrus when he asked if she wanted to meet him later at this coffee cart he knew. She wasn’t really thinking about coffee, now that she drank three cups of espresso. She couldn’t let the drinks she brewed for Bert go to waste. She turned the final corner of the stairwell, finally reaching the basement. Her original destination of the evening. The whole reason she asked Clark for credentials and broke into City Hall. She couldn’t leave without using Sunset Valley’s high speed internet.

Even if she did leave, it wasn’t a complete waste. She more than confirmed the Altos were trying to conceive and had difficulties. Somehow this led Bert and Jazzilyn to try some desperate, unconventional methods… and she deduced this might explain his wife’s permissiveness of his philandering ways. She was pretty sure Morgana didn’t agree. Did Madison? Her stomach rumbled. She couldn’t tell if the sound was prompted by hunger or nausea. Gripping the handrail, Kass steadied herself on the final two steps. She had to find out. Madison deserves the truth. She was beyond convinced too that Bert didn’t kill Madison. But who did? A jealous Morgana? An angry Jazzilyn? Some third party she was unaware of just yet? A Goth?

She paled. Mortimer Goth was Bert’s investor. What a strange, small, small world we live in! She exhaled heavily. When she heard his voice, she hung up the phone super fast. She didn’t really have a plan for talking with him. Worst case scenario he would think Bert redialed from City Hall. Still, why was her heart beating so hard? It had to be Mortimer Goth. What other Mortimers were out there? The name wasn’t that common, and Mortimer Goth was in the finance business. Oh what a twisted web this is! Kass wasn’t sure if she was impressed or terrified. Something told her to let everything drop and turn over her findings to the police, but she didn’t exactly trust Detectives Hunter and Goddard.

Using her swipe card, she entered the lower level computer lab. She picked an isolated terminal in a back corner, next to three floor-to-ceiling shelves of books of paper records. Kass scoured the internet. She wasn’t sure what she was looking for, but she wanted to find something about the Alto couple and children, especially after Morgana’s claim that Jazzilyn was sterile. With each false lead, her frustration grew. Kass could only find random tidbits like an old residential address in Cascadia and that the couple was married in Avalon. Maybe the paper records would yield more results.

This is where Clark claimed the city stored archived newspapers from all over the globe. From the Stone Age, Kass quipped to herself. It wasn’t so bad. She was actually holding pieces of history in her hands. There was a certain romanticism to old newspapers. Until your hands are covered in gray ink, she frowned, resisting the urge to wipe her palms against her skirt.

It was surprisingly easy to figure out the cataloging system. After thirty minutes, Kass found the section with all the overseas newspapers. Another twenty minutes later, she found the Tipton Telegraph from Avalon, the same country where the Alto couple was married. From there, she search every newspaper for the last twelve years looking for a specific piece of information.

Kass sniffled, her nose aggravated. Perspiration dampened her head and beaded her neck. This is where they keep the Stone Age fans too. The little air conditioning unit in the far corner sputtered, struggling to keep up with the rising temperature. Two hours later, she thought her stomach might eat her other organs. I should take a break, she winced, wondering if City Hall stocked vending machines on the lower level. A door closed in the distant corner of the room. She frowned, wondering if one of the janitors came to check on her. It wasn’t like she was looking at anything embarrassing, but this was her own personal quest. She didn’t want to share the space with someone else.

As she stood to leave, she accidentally knocked over another box. Kass sighed, aggravated, as she bent to pick up the contents. For the duration of her search, she had been careful to avoid placing items back in each box out of order. Now everything was in disarray. She heard a door click closed on the far side of the room. Great! I’m probably going to get caught. Her heel slid against the floor, pushing the box even further out of the way. That’s when she noticed a familiar face in a black and white picture. Bert Alto and his wife, Jazzilyn’s wedding announcement. Except her name was Jocelyn DuPont. Kass slumped against the wall, holding the article to her chest. Thirteen instead of twelve years ago. Hmm… she smiled. Maybe there was a God.

Jocelyn DuPont and Albert C. Alto were united in marriage on October 21, 2402 at Beso de Sol Garden in Isla Paradiso by Justice of the Peace, the Honorable Armando Noriega. The bride wore a simple ivory silk gown with blue beads and carried a bouquet of red roses. The bride’s brother, Gary was the only family in attendance.

Jazzilyn has a brother? I mean… Jocelyn. Kass’s eyes widened. Gary… she would have to remember that name. I wonder if it’s Gary DuPont or James… as in Jazzilyn’s proclaimed maiden name. Why did she change her name though? This can’t be good. 

The bride is a graduate of Tipton Secondary School and a city native  of Westerberg, Avalon, where she is employed in a fashion boutique. The groom is a graduate of Webb, Wallace, and Shaw School of Economics and a resident of San Myshyno, Cascadia. The bride and groom happily announced they are expecting their first child and are planning to reside in Sunset Valley, Valverde in the SimNation.

