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 ūüėÄ thank you all for reading and please let me know what you think of the new start. */

Round 6 – Bonus chapter: Camping trip

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(Previous chapter: Crushed)

Kerry Hoves had always imagined that summer vacations would be way different once he was a teenager, he imagined all the wild things he would to with his friends and girlfriend but reality proved much different.

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He ended up spending the majority of his days sitting by the pool watching his little sister Haley jump in the water for the hundredth time, forcing him to watch and grade her jumps. He knew Haley didn’t actually need any supervision but his parents made him watch her whenever she went out to the pool, and she wanted to go there every single day. His older sister Freddie was supposed to take turns with him but ever since she got a boyfriend she would sneak out of the house to meet him whenever their parents were away.

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Caliente – Round 6.3: Back to school

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(Previous post: Where it went wrong, Characters page: People of Sunset Valley)

When it was time to go back to school Bran had mixed feeling about the whole ordeal. In one hand he was glad he would see get to see Nan every day again. He was hoping that¬†would force them to talk again and talking might help repair things between them. In the other hand he dreaded seeing everyone else again. He still remembered the bad rep his best friend Kerry got after he was seen flirting with a girl that wasn’t his girlfriend at his party. And what Bran¬†did at the dance was much, much worse…

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Caliente – Round 6.2 : Where it went wrong

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(Previous post: An empty chair, Characters page: People of Sunset Valley)

“Flowers, really Bran? That’s suppose to fix this?” Nan asked sharply. Her tone was cold and there wasn’t a trace of amusement in her light green eyes.

“It’s a start.” Bran said and smiled. He hoped his girlfriend would smile back. But she didn’t, of course she didn’t.

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Caliente – Round 6.1: An empty chair

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(Characters page: People of Sunset Valley)

Summer was nearing its end, the nights were no longer warm and there were more cloudy days and sudden rain showers. But in the largest room of Sunset Valley’s only theater it was rather hot. The room was filling up with people making Branden squirm in his chair nervously as he felt sweat dropping out of all his pores.

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“Do you need to use the bathroom? If so hurry up, they have almost started.” His sister Latricia¬†said turning to him concerned.

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Hoves(Jesse) – Round 6.3: Coming home

/* With this post we return to the normal story line of Round 6, events from this post happen sometimes after Crushed. */

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(Previous post: Escape, Characters page: People of Sunset Valley)

“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.

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Hoves (Jesse) – Round 6.1 : Locked up

/* Events from this and the next post happen before the other events described so far in Round 6, they start right¬†after¬†Illustrious Author, also I have made two new pages: Families of Sunset Valley¬†and¬†People of Sunset Valley¬†so if you have time check them out, tell me what you think ūüôā */

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The cell that they put Irene in was grey and dirty. It smelled of urine and something else, something nasty. Irene did her best not to dwell on the smells too much, she figured not knowing was better. At least she was alone, and the cell was quiet. she was in no mood to deal with other human beings right now… She wished she had her phone though, that would help her pass the time, and get her mind off those terrible smells… But they took her phone when they arrested her…

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