The Gift

Lisa Bunch stood on the lawn intensely focused on her nails. Her long blond hair was tied in two long braids and she had a long sleeved pink shirt on and lovely white shorts that perfectly showed off her long legs. “Later.” VJ threw back at his father and brother who were eating breakfast in the kitchen and turned to the door heading to meet her.

“Where are you going Vahid?” His father asked. The very sound of his deep yet whiny voice made VJ’s skin crawl.

“Out.” He replied without looking back.

“I thought you would help me and Miraj around the house a bit today .”

“Well I thought you wouldn’t be a total loser. I guess we were both wrong.” VJ replied opening the door. For a moment he thought his father would respond, lose control. He held his hand on the door handle and then a heartbeat passed and nothing happened. He pressed the handle, opened the door and he was outside. Away. “Hey Lisa.” He called from the porch once the door was closed behind him.

“Oh hi VJ.” She responded looking up from her nails. “You are late, and need I remind you that you called me.”

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“Yeah, yeah, let’s just go.” He stomped away wishing to be as far as possible from that house and the man inside. Lisa followed as he knew she would.

“I think I should go and get my nails done, professionally.” She said stepping next to him as if that was something he wanted to hear. VJ sighed. Lisa was his best friend, he knew her since they were kids and they had been friends since. She was a really strong-willed girl who could always stand up for herself. The only girl in class he could never bully. She had also grown up to be quite hot. Yet still sometimes she would act like the dumbest airhead there is. He stopped to light a cigarette and she narrowed her eyebrows at him. “You really have to light that thing now? We are walking!” He smiled.

“Oh don’t be like that, I will give you a drag.” She pretended to pout but he could see a trace of a smile in those wicked eyes of hers. “Come here.” She came closer and he wrapped his arm around her shoulders and she wrapped hers around his waist and they walked like that for a while just enjoying the sunny Saturday.

There was a reason VJ had invited Lisa over today and it wasn’t just so he could see those legs. There was something big he wanted to tell her but he wasn’t quite sure how. It all started with his job, it was a part time gig,  and it didn’t pay as much as he would want but it wasn’t as if he could count on his old man for support here, even before this recent fiasco, him not being able to pay up for his trip to France and the end of the school year, he was just unable to provide and VJ had to fend for himself. The job was at the local bookstore, a small brick structure near the park VJ pretty much avoided up until the day he started working there. It was close to the school, he could walk there and he was barely ever late and the job wasn’t hard, people mostly just came in found what they wanted and he would charge them. Sometimes they would have questions but the computer at the register could provide most of the answers. At least for the adults that came in. Kids were a different question, they could be annoying but VJ would shoo them off and they would rarely bother him again.

It was a good job but sometimes it got a bit boring, there would be afternoons when no one came in and he was not allowed to install anything on the computer and playing games on his phone and messaging Lisa could get tiresome day after day so one of those afternoons VJ did something totally out of character. He picked up a book, he chose carefully, it was one of the pricier ones, it had a nice cover, purple with silver writing. He loved the combination even thought the title was stupid. “Solving the friend problem” the letters read. VJ had no problem making friends, Lisa was an example of that, he couldn’t help it if all around him people were idiots. But the book promised to teach you tricks to be able to impress even idiots and VJ decided to give it a try.

He ate it up. He read it faster than any other book, ever. He read it at the store, he read it at home.

With school books he always struggled finishing them at he would give up or simply not bother to start at all but this book spoke to him, of course one could always say that it was a pack of bull, all those micro expressions and shit so what VJ did was he conducted a little experiments so to speak. 

Usually the customers who came to the store would always bit put off by VJ, his black and blue mohawk, the spiked collar and bracelets he wore, and if that wasn’t enough he knew he had what people could call “bitch face” and he used it freely to prevent people with getting too comfortable around him. It worked pretty well, for all it’s intended purposes yet that day VJ decided to try something different.

The first person to walk in was a decent looking middle-aged woman with brownish-red shorter hair that barely covered her ears. She walked straight to the register and VJ used his loveliest, most charming smile to say “Good day Mrs. How can I help you today?”

“I am looking for a book.” She said as if that wasn’t pretty darn obvious, her being in a bookstore and all. She gave him the name of the book, a string of barely incomprehensible words, some of them in Simatin of all languages. Usually VJ would not hide his annoyance with this but today he chose the other route asking her politely to repeat what she said. She did and it didn’t help. He couldn’t spell it if he tried. She sighed a bit with frustration when she saw his troubles. “Maybe I can help you run that search?” She asked. Now if it were any other day VJ would just tell her to bugger off, there was no book, get lost. Instead he smiled.

“Terribly sorry to bother you like this Mrs. but I just can’t get the spelling of those words right it seems.” She smiled back, her annoyance melted away.

“It is alright. Half of it is Simatin and technical words, it is normal you would struggle with it.” He moved away letting her step behind the counter to the computer. “Oh my, this interface is terrible!” She complained. “No wonder you struggle.” VJ threw a pained expression on his face although what he really thought is that the reason he struggled was because stupid women come inside asking for stupid books in dead languages no one speaks in the world but he held his tongue as the woman typed away. “There it is! Ordered but not yet came in!” She pronounced.

“I am sorry Mrs.” VJ said not feeling sorry as well, inside he gleamed with satisfaction that the wretched woman head not found what she wanted.

“It is okay young man, it is not your fault.” She said rising up from the bookstore’s computer. “I will just come in some other time.”

“Or maybe you could give me your number and I can call you when the book comes in.” He said in his most I-want-to-be-of-use voice. The woman turned around her face alight in surprise and joy.