Expecting their first child? Kass’s eyes widened. Did Bert and Jazzilyn have a child out there somewhere? Or did something happen? Is that why they’re so desperate to have kids? Bert said something about the thirteenth try. Kass snapped a photograph of the news article, and then hesitated. Should she take the evidence with her?

But of what? That Jazzilyn once had a different name? That she had a child somewhere? While she climbed the stairs to the main lobby, she wondered how this little piece of history never came to light before, especially since Jazzilyn was running for mayor in a prominent Sim Nation state capitol. And why would the couple hide this background? Why didn’t Bert’s family attend? There were so many unanswered questions. How was I the one who uncovered this information? she wondered. I mean she’s a political candidate… and no one ever questioned the name change? Or on the flip side… what happened to Jocelyn DuPont?  What did this mean for the woman’s campaign… if anything? Kass shook her head. At the very least she was lying to her constituents about who she really was. But why? She sighed. What goes up… must come… 

Kass took no more than five steps outside City Hall’s employees only entrance when she felt a sharp slap across her face, knocking her off her balance. She brought her hand up to her smarting cheek.

“Are you an idiot!?!”


Author Notes: Thanks for reading. In case you’ve forgotten, Cascadia is my Simworld version of Canada, and Avalon is my Simworld version of United Kingdom in the SimUnion. Westerberg is actually a CC world you can download at Parsimonious. Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Graham Wallas, and George Bernard Shaw helped found the London School of Economics, hence the play on the school name in Westerberg – Webb, Wallace, and Shaw. Hope you enjoyed! 

1.114 What Goes Up… (KCLKF)

Saturday, July 14, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde 

I swear this elevator is cursed! After reaching the lobby, Kass was about to continue to the basement, but she encountered a janitor. Not Clark. The woman wouldn’t let her past, insisting she was cleaning the stairs and Kass could just as easily use the elevator. She grimaced, and stepped back into the lift, pressing the down button. Instead, the elevator flew up to the upper floors once again. This time when the bell dinged and the doors opened, she hesitated. Do I get off? Her curled fist hovered over the down arrow, about to press, when she heard a familiar voice.

Her curiosity piqued. Kass hesitantly stepped out of the elevator, glancing up at the ceiling and praying that the doors wouldn’t slam shut again. Once safely in the hallway, she sighed with relief. At least she didn’t trip into Becky’s reception area again like the world’s biggest klutz. And without the coffee the woman had requested.

Mmm… that sounds good. If she wasn’t still in a twit with Gage, she would stop by the Jolt. I’m also kinda broken up with Davis. Kass sighed, and laid her hands gently against the wall as she carefully edged her way toward the open office door. I’m going to have to find a solution for my caffeine fix.

She fished her thumb and index finger into her inner skirt pocket, just deep enough to hold her cell phone. Maybe Cyrus would know of a place. She hadn’t talked to him in awhile, and he was always trying to get her to try a new cafe. After sending her request via text, she returned her phone to her pocket and stretched her head, straining to hear the words. What’s he doing at city hall? she wondered. And why didn’t he hire someone if he was searching for information in the mayor’s office? Bert Alto struck her as someone who would have underlings to do his dirty work.

“Not sure who to trust,” he was saying.

Kass frowned more deeply. Then what’s he doing here? Because the plaque on the wall read ‘Mayor Nancy Landgrabb.’

“…can’t… not yet… we’re not in position…” he continued.

Ooo… what position is that? Kass grinned deviously and pressed her ear against the wall. A loud ding-a-ling echoed through the hallway at the most inopportune time. Kass winced. She should’ve silenced her phone. Plum my coffee obsession! 

“Who’s there?” Bert called out, his tone shaky and almost panicked.

Kass took a deep breath and stepped into the light. “Hi… uh… sorry…”

It wasn’t as if she had never seen him before, but somehow this time, the pharmaceutical giant appeared way less cocky.  Up close and personal, he wasn’t so intimidating. In fact, she thought he appeared stressed. His brow furrowed, his mouth agape as he breathed heavily. His mustache twitched. Hair greying at the temples. Sweat beads dripped from his prominent forehead. He mopped his thick black brows with a handkerchief.

“You!” he exclaimed.

She gulped. He recognizes me?

“Shut the door!” he ordered. “Wait… who are you? I will call security.”

He’s nervous! Kass took a gamble. She confidently waltzed over toward the desk, and sat in a ladylike fashion in the chair.

“I could say the same thing of you. I’m Ka…” she stopped and smiled, dropping her gaze almost coyly. “…it doesn’t matter who I am.”

