Hoves (Jesse) – 7.3: Family and Frustrations

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(Previous post: Donations and Dinners)

It would be a bit of an understatement to say Irene Hoves had been having a bad day. A bad few months would be better. And it wasn’t the fact she was siting alone in the Science Lab cafeteria. Irene didn’t mind being alone, she would rather be alone that have to listen to the drone of some of the other boring scientist she worked with. Or even worse – army personnel. The cafeteria right now was mixed between the white coated scientists and uniformed army men. It had been that way ever since the army had started working on a top secret project, utilizing half of the labs for it.

Irene had been unlucky enough to work on one of their projects. She had been on it for some time now and she had been given more responsibilities than on her last job, being Tomas Prentiss’ assistant. But this new job left her little time to work on her side project – her precious lab crafted drug the people on the street were calling the Is, courtesy of her signature I for Irene etched in every pill.

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Sometimes she still got to work on it at home. But that way it was harder to hide it from her sisters, and they were nosy, especially Krys, and she would loose it if she found out what Irene was doing, and Irene wouldn’t get it past Lucky to report her to the authorities either, she was too much of a goodie-two-shoes to be trusted. But none of that was the main reason for why Irene was in such a foul mood. The main reason was the couple she was staring right now across the crowded cafeteria. They, or rather her was the main reason behind all her problems.

It was the green haired woman who got her transferred out of Tomas’ lab and into this new project with the army and Irene knew it wasn’t because anything Irene did, well not anything work related, and it wasn’t because of her concern for Irene’s career. No, it was to separate Irene from Tomas. And why? So she could have him for herself of course.

And as much as Irene loathed to admit it it seemed the plan had worked. Right now across the room next to green haired Phoibe Santoro Tomas Prentiss was smiling and it made Irene’s blood boil. She had not seen him smile, not even in politeness, not since his wife and daughter had died.  And she had kind of hoped that when gets back to smiling and being happy that it would be with her and because of her but she was unfairly pushed away before it could happen.

And to make matters worse the rumor around the labs was that Phoibe was pregnant. Irene just had to throw one look across the room to figure out who the father might be. And it pained her. It pained her a lot more than she wanted to admit. If it was true that would be the end of all her hopes for attracting the older widower. He was the kind of man who would jump in and marry Phoibe on the spot. Do the right thing as people were fond of saying…

Irene wondered what would have happened if she was to push Phoibe down a flight of stairs? It was an option worth exploring…

The opportunity however did not present herself and Irene came home in a foul mood. She had barely time to change out of her work clothes and hobble down the stairs to check if her oldest sister had fixed up anything for dinner when she was cornered by Lucky, her other sister.

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“Irene, do you have time, I need to talk to you!” She seemed rather distraught and her usually calm and smiling face now looked completely miserable. Seeing it made a smile creep up to Irene’s face. She barely had time to utter a word before Lucky trailed off.

“I did something bad last night… Well it started a few weeks ago but last night…Argh.” She covered her face with her hands in frustration or in shame, it was hard for Irene to tell but she was enjoying it nevertheless. One of the good sisters had done something bad? She had to know all about it.

“What did you do?” She asked doing her best to keep the excitement out of her voice.

“Well last night I went out with Jerod Prentiss…” Off to a promising start. Irene thought nodding politely urging her sister to speak. Women were always weak when it came to dashingly handsome fireman, her sister seemed to be no exception… When she didn’t continue however Irene had to nudge her carefully.

“So what happened?”

“We had dinner and then I played for him.”

“And…?”

“And what?” Her sister asked frustrated.

“What happened, did you sleep with him?”

“Of course not!” Lucky answered pulling away furious. “He is engaged and I have a boyfriend!”

“Did you at least kiss?” Irene asked hopeful.

“No! Like I said…” Irene interrupted her disappointed.

“Yes, yes he is engaged, you have a boyfriend… And now you are bothering me over nothing.”

“It is not nothing! I…”

“It is stupid. You are wasting my time with stupidities.” Irene said angrily and walked away. “Krys has better stories than you and Krys has no life.” She added sharply. “In fact I am sure even she would tell you this was stupid.” She ran past Lucky before she could stop her and rushed outside her sister following suit.

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Irene ran all the way to the garage, where she knew their oldest sister was and peered into the window before Lucky managed to stop her. Krys was alone, meditating among father’s old tools, in her underwear of course, the girl loved nothing better then to strip down to her panties and bra as soon as she got a chance. Irene wouldn’t be surprised to learn she was teaching her classes dressed that way. Irene was about to walk in and interrupt her when Lucky finally caught up with her and grabbed her hand with a force she didn’t know her sister possessed.

“Don’t you dare!” She said out of breath. “Don’t you dare say a word to Krys or to anyone!” Irene was ready to push her of. She was stronger than she looked, and definitely stronger then her sister. And maybe she yearned for a good fight, to let the tension of this horrible day, and weeks and months from her system. But somehow she managed to stop herself.