“You would do that? That would be splendid! I wouldn’t have to come in again in vain again!”

“Sure thing Mrs. And maybe in turn you don’t say to my boss I let you touch that thing.” VJ added gesturing to the computer. In reality nobody would give a shit.

“Oh, of course”. She fished a pencil and a piece of paper out of her bag and hastily wrote it down handing it to him. It was the book title, correctly spelled, a phone number and a name.

“Susan.” VJ repeated looking her straight in to her green eyes. “Nice to meet you, I am VJ.” She smiled back and VJ knew he head her hooked.

She came to the store many times after that one and she and VJ would often talk. She was a scientist, worked down in the lab in town, she was married, her daughter, a bit older than VJ had just moved out and she was still dealing with that, she loved chess and computers, had a passion for virtual reality. All this she told VJ, all this and more. One evening when she came as he was ending his shift she even bought him hamburgers and they went across the street to the park and ate them on the bench while she talked and promised to teach him chess the next time she came.

It was a wonder. The book didn’t lie. It was possible to fake your way into befriending anyone. Now Susan was a pretentious, boring woman but she was not stupid, even VJ could see that. And she totally bought his act. This was big. VJ could do great things with it, he could climb his way to the top, he would be better than his pathetic father, one day he VJ Alvi could be the leader of the free world even!

He interrupted Lisa’s silly story about her nails or whatever to spill all this to her, all about that magic book. By the time he finished the story they had walked all the way to the town. He lead her behind the bookstore where he moved and old brick reveling his hidden stash. The book was there, along with his spare lighter and a nearly empty pack of cigarettes he forgot he had there. He pulled out the book and handed it to her.

“I want you to read it. It is so good Lisa, trust me, it would change your life.” He felt a little bad about parting with it but he had already gone over it so many times, there were no mysteries it could reveal to him anymore. Lisa took it from his hands and threw it inside her handbag which she the, dropped to the floor and stepped closer to VJ wrapping both of her skinny, pale arms around his face and before he could fully comprehend what had begun happening she to kiss him, full on the lips

It was not a soft innocent kiss like those they sometimes shared as children fooling around. There was passion in this kiss, passion and tongue. VJ’s first instinct was surprise but soon he let himself be taken away by it all. Before he knew it his arms were wrapped all around Lisa as well and they were full on making out on the bookstore’s parking lot. Not a bad way to start the day.


/* And so the new story begins 😀 thank you all for reading and please let me know what you think of the new start. */

Caliente(Dina) – 7.2: Murder in Sunset Valley

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(Previous post: Scars)

Sara remembers the tragedy that recently hit their town and the impact it had on her fiancee.

Sara’s morning started in the best possible way, the four of them sitting in the kitchen, she and her mother had coffee while Justine and Jerod ate some leftover spaghetti from last night. Jerod was making all of them laugh, even her mother, who was notoriously hard to please. But that credit might not have been all Jerod’s but her new wife’s. Justine had one of those infectious laughs one just cannot resist joining in and Dina Caliente certainly didn’t seem to be immune to the charms of the younger woman.

They seemed so in love, Sara’s mother and her second wife, even after the charming fairy-tale wedding right here in the garden, and the romantic honeymoon in Champs Les Sims, just the other night Sara could see them in the garden, picking flowers for each other.

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She hoped that one day she could be like that, just give in and be happy but she doubted it could ever really happen, both she and Jerod had been through so much, happiness seemed like just a very distant dream, forever out of reach. But it was fine Sara guessed, life was more than just being happy and in love all the time, for now seeing the smiles of her loved ones would do.

All in all Sara came to work happy that day, she hummed a tune under her breath as she pushed her way to her office, not even stopping for coffee, she figured her mother’s brew was strong enough to hold her until lunch.

It was supposed to be a regular morning, police work in Sunset Valley was rarely more than ordinary and dull. But before Sara was halfway through her morning routine of reading and sending out long and tedious reports there was a very loud knock on her office door followed by an emergence of a tall, gray haired and bespectacled man.

“Mr. Hoves!” She exclaimed in surprise as she watched him enter her office.

“Good morning lieutenant.” He replied with a grave note in his voice closing the door behind him. It wasn’t the first time Sara had the older man in her office, he was the head of the forensics department and had worked for the SVPD his whole life, it was however the first time he was here since his recent retirement.

Sunset Valley was a small town and like everyone else Sara heard how he had developed a drinking problem once he was out of the force but today his look was not one of a drunk. His eyes were sharp and determined and if Sara was to be honest it scared her a little.

“There had been a murder.” He said as he took a seat opposite Sara.

“Murder sir?” She asked feeling her heart start to race. He nodded but she still couldn’t believe it. “Here in Sunset Valley?” He nodded again, even more impatiently. “And excuse me sir but how do you know about it?”

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“There was a distress call, a body was found in the dumpster behind the theater. I was fixing some stuff at home when I heard it on the police radio…” He said dismissively.

“How come I didn’t hear about it yet?” Sara asked.

“I caught the officer that was on his way to tell you on the stairs, I said I will do it.” He spoke with the efficiency of a man that used to be in charge and Sara couldn’t be the one to tell him he no longer was. It was an uncomfortable situation, she knew the man ever since she was nothing more than the receptionist down in the basement even though she now technically outranked him. And besides it seemed that someone was dead, murdered no less, she couldn’t waste any time.

“Tell me what happened.” She said putting everything aside. She was lieutenant Sara Caliente and this was her job.