Panic registered in Bert’s dark brown eyes. “Do you…” he wiped his forehead on his sleeve. “…work for the mayor? What are you doing here?”

“You could say that,” she tilted her head, and folded her hands in her lap. “So what are you doing here?”

“Nan’s an old friend. She said I could be here,” he stuck his chin in the air, his words, punctuated.

Nan… she pondered for a few seconds.

“You couldn’t use one of your many other offices, Mr. Alto?” she tilted her head. “I think you could be spying on the competition.”

“Because of Jazz?” his jaw dropped open. “No. This has not a thing to do with my wife’s campaign!” his shoulders slumped.

She believed him. So it’s not about politics? At least not that kind, she deduced.

“I don’t have to defend myself to an intern!” Bert threw his hands in the air. “Go ahead and call your boss if you really are concerned. I have better things to worry about.”

Startled, Kass put her hands out to keep the cell phone he tossed in her direction from hitting her face.

“If you’re here this late, then make yourself useful and go brew me four tiny cups of espresso,” Bert demanded, and seeing her surprised expression, added, “…yes, four. None of that cheap llama crap either. The mayor keeps the good stuff behind her secret stash of cookies in the left cupboard. Now scat!”

Hmm… Kass nodded, demurely, and quietly walked out of the office. Well, my upper hand backfired, she thought as she slipped into the hallway connecting the office to a small kitchen. She glanced down at her hands. Maybe not entirely. A devious smile slowly spread across her face. Bert kind of just played into her hands.

The “good stuff” was right where Bert said. As Kass waited for the coffee to brew, she clicked through his cell phone contents. The phone book contained multiple names she recognized, and a few she didn’t. Nancy was, unsurprisingly, listed as Nan Landgrabb, implying a sort-of familiarity. Bert is friends with Nancy? But why? Does his wife know? She doesn’t seem like his type, Kass puzzled, deciding Nancy was probably a friend. She would have to investigate. The phone also contained a certain doctor’s personal number. Kass quickly copied the number into her own phone. She also added a personal number for the mayoral candidate. You never know when I’ll need it, she determined.

Why did he just give this to me? Kass blinked a few times as she poured the first cup of espresso. Is he onto me? He didn’t seem that collected. He was yelling in the other room on the phone again. Even though two sets of doors and a hallway separated them, she could make out a few specifics: “Landgrabb Industries,” “fertility issues,” “Sacred Spleen Memorial,” and “Pay him by noon Monday.” 

What’s happening Wednesday? Who’s paying him? Who’s him? Kass made a mental note to research connections between the illustrious madam mayor and the pharmaceutical mogul who preferred to hang out in her office than his own and the phrases he mentioned. She typed a few notes into her phone before the coffee finished. Pouring the remaining three cups, Kass returned to the hallway, hovering outside the door for a moment.

I said we need to pay him by noon on Monday… this is the best optionYou’re my investment manager… figure it out! This is our thirteenth try. It has to work… Geoff’s our last hope…”

Kass gasped, and covered her mouth, the cups rattling on the tray as she did. Bert slammed down the receiver and gruffly called her into the office. She emerged from the shadowy hallway with the tray.

“Did I say four!?!?” Bert shrieked. “I meant three… damn, girl, I’ll be awake all night if I drink all this coffee.”

Kass smothered a smirk. As if three was that much better.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Alto, you did say…”

“Don’t say four! Never repeat me. You’re just wasting time” Bert grabbed one of the cups, slurping down the piping hot liquid. “I’ve gotta go!” he circled his finger over the desk. “This is on you.”

After he stalked outside of the office, Kass stood, stunned, for a moment. Did that just happen?  Hmm…. Kass couldn’t believe he handed her personal cell phone, and then made a call from the land line, loud enough for her to overhear. And she overheard so many details. Did he just not care? Geoff… Dr. Geoffrey Landgrabb… the infectious disease specialist… the same doctor who had examined her dad, right? And Nancy’s husband? What was it Morgana said?

“Now that you’re both sterile, maybe his wife is perfect for you.”

Kass’ eyes bugged. Jazzilyn is sterile! Bert and his wife were trying to have kids. Is that why he got Madison pregnant? Is that why he had an affair with Morgana? Why would Nancy’s husband be helping the Altos? Obstetrics wasn’t even his specialty. Unless… Kass decided to add the item to the list of questions she would research. If she ever got to the basement again… it was all too weirdly coincidental. It was as if she was meant to overhear all these crucial, confusing details. Kass hadn’t ever really believed in God, but she was being guided by something or someone Higher Up. She smiled. She wasn’t going to complain. Her luck just turned up… for the better.

Kass slipped into the mayor’s desk chair, picked up the phone, and hit the redial button. At least that might give her some more answers. Now who were you talking to, Mr. Bert Alto? 