“Fine.” She said. “I was just joking around anyway.”

“So you don’t think it is a big deal? Nothing to fret about?” Lucky asked, a kind of lame transparent hope all over her flushed face. And as much as Irene wanted to torment her right now this was her sister in front of her.

“You went out with a good looking man who isn’t your boyfriend, but somebody else’s fiancee. What of it? Nothing happened really. Forget about it.” Lucky nodded but Irene could see she wasn’t convinced. She wondered if it was even remotely possible that her sister might be having feelings for this guy… Stranger things have happened… And yet she had no time do dwell on that, there was need for more Is on the street and she still needed a solid plan to split up Tommy and Phoibe…  Lucky’s love problems could wait.

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Hoves (Jesse) – 7.2: Donations and Dinners

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(Previous post: Budgets and Boyfriends)

Lucky spared herself one last glance in the mirror before starting the car. Her makeup was intact,  her contacts were in place. Her hair was as wild as always but Lucky rarely bothered with her straightening iron. It was just too much work. She straightened her tight black skirt with her hands, turned on the radio and drove towards her boyfriend’s house.

The radio was playing an upbeat Latin song and she sang along with it although she didn’t know the lyrics. She was in a great mood. This party was a big deal for her for more then one reason.

Firstly she had some good news for Ahmed.It was troubling her for a while that he was still unemployed and she sensed it might have been troubling him as well,  neither his photography nor his poetry were bringing him any money at the moment and he was bored more often than not sitting at home while all his friends and Lucky herself were out doing important stuff, building careers. Sure she would love to be able to sit with him all day watching TV but she had found her purpose in trying to make the world a better place, and she wished him the same. So she went to her sister.

Her older sister, Krys, was their local school’s Similish department head and now after principal Borders’ wife had died she had pretty much taken over his principal duties. And of course she was in a perfect position to help Lucky and Ahmed.

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Krys went on about how she would not tolerate anyone who didn’t have the proper work ethics and who didn’t have the proper amount of respect for books and wasn’t ready to do his best in enlightening young minds in the importance of reading from an early age. Laquita nodded listening patiently in between her bites. All in all she found her sister’s response positive. She also had an ulterior motive in all this. She hoped when Ahmed got to spend more time around kids he would realize they were not as bad as he thought, and can actually be rather sweet and interesting. It was a good plan. She was proud of it and herself.

And of course tonight she would start campaigning. Next fall Lucky planned to run for mayor of Sunset Valley. It was a big step and she was young but she knew she could handle it, and she believed people would know it as well, she had proved her worth with her work in the city council. Everything was falling into place and she had high expectations of this party.

She ran into Ahmed at the door. “Mum is sending me to buy some more drinks.” He said catching her in passing. “Go mingle. I’ll be right back.” Lucky didn’t need to be told twice. She only hoped she would’t run into Posie, Ahmed’s mother, the two weren’t on good terms ever since Lucky left a job on her team to run for the City Council.

She headed straight for the small garden between the Kerry’s and Vivi’s houses. She knew there was a bar there and probably most of the other guests. The first person she saw was a tall and handsome young man she knew. He had a bottle of beer in one hand and was looking away from her as she slowly approached.

She knew Jerod Prentiss from school, all the girls knew Jerod, it was hard not to crush on him. In addition to being tall and good looking he was an honor roll student, he competed in both chess and basketball and could make anyone laugh. He also dated Sara Caliente which is why Lucky didn’t like him as much back in school. She had some meanigless grudge with the Caliente sisters because she and Summer Caliente liked the same guy in their second year of high school.

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That was ages ago though. Summer was married to that guy and he and Lucky remained friends. And good-looking Jerod  was a fireman. In fact Lucky was one to pin a medal of valor on him for his services to the city. It was the last time she saw him before tonight, he had been barely out of the hospital then, a flaming beam had hit him over the back when he tried to save his family and his own house after the meteor hit. He lost his mother, an aunt, and a cousin that day. A medal meant little after that Lucky guessed. Tonight he looked better.

“Hello Jerod.” She said approaching him. She couldn’t help her heart beating faster when those soft brown eyes turned to her. Recondition sparked in them and he smiled looking at her.

“Laquita Hoves, the prettiest woman in politics!” Lucky felt a blush coming to her cheeks.

“My friends call me Lucky.” She said trying to keep her voice from wavering.

“That is how I feel right now.” He replied not skipping a beat. You have a boyfriend Lucky. He is engaged to be married. She wished she had a beer right now. Her mouth was drier than ever.

“You look good.” She said. “I mean… Recovered… Last I saw you…” She mumbled quickly and he laughed.

“I remember. I still got the medal you gave me.” It was her turn to laugh.

“The city gave you that medal, I was just the messenger.”

“Still, it was nice of the city to choose your soft and capable hands to touch a poor broken man like me, and not some old fart whose hands shake and barely sees.” She laughed.