“A patrol is on site now and they have confirmed that a dead body was found and foul play is suspected. You will have to go next, asses the situation, give orders. It were the new kids that were first on the scene, young Kerry and Vanessa Mayor. Kerry can take statements and Vanessa can do the forensics, I like how she treats evidence. And I will be downstairs in the lab.”

He rose from the chair leaving Sara to feel like a little child in her own office.

“But sir… You are retired…” She finally managed to mutter. He looked at her with a frown.

“There was a murder lieutenant. There hadn’t been a murder in this town since my uncle had been gunned down in that warehouse. We didn’t solve that one and I will be damned if I let that happen again.” With those words he left Sara’s office leaving her to quickly collect her bearings and go back to work. Her beautiful morning already seemed a lifetime away.


She was last to arrive on the already cramped parking lot behind the grocery store. A mass of people had already gathered around the adjoining building but Sara noticed with a little bit of pride her officers had done a good job keeping the noisy citizens outside the yellow tape that marked the crime scene. She walked over making her way through the bystanders. The dumpster was moved and by happy circumstance shielded the body of the poor man from the invading looks. She didn’t go there immediately but to her officers Kerry and Mayor who were waiting for her to submit their initial report.

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“Morning lieutenant.” Mika’il spoke first. He was a thin young man with dark hair, dark eyes and a small goatee Sara didn’t like one bit. He was also engaged to her cousin, or so her mother had told her the other day.

“Morning.” Vanessa muttered after him. She seemed more visibly shaken by the scene in front of them than her partner. She was the same age as he was, also dark-haired, with softer brown eyes and a complexion that usually wasn’t as pale as it was now.

“Morning.” Sara said not feeling well herself, but doing her best to not let it show in front of the younger officers. “What do we have here?” She asked turning to the dead body on the street.

“Elderly male, dead from what appears to be a stab wound, or multiple stab wounds… I didn’t really want to touch the body before the M.E. comes….” Mika’il started.

“Good call.” Sara replied still looking at the man dead at the street. A terrible thing she thought. And definitely a murder. Her stomach clenched at the thought and she forced herself too look away from the body. “Any ID?”

“Well we didn’t really check… I mean, I assumed it was a robbery, why else would someone stab an old man?” Mikha’il answered.

“You mustn’t make assumptions.” Sara echoed the words of her old mentor. “Check his wallet.” She felt her phone vibrate and pulled it out of her pocket. FrĂ©dĂ©ric Jr. Hoves the caller ID read. She sighed loudly. The old man just wouldn’t let her run this case alone. She turned back to her officers. “Wait for the M.E here. Once he is done you run the scene Vanessa, collect all you find, take pictures and take it all to the lab. Mika’il, check the ID and come to me.” They both nodded and she left them to their job moving away to take the call.

The old man had nothing new to say. He gave instructions on things she already knew and ended the call saying he would call Vanessa next, just to be sure she does her job just right. In a way Sara was glad he was back, he was the top forensics specialist in the country and yet it was her case, she wanted to be left alone to run it. She sighed again planning to go back to the scene when she saw Mika’il standing close by with a satisfied smile on his face.

“I have the ID boss, you were right, it wasn’t a robbery after all! He had his wallet and I know his name. It is Clyde Belgen.” Sara’s head suddenly started to spin and she felt like she could throw up.

“Don’t share this information with anyone, and I mean it. Talk to the people from the theater, check if there are any cameras around, see if there are any eyewitness… Once you are done come straight to my office.”

Clyde Belgen. She couldn’t believe it. She turned around to where the body was still lying and with a strong feeling of guilt she couldn’t shake she turned around back to her patrol car and drove straight to the station.

/* Finally a start of an actual story 😀 I have all of Sara’s chapter’s written down so I hope all of it will be published without a large delay. I like the story, it kind of touches a lot of stories I set up earlier, I hope it won’t be hard to follow and that it will be interesting. Thank you all for reading!!! */

Caliente(Dina) – 7.1: Scars

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Sara Caliente was recently promoted to lieutenant of the SVPD. She had just come in to work after months of extensive physical therapy after suffering a near fatal leg wound. Her mentor and partner officer Jesse Hoves was shot dead the same day. The perpetrator’s were never caught. Sara lives with her mother and her mother’s second wife. Recently her own fiancee moved in with them.

Sara loved watching Jerod sleep. There was something so peaceful in his face, the way his hair fell over it and the way the weak morning light made it shine. She still hand’t quite gotten used to sharing the big bed in her mother’s attic with her fiancee and waking up to him each morning so whenever she got the chance she marveled at the little things that made up her day.

It didn’t take long for the spell to break. The alarm rang and Jerod stirred before opening his eyes.

“Morning beautiful.” He murmured in his sleepy voice. Sara smiled.

“Morning to you too handsome.” She replied playfully. “A grand day for staying in bed.” Jerod smiled, his eyes still half closed.

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“I wish.” He replied sadly. “Work awaits, saving lives and all that… One of my guys left and now we all have to share the load…” He sighed. “I hope your mother made something nice for breakfast, and coffee… I really hope for coffee…” He added stretching before getting out of bed.

He always slept without a shirt on, even now, so when he pulled back the covers Sara got a full view of his bare back and all the scars stretched over it. They were mostly healed by now but still it wasn’t easy to look at that constant reminder of what the man she loved went trough. She ached to touch him, to caress the wounded tissue, to make it heal, to make him heal but it didn’t work like that. Sara knew it all to well.