Mortimer here.” 


Author Notes: I had the hardest time moving forward after the last chapter. I’ve hit a bit of a plateau with Kass’s story, even though I love this game and these characters. Sometimes you just have to get started. I started this chapter, and loaded my TS3 game. Sometimes you have to go to the source. I had a lot of fun playing around in TS3, even if I wasn’t playing with these characters. It was just enough to kick my butt into gear and write this chapter, finally moving forward the plot a bit. I had these pictures from ages ago from a very early save of Kass’ family, and finally figured out a way to work it in. Thanks for reading. 

1.113 Twisting the Truth (KCLKF)

Saturday, July 14, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde 

She didn’t exactly lie to him. She didn’t tell him the whole truth either. She did want to figure out some things related to “the case” she worked on with Jennifer. What Kass didn’t tell Clark is she was looking into the strange Jazzilyn-Morgana-Madison connection. He didn’t need to know she was investigating his boss… or Ayesha’s mom’s boss… or anyone for that matter.

With the spotty internet connection and needing to wait until she could afford a higher data plan, Kass did the ethically dubious thing. She told herself it was for good reason. She requested Clark obtain documents for her to infiltrate City Hall’s records room after dark. The weekend would eliminate the likelihood she would encounter someone she knew… or many city employees.

Kass glanced at her clock on her nightstand. Only six-fifty-five? Ugh! She knew the power had returned because… all her lights came on at once, yanking her from her fitful slumber. Her house hopping, more specific bed changing, wreaked havoc with her sleep routine. Pushing her hands into her mattress, she kicked her feet over the side of the bed. She never thought she would miss the plush pillowtop in her bedroom so much.

Ouf! I’m pretty ripe… she realized as she could practically see a cloud of green smoke wafting from her sweat-drenched body. No power meant no air conditioning. After the rain halted yesterday evening, the air grew thick with sea level humidity. She scrunched her nose. If she wanted a hot shower, she would have to return to her grandparents’ house.

The night before she managed to unpack most of her bedroom  – make her bed, stock her bookshelf, set up her mirror, hang her dragon slayer picture. Her nonna gifted her two potted pink orchids as a welcome home present. One of the low-light Phalaenopsis Blume flowers shared space with her desk, and the other brightened her nightstand with a vase of artificial flowers she discovered while unpacking. She smiled, the little things making their house feel more homey, in spite of unfinished closets and intermittent power bursts and unpainted walls.

Her sisters chose to return to their nonna’s, unsurprisingly. Kass wanted to stay in her own bed. She fell back against the eggshell white pillows, just the right height and plumpness for her liking. As she turned off all the lights and lay on her bed, she couldn’t help but feel peaceful. Silence was a rare luxury. Her nonna’s house was lovely, and staying with her dad was nice, but she missed her own place.

While she was the only one at home, Kass managed to stay busy. The day passed quickly. She returned phone calls, mostly leaving messages for the remaining tasks she had left for Jennifer in the office, and responding to a few classified ads. With only two weeks left before leaving for uni, she couldn’t apply for part-time work, but she was strapped for cash since she lost her security deposit for the Twinbrook apartment. Kass chewed her lower lip as she contemplated which book to read while she waited for her lasagna to finish baking in the oven. Her mouth watered thinking of the fresh mozzarella, sizzling ricotta, and sprinkled Parmesan layers.

She watered the surviving indoor plants; the parched potted ficus thanked her. She crafted a list of items she wanted from the farmer’s market – a lime for squeezed juice atop fish tacos, cucumbers and tomatoes to brighten her salads, and bananas for her cereal. She counted her simoleons. Sighing, she realized she would have just enough, but she would probably need to cancel her Atlantis. So much for finishing all the Super Justice Llama movies in her queue.  All in good time. Once she started college, she could apply for an on-campus job and could probably renew her membership. She could check out a vid or two from the library in the meantime.

Her stack of library books was more than enough to keep her occupied for the time being. And she discovered she could play spider solitaire in airplane mode on her cell phone while waiting for her laundry to finish. She hoisted herself atop the washer and dryer. She could see the street through the small window, noting when the postal carrier arrived, when the Lums walked their dog on the way to the park, and when the when Fiona McIrish arrived home from her shift at the Sun Valley Times.

Kass had a surprising amount of laundry to complete. Ms. Mata would have done the clothes at her request, but she liked to do the chore herself. There was something immensely satisfying about the smell of freshly cleaned clothes. Maybe she was the only person in the world who grew excited about doing laundry. After starting her third load, she decided to switch from a phone game to a physical book – an anthology of short stories by her favorite mystery author. Need to save battery for tonight, anyway. 