“The city does only to best for its bravest.”

“Thanks to you I hear.” Lucky blushed again, she couldn’t help it. She had to look away from that handsome face.

“I do what I can to make the world a better place.” She said looking up again. She found focus and strength in the same thing she always did – her work. “I want to be able to do more… But City Council work enables me to do only so much… Now I was lets say mayor of Sunset Valley…”

“This city would be the envy of all the land!” Jerod concluded for her smiling broadly. “I would vote for you, that is a given. I can’t wait to see your picture all around town.” Lucky smiled.

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“Well the campaign won’t even start without the proper funding…” He brought her a beer and they talked some more. After Jerod Lucky went on to talk to her younger sister Irene’s ex boyfriend Kain Vivi. The younger man’s science fiction novel’s weren’t selling that well and he had taken a job washing dishes at one of the restaurants in town. She even talked to Summer Caliente, her old nemesis. Summer had been was too busy talking about herself, the shares in the spa she bought, and her son Silvester’s school achievements to even start listening to Lucky.

In the end Lucky didn’t hope for much when she checked her campaign account balance the next morning.  7741 simoleons. That is what the screen showed. She gaped at the number. An unsuccessful writer, an old rival and a handsome fireman got her this much? She blinked hard hoping the numbers won’t just disappear. Then when they didn’t she had to check if there was some error. There wasn’t. All the money was transferred to her account by Jerod Prentiss.

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She sang a tune as she made pancakes for breakfast the next morning. She wanted to pretend she was just glad about the money. Having some real funds is what she needed to kick start her big campaign. Mayor of Sunset Valley… Her next big step…. Yes it was all pretty big but there was also something dangerously exciting about the thought of Jerod Prentiss donating all that money to her… Not to me, to my campaign. Lucky corrected herself. Yet she smiled at the thought of the young fireman’s face…

It happened two weeks later. The campaign was in full swing already, just the night before Lucky was on yet another party. She tried to present her case to Latricia Caliente, Nina Caliente’s younger daughter. The young girl used to date Ahmed’s younger brother, that is how Lucky knew her. She seemed rather apolitical but Lucky was sure he could push her over to vote for her. She wasn’t sure if she had succeeded but she was rather confident about it. Today she dressed up again and was planning to check the net for happenings around town she could attend when her phone rang.

“Lucky Hoves speaking.”

“You are not answering the phone with future mayor yet?” The very sound of that voice made her stomach feel with butterflies and her legs grow unsteady.

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“The election is still many months away.” She noticed she was smiling despite herself.

“And when it finally comes only fools won’t vote for you.”

“That is nice of you to say Jerod.”

“Hey it is the truth.”

“Thank you for the donation.” She said trying to calm her beating heart. “It helped kick off this whole campaign.”

“You asked and I delivered. And it is because I believe in you, not just because you are gorgeous.”

“Thank you.” Lucky said awkwardly.

“Well anyway… I didn’t call for you to thank me. I was thinking, pretty soon you would be a big deal and probably super busy so I should use the opportunity to spend some time with you, a chance to have a thing which to brag about to all my coworkers… So… Dinner tonight?” Lucky’s throat went dry. It wasn’t a date. It couldn’t be a date. She had a boyfriend, he was engaged… A part of her wished it could be, a part of her wanted to kiss those lips, to be held by those strong arms and a bigger part of her wanted to just say no. She was happy with Ahmed, and she was busy already, she didn’t need those kind of distractions. But then again Jerod did donate to her campaign… He was among the first to believe in her, and his future mother in law was Dina Caliente! He had influence and much more to give to the campaign than money…

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They met in front of the bistro. Lucky almost regretted coming when she saw how handsome Jerod was, even in a white unbuttoned shirt, showing his hairy chest. He started off with more compliments that made her blush and jokes that made her tear up with laughter. He even promised to donate even more money if Lucky would play for him after dinner.

Lucky had been playing the bass since childhood and she foolishly mentioned it during the meal. Jerod’s eyes lit up and he wouldn’t take no for an answer. She had to play for him! It was a strange feeling having a man so hung up on her every word, so impressed by her, so interested in her hobbies… At first she said no because she imagined he would have to invite him over since she didn’t exactly carry her bass around. And she could just imagine how Krys would have reacted if she showed up on their doorstep with a man… One who wasn’t even her boyfriend… But then Jerod himself proposed the park. It had a stage with several instrument, the bass included and so she said yes.

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She was nervous at first. Her fingers fumbled around the strings and she missed a few notes all the while refusing to look at Jerod who stood just a few feet away from the stage. She felt him watching and it made everything ten times harder. but then the music found her and she got lost in it. When she finished Jerod clapped like crazy. And the next day an even bigger donation was payed on to her campaign account. Lucky Hoves was yet another step closer to becoming mayor of Sunset Valley.