After all she had her own scars too, the one in her leg where she got shot being the most recent one, but she knew it often weren’t the visible scars that cause the biggest pain, but the ones hidden beneath. For her it hurt more to remember how her partner and mentor had been killed, the memory of the slow pool of blood spreading from his body as her own leg burned from the pain she could not recall anymore.

She knew it was the same for Jerod. It surely hurt more that he didn’t get to his mother in time than the memory of that flaming beam hitting his back. She tried to get him to talk about it, she knew he had mandatory counselling back when he he had just gotten back to work, when he lived at the fire station, but around most people he pretended as if he hadn’t lost his mother, an aunt and a cousin, and even his mother’s little dog that day. Not to mention landing himself in a hospital for months running into the flaming house the meteor had struck.

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It worked one night, right after he had moved in. They were lying here, in this very bed the lights were off and they talked in whispers.

He told her then, in a thin and soft voice of that day, the day that would probably hunt him until the end of his life.

“When I think of it I don’t think about mum, I guess because I never got to her then… What haunts me the most is what I saw when I first got there… The house was on fire, the home I grew up in… There was a huge rock, a monstrous meteor, the scariest damn thing one could ever see, I swear it Sara, right next to it and smaller pieces all around and I was lost, completely lost you know… I never saw anything like that and as I tried to compose myself, get into full firefighter mode I saw her and it didn’t break me then but it breaks a piece of me every time I think of it now…”

He took a deep painful breath and even though she couldn’t see him in the dark Sara knew he was crying, and in all their years together she had never seen him cry, it hurt to hear it but she knew she had to let him be. “She must have fallen out of the window on impact because she was just lying there on the street all covered in cuts and shards of broken glass. She was dead or close to it I could see it from where I was standing and there was nothing I could do anyway… The paramedics were behind me and that was their job and I still had mine… But I can’t get her out of my head… She had been so young the sweet girl. She used to come to the station often, to watch me work and just talk silly things. I knew her and her friends found me attractive, they were teenage girls after all but I didn’t mind it, they were so young and silly, so full of life… And now that life is over and I can’t… I can’t get it out of my head…”

The sobs took him over and Sara didn’t know what to do, she was crying herself. She took one of his hands in hers and kissed it softly as she listened to him weep.

He never spoke of it again although sometimes she tried to ask. But it haunted her now as well. The face of the young girl that had lost her life that day and the painful scar it left on her boyfriend’s heart. She wished she could just take it all back, move time backwards to when their biggest problem was planning their wedding, when none of them had really been hurt by life. A simple time.

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If only they could just go back….

/* Yet another post featuring the meteor tragedy, hope it doesn’t bore you guys too much, I thought it was necessary to touch on what happened to Jerod and how he and Sara ended up living together. The girl who died, mentioned here, is Lena Prentiss. In the very next post we dive into the actual story! */

Rosie’s Emails – 10

Hi mum,

Have I got a surprise for you… I am writing to you from… Shang Simla, Egypt! I know I should have told you earlier but it really was short notice, Lola had a concert there and she was ready to go so she called, asked if I would join and what could I say really? I just got that award and what better way to to treat myself?

Well anyway the concert is in a few hours, just wanted to check in and let you know I am fine. A more detailed report is coming tomorrow, for now here is a picture of me in front of the hotel.

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Looking at it now I am sure it would be by new SimBook profile picture! Send my love to Tricia and Bran!

Love you all,

Rosie


 

Hi mum,

There are downsides to Egypt I might confess. But first the good things, Lola concert was really good, I wouldn’t bore you with pictures, check my SimBook, as usual I went overboard…. I woke up early in the morning with a blasting hangover so I decided to go for a run, clear my head a bit… Yes, yes I know what you would say, running in such a hot place is not good for anyone, let alone someone with my condition, but it was just so early, the sun wasn’t up high yet and I brought along a book so once it got to hot I could take it out to read in the shade.

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I ran all the way to the market, it is in the center of the town. I felt so energized, I look around a bit, wondered if I should by a snake charming basket (I didn’t). And then I ran further, I ran up a hill where a graveyard was. I stood there a bit and looked in the distance, it was so beautiful, I could see the Sphinx from there. Immediately I made a mental note to visit it as soon as I get the time. And by then it was really hot already so I hurried to go back to the hotel and I ran and ran and there was no shade, just the dessert, it was scary, I was so thirsty, I was dying for a plasma juice. Of course I didn’t bring any and so I ran through the dessert with my throat parched and then I fainted.

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I don’t know how long I was lying there but some explorers found me and brought me to their small camp which was close by. There was plasma packs in their camps so I got energized quickly, and if that wasn’t enough they let me use the shower in the camp as well. The water was so cold and I am freezing right now, I am not kidding, it was the coldest water I ever showered with! 

And that is the story of my day… I will stay the night in this camp and go back to the hotel in the morning. I will sleep in a tent here, I hope I will have it all by myself till the morning, there are so many people here… That is it, talk to you tomorrow!

Love Rosie

Rosie’s Emails – 9

Dear brother,

Our mother tells me a lot about you, she brags about your promotions and your success at school, she is very proud and so am I!! Why didn’t you tell me any of it yourself?? I must admit I am a little mad at you right now 😛 I didn’t even know you have a girlfriend! I bet you told Tricia that but not me, so unfair! And there I am living in the big city, one long ride away… You can always come and visit bring Nan over if you want. It is going to be an adventure, I promise! There are clubs here, and bars, and partying… the big city is buzzing with life, perfect for young couples such as you two…

As for me… I have big news as well, ones I am going to share with you first! Like the sound of that? I was at home the other night, just minding my own business when out of the blue I get a call!