At exactly seven-thirty-nine, Kass was dressed in her business attire and waiting on a park bench across from city hall. The last of the municipal workers, save night security and the janitorial staff, trickled out at a quarter to the hour. By eight-oh-two, she walked toward the employees only entrance. She held her breath as she swiped the badge obtained by Clark. The little light turned green and the door unlocked. Her shoulders relaxed.

Project confidence. She repeated the mantra to herself a few times. If she acted like she belonged, she would be less likely to be questioned or stopped. She nodded to Clark, acknowledging him as one would a stranger one passed in a hallway. It wouldn’t do her any good to stop and talk to a custodian. She didn’t want to blow her cover as a junior assistant to the mayor.

Actually, a girl from her class did work for Mayor Landgrabb, a Tori Kimura. The other woman had worked her way up from class treasurer to student body president between their freshman and senior years at Community School. Tori was interning at city hall for the summer before attending Willtown University in Sim City as a political science major. Kass smiled as the elevator opened, accepting her credentials. Tonight the mayor had one overly ambitious, extraordinarily curious extra junior assistant.

But she doesn’t need to know. Kass waited for the elevator doors to close. She pressed the button for the lower levels. The cables groaned and creaked. She shot her gaze up at the ceiling as lift began to rise rapidly. Wobbling on her purple wedge heels, Kass gripped the brass handlebar, startled by the sudden force. What just happened? The doors jerked open at the top floor, the bell clanging. She winced and stepped forward once she was sure the elevator had stopped moving. The doors began to close. Kass gasped, and maneuvered through the cramped space. Yanking her black pencil skirt back down to a respectable length, she grunted as the doors slammed completely and the elevator whined as it descended. Guess I’m taking the stairs.

“Smooth.”

Kass took a step back as she noticed a woman with dark boyish short hair sitting at the desk in the uppermost lobby. The administrative assistant clacked away on the keyboard, the ruffles on her magenta blouse fluttering beneath the air conditioning vent. The sight of her enormous hoop earrings dancing wildly made Kass feel better about the oversized Gothic cross around her neck. She absently fingered the pendant, swallowed hard, and straightened.

“Uh… I just wanted to make an entrance,” she chuckled. 

“What are you doing here?” the woman asked, clicking a few buttons. 

“I work here,” Kass lied. 

“No, I mean here at this time,” she said. “It’s eight-fifteen.” 

“Oh, I just wanted to be finish up a few things for the mayor,” Kass replied. “Like you…” 

“Rule number one. Ms. Landgrabb hates brownosers. Don’t stay too late. It won’t earn you extra brownie points,” the other woman replied. “That Ms. Kimura nearly got fired on her first day for that.” 

“Oh… really?” Kass cocked her head.

“And I don’t work for the mayor. I’m assistant to the district attorney, Becky Baker.”

“Hi Becky,” Kass gulped and outstretched her hand, which the other woman ignored. “I’m new. Just needed to get some information that’s all.”

At least that’s the truth. 

“Obvs,” Becky rolled her eyes. “Since you’re here, you might as well make yourself useful…” she waved her hand. “Go… brew some coffee or something.”

“Right away,” Kass bobbed her head, eagerly turning to stare at a vending machine.

She grimaced. She had no idea where the coffeemaker was. Or the entrance to the stairwell. A lighted sign solved her dilemma, but only temporarily. A uniformed officer strolled through the exit. He narrowed his eyes when he saw her. A bubble of panic rose in her chest as she recognized the policeman.

“Ms. Fullbright,” Detective Hunter said curtly, exaggerating the ‘zz’ sound on his formal greeting.

“Wha? What are… you… doing here?” Kass stammered, her face whitening.

“She’s the mayor’s latest flunky, Gene,” Becky said before the detective could speak.

“Oh really?” Detective Hunter said.

“Yeah,” Kass winced and smiled, a little too brightly.  “And I’m just going…” she pushed open the stairwell door. “…to make coffee.”

“I see,” he replied, as if he didn’t believe her.

With every step, Kass worried. Not that he was going to check up on her, but that she should really brew a pot of coffee so as not to raise suspicions. I hope Ms. Baker likes it strong. 


Author Notes: I’m going to call this the “cursed” chapter 1.113. And now I’m posting on the 13th of April. Happy Easter Monday, or just Monday if you don’t celebrate. 

I kept trying to finish it and get it published for my readers and it just wasn’t coming together. I had written this chapter, way differently, before I decided to scrap the “mystery” during my first version of KCLKF. I managed to modify this chapter, finally. I’m still dealing with the worst writer’s block, even though I know how this story will end. It’s maddening actually. I should be able to just complete the rewrite, right? 

Okay, moving on. I wanted to visit the idea of struggling financially too as this is something the Sims doesn’t deal with often, unless your’e doing a rags-to-riches challenge, and even then, it’s pretty mild. It’s still pretty tame here, but I feel like it makes Kass more well-rounded, and her world more real, contrasted against her grandparents extreme wealth.

