/* With this post we return to the normal story line of Round 6, events from this post happen sometimes after Crushed. */
“Okay, Lena and Jacob you are up next.” Krystal watched as two of her students got up from their seats and headed up to the front of the class for their presentation. This was the last of the presentations of a project she had given her class a month ago. When this is over she would have to get back to her usual lessons… The next book her class would read, according to the standard Simlish Curriculum should be: “A magnetic attraction” by Grant Rodiek. Krystal didn’t rally like that book and was already thinking about what she could replace it with when her thoughts were interrupted, not by the start of Lena and Jacob’s presentation, they were still in the process of preparation, whispering something to each other in front of the blackboard.
No, the sound that interrupted the whole class was a sharp knock to the door. Everyone of course turned to it instantly and Krystal could already hear the ripple of whispers passing trough her classroom.She sighed, thinking that it was probably a late student, or some announcement from the principals office, the speakers that were supposed to be used for such stuff were broken more often then not.
“Come in.” She said loudly and the door opened slightly reveling a young woman in a police uniform. She scanned the class briefly and then her eyes settled on Krystal. She had an apologetic look in her eyes as they met Krystal’s and she instantly felt her insides go cold. She was preparing for this visit for years now but still she felt completely numb now that it had arrived.
“I am sorry to interrupt Miss Hoves… But can we talk in private, it would only take a second of your time…” The woman said and Krystal nodded before turning to her class. All eyes were on her. Some probably guessed what this was about, it was a small town, everyone knew everything.
“Stay quiet. I’ll be right back. Lena, Jacob, get ready to start talking the moment I walk back in.” Krystal said and followed the officer out to the hallway shutting the door behind her. When they were alone with the doors shut behind them Sara addressed Krystal.
“I’m sorry to barge in like this but I have information I know you would want to see immediately…” Krystal just nodded, the numb feeling hadn’t gone away…
She wished she could think, she wished that her head wasn’t completely empty in preparation for the bad news that would surely follow. She tried to focus on the officer in front of her, she had known Sara briefly from school but they were never friends or anything. They did get to know each other a little better ever since Sara took over her sister’s case. She knew Sara had her own personal reasons for following trough with it so vigorously, survivor’s guilt or whatever… But she was still thankful, and whatever the news she received today were she knew she would be forever indebted to Sara.
“Okay… Well you guessed it probably, but I’m here about your sister. I think… I think we found her.” Krystal nodded again. They would probably need me to identify the body… She thought to herself wondering if she was ready for that… “And I think she is here.” Sara finished with a smile. Here? Krystal thought wondering what she meant by this.”Is this your sister?” Sara asked showing her a picture on her tablet before she could ask.
Krystal took a step back, she didn’t expect Sara to be so abrubt, she expected some kind of preparation beforehand… But then she took a look of the picture.
It was her sister. It was Irene. She seemed older, different somehow. But Krystal recognized her immediately. Her hair was different, but the same color Irene colored it all those years ago. And best of all…. She seemed… Alive.”When was this taken?” She asked weakly.
“Today.” Sara said beaming at her. Krystal balanced herself against the wall. She couldn’t believe it.
“Here, in Sunset Valley?” She asked and Sara nodded.
“At that salon, across the Science Lab. Luther Prentiss took this picture and called it in. She said she just came in, wanting a dye job, she asked for that exact color…”
“Is she still there?” Krystal asked.
“No. She left.” Sara replied and Krystal felt disappointment raising in her chest. But she is here. She is still in town. She reminded herself. I can find her. “But he knows where she went.” Sara said with another smile. “Do you know that new place, that bar that opened in town?”
Krystal was never a crying type of person but at this moment she felt she could just cry from relief. Her sister is alive. She is going to see Irene…
She dismissed her class as soon as Sara left. That was a great thing about being a teacher, nobody gets mad if you leave work in the middle of the day. Of course she had to explain what happened to the principal and so she headed to find her sister.