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And what do you know, I got some reward from the city of Bridgeport. It is called an “Investigator’s Trophy of Honor”. There would be a short ceremony at City Hall where they would put some pin on me or something like that. It isn’t as big of a deal as it seems otherwise I would have flown you all over but hey it is still something and you my dear Bran are the first to know! Now it is your turn, share something with your oldest sister!

Lots of love,

Rosie


 

Hi Bran,

So you are learning to cook? That is not exciting news I was hoping for. As someone who digs up dirt for a living I think I am qualified to determine what is juicy and what is not and that my friend is not… So try harder next time! Impress me 😛

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As for me I did pick up that reward, like I said it was nothing special, a day time ceremony in the public offices downtown. I dressed super private investigator like, in a my beige trench coat, with a hat and stylish sunglasses to top it. The mayor gave me the award, we chatted a bit and that is it. The city needs me, they urge me to continue the good work. I feel like a super hero already!

Rosie Caliente, Superhero

Caliente – 7.2: Mother and son

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(Previous post: Lunch with Dina)

Nina has lunch with her sister where they talk about love, their lives and trade in rumor and gossip. Nina is unhappy because of her daughter’s engagement. Dina offers to help when she hears rumors her sister might be without money.

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Nina Caliente rode everywhere in her recognizable pink limo. People would follow it and once she got out take out their phones or cameras and snap pictures, Nina pretended she didn’t see it, or didn’t care. Truth was she was enjoying her fame, every bit of it, she did so ever since her first single came out and topped the charts and she assumed she would continue to do so up until the day she died. She regretted only that she wouldn’t be present to see her own funeral, all those people she knew and didn’t know celebrating her life, shedding tears for the world’s great loss…

Yet Nina didn’t waste too much time thinking about death. Life was short but that made it only more valuable. That is why Nina was rarely still, there were always interesting projects to be realized, interesting people to be met, good songs to dance too, new cocktails to try out, good-looking men with lips to be kissed…

But then again there were nights when even Nina stopped and took a break. Tonight was such a night. She had gotten back from a meeting at a local school were she was helping a young teacher with a musical, changed into her sweatpants and was in her kitchen making dinner.

Not many people knew Nina Caliente was an excellent cook and how she loved cooking shows and making meals for her family. Everyone knew she loved expensive food, and good dining in famous restaurants all over the world but they figured she was a busy woman with no time to spend in the kitchen. In that they were all wrong.

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Tonight she had decided to make it simple with some spaghetti and vegetarian sauce to go with them. She had been experimenting with no-meat cooking lately. Nina’s life philosophy was give everything a try at least once so why not try being a vegetarian…

She had put on the sauce on the stove and was gently mixing it looking out to see where her son was. She knew he had gotten outside to telephone which might ring alarm bells to most mothers whose imagination could probably go much wilder than their teenage boys ever could but Nina didn’t worry. She knew what phone call would lure her Bran outside, the one to his sister.

Bran and Latrica had always been inseparable. Nina and her own sister were close growing up  but even they would fight, she couldn’t remember her two children ever getting in a fight. She thought their relationship might strain and probably change as they grew, Bran entered the awkward teenage years and Latricia moved out going first to college and then into a home of her own but seemingly nothing changed. They talked over the phone every day and they remained as close if not closer.

As to why Bran didn’t want her to hear the conversation it must have meant they are talking about the wedding. Nina really wanted to be the kind of mother that helps her daughter plan the big day, picks out the dress and all that bullshit but she just couldn’t bring herself to do it. Nina never believed in marriage and she especially didn’t approve of her daughter marrying, so young and naive and inexperienced with life…. It made her so angry but she knew there was nothing she could to, even though she tried….

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Bran came inside just in  time to set the table. Nina opened a bottle of wine and offered a glass to her son but he refused instead eating quietly, his mind elsewhere.

“How is Tricia doing?” She asked breaking the silence.

“Fine.” He wanted to say something more than stopped himself and just took another bite. Nina sighed.

“You guys can talk to me about it you know… About the wedding.” Bran just looked at her.

“Latricia says you keep urging her to postpone it as much as possible.”

“Well if she won’t cancel it….” Noticing Bran’s expression Nina stopped. “You know I want what is best for both you and your sisters. I just think this wedding is not the best idea in the world….”

“They really love each other…”

“That is exactly what I am saying! You both are so young, still believing in fairy-tales…” Nina was about to launch in a rant when she saw her son’s tired face and realized this was the hundredth time they were having this conversation. “I am sorry Branden, we don’t have to talk about this, again. How are you? You look tired.”

“I am fine.” Bran replied. “School is good, work too.” Nina knew that it was more than that. Bran got on a honor roll in the winter semester, he got as far as he possibly could at his job at the supermarket. Those weren’t things she would mention to her sister at one of their weekly lunches because there were no words to express how proud she was of her youngest son, of all her children who were growing in such good people. And imagine I did it all alone, without ever getting married…. She thought with a smirk.

“You have been working extra hard Bran, what do you say we go relax a bit after dinner, out in the tub. I didn’t see any paparazzi tonight.”

“I am too tired mum, I’ll load up the dishwasher and head straight to bed.” Nina sighed.

“Oh come on Bran. Please. I promise I will even wear a swimsuit.” This got a little smile from her son and he finally agreed to her proposal.


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She did as she promised and wore a one-piece striped bathing suit when she came outside and seated herself in the warm water of the hot tub. As she noted earlier there were no paparazzi outside tonight. She debated playing some music but she decided to wait for Bran and let him pick something. When he came out he was wearing long shorts and a dark blue T-shirt.