I forgot I gave Becky Baker a fun makeover. Too bad I don’t have any pictures of her from the front. In case you’re wondering, yes, it’s light outside, but at 8pm in the summertime, it would still be light. Willtown University is a play on Georgetown.

Hope you enjoyed this long overdue chapter. I hoped to finish KCLKF in March, but with all the craziness in the world, my job has grown busier and more important. I haven’t forgotten you all. 🙂 

1.80 Old Friends (KCLKF)

Friday, June 20, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Valverde

“You feel better?” Gage inquired.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She elbowed him. “Says the pasty guy.”

“Touche.”

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

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

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

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

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

“A simoleon for your thoughts, Kass Fullbright.”

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

Gage stood up, plucking a simoleon from his pocket.

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

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

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

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

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

“What did you wish for?” Gage asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

1.2, Pt. 1: Surprises (KCLKF)

Saturday,  May 28, 2415 C.E. | Sunset Valley, Valverde 

“Where’s Carina?”

Amy twisted around in the passenger seat, trying to wrap her white shawl around her shoulders as Kass slid into the driver’s seat, decked out in her graduation gown and cap. Andi buckled up in the back seat, and immediately slipped out of her sandals, letting her toes sink into the grey interior carpet.

“I don’t know,” Andi sighed. “She was taking an eternity in the bathroom.”

Kass adjusted the mirror and the seat to her liking and glanced at the clock. It was ten till five, and she needed to be lined up and ready to go at five-fifteen. The drive to City Hall wasn’t far, but she didn’t want to wait long on her sister.

“We need to get going,” Amy reached over and detached a singular strand from Kass’ tassel from her her mouth as it had attached itself to Kass’ lip gloss.

“Thanks Mamma,” Kass smiled.

“There’s Carina,” Amy pointed across the lawn as her middle daughter dressed in head-to-toe pink ran down the front steps after locking and slamming the front door.

“Finally,” Andi huffed from the back seat. “What took you so long?” she grunted as Cari slid into the car.

Carina tossed a candy bar into Kass’ lap from the back seat. “Heads up.”

Kass jumped, though she was pleasantly surprised. Her sister voluntarily gave up a Gooey Nut Log bar, the flavor dark chocolate and hazelnut, Kass’ favorite. It was most likely a peace offering or a graduation gift, though Carina waved it off as she had one “lying around” and didn’t really need it. Kass smirked as she backed down the driveway. The freshness date indicated her sister purchased the candy within the last day or so, but she let Carina think she thought the gift was off-handed.

“You went back in the house for that?” Andi rolled her eyes. “You were gone six minutes and thirty-seven seconds.”

“Do you have to calculate everything?” Carina sighed.

“What can I say? I’m getting an A plus in math,” Andi bragged. “That means…” she leaned over and turned up her nose at her sister. “…I’m the best.”

“Andi, humility please,” Amy chided from the front seat.

“Thanks for the chocolate, Cari,” Kass smiled as she slipped on a pair of sunglasses she pulled from the center console.

“It’s not a big deal,” Cari shrugged.

“You never buy me chocolate,” Andi grunted.

“Because you don’t like chocolate, you dork!” Cari snipped.

“I am not a dork!” Andi protested. “And you’re right. I prefer my seaweed snacks. They are high in vitamins A and C and rich in calcium too.”

“Ewww…” Cari made a face.

“Chocolate is saturated with fat and calories besides rotting your teeth and leaving you with bad breath,” Andi listed, reaching into the front seat to turn on the radio.

Amy waved her hand back and reminded her daughter to stay buckled.

“Whomever rides shotgun gets to change the radio station,” Kass explained. “That means Mamma.”

This comment resulted in a few seconds of silence from the “peanut gallery.” Amy selected a bluegrass station, much to the dismay of the entire car, but Kass could live with it. Thankfully, the drive wasn’t long.

“It gives you pimples, and it causes you to be stimulated artificially,” Carina mocked their little sister. “However, if you want to be awake for that math test on Tuesday, Missy A Plus, chocolate would be my drug of choice.”

“Actually, it hasn’t been proven scientifically that it causes acne,” Andi proceeded to lecture everyone in the car despite a likely preference for a different topic. “…but it does stimulate the body, evolving in the tissues or organs and contrives activity, interest, or enthusiasm.  Chocolate may activate your body, but if you, Carina, were going to take a test, I’d suggest trying brain food like eggs, bananas, or peanut butter, healthier, wiser choices. Peppermint is a good brain stimulant.”

“Can’t you ever be a normal teenager?” Carina said.

“Thank the Maker I never have to take a math test again,” Kass said with exaggeration, eliciting a smile from her mother.