She didn’t see her at first. It was the middle of the day and apart from the guys tending the bar the place seemed empty but once she walked out to the backyard she spotted her… Irene… Krystal couldn’t believe it… The last time she saw her youngest sister was the day they learned their father had died. Irene just stormed out of the house before anyone had a chance to talk to her. They didn’t call the police that first day, they assumed it was part of her grieving process… They were all having a pretty bad time anyways… They became worried when she didn’t come home at all that night, Lucky even visited her boyfriend to look for her…
That day they got the police involved but still everyone believed she would just come home… When she didn’t even attend dad’s funeral everyone was sure something was wrong… But the search yielded no results. Irene was just gone.
And now she was here again. Sitting and calmly eating her lunch, as if nothing had changed. Krystal felt as if her legs might give in as she walked step by step to reach her sister. Maybe this all is a dream… I’ll touch her shoulder and she’ll just disappear… She believed she was dead, even Lucky, the eternal optimist believed she was dead… And she was here… Just calmly eating her lunch in a long, black dress. It was silly, Irene never wore long dresses, and never wore black….
The moment Krystal reached her Irene looked up. She smiled that devious smile of hers: “Hi sis.”
“Hello Irene.” Krystal spoke. She barely knew her own voice.
“You found me.” Irene said still smiling.
“You came back.” Krystal responded.
“Ah well, it was time.” Irene said shrugging her shoulders. The nonchalance with which she spoke irritated Krystal, she acted if she was gone a day.
“Time? You were gone for years!” She said loudly causing the bartender to look up their way. Irene frowned.
“If you keep yelling at me I might go away again…” She said playfully. Krystal took another breath to calm herself.
“Where were you?” She asked. “Why didn’t you at least call…”
“Maybe I didn’t call because I wanted to avoid this… You yelling at me!” Irene snapped. “It doesn’t really matter where I was.” She said her voice returning to its usual calmness. “I’m here now, that’s what matters to you, does it not?”
Krystal didn’t contradict her. “We thought you were dead…” She said quietly this time. Irene looked amused.
“Did you now?” She asked with a smile. “I assure you I am perfectly fine. But enough about me.” She said dismissively. “How are you guys? Still not married?” She asked pointing to Krystal’s hand.
“No. I’m not.” She sighed. “Look, I… You don’t have to stay here. Dad’s house… Our’s house… There is room for you there. And you have as much right to be there as me and Lucky do…”
“So Lucky is still unmarried? Wow…” Irene smiled deviously. “And by the way didn’t dad always say he is going to leave that damn place to you?” Krystal sighed loudly.
“Look, our old room is empty, it’s waiting for you… Please come home Irene.” She said impatiently but Irene wasn’t ready to follow.
“So it is your house now, otherwise you would have asked Lucky?” Krystal sighed again. This isn’t how she imagined all this… But then again what did she expect? It was Irene after all.
“Lucky is not here most of the time. Her boss was elected Local Representative this fall so she spends most of her time in the capital, she comes home only on weekends… She is in dad’s old room, but as I said our old room is empty…”
“So you are all alone?” Irene asked. “Is it scary?”
“Not particularly.” Krystal replied coldly. She was really loosing her patience… She didn’t lie though. Krystal wasn’t afraid of many things. She might have been just a Simlish teacher but she was her father’s daughter. Just last month someone tried to sneak in her house, presumably to rob her. She incapacitated him before the police even got there, and before he got further then their shoe-rack. But she didn’t feel like telling Irene this… She didn’t even have to because Irene spoke suddenly.
“Okay fine. I’ll come with you. I just need to buy something first…”
“Nosy as always.” Irene said with a laugh. “I’ll set up a home lab in my room, I need the stuff for that.”
“In your room? Why?” Krystal asked shocked. Irene laughed again.
“Oh don’t worry Krys, I’m not going to run a meth lab from your precious house.” Irene said smiling. “I won’t burn the house down either. I am familiar with the safety procedures.”
“But why do you need it?” Krystal asked again.
“For work.” Irene replied.
“Yes, that thing you do to pay off bills…” Irene said and sighed. “There is this exciting project right here in our local lab, ran by Tomas Prentiss and Phoibe Santoro. And they need a lab technician, and I want in… Clearer?” Krystal frowned but nodded.
“Now lets go.” Irene said as she got up picking up a bag from under her chair.