“Why didn’t you take the shirt off?” She asked him when he submerged himself in the water only his head sticking out of the bubbles.

“I forgot!” He replied looking down at himself miserably. “It is wet now…”

“It doesn’t matter.” Nina said. She was used to her son forgetting things. He was like that ever since he was small. “Maybe you can play us some music? And we can talk, about you. Tell me all about school, and your friends!” Bran took a deep breath and then started talking.

“Well Kerry and Persephone are officially dating now. I already suspected something was going on back when we were on that camping trip last summer… When I told Tricia she laughed she said if even I noticed it than it must really be something there. And now Waylon is seeing Nan’s sister Maja so she is now in our gang. She is cool, she plays the guitar too. I hope we will be good friends, I like her a lot. Nan is freaking out about it, she always speaks ill of her sisters you know and know she is about to get another one, her father’s new girlfriend is carrying a girl apparently…” Bran talked and Nina listened thinking once again how happy she was she had her children. Turns out there were things more important than fame.

Rosie’s Emails – 8

Hi Sara,

Dearest friend it had truly been a while. I hope you are all fine, both you and aunt Dina and her new wife I have yet to meet. Should I call her aunt Justine? I am a bit confused I must admit, I hope you are feeling better about it. Well then again you must haha.

I know you are very busy these days with the big promotion and all but I hoped you could drop me a line, check in so to speak, I miss you. And I miss talking to you and there are a few things I don’t think I could share with anyone but you, my oldest and dearest friend…

So my little sister is engaged… Isn’t that weird? I mean I am happy for her, I really am, you know that, you know me but it is weird don’t you think? My little sister getting married before I am even remotely close to that…. I mean you understand what I mean don’t you? Summer got married before you as well, she has a big kid doesn’t she? It must have been weird to you too, at least at some point….

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It got me thinking about many things like my own life and the path I am heading…. And that is how I ended up reading pregnancy books. (I can hear you laughing right now :P) I think I am loosing my mind but I feel like I am stuck and something needs to change… I don’t know… I just wanted to share it with you. Sorry for all the rambling. Let me know what you think and what is new in your life. I miss you. Send my love to your mother and AUNT JUSTINE. You all should come and visit some time.

Love Rosie


 Dear Sara,

Thanks for writing back. I am glad you comforted me. You are right, there is nothing to worry about, I still am young and life has different paths for all of us. It is terrible to hear all of that happening to your Jared. His home getting destroyed, his mother dying and he himself being hurt… I can’t imagine what you both had to go trough…  I wish you both a speedy recovery! 

It feels stupid to write about my life now, and I feel stupid for even complaining… But you know me, I am always like that…. Selfish to the bone…

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Well what is new… My friend Big Hartley had a birthday party last night, it was a big bash, a lot of celebrities were there, and me of course. He liked my present and I think at last we can be friends again after that failed attempt at dating… 

As for finding Mr. Right, he might be just around the corner 😉 ;)… But more on that some other time!

Love Rosie


/* You can read all about Rosie’s cousin Sara here. The tragedy that befall her fiancee Jared is the same meteor hit that killed Rita Pretniss and her daughter.  */

 

Calinte – 7.1: Lunch with Dina

Table of contents

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Nina Caliente is a retired musician, living alone with her youngest son Brandon Caliente. She has two daughters, the oldest Rosie lives in Bridgeport while Latrica had just moved out. Nina bough her a house and plans for her to have a music career just like she did but recently Latricia had taken her future in her own hands doing something her mother did not expect…

“Latricia is engaged.” Nina Caliente said watching one of her older sister’s perfectly trimmed eyebrows shoot upwards. The two of them were seated at the bistro downtown on of their weekly lunches. It was a tradition for them ever since they both retired and settled down a bit from their previous busy schedules.

“Engaged to whom?” Her sister asked.

“That Kerry boy, the one she had been dating in school.” Nina answered taking a sip of wine.

“Oh? He works for Sarah you know.” Her sister said in reply and Nina just nodded. The truth was both Dina’s oldest daughter and Nina’s daughter’s fiancee worked for the SVPD. They were both public servants but she didn’t want to make that distinction at the moment. She knew her sister wouldn’t appreciate being reminded of the fact. When she said nothing more her sister asked: “And how do you feel about it?”

Before replying Nina took another sip of wine, a more generous one this time. Truth was she didn’t approve. And not because the boy was a policeman or anything like that. Nina didn’t approve of marriage in general, and her daughter was so young… What did she really know about life? Nina planned for her to have a music career, she was talented and pretty. Marriage and kids could ruin all that… Nina herself had never been married and she had a great life. She came close once, with her oldest daughter’s father Dave, they even lived together for a time, big mistake. Yet back then she was young and stupid too… And she could not share any of this with her older sister who had just tied the knot, for the second time with a young waitress or whatever it was Justine did….

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“I wish her all the best.” She said once she had lowered her glass. Dina smiled in amusement. Her older sister could always read people well, you learn that in politics Nina guessed.

“Engagements don’t have to mean anything….” She said dismissively. “You were engaged yourself once…. And my Sara and that boy of hers haven’t gotten married yet and you know how long it had been since he proposed….”

“I guess marriage is not for everyone.” Nina said hoping to switch the ball in her sister’s court. “How is your lovely bride doing?” Dina smiled a bright smile people usually do when they talk about the ones they love, or at the very least enjoy sharing a bed with. Nina herself wasn’t sure if she even believed in what people passed on as love….