Her moderately high SST scores prevented her from the freshman remedial math course at Edgewater. Math wasn’t her strongest subject.

“I am normal,” Andi replied, pulling a brush out of her purse and smoothing her hair and readjusting her flower clip.

“Oh good, we’ve arrived,” Kass interjected as she pulled into a premium parking spot, grateful she didn’t have to listen to her argumentative siblings or her mother’s bluegrass any longer.

“Now I want to remember this moment forever,” Amy said, her voice vibrating with emotion as she pulled a disposable camera out of her dress pockets.

“Mamma!” Kass protested. “I don’t want a million and one pictures.”

“Just one… of you standing in front of City Hall,” Amy insisted. “And maybe one…” she sniffled. “…of you with your sisters… and another of you walking up the stairs.”

“Okay…” Cari rolled her eyes and began walking up the steps.

“Well, I for one want to relish this moment with Mamma,” Andi placed a hand on her hip, lingering at the bottom of the steps.

Kass bounded up the stairs before her family could do much else. She wanted to check in, and make sure she had time to use the restroom and freshen her makeup. She was still pretty sure Amy snapped at least one photo of her walking away. Oh well, I should probably let her have it. It is a pretty big day. She was grateful she changed to her black flats. It made it easier to get away faster.

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The ceremony itself was fairly uneventful. Malcolm Landgrabb the V, the mayor’s son, gave the same-old ya-da ya-da boring valedictorian speech. His mother gave an equally dry and much too long commencement address. When Kass stood up to give her own speech as salutatorian, she could see her mother reaching for the camera, snapping a ridiculous amount of pictures. Gage grinned from the first row and gave her a thumbs up and Ayesha offered a loud whoop as she laid her notes on the podium.

Within a few minutes, Kass managed to conjure some chuckles and claps from the graduating class, entertaining the crowd as she book-ended her speech with lines from some of her favorite songs. Cari and Andi cheered loudly, though they exchanged embarrassed looks. Kass beamed. They were proud of their big sister. She knew it. Nonna reached for the tissues, and Nonno kept nudging Amy to prevent his daughter from jumping in front of other parents to capture her best picture of Kass. She was pleasantly surprised when she saw her name listed in the program with the award – most likely to succeed.

Once the graduating class made their way outside, Kass joined her fellow classmates in tossing her hat and diploma in the air, as tradition. Of course, her mother wanted a photograph of the moment. Kass reenacted the diploma toss in the shadow of City Hall columns to prevent the setting summer sun from blinding her eyes.

Kass received a high five from several of her classmates and hugs from others as she attempted to slip back into her high heels now that the ceremony was over and she no longer needed to stand. She couldn’t wait to change out of the stuffy oversized black gown and the unflattering pants that accompanied her graduation get-up. The hat could stay on a little longer though. It made her feel important.

Ayesha congratulated her, squeezed her friend until she cut off circulation, and offered her gift – a Paradīsian lei. The plumerias were beautiful, the fragrance heavenly. Kass couldn’t stop grinning. Her best friend promised to celebrate with her the following night as she was first headed to Zelda Mae’s… er… Parker’s beach party, and then onto a date.

“Ooo… a date? With who?” Kass asked.

“With a certain sideways baseball cap wearing guy who’s got that sexy scruffy looking Harris Fort look going on,” Ayesha gushed.

“Oh dear,” Kass laughed. “So that’s why you opted for the Princess Leila buns extensions today.”

“Yeah, well,” Ayesha danced about in her white dress with flowing white sleeves with the biggest grin on her face. “I’ll tell you how it goes later.”

“Text me!”

“Mwah!”

Kass glanced about for Gage, wondering where he managed to disappear to as she had seen him across the crowds only a few minutes before. She wandered around, shaking the hands of a few of her teachers, and located her sisters.

“Where’s Nonno and Nonna?” she inquired.

Carina draped her sweater over her arms. “Nonno was tired and Nonna had a headache. They headed home.”

“Oh,” Kass replied, disappointed.

“Don’t worry! They gave you a big check!” Andi piped up.

“Andi!” Cari elbowed their kid sister. “Here,” she handed her oldest sister a large envelope.

“Owwww!” Andi howled.

“Where’s Mamma?” Kass asked.

“How should I know?” Andi shrugged.  “Owwww…” she continued her annoyed cry as Cari elbowed her again.

Kass craned her neck. She finally spotted her mother on the far corner of the City Hall steps talking to a man in a suit, partly obscured by the columns. Her mother was giggling again and even twirling her hair around her forefinger.

“That’s odd,” Kass frowned. I wonder who he is. 

“What’s odd?” Cari asked.

“Nothing,” Kass shook her head, deciding not to worry about it. “Why don’t you go get the car?” she reached into her pocket and handed the keys to Carina.