“Justine is fine. I bought her a bar to keep her busy once we got from honeymoon… She had been very grateful. What about you sister, are you seeing anyone?”

“Just two guys.” Nina replied. “Abdul is young, he used to be my maid before I sacked him for not doing any cleaning on account of spending all day in my bed. Aegon is close to sealing the deal with wife number two so it is just a fling between us… I call him up whenever I am feeling bored or in want of a deeper conversation…”

“That doesn’t get boring? Even in your life stage?” Dina asked couriously.

“Why would it?” Nina asked defensivily. “They are both fun, easy on the eyes, and the sex is good.”

“Well surely you want something more, at times at least?” Nina snorted.

“What more is there? Life is too short to chase after imagined things… ” She didn’t want to say it. She didn’t want to offend her recently married, love-sick sister… Yet she couldn’t help it. “You would sooner see a unicorn then find ‘true love’.” When her sister said nothing Nina just went on. “You just married for the second time. Your first marriage fell apart because you slept with someone else. Please don’t tell me you believe in ‘the one’…” Her sister just looked away and when she turned back there was something in her eyes, something Nina didn’t see there ever before, a kind of sorrow and vulnerability so disconnected from how she perceived her older sister.

“I am not sure what I believe in. ” She said quietly. “Feeling are tricky I guess… And as we grow old our memories play tricks on us… ” She sighed looking out in the distance again. Once she turned back her face had resumed its usual coldness.

“Enough on that, there is something I wanted to ask you. How is money? If you are having any troubles surely you know you can always ask for a loan…”

“A loan? Where is that coming from?” Nina asked surprised.

“I hear rumors that you are in debt… You are working on something with the school and I also saw your nudes in a magazine….” At this Nina actually laughed.

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“Come on sister, you actually believe in rumors in this city? I am working with the school, I am helping the Simlish teacher with a musical, she wrote a story adaptation and I am helping with the music, it is called giving back to the community… As for the nudes anyone could get a hold of those, they don’t even have to try very hard. Once I stop stripping it would mean my body had gone too saggy, now that would be a disaster.”

“Well I needed to check.” Dina replied in defense. “What kind of a sister would I be if I didn’t?”

“Not a fine older sister I suppose.” Nina said gladly accenting the ‘older’. “The royalty check still keep coming, I did spend a lot on Latricia’s new house but  I’ll have it covered in less than a year.”

“Fine then, I guess you wouldn’t mind taking the check?” Dina said pushing it towards her sister. Their eyes met and they both smiled.

 

 

 

Caliente (Latricia) – 7.4: The Show

(Previous post: Regret)

There was only a mild applause coming from the gathered crowd of teenagers. Latricia didn’t expect more, not with the song she picked to end her performance with. It was a piano ballad she wrote days ago, thinking heavily of her failed relationship with her high school boyfriend Mika. She did step away from the piano and bowed to the audience avoiding to look at either her mother or her manager who were both seated in the school’s auditorium where she had performed.

She knew they had expected her to play only the songs they picked, songs that would help sell her potential future album better and imprint her image into the minds of impressionable teenager listening to her today but she wanted to play this song. For her. That is what music was supposed to be about, the soul of the performer, not the pocket of the listener.

She knew her mother would say it was too early for her to do that, that would come later once she had gathered a following. Hazel, her manager, would as usually agree. Latricia was sick of that. Sick of being the good obedient daughter who did nothing for herself.

She told her friend Chiquita as much the other day while they were at the stylist’s. Latricia had to see Luther Prentiss to help her pick an outfit for today’s performance and she was happier to go with her friend than with her mother.

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“I wish my mother was more like yours…”

“Oh please.” Chiquita cut her off rolling her eyes. “You think my parents approve of all my decisions and the life I chose for myself?” When Latricia said nothing she went on. “My dear father often reminds me how I gave birth to a bastard, forgetting how I was a bastard myself because he was so busy chasing his stupid fencing, leaving me and mum to fend for ourselves… And don’t get me even started on mum and how she feels I am wasting my life working at the cash register at the supermarket when I could be so much more…” She sighed. “They were like that even as I lay in the hospital after that stupid meteor hit… Trust me Latricia, your life is a dream compared to what other people have.” Latricia knew that. Yet she still admired her friend how she bore all this and always appeared as she didn’t even care. So she told her that.

“Well it is all in the attitude my dear friend, if you let people stomp on you they will. You must learn to stand up for yourself, to go after what you want. Look at me I listen to all that and yet I still work at the supermarket, I raise my Jilly alone, for now at least and don’t give a fuck at what my parents or anyone else ever says. And I know people talk, this is a small town.”

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Latricia took all this to heart. That is why she played the song she did. And that is why she called Mikha’il right before the show. Her hands were shaking and she felt like she was about to be pushed from a cliff to a raging sea. But this was her life. She had it in her hands and she alone had the power over it. Not her mother and not her fears.

Mikha’il didn’t answer after four rings. She was about to give up, take it as a sign when he finally did. “Officer Kerry speaking.” He said in a businesslike voice. It was hard to picture him in a police station, surrounded by other cops, fighting crime, but that is who he was now. That was the life he choose. She introduced herself quickly before her voice failed and at once the formalities were dropped. “Well that is a surprise.” He said. “Unless this is work related, in which case you should have called the station instead of my cell.”

“It is not work related.” There was a brief pause after that. “I actually wanted to ask you… Well I am playing at our old school later today and I wanted to know if you would come. I am not sure I can have guests but screw it… I want you to be there.” She felt better as she blurted it all out. Also a little swearing helped as well. She was feeling more like Chiqy already, bold and rebellious.

“I don’t think I could make it, not today. I have got afternoon patrols…” Mika said sounding sorry. Or so it seemed to Latricia, she couldn’t really tell anymore. Maybe it was just her hope and desperation making her see something that was not there in a blatant rejection. At least he didn’t outright laugh at me… She tried to comfort herself as they ended the conversation in the usual pleasantries.

All that however was just a little too much rebellion for Latricia so when the show ended she sneaked out to the female locker rooms, changing quickly and sneaking out of the school’s back door instead of going to face her mother and Hazel. She planned to run home before they even notice her gone, she knew she would have to face them eventually, but she had no strength left, not today.

She had barely made two steps when she notice a man watching her. He was wearing a dark police uniform and his hat partly hid his face but she knew him in a instant.

“Mika?” She said surprised as he came closer smiling weakly.

“Hi Tricia.”

“You came after all.”

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“Not in time for it all… I heard just the last song. It was… Beautiful… And very powerful. It has been a while I guess, since I last heard you play the piano.” He added and she smiled.

“I wrote it for you.” She said softly. It was not a time or a place for holding anything back. He was there, Mika was actually there, he heard her song. And that should have been enough. The song was her heart laid bare. It was regret and sorrow, and it was love.

“For me?” He asked trying to smile but failing. He must have been afraid she thought, afraid of her breaking his heart again, like she did last time. But then the roles were reversed, he was the one giving out his heart and she was the one afraid.

“Well yes. Who else would it be for? You were always the one who made my hear sing…” She stepped closer to him. When he did this he got on his knee. He also had a ring. She had only her intent, and it was a strong one. She would not falter. “I made mistakes in the past, we all do, I have been stupid, and selfish, and I hurt you. I can’t promise I won’t make any more mistakes, but I promise to try to be a little less stupid, and a little less selfish.” Another step closer. “I know now that I love you, I know that I made a mistake, and that you have every right to hate me for that.” Another step brought her so close that they were almost touching, oh how she yearned for that. But she was not done yet. “I want to promise that I won’t ever stop making up for what I did. I want to spend my life doing just that. If you say yes, if you say you’ll marry me.”

His eyes widened and he opened his mouth as to say something but failed. The sun was setting in the background, the sky was a lovely shade of pink. Yet Latricia hadn’t seen it. She was on edge waiting for just one word. Whatever it was, she just wanted to hear it. Mika however seemed speechless. He closed his eyes and leaned closer to her. She didn’t waste a single moment.

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She leaned in as well and they kissed. It was a sweet kiss. Sweeter than any they had ever shared. And Latricia wanted it to last forever. They eventually parted however and when she looked at him he appeared to have tears in his eyes.

“Was that a yes?” She asked quietly.

“You know I loath to admit it… But you did the whole proposal thing slightly better.” He said breaking into a smile. Latricia did too. “And yes. This was a definite yes.”

Rosie’s Emails – 7

Hello sister,

You haven’t been writing much, is everything okay? Two weeks without even a word, I talked to mum so I know you are alive and well but it wouldn’t hurt to write a word or two to your big sister! 

Well anyways I am fine. Life  is going in its usual pace. I learned people around Bridgeport don’t really like me. That was a shocker… I know I can be a bit grumpy at times but my charisma balances it out, it turns out it doesn’t.

Lil Bling broke the news to me the other day. I called Big, he wasn’t home so I talked to Lil. We aren’t that close nowadays but we caught up, it was nice, we talked about his new album, stuff like that and then he tells me out of the blue: “You are not so popular round here Rose!”

I fumed for a while and then night fell and I went on a case. I won’t bore you with the details, and besides there should be some client-investigator privilege. Should it not?

Well that is not really important, I wouldn’t even mention the case if it wasn’t for something big, the reason I am writing in fact… I met a guy! He is super cute! His name is Richie, he is an athlete (as are most of my crushes I guess).

I snapped a picture of him, I told him it is important for the case (ha ha). But look at him, just look at him! Isn’t he the cutest?? Isn’t he??? 

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Well he told me the reason people probably don’t like me… Apparently there are rumors I got arrested?? WTF?? Who says such things?? Anyways please reply! I am eager to hear what you have to say about all this!

Love,

Rosie


Hi sister,

Glad you are alive and well. I am also glad to hear you devoted time to your music. It is nice to follow your passions. When is your album coming out?? I can’t wait to buy it and tell ALL my friends!! Well Big and Lola… They are my only friends here but I don’t mind it. Sometimes it is better to have good friends than many friends.

Well anyways, to the matter at hand… I am so glad you agree Richie is a doll!! Because I am going to write about him more and more, or I hope…. There is still much work on the before mentioned case, one involving him. And I know I will be seeing him again so I have been spending more time in the gym, I want to be drop dead gorgeous the next time he sees me and I can’t run outside because of my vapirisim, I am being extra careful because of it now, I learned my lessons. And so I am running, and I am super sweaty, I mean it, I can feel it spraying of me all around and wouldn’t you know who walks in? Wayne! My online… Well I don’t know how to call it, he isn’t a friend, I though he had a potential to be a boyfriend before he blew me of for a date…

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So he comes by he just watches me and looks uncomfortable and I just ignore him! I pretend I didn’t recognize him and he stares for a while and then just walks away  And you know. I don’t regret it for a second!

That is all for now. I hope to have some Richie Striker update soon!

Love,

Rosie