“Really?” her sister’s eyes lit up.

“Yeah, you’ve got your permit right? Here…” Kass unzipped her graduation gown and stepped out of the pants and handed this to her sister, along with the diploma, hat, commencement program, the lei, and the envelope to carry to the car.

Carina snatched the keys. She didn’t have to be asked twice. She also pawned off most of the items to their youngest sister. Andi plunked down the stairs behind her, complaining about how she wanted to take her driver’s permit test this summer and she should be able to because she was a grade ahead of most kids her age. Kass shook her head. When did her sisters ever get along?

“Kassiopeia?” a deep baritone voice called softly after her.

She turned, startled. It was her father. How could he show up today? Today of all days? What in Simterra? 

Screenshot-605

“What are you doing here… Howard?” she demanded.

She hadn’t seen her dad since the night he walked out on the family, since he left her mother for that llama-drool nut-faced woman… Kate… something. No, Kass knew her last name. She just didn’t care. Five years. Five long years of no visits. No phone calls. No emails. No text messages. No contact. And now, today, on her graduation day, he decided to show up? And in a sky blue tuxedo suit to boot! The only thing seriously out of place with his attire was his blue beanie hat.

“Hi Kassiopeia, it’s good to see you too,” Howard said calmly, forcing a smile. “I… uh… congrats on graduating.”

“Thank you,” Kass said sarcastically.

“I was hoping to get into the ceremony, but they wouldn’t let me in at the door so I thought I’d wait here,” Howard explained.

“Is that why you’re all dressed up in fancy duds?” she sneered. “What’s with the beanie?”

Maybe she was being too uncharitable, but he had the nerve to show his face after all this time. He hadn’t even tried to contact them once before now, or fight her mother for custody. Not that Kass really wanted to have shuffled back and forth between parents, but she took his lack of action as a sign of apathy.

Screenshot-606

“Um… it’s uh… a long…uh… story,” Howard sighed, looking down at the ground. “Kass, do you think you could meet me? To chat? Just a cup of coffee between your old dad and you?”

“You stopped being my dad the day you walked out. You haven’t even been paying child support to Mamma. I should hate you, not have coffee with you.”

“I know… I know,” Howard said. “I don’t blame you. Can I just see you for a half-hour tomorrow? I have something important to talk to you about.”

“I don’t know, Dad,” Kass grunted.

It sounded weird to say his name.

“You can’t just be in my life again.”

“I’m not asking to… for you to… not yet at least… I’m asking for a half-hour. I’ll meet you at Jade’s Java Jolt at eleven. It’s still your favorite place right?”

Screenshot-607

“I guess…” Kass sighed, hating herself for believing he was so sincere and really wanted to see her. “I’ll meet you there.”

It had been a long time. Too long. It was hard to forgive wounds like the ones Howard inflicted. It was impossible to forget. Still, something in his voice, an edge of desperation, made her reconsider brushing him off entirely.

“Thank you,” his face lit up, but he quickly hid the emotions, trying to avoid appearing too eager. “Thank you, Kassiopeia.”

As she watched him walk away, she immediately regretted her choice. Maybe I can just flake on him. I can be like everyone else who hates their dad’s guts for cheating on their mamma. Yet in her heart, she knew she would meet him just the same. She was too curious.


Author Notes: Hi everyone, I wanted to add the section about Kass and her sisters and mamma in the car. It makes them feel more like a normal family. I also added more information about the graduation ceremony, and tweaked the conversation with Howard.

For the record, SST stands for Sim Standard Tests, and is similar to the SAT or ACT in my Simworld. Also, when Sims graduate high school, they always wear a graduation gown and matching black pants. I just incorporated this into my Simworld as a tradition.

I totally forgot Kass was the salutatorian. In rereading these chapters and editing, I’m finding some nice surprises.

Recent Edits: 

  • Paradīse is the replacement for Sim’waii, and refers to the people living in the Panthalassan Ocean isles.  Paradīsian is a descriptor, and a Paradīsian lei is similar to a Hawaiian lei. 

New Name

Former Name

Real World Parallel

Language

People

Descriptor

Paradīse

Sim’waii

Pacific Island Peoples

Hawaiki

Paradī

Paradīsian

 

  • In my Simworld, they did their own version reboot of the original Star Wars franchise. Harris Fort is the actor paralleling Harrison Ford and played the character, Han Bachelor a.k.a. Han Solo. Princess Leia’s name was changed to Princess Leila. 

Yes, Star Wars exists in this universe, and I like to think they chose a different actor for Anakin Skywalker and that Episodes I and II weren’t as horrible as they were in the normal universe. But that’s just me. I’m biased. Still, I’m a huge Star Wars fan. Thanks for reading.